Ice Ice Baby

Turkdel8

Party pooping in style

This weekend (and before really) social media has been awash with videos of people, first celebrities and now all the people you work with, drink with and spend time with, tossing icy buckets of water over each other. All in the name of charidee, apparently.

A discussion with my beloved this morning as we completed our own version of the ALS ice bucket challenge (walking around the Level while it pissed down) has led me to this post.

I’m not being a spoil sport about this, I want that to be known first and foremost, although I can assure you that I won’t be standing in my communal front yard in a bikini top while Mr Bee flushes me through with cold water (relax, World).

I’m taking a Patrick Stewart stand on this one, which I think is perfect acceptable given that it’s all about the money, rather than how many of us end up soggy.

I agree with anything that raises awareness for a good cause and up until I saw Lily Allen looking fabulous during hers, I didn’t have a clue what the eff was actually going on. In fact, it took this very touching video to make me realise what it was even for, and that was a good few days in.

(Most people haven’t been as clear as they could have been about the reason for doing the challenge but this seems to have rectified itself the more people are doing it).

ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and is a motor neurone disease. In the US alone upward of 30,000 people are affected and it claims about 2 in 100,000 lives a year.

Of course Wiki has this is terms of explaining it better but it’s an awful degenerative disease I had no clue about a few days ago. I now have a basic understanding of what it does, all thanks to Cumberbatch in a tight wet tee.

Oh yes!

So, in short I am not poo-pooing those who have partaken in the ALS challenge at all, and unlike some of my less amused friends on Facebook, say, have been enjoying most of the videos. It’s nice to see people you’d never normally expect to be getting involved and also, as I have typed this with a steadfast ‘I am not doing it’ agenda, I’ve started to become even more touched by those who have done it.

My personal reason is that I’d like to be a quieter participant, I might be the silent Queen of the #selfie but I’m not so much of a stand up and be counted extrovert (and I know not all are). Practically, I don’t know where I could do it – the shower perhaps? Plus, Mr Bee thinks I should be concerned that people will think I’m a ‘pussy’ if I am nominated and don’t do it (nobody has yet, thankfully) and on our walk I got all Warrior Woman, ranting about peer pressure at my age, my right to stand as a single person, etc. And now I have come too far to back down.

This is how our arguments tend to go.

Instead, I will be donating to ALS whatever happens and should I be nominated by somebody cruel (it will Mr Bee taking me down with him), I will deal with it my way. Pussy or not, I’ve got this.

It would feel remiss somehow not to mention the King of my Heart in this post. Did you see Tom Hanks’ ALSIBC? I love him so so much!

So, have you been nominated and if so, will you be doing the challenge? Col of The Bohemian Within just has! What are your thoughts?

If you would like to donate to a great cause, you can do so here.

Pick Your Potion (AKA What’s Your Poison?)

tumblr_naij1kDAE51rjzbk4o1_500Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status? Via The Daily Post (22nd August 2014)

My poison is traditionally served hot, and like my men must be strong and dark, or I will pour it away. I like it wet which is where similarities between my beverage of choice and my fantasy partners end.

I just realised, what kind of drink isn’t wet? A dry Martini, I guess. BOOM!

Annnywayyyy, I recently talked about being a lapsed non-drinker here and since then have been gaily wracking up bar bills all over town, attending dance parties (well, one), hosting drunken BBQs in the park (again, just the one) and generally nursing a strong drink most Thursday or Friday nights.

I like it.

But I am very strategic in my drinking and this I believe is why I am able to enjoy it, as I am smugly confident I can keep the hangover at bay. I drink Vodka & Diet Coke because it is slimline (UGH I KNOW!) but also because it is ‘clean’.

Not too much sugar (yes, I know those artificial horrors they do contain are probably worse in the long run but that’s a whole other issue) and Vodka just ain’t that fattening, Baby. I drink Vodka because I like the idea of it and if I had the stomach, I would probably smoke like a chimney and drink it neat like a sexual Russian Bond Girl/Spy in red lipstick. I am weak though and lipstick looks rubbish on me, so I have to have a mixer. I love it with ginger ale normally but when watching these curves, I stick to the DC.

I also always have two Ibuprofen and a glass of water by the bed when I roll in (at 10pm) and thus far have thwarted the hangover curse of the over 30s.

My real poison however, is good old-fashioned tea. I cannot envisage a single day without it and probably drink between five and ten cups every day. I’m with Picard on this one but stick to a straightforward Builder’s Brew because that’s just how I roll. Tea in the morning, tea at work, tea on return from work, weekend tea, tea in a cafe, tea in bed, tea everywhere and anywhere – just make it strong (two bags, also like my ‘men’).

I could give up booze tomorrow but I couldn’t do the same with tea. No way.

While I am here I will say there is no excuse for a rubbishly made cuppa. In the office we all take turns and most people have got this down. When it’s my turn I make an effort to get other people’s orders right. Some people don’t pay this forward and I get a milky cup with two tea bags floating on the surface.

Erm, no, that’s not the way to do it.

Mind you, this is usually always done by a non-English person and so I suppose I can understand. Your Antipodean countries don’t have proper tea, nor do Canada. Sorry guys!

My friend will send you back and make you start again if you f**k up hers and I know of a man that work’s with Mr Bee who once took a girl who’d just made his tea into the kitchen and made her watch while he poured it bitterly down the sink. “Try again” he said. (I would go ballistic if someone said this to me personally but I sort of admire the audacity).

So there it is. Never mess with a girl’s tea and if you are going to make it, make it exactly to order. If I tell you I want it the exact shade of a female bodybuilder’s tan (e.g. mahogany), I mean mahogany.

The Only (Riot) Grrrl In The World

robyn2Ever notice how the best songs are the heartbreak anthems? Sometimes not even anthems, some are weepy little poems that still have the power to cut you like a switch blade (hey there Joni).

Even though I hung up my angst a long time ago (does one ever?) and am not currently nursing a sore heart, I still love the fist pumping, imagine myself standing on tables, shouting at all the pigs that ever let me down psalms the best.

As I shuffle reluctantly to work every morning, my iPod bruising my ear canal ever so slightly, I always have to make the final push with a great song in my head, that extra protection against the day ahead.

Now I write all this with the best of intentions but my musical catalog contains an awful lot of Janet Jackson so it’s usually something like What Have You Done For Me Lately? off Control that gets me fighting.

JJ notwithstanding, it’s funny how some lyrics just jump out and elbow you in the ribs, isn’t it? They have the ability to drag you back through time to the exact moment you found yourself standing hesitantly outside a coffee shop after a blazing row with a boy you’d only been seeing for a few Summer months.

You remember your carefully chosen words, and how carelessly he batted them away like fruit flies. You remember how black his eyes became in rage, the chocolate-brown evaporating from them completely, making him look demonic. How you had known right there that this was it, that no matter how lovely his skin felt or how pumped you were that he chose to spent these hazy twilight hours walking around the city with you, it was done.

You recall the tears that you thought would never end, your best friend’s hand on your back and the thought, even in that moment, that you were crying not for this, but for everything bad that had ever happened to every person in the world.

Most of all you remember that it was over because you decided it was; that you weren’t going to take shit any more.

That’s what a heart-break tune will do and it doesn’t matter if you’ve moved on, if you’re happy now. It doesn’t matter if you rarely think of them; those fuckers built you up to be the fabulous person you are today and tribute must be paid, even if it’s angry.

Especially if it’s angry.

So what’s my go to angry anthem? You’ll not be surprised to learn there’s some utter toot in here: Since You’ve Been Gone, Blow Me (One Last Kiss), Dancing On My Own, Raspberry Swirl. Sinead O’Connor’s You Cause As Much Sorrow. Mr Brightside. Harpoon.

Army of Me.

All my loves.

Special mention to Joni’s Case of You which saw me through a wonderful break up (I loved it). Less punch facey sure but just as powerful. (I’m listened to Joni as I tie up the ribbon on this post with a flourish, because she’s the one).

It is true that every girl has a fighter inside, a riot grrrl or a punk, whoever she wants it to be. She may be a soft touch like me, most of the time, but given the right theme tune, that fighter will awaken to stomp the shit out of her memories, free to fight another day.

So what’s your angsty/angry/fighter theme?

The Caitlin That Got The Cream: How To Build a Girl Review

How to build a girl

A brief synopsis:

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, fourteen, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde—fast-talking, hard-drinking gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer. She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer—like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontës—but without the dying-young bit.

Blah blah blah.

I found this review really hard to write, moaning to Hannah of Hannah Reads Stuff  on Twitter to the same effect. She asked me what my initial reaction was and I can say, truthfully, that when I started to think about my review, I hadn’t even finished the book.

I know, odd to start constructing a verdict when you’re part way through the text, but I’m weird like that. I like to think ahead about blog posts, if not other things in my life, alright?

So I answered honestly (my opinion there and then), in under 140 characters:

I liked it but Johanna annoys me. Bit try hard in the humour stakes and maybe the sex bits.

Which is how I felt.

See how I am alluding to the fact that I’m done reading in my response? (Sorry Han). When I wrote that, I was a couple of chapters from the end but assumed (correctly as it goes) that I would finish it slightly underwhelmed but overall happy to have read it.

And now I am finished, that’s it, more or less. However, I really feel as though the book took a turn that irritated me.

In fact, in the Acknowledgements page, Moran suggests that she struggled to finish the book and had to be talked down from a ledge more than once by a patient and caring (I would imagine) saint of a friend.

I think if I sat down and spoke to her about this, I would be able to correctly pinpoint the moment the tone (and quality) changed, because she was floundering. You know, because I’m the expert at writing and all.

Anyway, I can’t go into the bits that peeved me for fear of ruining it for other readers (and boy, a lot of my friends are all over this book, or about to be).

I can say that fourteen year old Johanna is likeable for a moment but gets old quick. By the time she is a fully fledged ‘Swashfuckler’, I just wanted to scream “Shut up shut up shut up” at the page.

Johanna, or ‘Dolly Wilde’ is too much of a cliché (then weren’t we all back then?) and a bit of a dick. She realises this herself eventually (ooh spoiler) but the lesson she learns as the ending comes into view feels a little tacked on. She’s so pretentious (and I like a bit of that sometimes) that I simply don’t care if she makes it or not. (And of course she does!)

Basically: whatevs.

On a more positive note, I liked her older brother, Krissi (though his dialogue is overwrought with pretension), liked the family and I liked John Kite. I also approve of the sex talk to a point because sex talk is my favourite. It is good to read a book that doesn’t mind talking about masturbation and f**king, had I read this book as a teen I may have been a lot more sexual with myself (and others? Probably not).

But again, as Dolly gains more experience it becomes, somehow, more boring. We get it, you’re shagging. Nice one. Stop saying ‘c*nt’ just to shock me, it doesn’t, it’s just jarring now.

Am I glad I read it? Yes. Does it hold up against How To Be a Woman? Nope, but then can you compare a book of essays on Feminism to a novel about an annoying teenager? This is fiction right?

There lies my issue. I think I fell out of love with Caitlin Moran a while back. She trumpeted into my life like a goddess and made me fist pump with glee when I read HTBAW. Then she got annoying, came off as showoffy and a little bit smug and my problem with Johanna is that I can’t think of her as not Moran.

She is obviously writing about what she knows and I would be doing exactly the same thing if I were to write a novel, I’m sure but my inability to disassociate has obviously tainted my overall experience. I think that says more about the author than me though.

I’m glad I’ve read it and I will probably read more Caitlin Moran, but I might stick to the essays and avoid spending too much time in her company. She’s like the friend we all have who is fun because she’s loud and funny (sometimes) but gets on your wick after ten minutes.

Book details:

  • How To Build a Girl
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (3 July 2014)
  • ISBN-10: 0091949009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091949006
  • Bought hardback (new)

The Trouble With Netflix

Photograph does not belong to me

Photograph does not belong to me

Anybody else got a Netflix addiction? Seriously, it’s like a potent drug and I’m expecting an intervention any time soon.

It all started with the Adventures of an Upper East Side Gossip Monger (or Gossip Girl) and has spiralled from there. I wonder sometimes if my relationship can take the strain of yet another weekend main-lining trash TV in my pajamas.

I’ve just finished Nurse Jackie but have done: Gossip Girl, Hemlock Grove, Orange is the New Black, all 7 series of Skins, now the first season of Bates Motel. I don’t know what the deal is with the way it just takes over your brain and holds you there for two days straight, rendering you unable to do anything else, like keep a rational thought in your head, Hoover or leave the flat. I’ve been known to not speak to my own family for several hours while they are in the same room.

Perhaps my only hope is to stop the subscription and step away from the PS3. Go cold turkey and take back control of my life.

Ooooh:

Are you still watching “Nurse Jackie”?

Just one more episode, then I’ll read a book. Promise!

Bridge Over Troubled Water: Mad About The Boy Review

Photograph does not belong to me

Photograph does not belong to me


Monday 11th August 2014
Weight: doesn’t matter. Have decided that worth is not tied to numbers on scale. Fat test is now whether or not I can tie own shoelaces. At the moment can, so v. good. Cigarettes smoked: nil. Haven’t smoked since 1994. Tell people I am allergic to Nicotine but it is because I don’t know how to inhale properly.

Monday. This is not good. Mental boss being particularly mental and clueless as usual. Only ray of light poking into my day is work (and IRL) friend B. Decide the only way to distract myself from shouting at someone is to eat my feelings and sent 37 bitchy emails entitled ‘WTF’. This helps.

18.15 pm Get home and remember I finished my book last night. Hence bags under eyes and less than regulation 8 hours sleep. Hence bad mood. Realise I have Bridget Jones 3: Mad About The Boy on the ‘to read’ pile so feel a bit happier. Hmm, but also have I Capture The Castle which is a classic and will make me look cleverer on the bus.

Realise never take bus and anyway, need a dose of Bridge as she is v. funny. Decide overusing Fielding‘s ‘v.good’ signature phrase makes me look lazy so vow to leave this alone for rest of review.

20.38 pm Must start book but have recently discovered Nurse Jackie on Netflix. Netflix was invented by the devil, wasn’t it?

21.41 pm Laugh out loud for solid minute at Gwyneth Goop pisstaking. Brilliant brilliant brilliant.

Tuesday 12 August 2014
Weight: look I told you, none of your beeswax. Punnets of cherries consumed: 2. Number of times strained eyebrow muscles by rolling eyes too vigorously over the desk divider at B: 12. Number of times considered flipping desk violently and telling Stupid Boss to stick her job: 3.

08.09 am Husband leaves while I am brushing my teeth. Says he will be at the Barbara when I get in having his beard groomed (barber). Makes Night of the Living Dead reference as front door slams. Married right guy.

09.00 am Get to work and talk about Robin Williams who has passed away. Facebook is awash with tribute posts about the man most of us grew up with. Feel sad. Vow to watch Patch Adams this weekend.

09.14 am Boss already cursing behind computer screen. I decide best course of action is to zone out and not give her attention. Think about Mad About The Boy and how touching it is. Imagine what my life would be like if I were in a similar sitch. Decide, like Bridge, not to dwell.

09.15 am Remember line about Gwynnie and chuckle to myself for another minute.

09.24 am Is it home time yet?

09.25 am Have eaten all morning snack supplies already. Will be hula hooping this evening for three hours at this rate.

10.46 am Irrationally angry. Rant over email to B for five minute. Feel better.

11.50 am Can someone pay me to blog inanely with no real focus from home in my pants please?

11.59 am Tweet stuff about Boss then get paranoid. Leaving trail of outrage across social media not very profesh. Decide don’t care. Think about Bridge’s foray into social networking and it cheers me up. Can’t wait to get back home and read my evening away. Vow not to turn on TV at all when get home from work.

20.06 pm Get annoyed with Mr Bee as he wants to watch a Zombie/Vampire hybrid tv show called Strain. Get annoyed about the name of show as it puts me in mind of something disgusting. Agree but tell Mr Bee must be in bed by 9.30 as Bridget is waiting for me.

21.22pm Get to bed with eight minutes to spare. Pre-empt seduction by mentioning tiredness and reading.

21.38pm Am crying. Hard. Mascara did not remove before bed falls into eyes. Bridget grieving is a very powerful thing. Ah, but have also caught up with Daniel Cleaver. Not all doom and gloom.

Wednesday 13th August 2014
Weight: pffffffffffffffffffffffffft. Number of bums shouting “Fuck!” repeatedly outside window at 4.30am this morning: 2. Number of times consider bucket of cold water out of window onto street below: 3 (twice for bums, once for flock of seagulls – not the eighties band).

10.25 am Let’s not talk about work again, shall we?

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Uncle Robin 1951 – 2014

Robin-Williams-robin-williams-32089824-2798-3916Yesterday most of the world woke up to the news that Robin Williams had passed away.

I was in a decidedly un-glamorous place as I scrolled through Facebook and found out for myself (embarrassing source of all my news). My subsequent scream from the bathroom caused Mr Bee to get very annoyed when he realised I hadn’t just been injured or attacked.

It is always strange when a beloved celebrity passes away. This year we have already been rocked by the passing of another favourite, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and in similarly shocking circumstances (all still alleged). Hoffman from a heroin overdose in his own bathroom and now Williams, who is believed to have taken his own life.

It’s just so very sad. I guess when you think about death at a not even that old age, you hope for something quick and painless. Tragic, of course but natural. To consider the ongoing suffering of somebody famous for making others feel better is a bitter punchline in itself.

This morning as I was stomping around the park thinking about this subject and of what Robin meant to me, I got to thinking about the joke Rorschach tells in Watchmen:

I heard a joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life is harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. The great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor… I am Pagliacci.” Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.

Moral of the story: you never know.

Now, I don’t feel qualified to comment on what sort of torment must lead a person to such a hopeless place. I don’t think it’s the cowards way out though.

I know a few things about mental illness and depression, I know a bit about addiction but all my experience is second hand. I know it’s serious and that we should be able to talk about it openly, without judgment and help should be readily available. It goes further than that though and I understand this.

I just feel incredibly sad. I feel as though the world will genuinely have an empty hole in it now. Robin always felt like an uncle to me and when we spoke about him, Mr Bee and I called him ‘Uncle Robin’.

Had he been my real uncle (and I do love my actual uncles), I imagine Robin would have been able to fix anything with a hairy armed bear hug. Nothing could be bad within that embrace and nothing would ever light up the room like that smile. That laugh.

Now this is my fantasy, of an uncle I’ll never have but I’m sure his own children felt that way about him. I’m sure his friends, his wife, all his loved ones felt that way too. I hope he’s at peace now.

Rest easy, Peter Pan.