Friday, 14 September 2012

Ya'll Comedy Diva is all kinds of awesome!

I am more than a little in love with the website ComedyDiva. It's fantastic. Filled with witty and fun videos, cartoons and much more, I highly encourage taking a look at it if you want a good laugh.

Anyway, I stumbled across this and had to share it. For everyone who knows someone who might be just a little too into Pinterest, here is a cautionary tale  . . . Enjoy! 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Brilliant or Bonkers: "Muscle Music" Edition

We had a few weeks of really nice weather here in London. We had a bit of (dare I say it) summer (not enough, of course) and I promptly fell off the face of the world for a bit. First there was an unexpected trip home, then the Olympics, a new writing project and now its nearly September . . . I have no idea where the time has gone. It's completely bonkers.  But, as it's nearly autumn, and I always think of autumn as a good time for getting things back on track, I'm back to blogging. Sorry about that.

So, here we go. Another brilliant or bonkers . . .

I seriously can't tell how I feel about this ad. The technology behind it is fantastic allowing the viewer to make 'muscle music' is inspired  . . . the hot guy is definitely a plus, but the screaming 'muscle' over and over again? Um . . . yeah, not so much. What's your verdict: Brilliant or  Bonkers?

Old Spice Muscle Music from Terry Crews on Vimeo.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Addicted to Revenge

It's been such a washout of a summer here in London. In any given day it can rain, sleet, hail and then the sun will make a valiant effort and attempt to shine. But mostly, the weather has erred on the side of miserable.

That's probably why I've been finding myself escaping to the Hamptons this summer. Yes, I'm originally from Long Island (not that area of Long Island!), so in a way it's like coming home for the summer. The sunshine, the endless beautiful beaches, the beautiful people, the scheming the plotting the desperate need for REVENGE!

This is such guilty pleasure TV, but honestly I'm addicted. I can't wait to see what will happen next as Emily Throne takes on Queen Victoria in a battle royale for revenge and control of the Hamptons. It's brilliant to see a heroine like Emily who essentially is doing some pretty unlikable things in her quest to get retribution against the people who wronged her father. There are moments where you realize that you are rooting for the utter downfall of characters and then wonder does Emily's punishment fit their crimes? Only time, and the plot of this series will tell . . .

Friday, 6 July 2012

Panda Awareness Week (London Style)

There are so many reasons why London is an amazing city. I could list them for days. The upcoming Olympics, the fantastic culture, museums, restaurants and world heritage sites. I could go on and on . .  . but I won't.

Instead, here's London celebrating World Panda Week in style yesterday at Trafalgar Square! Why  yes, those108 Panda's are performing Tai Chi.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Fourth of July on Mars . . .

Since I moved to the UK there are only two US holidays that I really struggle with, the first is the Fourth of July and the second is Thanksgiving. I struggle because they are so uniquely American, so integral to what makes Americans, well...American, that you can't find anything similar to them in the UK. Despite what Americans, think they are not global holidays. My first Thanksgiving in the UK was horrible.  I spent the day putting on a very brave face. I was a week into my first job in a foreign country and I didn't want to seem like a whiny kid. When I got home, my English husband of just over a month had prepared a feast of wine, chicken and chips and cake. I had asked him not to make/buy anything American because it just wouldn't be the same. I burst into tears. This wasn't Thanksgiving. It wasn't even close. I called home and spoke to my family, kept my voice light and thought, I can do this, I can do this.

But I really couldn't. It wasn't 'til about two years later that I understood why I couldn't.

Being in a foreign country (for the long haul, for life) on the same day as an important holiday back in the homeland is like celebrating the Fourth of July on Mars. It's just another day. It has no meaning. The idea that something fundamentally important to your life is just another day is beyond depressing. It's also beyond comprehension. Because that day, that day that you spent the first 20 odd years of your life marking as vital, as special, is now just another day. The loss of that specialness, that uniqueness, broke my heart. You can say all you want that you'll keep the holiday in your own way (more on that later), but you don't. You allow yourself to be changed. You give away this piece of yourself to fit into this new world that you live in. Giving up that part of yourself, the part that expects fireworks, family, BBQs and the beach, is filled with a sense of loss.

The people I've met in the UK are really lovely, and do listen to me natter on and on about brilliant Fourth of July memories, or why it's important (which is really above and beyond, considering it's our Independence Day from their country), but it's not the same.

This year will be my 6th Fourth of July in the UK. I have to work. Usually I take the day off. So does my husband. We get up early and go out somewhere. Anywhere. If the weather is nice we go to the beach. If it's dreadful (which seems to be the theme this summer) we'll go to a movie or museum. We mark the day by being together. Our first few years I used to tell my husband that the Fourth of July was a "presents holiday." He didn't believe me, but I think he went along with it because of how glum I tend to get. I told him that if he didn't give me a present every Fourth of July I had the right, as an American, to declare Independence. So now I always get a little present every Fourth of July. Is it the same as seeing my family? Is it the same as the fireworks? Is it the same as having the day off and chilling at a BBQ or by the beach? No.

Part of moving to a new country means you have to take on new holidays--some are fantastic (I am the world's biggest supporter of Boxing Day--getting the day after Christmas off--jackpot!), others will be as incomprehensible to you as the Fourth of July is to them (Guy Fawkes Day). In the process of taking on new holidays you have to find a way to assimilate the days that matter to you into this new country, this Martian landscape which at times feels so familiar and yet is so different. It's about the things you do to make new traditions that matter. You can't force a holiday or feeling on another country. But you can make something new. Something that becomes special.

So, this year I'll get my 'don't declare independence day' present, and on Thanksgiving we'll have chicken and chips, because that's our tradition. It will never be the same as when I lived in the US. It can't be.

I'm alright with that. It's new. And while new is strange and scary, sometimes it's wonderful too.

Happy Fourth of July!

Friday, 29 June 2012

An Open Letter to Katniss Everdeen

Remember how I promised to finally do a Hunger Games post this month? Well, I have. This is my Open Letter to Katniss Everdeen after reading the entire series. {{Warning this post contains spoilers}}

Dear Ms Everdeen,

Actually, we’ve been through a lot together, three books, is it ok if I call you Katniss? Too bad I just did. I’m writing to you because I think we need to have a chat. You are fictional, so I know you won’t respond, but after reading your adventures I wanted to say a few things. First, as a hero, you really let me down. You had your moments where I thought, wow, baring your ridiculous name, you are incredible. You face insurmountable odds and triumph. You bring down a government with a single act of defiance. When I was a kid, I would have wanted to be you. When I have kids, I’ll want them to read your story. You are an inspiration. 

 And then there was Mockingjay. I always struggled with you as a character. You were just this side of likeable and then you crossed the line. You went to Crazytown, took up residence in a small condo on the River of Despair (the South Shore, just north of Utter Failure Town) and decided to become one with a drain pipe. It was terrible. I attach a file copy of my map of Crazytown*. This was recently commissioned by some good friends of mine because in life you never know how often you will need to take out your trusty map of Crazytown and let people know where they have gone when they leave the grid.

 After railing against your mom for curling up in bed and neglecting you and your sister after the tragic death of your father, you essentially did the same thing. Only you curled up around a drain pipe. I have to say, with your fame (or infamy) I should have thought you could have found a better place to have a breakdown? However, I understand, you had been through a lot, there was that whole PTSD thing. Not the mention the fact that between the Capitol and District Thirteen everyone was looking for ways to use and exploit you. That does bring about a certain level of depression, granted. But what happened to your ‘leave no man behind’. What happened to protecting those who couldn’t protect themselves? What happened to Peeta? For that, Ms Everdeen, as a hero, you failed me.

 Second, as a reader, I failed you. I expected you to be more than you are. You are a girl. A wounded, damaged, broken girl who was asked to take on something far too big for her. Something that you admitted many times you weren’t good at—let’s be honest Peeta was the brains, he was the man of words and you were the girl of action. You saved his life time and again in the arena and he saved yours on the stage. Together, you were a fantastic couple. Alone, you are both just a bit broken and sad. As a reader, I wanted you to be fantastic always. I wanted you to be a hero all the time. I didn’t want you to be a person, people are boring they have real problems. Heroes have adventures. People are complicated, they breakdown, they fall apart, many times they need someone to kick their arse out of bed (or out from the cupboard with the drainpipe) and into action. Heroes just do the right thing because they have no other choice. I wanted you to always do the right thing. I wanted more. For that, I’m sorry.

 Because of Mockingjay I got to see you as a person. In the end it made the experience both frustrating and richer. I still wanted you to bitch-slap Gale after what went down with Prim. Honestly, that boy had it coming. But you didn’t. You lost yourself for a long time. I didn’t even get to see the process of you coming back to who you were, that was all rushed through in a sloppy epilogue. For that, I’m sorry. You had a rich adventure, both inside and outside of the arena. A story that I loved so much I’ve taken the time to write you this letter. I’m sorry I let you down as a reader.

Genn xoxo

 PS- How are the kids that you said you never wanted to have, but then did because Peeta talked you round (see, I told you man of words!) and Peeta?

*Map of Crazytown below for reference.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Where I've Been . . .

I spent much of the month of June out of the office (and country). I was back in my homeland (USA) for both work and visiting my family. Don't worry, they'll be more posts and photos (or maybe you should worry? Not sure yet, posts aren't written yet!).

But, as I get my feet back under me and slip back into my daily grind here is something that made me beyond happy. I'm sure I'm not the first person to post this (probably more like super late to the party) but if you've missed it here is the fantastic Maroon 5 Game of Thrones Parody. I'm a self confessed Game of Thrones addict. I love books. I read the first three back to back last summer. Then I took a break. About a year long break. I think my husband might have politely asked me to put the books down for a bit when I was beginning to develop unhealthy obsessions with fictional characters. Anyway, I still have books four and five to read, probably this year. In the meantime, if like me, you've just watched the end of Season Two and are feeling a bit Game of Thrones deprived than this is the perfect antidote. Be warned that the video contains spoilers so watch it at your own risk if you haven't seen Season Two yet! Enjoy!