Rambles, rants and raves

A lot of opinions spilling out of my brain


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Books you HAVE to read

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while but never seem to give justice to the brilliance of these books. As a result I delete the entire thing and write about something else. Reading, I understand is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is my form of escapism. I am always shocked to find that people do not like to read or would rather watch television than pick up a book. However, this post is not a rant on my disbelief at people’s lack of love for books. I’ll leave that for another day and fellow book lovers will probably know what I would say, while people not interested in books will have heard it all before.

If I had endless supplies of money, I would buy the house next door to wherever I was living and it would look like this.

If I had endless supplies of money, I would buy the house next door to wherever I was living and it would look like this. It would, however, be a lot neater. I can’t handle wonky piles or shelves.

I have two favourite books. Both are incredible and I couldn’t decide on which is better if my life depended on it. I also have another few which I think are pretty special and definitely worth reading even by those who don’t enjoy it. The thing with being a bookworm is that once you find the right book it does not seem all that difficult to fall in love with reading.

So for book lovers, this is my small but special list of must-reads. For those who do not enjoy reading, I promise you that if you read any one of the books on this list, you’ll at least become a reading fan if not a die-hard book lover. If I’m wrong I’ll send you chocolate (NOTE: by chocolate I mean happy thoughts to make you feel warm and fuzzy).

Without further ado here is my list of five books you have to read (which technically speaking includes eight books but whatever, this is a literary post not a numbers one).

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Technically speaking I shouldn’t be putting these books on my list because I haven’t finished reading them all. BUT they are so addictive and consuming my brain that I had to. Aimed for teenagers but some of the best books are, I think it has something to do with the fact that writers feel they are able to be more creative and that improbability can be used more. Oh and the pressure of being an adult novel is removed.

The Life of Pi by Yann Martel

This is one of my favourite books, in league with another that is also featured on this list. It is one of the most amazingly, wonderful books I have ever read and words are not enough to express my absolute joy and love for this book. It is a book that leaves you breathless and the world a little changed after you’ve finished reading it. That’s pretty epic reading if you ask me. If you haven’t yet, read the book before you watch the film. The book is so incredible that it deserves a blank mind (in terms of having little to no idea of what to expect).

The Shadow of the Wind book coverThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Just writing the title of this book made me happy. It is my other very favourite book along with Life of Pi. Carlos Ruiz Zafon likes to lead you one place and make you think one thing and then spin everything around. It is full of mystery, love, death, danger and intrigue. It also all surrounds a book. In a word: perfection. If you choose to do nothing else this year, read this book.

The Great Gatsby and May Day by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Okay, I’m cheating because these are two different books by one author. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s stories though are short and so I feel justified in putting them together. These two books are a smorgasbord of descriptions, details, colour and vibrancy. Everything is rich, even when Fitzgerald is describing something ordinary. Reading these two short books is a little like being wrapped in colourful dreams and fantasies.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I read this a few years ago whilst on a family holiday to Malta. It was a brilliant book and because of its size I thought it would last me a little while even though I’m a fast reader. It didn’t. It was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down and it’s written in a way that makes it easy to read without being overly simple. It’s entertaining, and emotional. A book that is nothing like you’d expect and would be loved by young and old alike.


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Five jokes from Christmas crackers that are actually funny

I know that we’re not popping the crackers yet. It is a little early after all, however, nothing beats a glorious cracker joke to get people in the mood for Christmas. It is definitely one of my top five things about the festive season.

When I was a kid and I’d go Christmas food shopping with my parents, I remember being the most excited about the crackers and the little gifts they would have inside. Things that are never used past the hour that you are sat at the table after dinner, too full to move.

There are only five days until Christmas, which for me is terrifying as I a yet to start my Christmas shopping. To take my panic away I have gathered my favourite five Christmas cracker jokes together in one glorious, hilarious bundle. These are not in any particular order, mainly because I couldn’t decide.

Enjoy.

A catalogue cover (1916) promoting the wonderful Christmas cracker.

A catalogue cover (1916) promoting the wonderful Christmas cracker.

What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?

Cliff

It took me a good few years to get this joke. I’m not even kidding. I barely get it now. Yet it always makes me laugh. Mainly because I think the name Cliff is fantastically funny; like it only belongs in alternate realities where animals talk and trees can move – that kind of thing.

What do snowmen eat for lunch?

Icebergers

I love a good pun. This is a pun in all its glory. I can’t help but laugh hysterically at this joke. There is no other explanation, it’s just a funny joke. Those that don’t find it funny have a heart of ice…get it?! I’m so funny.

What does a turkey eat at Christmas?

Nothing, because it’s always stuffed

This is cruel but it’s also true and it’s another play on words. Initially makes me feel guilty for the turkey then, because I don’t feel like I should laugh, I laugh more. That probably makes me a bad person.

What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

Frostbite

This is hilarious. It doesn’t need explanation. And snowmen are awesome.

What did Adam say on the day before Christmas?

It’s Christmas, Eve!

The first time I heard this joke was in a green cracker with some kind of decoration on it that I can’t quite remember. It is probably one of the best jokes I have ever heard in a cracker. I also can’t help but read the punchline in  a weirdly enthusiastic way which I think adds to the humour. Actually I know it does, though this joke does not need any more funny added to it.

I want to apologise to any of you who may have snorted with laughter in public, wet yourselves from the hilarity or cried so much from giggling that your eyes have puffed up so much you look like you’ve been stung by a bee.

Blame the crackers.


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Females according to the entertainment industry

Women make up approximately 50% of the population. If you’re not a woman, then through the process of elimination, it’s fair for me to assume you’re a man. I appreciate that some people do not consider themselves to belong to a certain gender. However, I’m not talking about those lovely people.

Women are every bit as complex as men. We’re humans, half the time we don’t know how we feel and we change our minds as often as we brush our teeth. In reality then we can all agree that women and men both reach the same levels of complexity because after all: we’re all people. But I’m confused because, according to the majority of the entertainment industry and a lot of women’s magazine (I don’t read enough men’s magazines to make a fair judgement) there are only a limited number of women. All seem to have been made to not seem ‘threatening’ to their female counterparts or ‘intimidating’ to their male ones.

Since my course doesn’t start until September and there’s only so many application forms you can fill before wanting to repeatedly bash your head against the wall until it, or you, breaks; I’ve been watching films. I like films. Films make me happy. The representation of women in films however, doesn’t make me as happy.

Females according to the entertainment industry are pretty one dimensional. Even if they have a ‘hidden’ side to them, it’s easily uncovered by a sexy male lead and a candlelit dinner.

So here are the females according to the entertainment industry, in particular rom-coms. If you believe you are completely like any of these women then stop selling yourself short. If any guys reading this believe that some of their female friends are exactly like the women I’m about to describe: don’t be ignorant and stop selling them short. Enjoy the list. Don’t let your brain explode with the frustration.

The teeny tiny woman who eats more than an obese man

This lady is skinnier than a healthy thirteen year old. Yet she is filmed in many of the films’s scenes stuffing her face. She’s usually eating something that would make Beyonce gain weight within a few minutes, even with the Single Ladies dance. You never see her actually finish a meal and you hear her family and friends mention her eating habits several times during the film; heaven forbid she should stop wearing children’s clothes. Anyway squealing ensues, she takes a big bite out of something, eats with her mouth open, and then the scene cuts and we go to the man that she will eventually kiss with her skinny lips as he wraps his arms around her super small, almost non existent, waist.

The best friend that would have a personality if she had her own life

Ah the best friend! She doesn’t have a life, has a hopeless love life and is more interested in the many dramas of the main female than her own life. She talks about sex, is always friggin’ hilarious with her brilliant one liners. She’s not as good as the main female character obviously, heaven forbid that women can be friends and equals. This Best Friend gives pretty good advice and yet, by a viewers calculations, her life is empty – as empty as her head.

The whimsical fairy type girl

Firstly I would like to point out that, in the real world, this girl does not exist. She only goes for obscenely boring and miserable male lead characters and shows them once again the beauty of a life. Like a child, only grown up so it’s not weird to fancy her. She is quirky and weird for weird’s sake. She’s like a fairytale character and decides to do spontaneous things on a whim. She is free, cannot be pinned down and apparently happy (although it’s just an assumption rather than actually implied). She doesn’t seem to have a home, a background or a family. But who cares? She’s only a woman. In real life she would be homeless, in a mental institution or a cartoon.

The workaholic 

This woman is very, very serious. After all, career women are very, very serious. She does not have a boyfriend because who would want someone that cared about her professional progression so much? She always has her hair tied up to make her look very, very serious. She does not smile and she’s a little bit socially awkward. Obviously the most important thing about the workaholic is that she is unsatisfied about her fabulous life. Why? Because she hasn’t found love. Duh! Oh and it is also important to remember that the workaholic does not know how to have fun.

The arty farty and child type

I’ve put these two in the same lovely bold heading because there’s not much to say about these two types of females. A lot of women in rom coms work in an art gallery or paint. When she actually talks about art, which is very little considering how much she loves it, you realise she (nor the person that wrote her script) understands anything about art. And that’s coming from someone who knows very little about art. The child type is the woman who teaches very little, cute but annoying children. The children all love her, mainly because she never gets to teach them. They’re either playing or when the lesson begins she’s interrupted by the main male character. These women are ALWAYS interrupted at work: not like they’re doing anything important anyway.

How my brain feels at seeing women portrayed as one dimensional dolls in films that are targeted at a female audience. What kind of sicko does that?


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Words that anger me

As a student studying English Language and Literature I fear that I will become a words snob. Luckily, and sadly, I make way too many mistakes in my speech. This is due tomy continuous attempts at trying to sound smart, as a result the boy or my sister (whoever is closest) never allow me to let myself ascend into such a big ego status. However there are some words that make me want to scream and rip my hair out in anger and cry for so long I could swim in the puddles. At the same time. I’ve decided to compile a list of said words for two reasons.

Firstly because I will then send the link to this blog post to my sister in an attempt to out-smug her. Since I am far away, she cannot hit me and I don’t have to run anywhere. Bonus. Secondly, I found an angry baby and a sad pug that sum up my feelings wonderfully and it would be a shame to let such images go to waste. So here’s my top five words that make me so mad that, if I was a cartoon, smoke would come out of my ears. Apologies in advance for sounding pompous! (Which was accomplished in one swoop with the use of the word pompous).

  • Innit: Why, oh why! When did this ever seem like a good idea? How much time does this actually save from isn’t it? Nothing! Pathetically I timed it, to give users of ‘innit’ the benefit of the doubt but nope. No time is saved, therefore there is no place for it in colloquial speech.

  • Fine: ‘Fine’ is the type of word that sends shivers down my spine. It makes me think of horror stories or angry, crazy people about to blow. When people use ‘fine’ it means: boring, or not fine. I’d rather alternatives to ‘fine’ were found, it’s the most mundane word in the world. It used to mean something, and that meaning has been lost. ‘Fine’ no longer means good, it means adequate and there are better words for adequate (like adequate). ‘Fine’ no longer has a place on our lips.
  • Cos: ‘Cos’ makes me sad more than anything else for many reasons. The main one being that it is usually followed by a really crappy excuse. The word ‘cos’ also reminds me of annoying kids, like me, from the 90s that were trying to be cool. ‘Cos’ is another of those words that doesn’t make you look cool and doesn’t save you any time. It’s usage eludes me.

  • Relax: I used to like this word, it used to mean calm and a chill out in front of the tv with my mum. However now if my voice changes an octave then the boy instantly tells me to ‘relax’. As if I am a child high on sherbet and sweets. It infuriates me so much that he now says it on purpose to raise my blood pressure. The word now means the exact opposite of what it’s supposed to. It makes me angry just thinking about it; if I was talking to the boy about it he would laugh and tell me to ‘relax’ and so my hatred for the word continues. And FYI: 99% of the time I AM relaxed.
  • Dough when used instead of though: My sister talks very fast and so cannot control her tongue enough to say ‘though’. One day those that use ‘dough’, will want to say ‘though’ and ‘dough’ in a sentence. The listener will not be able to distinguish the two. Why would you replace a word like ‘though’ with ‘dough’? Yes, they sound similar but they don’t sound the same and they mean two completely different things. Think about it: you’ll never be able to enter a bakers and ask for fresh bread using that particular dough. And that could happen one day! How very sad…