Time for Another Unpopular Opinion

Wednesday 29 December, 2010

I don’t like Friends, and yes I do mean the big famous TV series from America. It lasted ten series, it starred six people, it was based in New York and it is loved by many, many people. I hate it… in that “Actually I quite like some episodes, maybe a whole series, but can’t stomach the over all premise of it” kind of way.

The truth is, I could analyse this show until i’m blue in the face. The characters, the interaction of the characters, why I like Chandler as much as I do, what I reckon was the ideals of the writer’s when they wrote the series the way they did, but I think that would make it look like I take the show a lot more seriously than intended.

Which is why I won’t bore anyone with my analyses.

Basically, I dislike nearly all of the characters. The only exception, like I said, is Chandler. I think it’s because i’ve known guys like Chandler and even I’m a bit like him at times even though I’m British and female. I can’t see any of these characters but Chandler surviving well in Real Life. They’re caricatures of people, they have to be, but they’re not portrayed consistently.

I hate that a lot of the episodes are based on whether people are having sex or not. I hate that a majority of the series is based on Ross and Rachel and their destructive Will They, Won’t They relationship. I hate Rachel.

I like some episodes of Series 1, most of series 2, half of series 4 and most of series 5. I dislike most of series 3. In my eyes, it goes down hill from series 5, but I don’t know why exactly.

I watch the episodes I like over and over again, but I get this sour taste in my mouth with episodes i’m not fond of, and i’m not fond of a LOT of episodes. I blame the characters and the continuity issues, but a lot of poeple would just say i’m fussy.

But I tell those people to go and watch Sports Night and get back to me. Because those are characters I can get behind and watch and believe. If the people who disagree with me disagree with that, then there’s no middle ground compromise and I’m clearly not cut out for Friends.

Maybe I do escapism all wrong…

Who does what to Whom?

Sunday 26 December, 2010

I’m a huge fan of murder mysteries. Big fan of them. Columbo, Diagnosis Murder, CSI, Castle; You name it, I’ve probably been obsessed with it at some point. There’s just one thing about all these shows that perplex me, though.

Who actually does what, and how close to the truth do these shows get? They always list one or a couple, or even a group, of consultants for the shows on the credits, that cover aspects that the shows really need to know about to make the things believable. On the set of House, they have medical consultants. On the set of CSI, they have medical and police consultants that make sure cases can actually be worked like that, and that people could die/survive/act in certain ways.

And yet, that doesn’t mean much if the basis of the shows are all wrong in the first place. The consultants can argue until their blue in the face, but if the writers and network producers want to make a show based on Interns working at a Coroner’s office, then no amount of talking logic and plausibility would do the consultants any good. The network producers and writer’s want to say that This group of people us audience are watching are not just completely capable of solving cases, but are the Only ones capable of solving them. That’s what they’re there to do.

Case in point, in Diagnosis Murder, not only is the county Coroner/M.E based in the hospital, which is on the contrary to almost every other Murder Mystery series on TV, but the main Sleuth is a Medical Consultant to the Police and his son is the lieutenant. I’m sure there’s Dr/Policeman Father/Son relationships, and i’m sure there are many doctors who are consultants to the Police. Actually, it’s required for the police to have a medical consultant. But what I don’t think would happen is that a full time Doctor who is a Police Consultant in his spare time, having that much spare time on their hands to go snooping, being able to get in the amount of places that Mark gets into without a lot of passes and pre-arranged permissions and legally collecting that much evidence to put guilty persons behind bars. I don’t know much about Coroners, but I’m also pretty sure that Amanda’s just based in the hospital so that she can have as much to do with the show as the E.R doctors. Because, logically, when they’re short of doctors, they’re really going to want a Coroner helping out. */sarcasm*

Actually, that might be logical if they’re that short of doctors. I might have been a patient in every hospital in my area, but that doesn’t mean I know exactly what goes on at all times, behind the scenes. My logical thought is that, if you are an E.R patient (That’s A&E to us Brits!), the last kind of specialist you want to be seeing, is a Coroner. But that’s derailing slightly.

In CSI, it’s the Criminalists who gather up all the evidence and put a case towards the accused to prove whether or not the accused in guilty or not. In Quincy, it’s the Medical Examiner (Who is based on another floor of the police station, as is the coroner from CSI).

In Castle, it’s a team of Detectives with the help of a Crime writer. The reasoning for Castle, the aforementioned Crime Writer, going along on cases, is that after the first episode, where a murderer was acting out the murders from his best selling book (He quite literally went by the book!), Castle liked the leading Detective and wanted to shadow her for inspiration of his next book series. Now, as much as I love this show, and I do understand him helping them out on cases because Castle is quite egotistical, I can’t see them Always needing his help. They did well before him, and sure, use what you’ve got to your disposal when he’s around, but they don’t need him. And I think they’ve forgotten that for the sake of a romantic plot device.

Another thing that differs from show to show, is what level of the Police are the ones in charge of the investigations. I’m not sure which are the equivalent of our good ole British PCs, but in most shows they’re Lieutenants, others they’re detectives. In Criminal Minds, they’re a special section of the FBI that investigate murders and abductions when other departments are at a loss. They are the House of Murder Mystery’s.

And I won’t go into Monk or NCIS.

The only thing all of these shows can agree on, including Criminal Minds, is that they never want the main F.B.I department involved. They are the universal enemy, for when they get involved, they will seemingly ignore little clues that are so obvious to the departments we as audiences are following, and go in with guns a’blazing. They’ll put lives at risk, not just their own, to catch their serial killer/rapist/abductor.

I highly doubt that’s the case in real life, but that’s the whole point of this entry. Does any of this resemble anything that happens in real life?

I really can’t say.

Christmas Day 2010

Saturday 25 December, 2010

Well, the big day has arrived! We’ve all woken up, saw presents under the tree thanks to a Father Christmas, and stuffed ourselves silly on Christmas Turkey Dinner. Unless your day varies from traditional like mine does…

So far, we’ve woken up, we’ve ignored the Christmas tree altogether (It is up, begrudgingly so, we’re just ignoring it), waited a few hours before digging out the presents from their hiding places, swapped, had a cup of tea and a mince pie, watched A Muppet’s Christmas Carol and had a Full English Fry Up for dinner.

Then we mosey about until either the next big movie or meal, whichever comes first. In Today’s case, it was a movie in the shape of Madagascar. That was followed by my Annual Awkward Christmas Phone Call to my good friend, who for some reason, I can never think of anything to say to, and so I end up just babbling about the first things that come to my mind.

The big meal tonight will be Chicken, as we prefer it to Turkey in this house, with all of our usual trimmings, followed by Mince Pies and Christmas Pudding.

The bottom line is that I don’t like Christmas, so what does it matter if it doesn’t follow the traditional route. Some argue that that maybe Why I don’t like Christmas, that it’s so different from other people. They may have a point. But unless they actively want me to do something different, I shall stick to my traditions with my Chicken and Mince Pies.

Merry Christmas, Everyone.

Issues, Y/Y?

Monday 13 December, 2010

Is it just me or does anyone else really dislike pet names? Especially when they’re said by complete strangers?

I know many people who do this, and I don’t have the heart to say to them “Actually, do you mind not calling me honey? I met you, like, three minutes ago? Thanks” and by the time I do have the courage to speak up about something like that, it just sounds strange and ridiculous. They’d have been calling me babe, honey and sweetie for months by that point, afterall.

Maybe it’s because I visualise them saying it as “Hunni”. I visualise subtitles as people speak and sometimes pronunciations of words can throw me off because my brain will spell words the way people have said them. It’s got me into trouble a few times because the word’s exactly the same, but maybe the way they’ve said it sounded like it had an extra “er” into it and it’s thrown the whole word off?

But that’s derailing and hunni doesn’t even have one set of “er” in it, let alone any extras.

I just think some pet names should be off limits for at least a few weeks. And I don’t mind regional ones. I’ve been called Queen and Queenie a few times and Pet and Petal a few others. So maybe my mind is targeting personal ones. Afterall, there’s a difference between being called Queenie by a taxi driver in Liverpool than “honey” by a work colleague. The tone? The implications? Surely there can’t be any implications if people wait all of two seconds to be calling me “honey”.

Maybe this is just a childhood trauma thing. I never was a fan of Whinnie the Pooh…

But then it doesn’t account for the other ones I have a problem with. Babe, Sweetie, Love, Girlie… (Weird how I have a problem with Girlie but not Girl, another regionalism) They’re all themed, mostly with the intention of calling girls these generic psuedo-affectionate pet names rather than guys. I don’t have a problem with being called “mate”. Maybe that’s the problem.

Is there a Dr Freud in the house? How about a psychology student, then?

Actually, thinking of my childhood, apart from the occasional “hon” which seemed to be saved for the special occasion of being on the phone or sick/upset/away from home, my parents didn’t use pet names when I was growing up. Maybe it’s just that i’m simply not used to that word being said around me, or that i’m not used to being called anything other than their nick-name for me, my given birth certicate name, the name they call me to show me that they do pay attention and do know that I don’t like being called their name for me which is the name some friends call me by which ironically was started by my parents introducing me by that name, and then my nickname which friends gave me and most others call me by.

This is all getting deeper than I originally intended…

The bottom line is, I don’t like feminine pet names, and when used around me, I feel like I should be using them too but they don’t sound or feel right coming from me. Then I feel like i’d be making a bigger issue of it if I said something about not really feeling right using pet names, so I just don’t and hope that no one says anything about me not using them.

I also have a problem with throwing the word “love” around, but that’s a therapy session for another day.

Issues. I has them.

Nothing really matters when we’re gone

Wednesday 8 December, 2010

I’ve said about what makes me, “me” and what makes you, “you”, but have you ever wondered what you’ve offered to this world? What will make you rememberable when you’ve gone?

I can’t help becoming obsessed with it around Christmas. It comes having too much experience with death, and too much of that experience being too close to Christmas. Add that to the fact that you’re supposed to do something memorable on Christmas that makes a difference to your loved ones lives for that one day and it just sends my brain and the consequential thoughts into overdrive.

There’s a great band that I’ve been a fan of for 6 years, now and it’s as if they made songs based on these very thoughts and made an album out of them. So Long, Astoria by The Ataris.

In one song “Unopened Letter To The World”, they have the question “Am I destined only to die the same way that I’ve lived, in seclusion?”. In another, “All You Can Ever Learn Is What You Already Know”, they have the lyrics “Please don’t forget who you really are, because nothing really matters when we’re gone”.

It’s true. Whilst we’re all here on this world, we have to put ourselves to the best use we can. So many people slip through the net and end up being held back by circumstances they can’t help and other people can’t or won’t help them out of. They don’t want to die the same way they’ve lived anymore than privileged people do. Once we’re gone, we’re just a memory of our actions and our input and how we effected people’s lives.

Sure, those memories might provide use for the future but it won’t be us anymore. It’ll be other people honouring our memories, repeating our actions. I say “we” and “our” as I’ve done something worth while. I’m not sure I have, but it’s not my place to decide or question this. I should just try the best I can.

But then there’s another song which really hammers home my thoughts. It’s in a song that is not just a reference to The Goonies, but a homage to it. If you don’t know of The Goonies… I’ll refrain from asking why and demanding you go watch it this instant, and tell you what it’s about instead.

A town of residents are being turfed out of their home because they can’t buy the land from the owner who plans to sell it off to big investors, who plan to make better use of the land other than homes. The kids of the town are all friends, and the main one is a young lad of about 13 called Mikey. They end up ransacking their attic and find a load of artifacts from the father’s museum and in turn, find a treasure map and newspaper articles about a pirate called One-Eyed Willy.

They go in search of the treasure for “One last adventure” before they all have to move away, and eventually plan to use the treasure they find to buy out the new land owners. Of course, an adventure film wouldn’t go along with problems along the way but I won’t spoil any of that because those parts aren’t relevant. What is relevant is that they come across a load of coins in an underground that they think is treasure, and as they start to pocket it, they notice that it’s actually normal money from a wishing well people throw money into.

There’s an argument about whether they should put it back. They decide they shouldn’t, because that’s not the treasure they were looking for. But Mikey takes one coin, his reasons being “This was my dream, my wish, and it didn’t come true. So I’m taking it back, I’m taking them all back”.

That line is used at the end of the song, but the whole of the song is about revisiting old places, looking over the things they did and the impact they had on each others lives. How they got to be the people they are and how we’re all just a collection of things we’ve been through.

I’ve said it before, but not to this extent. Some things don’t come true and the bad stuff shape us a little bit more than the good stuff, and all of these experiences are good to look back on because we wouldn’t know how we got here.

But when it comes to the end, it’s the end, and we have to say goodbye.

It’s nearly Christmas and it’s nearly new year. Make sure this year has something to be remembered by and you be remembered by, before you fly into the next one, because we never know how many chances and years we have left.

The Deep Freeze

Friday 3 December, 2010

My brain is clearly affected the same way by snow and extreme cold as my whole country is: very badly. It should be impossible for my brain to freeze up like it had, I can blog about almost anything if I needed to. It wouldn’t be interesting, it might not even be that long, but By George! I could do it.

Just apparently not in cold weather. Which puzzles me. Not so much my brain, or even my body which doesn’t react to cold temperatures very well either, but this country. We’re pretty impressive in our capacity to complain about the weather. It’s a stereotype but stereotypes start somewhere and this one really is true. We complain when it’s too hot and can’t do anything and we complain when it’s too cold and can’t do anything, but either way, speaking in terms of temperatures, it’s not actually that bad.

In Australia, for example, you literally could fry an egg on the sidewalk on one of their cooler warm days. Same goes for parts of America on their ridiculously hot days. When we approach mid-twenties C, this country panics, yet that’s pretty average for a normal summer day in Australia.

We start worrying whether things will start to melt, people getting heat stroke, old people start to actually die passed the thirties, and then there’s hilarious but inevitable hose pipe ban. Remember this year’s? We had a week of gorgeously warm weather, the water levels dropped so they imposed a hose pipe ban. Remember what happened next?

It rained. A lot. Frequently, as is this country’s fashion. It was ridiculous. But not as ridiculous as we get in the winter.

If you’d have looked out the window these past few days, you’d be forgiven for thinking events from The Day After Tomorrow were actually happening. Flights were affected, trains were affected, buses were affected, roads were affected, schools were closed down, people started panic buying and the inevitable talk about elderly people affording their central heating took place on the news.

I’m thinking this was a sign from some higher power, giving us some proper news for once instead of incessantly talking about the engagement and pending marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Well, it taught us, didn’t it?

If there’s anything we know how to do, it’s to make the weather into news. Not just one piece of news, but everything related to or affected by the weather is reported. The safety concerns about flying because the snow and ice on the runway makes it difficult to land, concerns about the engines freezing over despite the extreme temperatures planes must face when they’re flying in the sky. Train lines freeze over, that’s a story about efficient train services and the amount of money that goes into public transport. Poor innocent travelers are being stranded because of trains, they’ve got no other option than to get the train and without trying to battle through, they wouldn’t be able to get to work. So when the trains go down, there’s more replacement bus services on, but they depend on the roads and the roads are a state! Last time there was heavy snow fall, there was a grit and salt shortage. Would this happen again? What about the lorries filled with food for shops, will they be able to get through?

I’ve never understood the logic that delayed lorry deliveries mean that people should panic buy. If people didn’t panic buy, the stock left in the shops would last longer. If more people followed this logic, this wouldn’t make the news every year.

And that’s what that is. That big paragraph above? That is every single article and headline premise in the last 5 days. For a very conserved country, seen as The Good British Folk With The Stiff Upper Lip, we’re quite melodramatic.

Scandinavian countries, even some of the Shetland Islands here, face this kind of temperature everyday. I don’t see their country grinding to a slow, frozen stop. They still have trains, they still have other forms of transports and if planes couldn’t fly in -5 degrees C, nobody would be able to fly in or out of Sweden for most of the year. It’s ridiculous.

We’re ridiculous. We’d probably not believe the end of the world is here every time snow hits in Winter, if we just knew that life can carry on with the snow. Train Services, I’m mainly looking in your direction.