Dating Site Woes

Thursday 13 October, 2011

Have you ever had a friend who, after finding themselves happily in a relationship, become insistent that their lonely, single friends also should be in a relationship with someone? Even if they have no interest what-so-ever in being in one? Especially if “Being Alone” and “Being Lonely” are not synonomous?

Well, I have. I’m sure my friend means well. She understands that right now, my living and health situations as they are, I have no time and place for a boyfriend. She has been insistent, however, that I should at least try to lay down some foundations for friendships that may or may not lead to having a boyfriend some day.

To cut a long story short, I agreed to have a look at Online Dating Sites. What was I thinking?

I’ve come to the conclusion that someone needs to make a list of Do’s and Don’ts for Dating Site Profiles. Following that conclusion, it took me a week to come to this conclusion:

I shall write one myself.

Feel free to read the above sentence in the style of Mel Brooks in Dracula: Dead and Loving it. You know what bit i’m on about.


Do: Read your profile information out to yourself so that you’re sure it sounds all right.
I read a profile that had the sentence “I like to go to parties n shit.” Now, I know what the guy was trying to say, but read that out loud right now. Does that sound like the best way to word it? Not really. What he meant was “I like to go to parties and other fun stuff that I can’t be bothered specifying”, what it came across to me as, was “I like to go to parties and defecate, it’s possibly my aim in life to go to as many parties as possible and defecate in as many rooms whilst I’m there.”

Don’t: Put your main profile picture as a group photo where there’s no way of knowing which person it is that’s the owner of the profile.
Yes, safety in numbers and all that, but I came across a profile where the only picture I could see was one of a large group of guys and one girl were on top of a mountain. The profile’s username didn’t give much information away and even though the gender was specified as male, that only narrowed down the possibilities by one.

Also, Don’t: Put your man profile picture as something that would be unappealing upon quick glance.
Some Dating sites only allow you to see the one picture on search, some dating sites only allow you to see the picture and not the whole profile, some dating sites give you a time/click limit of the amount of profiles you get to see.
Putting your profile picture as Nosferatu, like one person I came across, was certainly eye catching, but in a bad way. Similarly i’ve heard of someone putting their main profile picture as The Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and their secondary photo was of Adam, the prince The Beast becomes after the spell was broken.

The rest of the profile was otherwise filled in seriously.

Do: Try and fill out most of the questions

Don’t: Swear too much. There’s a difference between saying “I swear casually” and actually doing it on your profile. The first can be warmed up to if given the chance, the second can put people off straight away.

Do: Put some effort in to typing! I can’t believe the amount of profiles I’ve come across that are littered with text talk and spelling mistakes. Yeah, ok, so there are character limits, but they’re actually pretty decent character limits. If you find that you’re running out of characters, you’re going into unnecessary detail on your profile. Otherwise, there’s plenty of space to say what you need to say.

You just look like an idiot if you use text talk on the internet. Harsh, but true.

Don’t: Put obscene or otherwise indecent photos up. Not only is that usually against the terms and conditions of most dating sites, but not everyone is on a dating site to be met with full frontal nudity or suggestive of such. You wouldn’t go out in the street like that, would you? You’d be exposing yourself indecently if you did. It should be the same on the internet.

There are sites specialising to those tastes, use them if that’s what you’re looking for.

One person’s profile was “suggested” to me by the automated match system. I would have looked further into their details if their profile picture hadn’t have been a very close close up of their…. frontal nether regions. Luckily for my sake, they were wearing underpants.
Another person’s profile pictures were just of them, standing in front of a mirror, photos taken at different angles, focusing on their… *ahem* assets. A conveniently placed towel and sport shorts weren’t leaving much to the imagination, if you catch my drift.

I really didn’t need to see either of that, I’d like to think i’m not alone.

Do: Sound enthusiastic about something, whether it’s a hobby, a job, an aim in life, an aspect of daily life. Anything.

Don’t: Sound too enthusiastic. You don’t want to sound single-mindedly obsessive compulsive.
One person’s profile I came across just had “You’re not in to *type of sport*? Then i’m not in to you!” in their interest.

It’s a good way of weaving out the disinterested, I suppose…

Do: Make sure that you haven’t changed much in each of your uploaded photos.
I came across an otherwise nice sounding guy on a dating site, but the variety of pictures put me off. I couldn’t tell whether it was the same guy in all of the photos! One or two, where it was just a different style of hair was the difference, was obviously him. But in others? Honest to god, I was hard to press for a family resemblance at least.

Don’t: Put too much of an old photo up. It doesn’t have to be taken that day or even that week, but some time that year is preferable. Any older and you could be accused of being deceptive. People can change a lot in a year, in very subtle ways.

And finally:

Be respectful of other people’s sexualities. Some people have it in listed their profile, some people have kept what they’re looking for hidden, some people can’t actually choose the whole range of their sexuality on some sites. If you’re talking to someone and they say “I’m not actually interested because i’m *Incompatible with your sexuality in some way*” don’t be a prat and try to convince them otherwise.

Apologise for the damn mix up, stay and chat if they’re friendly and you were having a good time, or politely leave.

This is aimed specifically at those wanting to argue with bisexuals, straight transexuals (I don’t get what’s so hard for people to understand that gender and sexuality don’t necessarily go hand in hand?) and asexuals.

Dating sites seem to be a heteronormative world and trying to muddle in with limited options when that’s not the case is very difficult. Don’t go on a crusade, you’re only making yourself look like an uneducated moron.

How To Get The Best Out Of Your LoveFilm Experience…

Monday 12 September, 2011

This blog entry was brought to you by a good friend pointing out that my assisting him with his LoveFilming should be turned into a blog entry.

So here we are!

I am a LoveFilm user. I’ve been a member for over a year, courtesy of my aforementioned good friend, who has been a member for at least two years. Which is why it was quite surprising for me to be giving him pointers and not the other way around.

First of all, you need to be a proper DVD/Game buff to get your moneys worth. As advertised, you can get a basic service for the minimum of £4.99, but that only allows you to get one DVD at a time and a total of two DVDs a month. The further up the price, the service vs money spent evens out. Think of your average price of a Movie or a Boxset, plus P+P, and then compare it to the subscription fee. If you’re looking to get the latest releases but run the risk of your list always being at 10 Titles or less, this service won’t be for you. There is also an issue of Copyright/Renting Laws that I won’t go in to right now.

The service I use is the Full Whack one. I get Unlimited DVDs a month, three discs at a time. I can get through about 9 Discs a week when the service runs smoothly. I will talk about what could happen when the service doesn’t work smoothly a little bit later.

As a film buff and not much of a console gamer, I won’t be talking about the Games side of LoveFilm.

So now we’ve established what account makes the service worth it and the best kind of customer for such a service, lets move on to the service itself.

There is no point filling your list with films you don’t want to see or be sent for the sake of buffing up your title list so that you’re not sent annoying messages telling you that your list is low. That is why you need to be quite the TV/Movie fanatic. Prioritising does work, but it’s not perfect. I’ve only ever been sent “low” priorities twice, but it can and does happen without the influencing circumstances that befell me:

Once was when I had a short list of about 15 Titles and most of them were either “Short Wait” or “Long Wait”, and the second time was when I’d entered a competition. I will talk about Competitions a bit later.

To make sure you can influence the discs LoveFilm send you so much so that you’re mostly in control of what you get, use Lists wisely. Seperate different Genres/Themes/Mediums if need be and then prioritise within those Lists.

For example, I’ve made sure all films are in a Films List, and the ones that I really want to see as soon as possible are Maximum Priority. On the List’s Edit page, I have two disc symbols next to it so that I get two Films every dispatch. I have a specified TV Show list, where I move specific TV shows in to so that I get discs from that TV show and only that TV show so that I can work through the show without getting mixed up with other shows. My remaining Disc symbol stays next to that disc.

There is a Subscription option where you can get five discs at a time, and ten discs total a month. I’m guessing that could work quite similar to my system, if you wanted to get more discs from your lists at a time.

And just for the record, I also have a List made up Documentaries and another one of TV Shows that are waiting “To be organised”. By which I mean, they’re just all there out of the way of the Film List, waiting to be selected for the next show I work through. You can have 10 Lists on the go at a time.

Some good methods of always keeping your Lists above the minimum amount, apart from being a constant film buff, is cataloging. Don’t know what that is? That’s ok, I think I made it up a few years ago.

It’s where you choose an actor and you rent their whole catalogue of films and TV shows they’ve ever been in. That gets you, on average, a good 10 films, and maybe two complete TV Series as well. Even if they’re just in one episode. Obviously if you know you won’t like the film or have already seen it, don’t add it. But it is a great way to expand your viewing horizons, see films or shows you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

I mentioned this to my good friend and he liked the idea, and then came up with a good idea himself. Get your friend, who may or may not have different tastes to you, to list all the films they hate and add all the ones you haven’t seen yet/don’t know whether you’ll like or not to your list.

Or if you do have similar tastes, ask a friend to list their top rated films and add those instead. Unless you’ve seen them, that is.

When there is a “Long Wait” or “Short Wait” on some Titles, I find it best to rejiggle them so that they’re medium or low priority so that you have a higher choice of getting something Top Priority, instead of them potentially bypassing the next disc and choosing something you didn’t want to see just yet, or had better things to watch right then. As soon as they’re no longer classed as “Short Wait” or “Long Wait”, you can re-prioritise them to their previous position on the list.

Sometimes, things don’t go quite well. Sometimes it’s the Post’s fault; post is sometimes delayed and some discs have been known to “go missing”, but when it’s LoveFilm’s fault, let them know. If there’s a faulty disc, it’s easy to report it and get a replacement. Depending on how your lists are set up and what list your disc is from, you might even get a second Disc along with the replacement. All you have to do is replace the one that doesn’t work.

I’ll be honest, in the year I’ve been using LoveFilm, I’ve had to report a lot of discs as faulty, but their extra discs on replacement and prompt responses of Customer Service make up for it. What you have to remember is a LOT of people use LoveFilm, some discs will be worn from over play and some will be scratched by careless people. The same can go for any rental service.

As I mentioned earlier, LoveFilm sometimes do competitions. Sometimes they’re to win merchandise, or free cinema tickets. The prize more often than not, though, is an Extra Film Credit Token. And most of the time, you get one just for participating.

An Extra Film Credit Token is exactly what it says on the Tin. You get one, you use it, you get an extra Film sent out to you from your list. Usually it’s from your Top Priority, sometimes it can be from your Medium Priority. Once I got one from my low Priority, but I won the token after adding a bunch of films I had no intention of watching to my List, just because it would have got me a Token.

When it comes to those kind of competitions, here’s a sneaky tip. Add them to your main list, put them all on low priority and then once you get your token for it, delete the films you added.

Wait a good two weeks before using one token after another, because adding an extra film can make it go a bit wonky, in a good way, for a few Dispatches. And don’t worry, if a token disc arrives faulty, reporting it won’t lose you the extra film.

And last but not least, the CopyRight/Renting Law Issues I mentioned at the beginning of this entry. There is a problem between Universal Pictures and LoveFilm in the UK, just as there is with Netflix in America. Even if you reserve Universal Movies and they stay in your Reserve list until the day of release, once it’s been released, any and all Universal DVDs will be “Buy Only.” This makes the method of only adding new releases pretty pointless. You’ll get less than your moneys worth if you’re waiting for new releases to come out if they’re made by Universal Pictures.

For more information on that, google it.

I hope I’ve been of help. If you’re not a member and my entry has tempted you to become one, I can get you a month free trial! Feel free to comment here and I can give you the code.


Saturday 30 July, 2011

I shall tell you all a story… with no twist in it’s tale whatsoever.

No. This tale practically goes nowhere, and barely highlights any points, morally or otherwise, i’d even attempt to make.

I once had a friend who liked Paul Bettany. For those who don’t know who that is, he’s an actor. IMDB him. She liked him a fair amount, but not obsessively so. She had your average fangirl-esque crush on him, without the wall sized posters on the walls. Whenever she mentioned him, I’d repeatedly ask “And who’s that again?”.

She’d reply “He’s the guy in Wimbledon!” and I’d just kind of look at her, sometimes doing the plane-over-the-head motion with accompanied sound affect. I’m not one for RomComs. Then sometimes she’d say “He was in A Knight’s Tale! He was the naked one!”

Which, if I didn’t already have it down in my “No” pile, pretty much secured it’s place there. Naked people? Big No for me.

At various points during our friendship, I’d mention a film I kind of liked called Gangster Number 1. “I don’t know who the main guy is, but he’s really blonde!” I’d say. She had no interest in seeing it because, well, British Gangster Films weren’t really her area. Fine by me, I don’t like RomComs.

Shortly before our friendship was well and truly drying up, she put Wimbledon on her computer one night when I slept over, as something we could fall asleep to. I must have seen some of it, because I’m an insomniac and wouldn’t have fallen asleep so early in the film not to remember any of it, but there we have it. I don’t remember any of it. Was he naked in that too? I might have been too traumatised to remember it, if that’s the case.

Either way, I didn’t register the character in my mind and still at that point, the name Paul Bettany meant little or even nothing to me.

Fast forward three years later. For a few years at that point, my parents had raved about a film called Master and Commander. The first time I watched it, I saw a very bad bit in it and took an instant disliking to it. After a while and much insistence from my parents, I read up on it and found that it had quite a lot in common with a favourite series of mine called Hornblower.

In fact it wasn’t just a coincidence, the books were inspired by the book series of Hornblower, and the movie was influenced in the way of set design, costumes and naval interactions that the books didn’t cover, by the television series.

So I watched it a second time. I like Age of Sail, I like Hornblower and i’d already learnt from another film that one bad bit of a movie does not a full opinion make. And, well, I loved it. It is now a firm favourite of mine.

But the second time I watched it, I spent a good twenty minutes wondering where the hell I’d seen the doctor from. I recognised his face a teeny tiny bit but he just looked too different from anything in my memory to put a name to his face. So I IMDB’d him.

Paul Bettany. Did the name ring a bell? Not really, no. I mean there was something there, in the back of my mind, tinkling a little bit, but it was no Fire Alarm. And somehow my mind failed to register the words “Wimbledon” and “A Knight’s Tale” on the list, so my mind was still floundering until I caught “Gangster No. 1”.

Even to this day I still have no Idea how he went from The Super Blonde, Couch Obsessed, Shifty Looking Gangster to The Auburn Haired, Soft Spoken, Gentle Yet Dangerous, Fighting Naturalist, Doctor Stephen Maturin. My mind? It was boggled.

Then I watched the movie again and I was sat there thinking “Paul Bettany…” and suddenly, that name had too many familiar leaves to it in my tree-like brain to only be from Gangster No. 1. Yes, I did like that film, Yes I did mention that film a few times. But there was something more to his name. This is how my mind works.

So I IMDB’d him again and spotted A Knight’s Tale. And then it hit me! I recognised his face from Gangster No. 1, but I knew his name from my old friend! That’s why the name was more of a bigger deal than his face. I never put The Super Blonde Gangster together with the name Paul Bettany, cos I never found out his name. Or if I did, it never registered with me.

Sometimes I am oblivious, it happens.

Fast Forward 8 months later. I happen to be working my way through films that Alan Tudyk is in. Alan Tudyk, of Firefly and Death at a Funeral fame, is in A Knight’s Tale. Well, with a nice mixture of actors such as Alan Tudyk, Paul Bettany and Heath Ledger, and a few years between the first watching and that moment in time, I decided to go for it. I already found a new favourite film in Master and Commander, right? So maybe I was wrong with A Knight’s Tale upon first watch.

More accurately, I was 14 years old and looking forward to either the Summer or Christmas Holidays so much that when the opportunity arose to leave the classroom after the register was taken, I took it and left the room after the first five minutes.

Even by my standards, that’s not giving it much of a chance.

Well, one thing to be noted, Paul Bettany is very much naked a couple of times in that film. Oh, you don’t see much by Offensive Standards, no. Just a little bit too much by my own. If Paul Bettany was a little less naked in that film, i’d give it a 10 out of 10.

Which kind of proves some sort of point. Sometimes, I should listen to my friends when they rave about films (or particular actors from films) I might like. More often than not, they’ll be wrong, but sometimes it’s worth humoring them. And I only say that because in my experience, More Often Than Not, they are wrong. I know what I like and I have no intention of broadening my horizons.

I’ve spent 22 years disliking most RomComs and films where characters are terminally ill. That’s not going to change, because the messages and ideologies of these films equally aren’t going to change. But that’s a rant for another entry.

So yeah. Three cheers for Paul Bettany, IMDB and Friendships of the past.

It’s Not Me, It’s You – Jon Richardson

Thursday 23 June, 2011



As anyone who knows me should know, I have been a fan of Jon Richardson for quite some time now. Since December 2007, to be precise. A little late than some, but earlier than some others (She says, smugly). This was all down to finding out Mock The Week favourite Russell Howard had a radio show and the rest is history. If you don’t know who Russell Howard is, I suggest you google him, as this is about Jon Richardson and his highly anticipated book.

After an introduction, he is quite clear in stating that this book is not an Auto-biography. Well, it doesn’t need to be, because we still end up seeing deep into his inner monologue as he tells us of the events of Four specific days in his life.

Did these events really happen? Well, i’m sure they happened, but as much as I know from his radio show, snippets of stand up i’ve seen and his anecdotes on panel shows, it’s possible that they didn’t happen exactly in the order presented to us in this book. But don’t let that stop you from reading this book. Far be it for me to marr this book with rumours of falsehoods and fairytales.

Over the four days, the book presents us with how Jon deals with his daily life. Not the average day of his life, but what the most reoccurring features are of his daily life. There is a woman named Gemma that he keeps referring to, an experience in a hotel, much journeying, fits of rage and hatred, his coping methods and a very well executed knock down of a pompous loud mouth in a suit and a meeting.

We eventually find out that Gemma is a woman who has mutually shown an interest in Jon and that the flow of consciousness that is this book has all been sparked by Gemma’s suggestion they go out on a date.

Some people say that other people are the personification of objects and ideals. This book, “It’s Not Me, It’s You” is the book version of Jon, which makes sense as it’s Jon’s book. But what I mean is, is that if you’re a long-standing fan of the radio show and Jon Richardson, especially during the Russell days, then you already have had glimpses of the way his mind works and the way he thinks of the world and of himself. In the book, he says his stand up is like a 20 minute to an hour condensed version, except not as detailed or indepth and he’s right, but nothing in this book should shock or surprise anyone if they are a longstanding fan. He gets angry, he gets angry at himself, he gets angry at the world, and he back-and-forths on scenarios regarding the rest of the world, and before anyone knows it, he’s mapped out his future and is already picking it to pieces.

There is a lot of Meta going on in this book, by the way, just to let you know.

I think the most powerful thing he talked about in the book was when he says he picks up the glass and gets an overwhelming urge to just smash it against the wall. He goes to do it… and then stops himself, because a voice at the back of his mind says “Don’t do that” and backs up of why he Shouldn’t do that with a health and safety risk assessment. He then ends up in the bath, covered in a towel, calming himself down and doing something he calls the Zoom technique.

If this dude wasn’t a comedian, I really think he’d be a brilliant observational psychiatrist. He could even be both! This is why I adore this man. He has a moral compass that he questions and analyses but still sticks by, because he knows it’s right. He just doesn’t do what he is told is right, he questions and concludes that they ARE right. He has some issues, but he’s no different than the average man, but he still gets on stage and makes people laugh. He did it on the radio, he does it on panel shows and he does it on stage.

And now he does it in a book! This very book! I loved reading this book, from beginning to end. I genuinely didn’t want to put it down, and when I realised i’d nearly read it in a day, only then did I stop and put it down. It is too much of a good book to read in one day.

If you’re a fan of Jon Richardson, buy the book. If you’re on a fan of inner monologues by people who are riddled with perfectionist based habits, buy the book. If you feel like you have two people constantly arguing inside of your head, figuring out which version of yourself should be portrayed the most, buy the book!

He’s been so underrated for so many years. Thank who-ever’s out there that people are finally catching on to just how good he is. If you don’t believe me, watch a bunch of his stand up, watch him on comedy panel shows, listen to him when he’s on the radio, and most importantly…

Buy the book!

Am I on the Outside Looking in?

Thursday 3 March, 2011

If there’s one thing I will hold my hands up and admit to, it’s that despite being a card carrying member of The Disabled Wheelchair Users Society, I know next to nothing on the culture, and yet I am always in the position of explaining disability-related things to people. The blind leading the blind, as it were…

Driving lessons, for example. When I booked my very first driving lesson, I sat there arguing for over 5 minutes with two different customer service workers from the BSM over whether disabled people could or couldn’t drive. The first person gave up and passed me on to their colleague, who explained calmly to me that if I drove a manual, I’d need at least one functioning leg for the clutch. I calmly told him that that was why disabled people who couldn’t use their leg tended to learn in automatics. I don’t even know anything about cars, that was just what someone had told me when I was first looking into driving lessons.

You’d think that these people, being the first people that potential learners interact with, would know some things about their company in order to keep the faith of the customers.

Alas, it seems like Logic is akin to Common Knowledge, and Common Knowledge is rarely so common.

Which takes me on to my point. You’d think that I, being the actual disabled person, would know a few common tricks of the trade when it comes to being disabled, but alas, I know next to nothing and it’s not like we’re given a “So you’re disabled” booklet to learn these things from. No, we know from people telling us, people passing on the messages, therapists, doctors, nurses… or at least we should be told. That’s not my experience. I’ve been handed tools and pieces of paper yet not how to do the exercises, as it were.

My latest problem is reading. It’s always been a problem, with my arms that are too long for my body, my stunted body being unable to curve at the spine (At least, not intentionally. I had Unintentionally down to a T, but then they put in the rods!). I could never read in bed because I couldn’t read lying down, if I read on my stomach I had to have a lot of pillows propping me up to the perfect angle. Until recently, my favourite position was sat cross legged on my bed or the floor, elbows resting on my knees so that I could hold up the book almost right in front of my face.

Now I can’t lean forward, I can’t rest my elbows on my knees and I definitely can’t sit cross legged. Even the most comfortable position right now only lasts about 15 minutes. How do I read?

For not very long, is the obvious answer. In pain is the more “woe is me” approach. But awkwardly would be hitting it right on my head. I half lean on my left side, whilst propping my side and back up with a pillow, the way it needs to be at ALL times, and holding myself up by way of left elbow resting on said pillow. Right leg bent for my fore arm to lean on, left leg straight as that’s the only position possible right now (maybe ever), book held awkwardly with both hands. 5 minutes later, a position change is needed or a rest.

I read Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in maybe 18 hours tops, excluding the three hour break I had to take whilst I whinged my heart out. Now i’m reading a book about the same size. It’s taken 3 days to get to 100 pages.

So I genuinely am left wondering; how do people similar to my situation and worse do it? When I was in school, I remember one friend had all of the school books he’d need, on computer with an interactive device. Sort of like an E-book, but also like a game. Now we’ve exploded with e-books for Kindle and the like, I suppose that would be the latest answers.

But I have over 100 books. I don’t want to re-buy all of my books just so that I can read in comfort. There has to be a solution out there. Or am I doomed never to read again? (Because out of principal, I refuse to pay again for something I already own)

I can’t and won’t believe that this is a problem that Hasn’t come up before. I refuse to believe that fellow people with mobility and comfort problems, who need customised equipment to assure comfort and a steady posture, have forsaken reading just because there was nothing out there to make it an accessible hobby for them!

Can we Have a Civilisation, here? Show me the way!

Sorkin Speculation

Monday 24 January, 2011

On the BBC news the other day, Aaron Sorkin was saying that, as much as he loved doing The Social Network, he’s going to be doing another show. He’s written the pilot and now he’s casting.

I am Very excited with this news. It’s going to be a mishmash of Sports Night meets The West Wing meets Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. It’s going to be another show within a show, about people working within a news network. He said it’s based on CNN, but he replied a little bit too quickly for me to really believe that.

The thing is, I really hope he casts his so called Favourite Three.

These are Joshua Malina, who was in the movie adaption of Sorkin’s play “A Few Good Men”. Yeah, the YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH film. He was also Jeremy in Sports Night and Will Bailey in The West Wing.

Bradley Whitford, who, if I remember correctly, was in the actual theatre production of “A Few Good Men”. He was also Josh in The West Wing (DUH) and Danny in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

The last of The (speculated) Favourite Three is Matthew Perry. He went from Friends to The West Wing, playing Republican Joe Quincy, and then to Matt Albie in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Him and Aaron have a LOT in Common, and I believe he’d understand the more grittier of the things Sorkin can write.

These are all three people that aren’t working on anything else right now, or at least not anything big. Joshua Malina is in a very strange webseries called Backwash that isn’t available to watch outside of America.

He’s already tweeted a very strange tweet about trying to stop Bradley Whitford from getting a part in the new series. They’re friends so I’m taking that to mean that they’re actually going for the same part.

The thing is, I would love all these three people to be in this new series. I would also love more people from Sports Night and The West Wing to be in it too. Specifically Sabrina Lloyd and Allison Janney.

… The only person I wouldn’t be happy with getting a part in this new series would be Janel Moloney. Now don’t get me wrong, she’s a brilliant actress. She was fantastic as Donna. I LOVED Donna in The West Wing! And she was great as the Costume Assistant in Sports Night who gave Casey an ear full for taking credit for the clothes he wears. But if she does, I think it’ll shape a lot of what we expect to see from the characters if both her and Bradley Whitford are working together.

We’ve been there and we’ve done that, and some even bought the Tshirts. I know i’m getting ahead of myself, I’m getting ahead of Sorkin, too. But with every show, he brings something new. Something as fantastic as before but better, brighter. He one upped Sports Night with Studio 60. He’ll do it again with this, I know it.

I just hope he proves me wrong if Janel gets a part, even if I would prefer her to not.

Also a great person to have on this new show? Nathan Cordry. I say this purely because he was brilliant in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Very good at the comedy and the emotional. And very good looking.

Communication is the Key

Thursday 20 January, 2011

I’ve been incommunicado recently because i’ve had issue after issue with the internet and my computer and it made me restless. Then it made me think of how we communicate these days.

I know everyone and their dog past the age of 25 says the art of letter writing has died, and it has. If you write to someone, it’s either novelty or desperate necessity. I’ve got penpals of my own that I love writing letters to, but I wouldn’t mind if we changed it for something more instant. Some say it’s therapeutic, some other people say it’s nothing but a task that needs to be done. We all must communicate in some way.

There’s also something very… nice, about letter writing. I think even the grubbiest person could write a letter and it would still be these nice formed letters, even if they’re illegible, on a nice piece of paper, even if it’s crumpled. It all gives the letter character, it’s all giving this letter a piece of the writer. Like an unsigned signature.

How very Sherlock Holmes.

But today, in this day and age, we don’t just have letters and emails and phones to talk on, we have texting and Computer IM programmes, and purpose-made Video IM programmes like Skype. Beepers have come and they’ve gone, they couldn’t stand up to the ever-improving, evolving technology of this modern age. We’re not even satisfied with texts on phones anymore, no! We have IM programmes built into them. Pocket PCs, Netbooks, the iPad (which I personally find to be pointless, but that’s not the point here)!

Communication is important, but is it that important? (Says the writer with a smart phone and an addiction to blogging and twitter)

Phones are now becoming commonly capable of video calls. And talking of calls, Star Trek called, they want their breakthrough technology back.

Is this because we’re impatient? Do we like to be able to contact people whenever and wherever and however we like, or do we need the replies back so quickly? Is it that we just now have so much to say that it can’t wait, otherwise we’ll forget it and miss our Nobel Price moment? Or do we just like the metaphorical sound of our actually absent voices?

What has changed to make us need to microblog, or just regularly blog, or update our facebook, or chat over facebook with our friends on facebook who we’d ideally see and contact otherwise frequently outside facebook, who can see our facebook statuses and wall and our “message me” buttons; instead of sitting down at a desk set, getting out a nice letter set and getting our best pens, thinking over everything we say carefully, calmly? And feeling satisfied that the reader will get this letter eventually, that we will hear from this reader eventually and until then, life can go on, giving us more to write about the next time?

I sit on both sides of these fences, and I don’t know the answers.

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.

The Last Day of November

Tuesday 30 November, 2010

Did you do it? Did you do something good today to show how you should do what people reserve for Christmas Day every other day?
… Well, that’s okay. I didn’t either. I didn’t get the chance for reasons I won’t go into. The good news is that you have just under half an hour to do something.

The bad news is that tomorrow, starting Midnight tonight, is the start of December. It means that Christmas is about three weeks away and anything good you do beyond that point will be misconstrued as “Getting into the Christmas spirit”. It will be tagged, labelled and filed away as such, in triplicate. If you’d like to get those files back out to edit them, fix them up and relabelled, you’ll need four witnesses, three signatures, two government stamps and an official “this item has been re-filed” folder.

… Sorry, did I just do what I think I did? The Midnight hour must be approaching quicker than I imagined!

Fa La La La La, La La La La

Monday 29 November, 2010

There now just stands one day between us in the UK and the start of December. It is usually when we start to feel most of the effects of winter, although as per usual, winter practically started here back in September. We start shopping for those special people in our lives as a certain day gets nearer and nearer and of course, for a lot of people, it’s when the decorations go up.

I’m not a christmassy person. In fact, due to some events happening too closely to christmas, I haven’t properly celebrated it in the last 5+ years. I am unashamedly a Scrooge.

I’ve always seen Christmas as too commercial, too stressful and too false. Surely if someone loved you enough to see you and shower you with presents on Christmas day, doing it on another day, at another time during the year would mean just as much. The argument is that it’s Christmas, so therefore a little extra effort should be put into it.

I, a cynic, think the absolute opposite. Maybe it’s Because i’m a cynic, or maybe it’s because I see Christmas for what it is. A perfect chance to try and be that perfect family nobody actually is, which is why for many people christmas days start out okay and then dissolve into the shambles they are. Either way, I can’t be sold the idea that seeing distant relatives who don’t know you, relatives who only make the effort to see you because it’s christmas, relatives you might even hate, is what makes a family better. It’s not. It makes the family who go through that routine every year seem pompous and fake.

It’s the families that don’t mind if someone can’t make it there for christmas, because they make many other days a priority, who have the right idea. It’s the family who don’t think spending £100 on massive gestures on christmas day shows the value of a loved one, who have the right idea.

Mainly, it’s just the people who want to be the best that they can be for the rest of the rest of the year, who treat christmas day as just another day to do the same old, same old who I think have it right. Because you tell me how many times you see that drunken uncle of yours who calls you Sarah when your name is Laura, besides christmas, and how often you really want to see him. If it’s more, okay, i’m wrong. If you wish you could celebrate christmas day like it was Groundhog Day, i’ll admit i’m wrong.

But if you agree with what i’m saying, then I’d like to think i’m right. At least to a certain degree. Christmas is just a commercial, stressful time of year that headlines December. Break the trend and make a difference tomorrow instead, just for the sake of it being a normal day, or because it’s a monday.

Or because a gesture made tomorrow won’t be shadowed by the expectation blanket of Christmas day.