Monday, 5 August 2019

Musical Monday #215

For some reason, many TV shows feel the need to do a musical episode, which is all very well if your cast happen to be stage performers, but generally TV actors, y'know, aren't.  I forget what the premise was for this episode, something to do with Fez doing a show and thinking the others weren't going to turn up to watch it, but I'm pretty sure all the musical numbers in the episode were in his imagination.  This one is him imagining what life would be like if he was one of the Forman clan.  I think it was the best song (or only passable song) in the episode, possibly just because I like the song anyway and because the Forman family unit (including having sort of adopted Hyde) is one of my favourite aspects of the show.

Happy Together from That ’70s Show, episode 'That '70s Musical'
Performed by Kurtwood Smith, Debra Jo Rupp, Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson and Topher Grace
Written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon

Monday, 29 July 2019

Musical Monday #214

Here is one of the only two bearable songs from West Side Story (oh the relief of it not taking itself so seriously for a moment)

Gee, Officer Krupke from West Side Story 
Performed by Russ Tamblyn and others
Written by Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein

Monday, 22 July 2019

Musical Monday #213

Today's musical number is the 'temptation of Faust' scene from Little Shop Of Horrors.  Trouble is, fame and love aside, watching someone being beaten is likely to make most of us see red.  Is that really corruption?

Feed Me (Git It) from Little Shop Of Horrors 
Performed by Levi Stubbs and Rick Moranis
Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Ace 101

Warning: This post contains adult themes


I only realised that I was asexual a few years ago.  For at least thirty years, I worked under the assumption that I was a traumatised heterosexual, or a repressed homosexual, or a sex-repulsed pansexual, or a demisexual who hadn’t met the right person yet, or I was just incapable of even addressing sexuality due to having no idea if I was just cis-gender with a queer fetish, transgender, or completely broken by the patriarchy.  None of these identities fit me, and as I spiralled out of my twenties, I did more and more research into both gender and sexuality to try to find ones that actually matched up with how I felt.

Currently, for gender I identify as non-binary, preferable gender neutral.  And for sexuality, I identify as an aroace, or aromantic asexual.  These make a lot more sense to me than anything else ever did.

So while I am finally relaxed, confident and comfortable with myself, I still find that most of my friends have no idea what asexual even means and often make incorrect assumptions.  That’s understandable; I only found out about it after 30 years, because I put the legwork in to research it because I had to.  Asexuality isn’t something most people learn about.  It certainly was never mentioned in sex education classes at school, while the media and society still regard this orientation as either something to mock or something to deny.

So, for The Friends, I’m going to attempt to demystify what Asexual actually means in this post.

Asexuality is both incredibly simple, and incredibly complicated.

The simple part:

Here’s the technical definition:

Asexual = person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction.

That’s all it means.  Any other connotations you have are inaccurate.

Here’s a very binary way of looking at it:

If a straight person is sexually attracted to a person of the opposite sex
and a gay person is sexually attracted to a person of the same sex,
an asexual person is sexually attracted to no person of any sex.

Or if a pansexual person can be sexually attracted to a person, regardless of their sex,
then an asexual person is never sexually attracted to a person, regardless of their sex.

NOTE: two common misconceptions about asexuality are A) that asexuals don't have a sex drive/libido and B) that if a person has sex then they can't be asexual.  A) Of course asexual people have a libido.  Asexuality is a sexual orientation not a physical condition, it only means that our libido isn't aimed at anyone, but it still very much exists.  A straight person isn't sexually attracted to people of the same sex, but that doesn't mean their sex drive is erased from existence when they are in a same-sex room.  B) Action doesn't equal attraction.  A person can have sex as much or as little as they want, that doesn't change what their orientation is.  A straight person who doesn't have sex is still straight and an asexual person who does have sex is still asexual.  It's who you are sexually attracted to, not what you do with it that is relevant.

The complicated part:

Asexuality is considered an umbrella term or a spectrum and under it are many, many variants.  You wouldn’t believe how many variants.  Oh boy.

For example, greysexual people only rarely experience sexual attraction, and demisexual people usually don’t experience sexual attraction and will only experience it towards one person with whom they have built a deep bond.  There are various other off-shoots and sub-categories.

The main assumption made about asexuals is that they don’t want or have sex, and that’s not necessarily true.  These things are down to the individual.  Being asexual doesn’t mean that you automatically don’t date or don’t have sex.  An asexual person is not the same as a celibate person.  They might choose not to have sex, but you can’t assume it.  Being asexual doesn’t mean that you aren’t capable of arousal or enjoying sating that arousal.  It ONLY means that you don’t experience sexual attraction to others.

Some ace people think sex is gross, some ace people enjoy sex.  Some ace people never masturbate, some love it.  Some ace people can’t stand public displays of affection, some ace people are into porn.  Some ace people don’t even want to be touched, some ace people love snogging.  Everyone is different.  All of these statements go for anyone, regardless of their sexuality.  None of them define your orientation.

And then there’s this big one.  Romantic attraction isn’t the same as sexual attraction.  It’s probably fairly common within other sexualities that your romantic and sexual attraction sync up, so you never consider that they are different things.  But then there are people out there who are sexually attracted to others without any interest in a romantic relationship.  Well, guess what, it works the other way too.  You can be heteroromantic, homoromantic, panromantic, aromantic etc.  So a person might be romantically attracted to someone else, with no sexual attraction towards them.  That concept can be very difficult to understand for anyone whose romantic and sexual attractions match, including aromantic asexuals (like me).  The point is that you don’t have to understand to respect.

So you see, an ace person could fall in love and marry someone but still not feel sexual attraction for them.  They might choose to have sex with them, either because their partner requires that intimacy for the relationship to work, or because they are capable of physically enjoying it.  In fact, even an aro ace could fall in love and get married because platonic love can be just as intense as romantic or sexual love.  You just have to recognise that these are all valid forms of attraction, just different.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


What’s really frustrating is that even within the aspec community, or at least people trying to understand those on the aspec, there is still confusion and disagreement.

For example, I took a questionnaire recently that was supposedly learning about romantic attraction under the asexual umbrella, and it kept making a glaring mistake.  It kept lumping the words ‘attraction’, ‘desire’ and ‘arousal’ into the same sentence.

The official definition of ‘asexual’ is ‘not experiencing sexual attraction’.  But every time this questionnaire, which was aimed at asexual people, asked how the participant identified, they used the sentence ‘doesn’t feel any sexual attraction, desire or arousal’, which isn’t what asexual means, so every time I had to pick a different option, one that was possibly more accurate but lacked the actual correct definition.  It was very annoying.

Let me explain the difference between ‘attraction’, ‘desire’ and ‘arousal’ using ‘eating’ as an analogy for ‘sex’.





Arousal is a bodily function, like hunger.  It can be just as impossible to ignore and won’t go away unless it is addressed.  You don’t have to see or even think about food to get hungry.  It’s just something your body has decided would be a good idea (for hunger, because the body needs nutrients to function, for arousal, because the body is designed to want to reproduce regardless of whether that is practical).

Sexual attraction and sexual arousal are not the same thing.  Maybe you can’t have the former without the latter, but you can certainly have the latter without the former.  Asexual people can get aroused.



Sometimes when I am hungry, I have a desire for a food I don’t necessarily like.  I see someone eating pickled onions on TV and they seem satisfied, and those little translucent balls sure look pretty, so I think I want to have some pickled onions.  But if I get a real jar of pickled onions and open up the lid, I can immediately smell the vinegar, which turns my stomach.  My body doesn’t even regard these as edible, my mouth isn’t watering, I might as well be looking at a jar of golfballs.  Now that the real picked onions are here I can tell that I don’t in fact want to eat any pickled onions.  I have no attraction towards these pickled onions.  The desire and the attraction are completely separate.  Desire was transient and conceptual, attraction is real and physical.

I’m not going to eat the pickled onions because that would be kinda gross and I wouldn’t enjoy it.  In fact, I’d probably throw them up.  Someone else might make themselves eat them anyway despite not wanting them, and someone else might find that the pickled onions did sate their hunger, but regardless of what we ultimately did with the jar of pickled onions, none of us would be attracted to them.

So I might get hungry and I might desire a food I saw on TV, and I might even like the look of that food on your plate, but I have no attraction towards eating it.  That’s the difference.


Friday, 19 July 2019

Betrayal

So last week I cheated on my pets.

I have learned my lesson.  You cheat on a loved one, you suffer for it.

For one evening, it was like the last eight months hadn't happened, and they were nervous, timid and hated me. 

Luckily, Inigo has no innate sense of danger, so at least one of my babies still loved me.


Monday, 15 July 2019

Musical Monday #212

Nazis sure don't like it when people sing about their love for their homelands.  See similar scene in Casablanca for corroboration. 

Edelweiss from The Sound Of Music
Performed by Christopher Plummer and/or Bill Lee* and Julie Andrews
Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II

*apparently the starts and ends of the songs are Plummer, and the main singing is dubbed by Lee.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

An I’m The Decoy Guide To Chatting Up A Stranger

So I just came across a post I drafted five years ago, back before I realised I was asexual.  At the time I had a ‘crush’ on a guy at work but found myself incapable of interacting with him so I wrote this jokey guide to get some use out of my ineptitude.  (It actually now reads more like a ‘how to tell you are asexual’ guide!)

HOW TO CHAT UP A STRANGER:

1. Be Casual

2. Be Gallant

3. Be Complimentary

4. Take Advantage Of Any Opportunity To Get To Know Each Other

5. Make Conversation

6. Be Honest
*


Of course, now I know that the reason I am so incapable of ‘making a move’ on anyone is because I was trying to be a sexuality I am not.  It’s a lot more fun on this side of coming out.  Back then I felt trapped and broken and baffled all the time and now I feel relaxed, happy and ME. I used to try to force feelings into existence where none were present because I thought it was what I was meant to do.  Funny how one tiny ‘ohhh’ moment can make your entire perception of life completely flip in a moment.  When I thought I was allosexual**, I tricked myself into thinking I was attracted to people and then ended up feeling scared and frustrated because there was some kind of barrier in the way (one part of me was like ‘this is normal, this is what you want’, and another part of me was like ‘nooooo, what the hell are you doing?! I don’t want this!’).  Now I know I am asexual, it never even crosses my mind, because I don’t have to be anyone other than myself and I damn well love myself.

*Most of my pre-ace ‘crushes’ weren’t even squishes (which is a ‘friend-crush’).  Instead they were my confused subconscious flailing around desperately trying to work out what this ‘attraction’ that I was ‘supposed’ to experience was, so I would fixate on anyone who looked, sounded or acted like a character I liked on TV.  And those characters I liked on TV – I liked them because they were funny and/or I felt sorry for them.  At no point did sexual or romantic attraction enter in to it.  And yet I thought that was what it was, because it was the nearest I could get to mirroring what I thought was ‘normal behaviour’.  Once I actually discovered my sexuality, my subconscious immediately stopped tricking me like this.

**Allosexual is the opposite of asexual, i.e. anyone who experiences sexual attraction (straight, gay, pan etc).

Monday, 8 July 2019

Musical Monday #211

I probably say this every time I post a song from Little Shop Of Horrors - and that's going to be quite a few posts, because it's full of really good songs - but every time I watch the movie I wonder if I am somehow lowbrow or devoid of artistic sentiment for not appreciating the ending to the stageshow that they had to reshoot for the movie, but what can I tell ya.  I don't appreciate endings where everyone dies.  So boo sucks to them, it got reshot and now it's a fun movie*.  I know there are arguments to be made.  I know there are people who will shake their heads with scorn when I say, you know what, I prefer the Disney version of The Little Mermaid to the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.  But somehow I don't care.  I like fiction to make me happy.  Sure you need pathos and drama and tragedy inside a story to make it interesting, but in the end, it's gotta turn out nice or I wasted my time.  I don't need fiction to make me feel bad.  Reality does that just fine.  Fun fact: Little Shop Of Horrors and The Little Mermaid have the same song writing team.

*Apparently the phrase is actually 'yah boo sucks' but I have never heard the 'yah' part in addition to the 'to you' part and now these are just meaningless sounds anyway so I forgot what I'm talking about.

Da-Doo from Little Shop Of Horrors 
Performed by Rick Moranis, Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks and Tisha Campbell
Written by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman

Friday, 5 July 2019

How To Tell If Your Rat Is In Heat







Every few days, one of our rats starts vibrating.  Rats are weird.








Monday, 24 June 2019

Musical Monday #210

I don't actually like Cabaret.  Shock Horror.

I saw a stage version once and the only impression I took away from it was that it was super creepy.  As for the film, I can't even sit all the way through it.

But it's a catchy song.  If way too long with nothing of visual interest going on... but catchy.

Cabaret from (duh) Cabaret
Performed by Liza Minnelli
Written by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Musical Monday #209

Today's musical moment comes from what I think was the penultimate episode of Quantum Leap.  In the early days, Sam leaped into nobodies on the historical scale to help in a low level way.  But as ratings dropped away, the show started getting sillier - they messed up the theme tune, they played about with weird and contradictory and trippy episode plots, they tried out recurring characters and they started having Sam leap into famous people.  So in this one, he's Elvis.  However, it is quite a sweet episode, and not one of the stupid ones, so it's nice to have it there at the end, before the bizarre and depressing finale.

Baby, Let's Play House from Quantum Leap, episode 'Memphis Melody'
Performed by Scott Bakula
Written by Arthur Gunter (and Elvis Presley I guess since his version is quite different from the original)

I always found the line 'I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man' suuuuuuuper creepy.  Why the hell did John Lennon nick that for Run For Your Life?  That was not a line that needed to be kept going.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Monthly Woman Time

Being non-binary, I generally avoid things that confirm I'm afab, but sometimes it just can't be ignored.







Thursday, 13 June 2019

Adventures In Rat Keeping

We have had our little rats aka beans aka babies aka daughters aka beasts aka monsters aka bastards aka fluff-fluffs for over seven months now and as far as I can tell, there are only two modes when you own rats.

Mode One:
Answer: wherever they shouldn't be. (They are inside the sofa)
or

Mode Two:
I love you, but French kissing is taking it too far.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Musical Monday #208

So I may have missed two Musical Mondays in a row.  The first was because the previous day I had found an expansion pack for The Sims 3 at my local CEX and therefore was playing that obsessively and forgot what day it was and the following Monday was because The Housemate and I were in London seeing Rachel Bloom Live.  Unfortunately we had to sneak out early in order to catch the train home, so this is the last song we caught:

A Diagnosis from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, episode 'Josh Is Irrelevant'
Performed by Rachel Bloom
Written by Rachel Bloom and Adam Schlesinger

Monday, 20 May 2019

Musical Monday #207

And now for that film no one likes:
(Love Will) Turn Back The Hands Of Time from Grease 2
Performed by Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield 
Written by Louis St. Louis and Howard Greenfield

Monday, 13 May 2019

Musical Monday #206



I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) from Love, Simon 
Song performed by Whitney Houston and written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam
Scene performed by Nick Robinson and others.





Monday, 6 May 2019

Musical Monday #205

The Housemate and I are working our way through all of The Office (US) and were wondering how soon it would be before Andy and Darryl started singing together.  Not sure this is quite what we were expecting.

Bullfrog In Love from The Office, episode 'The Sting'
Performed by Ed Helms, Craig Robinson and Brian Baumgartner



Monday, 29 April 2019

Musical Monday #204

Weirdly enough, having now seen Follies, from which this song originates, I don't remember it at all.  I'm vaguely aware that in the show, it is a female character who sings it, and so I can work out who it is who sings it from context, but nope, no memory of seeing it live in the slightest.  Guess I was too busy etching all of Philip Quast's scenes into my brain to save anything else in there.

Anyway, I really like this version; it's so emotionally fraught.

Losing My Mind from Hey, Mr. Producer!
Performed by Michael Ball
Written by Stephen Sondheim

Friday, 26 April 2019

(Don't) Spoil Endgame

Most people don't want spoilers for Avengers Endgame.  Everyone I know is rushing to the cinema as quickly as possible to see it while it is still a surprise.  Not me, I demanded spoilers before I even considered going to see it.  Ever since I saw the trailer for Infinity War and heard all the hype of 'who are they going to kill off' I knew this was not a franchise I wanted to be a part of any more.

The Housemate saw Endgame last night and gave me the lowdown this morning.

So I moped all day at work and didn't have a good reason when anyone asked.

I thought maybe if I blogged about it, I would get it out of my system.


















Monday, 22 April 2019

Musical Monday #203

So I was going to do my top 3 favourite songs and general season overview of Season 4 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend today, as I have done for the previous three seasons but it turns out that I am a) struggling to find any favourite songs in season 4 and b) still too mad at it to write anything coherent.  So gonna leave that till next week.

Instead here is a 'learning to dance montage', which I always think must be interesting to film, because someone who can dance has to pretend that they can't.  I think actors have a lot of fun with things like that, pretending to be bad at things that you are actually good at.  Anyway this montage is super cute.

Let's Hear It For The Boy from Footloose
Scene performed by Kevin Bacon and Chris Penn, Song performed by Deniece Williams
and written by Tom Snow and Dean Pitchford

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Welcome To Me

At the start of the year, I meant to write a series of ‘About Me’ posts, but I had issues with my computer and wasn’t able to.  Then I bought a new computer, but since then I just haven’t been able to make myself do it.

The whole reason I wanted to do these posts was as a form of self-affirmation and starting the year proud to be the me I am.

But every time I sit down to start, I feel completely cast in the shadow of my social anxiety – it’s not quite self-loathing, because I happen to like myself, but my utter unshakeable conviction that everybody else despises me.



I dunno how other people view themselves, but I often feel that I am kind of shattered into different aspects of my personality that just don’t mesh together.

At my heart and centre, this is me:


This confident being who is totally sly and irreverent and finds everything amusing.

But like most cartoon characters, I have a little angel and devil pulling me off course.  Except not so much good and evil as love and hate.


One is my loving side who is totally sweet and empathetic and is compassionate to everything.


And the other is my hateful side who is totally cynical and antagonistic and is critical of everything.

Most of my friends are familiar with these two aspects of my personality – someone who is completely distracted by how cute and fluffy squirrels are and also complains about every movie and book that crosses my path.

But just to complicate matters, I have this other layer.


I think it has actually formed from both my compassion and my criticism colliding into a shield who is totally strict and ethical and needs to correct everything.  This tends to be the part of me my colleagues know best.  On the one hand, it makes me a really efficient employee and useful, reliable person to keep around, but on the other hand, it makes me seem mean and unbending and kind of scary.

But on top of that, my very outer layer is this awful repressed-by-society gunk layer.


So people who don’t know me at all only see this repressed surface layer who is intensely shy and insecure, working always to hide the real me away because I spent so many years unable to be myself, because school and society forgot to educate me on a) who I was and b) that it was okay to be that person, and now I’m so entrenched in this tar that it stops me from being able to be myself or do the things I want to do and people really think I am this pointless and the tar only gets thicker.

People who don’t know me at all label me as ‘quiet’, which is the outer tar layer.

People who know me a little label me as ‘serious’ and ‘sensible’, which is the middle shield layer.

People who know me better label me as ‘hates everything’ or ‘overly sensitive’, which are my hate-devil and love-angel sides.

I might be the only one who knows the inner Me me, who might have been the outer me if I hadn’t been so confused and isolated during my formative years.  Or maybe I was always destined to have these different personality traits who completely contradict each other.  The other day The Housemate called me ‘an introvert who wants to be an extrovert’.

When I look back at my childhood, I can remember different instances of being the Inner Me, and the Love-Angel, and the Hate-Devil, and the Shield Layer and sadly the Tar Layer.  But by the time I was a teenager, I think the Tar Layer had got a lot thicker, and maybe the Inner Me had got smaller, or just was more sound-proofed off.  I can remember sometimes just wanting to rip it all away and reveal the real me, but then when it came to it, not knowing who that was.  I deliberately perpetuated a ‘Scary’ persona as a teen because it was the only thing that made me stand out and it has stayed with me through to my adulthood now, albeit smartened up a bit, as the no-nonsense don’t-mess-with persona I use at work.  Am I really that strict?  I don’t know.  Because on the one hand, I really do care and I can’t stand it when things aren’t done properly, and on the other hand, I could not care in the least because I am just here to have a good time.

I am all five of these beings.  They are all aspects of my personality.  They all bring positives and negatives to my life.  (They are also all usually represented by different characters in my stories.)

Inner Me is where my sense of humour comes from and my ability to relax so it’s what makes life fun, but the irreverence means I can be rude and really not care, which gets me into trouble.

Love-Angel is kind and loving to animals and fills my life with joy, but all that compassion means I feel pain nearly all of the time when I look at the cruelty of the world.

Hate-Angel is passionate and exhilarating, which helps me vent negative emotions and pushes me to improve, but also undermines my confidence in my own work as well as leaving me incapable of enjoying other people’s.

Shield Layer is reliable and useful, making me someone of value in the workplace and able to stand up for my friends against injustice, but is also cold and severe so unlikely to make new friends and makes it almost painful to compromise.

Tar Layer is absolutely crippling, making me incapable to doing simple tasks like getting my hair cut, it suffocates me and makes me constantly miserable.  If it has an upside, I guess it protects me from strangers, but unfortunately it protects me from everything else too, including things I want.

But good or bad, this is me.  Welcome.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Musical Monday #202

Today's number is from a film I haven't actually seen, but it's a pretty famous song.

Thoughts:

1) Did people really used to go and see shows that had no dialogue in them?

2) The music is actually more interesting than the dancing.

3) I first heard this song from that series of adverts in the 90s.  I figure it was for some kind of insurance, but I had to look it up to find out which, so advertising fails again.

Let’s Face The Music And Dance from Follow The Fleet
Performed by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
Written by Irving Berlin

Monday, 8 April 2019

Musical Monday #201

Today's number comes from the 1994 movie Thumbelina, which I recently watched as part of #Cramuary having seen it advertised a lot as a child.  It is, in case you were wondering, complete garbage.

I think its main problem is that the writers didn't do much work to rewrite the rambling fairy tale, and pretty much the plot of Hans Christian Andersen's original tale made it to the screen.  A rambling little adventure works fine in a fairy story - they are supposed to be a journey where the hero overcomes different obstacles - but it doesn't work in a movie.  Films need a proper structure, recurring characters and some kind of overarching moral so that it builds to something interesting.  Instead what we get is Thumbelina, a completely fickle nitwit, being handed about between different monstrous creatures because they all think she's hot, while she does nothing to save herself, or even really to complain about the situation.  The fairy prince is introduced at the start rather than the end, but since Thumbelina pretty much instantly assumes she has to live a life without him when she is kidnapped, it doesn't really make much difference to the story, other than make her come across as not very likeable.  He meanwhile spends the film very ineptly looking for her, while her friend the swallow just as uselessly looks for him in return.  Winter comes along and kills the prince, although he does get better later, and Thumbelina spends the last third of the movie chronically depressed because the only person she loves is dead.  Great movie guys.

So this is the only okay song in the movie (and visually at least is clearly ripping off 'A Whole New World' from Aladdin).  See that bit at the end where she blows a kiss to that creepy toad?  If she hadn't done that, none of the awful things that follow would happen.

Let Me Be Your Wings from Thumbelina 
Performed by Gary Imhoff and Jodi Benson
Written by Bruce Sussman, Jack Feldman and Barry Manilow

Actually there's a perfect example of what a passive idiot Thumbelina is in that song.  See the bit where Cornelius accidentally drops her and she DOESN'T EVEN NOTICE, or if she does, doesn't mind in the slightest?  That is what she is like for the entire movie.  UGH.

And here's a lovely reprise in which Thumbelina sings about how winter killed her boyfriend.  Yay.

Let Me Be Your Wings (Sun Reprise) from Thumbelina 
Performed by Jodi Benson
Written by Bruce Sussman, Jack Feldman and Barry Manilow

Monday, 1 April 2019

Musical Monday #200

Ooh, look at that, a nice shiny round number.  So here's a nice environmentally friendly, hopeful gospel-sounding kind of song.  Didn't particularly like the film, but this is a really nice song, even if it is awkwardly only two letters removed from that dumb Disney song people are so obsessed with.  This came first.

Let It Grow from The Lorax
Written by John Powell and Cinco Paul
Performed by Fletcher Sheridan, Dan Navarro, Edie Lehmann Boddicker, Jenny Slate, Claira Titman, Betty White, Rob Riggle and Ed Helms

Monday, 25 March 2019

Musical Monday #199

This is from an early-ish episode of Frasier, in which Frasier has to write a eulogy for his horrible aunt but can't think of anything nice to say about her without just lying, while in the subplot Martin writes a song for Frank Sinatra which gets rejected, and then the two plots collide at the finale as they should in any decent sitcom.

Lady of Mine (Groovy Lady) from Frasier, episode 'Martin Does It His Way'
First scene performed by Kelsey Grammer, John Mahoney, David Hyde Pierce and Jane Leeves.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Musical Monday #198

There are three versions of Hairspray - the original film [1988], the stageshow [2002] and the film based on the stageshow [2007].  Once you've seen them all, it becomes a bit of a soup trying to remember which one is which.  I think basically each one was an improvement on the last, but at the same time each one does one theme better than the others (I think the race plot was handled best in the original, the romance was best on stage and the mother character most interesting in the remake, although like I say, it's all just soup to me now).  Maybe they should make a fourth version with the best bits from each.

Ladies' Choice from Hairspray
Written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman
Song performed by Zac Efron
Dance performed by Nikki Blonsky (among others)

Monday, 11 March 2019

Musical Monday #197

I wasn't bowled over by Coco like some of my friends were.  I'm not sure I've really liked a Pixar movie in two decades, and both Disney and Disney Pixar reeeeeally need to give the whole 'twist villain' plot a rest.  And while I also wasn't bowled over by The Book Of Life, which was too all over the place, it did pretty much utilise a lot of similar ideas better than Coco (one is about a boy who wants to be a musician but is instead forced to be a bullfighter, and one is about a boy who wants to be a musician but is instead forced to be a shoemaker - I mean, come on, one of those is just a lot more fraught.  In one our hero is actually killed and sent to the afterlife, in the other our hero just sort of randomly goes there for vague reasons maybe to do with a curse but it wasn't very clear.  In one the finale has the dead joining our hero in a kick-ass fight with villains, in the other the dead join our hero for a hug and a dance.  One has an awesome twist ending where an adversary but also best friend would sacrifice himself for his friend, and the other the best friend turns out to be a lame murdery jerk).  In fact, the only place where I feel Coco was superior was in the music.  So.

La Llorona from Coco
Performed by Antonio Sol and Alanna Ubach

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

RatRations Unboxing

I waited in all morning for my latest order of stuff I have bought my rats to arrive and I thought, why not record the unboxing and put it on youtube.  I may regret it but oh well.  Now I have a YouTube channel which I may do something with later.

Inigo was keen to help out and even decided when the video should be over my turning off the camera on my phone.  Thanks Inigo...

Monday, 4 March 2019

Musical Monday #196

I really need to get an early night tonight, so here's a nice lullaby to send us all off.

La La Lu from Lady And The Tramp
Written by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke 
Performed by Peggy Lee

Sunday, 3 March 2019

#Cramuary


So The Housemate got a subscription to NowTV with his new phone contract or something-a-rather, and because we apparently live in the dark ages, you have to go out and buy a stick to plug in to the TV to make NowTV work, which makes you wonder what the point of our new smart TV even is, and this stick came with a one month free subscription to the movie package.  Now considering we already have Netflix and Cinema Paradiso and a huge home DVD library, we didn’t want to get lumbered with/suckered into paying for another film service.  So instead we decided to watch ALL OF THE FILMS in the one free month, so dubbed #cramuary by The Housemate.

I started out mostly watching films I actually wanted to see, and then veered off into watching pretty much anything that I had ever heard of.  Then I discovered that even though the TV subscription lasts two years, a lot of the shows on NowTV randomly disappear in March, and I’ve wanted to watch Modern Family for some time, and now I had to watch nine seasons of it before March, so I got a bit distracted doing that and let the movie-cramming slide a bit.  Then I realised the month was almost up and I still had a lot of movies to get through, but they were mostly ones I wasn’t that bothered about, and so I ended up giving up or fastforwarding quite a few.  Finally the free subscription ended – while I was halfway through watching Downsizing.  But it would probably have ended up in the ‘Meh’ pile anyway.

A while ago a friend of mine said I don’t like anything, which I dispute.  I don’t think it would be possible to put the films in a very exact order of how much I enjoyed them because in one month I watched 45 movies all the way through and 12 movies in part and by the end my ability to absorb information or use critical faculties had been eroded quite a lot.  My mind is just movie-porridge now.

But out of 57 movies – I roughly enjoyed 26 movies, had fairly neutral opinions on 16 movies, actively disliked 6 and couldn’t be bothered to watch to the end 9 movies.  I don’t think that’s the score of someone who doesn’t like anything.  I liked a lot more than I disliked.  Okay so I could also look at it as out of 57 movies, I enjoyed less than half, but I did watch a very diverse selection of movies, which at least shows I have an open mind; it’s not my fault there’s so much ‘meh’ out there.  The moral here is I only DISliked 6 out of 57, so I win.

Here’s what I managed to cram during #cramuary:

High Noon [1952]
Dog Day Afternoon [1975]
Holes [2003]
The Karate Kid [1984]





Kramer Vs Kramer [1979]






Please Stand By [2017]
To Sir, With Love [1967]
This Is The End [2013]
Hello Dolly! [1969]






Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie [2017]
Date Night [2010]
Cinderella III: A Twist In Time [2007]
Baby Driver [2017]
True Grit [1969]
Clueless [1995]
Erin Brockovich [2000]
                                       Candleshoe [1977]
Game Night [2018]
Beverly Hills Cop [1984]
The Boss Baby [2017]

So B. It [2016]
Coco [2017]
Beverly Hills Cop II [1987]



Breaking In [2018]
The Ten Commandments [1956]
The Lego Ninjago Movie [2017]







Almost Famous [2000]









Smokey And The Bandit [1977]
Mars Needs Moms [2010]
Escape From Alcatraz [1979]
Father Goose [1964]





The First Wives Club [1996]
Cool Runnings [1993]
To Catch A Thief [1955]
Nine To Five [1980]
Being Charlie [2016]
Patch Adams [1998]
Empire Of The Sun [1987]
Downsizing [2017]


Field Of Dreams [1989]
Funny Face [1957]
The Desert Rats [1953]







West Side Story [1961]









Indiscreet [1958]









48 Hrs. [1982]









Say Anything… [1989]
Pretty Woman [1990]
The Thomas Crown Affair [1968]







The Monster Squad [1987]









Thumbelina [1994]

















The rest might have turned out all right in the long run but I dunno because I was on a time limit and they weren't grabbing me so I gave up on them:

Lawrence Of Arabia [1962]
Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging [2008]
Steel Magnolias [1989]
Swiss Family Robinson [1960]
Rampage [2018]
Coming To America [1988]
King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword [2017]





Monday, 25 February 2019

Musical Monday #195

I'm glad there's going to be another season of Bojack Horseman, my sometimes-favourite modern show.  I hope it will be to Season 5 what Season 4 was to Season 3.  My general overview of the show so far has gone: Season One: Great. Season Two: Settled in so even greater.  Season Three: Bit too dark.  Season Four: Fantastic.  Season Five: Whatthehellwasthatwhatwereyouthinkingwhy?

Here is that time the opening credits were the opening credits to a different 'show':

Kyle And The Kids from BoJack Horseman, episode 'Escape From L.A.'


Okay so season five wasn't bad - it was still funny and smart - it was just really, REALLY dark, and I already didn't like it when the show got too dark.  It also felt like there were less background animal puns floating around.  And I didn't super 'get' the ending where we follow Diane instead of BoJack even though every other season ended with BoJack, so maybe the show is outgrowing me intellectually.  And it only had the one standout episode (the funeral monologue one obviously), and even that wasn't as mind-blowing as their previous standouts like the silent underwater one or the Alzheimers one (in fact season 4 has multiple standout episodes).  And I don't know exactly what social commentary is being made by forcing the audience to watch BoJack slipping out of touch with reality, like when he starts wearing his Philbert costume all the time even in the starting credits, while none of the characters notice him spiralling.  Plus I don't know how best you can handle an asexual plotline, but as an ace, I find the over explaining of Todd's sexuality like you're watching an educational video is quite poor.  And basically, with the exception of Princess Carolyn I guess, they didn't go where I wanted the characters to go, or where I thought they were going from the end of season 4.  Plus, how do you come back from the main character nearly murdering someone?

Monday, 18 February 2019

Musical Monday #194

In news that is only exciting if you are me, I have a new computer!

The last time I got a new computer was 2005, so I'm preparing for a whole new world of modernisation.  The old PC has mostly served me well, expect all the times when it sucked, but things came to a head when in 2019 it stopped being able to open Word documents, which is kind of crippling when you're a writer and everything you have is a Word document.  It's also the reason why there haven't been any Musical Mondays for a few weeks, because my list of ones I've already done so I don't keep repeating myself is also kept in a Word document.

So welcome back and here's...

Knock On Wood from Casablanca
Written by M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl and performed by Dooley Wilson and Elliot Carpenter.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Vegan Advent Calendar

Last year I bought myself an advent calendar.  I know that's a pretty sad thing to do, but I really like the idea of advent calendars, even if in practice it's just a painful test of patience.

When I was a kid, I once got one that folded out into a model of a mouse hotel, and all the doors were rooms and cupboards and things in the hotel and you'd uncover more of the 'story' each day, and that was so awesome that I still have it in the Xmas decorations box.

Other than that, I used to have this sort of pillar box thing that The Mother would fill with treats that she knew I would like, which gave advent a thoughtful as well as fun touch.

The generic flat advent calendar, either with dull pictures of Xmas stuff or with that disgusting, stale, third-rate chocolate they put in advent calendars does not excite me.  (The lego ones look pretty cool though.)

Anyway, as a vegan, choice of chocolate treats is somewhat limited, and while the options expand every year, if you want a chocolate advent calendar, you're going to have to eat some pretty rank stuff, because they only seem to do vegan versions of those really lame chocolate advent calendars, and nothing exciting.

And then while looking for something else, I came across the 'Vegan Store Luxury Gourmet Advent Calendar' on the Vegan Store, which is a pretty good online vegan shop, and I know I'm an adult so I don't need an advent calendar, and getting yourself one is pretty sad, but the idea that someone made a GOOD vegan advent calendar was too much.  So despite it being darn pricey, I bought one for myself, and also one for The Housemate so I could pretend I wasn't being entirely self-involved.

It was filled with six different types of fancy vegan sweets, which is a pretty good variation (also it means there is only four of each type so if you don't like one, you're not stuck with loads on your hands).  On the down side, it had to be pretty chunky to fit the larger ones inside, which meant the smallest ones tended to escape their slots and fall to the bottom of the box.  Leaving the calendar lying on its back was the way to get around this, but I worked this out too late to stop a few escapees and on some days, you'd open the door to find a blank space staring at you.

Here are the sweets:

Le Preziose Fruit Jellies With Orange, Covered In Dark Chocolate





This is an orange jelly covered in chocolate and they had a slight crunch to them.  These tasted like jaffa cakes, without the cake, so without the gritty soggy worst part of jaffa cakes.  They were probably my favourite sweet in the calendar, which is a high recommendation for these fellows because I'm not usually that fussed by jellies.

Oddly enough they are not for sale in their chocolate covered form on the Vegan Store, but a quick google search showed them here.  Apparently they come in different flavours.

Super Fudgio Organic Toffee




This is a stick of toffee with a slightly gooey centre.  They were quite a dark toffee, rather rich, so actually could have done with coming in smaller portions.  I'm not sure whether the centre is supposed to be gooey or not as it seemed to vary between pieces.  I think I prefer a creamier toffee.

The Vegan Store has several different varieties for sale.

Bonelle Pate Du Fruits





Your basic fruit jelly.  Probably pretty good if you are into that kind of thing.

Another one not currently on the Vegan Store and they're not popping up on google either.  Wait, I think I found them on this Italian site.

Pernigotti Nocciolato





A block of chocolate containing a hazelnut.  I was pretty excited to see these in here because Pernigotti makes lovely rich and creamy chocolate, but I am a much bigger fan of their truffles rather than just chocolate so this was a little dull on its own.

I think it's these ones, although apparently these are truffles.  Hmm.

Kuhbonbon Caramel




A toffee/caramel.  Hmm, now these were my least favourite of the lot.  These are the little culprits who wouldn't stay in their slots, so it was a while before I got to eat one and it didn't live up to the wait.  They are very bland.  Almost no taste at all, apart from a slight sweetness.  That said, after eating a few more they did grow on me, so I think if you had a whole bag to munch on, they would be pretty moreish.  Basically had the two ends of the toffee scale in this calendar - too dark and too light!

Anyway there are quite a few versions on Vegan Store.

Belvas Organic Praline Truffle Balls





A praline truffle with dark chocolate coating.  These are a really decent size, but the chocolate coating is very dark, so wouldn't appeal to everyone.

Available on Vegan Store.





Overall this advent calendar had a good mixture of different varieties of sweets, and they were all nice, although I probably wouldn't buy a whole bag of either of the toffee/caramels.  However both were made using coconut milk, and I often don't like products made from that (coconut ice cream and yoghurts are awful and sour) and I didn't have a problem with the taste of these.  If the Vegan Store bring these calendars out again next year, they might want to rethink the design of the box, or make sure all the sweets are of equal size, to stop the smaller ones getting loose.  It was definitely a good buy and I hope to see more interesting vegan advent calendars on the market next Xmas.

Did you have a vegan advent calendar last year?