Thoughts on…

Thoughts on… Halloween

It’s October 31st meaning it’s Halloween! If you’ve been online this past month, you’ve probably seen many a gif and if you’re on Twitter just about everybody has had Halloween-themed user names.

I’ve never been into Halloween and I think that’s because I live in the UK where while it has got bigger and more popular over the years, it was never a thing when I was a child. When I was growing up I lived on a street where there were no other kids and very limited lighting so it wasn’t like I took part in trick or treating or anything – and to be honest I think it was something that just didn’t happen.

When I was a teenager, friends had parties for Halloween but that was more of an excuse to get dressed up and get drunk, it was the same when I was at Uni. Yes I did dress up and have fun (my favourite was when a friend had Halloween/birthday party where the theme was dead-people or characters and I went as an unnamed zombie Red Shirt from Star Trek) but I never got into the real spirit of Halloween – whatever that is.

I don’t enjoy horror films so I don’t make an effort to watch them in October like some people do, and I don’t really read spooky books, so what I read and watch don’t make me feel very Halloween-y.

I don’t begrudge anyone who enjoys Halloween, it’s just not for me. Maybe it’s because I’m a Brit and never did the trick and treating thing or because I don’t like scary things. This year I have no plans for Halloween, instead I’ll be curled up in front of the TV watching Bake Off and eating chocolate. But to all those who celebrate and enjoy Halloween – I hope you have a great time!

Advertisements

Thoughts on… Not Replying to Messages

I am terrible at replying to messages – whether that’s emails, texts, WhatsApp messages, FB messages, any form of messaging contact I am bad at replying. I’m not always sure why I am so bad. Sometimes I see a message, open it and think “must reply to that” but I’m doing something else and forget and next thing I know it is three days (or more) later. Sometimes I don’t even open the message because then I think, the notification will stay there to remind me to read and reply, and in the case of WhatsApp – they won’t know I’ve read it and then am ignoring them/forgotten all about it. Sometimes this prompts me to reply sooner rather than later, other times I end up with dozens of notifications on my phone I’m ignoring.

As I write this post I currently have 104 unread emails staring at me from my phone. These emails are from four accounts; my work email, my blog email, my personal email and my “professional” email aka the one I use when applying for jobs and LinkedIn and such. Many of these emails are notifications from my blog (new followers, comments etc), automated emails from sites like Etsy, AO3 and LinkedIn, and emails about my latest Amazon order. Probably only 10 emails or less are something I need to actively read and reply to – so why aren’t I?

Sometimes I think it could be a kind of anxiety thing (I don’t have anxiety but how I feel about the pressures of emails mounting up does make me feel a bit uneasy) If I don’t open them, I don’t have to deal with it, but then there’s more and more of them and that puts me off opening them even more.

Sometimes I don’t feel like talking to people – this one is probably a bit more of a problem when it comes to emails to my blog-related email account, especially if it’s someone offering me the opportunity to review something. My close friends know I’m generally slow at replying to a text/WhatsApp message and understand that a three-day wait is pretty normal for me, but with other people it doesn’t always work and I must force myself to reply as soon as I get the message otherwise I won’t for ages. I just know what I’m like.

It’s weird because for work, I can reply pretty promptly to an email, or at least within 24 hours if I reply the next day (I refuse to deal with work emails at home) but with personal ones I put it off a bit. Maybe it’s because at work I feel people are relying on me or are waiting for a response before they can do something else but to be honest, anyone who emails me, whether that’s for work, my blog, or personal, are waiting for a response so that’s no real excuse. Maybe it’s because with work I have to reply or there’s a network of people to have a go at me if I don’t, whereas anything to my personal or blog email account, it’s up to me to reply and deal with it – no one’s making me besides my own conscience, and that takes a back seat sometimes.

Really this post is me, trying to put my thoughts in order on why I am so terrible at replying to messages. I don’t think I’ve really succeeded but if you ever email me about my blog, or leave a comment that I take a week to reply to, maybe you can now see why I take so long to respond.

Replying to messages more quickly is something I’m working on. Now, to prove that I’m going to go and whittle down my unread emails – even if it’s marking a lot of them as read!

Thoughts on… Exercising

About six weeks ago I joined the gym. This was the second time I’ve joined the gym, the first was almost two years ago when I wasn’t working so went to the Zumba classes on weekday mornings. That lasted less than two months because then I moved house – I moved only a ten minute drive away from the gym, but when it was previously a minute’s walk away, I found it easy to stop.

But this time it’s been six weeks and I’m sticking with it. I go three times a week, twice is to the actual gym itself, I have two different routines I alternate (one focusing on my legs, the other on my upper body) and once is to go to Total Boxing – a fitness class using boxing gloves and pads.

I wouldn’t say I enjoy going to the gym, but I don’t hate it and now I’ve got into the habit there’s now hassle in me stopping off there on my way home from work twice a week. The boxing class on a Friday evening on the other hand, I really love. Boxing is a sport I’ve never previously had much interest in before, and while the class I go to isn’t for fighting, it’s for fitness, I’ve found myself really enjoying it. and I suppose it can’t hurt to learn how to throw a proper punch.

I decided to attempt to do regular exercise, not because I wasn’t to lose weight, but to generally get fitter. I’m on my feet all day at work but I do drive a lot and just started to feel that I’m not as fit and as healthy as I could be. The main reason I decided to give this exercise thing a go, is because I know my diet is pretty terrible (I don’t really eat any fruit or vegetables) and I am also self-aware enough to know I won’t be changing my diet any time soon. So if that wont change, I should probably do some exercise to try and balance things out a bit.

I don’t think I’ve really lost any weight since I’ve started this regular exercise thing, and my upper-body strength is still abysmal, but I do feel good when I get home. I feel like I’ve achieved something and it’s half an hour or so I can listen to some music, switch off and get my heart rate up a bit. I do smile to myself sometimes because whenever I think about exercising, I think about the clip below from Legally Blonde – endorphins make me happy so i’m not going to flip out at anyone any time soon.

Thoughts on… My Most Watched Actors

I have a Letterboxd account and it’s pretty great. Letterboxd is the movie version of Goodreads so you can log what you watch, write reviews, make lists and follow different users. If you get a Pro account (which is only $19 a year which is about £15 and I think that’s pretty good value to be honest) you get to see what your various movie-related stats are each year you log films and overall on all the films you’ve ever marked as watched.

I’ve been looking at which actors I’ve watched the most overall and there’s some interesting things there but it does make me want to try and change some of my viewing habits.

Out of my top twenty most watched actors, just two of them are women – Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett Johansson was someone I was surprised to be there as she’s not one of my favourite actors nor someone who I’d go to see a film just because they’re in it. Her being in the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly helped give her a boost and for a younger actor (she’s 32) she’s been in the business for a while and has an eclectic filmography. Rachel Weisz is a new addition because I have been watching more of her filmography recently, trying to get her (and more women in general) into my top twenty. In comparison to Johansson, Weisz is an actor who I love and will seek out films just because she’s in them but she usually stars in dramas or films that aren’t so mainstream hence while she is someone I do really like, her filmography isn’t always to my taste. (more…)

Thoughts on… the Resident Evil films

Last month I finished watching the Resident Evil film series for the first time. I watched the first film back in May on Netflix and then when I saw a cheap deal on a box set of all the films I decided to get them and slowly make my way through them all.

The films are apparently very loosely based on video games with the same name. The films follow Alice (Milla Jovovich), someone who was once a security operative for the Umbrella Corporation, a bioengineering pharmaceutical company that develops bioweapons, as she fights against the corporation and the undead monsters it created with its bio weapons.

They are not particularly great films and the early ones haven’t aged particularly well in regards to the special effects but generally there’s something somewhat enjoyable/good to be found in each one. There’s often a lot of quick editing, making it hard to follow or appreciate action sequences and the dialogue isn’t always that great either. there’s a lot of heavy-handed exposition dumps throughout the film-series, especially in Resident Evil: Retribution. The later films were obviously shot/converted into 3D as there’s so many shots of bullets or knives flying towards the screen. It’s this sort of thing that might have looked cool or added something to the film if you were watching it in 3D in the cinema but now, watching it on the TV it’s just a gimmick.

My favourites out of the six-film series is the first Resident Evil film and Resident Evil: Extinction. The first film because it’s really quite a tense film that combines mystery and horror well. Being in The Hive (the underground research facility), such an enclosed space with only a small group of characters who are learning about the undead at the same pace you are is interesting. Plus, the deadly artificial intelligence offers an extra layer of threat because it has control of the whole place. The characters themselves all follow pretty typical military-esque stereotypes with strong, in control leader James Shade (Colin Salmon) and the lone-badass girl in the team Rain (Michelle Rodriguez).

I like Resident Evil: Extinction because it really feels like a post-apocalyptic world. It’s set in the desert states of America, Alice’s outfit is the most practical out of all her various outfits she wears across the films, and it’s got a lot of interesting characters like Carlos Olivera (Oded Fehr) who is really cool and capable and I loved his relationship with Alice, and Claire (Ali Larter) the leader of this ragtag group of survivors you follow. All the other character you see in this group of survivors are obviously somewhat smart and capable to have survived so long and when Alice comes into their lives, you get to really see how her abilities have developed.

Both films feature the zombie dogs which are my favourite scary creatures in the series. I think it’s because you see monster-humans a lot in media but you don’t really see the animals become undead or evil. The sequences with undead dogs and crows are some of my favourite, they’re instantly more tense and scary in my mind.

The Resident Evil franchise is not the best thing ever but in my mind, it’s not the worst either. I think Resident Evil: The Final Chapter did a good job at wrapping everything up, especially as the films seemed to get more convoluted as they went on. There was the various clones, characters who didn’t stay dead and the Umbrella Corporation’s over the top evil plans, it all got a bit confusing and unnecessary at times. I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time on them, they were mostly entertaining, easy-watches – though I didn’t really like Resident Evil: Afterlife, I found it kind of boring.

Have you watched the Resident Evil films? What do you think of them?

Thoughts on… Moving House

I am now technically homeless. Let me explain, yesterday everything was completed on the sale of my family home and we don’t have a property to move into until the middle of April so we’re now staying with family friends till then.

This whole moving house thing has been a bit chaotic and (for my mum at least) pretty stressful. The only time I have moved house before (not counting the four years I was at University so it was just a portion of my stuff moving each year) was when my parents split up when I was nine. When we moved into our new home (the one we’ve now just left) we just had all of mums belongings, my belongings and bedroom furniture, and a dining table, chairs and matching cabinet we got off a family friend. So we basically moved in with a small van.  (more…)

Thoughts on… Why Hogwarts Houses are so Important to People

So if you’ve been on social media/the internet this past week you’ll have seen that Pottermore has relaunched and you can get sorted into your House again. The questions are still the same as before, it’s just the pretty graphics that have changed. This has led to some people being a bit shocked/surprised/upset/confused as they have been sorted into a different House to the one they were in previously. That’s what happened to me anyway.

Let me go back to what Hogwarts House I always thought I was. I started reading the books age 9 and I always thought I’d be Ravenclaw. I admit, that a part of that might have come from the fact that Ravenclaw’s main colour was blue and that was my favourite colour, but it also was true because I liked to think I was smart, I loved reading and learning everything about a subject that I was passionate about. As the years went on and there were various “Which Hogwarts House Are You?” quizzes online, pretty much every single time I got Ravenclaw.

Pottermore first launched in 2009 and I never really used it, I just signed up to see what House I’d be in and what wand I got (I can’t even remember what wand I got though I think there was some dragon in it somewhere). I didn’t get a Pottermore account straight away so you could say it was about five years ago that I took the Sorting Quiz. When I took it for the first time I was sorted into Gryffindor and I have to say that did freak me out a bit. Gryffindor’s are “the brave at heart” and are “daring, nerve, and chivalrous” and while they are admirable qualities, they weren’t the ones that I thought really summed me up – for one thing I really didn’t see myself as brave.

(more…)