Archive | January, 2013

Shortcutting… Time

28 Jan

No time. That’s my excuse. That’s pretty much everyone’s excuse for pretty much everything. Taken literally of course, it’s complete bullshit. There’s always time. Time keeps on ticking by, regardless of what we do. In fact, I’d go so far as to suggest that the absence of time would be even more of a reason to get things done. It’s when time passes that’s the problem. But despite the fact that (as far as I am aware) time has been continuing as per usual, I have managed to fit a little blogging in. It’s about time.

Would you rather have a pause button or a rewind? I have often (perhaps ironically) whiled away the hours pondering this conundrum. It seemed obvious at first that stopping time would be a lot more useful and less messy than trying to go back and change things, which is riddled with paradox and anyway, as any chart-topping singer worth his or her salt has doubtless told you, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Pausing on the other hand would not only let you get more done, it would also allow for some hilarious prankery (oh the fun you could have with people who piss you off). Then again, you have to account for ageing. If you kept pausing here and there to get your homework done, or stick your boss’ fingers up his nose or whatnot, wouldn’t you get old a lot faster than anyone else? You’d have to give yourself a careful allowance of, say, ten minutes per year, to make sure it wasn’t noticeable. Knowing me and my incredible lack of self discipline, I’d have been fifty by the time I was fifteen.

Perhaps then it’s better not to try and change time, but rather stick firmly to the present. But how to ensure that you’re perfectly on time? (On a side note, I’ve often wondered, if every clock in the world was moved forward five minutes, would time itself change? Spooky…) Anyhoo, might I draw your attention to a delightful new discovery of mine: http://www.timeanddate.com. Not only does this little site give you the exact time, in any time zone in the world, it is made truly special by its little time-related news bulletin. I was fascinated to learn, for example, that Ukraine is considering abolishing daylight saving time! It’s daylight robbery! So yes, I rather enjoyed that feature.

Okay, I think I’ve just about bored you for long enough with my little ramblings on the very essence and nature of time. If you’d like to explore time in popular culture, please check out Back to the Future: it’s one of my fave films. Okay, that’s it. Time’s up.

Keep shortcutting,
Zoe

Shortcutting… Les Miserables

12 Jan

Les Miserables, or Les Mis┬áto its friends, has been around for (I looked it up) 28 years. 28 years. That’s a long time for one musical. However, having been to see it last week, I can confirm it’s still got it. For those of you who don’t know the plot, it’s a cocktail of escaped convict turned nice, blended with angry, determined parole officer, a sprinkling of unrequited love and requited love that’s complicated all dipped into a large serving of French revolution. Yum. There are some truly iconic songs, such as I Dreamed a Dream and On My Own, and there’s even some comedy courtesy of the innkeeper and his wife. It’s a really good show, and I’d definitely recommend it, unless you really hate music. There’s a lot of that.

But why am I telling you all this now? You’ve had 28 years to see this thang, and no doubt have 28 more. Well, as you may have guessed, the real topic of this post is Les Mis’ new makeover: the big screen. As a follow up to my recent trip down to the theatre, this afternoon I went to watch the ‘major motion picture’ itself, and compared notes. If I had to describe in six words, I’d say, not unlike its theatrical counterpart, it is ‘really good, intense, sad, and long’. So let’s break that down a bit.

Good: it is definitely enjoyable, as it has a riveting plot (as previously mentioned) and it’s not hard to empathise with the characters, as the acting is of a high-quality, hence the Oscar nominations for best actor in a leading role, best actress in a supporting role, and best film.

Intense: there’s a lot of emotional singing, which is very much intensified by the fact that the singers’ faces are always so close-up you can practically feel their spit, sweat and tears falling on you. You will be moved by this film at least twice, I guarantee.

Sad: this is war, my friends. People die. Men die. Women die. Children die. Love doesn’t always work out. So if you’re looking for a light-hearted bit of comedy, try Pitch Perfect. I hear that’s pretty good too.

Long: at 157 minutes running time, plus 15-20 minutes of adverts and trailers depending on where you go, you need a bit of stamina. And they’re singing the whole way through. I have to admit, I got a bit frustrated at some points that it wouldn’t get a move on, but maybe I’m just impatient. Just make sure to stock up on pick ‘n’ mix.

So there you have it, my much-sought-after review. Go and watch it, and I’m sure you won’t be miserable…

Keep shortcutting,

Zoe

Shortcutting… Illness

9 Jan

For the past few days, I have been ill. Nothing serious, before you panic, but just one of those slow-burning January flu type things (Northern hemisphere reference). Sore throat, headache, general fatigue – the works. It’s not a lot of fun but like Bradley Cooper’s character in a recent Hollywood film, I have found the silver lining to my experience: I can use it to help y’all out!

Stage one: symptoms.
Everyone gets headaches. Everyone gets tired. And quite a lot of people get sore throats every now and again. But tick all three boxes and hey presto – you might actually have a valid reason to complain. To this list of ailments I will add sinus pain, aching all over, and a runny nose. If you have three or more of the above, you’re ill. Congratulations.

Stage two: diagnosis.
This time, I decided to just mope around feeling sorry for myself, but if you want to know exactly what’s getting you down, there are a few alternatives. One is going to the doctor but that’s time-consuming and a bit old school. Much more fun is typing the symptoms into Google and freaking yourself out with all the weird and wonderful diseases you might have. In all seriousness though, a trusted website like NHS Direct is actually quite handy when you’re in need of a little indication of what might be wrong.

Stage three: recovery.
I have been relying on painkillers to get me through, coupled with rest and relaxation (read general slackery), and comfort food (read any available food). (Come to think of it, maybe that should be tripleted or something rather than coupled, but who really cares…) One benefit of a doctor is that they might actually give you proper medicine, but dragging the illness out is good in that it gives you an excuse to do a half-arsed job of everything for a few days.

Stage zero: avoidance.
There is, of course, a way to avoid all this trouble, and that is by not contracting any sort of illness in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, antibacterial hand gels are not the answer, although they’re kinda fun to carry around and whip out when the going gets rough. The ole soap and water are supposed to be a lot more effective, although I would recommend hiding your hands and not touching anything during sick season, just in case.

Hope you have more success than me in staying over the weather!
Keep shortcutting,
Zoe

Shortcutting… New Year Resolutions

2 Jan

Happy New Year! I do apologise for the lack of posts recently but I have been wifi-less for the past week or so. In any case, this brings me on to my first resolution: blog at all costs! I must stop silly little things like lack of wifi get in the way of my imparting words of wisdom to you. (All this talk of wifi actually reminds me of an article I read about some hilarious wifi network names of angry neighbours: Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Wifi and Get Off My Lan were my favourites.)

Anyway, let’s return to resolutions. Before I go any further, I’d like to propose that resolution-wise, New Year does not start until the 2nd of January. Why? Well the vast majority of resolutions involve being healthy and whatnot, and this is nigh on impossible when suffering from the inevitable 1st of January hangover. One cannot be expected to go to the gym or shun carbohydrates when one is busy rolling around on the ground in pain feeling several glasses of champagne, a couple of cocktails and a shot or two rolling around within. I hereby declare that resolutions begin on the 2nd.

Right, so what resolutions to make? The aforementioned health kicks are generally a bad idea unless highly realistic, as they otherwise tend to last little more than a month or two, and just make you feel more depressed than you did before you tried going to the gym every day. I would suggest limiting yourself to one health-related resolution: mine’s going to be ‘drink 2 litres of water a day’ (incidentally not all that difficult to start on the 1st) – highly realistic, not particularly unpleasant, and not particularly time-consuming. Simples.

Next comes the personality one. My brother’s is to ‘keep being awesome’, but I realise that most of us are a little less self-confident, and New Year is a great time to try and improve ourselves. This can be anything like being more sociable or less shy or any little thing you wish you did differently. Mine’s going to be ‘care less what people think’, and if you don’t like it you can all sod off.

Okay, we’ve done body and soul, last up is the mind. The third essential resolution has to in some way expand your horizons and enrich your mind. This could be through reading more, learning a new language, or any kind of intellectual pursuit. I’ve already said I’m going to blog more, which is very mind-nourishing, but I’m also set this year on finishing writing the novel I’ve been planning since time began.

So there you go: mind, body and soul all dealt with. You will be healthier, more confident, and cleverer. And it’s all thanks to me. I’ll keep you updated on how mine are going, hope you don’t give up too soon!

Keep shortcutting,
Zoe