Just a Quickie

You may have noticed there was no Vlog yesterday and a strange second post with just a link on Thursday, well things are afoot! Not in a strange Sherlock Holmes way but in a positive, taking action move.  I am going to post this weeks Vlog on Sunday because as I write this it is Friday evening and I have a couple of things to finish off before I could film plus I just rubbed Calpol Vapour Rub on the monsters chest, then in a stupid move wiped my eye, I know I don’t need to say anymore.  Lets just say filming a Vlog with a red running eye would not be my best look.  Right back on with what I am doing (yes I nearly said it then lol) and I shall talk to you on Sunday xxxx

Rebooting the year!

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Monday was one of the hardest days of my life so far as I said farewell to my grandma, the funeral went off well and the service was lovely.  After a day of reflection it is time for me now to press on and concentrate on the future.  I stayed at my grans house the night before the funeral and it hit me then that she was really gone, it is the little things, an empty chair, no cup with a tea bag in sat next to the kettle.  I am saddened she will never get to read my writing but then again the last few years she would not have been able to anyway plus when she did read it was always Mills  Boon romances, not sure what she would have thought of the genres in which I write but she would have been proud nevertheless.

So today after I finish writing this I will head off to the day job but tonight I will focus and spend a couple of hours working on the projects I have going, getting ready for publication in a few months. I also made a step forward in terms of self belief and submitted a flash fiction to a quarterly competition that has a small cash prize.  While I really do not expect to actually win it has been a big step forward to me to actually hit the submit button and put more faith in my abilities.

So just a short post today mainly as I seem to have misplaced half my belongings at the minute as I also got it into my head to begin spring cleaning the house so fingers crossed I can find my work clothes lol

Lizzie Bennet Diaries – Bonus Episodes Dr Gardiner’s Seminar

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Although we ended the series last week I thought it would be fun to include these two episodes.

It is interesting to see how the modern version of the story is updated and the vision of the characters lives following the initial story.  I think it is also quite interesting to consider as well the fact this is supposed to be as part of an online seminar and the way in which this reflects the changing world.  I know as part of my own degree course I had to attend online lessons and they were quite interesting once you got to grips with the technology required.  Is this the way of the future? Will more children learn from home via the internet? I believe it is something which is being used in areas of the Australian outback for children who live in remote areas, of course it cannot replicate the socialisation what a classroom provides but it does make it easier for an education to be gained by all.

This technology has of course influenced other areas, as I writer I have been invited to several events which have an online presence for those who cannot physically get there, some of which I have been tempted by, some of which fail to realise it is not always just physical distance but also time differences that can make it impossible.

The one thing I love about good fiction is that it makes you stop and think, it makes you ask the what ifs? What could this lead to? Austen made her characters so real that two hundred years later girls everywhere still relate to them, the times may have changed but issues remain relevant.

Motivation Meltdown

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I am struggling to motivate myself, the actual act of having to rewrite stories I have written once is taking its toll.  I have nine stories that have survived the computer disaster unscathed in paper form and in some form on the computer.  Most of them just require me to go through and correct the edits and change a few points.  I have three stories that are half done, that had been finished, there were to have been 17 stories in total this leaves five unaccounted for and I am really frustrated by this because they are showing as basic outlines not the stories that should have been there.  I know the auto save had failed to work but it is still very frustrating to be redoing work you thought you were almost done with.

I have a couple of options I can finish up redoing the work on the other three stories and publish with just the twelve making it a smaller book and use the other ideas at a later date or I plan a later release date possibly the end of May rather than early April and try to get back up to at least fifteen stories.  At the minute I am torn and if the book were just about me I would take the first option but as this book represents a tribute to little Charlie I want it to be good and hopefully raise extra funds for the charity, you see my predicament.

I think I shall leave making a decision until the end of this month, as Monday is my grandma’s funeral and my emotions will be running high next week.

For tonight I am going to write another book review or two and schedule those, mainly so I can shift the pile of books sat waiting on my desk, then maybe try to get an extra post or two in the bag as a back up for busy days.  I am a huge fan of using the scheduling button both here and on FB, I find I can spend one day at the start of the month and schedule my daily music FB post and Final thought for the day posts for the whole month.  That is the one area I am getting better at actually managing my time in a way that means when I sit down to write I have more time without worrying about breaking off to post other things.

Anyway off I go to review a book about a Werewolf and one about a serial killer, I am sure you remember the post about what my bookshelves say about me lol

Tellybox Tuesday – Abandon Camp

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I haven’t watched much TV this week other than the three series I have featured the last couple of weeks so apologies for the lack of variation however I have added in a one off programme I watched this week.

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People are dropping like flies, some just can’t hack it and some have been pulled out for medical reasons, the production team have to step in and feed the group after the medical team intervene and it is all going horribly wrong.  To make matters worse the group have to be pulled out of the camp when a heavy snowfall puts them in danger and being in a hotel reminds another family what they are missing and they decide to go home.  Now only seven camp members remain.

I really liked the idea of this but the more I watch it the more frustrated I get. Sure it makes great TV to have them being totally clueless but Stone Age man was not, he was taught from birth the skills needed to survive.  I think as  social experiment this would have worked so much better if they had prepared them for a month or two before hand taught them hunting and other skills that would help them survive.  Also they could have cut out caffeine and sugar from their diets and cut down the amount of food they were eating to help them adjust and not suffer from the lack of food as quickly.  Ironically while stuck at the hotel waiting for the snow to clear they do actually give them a crash course in Stone Age survival methods.  Sadly down to such a small number I feel it is too little to late for it to be a real success as a social experiment.

Wolf Hall

I am still loving this series and don’t want to say too much now as I am aware it has not shown yet in the US so I am just going to tease you with the trailer for the next episode, I don’t feel guilty showing these as they are all online,

The series really is one worth watching for anyone who loves the Tudor period or costume dramas. I also think it explains as well the difference in cultures between the UK and the US, I know there are some things that happen life where the outcry in the US seems more than here, I have friends who have commented on how laid back us Brits seem at times about things that happen in the world, and I think this is part of the reason we have a much longer history, from young ages we are taught about the terrible things that have been done in or own history, we learn about people burnt alive at the stake, people having heads chopped off, our history is full of blood and horror.  Does this mean we don’t care when some one is murdered, of course not but I do think it does not always shock us as much, as I said last week maybe the saddest thing is we never really seem to learn from that history.

The Voice

One more week of auditions to go and the teams are filling up.  I think part of the reason I love this show is because I cannot sing, and no I am not just saying that I was once singing in the bath and my mum came in and threw a jug of cold water over me because the noise was that bad.  I thought a couple of weeks ago I had seen the winner but I really liked this girl from this week, the sing offs are going to be fun…

I also really liked this one…

The final programme was a one off

Fritzl By Fred Dinenage

I remember when this crime first hit the headlines, that Josef Fritzel had held his daughter captive in the cellar for over twenty years.  My first thoughts were how could his wife and other kids have not known but as the details of the case were released and the web of deception he had created was revealed it was other questions that came into my mind and even now after watching this programme a second time I cannot help but think that authorities have questions to answer still.

I understand the lack of a real search when she first went missing due to the note she had been forced to write stating she had left to join a cult and the fact he went a hundred miles away to post it but there are other things that don’t make sense.  The first thing is the extension he built in which she was imprisoned, how was that not found or his bizarre building plan questioned, surely he had to submit building plans and you would have thought a building inspector would have had to come out and noticed that there was an area unaccounted for, I know they would not have been looking for hidden rooms but it seems strange that no questions seem to have been asked.

However the main thing that made my eyebrows fly up in astonishment was that he was allowed to adopt two of the children he gained through raping his daughter, with nothing more than a note from what appeared to be the absent mother.  Firstly the children were allegedly dropped off on the doorstep with a note saying whose child it was, it seems strange that the police did not make a bigger case at that point of finding the mother, in fact until it happened a third time no one seemed to question it, or even think to check these children were biologically related to Fritzl which if they had surely the DNA results would have raised questions and may have led to his daughters freedom far earlier.  I don’t think anyone can ever understand fully what goes on in a man’s head to make him imprison his own child then systematically rape and abuse her and one wonders if more time had passed whether he would have turned his attentions to the daughter/granddaughter she had borne him.  There is a link here to the programme, I am not sure if it will play in all countries

Book Review – Slaughterhouse-Five By Kurt Vonnegut

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 This is another book which features on my book challenge lists and is one I have read previously that I decided to revisit in order to review it.

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This is the blurb bit and I have decided to cheat and use the Goodreads descriptions so I can just concentrate on what I personally think of the books rather than do the whole talking through the basic plot bit which as you will see for this book is anything but simple.

Goodreads summary…

Kurt Vonnegut’s absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut’s) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don’t let the ease of reading fool you – Vonnegut’s isn’t a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, “There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters.”

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut’s most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author’s experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut’s other works, but the book’s basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy – and humor.

The first time I read this was before I tackled a Time Travellers Wife, and after rereading it I am now even more convinced that this inspired that book.  The concept of time travel is one I am of course familiar with after all as a huge Sci-Fi fan and more specifically a Doctor Who fan the idea of time travel is a basic staple but this book differed from any I had read before in that it did not tell the story sequentially in the way you would expect. The problem is that the way this book randomly jumps between different times is it makes it incredibly hard to keep up with.  This is not a beach read or a book you can pick up and put down, it requires a degree of concentration to keep the story straight in your head.

I also have one major issue with this book which effects the mark I give it which is the portrayal of the female characters.  While the book is witty, the story lines imaginative the female characters are nothing more than the worse stereoptypes possible which is a real shame, admittedly it is written for a different generation who may not have found this as problematic as the modern reader.

I find I can only give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars because of the failings I have mentioned which is a shame because other than that I enjoyed it.

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Lizzie Bennet Diaries Episodes 97-100

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Sorry I got distracted from the programme last time round but this week we have the final four episodes, and it seems fitting one of the most romantic stories of all time should end on this particular day, so lets crack on…

Last week ended with Lizzie calling Darcy but we heard no reply, we know Darcy will appear again but it does seem strange in this age that there has been no contact.  Back in Austen’s day of course contact would have been restricted by social conventions and a lack of opportunity but in the modern world with texts, tweets and emails you would have expected the odd message even if nothing overtly personal.  The same way she calls him and leaves a voicemail, personally I think it would have been more realistic if she had texted him, we all like to avoid the awkwardness and a text makes it easier to delay speaking to those you don’t wish to and finding out if someone wishes to speak to you in return.

Darcy of course does eventually appear, and we find ourselves in the position of missing the action, he appears at the end of number 98 and then in 99 he states they have been in a relationship 6 days, this actually  makes a really valid point about Youtube video’s and vlogs and the fact they are the edited highlights of a life not the full view.  A person could make a video and claim it was made in one sitting when really it took them a week and was carefully edited to appear flawless ( mine aren’t sadly I am just not that skilled lol)

The final video is quite touching and it is hard to know if it is the characters or actress talking.  I have really enjoyed this series and look forward to watching some of the others though I have no intention of watching them this way.

I hope you guys have enjoyed it, next week a final bonus to round this series off properly.