Friday 28 November 2014

The Best Supernatural Episodes | Part One

So I wrote a post recently about the best episodes of Community, and while I agree with my choices, let's put it this way, it wasn't the best post I've ever put together. So, for my Supernatural post I wanted to go into a bit more detail about each episode and why you should watch it, while trying to stay as spoiler light as I can. 

The French Mistake 6.15

This episode is ridiculous. No show has ever, or will ever, do anything like this again. This episode breaks the fourth wall and then smashes it over your head. There's meta, there's meta and then there's The French Mistake. This is Supernatural at its best, laughing at itself and doing things other shows could only dream of. The scene where Sam and Dean are acting may well be my favourite moment in TV ever. I don't think anything makes me laugh as much (except Photobooth). It's Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean playing Jared and Jensen playing Sam and Dean. I told you it was meta!

Changing Channels 5.8

This is an episode courtesy of The Trickster (i.e. the best kind of episode), where he sends Sam and Dean into an alternate reality where they're inserted into some popular TV formats (like Grey's Anatomy and Knight Rider), as well as referencing the show's own mythology by including some of the programs the guys watch on the show (make sense?). It's really funny, and I feel like this was when the writers started to really really get weird. Genital Herpes anyone?

Mystery Spot 3.11

OK, so I said Changing Channels was when the writers started to get really really weird, but Mystery Spot is when they first started to get weird. This episode is Supernatural's take on Groundhog Day, and honestly, it's fantastic. Like the real Groundhog Day, this episode starts off like any other, the boys chasing a monster of some kind, that is until something goes terribly wrong, and they are snapped back to the beginning of the day. The episode is equally funny, sinister, and actually really really sad. Altogether a great episode that I can happily watch over and over, although it's silly, it's also very well thought out and explained.

It's a Terrible Life 4.17

I like when shows do episodes like this, where the audience is completely in the dark about what's happening. Similar to episode 2.1 of OITNB, we know as much as the main character, which isn't very much at all. In It's a Terrible Life, the boys are shown a parallel universe in which they're not hunters, but office workers. As the audience we know very little about how the boys got into this situation until fairly late in the episode, and I like when an episode keeps you guessing. 

The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo 7.20

I think we can all agree that Season 7 is not the best season of Supernatural. It's Leviathan-heavy, and Cas-light - not my cup of tea. However, Season 7 is also the season that brought us Charlie, and for that I will be forever thankful. Charlie is awesome, she's a self-proclaimed lesbian nerd, and one of the only female characters to stick around. This episode serves as a great introduction to Felicia Day's character, and sets up a lot of great things to come. 

All Hell Breaks Loose Pt 1 2.21

This is the first serious, 'non-silly' episode on the list, can you tell I have a type? There is a heartbreaking moment in this episode, right at the end when Dean screams Sam's name. It gets me every time, Dean's emotion is just so raw :'( I don't think there's much more I can say about this episode without giving away too much. This episode is the culmination of the first two seasons' story-arc, and it does not disappoint. 

The Monster at the End of This Book 4.18

This episode was the start of the writers' descent into meta. This episode introduces the Supernatural Books, a set of books that Sam and Dean discover that include their entire hunting history. Yep, books in the show, about the characters of the show, all named after episodes of the show. Not as meta as The French Mistake, but getting there. This was when the writers started referencing fans in the show, something that was continued through further episodes about the books, a fan convention, and, most recently, the 200th episode Fan Fiction.

Folsom Prison Blues 2.19

This episode is great, it doesn't follow the usual Supernatural format, in that I really didn't know what was going on for the first ten minutes, and could not see a single way out of it until right at the end. The way that the writers captured exactly how the characters would behave if they wound up in prison is great, mostly Dean acting like he owns the place. This is also the episode that brought us Dean's Blue Steel.

Part Two coming next week ... 

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Dolly On ... One Direction

As I mentioned here, I started a new job at Paperchase this week, and, as part of the small talk that comes with meeting new people, my new manager asked me what kind of music I listen to, in particular what I was listening to on my iPod when I walked in. I replied by saying I'd been listening to Jessie Ware's new album, but truthfully, I'd been listening to FOUR, the latest offering from One Direction. I don't know why I was 'embarrassed' to tell the truth, and if I could go back I definitely wouldn't lie, because he truth is: I love One Direction!

They're cute and sweet, and not afraid to be themselves. They make great, catchy music, and are, for the most part, easy on the eyes. They inspire discussion, mostly 'who's more attractive, Zayn or Harry?', but discussion nonetheless. All five of them have their own personality and unique style. They all bring something different to the band, and they can all sing! They always seem to be having fun. Whether it's in interviews, on stage, or in their music videos, they always appear to be enjoying themselves. I love this, because it makes me feel like they appreciate what they've got. They have the perfect life and all the opportunities in the world, and I feel like they know this. It's also just nice to see people smiling and joking in music videos. 1D have fun with their videos, something that people rarely do anymore.

I don't think I can write a post about One Direction without telling you which one is my favourite, so, here goes. It's Harry, and it's Zayn. I know, it's cheating to choose two, but I literally can't pick one over the other. Harry is the one, obviously. He's the most famous, and he's the coolest (and he's younger than me - why?!?). But Zayn is Zayn! He's one of the most attractive people on the planet, and he's realllly pulling off the man bun at the moment. He's also the best singer, his ad-libs are just perfect. My next favourites are Liam and Louis, Liam because I like his voice, and Louis because he's pretty attractive. To tell you the truth I didn't really like Louis until recently, not for any reason in particular, he just seemed pretty insignificant. But, after seeing him holding hands with a monkey in the Steal My Girl video, how could I not love him. My least favourite is Niall, he creeps me out, and he's very annoying. He plays the 'joker' of the group, and it pisses me off. (Don't judge me for taking this all a bit too seriously.)

(This picture is my desktop background; it makes me laugh too much.) Part of the reason I love them is because my friends love them. There's not many things that I like that I can talk to my friends about. None of them watch Scandal or Supernatural or The Vampire Diaries. None of them listen to Paramore or Lady Gaga. They do however like One Direction. We like One Direction. Their first single was released the month before we all met (me and my uni friends), and it feels like we've grown up with them. They're all our age, and throughout our university career, there's always been a new 1D song to see us through. Most of our nights start off with us listening to 1D's back catalogue.

One Direction have had a string of fantastic singles over the years, from What Makes You Beautiful, the song that announced their presence to the world, to the charity single One Way or Another, to their current single Steal My Girl, but until FOUR, I'd never bought one of their albums. I kinda thought their albums were made too quickly, and that all the album tracks (i.e. non singles) would be just that. But ... FOUR is so good! The vast majority of the songs could, and should, be singles (not Night Changes though, I think that was a mistake, and the video is, for want of a better word, cringe). The best songs on the album are, in my opinion, Stockholm Syndrome, Steal My Girl (despite the questionable lyrics in the chorus - I'm looking at you 'belong'), Clouds, Where Do Broken Hearts Go and No Control. Personally I think that 1D do upbeat, fun tracks better than the slower, more emotional ballads, so I'm not the biggest fan of Night Changes (especially that key change), Ready to Run, Fools Gold or 18. This album was more than a pleasant surprise, and I know I'm going to be listening to it for a long time to come.

To read the rest of the Dolly On ... series, click here!

Monday 24 November 2014

This Week Vol. 7

First things first, I must apologise for not posting a single thing last week. I'm not really sure what was wrong with me, but I didn't feel creative or motivated, and everything I did write just got deleted. I had quite a busy week this week, from TEFL work to starting a new job to standing in front of a room of people and defending my mum's honour. To stop this from being too boring, I'll intersperse some videos I've enjoyed watching this week (yes, despite my massive YouTube rant the other week, I'm still watching videos. However, I will say that I no longer think I'm obsessed with it. I think I've made it to the stage where I'm enjoying it healthily, and it's not affecting me negatively).

This week I watched The Fall (Series 1 and the first two episodes of Series 2), and holy cow was it good. I haven't had nightmares about a show for a very long time (Dexter Season 1 anybody?), but after watching the first two episodes I was seriously freaked out. I don't want to spoil it for you, but I will whole-heartedly recommend that you watch it. I'm thinking of doing a whole post about it in fact, because I have so much to say, so potentially look out for that. Here's the trailer (it does give away a lot, so if you know you're going to watch the show, don't watch the trailer).

I started a new job at Paperchase this week, it's just as a Christmas Temp, but I really enjoyed it. I've never worked somewhere that was so well organised before. The shops I've previously worked in have all had at least a few issues with their tills, whether it's card machines or scanners rarely working or needing to reboot the system every so often, there was always something to apologise for. But at Paperchase everything runs so smoothly, and it's great. I'm only working part-time, but it's good to have something to get out of bed for.

I'm pretty sure I've spoken about where I live before, and the garden we help to maintain, but this week shit got real. It was the AGM of the committee that my mum's on, and that is supposed to represent our estate. This meant that a new committee was going to be elected, and my mum was standing for chairperson. Unfortunately she didn't get it, but I would not be surprised if the vote had been fixed. The current chair is the worst person I've ever met, and even though I hate standing up in front of people, this AGM was my only opportunity to show the tenants and housing association what a bully he is. I'd been planning what to say for weeks, thinking about every point he could bring up and exactly how I was going to fight him on it (I felt like the Keating Five from HTGAWM). In the end I didn't really need to say much of what I'd prepared because other people did! It was so great to see people standing up to this man for once, even my mum said a few bits. At the end of the meeting I was elected to be on the committee, and I took that opportunity to say a few words about how my mum had been bullied by the current committee for the past two years. I was really nervous, but I knew it was the right thing to do, and, because I'd prepared, I had everything worded perfectly. I managed not to get too personal about it, because I knew that would ruin my argument, so I stuck with something like this: 'this committee should be transparent, everyone in our community should know what goes on, but currently, not even some members of the committee are included in decision making'. It felt good to say it, and even better when the guy from the housing association picked up on something I'd said and referred to it as 'seriously concerning', but the best part of the night was as I was leaving, when four different people came up to me telling me they were proud of me for standing up against this man. Granted, he's still the chairman, but with me now on the committee, I'm hoping that things can change (unless what I say in the next paragraph materialises).

This week I've been thinking a lot about next year, and what I want to do with myself, and think I may have thought of some kind of plan! One of my friends moved to France a few weeks ago, and is going to be there until April. When she comes back, we're hoping to do a bit of travelling around Asia and Oceania. That's all fantastic, but what am I going to do until then? This is something I've been thinking about for aggggges, because I really don't think living at home is good for me, or my mum. So, the plan is this, finish my TEFL course by the end of the year, and spend the first 5 or 6 months of next year teaching English somewhere in Europe. At the moment my heart is set on Budapest, because I love it. I spent a few days there on my own this summer, and felt completely at home. I felt comfortable and safe, and kind of at home what with their tube system and everything. It's also very cheap compared to London, I could get a one bedroom flat right in the centre of the city for half of what my mum's charging me to live at home. Not gonna lie, I'm kind of scared to write this all out, because it means that I'm actually going to have to do it, and it is scary. Moving to a whole new city alone, even if that city does have thermal baths and the best Pad Thai I've ever had, it's a huge change, but one that I think I'm ready for. I keep y'all updated (am I pulling off y'all? I don't think so).

Friday 14 November 2014

This Week Vol. 6

I haven't done a This Week post in a while, but I couldn't not do one after the week I've had. I spent the entire weekend (20 hours!) on a TEFL course, learning to teach people English, and it was so incredibly awesome. I was soooo nervous beforehand, I had a full on anxiety attack and was so close to just turning back at the door. Thank goodness I didn't though, because it was so great, and I think I've found my calling. It was a fantastic weekend where I met some really cool people and learned so much about what it takes to be a good teacher! 

I've been listening to this song repeat, it's very quickly working its way up my Most Played list.

I loved this couch gag from the first episode of season 26 (what?!) of The Simpsons! I thought it was so funny, and so weird that it was just perfect (I actually cried from laughing so much). It's just a shame the episode was pretty shit. I know this is old news now, but I started writing a Friday Favourites post aggges ago and never had the space to upload it.

I saw Nightcrawler and Interstellar this week, and both of them were great in their own ways. Nightcrawler was my kind of film, it was dark and creepy and really made you think. It was similar to Breaking Bad and Dexter in that the protagonist is not exactly the nicest person, but I really like that. It gives you something to think about. Interstellar was also pretty great, it was quite slow to begin with, then it seemed like it was trying too hard to be Gravity, but then it got good and I have to admit that I did shed a tear right at the end.

I loved reading Elise's series 'this is my business story', where she documented her not-so-usual story of building her business. I'm way back at the beginning of her story, just graduated and looking for jobs, but reading about how Elise managed to turn all this around to become a successful, self-employed woman doing what she loves, is really helping me not to get caught up in my failures.

I also met up with my school friends this week and we went to go and visit one of their universities, SOAS. It was strange going to a University in London because it was just so different from mine, but it seemed quite lively and political which was cool. They also advised me to go ahead with something I've been thinking about doing for a while, which is uploading videos of myself singing to YouTube. I really love to sing, and have been told I'm quite good (*blushes*), but I'm just waaaaaaay too shy to ever sing in front of people. I'm not sure if I'll be any better on YouTube, I might get too obsessed with how my hair looks or how my mouth makes weird shapes when I sing and not end up uploading anything, but I'm hoping not. I'm planning to film my first video this week because I've not got much on, and from next week I'm starting my new job at Paperchase (wooo money!), so, you heard it here first! I think my first song is going to be 'His Eye is on the Sparrow' from Sister Act 2.

Don't forget to follow me on Bloglovin' if you like what you're reading!

Wednesday 12 November 2014

Top Five Episodes of Community

Community has a fairly simple premise, it's about a Community College Study Group. It may not sound that funny, but the writers are geniuses, and make every episode a lol-fest (I didn't know how else to put it). The characters are so well written and developed that even an episode that revolves entirely around a lost pen can be one of the best.

Remedial Chaos Theory

This is hands down the best episode of Community ever, but it wouldn't be half as good if you weren't already a fan, and weren't already incredibly familiar with all the characters, as it is ridiculously character based.

Digital Estate Planning

This episode is seriously funny. It involves the gang being transformed into video game characters, and is so well done. Again, like most Community episodes the humour comes from the characters, like Pierce not knowing how to play the game and Troy jumping the entire time, if you weren't a fan of the show, these things might not be quite as funny.

Advanced Dungeons & Dragons

I really enjoy the episodes of Community where the majority of the time is spent around the study room table, and this is no exception. Watching the different members of the study group deal with Dungeons and Dragons is hilarious. 

Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design

Lolwut?! That was my first reaction to this episode, and my second and my third. I still don't really get it, and that's exactly why you should watch it. Over and over again.

Competitive Ecology

Todd and Chang. That's all that needs to be said about this episode. (But mostly Chang.)

(Note: the formatting on this post seems to have a mind of its own, sorry!)

Monday 10 November 2014

Top Five Paramore Covers

Over the years Paramore have covered loads of great songs, from hardcore rock songs to country slow jams. They're all fantastic, but these are my top five!

Sunday, Bloody Sunday | U2

I heard this version before I ever heard the original, and while both of them have their charm, I really like the way Hayley's sweet baby voice contrasts to the raw lyrics.

Use Somebody | Kings of Leon

Like most of the covers in this post, this is from the brand new eyes era, when I was seriously obsessed with Paramore. If you go back to the week of this cover in the comments on, you'll find that I correctly guessed that they'd be covering this song in the Live Lounge. One of my greatest achievements.

Long Distance Call | Phoenix

At the time of this cover this kind of song was pretty un-Paramoreish. It had a funky vibe that we hadn't really heard before. Thankfully we got more of it with tracks like Ain't It Fun. Also Hayley's voice sounds so great and husky here. 

You Ain't Woman Enough | Loretta Lynn

Watch this and tell me Hayley Williams isn't one of the greatest singers of our generation. You can't can you? This was filmed about a month before the first time I saw Paramore live and made me 100 times more excited to see this in the flesh. 

My Hero | Foo Fighters

Paramore recorded this cover in 2006 for The Sound of Superman album, but only got round to performing it live in 2010. This is one of my favourite songs, and I love seeing it covered by my favourite band. 

Friday 7 November 2014

Dolly On ... Modern Day Celebrity

Forever celebrities have been those perfect, unattainable figures that you will never meet, never be friends with, and never capture looking less than a million dollars. However, with the rise of Twitter, and YouTube, the way we see celebrities, and the celebrities themselves have changed, and it’s messing with my mind. We all know I’m emotionally unstable (before writing this I wrote 1000 words that ended with me ‘wanting to cut off my face’), and this new style of celebrity is killing me from the inside out. Allow me to explain …

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter. AKA the fall of the Great Wall of Celebrity. Since Twitter moved into the mainstream and celebrities started jumping on board to seem more ‘real’, the wall between normal people and famous people was seemingly demolished. We now knew that Hayley Williams was watching Dexter at the same time as we were, or that Rihanna was smoking a joint as we were scrolling through Tumblr, just as Harry Styles was eating a banana. We were in on these people’s lives, and over time it started to feel like we were friends. I could go on Misha Collins’ Twitter, hear another hilarious tale of him doing something embarrassing, and think ‘OMFG! I do that too! We’re basically the same person’. We started spending a lot more ‘time’ with the people we admired, feeling like we were getting to know them personally. Everything was fantastic. It was a win-win. Celebrities could show their fans that they were ‘just like us’ and fans could form even deeper, more personal bonds with their heroes, leading them to buy more albums and T-Shirts. Fantastic right?

No! It’s all a lie. We will NEVER be like them. We will NEVER be friends with them. They will NEVER know who we are. It is this revelation that puts us in an even worse spot that we were before. Granted, I was sad back in the day when I thought Busted would never be my boyfriends, but not as sad as I am now. I’ve got to know these people online and I KNOW that we would be friends if we met in real life. We have SO much in common! If only I was famous too and could show them how cool I am. (If you haven't had this revelation yet, don't worry, it's coming.)

This phenomenon is ten times worse with YouTubers, because they were never unreachable in the first place! They started off in the realm of ‘I’m just like you’ (celebrities have always been at least a step above us normal people). We’ve grown up with these people on YouTube, they feel like friends, but they may as well be fictional characters. We’re never going to meet them. They’re never going to be our friends or our husbands. They’re never going to like us. It’s really hard to think of it like this when you know they’re just sitting in a room, however far away from you, filming themselves talking to you. The fact they are just normal people, and there is an actual possibility that we could’ve been friends is just an added heartbreak.

Let’s be honest, I’m writing this mostly for myself, as I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos recently, from Zoella to DanandPhil and Crabstickz, and it’s made me really depressed. I know I have an addictive personality (self-diagnosed of course), but it just seems so much worse when there’s the added imaginary possibility that I could actually be friends with these people. At least when I’m binge watching Supernatural and feel sick to my stomach being away from it for too long, I know they’re not real. I’m never going to meet and marry Dean Winchester (as much as I want to).

One last point I’d like to make about YouTube is the vicious cycle of having no friends. I have no friends, so I watch videos on YouTube of cool people who talk about how they have no friends. By watching these videos I don’t end up going out and meeting new people who could become friends, but I feel OK about this because the people I watch on YouTube have no friends either. Why do I need friends? Danisnotonfire says he has none. But, let’s be honest, they do, and even if they don’t, they’re getting paid to tell you they don’t. There’s only one person losing out in this relationship and it’s you (me). The worst thing is that you then you come to rely on them as friends and then they go and disappear for months on end (Crabstickz).

Phew, that was miserable. Sorry guys, but as you can tell I’m having a pretty rough time at the moment, and I need to take it out on someone. YouTubers seemed an easy target.

To read the rest of the Dolly On ... series, click here!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

The artRAVE!!!!

So I saw Gaga last week and bloody hell was she amazing. We were sat right at the back, so these pictures are taken on the maximum zoom of my little Panasonic camera. Seeing her live has made me want that Lady Gaga tattoo even more (the BTW unicorn on her leg). 

Monday 3 November 2014

I Bought a New Lens!

I bought my current camera around Christmas time last year, the Canon 600D, and I love it. However, since I bought it I haven't strayed from the kit lens (the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 DC III Lens). All the pictures, unless stated otherwise are taken with this lens. Don't get me wrong, I love my camera, and have had no problems with the lens, I just wanted a bigger zoom. Not because I'm a stalker, or a Private Investigator, and not because I'm too lazy to move closer to my subject. I wanted a bigger zoom lens because the things I want to photograph always seem to be far away, whether it's animals, trees, people or whatever, I always want more zoom. So I invested in the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4.0-5.6 III Lens, because I saw it on Amazon for £60!

The photos below show how different the two lenses are; I am sitting in the same place for all four. The first one is taken at the widest angle on my 18 - 55mm lens, and the second is taken at its most zoomed in. The third is the widest on my 75 - 300mm lens, and the fourth is the most zoomed in. i.e. the first photo is at 18mm, the second 55mm, the third 75mm and the fourth 300mm. There are no effects on these pictures (hence why they're so grey). 

If all that confused you, here's all that information squeezed onto one picture. I've not had this new lens for long at all, but will keep you updated with how I'm getting on with it. So far I love it, it's just a little heavy.