Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dear John vs Romeo and Juliet with a little bit of my self confessed stupidity thrown in as well

You can tell the wedding is over when One-And-Only-Daniela has to ask me when we're next going to the gym instead of the other way round...

We went last night, and I timed my workout perfectly. Dear John came on the TV during my workout and I finished just before things started to go south, so only got to see the happy 'falling in love' bit where Channing Tatum walks around topless a lot whilst surfing. SCORE! To be honest it's my favourite way of watching a lot of depressing movies. I think I've mentioned before that most of the time, when watching Romeo + Juliet, I tend to watch right up to the 'consummating of the marriage' and then turn it off whilst saying "Awww what a lovely story." Seriously, try watching it that way... it's the only way to walk away from that script with a warm fuzzy feeling inside instead of the normal destruction and pain that most of Shakespeare's tragedies leave me in. Damn you Shakespeare! Will there ever be anyone as good as you? How were you such a genius? You rock my world...


To be clear, although I did just mention Dear John and Romeo and Juliet next to each other, I am in no way implying that they are of the calibre. I am aware of the things that Dear John lacks, even with the half nakedness of Tatum coupled with the fact that I can't watch a single scene with Tatum's dad without crying... even whilst working out in a public gym apparently... because that wasn't embarrassing. I don't know what it is, but that man can look through a coin collection, make lasagne and put back a plate in just the right place, in a way that makes me openly weep. Yes, I'm aware how weird that sounds. No, this does not apply to anyone who stacks away plates. The man is magic, and his super power is to make me spontaneously cry at every move he makes...

Additionally, I just had a particularly stupid 'train of thought' moment and I thought I would share it with you because I do love me some public shaming every so often...

So this morning, whilst looking through a particular facebook page that I enjoy called 'Best of Tumblr' I found a little gem that made me chuckle. For those who don't know, Best of Tumblr screen grabs the best bits of Tumblr and posts them on their wall... pretty self explanatory actually. 8 times out of 10, I respond to their posts with at least a little chuckle. Occasionally there's a gaffaw, sometimes I even cackle, and on those rare occasions I do the silent laugh, whilst hitting 'Share, share share.'

This particular post made me gaffaw and share. I posted it, and it looked a bit like this.

I'm serious guys, this opening line and carrying my coffin in to the muppet theme tune; they are both musts at my funeral.

I had a couple of 'likes' and then a friend commented underneath:

I got genuinely excited at the prospect that someone was taking me seriously and had the following thought process:

Me: Yay! My funeral is going to rock. I can't wait to see it.
Myself: Oh wait, I'm not going to be able to see it am I?
Me: Never mind, hopefully someone will record it and I'll watch it later.
Myself: ...
Me: ...
Myself: ...
Me:That's not right, is it? ... Dammit! Dying sucks. You miss out on everything.

Guys, it's not that I'm stupid. But more like, there's a part of my brain (and it usually gets the first thought in) that is not exactly gifted in the brain cell department. It's the part of my brain that saw a lady on the other side of the train platform and genuinely thought it was me... yeeeaaaah, that happened.

And with that jumble of thoughts and stories that don't really link or relate to each other, I will love you and leave you.

Peace out my lovelies

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I am benefiting rather nicely from peoples lack of knowledge... Is this my first taste of exploitation? If so, I like it...

So, as I've mentioned countless times before, I have written a couple of books which are available on Amazon (see the link to the right). I'll be honest, I'm not quite matching JK Rowling's book sales, but considering I'm pretty much unknown by everyone worldwide except for the lovely 10-20ish readers that I have, I haven't found my sales all that shabby on these books.

When I published A World Reborn (book 2 in the series), I decided that I would make the first one as cheap as I could. So I lowered the price to Utopia (book 1 in the series) to just 77p in Great Britain and 99c in the USA. Since doing this, I have been selling about 4 times the amount I was selling before. (As impressive as that might sound, please be reminded that the previous sales weren't all that high to start with.)

Occasionally I see booms in the sales, (once, a full six people bought my book in one day... how am I not doing this full time yet?). These are usually associated with the posts on this blog where I shamelessly plug the books even though most of you are probably sick of hearing about it. However, some people aren't and go ahead and buy the books. Thank you so much all you lovely people for that by the way. 

The point I'm trying to make is if I do have a sudden increase in my sales, I tend to know how it happened. Two weeks ago however, something bizarre started to happen with my first book. More and more people were buying it, and this wasn't just happening on odd days, it was getting more and more consistent. I couldn't work it out. I began to think up ideas when it first started happening, mainly around the thought that someone had decided to start a book club and Utopia had become their choice for the week. But unless this was happening several times, it still didn't add up. 

Delving a little further into the location of these sales, I noticed that the majority of them seemed to be being bought in the UK. The surge in sales seemed to be located to my little country. Once again I was perplexed, wondering if someone had put up a poster somewhere that I was unaware of (seriously, if any of you ever feel the desire to do that, you have my full blessing). Just as I was planning my trip to scour the entire land of the UK, I was at the gym watching one of those little TVs you get on the machines when an advert came on and suddenly it became all too clear to me. 

No guys, someone hadn't been advertising my books on TV. (again... if anyone fancies doing that at any point...) But a new series had just started. It was series 2 of a British TV programme that it seems people are pretty impressed with. What's the name of this TV show, I hear you ask? ... It just so happens that the show is called Utopia...

Yup. That happened. (Disclaimer: Although the first series of this show did come out before I had published my book, I had named the book long before I had heard about the show, so technically I named it first.)

I'm not too upset about this as, although I haven't actually seen it, it doesn't really have anything to do with what my books are about apparently so no harm done. Having said that, it would appear that this TV show started up again the week that my sales started to increase. By some stroke of luck, when fans of the show have been going online to find the show Utopia, they've been finding my book as well. Huzzah for search engines! 

Now, people are either initially looking for this show, finding my book and then getting waylaid and deciding they'd like to read that as well, or they are buying my book under the genuine impression that it is about the TV show. Just in case anyone is still confused and tries to sue me or something... it's not. It has nothing to do with it... I think. I haven't seen it. To be honest I'm too scared to, in case I subliminally copy something and then can get done for it. My brain does things regularly that I'm not aware of until it's too late. 

When coming to this realisation, I have been pretty impressed with what is appearing to be some form of free publicity. I mean this show is advertised everywhere. And although the front cover is completely different to my own and my name is nowhere to be found on the adverts, I can't help but squint slightly and pretend that it's my book that's really being advertised. It helps to have a general optimistic/completely unrealistic grasp of reality. I even began to think of other ways I might be able to use this to my advantage, although most of my ideas have been severely warned against as apparently it could be seen as some form of copyright infringement... Here are two of my favourite ideas:

Plan No 1. Time for a new look.

The main image for Utopia (TV show) is a giant eye. Exhibit A:

I thought that perhaps it was time for a new front cover design. Not having the money that this show has, nor the know-how of photoshop... I had to make do:

Not only has idea been frowned upon on copyright grounds by my loved ones, apparently it also has been suggested that this new cover might actually hurt book sales rather than make them better... I don't know what they're talking about. This picture is professional and awesome and not in the least bit creepy. 

Plan No 2. Piggy back on the advertisement already available

My other idea is to buy a sharpie and take a little trip around London, locating the already available posters for the TV show. Then, when no one is looking, I would sneakily write my name at the bottom of the poster. I wouldn't do anything that would suggest false advertisement, such as writing 'By Lisa J Harries' but just simply write my name because I like the way it looks on glass... Of course, then someone pointed out to me that that was, in fact, vandalism and graffiti, but hey! if Banksy can do it...

The alternative to writing my name is to make A4 flyers of my new book cover image and stick them up next to each poster with a sign that says "The other Utopia." Yup... not a thing wrong with that. 

Finally, I would like to thank Channel 4 for putting on this clear hit of a show and calling it a name that matches one of my books. You have really helped out the little guy here... I mean that in every sense of the word, I truly am a tiny woman. 

Of course this is all speculation... maybe there have been a surge of book clubs with a post-apocalyptic theme and the TV show doesn't even factor into it... nope, I don't buy it either. 

Peace out my lovelies

Monday, 28 July 2014

Best week off EVER! An explanation in pictures.

I didn't blog for a whole week, but you know what? I'm not even going to apologise for that because I was too busy helping with the organisation and then partaking in the best event in the world. Older-Brother-Glyn and Sister-In-Law-Amy are now officially hitched. It was AMAZING. It was the most picturesque and stunning wedding I've ever been to, and I'm not just saying that because they are my relatives, but because of this:

I mean, wow. Every single part of the day was perfect and guys, these two are sweetest and loveliest couple you could ever meet. I did spend the day filming a hell of a lot so will inevitably put up some form of montage of the day, but this might take me a while on account of the editing involved and the lack of know-how on my end to do said editing.

The whole week was taken up with wedding prep and taking part. Highlights of the week involve a particularly fun pamper day with Marmie, which meant new haircut, nails and finally shaping my eyebrows... my lack of colour on the eyebrows means that I don't very often bother with them. However, I thought as this was a special occasion and the eyebrow wax wasn't going to cost anything, I might as well. Also, it'll help the next time No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso decides to colour in my eyebrows, thus changing my appearance entirely.

Me with my normal non-existent eyebrows:

Me (10 minutes later) after No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso managed to pin me down with her makeup brush:

Apparently people were fans. I was not. On account to not being used to having these things on my face. However No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso and One-And-Only-Daniela seems hellbent on forcing me to wear these eyebrows until I'm "used to them" so I've come up with a solution to the problem. Ladies and gents, my new fringe:

Take THAT peer pressure!! You can paint eyebrows on me all you like, but no one's ever going to see them! (And yes, most selfies I take do involve me pulling the same expression.)

On the Wednesday, when we were on our way to the venue to set up, this happened...

In case you were wondering, that is indeed two police officers with Older-Brother-Glyn and Sister-In-Law-Amy's wedding invitation in their hands.

This then led to this...

Yup, that is indeed a police car escorting us to the venue personally... I kept on telling Marmie that that second bottle of Scotch was not a good idea while she was driving but she wouldn't listen... (I'm using a humourous line here as Marmie has never in her life drank alcohol, so therefore, I was enforcing my right to use irony in a comical way in this particular section (however, I did feel the need to add this particular explanation before people who know Marmie take me seriously and think she's developed some form of problem (I am also aware that the more I continue to explain this line, the less funny it becomes... I'm okay with that))).

The police were escorting us, not because Marmie was hitting the booze hard, but because the only road that could take us to where we needed to be was closed off. However, because people are nice and soppy and romantic underneath, when you mention that you are there to set up a wedding, everyone wants to help and get you to the church on time... or in this case the woods/field on time.

The rest of the day involved sweating and putting up decorations and sweating and being inventive with bunting and sweating and carrying chairs that you will later find out has caused you to bruise your biceps but you won't mind about because at least you now have existing biceps to bruise, and sweating a little bit more. And then we ate with both sides of the family and I resisted every urge within me to sing 'When two become one' which I think everyone was very grateful for although I'm not too sure why. We then split into bride and groom parties, went our own ways and settled in for a night of not being able to sleep but also very aware that if there ever was a night we'd need sleep, it would be this one. Poor Sister-In-Law-Amy suffered the most for this... I have no idea why though...

And then the best morning ever. Whilst all the groom's side did all the last minute setting up, the bridal party went out for brunch, had our hair done and pampered ourselves until we were ready to go. I didn't feel too guilty about this as there had been a fair amount of work I'd been subjected to up until this point, although there was a small amount of smugness to know that we were relaxing a lot more than the rest of the party. Aaah, what can you do?

The aisle for the wedding was the longest thing I had ever seen. It was an actual pathway that eventually turned into an aisle. Which meant that there was about a minute walk down the aisle before any of the guests could even see you:

The start:

The halfway mark:

The point where the guests could finally see you:

And the ceremony area:

I would like to point out that these pictures were taken the day before the wedding... on the day, there were actually people sitting on those chairs. I would have taken pictures but Older-Brother-Glyn forbid me from walking down the aisle with my phone, filming the whole thing... no idea why... Additionally, I was pretty grateful for the increase in my fitness levels, as it turned out I'd need it for the aisle alone...

Then the festivities began. Amazing things happened like a whole congregation of guests singing "Crazy little thing called love" as one of the wedding songs and creating elaborate costumes and designs out of prop boxes left underneath the reception tables... cannot WAIT to see the pictures for that, not to mention the bouncy castle and some of the best and most hearfelt speeches I had ever heard. It was magical and Older-Brother-Glyn and Sister-In-Law-Amy's attention to detail on all the many decorations on the tables and around the whole venue just made it that little bit more spectacular. Not to mention, it didn't rain at all and not only did I manage to fit into my bridesmaid dress, but I didn't accidentally fall out of it once! Huzzah!

Video to properly paint this day to come soon, I promise!

Peace out my lovelies.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Fancy Things Friday: Older-Brother-Glyn

Welcome to Fancy Things Friday, where I talk about things on a Friday that I think are fancy!!

Ooookay... Where have I been? I've been training a lady up on my job because this is officially my last day before my week off!! And why am I taking a week off?? Oh, you know, it's just this little thing that is awesome... OLDER-BROTHER-GLYN IS GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dudes... amazeballs and shizzle is this day... or rather next Thursday is the amazeballs and shizzle day... because Older-Brother-Glyn is getting married... to another person ... and she's really nice... and I'm really happy about it... and so are they... which is good because they're getting married... to each other... sweet.

So, in celebration of this, I thought I would make this particular Fancy Things Friday a sickeningly sweet and mushy one by talking about a Fancy Thing I have known my entire life, and that Thing is Older-Brother-Glyn.

Older-Brother-Glyn is three years older than me and is one of two very special brothers that I have. I have been massively fortunate in the family that I have been given in this world. I have two awesome parents who do nothing but love and support us, and two brothers who I get along with really well. Fighting went out of the window with us when I was about 18 and it has pretty much been plain sailing since then. I know... it's 'roll-your-eyes' sweet. Sure, we bicker and... well... almost every conversation had between siblings does tend to turn into some form of debate, but it's in the 'joshing' light way that simmers just under getting serious and the moment it comes close to it, we back away from that shizzle HARD. 

Older-Brother-Glyn has always been someone I looked up to growing up. He was the cool older sibling who me and Younger-Brother-Daniel desperately wanted to be like. He was an actor from the moment he performed a solo playing 'Herod the Great' at a Christmas play when he was 8. He was always so good at performing and had this massive reputation by the time I arrived at his secondary school. Now, I've mentioned before that if there was a particular type of person that I was during school, it would be similar to a Glee Club kid... most likely Rachel from Glee... in fact, I'm pretty certain they based her character on my life. I started secondary school and pretty much wanted to be like my brother. Everyone gushed over him, and it was well deserved. My first year at school, he played the scarecrow in The Wiz, and NAILED IT. A performance that was only topped three years later when he played Fagin in Oliver... which is a performance that is still talked about in family circles today... a lot. 

To say Older-Brother-Glyn is quirky... well, let's just say there's one thing that Marmie and Father successfully managed to do in all three of their children, and that's make us all just that little bit weird. We were odd kids growing up. We put on skits regularly, Older-Brother-Glyn was known to do bizarre things when he was bored as a way of trying to get our attention. You know, things like jumping on top of the coffee table, picking up a nut, nibbling into it whilst crouched over it, (like one would imagine a squirrel to do) jump onto the sofa, climb to the Christmas tree, place the nut in one of its branches, tilt his head to one side, and jump back to the coffee table to repeat once more. If you didn't pay attention to him whilst he was doing this, he would only make his actions bigger and more bizarre, increasing this until eventually you had no choice but to look at him. (True story: one time this actually involved him hugging my face)

He was the older brother that would regularly entertain me and my friends when they came over. They used to talk about how silly he is and the stupid things he would do for weeks after... in a good way... they were impressed with the weirdness. 

We all three grew up and became a little less weird than we had been as kids. Although, thankfully the weirdness never really left us completely. We're all creative, teaching drama, being an graphic designer and writing non stop in the vain hope that someone, someday offers to pay money for the things written, Older-Brother-Glyn has always kept his creativity. He thinks outside of the box in most things and tends to go out of his way to make something not just average but spectacular. He has put on plays and created performances and displays that have blown my mind. Where most people see things in black and white, he see colours... and lots of them. A perfect example of this is the way he proposed to his lovely fiancee, New-To-The-Family-Amy, and another example will be their wedding this week. 

I couldn't be happier for my big bro and the life he's about to start. New-To-The-Family-Amy is absolutely perfect for him and an AMAZING addition to our family. The Harries children have never been that great at relationships or love or anything like that. I like to think that it's not because we're socially awkward or incapable of romantic attachments, but rather because we've been waiting for the right one. Older-Brother-Glyn did. Next week, he gets to start his life with New-To-The-Family-Amy and as lucky as he is to have her, (he really is) she is equally as lucky to have him. He is a kind and caring man who has always looked out for those around him. He has been the best older brother I could have asked for and I am grateful for him every day. 

He is my Fancy Thing this week because we have now begun the week of celebrations. We celebrate their marriage and them individually and so this means that I am doing my rare moment of soppy open declarations of my love for other human beings. I'm sorry if it's been cheesy, but I adore my brother and I am so happy for him. 

Older-Brother-Glyn and New-To-The-Family-Amy... have a freakin' awesome time this week. It's going to be immense. I love you bro. 

Peace out my lovelies

Monday, 14 July 2014

Goal achieved ladies and gents. I have made it finally!

So, most of you will be aware (on account of the fact that I haven't stopped talking about it for a month) that I have been desperately trying to lose weight for my brother's wedding, which is now in 10 days. My desperation for this was mainly down to having a bridesmaid dress that was WAAAAAY too small for me and I have never been close to being able to zip the damn thing up. Seriously, I don't know what I was thinking in buying it and assuming it was my size, I definitely was dreaming of some fantasy body I had at the time.

Anywho, I hit a state of panic just over a month ago where I realised that, unless I did something drastic, I was not going to get into this dress for the wedding and then I would have to turn up naked or in jeans or with the dress on but masking tape strapping the gap between the zip together. Whichever way it went, it wouldn't look very good for the pictures. So, I took the pro-active route for once in my life and got a gym membership. Since then, I have been attending the gym almost every day whilst eating next to nothing interesting to ensure no embarrassment for the wedding.

Something beautiful happened on Thursday guys. I decided to try the dress on again and... IT FITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding, I have never been close to getting into that dress all the other times I've tried. I have to admit, I was beginning to think of this day and feel sick with the unnecessary pressure I had inflicted on myself by setting this silly goal far too close to the wedding.  But, my competitive nature won out in the end and I DID IT. Sure, there are spanx involved, but the most important things are A: I don't look like I'm bursting out of the dress when I wear it, and B: I can sit down in the dress and not struggle to breathe. Huzzah and hooray!

I would show you pictures, but I'm guessing the whole dress thing should probably be saved for the day, so instead I thought I'd show you a before and after picture of my total weight loss this year. The first picture below was taken at Christmas, the second picture was taken this morning:

And this is me just before I started working out and then me today. 

I am so happy with that... I can't even begin to tell you. Huzzah for exercise! And believe me, that has never been a phrase that I thought I'd say. Sure, I'm hungry all the time and knackered, causing me to sleep for 13 hours on Sat night (so blissful!) but I'm also what the kids call 'healthy' and people have stopped calling me jolly now which... well, aside from the connotations attached to that, I'm quite upset about because I kinda liked being jolly. I'm still going to continue with the diet/exercise regime however, I have another stone and a half to go and then I'm at my ideal weight.

But the most important thing is, I can now think of Older-Brother-Glyn getting married now without suffering from stress induced palpitations, which I'm sure we'd all agree is a very good thing.

Peace out my lovelies.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Next on Netflix: Greek

Okay, let me get this straight first. I've refrained from writing this so far because I'm beginning to think that I'm one of those people who seems to become obsessed with any TV show thrown my way at the mo. After last week's Fancy Things Friday review on Kyle XY, whereby I was coming down from a particular high of obsession that can only come from watching an entire TV show in quick succession over the space of just a few days, (which can trick you into thinking a show is better than it actually is) I didn't think that I would be able to move on so quickly. However, I followed the next recommendation Netflix made for me the following day and began watching Greek.

I wanted to go into this show with a level head and a certain amount of detachment. I thought I'd be okay, given that I started to outgrow the classic Teen Romance school shows a few years back... I was a Dawson's Creek girl growing up and everything has always been a comparison to that show ever since, usually falling short of it. I also tend to, as a rule, get annoyed with this particular genre half the time as all it seems to do is drag out 'will they, won't they?' scenarios and you can forget any hope of getting invested in couples as they only ever stay together for one series max before everything goes wrong and they go from wanting to spend the rest of their lives together to never wanting to speak to each other again, but still throwing longing looks at each other from across the room because deep down they still know that they were the 'one that got away' and they will never feel the same with another person again... until another person turns up and then the whole cycle starts up again... ugh. It pisses me off. I've mentioned it before, but I really think that writers need to realise a series can still be good if they have just one couple who don't actually break up. Go on writers, do it once. Stop forcing us to get invested in your characters and then taking away all our hopes... it's really annoying.

Of course, a lot of people like the drama. Maybe because they like drama in real life, or maybe because they are able to watch a TV show with some form of self restraint and healthy approach whereby they are able to walk away from an episode and not spend every moment away thinking about it... I understand that's a normal approach to fiction... However, it's never been something I've been able to master.

Due to all of this, I started watching Greek against my better judgement. Apart from anything, the whole Greek system in Colleges in America is completely bizarre to me. We don't really have anything like that in the UK. We just sort of go to University and learn and hang out. It's a bizarre concept, granted, but it seems to work for us.

Right off the bat, watching the pilot of this show, I had mixed feelings. On one hand, there wasn't really anything ground breaking about the show. It was once again another classic teen angst type of show... however there were a few quirks that convinced me it was worth continuing to watch.

First, the character of Cappie (middle guy in the above photo) and his particular fraternity. There is a fair amount of teen drama going on throughout the episode, lots of love and lust and classic teen relationship problems which is pretty standard for this particular genre. However, the scenes that involved this particular fraternity provided a certain amount of light relief and laid back fun that really appealed to me. They were part of this bizarre tradition of Fraternities and Sororities but yet were completely detached from the bitchiness and competitiveness of it all. In short, they just didn't care. It works as a really good balance to keep the episode from getting too heavy, giving me the ability to make my eyes roll.

Second, they are all in college so immediately the most annoying 'having sex for the first time' teenage girl drama that seems to become the focus of the first four series of any teen drama series is eradicated. I'm sorry but those situations have been the most annoying for me when watching past shows.

Third, as mentioned above, I have absolutely no clue about this concept of the Greek system in Colleges, except for what I've seen in Legally Blonde, so it was quite educational for me to see how it works.

So, I decided that I would continue to watch this show and see how I fared. To be honest, I really didn't think I'd last to the end. I was sure that it would annoy me at some point and I would give up... as such, you can imagine my surprise when I found myself not only not losing interest, but actually getting more and more invested in the characters and storylines. I'm currently at the end of all the episodes offered on Netflix and am now onto the series after that, and I have to say, it's getting to be one of those shows that I can't stop thinking about.

So, what is it about this show that makes it worth watching, where others in its genre have fallen short?

I think the main thing, for me, that has kept me going is that it never really gets to that puberty driven intense level that so many others have before it. Sure, it skirts around it. There is plenty of backstabbing, cheating, falling in love, 'will they, won't they?', friendships, hate, bullying etc and so forth, but all of it seems to skim across the surface and the characters actually react to it in a healthy way that doesn't drag out for series after series until you can't stand it anymore. The bitchiness between the sorority houses is probably the most intense it gets. It's really been the only bit that got me annoyed, but once again it's balanced out with the laid back attitude of their friendly neighbourhood Fraternity, run by Cappie.

Yes... Cappie is a also a massive factor involved in my watching of this show as well. He's one of those guys who, when I first saw him, I wasn't too sure about, but after three episodes of his comic relief one liners, I was drawn in. His whole fraternity freakin rocks. Seriously. I'd be all over the Greek experience if it meant I could hang out with those guys the whole time.

It is also a show that seems to just get better as it goes on. It gets funnier all around and becomes this fun show to watch. I've been suitably impressed and happy to watch it for the most of this week, although I'm now getting to a point where it is becoming the thing that I am thinking about when I'm not watching it. I do think that might have a lot to do with how many episodes I have watched in such a short space of time, but unlike Kyle XY which I am becoming less and less impressed with the more time I have had away from the show, I do think that it is actually a very well written show.

Don't get me wrong, if you're looking for something of more substance than romance, friendships and college life, this will not be the show for you. However, of the series I have watched in this genre, of which there have been many, I think this might actually be one of my favourites. It just feels like the writers get it a little more, in that you can have a successful show about this shizzle without making it depressing and 100% angst all the way through. They put more focus on the fun that can be had being at College which is far more entertaining for me than any of the others I have seen.

I appreciate that this is yet another show I am getting into far too late, and that it has already finished, but I do think it's worth a watch if you fancy watching something that you think is just a bit of fun and then find yourself realising that you have become far too invested in the characters than is healthy and you cannot, for the life of you, work out when that happened, but you're kind of glad that it did. Trust me, there are worse shows out there to get invested in. So, if you are past the age of caring about these type of shows, try it out and see what you think. It might not be for you, but it's as close as you're going to get in that genre... Also, there are some very funny lines in this show that I am desperate to quote to like minded people, and at the moment I don't know of a single person who has seen it... mainly on account of the fact that apparently I'm 'too old' to watch shows like this anymore.


Peace out my lovelies.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fitness and aliens: Because one can't exist without the other.

Salad... Salad... Salad... Porridge... Salad... Salad... Tuna... Salad... Salad... Apple... Salad... Salad


I miss real food.

I'm also going through this process at the moment where I'm getting on the train after work to head straight to the gym, and falling asleep so suddenly one might assume I'm narcoleptic. Let's face it, at this point, I probably am. It's making the train journeys a lot quicker in my mind, but as it has been happening whilst I'm playing Pet Shop Saga on my phone, I have on several occasions almost lost my phone as it dropped out of my hand whilst I dropped off to sleep. Also, I have it on good authority that my sudden narcoleptic tendencies are high amusing to watch. I have caught many a fellow traveller suppressing smirks as I jolt back awake and wonder what the hell is going on.

Once I'm at the gym, I'm awake again... well, almost. It takes about 5 minutes of Cross Trainer work out before I'm raring to go but once the adrenaline kicks in, I'm all 'exercise is cool!' and then I hate myself a little bit because my very uttering of those words goes against a lifestyle I have been finely attuning for 28 years of my life.

I do find it interesting that my approach to exercise has now done a 180. When I started, I had all this competitive energy inside me, whereby I was determined to lose weight, so I was going to go to the gym and work out for hours and hours and hours and nothing was going to stop me. As such, I would get on the Cross Trainer, enter in 30 minutes of exercise into the plan and begin with a smile. It would be at roughly the 5 minute mark, when I was sweating far more liquid than my body could hold and my face looked like someone had pressed me up against the sun, that I would lose all of the afore mentioned energy and quickly change the 30 minutes to 10 minutes and convince myself that that was good enough. As of last week onwards however, I have been dragging myself rather reluctantly to the gym whilst every part of my body is begging me to go to sleep instead, arriving at the cross trainer and deciding that I'd just do a quick 20 minutes this time, and do more when I feel more up for it. However, this time at the 5 minute mark, my body wakes up and starts celebrating as if it suddenly discovered that exercise was exactly what it wanted, despite the hours of protest beforehand, and next thing I know I'm doubling the time from 20 minutes to 40 and raising the level higher and higher, finding my energy levels only increasing as the minutes tick by.

I've heard the rumour that people react this way to exercise, but I never believed it and I certainly never thought that I would end up being one of these people. I feel like I've just discovered a new planet full of Aliens and instead of them ostracising me, they have accepted me as one of them... Oh my days, I'm in Avatar. I'm a tall blue woman with hair that plugs into weird animals that fly... that's pretty much all those things were right? Is it racist for me to call them things? Do I call them people? But is the word 'people' a name that is only applicable to human beings? Argh, can you imagine the Politically Correct red tape we would have to go through if we ever did find another habitated planet? We've barely got to a point where we can accept everyone on our own... There would be all these fights because they want to celebrate their Christmas in July and we'll be all, "But that's cray, cray! I'm going to bomb your planet now!" Their leaders retaliate with, 'Well I'm going to bomb yours right back!' Which we then say is completely ridiculous and, by merely mentioning it, the Aliens clearly don't have the right state of mind to run their own planet. And then Armies will be sent in on the pretence that they are there to protect the citizens from their leaders who are clearly working against them, but then stay for ages and we later find out they've been stealing all their magical immortal juice that they have in their waters instead of doing that whole 'bringing peace' thing... or something...

Yeah, people say that it would be awesome to meet other alien species, but if our history is anything to go by, I really can't see that meet up going anywhere good...

And that, ladies and gents, is how you go off on a really long winded tangent.

You're welcome.

Peace out my lovelies

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

I can be quite the neurotic mess when I want to be... who knew? Don't answer that...

Sup my homies, how's it a hanging?

I am currently going through what is probably the longest period this year where I haven't seen One-And-Only-Daniela... she's on holiday on some island near the Bahamas with No-Nickname-Yet-Tshepiso and I'm stuck in this country due to not having monies to embark on such excursions. (FYI: If any of you guys would like to help with such money problems (haven't been out of the country in almost 5 years now) then please feel free to buy one or even both of my books in the right hand column... also, please feel free to ask a couple thousand of your nearest and dearest to do the same... that would be amazing, thanks!)

I like to think that I'm a fairly independent and non 'reliant on other people' type of person... it's just one of the perks of spending your entire 20s single, watching marathon after marathon of different TV shows and making up fictional worlds in your head, instead of building healthy relationships with love interests and such. Yup, I am quite a beast in that regard. However, it would appear that I am beginning to experience some form of emotion at the moment whereby I am missing One-And-Only-Daniela... it's a bizarre feeling. It also doesn't help that she spent the first 5 days on her holiday completely MIA both phone wise and social networking wise, which meant that a sneaky little 'oh my days, what if she's dead?' thought snuck into my brain on the 3rd day in, and then, down to no evidence to prove otherwise, that thought began to fester, which led to a particularly intense 5th day whereby I was beginning to not be able to convince myself of anything other than something awful had happened. It would appear I had become a paranoid mess.

You will be pleased to know that this was short lived as I did receive a text from her on the 6th day with the line 'Don't worry, I'm not dead'... and then I felt foolish.  Also... that was in response to a text I had sent her whereby I had simply asked if she was still alive, as I figured that it was probably best to take the direct approach when it came to working out if your best friend was dead. It does prove that she is nothing like me when it comes to reacting to neurotic behaviour, as I would most definitely have played on this question with a more intriguing 'I do believe I did die, well this sucks... at least I can still use my phone. Silver linings!' I tend to default to sarcasm when people are freaking out/showing emotion/being complimentary around me... another perk of the whole happening single 20s life I was talking about.

Anywho, she is abroad, and I am in England... at work... sighing longingly as I can't remember the last time I took a holiday... really, I genuinely can't. Oh to have money... what a glorious thing that would be (*cough* buy Utopia and A World Reborn *cough*).

I do have a week off coming up though in 1 1/2 weeks... why is that, I hear you ask? Well, exciting news! Older-Brother-Glyn and New-To-The-Family-Amy's wedding is finally here! (Click on the link for a video of the proposal). Yup, they are getting hitched and we are gaining a sister. Huzzah! I've not had one of those before! Can I just say that, after hearing the plans for this wedding, I am so freakin' excited about the whole thing. Let's just say that it isn't exactly going to be the most traditional of weddings. It is however, going to be immense and awesome and I can't wait... just as long as I can get into that bridesmaid dress... I'm not freakin' out about that at all... nope. Completely calm on the whole thing... excuse me, I appear to be in the throes of the beginning of a panic attack. Speak soon.

Peace out my lovelies.

Monday, 7 July 2014

The nostalgic and reflective side effect of the Timehop app

I had quite a reflective weekend... actually, I've been pretty reflective for the past couple of weeks. There have been a series of events that have occurred in my life recently that have caused me to look back at the things I once had and the person I once was, all responsible for making me the person I am today.

I don't know if any of you have downloaded the 'Timehop' app. It's a simple app that each day lets you know what it was you posted on Facebook and Twitter this time last year/2 years ago etc and so forth. It's a fun app to have and allows you to take a trip down memory lane that generally tends to limit itself to only fond memories, due to those being the ones you are most likely to have shared with the world. However, it does tend to get a person sentimental and nostalgic for a time that is past and gone.

I have moved places a fair amount since joining facebook 7 years ago. Due to this, when Timehop shows me posts from multiple years in one day, I tend to be in a different place for all of them, spending my time with different people. On one hand, I love this, it makes me realise how many interesting people I've met and enjoyed time with, on the other hand, it makes me sad that I wasn't able to spend longer than a couple of years with each.

There are pictures that pop up on this app from different years showing me having the time of my life with these different friends. We're hugging and dancing and posing and laughing and generally enjoying time with each other in a way only close friends can. At the time, I can remember thinking that they are the friends I could see having these times with for years and years to come. But now, only a few years after this, I find myself having not spoken to them for months or even years. People move on and adapt to new surroundings and situations, and old friendships get lost in the transition. Most of the time, it isn't due to fall outs and arguments, but simply estrangement and the loss of available time to spend with these people. We mostly look on those friendships with a fondness and soft gaze, but also a sadness when the reality is met that these times spent with them are no longer things to look forward to but rather memories of things past. And yes, we can meet up occasionally and even have a night where we pick up right where we left off, but the distance between us means that the things we once had in common aren't there anymore and instead of living a shared life, we have two separate ones, losing a key element that formed the bond between us.

This has happened to me on several occasions. I have, along the way, picked up friends that I still speak to and regularly see regardless of the different situations, namely One-And-Only-Daniela and Oldest-Friend-Cafrin, and then others who I will see between 1 to 4 times a year, but overall my past is filled with awesome people who I still love and adore and who I only have distant memories of and maybe only ever will.

And then there is one other group. It's a smaller group of people where there are actual regrets forged out of the memories of friends who are distant for a reason other than simply moving apart. It was a more aggressive and sudden break. One that spurred out of hurt and anger. One that, after all this time, still hasn't been fully resolved. These are the saddest of memories; the ones that hold the only regrets I still have in my life. Occasionally my little reflective app will throw up photos of these people; happy photos of close and strong friendships from times where we lived out of each others pockets and spent every day together. To look at these photos, even after all this time when there are no more hard feelings or hurt and life has well and truly moved on, can be the toughest thing to do. It means that you are looking at nothing but photos of great nights and happy memories but can't see them with any other eyes than those of sadness and regret because you know how those nights ended. You know what happened to mean that, although there are plenty of photos from 7 years ago on there of that time, there are none after that. You look at the smiling faces looking into the camera and think they are lucky for not knowing what's ahead, but you do and it's sad.

It's good to look back at life and see the places and people that we once were. I love memories and, being a regular blogger, I know I will cherish the fact that I have documented so much of my life to look back on in the future years when my life has once again changed and I am in another different place. However, it's important that we don't live in the past. There will always be things that we aren't proud of from our memories, or times that are better than the life we currently have, or even regrets that we would give anything to resolve, but to dwell on these things won't do any of us any good. We can appreciate them, or mourn for them, or remember them daily, but we also need to take a moment to look at what we have now and make sure we appreciate this time before it becomes just another memory to reflect over and wish we did differently.

I've made it no secret that my past has not been a happy one in terms of my emotions and the battle that I've had. However, seeing these photos I can see that there was so much happiness to be had, so much goodness and positivity and love, I was just unable to appreciate them fully. One of my Timehop messages, showing a status I put up from last year, popped up this week. It was a status of me remarking on a change in  my mood. It was the point that I finally began to climb out of the fog that had been my life throughout all the photos and statuses that had been entered previously. I remember, when I wrote it, feeling suspicious for what this gradual elation in mood meant and how long it would last. Looking back now, I feel blessed and happy to know the positive turn it caused in my life. This status marks the one year anniversary of my recovery, which means that I have officially been healthy for the longest time (by a long stretch) in 12 years. That's a memory that not only causes me to look back in fondness, but also causes me to look forward in excitement. I have come such a long way in just 365 days. What could all my future years ahead of me bring, I wonder? Truth is, I don't know... but, freakin' hell, am I excited about it.

Peace out my lovelies

Friday, 4 July 2014

Fancy Things Friday: I don't think it's Fancy at all, except I do... but I don't... Dammit Kyle!!

Welcome to Fancy Things Friday, where I talk about things on a Friday that I think are fancy!!

So I had a really good Fancy Thing lined up for this week, but then last night it pissed me off, so I'm refusing to add it to my list now... I'm not even going to say what it was; so annoyed was I over the whole ordeal. 

However, due to this, I am now struggling to find a Fancy Thing to talk about. My usual technique of 'looking at what it is that I have been obsessed over this week and discussing it' has failed me, due to the above annoyance at this week's obsession. I also know I'm being petty about the whole thing, because it isn't even the Fancy Thing's fault that I'm annoyed... it's the network's fault for deciding this Fancy Thing no longer constitutes as a Fancy Thing and cancelling it way back in 2009. All that being said, there was no effort to tie anything up, it ends on a cliffhanger with so many open questions, and there is no closure for the obsession that has been my life... You might catch me asking my friend Kyle (X)Y has this happened??

Also, there was a thing that I wanted to happen from the beginning and it was finally starting to happen and I was all happy and excited about the happening of it, and now I'll never know if it actually happens and this pisses me off... 

Okay, screw it. My Fancy Thing (in the very loose sense of 'I will probably spend more time complaining about it than praising it' kind of way) is the TV Show Kyle XY.

It was once again a Netflix recommendation and I found myself under the weather and with little else to do on Sunday so thought I would indulge and see if it stuck. It did. To be honest, I freakin' loved the Pilot to this series. It's your classic high school supernatural (kinda) type show, but the pilot had something else to it as well... There were moments when Matt Dallas, who played the main character (surprisingly called Kyle) gave performances that blew me away. I could count 4 such moments that made me think 'this guy is going places.' He did give a few more throughout the series, but these did tend to dwindle... either that, or I just got used to him. He was never bad at the show, albeit sometimes a little on the cheesy side, but I missed the wows he gave me in that first episode, and he did mellow quite dramatically as the series went on. 

I liked the show a lot however. I was intrigued and, although it was never one that made me want to spontaneously combust throughout (*cough* Sherlock, Doctor Who and American Horror Story *cough*), I was still suitably in love with the characters and didn't ever get bored at any point... there was only really one character that irked me; Amanda, and she really shouldn't have as she played the love interest for Kyle from the beginning... but she walked around with this constant pout and holier than thou attitude that pissed me off most of the time. With the exception of her, the show suitably impressed me... however, I don't know if I'm prepared to put it down as a recommendation...

Don't get me wrong, when I started watching the show, I did my normal IMDB search to check how many series there had been and so I knew that it was no more after Season 3. Also, I guessed this because Caroline's mum from Vampire Diaries is totally one of the biggest characters in this series, so I knew that it had to have ended before Vampire Diaries started. I went in prepared that the show was cancelled. What I wasn't prepared for was that it would be cancelled without any tying up of storylines involved. 

Guys, I invested in this show. I created predictions of what would happen next. I willed on some characters and booed at others. I longed for relationships to develop and wished others would disappear. I put time and effort into the watching of this show, all the time holding the faith that at least they would do some kind of final thing that answered all the questions I had. They didn't. And, now that 5 years have passed, I doubt they ever will... not even in the form of a film like Firefly did. This makes me angry. This makes me annoyed. For me, where fiction is involved, it is the worst thing that any writer/performer/entertainer could do. 

You see, I am a girl who does get invested in the stories she is told. I enjoy the guessing and predicting and, most of all, I enjoy finding out that I was wrong or right and being able to get annoyed or excited about that. I probably get invested in fiction more than I should do, but I embraced this aspect of me a long time ago and have made my peace with it. The ending to Kyle XY was like Lost all over again. I know that Lost actually did end properly but they didn't tie up crap. I left that series feeling more confused than I had whilst watching it. At least with Kyle XY they don't pretend to tie it up, they simply stopped. Lost however... oh how my blood boiled... So much so that the finale of Kyle XY yesterday brought back all kinds of trauma flashbacks from my Lost watching days and I ended up going to sleep quite distraught and ever so slightly twitching. Due to this, I would like to sum up my feelings for this 'Fancy Thing' in the following letter. 

Dear Writers of Television Fiction,

Guys, we need to talk. We need to be very clear about a few key points. You guys might come up with these excellent ideas of TV shows and want to run with them, but please do remember that when they air, it's not just you and your brains watching the show and getting invested in your stories, it's the rest of us as well. Due to this, there are just a few points I want to make: 

1. If you have a really good idea for a mysterious cliff hanger or character quirk, for the love of all that is sacred, make sure you know the reason behind the mystery before you include it into your storyline. Don't just think it sounds cool and add it in, assuming you will come up with an answer to why it happened later down the line. You run the risk that way of not finding an answer at all and then having the thousands of people watching your show getting pissed at you and losing all faith in you as a writer. You don't want that, as I'm sure you would like to continue your career once this show has ended. 

2. If there is a very real possibility that you are going to get cancelled after the series you are currently working on, do NOT end the series with the mother of all cliffhanger lines whilst simultaneously hinting at further character developments and plot twists. I get that you're trying to build intrigue in the hopes that cancellation won't happen after all because people want to know what happens, but all you are actually doing is upsetting the fans who have spent days/weeks/months/years of their lives devoted to your show. My guess is that, by the time you are shooting that last episode, you are probably fully aware of which way the network is going to go in terms of cancelling your show, therefore be nice. Throw us a bone at least. 

3. You guys have the best jobs in the world. You get to make up hours and hours of entertainment for people all over the world and do it for years. Please remember how awesome your jobs are and that, even though a large section of the population will see fiction as not really that important and nothing that will change lives, there are a selection of awesome people who live for the moments when they can be transported to different worlds. You guys get to take them there, your stories matter to these people. Never take that lightly, never forget how freakin' awesome that is and how many of us would kill to be in your shoes. Therefore, please take it seriously and think before you write. Otherwise I'm going to get pissed and start booking tickets for LA (that's where you all hang out, right?) so that I can kick your arses into shape. 

and finally...

4. I have so many ideas, ones that actually have endings and answers to the questions I throw at the audience. As this appears to be a rare trait in some areas of your profession, give me a call and maybe possibly a job? 

Let me know

Love Lisa


So, in summary, Kyle XY is actually good but under no circumstances watch it, because it will just piss you off when you get to the non end... trust me on this. Watch Doctor Who/Sherlock/American Horror Story instead... and the many others from my Fancy Things Friday list

Have a great weekend everyone. 

Peace out my lovelies.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The proverbial wall has been broken... huzzah!! Take THAT laziness.

So, due to a combination of having a social life and being a little bit sick, I have not been able to go to the gym for almost a week. Last night was the first time that I could go, and to say that I had lost the drive to go would be an understatement. Also, the amount of sick/social life activities meant that my body was highly underfed and overtired, so much so, that on the train to the gym yesterday I closed my eyes for just a moment and woke up a whole four stops later... three times. It's a miracle that I didn't miss my stop. I really didn't want to gym it last night, I was ready for a nap of the most epic proportions and this seemed like pretty much the opposite of that.

However, today we are now only 3 weeks away from Older-Brother-Glyn's wedding. To say that I'm beginning to feel the panic of my impossible task of weight loss, is putting it mildly. I'm beginning to think that spanks is the way forward for that final push and so have begun to look into the purchasing of this. All that being said, I pushed through my spontaneous sleeping and went to the gym anyway. Boy, am I glad I did.

Ladies and gents, that moment that exercise people talk about? The bit where they push through the wall and start to feel really good after a gym session instead of just feeling knackered and hating their body? I experienced that last night. Don't get me wrong, the first ten minutes I spent on that cross trainer, I seriously thought that I was going to collapse into a state of unconsciousness, but the final 30 minutes (just as Big Bang Theory began) something glorious happened: My body, for once in its life, decided that it would respond well when I tried to do something good for it and perked up more and more as the exercise continued. I do believe I hit my 'break through the wall' moment.

Yes, I was only meant to be on the cross trainer for 20 minutes, but suddenly I was filled with all this energy and instead of feeling I should do more, I wanted to do more. So I did 40 minutes in total, followed by 30 minutes on the treadmill and then some serious stomach crunches. If I hadn't been running on excess energy, I could have done more, but I chose the side of 'Don't push it and probably get some sleep', gave myself a quick weigh, did a little dance as I hadn't gained any weight over my week hiatus but actually still managed to lose 1lbs and headed home feeling better than I have felt in a while.

Thanks to pushing myself to do it, I am now back in the headspace of wanting to go to the gym every evening again. I'm looking forward to my session tonight and have somehow managed to find some form of new adrenaline. I do believe I'm beginning to enjoy this exercise milarkey... now, if I can just work out how to stop watching Kyle XY until early hours of the morning so that I can actually get some real sleep then I'll be laughing... dammit Netflix you've thwarted me again with your "Looking at your recent watches, we think you'd enjoy..." recommendations. I swear I'd be the most well rested individual on this planet if Netflix had never been invented... sure I'd be as bored as hell, but well rested all the same.

Peace out my lovelies

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

And the finishing touches to the ideal diet... develop a stomach bug

I'm broken. I'm officially incapable of eating any medium to large amounts of food... in fact, sometimes even small portions are not good either. I want to say that this is a stomach bug, but knowing my body as I do, I am more convinced that it's pouting for all the healthy eating I've been forcing it to do. So, instead of filling me with cravings for food I can't eat, which it has now stopped doing, it has instead decided that I'm not allowed any food at all. My once depleted salad intake has now become even more depleted and I can't remember the last time I actually felt genuinely hungry and not just nauseous all the time.

As sucky as this is and as much as it is making me walk round in a perpetual state of feeling sorry for myself, there is a small silver linings side of my brain that is thinking of the dress and is excited for possible shortcut I may have found in the final stretch of weight loss needed. Although, this side of me is very small compared to the part of me that just wants to wallow in self pity.

You see, I do really love food. What's more, it's burger day in my work canteen today, and this day only ever turns up like once a month. The burgers are the most beautiful thing I've tasted in that place, and I look forward to this magical day regularly. Today, I had to go down there, look at it longingly and then head for half a portion of my normal salad, knowing full well that my enjoyment of that burger would be very short lived indeed, if I had opted for it. But eating is now no longer any fun. Even less so than the lack of fun I was having when all my food became boring and non fatty. Now it's minimalistic to the biggest degree and I'm constantly terrified of throwing up over strangers.

But enough about my digestive system, I'm going to go and stop filling all your heads with too much information. Sorry it's so short but I need to go and wallow some more... Much love!

Peace out my lovelies