Friday, December 31, 2010

So long, 2010...

In the long run, 2010 has been a pretty good year. I graduated college with a 2.1 honours degree (didn't see that one coming..), and I got a real, grown up job, like a real, grown up person (also did not see that one coming..) I had two holidays - New York and Croatia - and about a million amazing nights out. I successfully barbecued a big pile of meat and managed to not give anyone food poisoning, I successfully knocked my car insurance down again by managing to not crash for the whole year, and I successfully removed all traces of red hair dye from my hair and redyed the whole lot of it blonde and managed to not end up bald. Eh, win.

2011 will, hopefully, be even better. I don't do New Year's resolutions because I think you'll always end up failing, but I like to make a list of things I'd like to change, or make better. For example, it would be stupid of me to say I'm going to resolve to go to the gym three times a week - never going to happen. But I am going to try and go more often (currently I go about once every two weeks so ehh this shouldn't really be hard). I'm also going to start keeping a record of what the hell I spend all my hard earned money on, take it eeeasy on the blonde hair dye before I end up with hair like a scarecrow, and take up some sort of hobby - I spend too much time on the internet, fact.

I love it when it gets to a point when you can say to people, "See you next year!" and that doesn't mean in several month's time. It actually means in less than twenty four hours time. And seeing as how I entered 2010 drunk, I feel it only fitting that I leave it drunk... :-)

Sooo guys... see you next year! Have a great night, whatever you're up to!





Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Are you reelin' in the years...?

We're nearly done with 2010, so I decided to put together a little list of notable things that you may or may not remember from the past year ... it's almost like Reeling in the Years, but without the deadly soundtrack..
 

January 4: The tallest structure built by man is finished - the Burji Khalifa in Dubai
January 22: Waterford Crystal ceases trade
January 27: JD Salinger dies aged 91
February 2: Cadbury is sold to Kraft Foods
February 11: Alexander McQueen dies, aged 40
February 27: The earthquake in Chile, which was recorded as an 8.8, sets off a tsunami and kills nearly 500 people
March 10: Corey Haim dies
April 1: Justin Bieber enters the charts at number one, making him the youngest male solo artist since Stevie Wonder to do so. No, this is not an April Fool's joke...
April 13: Another earthqauke - this time in China - kills over 2,000 people
April 20: An oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven people and marking the beginning of the oil disaster that lasted for months
April 30: Gerry Ryan dies, aged 53
May 2: Greece gets a one hundred and ten billion euro bailout. Oh how we laughed...
May 20: Five paintings that total to a hundred million euro are stolen from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris
May 28: Gary Coleman dies, ages 42
May 29: Dennis Hopper dies, aged 78
June 11: The World Cup kicks off in South Africa
June 18: Toy Story 3 is released in the United States and become the highest grossing film of 2010, earning over a billion euro worldwide
July 11: The World Cup finishes, with Spain winning
July 1: Dail Eireann passes the Civil partnership Bill
July 25: The first report of the infamous Wikileaks!
October 13: An explosion in a mine in Chile results in 33 miners being trapped several hundred meters underground. Sixty nine days later, all are successfully rescued
October 25: Another earthquake triggers another tsunami and kills roughly 400 people in Indonesia
November 18: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is released
November 19: Terminal 2 is finally opened in Dublin Airport
November 21: News about a rescue package for the poor old Republic of Ireland is released
November 28: Wikileaks goes mad, releasing thousands and thousands of 'confidential' files
November 28: Leslie Nielson dies aged 84
November 29: Ireland receives an eighty five billion euro bailout


So it's been a fairly eventful year ... Do feel free to add anything you feel I've missed!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Get Outta My Way!!!

I tried to go shopping. I really, really did. My purse was at the ready, my bank card itching to go.

But I just can't handle crowds!

Or changing room queues that encompass the entire perimeter of the shop and last for half an hour. Or rummaging through floor items. Or picking up something that's in the size 8 section but is actually a size 16 (something you inevitably don't discover until you're in the changing room). Or asking for every pair of shoes on sale in a size six only to be told, 'sorry, that's the last pair', for each one. I take one look at a jumbled up sale rack and my heart starts to panic.

Ugh. Can't do it.

All shops do their sales differently; some well, and some not so much. Here's what I found from a few shops in town (before I hid in a corner and cried because I just couldn't take it anymore...)


Topshop:
Crap. I don;t know why I ever hold out hope that I'll find something other than a few pairs of underwear for a coupla quid. In previous experience, Topshop simply do not put the good stuff on sale, they put everything that they still have boxes and boxes of it left because its ugly and no one buys it on sale. The one thing I did see was a goooorgeous woolly cardigan that I'd had my eye on for ages reduced to half price ... but only for the size 16s. C'mon, now. Not to mention the fact that there's more clothes on the ground than on the actual railings in there.

River Island:
Meh ... none of their bags are on sale - none. Which is really the main reason I went in. There's a few pairs of shoes, but again, not the good shtuff. However, they do have a fairly decent stack of clothes on sale - more so than Topshop - although you really need perseverance to dig through the mish mash of railings. You might come across one thing for every twenty things you brush past.

Accessorize:
Pretty good. At least half of the accessories are not half price, some stuff is even seventy percent off. And considering a lot of their things aren't too expensive anyway, you're bound to come out with something. Or five things ... better yet, you don't need to queue for the changing rooms!

La Senza:
Excellent; almost the entire shop is half price. No certain sizes only, no certain colours only, just pretty much everything is half off. So a thirty euro bra is now fifteen - you can't beat that! Three pairs of underwear for a fiver also - bargain.

BT2:
Half and half ... lots of really amazing stuff not on sale, but sure there were a few bits and pieces, and anything that is on sale is mostly about forty percent off, which is pretty good value. Good for bags and shoes.

Urban Outfitters:
Yessss. That is all.


That's all I ventured into before it started raining and I bumped into a thousand people too many. To be honest, I think the major bargains are to be found in electronics and stuff; the rents came home from Harvey Norman with a massive flat screen television for half price. When the carpark signs for Dundrum stop telling me they're all full, I might venture in there and see what the craic is ... who would have thought its was so damn hard to spend money?!






Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dreamin' of Disney, Part Two

So... ready for round two?!


Bambi

Ahh what a classic.
"I didn't cry when Bambi's mother died..."
LIES. Everyone cried. Deal with it.
This one is also based on a book, and demonstrates some of Disney's best work, being one of several well received animations released around this time period. It tells the story of a young dear as he grows up in the forest, learns about life, experiences loss, and finds his path. You can see the similarities with The Lion King, although in this one, 'Man' causes all the problems and pain. The emphasis revolves more around the development of Bambi's character rather than an eventful plot, so kids nowadays might not sit still for the whole thing, but I think its a gem, and definitely worth watching.



Dumbo

This is one for slightly younger children, but it has such an amazingly simple concept; Mrs Jumbo wants a baby, makes a wish, and a stork brings her one. And there you have one of Disney's greatest animations. Dumbo's only problem is fitting in, as his ears are abnormally large, and his mother must defend him from all sorts of cruel remarks. Upon taking things a step too far, the circus folk chain her up in a tiny cage, and little Dumbo must fend for himself. He befriends a mouse, who helps him sneak out to meet his mother in what is arguably one of the most heart wrenching scenes and songs Disney have ever created. Again, if you "didn't cry" you are LYING!!!
The only problems Dumbo encounters (nowadays, anyway, not so much back when it was released) are slightly racist stereotypes. When the circus tent is being constructed at the beginning, the workers are all jolly black folk, who sing a rambling song about how their work is hard, but they just love it. Then there's the gang of crows, who's lively jive songs are typical associations with African Americans at that time.
However ... things were different back then. I still regard Dumbo as one of the best Disney has to offer.


Robin Hood

Stealing from the rich to give to the poor ... a bit of a contradiction for kids but a fun one all the same. This was one that I endlessly had on repeat, driving my mother crazy singing all the songs. She tried to show me actual Robin Hood films when I was older - like, with people - but I was having none of it. Robin Hood was a fox, end of. Ahem.. ;-)
This was the first Disney film released that wasn't watched over by Walt himself, as he passed away a few years previously. I think that's possibly why it got such crushing reviews upon it's release; talk of crude animation and lazy editing was bandied about, but feck that shite; its entertaining! Its a nice bit of relief from all the 'discovering oneself' films, and how we can all accept and get along with each other; its just a good old fashioned hero tale, with a fairly easy going plot and plenty of fun.



The Little Mermaid

Oh yeah, my underwater phase.. ;-) unfortunately I never quite learned to open my eyes under the water, and somehow I don't think goggles looked good on mermaids..
A free spirited young mermaid longs for adventure, and gets it into her pretty little head that having legs and being able to walk will provide such fun. I completely disagreed; she was welcome to my legs if I could have her tail. Much of the enjoyment for this one comes from simply sitting back and listening to the songs, and allowing the plot to ramble on with ease. Its not ground breaking stuff, but its entertaining. I was so obsessed with this that I got every single Little Mermaid magazine ever issued, and listened to the stories on tape before bed.
Clearly I was an uber cool child.


Lady and the Tramp

I'll leave it at this little beauty, not given nearly enough recognition or credit. One of few that wasn't based in a book, Lady and the Tramp was actually in the pipeline for a good decade before it was made. One snowy Christmas, Jim gives his wife a puppy; their life is complete. Until the stork visits, and Lady, not content with no longer being the centre of attention, legs it, and befriends a mongrel named, 'the tramp'.

Memorable songs include 'We are Siamese', and who can forget the scene where Lady and Tramp share a bowl of spaghetti... ;-) its easy enough to predict the ending - the Aristocats would later follow a fairly similar structure - but Tramp comes home with Lady and finds a loving home and they all love happily ever after. And really, would you expect anything less from Disney?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Disney Darlings, Part One

Oh wow. TWO WEEKS.

I. Am. Sorry.

I really have nothing in the way of excuses, just ... ya know, life. Got in the way of stuff and has been generally very exhausting the past while.

The only free time I have had lately was Saturday just gone, when I spent much of the day curled up in bed in the fetal position feeling extremely sorry for myself and watching multiple Disney films. Sooo ... I decided why not create a nice long list of my favourites :-)


The Jungle Book

An absolute classic. Based on the book by Rudyard Kipling, this was the last animated film Walt Disney himself ever oversaw. Bagheera the panther finds an abandoned baby boy in a wrecked boat, and delivers it to a family of wolves to be raised. Fat forward ten years, and Mowgli the 'man-cub' is happily frolicking with his canine companions, unaware that a tiger named Sher Khan wants Mowgli dead, based on his only previous experiences with humans; hunters. Bagheera and Mowgli's wolf family decided it would be for the best if Bagheera takes Mowgli back to the nearest village, but Mowgli runs away and befriends a bear named Baloo.
The musical score is particularly good work, with 'Bear Necessities' being a classic song that everybody knows. 'I Wanna Be Like You' pays tribute to the popular swing music of the time (and then feckin Katie Waissel butchered it to pieces), and most adults wearily taking their kids to see it will have gotten a kick out of the quartet of vultures, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the Beatles, if you didn't notice.. ;-)


The Lion King


Ahh now. I defy anyone to claim they did not enjoy this film! Not since Bambi have I cried so much at parental loss - damn you, Disney. Simba is the young cub of King Mufasa, who rules over the African plains with a gentle paw. Mufasa is loved by all the animals, while his bitter brother Scar lurks in the shadows plotting his downfall. Disney certainly don't shy away from the touchy subjects; Mufasa's cruel and untimely death, Simba being outcast, and several rather dark and scary scenes for young children; such as Scar's song and dance in his cave with his hyena minions, and his total determination to have Simba killed. Death, growing up, and finding oneself are all strong themes throughout. Seriously good tune-age include 'I Just Can't Wait to be King!', and, of course, 'Circle of Life'. Its rather like Hamlet, but with cute, cuddly animals. Win.




Pocahontas

Right, I know a LOT of critics ripped this one to shreds for a 'stereotypical' and cutesy view of Native Americans, but I don't care - loved it. I was about eight when I saw it, and clearly political undertones
washed right over me; all I wanted to do was run and play in nature and befriend a talking racoon. My mother literally had to coax me down out of trees after this one, and despite being a blue eyed blond child, I dressed up as a Native American for Halloween for about three years running. I don't care how 'twee' it might be, it tries feckin hard to show everyone that we can all get along; which, lets face it, is a simple thing to try and get across to your kids. The songs ain't half bad either. The only problem I had was that they did not end up together at the end - ok I know that's what actually happened in real life, but I - like every other young girl, I'm sure - honest to god thought that when she legged it up to the top of the mountain she was going to jump in and swim off to the boat to be with him.

And then she just stood there and WAVED. Ehh ... crying eight year old? Happy ending please?!



The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Ahh, another one that tries to teach us how we can all get along. I don't know why so many people roll their eyes a stuff like this; they're children's movies, it's probably one of the best things to teach them. Another Disney based on a novel (Victor Hugo's this time), it tells the story of a young gypsy woman named Esmerelda who befriends Quasimodo the hunchback. Quasi was abandoned on the steps of the Notre Dame Cathedral as a baby, and Judge Frollo took him in, but imprisoned him high up in the bell tower because of
how 'hiedeous' he looks. Esmerelda is down there dancing around and being a Romany barbie when she gets herself in a spot of bother, and Quasimodo saves her - and falls in love with her. The only part that gets a bit weird for kids is Frollo's love for Esmerelda; he is totally fascinated by her and basically lusts after her, but at the same time he hates her, and hates himself for loving her. Bit much for young uns to properly understand, it's be more of a job for the Criminal Minds team. This was another one that disappointed me with its ending, actually; Quasimodo can be friends with Esmerelda, but she would rather go off with Captain Phoebus. For all its faults though, its still one of my absolute favourites, and I went through a phase of wanting to be Esmerelda as well; I tied bells to everything I wore and drove everyone demented with them.


The Aristocats

A total gem that doesn't get nearly enough credit. Its a fairly simple plot; a lovely old Parisian lady intends on leaving her entire fortune to ... her cats. Next in line is the butler ... standing between him and a wealth of riches are a couple of helpless kitties. What's a guy to do, really? He stuffs them in a box and dumps them miles away, and the film tells the story of their journey home again. Mummy cat, Duchess, has no street smarts at all, but determinedly leads her three kittens home, befriending the charming Thomas O'Malley, the 'alley cat' along the way (you might recognise him as Baloo the bear...) O'Malley introduces Duchess and the kittens to his swingin' pals, a band of assorted animals who certainly play on the 'scat' genre of music. 'E'reybody Wants to be a Cat' is classic Disney brilliance, and the simplicity of the film is a credit to it.




Right lads, I'm not done but I'll leave it there for tonight. Part Two tomorrow!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Mafia unmasked

Ehh no, not the real Mafia...

My nanna purchases dozens of trashy celeb magazines every week, and has a habit of letting piles of them building up ... and then giving them to me when I go to visit. What can I say, my job requires me to spend a lot of time sitting around in a car, there's only so much tetris you can play before your phone stages a protest. So I was flicking through an old one a few days ago (I think it was Now), and I came across the most stunning make over ever. Well it was more of a make under, but it was seriously impressive.

The culprit? Yer wan from the X Factor, who always coated herself in some sort of brown gloop before leaving the house. Ah you know her ... this one ...





And just for good measure, here she is again with her baby ... what a lucky kid to have such a pretty mommy.


So, while surely no one can deny that this girl is an excellent example for young children about looking and feeling great about yourself, someone decided it might be a bitta craic to attack her with some paint stripper anyway. The six inch false eyelashes were pulled off, and after several hairdressers ran away crying (they're in therapy now) one plucky stylist managed to remove the tangled mess of hair extensions. She was given a sexy red dress - one that didn't look like someone cut out huge holes in various parts of it - and her make up was professionally done. The result is actually amazing.

Behold ...


Chloe Mafia




I think this is incredible; all stylists involved should be given a medal. And as if that weren't enough, they even managed to secure a picture of her totally sans make up, tan, hair ... everything! The picture is really teeny, but you get the idea...



Its totally frightening how young and normal she looks. You sort of forget that all that paint is actually paint, and that she wasn't born with a healthy orange glow and more hair that her actual body weight.

Makes you wonder what goes on in her head to make her think she needs to take a tango bath every morning before leaving the house...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I would like to dedicate this award to...

... the wonderful Skinni Peach! (aka Dawn)

I entered her freebie competition a while ago, and to my surprise, I won! Sooo I was sent a lovely surprise in the post ... brand new lippy! And a good one at that!




Its an Estee Lauder gloss stick, in Shimmering Ginger. Apart from the fact that it smells amazing (like a fruity lipbalm!) it's a really nice, natural colour, with a touch of a sparkle to it. It stays really well, unlike some lipsticks that fade from the centre and leave you looking like you've used dodgy lipliner. The packaging is stylish, and I can tell it will last for ages; a little goes a long way.

All in all, if you're looking for a new lipstick, I recommend this one! Thanks Dawn! :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Tis the season...

... to roll out tackiest christmas decorations you can get your hands on ;-)

I have seen heaps and heaps of photos over the year of houses that just go waaay overboard with lights and decorations, and I continue to be totally amused by how on earth they think it looks in any way attractive.

Here are some gems.















While I was flicking around looking for some really good ones, I also came across this...


Happy Christmas, kids! Why don't you pee on Santa...??


And also, if you're putting this lot on your tree, you definitely need some professional help...



Christ... only in America...


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fun fun fun in the ... snow..

Alright snow ... we've had our disagreements, so I'd like it if you just left in peace before we say things we might later regret ...

I feel I'm being a total spoilsport when I complain about snow ... but I drive for a living. Which, believe me, is NOT NOT NOT fun in snow and ice. Its well dodgy and feckin terrifying, and it take forever, especially seeing as I live a good forty five minutes drive from town anyway - double it now. Driving on snow isn't too bad, but when a million cars having been driving on it all day, it compacts and turns into pure ice, which is where things turn into car olympics. I saw a good few cars skid, and there were loads of lonely cars just abandoned along the side of the road as people had obviously given up and walked home; its like the end of the world or something!

One thing that seriously, SERIOUSLY annoys the absolute shit out of me are fucking little retarded children throwing snowballs at cars. How utterly stupid can you get, kids?? Two hit my windscreen the other night, and not only could I suddenly not see where I was going, but the sudden noise just totally shocked me, and I hit the brakes ... thank god there were no other cars on the road or I almost certainly would have had a crash.

Seriously kids ... FUCK OFF!!


*In case I made anyone sad, here are some lovely pictures of fun things to do in snow...
































And my personal fave... :-)