Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Five Step Solution to Pointless Flapping

I managed to get myself in a totally unnecessary flap today. It started when I discovered that I have left my new skirt down in Plymouth. Then, while looking for my oyster card I realised that I had left it in my jeans pocket, the very same jeans that were, at that very moment, whirling around in the washing machine. It was one of those days in which everything took more time and energy than I thought it would, and I didn't really end up doing most of the things I had planned.

However, instead of this post turning into a session in which I moan at and about myself, here are some of the things I do to stop myself feeling stressed. Take note, this may be as close as I ever come to writing a self-help book.

1) Take a deep breath and remember that I have plenty of time tomorrow to dye my hair and make some biscuits, and even if those things don't happen, it's not the end of the world. The hair and biscuits elements are pretty specific to today's flap, but taking a deep breath and putting things in context is always a good idea.

2) Make a list. Now, I'm not really much of a list writer, but even just taking a moment and mentally listing what needs to get done can make everything seem a lot less scary and more manageable.

3) Go on YouTube and watch something a bit cheesy but fun. Today, I have chosen Don't Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin and it is making me feel a million times better.

4) Play with one or more of my pets. I've cuddled the kittens and Tommy. I'm fairly certain scientists have proven this to be good for you, so you don't just have to take my word for it, but it really is very hard to feel stressed when there's a cute little creature on your knee.

5) Finally (because I like things going in fives, and I dislike long blog-posts) put something random and enjoyable on the TV or whatever entertainment device you prefer, and just allow yourself to become immersed in something completely meaningless, but really fun. I've watched a lot of Australian MasterChef this evening, and now I'm going to hop on to Netflix and watch an Arrested Development or two.

There, isn't that better. Flap over.

I'm off to FrightFest tomorrow (yay!). I'll let you know what's good from that next week, once my mind and body have recovered a little bit. Oh, and I'll tell you all about the Plymouth Wrestling Association, which I was going to write about today until my flap started.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Can I have a P please, Bob.

In the spirit of Sesame Street, today's letter is P.

P is for poisoned, which is how I felt this morning after going to the pub last night. Remember those heady days when I had amazing alcohol tolerance and didn't really get hangovers? Gone.

P is for potential, as in the potential for a wonderful evening out watching the younger members of Zoonation street-dance their way through Groove on Down the Road at the Southbank Centre tonight. I saw Some Like it Hip Hop a couple of years ago, and that was brilliant, so I have high hopes.

P is for Plymouth, the land of pirates, pixies and pasties, where I shall be heading tomorrow to visit my brother and sister-in-law and see the Plymouth Wrestling Alliance in action. Might not quite hit the heights of Wrestlemania in Miami, but should be lots of fun and I'm really looking forward to a little holiday.

And finally, today's number is 3. Why? Because three is the magic number.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Day Five: Home Tattoo

There's a saying that if you want to make God laugh, you should tell him your plans, and I feel that this sums up Momento Maureen's Fantabulous Week of Challenges perfectly. I thought that Lego Shelob would be a nightmare to make, but it was a breeze; I didn't have most of the ingredients for my biscuits; it took ages to find my Romero dvds; those paper-zombies were a complete pain in the bum and then there was today. Over eighteen months ago (Christmas 2011) my dad got me a Tribal Tattoo pack including jagua ink, traditionally used for tattoos in the Amazon. My plan for today was to finally use this pack to make a nice temporary tattoo.


I looked through the book, grasped the basic instructions, had a design in mind and then realised that the little pot of jagua ink had dried up. Damn and blast!

Thankfully, I had an ace up my sleeve in the form of my Mum (occasional tattoo designer being one of her many talents) and her multicolour set of permanent markers.
This little beauty is now on the inside of my right arm for as long as it lasts. It's funny, because as a child I often got into trouble for drawing on myself, and now Mum's doing it for me! That's what's great about being an adult.

So, despite various set-backs, and chuckles from whichever form of deity you choose to picture, all the challenges have been successfully completed, and I even managed to blog about them all on the day they happened. I'm giving myself a big pat on the back, and offering a vote of thanks to you, Beautiful Reader, for coming on this slightly random journey with me.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Day Four: Zombie Army

Thank you to the people who made my Fold Your Own Zombie calendar. It's not your fault that I'd only made one zombie all year and decided to catch up all in one go. Making one paper zombie is fun, turns out that making seven really isn't.

There you go. My evil paper-zombie army, the fiddly little shits.
Tomorrow: Home tattooing!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Day Three: Zombie Marathon

I have sort of completed the George A. Romero Zombie Movie Marathon Challenge. I've watched the first four, and given that Diary of the Dead and Survival of the Dead are sort of a re-boot, and not quite as awesome as the earlier films, I may not bother with them today. Having said that, once I've been sociable and played with the kittens a bit, I may go back and watch them. My options are open.

Anyway, here are some thoughts that arose during the eight and a half hours of film watching. Warning: May contain the odd spoiler.

1) I love how old fashioned Night of the Living Dead is: the zombies are blamed on radiation: they don't confirm that the "unburied dead" are arising until an hour into the film: there's an actual "The End" screen at the conclusion. Classic.

2) The tragedy at the end of the first film is that the brave Ben ends up just as dead as the cowardly Cooper. Death doesn't play favourites, or as Homer Simpson said, "blue m&m, red m&m, they all end up the same colour in the end."

3) Top tip: before starting a movie marathon, it might be advisable to find the dvds in advance. The only positive about how long it took me to find Dawn of the Dead (1978) was that I found all the other George Romero zombie films while looking for it.

4) So many great quotes across all the films, but it's safe to say that my favourite is, "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth."

5) I love how often they just punch zombies in the face in Dawn of the Dead. I'd never noticed that before.

6) I like Day of the Dead, but it's not my favourite. I think that's because it focuses so much on the collapse of human relations, or, in other words, it's jam-packed full of arseholes. Having said that, it does contain the immortal line, "I'm running this monkey-farm now, Frankenstein!" I wonder if I could fit that into an everyday conversation?

7) I love how, as the films go on, the zombie crowds become more interesting. It starts with just some dead people, and grows to include nuns, butchers, clowns, ballerinas etc.

8) God forbid I ever get eaten by zombies, but if I do, I hope I have the presence of mind for my last words to be "Choke on 'em."

9) I love Land of the Dead more than it's probably cool to admit. It was the first Romero film I was old enough to see in the cinema, and I went to the very first showing at the Cineworld Wood Green. Big Daddy may well be the coolest zombie ever.

10) They really don't use the "Z" word all that often. Peter says it once in Dawn and Kaufman (Dennis Hopper in fabulous form) says "Zombies, man. They creep me out," but that's about it. They mainly get called ghouls, creatures, stenches, and walkers.

Blimey, I think ten points are enough. Thanks to Jago for sitting on my knee and helping me write this.

Tomorrow, I create a Zombie Army!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Day Two: Biscuits

I never realised that writing about biscuits would be so difficult! I just deleted an incredibly long and dull paragraph about how I haven't baked in ages, because I simply love my Beautiful Readers too much to want to bore them to death. In fact, I'm beginning to think that I should have made this a challenge to write about biscuits rather than making them. That would have been much harder!

Having said that, day two of Momento Maureen's Fantabulous Week of Challenges did get off to a bit of a bumpy start. Having not baked for over two years, I might have guessed that we wouldn't necessarily have all the ingredients I needed. I was making cinnamon biscuits (because I love them) but I might rename this batch Just-About-Cinnamon Biscuits, because we had just about enough of that delicious spice to justify me not having to go to the shop.

Then I realised we only have goats butter and olive spread. No cooking margarine or cows butter. I stood in the kitchen in my pinny (I am a messy cook) thinking maybe a trip to the shop was in order after all. Then I thought "Fuck it" and used the olive spread instead. And the good news? You totally can't tell the difference!
I have grand plans for the not too distant future to get some icing and decorate them with sugar skulls, but for now they will be scoffed as is.

They may not be fancy, but given as I'm not a very practiced baker, and not a big fan of cooking in general, I am pleased. Challenge two complete!

While writing this, Fitz (one of our kittens) climbed on to the back of the sofa and tried to eat my Dad's head. This is fitting as tomorrow I shall be having a George A. Romero zombie movie marathon.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Day One: Shelob

Hello, Good Afternoon, and welcome to Momento Maureen's Fantabulous Week of Challenges! I was going to call it Task Week, but that seemed a bit dull. Anyway, this was something I planned to do the week after I became unemployed as a way to keep myself occupied, but I've actually been quite busy, so it's been delayed until now...

Challenge One: Build a Lego Shelob.

For those of you who have neither read nor seen The Lord of the Rings (if any such people exist), Shelob is a big, grotesque spider from the dawn of time, who attacks Frodo and Sam on their way to destroy an evil ring of power. I was very kindly given the Shelob Attacks Lego set for my birthday (thanks, Dan) and became instantly intimidated by it! I mean, I love Lego, but putting the heads in the mini-figures is about as much actual Lego construction as I do, and this had lots of little bits.

Lots and lots of bits! I was convinced this was going to take me all day, and might very well end in failure. Thankfully, the lovely people at Lego have included the most comprehensive instruction manual I have ever seen. And the result...
Instead of a picture of me crying while surrounded by Lego blocks, you have this little beauty! I totally nailed it. The Shelob figure is awesome. There's even cogs inside so you can reel her web in and out.
How cool is that!? About as cool as Peter Capaldi being the next Doctor Who (well, I couldn't not mention it).

So, challenge one blown out of the water. Tomorrow: biscuits.