Is there anything worse than being at the movies beside a Chatty Cathy with three kids and a drink who won’t stop talking and flailing about? Yes, I know. Famine, outbreaks, homelessness, Alzheimer’s, the Syrian war, I’m an entitled spoiled brat complaining about minutiae. Still, it’s a bloody theatre. Has civilization so declined we are no longer able to stay calm and collected for two and a half hours? Of all the seats in all the theatre, she chooses the one beside mine. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, indeed.
“I worked at Toys-R-Us when the original Furby came out. I walked in the back doors right before my shift, when doors were supposed to open. I had people follow me in and assault me trying to get a damn Furby. Then when doors finally did open, one parent pushed my coworker to the ground and jumped on top of a pile of people to get one from the display. She ended up kicking some poor schmuck in the head and grabbed a Furby and stuffed it down her shirt, and tried to casually walk out and steal it.”
I now have the abs of Janet Jackson. My stomach muscles have yet to unclench, this Reddit of Horror is so hysterical.
There’s a moment that signals the start of the Christmas holidays. For me, it used to be the first time a street kid would hijack a jeepney, start half-heartedly singing Pasko na Naman and asking for money at the end of one measly verse. Now it’s Black Friday, a day when stores slash their prices to encourages people to jumpstart Christmas shopping. Say what you will about the evils of consumerism, but the discounts on Black Friday are insane. I’m talking significant markdowns on electronics, clothing, appliances, lugggage, tools, seasonal items and various other things that department stores carry.
Black Friday is traditionally held in November, the day after Thanksgiving. So after one day of giving thanks, communing with family and gorging on turkey and taters, everyone risks their lives in a giant stampede for a 65 inch TV in 4K resolution because human lives mean nothing in the face of a gorgeous new flat screen, especially when said flat screen comes at half price. Dignity? What dignity? Score!
Back when the Canadian dollar was at par with the US, crossing the border to take advantage of Black Friday made all sorts of sense. Then the savvier retailers decided to mirror the American tradition in an attempt to keep us (and our money) on this side of the train tracks. So we get the best of both worlds: two days out of a year to go nuts over discounts – the day after American Thanksgiving, and the day after Christmas.
I’ve never really crossed the border on a Black Friday. I feel like I should, just so I can prep a bag of popcorn and watch all the elbows flying and the hair pulling drama. This is what happens when you slash prices; people get greedy. Not even your grandma would be safe on a Black Friday; the horror stories are legion. People getting trampled in the opening rush, women coming to blows over a toaster, grown men grabbing Xbox Ones from the hands of children, desperate souls opting to relieve themselves in line rather than lose their place in the queue by going to the wash room, people losing their minds over deals, shrieking “Grab the thing! Hurry up and grab the thing!”over the din of everyone else trying to grab the same thing, knives in the parking lot, it’s glorious. A friend’s sister once had a woman mistake the cart she was pushing for her own, which resulted in a tug-of-war that ended only when her husband came to the rescue. It’s like musical chairs, except the players are savages.
In my head, it looks like this:
The reality really isn’t that different:
Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in in October, and our super sale day happens the day after Christmas. It’s called Boxing Day. No it doesn’t stand for people punching each other’s lights out over a discounted Playstation 4, much to your disappointment. It’s a British tradition, from when people received “Christmas Boxes” from their employers. I’ve seen my share of Boxing Days and I’ve yet to see a stampede. Boring. Sometimes the Canadian reputation for being nice is a bit too well-deserved. Like Black Friday, massive discounts abound so everyone turns out because it’s really hard to resist all those nice, juicy price reductions.
It’s called Black Friday because it’s a day when the customers all pour in to take advantage of discounts and shopkeepers find themselves out of the red and “in the black.” Personally, I think it’s called Black Friday because we get to witness how black the souls of rabid consumers really are.
Oh who am I kidding, you all know I’d be right there in the thick of it, grabbing whatever I could lay my hands on. I’m short, so I would likely go all stealth ninja mode and stuff. Just duck under someone’s outstretched arm, snatch whatever and run like hell for the nearest check out counter, laughing like a maniac.
So I’ve been mentally prepping a list of stuff to get, because anyone who always pays retail rates is a sucker. But now I’m so tired of looking I’ve actually given up because at the end of the day it’s just another thing to own and really, I take more pleasure in knowing I can own something than actually owning the thing. But who knows, I could give in to hysteria and go crazy tomorrow so watch this space because I just might come staggering in under the weight of a gazillion shopping bags, my wallet light, but my heart full of happiness.
Dear Elly G,
I don’t know why they call it the Dirty Thirties. I certainly haven’t dirtied up this first half of that decade. I hope you have, though. If not me, at least you should.
My thirties so far have been so clean they’re squeaky. Much, I imagine, like what the next decade is going to be like. Squeaky. As in rusty hinges in need of oiling. Because this is it. This is my last day being thirty-four. Being on Halifax time is only postponing the fact. In the Philippines, it’s already happened, and I am already thirty-five. That’s it. I’ve hit the the peak and I’m teetering on the edge. Everything after 35 is just going to go downhill, like my boobs and my chin and my butt. I’ll deflate like an old balloon.
It probably won’t be that drastic, at least I hope not, but I’m starting to have days where I look in the mirror and I just…
I guess I’ll have to embrace aging gracefully, like Madeleine Ashton – except with less money. This means I’m never going to be like the patron saint of life at seventy… I invoke thee, dear glorious Jane Fonda, I invoke thee! But I will at least attempt not to hasten the process overmuch. I’m buying a treadmill.
Yes, a treadmill. It was that, or gastric bypass surgery. Yes, all my remedies for losing weight involve invasive procedures. Why? Because I like my results the way my father likes his coffee: instant. I want to pop a pill and be reborn immediately without the work, the blood, the sweat, the tears. I want to wake up the next day and be resistant to gravity again. Isn’t that what we secretly whisper into the ether as we blow out the candles on our birthday cake? I know it’s what I whisper. Except as punishment for having no self-control, I am no longer allowed to have cake.
So enjoy your last four days of being thirty-four. You are the only one left, the last man standing. Fight that good fight! And when Father Time wins, as he always does, don’t despair; you can join the rest of us already in the last half of our Dirty Thirties. We’re waiting for you, but there’s no need to rush.
Love and hunger,
It’s been a good week for live-action movie adaptations. By this, I mean their trailers – both adaptations are out next year.
People on my feed are going gaga for Disney’s latest offering, because Beauty and the Beast is a classic. Here, Hermione Granger dresses up in Belle drag and we all accept that Gaston is the one she really should’ve fallen for, because hello, Luke Evans:
And then along comes the trailer for Ghost in the Shell, which, accusations of whitewashing aside, looks absolutely gorgeous. Sorry, Luke Evans, but my money is on this.
If anyone wants to know how I spent some of the last days of my life being 34, I spent it as sick as a dog. It could be the bug going around work. It could be because I don’t believe in flu shots. It could be because the weather can’t decide whether it wants to be pleasant or freezing and the temperature keeps changing within the span of a day. Finally, it could be my whole body repudiating the idea of getting older. That last one is the likeliest scenario. I’ve decided that dread is what caused the miserable last few days I just had.
The tribe has spoken, and America has said “You’re hired!” to Donald Trump. Yes. The Donald is America’s 45th president. If you’d told me that one day, the guy whose main function was to look constipated and fire people on The Apprentice would become President of the United States of America, I would have laughed you into oblivion. But no. He won. He actually won not just by the skin of his teeth, but by a margin wide enough to make America’s wishes clear. I was expecting a repeat of the hotly contested Philippine Vice-Presidential race, but Hillary Clinton conceded and there will be no calls for a recount. It’s the American Dream come true: anyone can be president!
Doctor Strange, the latest entry in Marvel’s pantheon of superheroes is the love child of The Matrix and Inception. It’s a trippy, psychedelic, out-of-body experience; it’s also a two-hour cautionary tale of the dangers of driving your Lamborghini and texting at the same time. In a word: don’t.
Stephen Strange M.D., neurosurgeon par excellence, finds this out the hard way. A genius-level doctor very much in the mold of House, sans cane and pill addiction, he’s a rakish metrosexual with a bloated ego and a thing for expensive timepieces and fancy cars. Since he is one of those people who demand that everyone call them doctor he’s not an easy man to like – gorgeous New York penthouse be damned. We know a guy this self-involved is headed for a catastrophe of major proportions where he will… LOSE… EVERYTHING dun dun dunnnnnn! So far, we’re adhering to the Marvel playbook for origin stories.
Netflix is a black hole of great content. I just spent this weekend getting through The Crown, it’s latest prestige period drama which was so awesome it hurts to think I have to wait another year for its second season. It’s also so awesome it deserves its own post, which you can read right here.
I was pretty tardy to the Netflix party. Everyone I knew had it, the term “Netflix and Chill” had come into existence, but I resisted the idea because well, I’m cheap. You know, why bother buying the cow if the milk is free? Yeah, I’m one of those people. Whatever. But then Popcorn Time went down, the major torrent sites started falling like dominoes and it just became too damn hard to stay ahead of the game and be a pirate. So I hung up the tricorn, vowed to go legit, decided to bite the bullet and get Netflix.
Ha! Dramatic. No, the real story behind me getting Netflix is a friend loaned me her account, I couldn’t remember her password, I really wanted to see what Once Upon a Time was all about (because she was raving about it), I didn’t want to wait for her to return my text and Netflix’s first month was free. In conclusion, Once Upon a Time sucks, going legit was pretty much a good idea, I got a lot of content well worth the price and this month marks my first year anniversary with Netflix. Sometimes, patience is not a virtue. #iregretnothing
Wait, maybe I do regret something. Because I binge-watch like a pro, I sometimes have moments of self-awareness where I look up from the screen and realize I’m turning into those fat Earthlings in Wall-E who zoom around on chairs ignoring the rest of humanity because everything in their world that’s worth paying attention to is happening on a holo-screen. Netflix in general and the internet as a whole is a pretty insidious way to make sure I no longer go out to climb trees and attempt to cook leaves in a rusty tin can over a crappy fire made of twigs. Where’d my childhood go? Right, swallowed by the 80’s.
Still, there has to be a way to combine Netflix with exercise. Note to self: must get treadmill in 2017. I’ll be a hamster on a wheel, but at least I’ll be a well-entertained hamster on a wheel, and life doesn’t get much better than that. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the saddest sentence I have ever written in my life thus far. What is happening to me? Stupid Netflix subscription. Quick, someone take me out stat… ooh, look, Dana Carvey has a Netflix special!
Image from https://scifiinterfaces.files.wordpress.com/
Just when I was wondering where to get my dose of exquisite gentility since Downton Abbey wrapped after six glorious seasons, Netflix comes out with the superb The Crown, its take on the rise of Queen Elizabeth II. I’ve finished two episodes. Because I cut my teeth on trashy historical romances and have a thing for stories about royals, history, biographies and nostalgia, this show is like crack to me.
- Claire Foy, last seen playing Anne Boleyn in Wolf Hall, has a knack for playing female rulers. She brings a unique blend of vulnerable haughtiness to the role, which seems to work in her favour.
- Matt Smith as the mischievous Philip Mountbatten shines in every scene he’s in. It’s impossible to look away. I’ve never had a thing for blondes, but I believe I am about to make an exception to my rule. Also, I keep muttering “why the long face?” and laughing to myself like an utter lunatic. Is there historical proof that Prince Philip always sleeps in nothing but his birthday suit? Because all those butt shots are clearly gratuitous. Did that sound like a complaint? Because it wasn’t. Royal butt shots for president!
- Winston Churchill apparently had an amazing sense of timing and absolutely no shame – dude almost upstaged the then princess at her own wedding. No wonder he beat Hitler. John Lithgow as ornery octogenarian Winston Churchill chews every scene he’s in. Git it, John Lithgow!
- Netflix has obviously shelled out mega bucks for this prestige show. This observation is brought to you by the face merkin on Jeremy Northam.
- Speaking of Jeremy Northam, I last saw him getting his head chopped off by Henry VIII in The Tudors for sticking to his morals on pain of death. Now he’s playing an ambitious silver fox of a Foreign Secretary who aspires to be Britain’s next Prime Minister. Welcome back, Jeremy Northam!
As an adopted Canadian, it is my duty to watch a show based on the queen’s life because Elizabeth II is on our money and we should all support the Commonwealth even if I have no idea what the Commonwealth even stands for anymore. Actually, I never really did and that question didn’t come up in the citizenship exam. Long live Elizabeth Regina!