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Teacher in Aberdeen. New beginnings happening very soon. Watch this space.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

A Memory Cherished and Shared

Good evening, readers. Hope all is well with you!

Okay, the summer is almost drawing to a close, so I thought I’d share with you a few treasured memories of my summer holidays in 2010. This entry is a little different, I realise, to my previous entries, but I enjoyed the holidays so much that I could not resist sharing it with you.

In the month of July, I had my very first visit to England. Yes, my FIRST visit. Crazy, right? I’m not exactly far from it. But I had no real reason to go to England, until now that is. My boyfriend is from there, so it was a must that I go see him. I am not one to turn down opportunities to visit new places :D
So, there I am on the plane, ready to take off. I was ridiculously excited. The journey was only an hour long, but seemed so much longer because I just wanted to get there already. Just as we were landing, I could already feel the difference already in temperature, clammy almost. I could not actually believe the heat of the place. Good sign so far! My hair did not like the change in temperature so much though, ha-ha.

Now, let’s skip to a day of beautiful sites and fun all around! That place I am referring to, by the way, is Brighton! I visited Brighton a few times on my trip so I’ll just sum up all my experience there, in one. Brighton Pier is such a lovely place to be at during the lovely summer days. Everywhere you look around there are people with smiles on their faces, simply because they are enchanted by the features that surround them. There is nothing quite like a simple walk along the prom. It is, without a doubt, one of the most relaxing times I have had the pleasure of encountering. It may seem like quite a boring thing for some people, but like I have said, numerous times before; I appreciate the little things in life.
In Brighton I also visited the sea-life centre. That too, was lovely. It’s amazing how a few exotic and rather simple fish can allow you to smile from ear to ear. That’s the effect they had on my anyway.

Now, onto nightlife! I had been told by so many people, that Brighton offers excellent nightlife. So, it goes without saying, that my expectations were pretty high. Now the big question; were they met? Yes. Definitely. Brighton has an awesome nightlife! I was most impressed with one club, Oceana. It is massive and I got lost more times than I would have preferred, ha-ha. That didn’t really take away from the fun though. I still got to dance the night away!

If I were to sum Brighton up in three words, they would be; memorable, happy and exciting. I will certainly look forward to my next visit there.

Now, onto… London! A place that I have always wanted to visit, ever since my brothers told me about it. I always thought that it looked quite impressive on the television. I visited London twice on the trip. The tube was a new experience for me altogether. Of course I have been on trains before, but not on one, then onto another two minutes later and so forth. Certainly handy though! I’ve never seen so many business people on one mode of transport. My first experience of London was Camden Lock and market. Such a great atmosphere! Busy, busy, busy. Camden market is loaded with open-air and indoor markets, each with its own distinctive flavour, lined with a street of shops, bars and restaurants. If you really want to have a proper look at Camden Market, you would definitely need to spend the whole day there. But this was my first time here, so I wanted to see what else London had to offer, of course.

Another memorable moment was my visit to Harrods. I’m sure most of you know that Harrods is a high-end department store, located in Knightsbridge. One word; wow. This place screams elegance. I actually felt underdressed in my jeans! I felt like I should be wearing a dress along with my pearls. It was crazy. This store was simply beautiful, but you would want to be armed with no less than five-hundred pounds. I wanted to buy something from there, so I settled for a few little gifts for my parents and an adorable little pen for myself. This is another place you would want to spend the day. I think I fell a little too much in love with the furniture department. I’ve never seen such beautiful bits and pieces.

A great way to see the sites of London is of course, via the London eye. It’s half an hour long and even better if you have someone to experience it with and for them to tell you about the various buildings you are looking at. Be prepared for a very long wait in a queue! But it is well-worth it. Also during my time in London, I went on the sightseeing bus and a boat, which was beautiful!

I really did not want to leave England. There is so much to see and do, but just not enough time. I loved every second of it, from the beautiful pier and beach to the busy streets of London.

My holiday was not yet over though. I was now going from England to Ireland! I know I’m from there, but I had to play the role of a tourist guide this time for my boyfriend. It was his first time to Ireland so, even better.

The majority of the holiday was spent in the South, except from the first night, which was spent in the North; Belfast. We landed at Belfast Airport and now had the task of phoning a million different places trying to find a place to sleep for the night. I had given up hope, but a kind lady who worked at the airport suggested a place for us and yay, we got a bed for the night! I must say, our accommodation was absolutely gorgeous. It was like a bachelor’s flat actually! I wanted to stay for the week. Oh well.

So, the next day we travelled practically the length of Ireland, via bus. Not so much fun! Anyway, we finally arrived down South (Tipperary) and rested at my mother’s house for the rest of the evening. There isn’t exactly much to see in the tiny little village where we were staying so I suggested a trip to Dublin. I, myself, have only travelled through Dublin and have never taken the time to explore the cultural, fascinating city. But now I had an excuse to do it! Yay. A good way of seeing Dublin is via the sightseeing bus. I learned a lot about Dublin on that bus. One of the most interesting facts I learned was that the MGM Lion at the beginning of movies, was from Dublin Zoo! Awesome, right!? The tour lady was just lovely as well!

My favourite thing we did at Dublin was the visit to the Guinness Factory (Dublin’s number one tourist attraction). We learned how Guinness is made, learning the details of every stage to get that perfect ending taste. We also poured our own perfect pint of Guinness and have certificates to prove it! It was so much fun. There are numerous floors of fascinating information. It’s a must see.
Dublin is another place where you need a purse or wallet filled with money and a place you need to spend the week, not just a day. There is countless things to do in the historic city.

I loved showing the Emerald Isles off! We did various other things including taking in the sites of Fethard (which took all of five minutes) and shopping in Cork!
We had a really great time in Ireland and I hope to show more of it off another time!
All in all I had such a great and memorable summer! I met some amazing people, saw amazing sites and learned so much that I’ll never forget!

I hope summer 2011 will be just as good. It just allows me to appreciate things even more. Thanks to everyone who made it a wonderful summer. You have no idea how much it means to me.

With Love,
Lisa xx

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Turn the page! It isn't over yet...

Afternoon all! How are you keeping? Very well I hope!

I realise, after looking back at my previous posts that I really haven’t written as many as I would have liked to, at this stage. My new aim is to write at least two posts a week, so stay tuned! I’m taking the advantage of writing as much as I can before the new semester starts. So, I’ll be a busy blog bee :D

Anyways, today’s post is about how we should use our free time, for the better. I hate feeling really lazy. Though, I will admit, I can be stupidly lazy at times, especially during these summer months. For example, yesterday I stayed in bed until 4pm. I wasn’t asleep all that time. I actually wrote my last post and did various other things during that time. But nonetheless, I was still ‘lazy’. So, my point? I feel, as I’m getting older, the years are definitely flying past me quicker, and although I’m only twenty, I know the years won’t be long catching up… as my mother so kindly reminds me. I don’t want to waste every day where I have some free time doing absolutely nothing (duvet days are great though and will forever be part of my life, ha-ha). I want to‘broaden my horizons’. I love that saying.

I do have talents, but I don’t embrace them as much as I should. Ever since I was a little girl, I have been crazily in love with art and being creative in general. I have a kista (a sea chest) beside my bed, literally full of arts and crafts materials. My heaven! The problem is, I just don’t open the lid enough to make good use of the stuff and to overall work on my love of art. I sketch now and again and doodle constantly, but not nearly enough as I used to. The only real arty thing I do nowadays is make cards for all occasions, which I adore doing. Some people have asked me, why I bother taking so much time. I simply answer, “Art is not hard work for me. It’s a hobby. People wouldn’t have hobbies if they didn’t enjoy them, would they?” My aim is to take the sketch pad out more often and wear the pencils down to the last millimetre of lead! (Ha, of course, by lead, I mean graphite.) If you watch QI, you will understand this reference. Whoops, blabbing now. So, all in all, I want to draw pictures, and lots of them. Besides, I need something to put on the bedroom walls in my new flat. Great excuse!

Now, another hobby of mine, is dancing. I do this a lot, but not many people know about it. It’s such a great way to keep fit, especially when it’s pouring outside, meaning a run is out of the question. The bedroom is the best place and in fact the only place I see possible to do it, besides the clubs of course where I love to spank the planks (Shallow Hal reference, but it’s awesome!). Belly dancing is a great one to practice in the bedroom and is one I’ve been doing a lot of lately, because the weather in Ireland isn’t being very nice, meaning I’m stuck in doors a lot. But seriously, (girls), give it a go! It’s so much fun! I’ve also always wanted to try ballroom dancing and wear the most elegant of dresses, accompanied with pearls, a clutch bag and shoes to die for! Any takers? Ha-ha. It just seems so lovely and romantic to me. I’ll be on a ballroom floor eventually!

So, there is a short list of just two things that I love to do. One that I need to do more of and another that I need to develop and expand upon. Plenty to keep me busy! Right? Maybe. Art and dancing are only two ways of keeping the mind active. So, another area I’d love to develop is language skills. By language skills, I mean learning to speak a foreign language of course. I think French would be my favourite to learn, because it flows, beautifully. What a fantastic way to spend your free time and so worthwhile.

Oh, another thing I just remembered. I guess this could fit in with art and creativity but let’s not be overly pernickety. CALLIGRAPHY! My father bought me a stunning calligraphy set, along with great books on how to do it, a few years ago and I promised myself that I’d learn how to do it. Did I? No. Do I regret it? Yes. Luckily enough, I still have it here, in the kista of course! So, it’s not too late for me to do it. It also means I can have stunning handwriting to accompany my homemade cards.Perfecto!

In essence, I feel that I cannot take each day for granted. When I become a teacher I won’t have much free time to myself. I’ll have 6am starts five days a week. So people, take advantage of having some free time. Have the odd lazy day in bed watching boring day time television. But take time out to do something for yourself. Practice an instrument you haven’t played in a while, decorate a room or simply visit an old friend! The list is endless. I confess to being sentimental! Can you tell? :D

Anyway lovely people, work on your talent or take up a new one. Remember, life is shorter than you think.

‘Til next time,

Lisa xx

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

To Watch or Not to Watch?

Good evening, readers. I hope you are all doing very well and are currently having a lovely summer.

A few nights ago, I could not for the life of me get to sleep, so I went online to find a film to watch. I found ten movies that were listed under “the ten most disturbing movies of all time”. Now, I am a girl who does like weird movies, to an extent. I was bored so I thought I’d give one of them a whirl. That movie was, ‘Salò o le 120 Giornate Di Sodoma (Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom), but it is most commonly referred to as Salò. I know, straight away, that some of you may be thinking that you’d never watch a film that has the word ‘Sodom’ in it. I thought the same, until I read previous viewers comments. Firstly, Sodom in this film also refers to ‘any location known for vice and corruption’.

Some people commented on this film, stating that it is sick with no point to it whatsoever. I however, disagree with that rather blunt statement after watching it in shock from beginning to end.

So, let me tell you a bit about the film itself. Salò is a controversial Italian film, made in 1975, by the director Pier Paolo Pasolini. This film is based on the novel ‘The 120 Days of Sodom’ by Marquis de Sade. This film depicts four extremely wealthy fascist Libertines in Mussolini’s Italy era in the year 1944 (The Duke, The Bishop, The Magistrate and The President). Accompanying these hideous mean and four middle-aged prostitutes, also collaborators, whose function in this wicked ritual is to recount erotically arousing (I use this term lightly) stories for the men of authority, who, in turn, sadistically exploit their victims. The story consists of four segments, which are loosely parallel to Dante’s Inferno. These include; The Anti-inferno, The Circle of Manias, The Circle of Shit and The Circle of Blood.
Here is a breakdown of the segments that will give a clear and detailed account of the film itself.

The Anti-inferno

The masters kidnap nine teenage girls and nine teenage boys. They are held captive in a palace near Marzabotto, a small town and commune in the Italian region Emilia-Romagna, part of the province of Bologna. The boys and girls are inspected, in public to make sure they are the perfect specimen, in perfect condition to meet the needs of the people in power. Their reason for kidnapping these innocent teenagers? They simply wish to indulge in ultimate physical pleasure and to explore the extremes of evil through sadism and various depravities. They do this because they can, and believe that because they are fascists, they are allowed to exert absolute power to create complete anarchy. The President founds a set of rules which are never to be broken under threat of execution.

The Circle of Manias

The masters of the palace, when craving sex, mainly focus on anal sex. Vaginal sex is forbidden because it is not depraved enough to meet the libertine morals which are set in place. The teens are forced to take part in various sexual acts while the collaborators act as voyeurs. The masters are free to rape the teenagers, whenever and wherever they want, mostly in front of the entire palace. Believe it or not, this circle is relatively tame compared to what the teenagers have to undergo in the remaining circles.

The Circle of Shit

I’m wondering if the readers can guess what exactly this circle entails? I’m guessing that the majority of you can. Here, begins this spiral descent into one of the most hideous acts of sadism. The sexual acts begin to grow more monstrous. The masters force teen males to take part in homosexual relations. This film at this point is even more difficult to watch from here on, mainly because of what the teenagers are forced to eat (referring back to the title). In the words of the masters, “We will kill those who waste such delicacies.”

The Circle of Blood

This is the final, most repulsive circle of the story. The teenagers at this point begin turning on each other in order to try and survive. They also begin to get involved in sexual relationships with one another. They tell their masters rules their fellow victims have been breaking, to escape punishment. For the last ten minutes of the film, I could not help but turn away from the screen. It was just a little too graphic for me. It’s quite strange because I can quite happily watch Saw without turning my head, but in my defence, if you watch this film you will see that it seems just that little bit more real and more stomach churning. Brace yourselves for the punishments awaiting those who have broken the rules; scalping, branding, having they eyes poked out and tongues cut out as the rest of the group observe and to my disgust, laugh.

The film's final shot portrays the complacency, myopia, and desensitisation of the masses: two young soldiers, who had witnessed and collaborated in all of the prior atrocities, dance a simple waltz together. Quite a strange scene and although not a graphic scene, just as depraved as the rest of the film.

Now, if you have taken the time to read through this post, you may be wondering, ‘Why on earth would any one watch such a horrible, graphic movie?’ Well, until you have actually watched it, I cannot explain to you exactly why you should watch it.
Hmm, let me try and convince you to give it a go.

I am a big horror flick devotee. After watching Salò it made me question a lot of things about former favourite films. The problem with most movies is that the violence is not portrayed violent enough, and horror isn’t portrayed horrible and evil enough. The majority of the thriller/horror films soften these ingredients so people can enjoy it and not flinch. So, for example, Jason X, Halloween and various other movies of the same genre (films I still do enjoy) do not provide the necessary shock-reality check needed. Salò shows horror and violence exactly how it is, that being revolting and disgusting, unlike the horror movies produced in Hollywood.
I could not watch this film in comfort. I was uncomfortable for one hour and forty minutes and felt somewhat ‘bad’ for watching it. It really did sicken me but I understood why this film is good and has an important message. It gives a sane perspective on violence, as opposed to Hollywood-action where nobody raises an eyebrow for the duration. There are no explosions in this film, no masks, no heroes and no ridiculous storyline. A low-budget film that takes a look at the darkest side of human nature and forces us to question the true meaning behind the terms horror and violence.

After watching this film, you will understand why it was one of the most controversial films ever released. It is not surprising it was banned in many countries upon its publication. For example, Australia banned it for seventeen years - a little too late if you ask me. But now, it is available for everyone to watch. I think people should watch it at least once. It isn’t a film to curl up to beside a loved one. In fact, my advice would be to watch it alone. I can imagine people watching this film together and turning away from a particular scene because they would feel wrong for watching it and may fear being judged by their friend who has turned their head. Watch it alone and don’t turn away. You will understand what I mean when you watch it, in order to really understand its importance.
Anyway, the decision is yours. You may decide to watch it or never feast your eyes upon it. I guess it’s all down to personal opinion. I know I won’t watch this film again, but at the same time, I’m really glad I did watch it.

Take care,

Lisa xx