Captain Phillips

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8 out of 10 – Thoroughly enjoyable

Choosing a film to watch with the family can be an arduous task. So many different tastes to accommodate. Timings. Content. Because let’s face it, no one wants to be watching a raunchy love scene with the parents.

So after a while of talking we decided on Captain Phillips, the retelling of the 2009 hijacking of a cargo ship by Somali pirates.captain_phillips_comp_main

Well what can I say? It has firmly cemented Tom Hanks (title role) as one of my all time favourite actors. The man is so diverse and can play absolutely anything he puts his mind to; from a bubbling ‘simple’ Georgian man that is Forrest Gump, to the child turned man in Big, to the cowboy leader of a group of toys in Toy Story, to a stranded loveable Krakozhian foreigner at The Terminal. He is basically unstoppable. Believable in every roll he undertakes and reels you into his character.tom-hanks

Captain Phillips was no exception.

The film starts with Phillips leaving to go and captain a food charity American cargo ship along the east cost of Africa (the horn). Along the journey the crew do a practise drill on what to do if pirates were to attack. Well guess what, in the midst of this drill armed pirates are spotted in the distance. They small pirate boats overdo their engines and come to a complete stop. Although this means a little rest bite for the Americans they do warn each other that the pirates come back, and come back they do. Armed with only fire hoses the 4 Somali pirates easily make their way onto the ship. With only 3 crew members (including Phillips) in the Bridge the rest of the crew are hiding in the engine rooms. It doesn’t take long for the Somali captain to go searching for the rest of the crew and is taken captive by them in exchange that the pirates leave the ship with $30,000, escape on the ships lifeboat and call a spade a spade. Since when did anything in real life go that smoothly. They take Phillips hostage (in the hope of ransom demands) and set sail in the lifeboat for Somalia.

The United States Navy and SEALs are called in to work the operation of getting Captain Phillips back without having him land in Somalia. There are then tricks on both sides before the Somali Captain agrees to negotiate on the Navy ship for a ransom amount for Captain Phillips’ safe return. This leads to the other 3 pirates being targeted through the lifeboats windows whilst Phillips is tied up and then smothered in the backlash of their blood as they’re killed. Phillips is then rescued and the film ends seeing him in the medical unit of the Navy ship.

Please take this note that I summed it up very briefly and it’s actually 100 times better than I’ve made it sound.

Barkhad Abdi makes his phenomenal debut, in which he won a BAFTA, as Somali pirate captain Muse. It is quite astonishing to believe that this is his first acting role (according to imdb) and he owns the part completely. My only complaint about his performance was that he sometimes slurred his words making it quite difficult to understand him. This of course could be my opinion only as I often do watch TV and films with the subtitles on so may get a bit lazy with listening.

As said I am under the impression that Tom Hanks can do no wrong and I truly believe he can’t. He played the role of Captain fantastically and I do not think for one second that he has been acknowledged for his performance in terms of awards at all. Though saying that this was just one of a bucket load of extraordinary films that were released last year and I wouldn’t want to take anything away from the Actors who won awards against Hanks.

I’ve found it difficult to look at this film with a negative eye. I truthfully enjoyed it from start to finish however I did find something about the story that hurt me. Captain Phillips is rescued, he’s taken aboard the navy ship and led to the medical quarters to be cared for. At this time Hanks is crying, struggling to breathe, to speak, to comprehend that he is covered in his captors’ blood, and all this time not one person, not one, gives him a hug. Now I know I’m a soppy cow but still the guy is traumatised, all he wants is a hug and for someone to talk to him on a human level but no, the Doctor remains military professional. I tell you, if it were possible to jump into the screen I would have and swooped him into my arms.

Finally the most important thing to remember about this film is that it is based on  real life events. This actually happened to a Captain Phillips and I just hope he believes his story has been told with the upmost respect and truthfulness. Captain Phillips returned to the seas a mere 14 months after the hijacking attack. Muse is currently serving a 33 year prison sentence in Indiana.

New Year. New Start

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They think it’s all over. It is now. The festive season that is. The 12 days of Christmas have officially passed. The trees are down or brown, the decs are away and the majority of food should have been eaten. I say that and in my house we still have plenty of food and drink making the January detox rather difficult. I’m weak!

So as is custom, a happy new year to whoever reads this. I hope 2014 is one hell of a year for all the right reasons. My New Year didn’t get off to the best of starts. Around the 20th November… NOVEMBER! I approached my friends and asked if we were planning on doing anything for the illustrious overhyped New Years Eve. The response was a unanimous yes! Exciting. This could very well be my last free New Years Eve for a little while due to a possible career change so I was intent on making the most of it. It suddenly dawned on me that New Years Day was my last day off before going back to work, so the idea of spending it heaving was not inviting so I made the decision to do NYE sober. Still excited it was on New Years Eve where it suddenly came to light that my ‘friends’ had made other plans.

Nice.

One had decided to go to Cornwall. One had made plans with other friends and decided that we were going to start out nye at midnight. Who starts New Years Eve at midnight! And the other made plans with a girl I don’t particularly get on with and made little to know attempt to keep it as a group gathering. Feeling bummed out I spent New Years Eve at home and in bed by 2300. A very depressing end to 2013.

Though a silver lining to every story it has helped me realise that I have few real friends around my home town which will make it all the more easier to move this year (hopefully). The message of this little story is take the time in 2014 to skim down your life. Get rid of all the things or people that aren’t good for you. I’m currently whittling down people to make sure I have the core friends in my life, you know the ones, the ones that put as much effort into your relationship that you do. Or if you fancy it just go for the standard January sobriety. I’m doing that too and feel fantastic. Bring on 2014.

News of the past 14 days

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Well the news seems to have been pretty busy of late, bad news makes good news eh?

Just some of my thoughts regarding the latest and main stories.

Helicopter Crash Glasgow

It was hard to miss this one, all over my facebook page filled with condolences and the news itself. A police helicopter came down on a busy bar hosting a live band.

crashIt has now come to light that 9 people have died because of the incident including the pilot and 2 police officers on board the aircraft.

This is truly one horrific story to have happened.

However, I can’t help but think why? Why on earth did this happen? The crash happened on Friday evening/Saturday morning and yet it took until Monday for the police to issue an action of an investigation. Now I am one of the biggest fans of the Police. I think they do a sterling job but their timing on this was shocking. As soon as it happened a public promise of an investigation should have been made. Apologies if I am wrong on this matter but I didn’t hear this until Monday. They have however released the information that there was no may day shout for help from the Pilot. One can only hope then that this happened so fast for those on board that they didn’t know much about it. Or the other possible, and hopefully far-fetched conclusion… it was on purpose.

Tom Daley Outing

Many people have made jibes about this, “‘shocking news’ Tom Daley’s Gay”. Well it was shocking to me. I can’t say I have ever had two thoughts on Tom Daley’s sexuality and why should I? It’s absolutely none of my business, nor is it anyone’s business on who he chooses to date.tom daley

But being part of the celebrity life he felt compelled to let the public know. How did he do it? In a short, home-made video filmed on his bed about him just talking to the camera. Brilliant! Even though in the video he says he has been urged by family members to either keep it private or to extort his own personal life in exchange for a huge magazine deal.

Tom… you made the right choice.

Sat on his bed he very eloquently told the story of how he has met someone.

“In an ideal world I shouldn’t be doing this video because it shouldn’t matter.” – Oh so true. It shouldn’t matter. I don’t know the guy but am pleased for him he has someone. I do not give two toots over if it’s a boy or a girl.

“come spring this year my life changed massively when I met someone and they make me feel so happy so safe and everything just feels great and well that someone is a guy.”

“My whole world changed right there and then”

I think this sums up the journey he’s been through. He states at it still being a shock for him, and I think that’s easy to forget in our “let’s judge celebrities” world that he’s gone through on hell of a life changing commitment.

Now he doesn’t actually say he’s gay. This has what has really annoyed me. All the press dubbing him as “The next gay icon” and teenage girls online sobbing the “OMG TOM DALEY’S GAY”. Errr no. From the horse’s mouth he is bisexual. And why not? Why does sexuality have to be black and white? With my own sexuality it is definitely black and white but for some, for some they are open to falling in love with whoever be it Man or Woman. If you can have that kind of liberation then go for it.

Bravo Tom Daley. Good luck in your new relationship and in the Olympics 2016.

Fast and the Furious Loss

pwThis was another news story impossible to be excluded from. Upon awakening on Sunday morning (1st December) I checked my phone, as I often do. Logged onto facebook and could not count how many people were putting “RIP Paul Walker”. Nah. Not the beautiful Paul Walker from Eight Below. Alas it was.

On Saturday afternoon at a charity event in Los Angeles the Actor went for a drive with his friend Roger Rodas, with Rodas driving in a Porsche sports car. Shortly after pulling off the car lost control, crashed into a light pole and caught fire. Later two bodies were found.

A very sad story. A complete out of the blue tragic story.

Nevertheless some things that have got on my wick, as my mum would say, on how this has been reported. In all news stories it states “Paul Walker’s died” “Paul Walker RIP” “Fast and the Furious Star died in a car accident”. Errrr so did Roger Rodas! In nearly all of them he’s referred to as ‘the friend driving’. No I’m sorry, I know Paul Walker was a celebrity but every life deserves to be mentioned by name. Subsequently the term RIP is way over used. It reminds me too much of Halloween. What is wrong with stating “Rest in peace”? much more eloquent and less “Grim Reaper-ish”.

The Porsche

What was left after the horrific crash

Also the Police have mentioned that speed was a huge factor in the crash. Does that matter? A celebrity has died after all! Why just because he was a celebrity have they been acquitted by society on driving like utter nutballs? If it was anyone else people would be a lot less sympathetic. The two took a joy ride, broke the speed limit and drove dangerously. Their crash was therefore of their own making. What if the light pole had been a child they’d killed? What if only Paul Walker had died? What if What if What if? I tell you what… they would be up against charges for dangerous driving and beyond. I believe the American PR team need to use this a martyr for safe driving. No one is invincible.

Having said that of course my condolences go out to their friends and families and all I can hope, from the images of the crash, that it happened quickly for them and that they felt little pain.

Lost Prophets

The horrific news story of Ian Watkins from the Lost Prophets has hit the news once more. On trial for sex offences he has since pleaded guilty to the attempted rape of a baby and 10 other sec crimes at Cardiff Crown Court.

I think anyone in their right mind would be disgusted by this report.

Lost Prophets split up in October this year and have admitted that Watkins was now impossible to work with due to his egotistical behaviour and battle with drugs.

The rest of the band released a very personal statement on their facebook page; “We are heartbroken, angry and disgusted at what has been revealed. This is something that will haunt us for the rest of our lives,”. With obviously those nasty people in this world jumping on the bandwagon slagging off the band accusing them of knowing. If anyone watched the TV show Broadchurch they address the issue of “How did you not know?”. How can one know at all what is going on someone else’s mind. You can’t.IW

It is a horrific case and I hope Watkins is severely punished and that the rest of the Lost Prophets band do not let the disgusting acts of one man haunt them for the rest of their lives. He’s not worth it.

Good News Story

Sleep Well Nelson MandelaNM

I really hope no one takes this the wrong way when I put this story under “Good news” but in truth I think it is. Sadly on December 5th 2013 the legend that is Nelson Mandela, also known as Madiba passed away at the grand old age of 95.

He was and will remain to be a true inspiration. As a friend of mind stated, how lucky are we to have lived in the time of a giant.

The reason I have put his passing in Good News is due to the fact that people are now celebrating his life. His achievements. His legacy. What a wonderful man who spent 27 years in prison for what he believed in. I can think of no one else who has deserved some rest. Sweet dreams and sleep well for I truly believe that you have earned it.

Games – How can you win if you don’t know the rules?

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A lot in life tends to be metaphorically linked to playing a game. My recent example of this is the working environment. I was always told “keep your head down and learn how to play the game”. But what game?  Scrabble? Twister? Go Fish? All innocent enough but when the game feels like Cluedo or Boggle it gets tricky. No one ever teaches you the rules, what to say, what not to say, yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. It’s a kind of trial and error process which at times has left me in hot water. Now I find the work game (not to be confused with being on the game for work) fairly easy when one condition is met… Everyone pulls their weight. I’ve struggled in two previous employments and it’s actually been when the bosses, fat cats in charge, Lord and Lady Darcy etc etc don’t buck up and contribute. I’m not talking about those who are loaded and can now sit back and let someone else make money for them, I’m talking about those in a position where they do need to grind their elbows but instead delegate. Delegate delegate delegate. And who gets the higher salary? generic_sundayhero_02

When it comes up to a review I tend to put my foot in it. Apparently I’m negative at work, though I have noticed I’m only negative when I’m being realistic. It’s others who are too positive. But…This is not the way to get ahead… it is indeed the yes sir, yes sir, how much more sir, tug of war. As long as you don’t end up with a face full of sand you can usually just about pull through by working yourself into the ground whilst others swan around in their own little world.

So there we have one game…

Round 2…

The inevitable blindmans bluff. The one all children, grown into young adults, can’t afford to move out have with their parents. Independence battle. I’m 24 and still live at home. As grateful as I am to my parentals for allowing me to live in their house…. That is exactly what it is. THEIR house. I went to Uni, didn’t get a job quick enough and moved back home. Only it isn’t my home anymore. They make that very clear when we have a disagreement. It’s almost the same game as the work one, only these are your parents. Those who are always meant to be there to support you, love you and house you. They pretend I haven’t and I pretend not to notice them pretending but I have definitely overstayed my welcome, so now armed with a new job, I need to start building up some capital and look for a new place to live but in the meantime I need to keep my head down, yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir. Sound familiar?

Round 3…

The friend game. Almost hide and seek. We all have those friends who if we’re honest with ourselves, aren’t friends. More acquaintances or maybe mates and yet still they’re on the Christmas card list, invite list for nights out, in the phone book, for no other reason than we feel we owe something to an old friendship long since passed. If we have the choice we avoid these people, don’t make the effort but then a group event comes along and it’s everyone. Why? Why play this pointless game of hide and seek?

Round 4…

The most popular. It is the Monopoly of all games. Everyone has played it. Everyone can play it. It takes ages to win. The love game. It is never the simple, boy and girl meet, fall in love yada yada

yada. Years ago it used to be the playground, “does he like me? Find out if he likes me” and then the traditional courtship. Now, what with all the technology around us;

“He/She has seen my facebook message, why hasn’t he replied?”

“His/Her facebook status is single”

“Who’s that they’re with in that photo”

“Why hasn’t he/she text me back? It’s been 10 minutes”

Very much like the LG adverts depicting over dramatization of mobile social life. I may laugh at this and I’m sure others do too but what is even worse… I/WE STILL PARTICIPATE! Why!?

When there’s someone on the scene that I really like I have a Scrubs-like inner monologue. Questioning every sentence I say/send, the timing, reigning in my goofyness etc etc. This might explain why I’m single, over analysing everything. I like to see it as passion, it cements in my mind that I really like someone but also leads to disappointment when even though I’m certain I’ve read the signs right, I lose the game. You get books teaching you the meaning of dreams, learning a new language, signs and symbols… what about plain old fashioned native language intention.

LIFE IS JUST A GAME

                  LIFE IS JUST A GAME                       –

It’s such a to and fro game, a tennis match (seeing as Wimbledon has just started), but I can’t help but wonder, is it just me who plays these games? Which if that is the case it would explain why I lose, how can you win when no one else is playing? Is it just luck? Every (actual) game I’ve ever played that’s how I do it, wing it, but I’m always beaten by someone with tactics. Is it the same in the games in life? If so then those who have tactics, those who have worked out the rules, have such an unfair advantage, that is there really any point in playing?

Superman: Man of Steel

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3 out of 10 – abysmal

So I made the decision to go and watch the highly anticipated new Superman film. I wasn’t aware of any of the ideas behind the film or the cast, all I knew was that it was meant to be a big blockbuster. Well Superman… it is safe to say a film titled Super-pan would have been far more interesting. It was the longest 2 and a half hours of my life, and that is taking into having watched any of the Twilights.

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I’m pretty sure everyone knows the rough story of Superman. Alien on Earth, who has powers inclusing the ability to fly. He works for a newspaper as a regular guy and then bursts into action as his alter ego whenever there is trouble. He also has a very sexy love interest which is Lois Lane, a stubborn and ambitious journalist.

La la la. In itself the story isn’t that interesting but was brought to life so many moons ago and with amazing special effects (for the time) that it’s lived on. I don’t think it’s done quite as well since when Christopher Reeve was the Hero. I personally used to love the TV show, “The New Adventures of Superman” with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher in it, for me Hatcher was Lois Lane.

Now watching this new film… Henry Cavill definitely fits the look of Superman. Dark, handsome, tall…did anyone see his muscles? Yes the man is ripped. TOO ripped. He actually doesn’t look healthy. It actually ruined some shirtless scenes. From a ‘loving muscles’ type of girl view I think Superman would have looked much more desireable and believable if he was just toned with slight definition. Not pecks that look like they need a DD bra. Other than that he was fairly good in it. A overly sickly, too good to be true hero is always a difficult one, just take a look at Captain America, but he did it well. Also he shouldn’t have shaved his beard, ruined the ruggedness.

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Joined with Antje Traue who played General Zod’s right hand woman, they were the only actors in the film that I reckon did a good job. Crowe and Costner, cast as Superman’s biological Krypton dad and step Earth dad respectively, were huge disappointments. Both big names in the industry and, well, it may not be the best criticism in the world but the only term I can think of…They were crap. Wet blanket comes to mind. Michael Shannon who played the villain (General Zod) of the film was lacklustre. There was a lot of glaring. His character was very awkward and Shannon is probably far better than I’m giving him credit for, and would have had the chance to show it if the script hadn’t been so pansy wansy. He had long speeches, boring speeches, I am lord speeches which were just tedious. And it’s very difficult to create a good character with nothing to work with.

Superman’s mum…Diane Lane. Now I love her in Jack. But in this, well she was a character that could have quite easily been cut out. Also Costner dies during the film. Why! What is it with superheroes and father issues and fathers dying? Spiderman!? Batman!? Tony Stark!? Loki!? Where are the mother issues?

Oh Lois. Lois. Lois. To me Lois should be dark haired, sexy, clumsy and a shit magnet. The had AMY ADAMS! What the fudge. The least Lois Lane like actress out there. It would have been better if they had Miranda Hart. There was a serious casting fuck up on this film, with Amy Adams being the epitome of it.

The content, well the story wasn’t bad. It was basically starting off with baby Superman coming to Eath, growing up, coming to terms with his powers and defeating an evil dude. All pretty much what you expect from a re-launch of superhero films. Apart from the fact it lasted far too long. At on point every second second was fighting. Someone in special effects and fight choreograph wanted to show off and they used my time in which to do it. I fell asleep……….. TWICE.

Like I said the script was awful, if you do watch it, listen carefully. You will find yourself laughing at some of it; “I can do things other can’t” Yes Superman, every man says that. “They say it’s all downhill after the first kiss”…Lois, I think you’ve been doing it wrong.

Just to not totally trash this film they did explore the origination of the Superman suit and the ‘S’ symbol. Because let’s be honest, who would pick to wear lycra. The suit is actually from Krypton, found on the ship that brought him to Earth and the ‘S’ is the symbol of his house El.

But basically, do not pay to watch this film. If you can be bothered wait till it comes on TV, watch it, and make up your mind. It is not a film to spend money on. All I can hope is that if they do a sequel then it brings in Lex Luther, recasts Lois Lane and stick a pin in Cavill to defalte him a bit. It will then stand a fighting chance.

Trust, Disappointment, Love… Emotions

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I’ve been thinking about emotions lately. Mainly the ones that get my blood boiling.

In the last week 3 people have told me that they’re in love (obviously with different people). I’m not sure what about my face screams TELL ME YOU’RE IN LOVE. When I was 18 I got all gushy about love stories, now almost 6 years on, I get all gushy over a cute animal, I wretch at love stories. Yes most would say I’m slightly jealous, I would say when was slightly an option.

 The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return. –  Moulin Rouge

Now if this is true, I have loved, I have not been loved. And before any of my friends pipe up I mean the other kind of love. My mum’s reaction to my being an agony aunt was, “why are they all falling in love? When will someone fall in love with you?”. My question exactly. Perhaps I’m unlovable. I don’t mean that in a self-loathing pathetic sense but as a query. Maybe I am fundamentally romantically unlovable. Lust is a different matter entirely. Are there us few people who are just doomed to walking this world alone. Never knowing, never sharing, never having. Maybe.

So moving on from that delightful topic… Trust. Some of us seem to trust so easily. I know I go through phases. I get hurt by someone I trust it then takes me a while to trust someone again but when I do, when I’m in that almost grey area of trusting I seem to be able to trust everyone. Why is this? I personally think I trust too easily, so from now on, people have to earn it. I’m a closed book with a lot of bravado. God I sound like a right knob. Ah well saves me getting hurt.

Almost joint hand in hand with trust is disappointment. Disappointment in others, in yourself, in situations. I have hand of heart been thoroughly disappointed by everyone in my life. I’m disappointed with my mum, when she has that extra glass of wine. I was disappointed with both my parents when they revealed to me that they didn’t think I was clever enough to do University. I mention these two as they’re will most likely never read this. As with others in my life the disappointment I’ve had revolves around having trusted them with something; a secret, my feelings, experiences etc etc and then that something is used against me or it’s tossed aside like it doesn’t matter.

I joined my current job with the promise of being trained in sales and marketing. To this present date 5th March 2013 I am still waiting. I’ve brought it up on appraisals, voiced how I would like to proceed but instead of investing in me I’m left to do the day to day running. Why make a promise or a false hope without seeing it through.

They say what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, then each and every person should be as strong as a mountain. We all suffer this and yet a lot of the time we forgive. We have that unconditional forgiveness for some and yet not for others. The older I get the harder I find it is to forgive and I can never forget.

So how can we forgive if we can’t forget? (Sex and the City reference there)

Inside Death Row With Trevor McDonald

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So me and the parents have this habit of recording a whole lot of programmes and taking ages to actually watch them. This was the latest one, but actually beating records we’re only a few weeks behind the rest of the world. Now I’m one of those weird folk who love the criminal mind. That old saying; “we fear what we don’t understand” yes that’s true, but in this case I’m drawn to what I don’t understand, so every chance I get I watch something like this for more insight.

http://www.itv.com/presscentre/press-releases/inside-death-row-trevor-mcdonald-trailer

This programme was broadcast at the end of January and follows Sir Trevor McDonald as he explores the life of some of America’s notorious killers, so horrendous that 12 of them have ended up on Death Row in Indiana State Prison.

As far as I can remember we see him talk to 4 death row prisoners. 1 – we never find out his crime, 2 – killed a policeman, 3 – killed his wife and 2 daughters, 4 – killed a 24 year old woman and her 4 year old daughter. It’s interesting as apart from number 2 they all have come to terms with their fate and even agree with it. At one point in time they will be issued with the time and date where they will be strapped to a chair and the prison warden will take their life by lethal injection. Number 4 (Baer) is actually believed to be the most heinous, actually disgusting the other inmates. Throughout the 2 part series you hear from all four of these men, still living their lives; squabbles etc, all the while knowing as each day passes, each appeal is rejected (there are 15 steps in all) they come closer and closer to the needle.Indiana State Prison

Housing 1900 inmates, 12 of whom are on death row, Trevor spends two weeks in the dark and forbidding world of Indiana State Maximum Security Prison. He hears from men who know what it is like to live under the shadow of the death penalty and even the date and time they will die. – itv.com

It’s a horrendous idea, I think, for any of us to contemplate. Any of us who are of sound mind and especially when we live in a anti capital punishment country. The most human thing, the most natural, the one worldy truth that we cannot escape is that one day we will die. The most unnatural thing about this truth… Is to know exactly when, where and how. I find the whole concept of knowing how much time you have left if you’re suffering from a terminal disease hard to deal with, let alone pinpointing it.

There are a couple of real shockers when meeting the men of death row…

  • One admits he is not rehabilitated. That if he was out in the world and things didn’t go his way he wouldn’t think twice about getting a gun and making things go his way.
  • They can spend up to 20 years on death row. Confined to their cells 23 hours a day and segregated from the rest of the prison.
  • One is allowed to go see the nurse and get an insulin shot as he is diabetic. In red overalls he has “DEATH ROW” written on his back. How odd that a needle is currently saving his life when one day it will take it. Also how do the nurses deal with the concept of meeting a man they know one day, governed by the State they live in, will be executed.
  • Some are allowed cats. Indiana Prison works a pet programme. Giving the 23 hours they’re in their cells some meaning.
  • It is often hard to see why they’re on death row. The sentences in Indiana seem to (obviously) be much harsher than in the UK. For shooting a policeman who is currently chasing you equates to death row whereas in the UK you’d probably get off with 15 years.
  • They are haunted by what they have done, and quite rightly so, Baer has the birthdays of his two victims on his calendar. They’re dead, a little girl at the beginning of her life is dead, while he gets to live until a rather painless procedure is carried out.
  • The warden makes weekly trips to death row to ‘catch up’ with the prisoners, the people, that one day, he, under the law of the State, is going to take their lives.
  • For the night before their execution, they are taken to a new cell, only a bed and a TV, and left to count the minutes. Why get one last kick in? Can they not be left in their own cells, to enjoy their own comforts for the last few hours of their lives. Surely they’re being executed because they’re the bad guys and we’re the good guys. Then where is the compassion?

Inside Death Row with Trevor McDonald: the room where inmates receive a lethal injection.

Sir Trevor also gets to meet some of the wider prison population including those deemed the most dangerous men there, strangely enough not on death row. These men are also contained 23 hours a day and when given their 1 hour of outside, are in steel cages. One man he meets committed his crime at the tender age of 13 and convicted to 170 years at 15 years old. It was a double homicide that took away the rest of his life. He is not eligible for parole until he turns 100 years old. It is mind-boggling how a 15 year old boy is to come to terms with the fact that prison is and will be the rest of his life. Now I’m not condoning his crime, but 170 years? That’s 85 years per life. A gentleman in this country was jailed for 6 years for the manslaughter of 6 people, a mere 1 year per life. Surely there must be some middle ground. This inmate has now been confined for over half his life and more than likely could never adjust to a normal life so escaped into books. He’s also got a wonderful saying written on his wall;

No man is your enemy
No man is your friend
EVERY man is your teacher

The most normal thing in the prison is the barber shop. It is run by the most trusted convicts there and even is a service for the prison guards. One of the barbers is serving 3 life sentences plus more, he will never be released, and yet is trusted with a pair of shears. Am I wrong in thinking whilst holding a potentially deadly instrument at some point his mentality must have been “what have I got to lose?”.

One man Sir Trevor meets is actually a convict who has escaped death row and is now living in what can only be called a dorm. It’s about a sports hall size with waist height wall dividers and around 100 beds holding 100 prisoners. His original trial was compromised so he was offered 150 years rather than the death sentence and he took it. At 62 years old he knows that it is still his death sentence and yet seems content with the freedom of dying naturally at an unforeseen date and time.

Anyone who knows or heard anything about UK law will immediately see a startling difference on sentencing. I can’t quite get this show out of my mind. It offered an amazing insight into one of America’s oldest and most notorious prisons and it’s inmates. The 2 things that will stick with me is that; 1 – the notion that every week 2 men come to face each other, knowing that their stories are entwined and at the ending, one will play the executioner. 2 – How similar your crime can be (from what we’re told on the show) to another prisoners and something in the detail has left you with 100 years in prison, and them facing the death penalty. I would love to know what the detail is that sets them apart. It is definitely a show to watch. The feeling it has left me with will undoubtedly stay with me for a very long time.

Obligatory Dating

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It’s a universal acceptance that for certain times in our life a date is needed and more often than not preferred, for example; The School Prom, Weddings, Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve… etc etc but since when did a meal out with friends join the list?

I had arranged with a group of close friends to go out for an Indian, hardly a romantic idea. It was meant to be a kind of celebratory occasion as I am now finishing my training, which is a big thing. My best friend’s fiance has just moved down so I asked if he would like to join us. I like him, and I like him and her together. They are one of the few couples who don’t leave me reaching for the sick bucket, but still a couple. Sweet little things they do just manage to kick you in the gut. The other four joining… 2 were actually just friends but sat next to each other and basically have their own secret language, making another couple. Last but not least was a close friend on hearing I had invited the other’s fiance asked if her fella could come. It worked out at 2 couples opposite me and 1 next to me and me sat next to an empty chair.

If I had known the rules on dining out I’m sure I could have manufactured a date from somewhere, and as much as I know my friends were aware of this and tried to cover it up, there is just no feeling like it than looking to your right and seeing that vacant space.

I shall be more prepared next time. I’m in that era of my life with these friends that they’ve all got a “plus 1”, and if by the time my friend’s wedding comes along and I’m still absent a plus 1 there will always, undoubtedly be plus 1 more slice of cake. So just a warning, go armed with a date or cake.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

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2 out of 10… Big disappointment

Right I’ve been feeling the January blues this year so thought I would watch a comedy. A colleague had lent me this film and it does state on the front cover “The British Comedy of the Year – Woman & Home Magazine”. I tell you, I didn’t laugh once. Don’t get me wrong it’s a feel good film because it has a happy ending but it most certainly isn’t a comedy.

How anyone can give it those references?

How anyone can give it those references?

Now I am such a fan of both Emily Blunt and Ewan McGregor but I can’t see why they were happy to do this film. They are both such talented actors and the writing in this film just didn’t do them credit.

Okay so it’s not exactly a very exciting story, Blunt is employed by a rich guy adamant at being able to fish salmon in the Yemen. She has just started dating a soldier when 3 weeks into the relationship he is called out to Afghanistan. Meanwhile she seeks out the fish expertise of McGregor who is a fish enthusiast for a magazine and is stuck in a mundane and routine driven life and marriage (see where it’s going yet?). After a little bit of persuasion McGregor agrees to help Blunt in capturing the fish and transporting them to a successful release into the Yemen. In this time Blunt’s 3 week boyfriend is lost in action, leaving her devastated, but all is well at the end as he is found. He comes to try to be with her by which point McGregor has left his wife as it is clear that both him and Blunt are in love with each other. Although the Salmon release is sabotaged and basically ruined Blunt and McGregor live happily ever after and aim to have another go at the project.

Hardly anything jaw dropping there. There are some unnecessary scenes with a P.A. and the prime minister involving MSN or Skype, all a bit bla bla. As is the random attack on the rich boss’s (I think he’s a prince) life but is fooled when armed with his fishing rod McGregor stops him. The devastation Blunt feels with her 3 week old relationship is also unbelievable. Basically if the actual foundations of this film were changed to make it more plausible and real it would be 100 times better but probably still not worth a watch. I know it’s adapted from the book by Phil Torday and all I can say is, if the book is anything like the film then there is no need to count sheep for insomnia anymore.

The characters themselves are just poor, Blunt’s character is this beautiful, smart, savvy city lady who suddenly has this interest in fish and McGregor’s character is this stereotypical nature geek who lives by routine. Neither actor had a lot to work with and they tried their best but you’re only as good as the writing leaving many awkward scenes where it was so uncomfortable.

Please do not waste your time on this film. If this is the way comedies are heading I would rather watch a tragedy any day.

R.E.J.E.C.T.I.O.N Friend or Foe?

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Well as one tends to do, I’ve been thinking. I was discussing something with a friend of mine… that something happened to be who should make the first move, man or woman? Historically it’s always been the man who has pursued his lady but since the vote, more equality, etc etc why is it still the man who is stereotypically making the first move? My answer was two fold…

One: Women still like to be chased. We want to be desirable and yet unattainable unless you woo us.

Two: Fear of rejection by a man if we chase them.

It’s this second answer we started exploring. Because although fear of rejection may seem like a weakness and in effect a very female quality, my friend (let’s call him Bob), told me that he too has this fear. This being the reason why he never feels comfortable asking a girl out or going past the talking stage. He doesn’t want to appear pervy or to advance with any unwanted attention. When you connect this with women still wanting men to make the first move, we’re kind of a doomed race. Luckily Bob took the chance, after a deadlock dare, and it paid off, he’s got a date.

I don’t think this fear of rejection just lies with romantic endeavours, take job interviews for example. What is it we’re really afraid when we go for one? Is it that we’ll be grilled over our experience, or is it the possibility that they may say that 2 letter word to us…. NO. It’s such a small word and can create such a drastic feeling. I personally hate interviews, the fear of being rejected doesn’t just evoke that feeling of unworthiness but also coincides with professional desire and financial strife.

Rejection, though–it could make the loss of someone you weren’t even that crazy about feel gut wrenching and world ending.

― Deb Caletti, The Secret Life of Prince Charming

While writing this I’m wondering where it has come from. I mean maybe it’s from our very basic mammal instincts where we’re afraid of being rejected my our mothers and have to fend for ourselves. Just a theory, most likely wrong but I thought it was a possible spin.

I think relationships and interviews are the most common forms of rejection. Now in both aspects I have been rejected more times than I like to count but just for fun… Interviews rejected from = 7. Men rejected from = Too many. In all seriousness though I’m not talking about a letter in the post saying they won’t take your application any further. Instead I mean when you’re given false hope, so when you’ve got an interviewer, or things seem to be going well with a new beau. It is then, when your guard is down when they either do the whole “thanks for coming in however…” or in my experience, another girl gets in the way. It’s not enough to be rejected but you’re being picked last. Like the quote above says, you don’t even need to be that crazy about the person or job but still it can cut you deeper than you know when you are rejected.

Life is like gym class and you’re always being picked last

It is the cruelest blow to your self-esteem and can leave you feeling wounded beyond belief. It is hard to recover from and yet eventually we do, we pick ourselves up, dust off our nicest suit and go back out there. How? Why? How do we rebuild, through other loved ones I guess and our own gumption. But why do we do it to ourselves? Why do we strive for that better job, just for the chance of rejection.

There is also the idea that whatever doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. With each job interview we gain the confidence to sell ourselves more at the next one, or tweak our C.V. to show the best of us off. Also with each heart break we toughen up, become harder to break. This has turned into negativity for me. Whenever someone shows a bit of interest the red flag goes up straight away and I think they’re going to hurt me. My own defensive mechanism but is also my downfall, I don’t trust easy and therefore don’t always jump in with both feet. Friend or Foe?

This post kind of has no conclusion or point, I just thought it was a thought-provoking topic. Surely if we’re aware of this fear and confront it head on each time, least we should be able to be a little more prepared the next time. Or that’s what I’m hoping anyway.

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