Tuesday, 31 March 2015

I comment, therefore I am

I Comment, Therefore I Am.

I've been really lucky that since having Marianna - in direct contrast to what I expected - my mental health has been a lot better. I've noticed it mainly through the little things, like not having the rush of panic every time I need to make a phone call to somebody I don't know well, and happily leaving online comments again even when my view is not that of the majority. When I was feeling fragile the mere idea of that would make me want to be sick. Defending my own opinions seemed as impossible a task as climbing Everest.

Every time you hit 'post' with a typo still at large, you think you're about to get ridiculed as much as a Diana Gabaldon quote on fandom_wank. (Weren't on the fandom scene? Read more HERE.)

But now I'm back blogging, debating, and commenting - though not on YouTube. It takes true bravery to dip a toe into the pit of ignorance and illiteracy that is a heated YouTube comments section.

I think it's that when you're in a good place mentally you're better able to put things into perspective. If somebody online thinks I'm wrong and calls me an idiot, well, all I have to do is prove that I'm right (99.99% of the time ;) and call them an idiot in return, should the fancy take me. If I can't be bothered, or if the idiot calling is likely to go on ad infinitum I can just log off and get on with my life. I don't need to spend time agonising over what a stranger thinks of me based on a two minute exchange on some internet forum. In the scheme of things, it just doesn't matter.

As Cracked (self billed as 'America's only humor site') notes -

It is said that opinions are like assholes: everybody has one.

Life with Baby Kicks

Monday, 30 March 2015

Magazine Monday: Picture Show, February 1921

Picture Show was a weekly British film magazine which ran from 1919 to 1960. This issue, which hit the shops on February 19th 1921, features Nick Cogley on the cover, billed as a 'black white female impersonator'. By 1921 blackface had already begun to fall out of favour for serious roles, but was still a common sight for background characters and comedy parts. Said Picture Show (#9): 'It is difficult to realise that Nick Cogley is not always black and not always a woman'. Hmmm, if you say so.

This issue also has the expressions of Viola Dana (#7), reviews of the (long forgotten) best films of the week (#20), and some interesting things to say on dental care (#18) - 'One should visit a reliable dentist at least once every three months for a thorough examination ... Tincture of myrrh diluted is an excellent rinse for the mouth and gums; peroxide of hydrogen is also beneficial in killing any germs and whitening the teeth.'

Click on the thumbnail pictures below to enlarge. (If it just goes into picture viewer mode, right click and opt for view image in a new tab so you can enlarge it to its fullest.)


The correspondence page (#23) discusses that phenomena we're all so familiar with - the meteoric rise and fall of celebrity. 'You can put it down to a certain fickleness in human affection, and you will be right. But you will be right, too, if you take into consideration the keen spirit of competition which exists. ... Yet even in the saddened reflection concerning old favourites there is a grain of wisdom which might benefit the host of film aspirants. It is this: That the glory of stardom is, after all, a transient thing.'

For more like this, please click the image below: Magazine Scans

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Dr Who

My Top 3 Things About Dr Who

Many moons ago A and I made a pact. A would watch all of Star Trek (and how anyone can try to lay claim to geek credentials without being a Trekkie I don't know) if I sat through Dr Who in its entirety. At times it's felt like it would never end but finally - finally - it's over. I've done it all, from 1963 to last year's Christmas special, with stop offs at Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Adventures, so to celebrate here are my top three things about Dr Who...

Honourable Mention - The Cybermen

Most Dr Who baddies are, it must be said, naff with a capital Na. There are grown men rolled in bubble wrap, bargain basement dinosaurs, tin cans which struggle with stairs, and the web planet. Just... the web planet. But, once in a while, there is something which is genuinely creepy. My vote for this goes to the Cybermen. Not the cybermen BBC have licensed as action figures, with their fitted armour and funky head handles. No, the cybermen of my nightmares are the original cybermen from The Tenth Planet. You could say that their suits are the shoddy work of the 1960s BBC costume department. Or you could look into their dead eyes and consider the horrifying reality of cybermen - they're not upgraded humans, they're rotting corpses being kept animate by electronics. And their speech pattern is the web planet all over again.

Just. The Web Planet.

#3. Jamie McCrimmon

Don't you think [my skirt] is a bit short?

Jamie, an eighteenth century Scottish piper, joins the Doctor following the 1746 Battle of Culloden. He's the kind of character you love to hate, as opposed to the majority of companions  - who I just hate. Jamie needs constant reminding of the simplest things like don't touch the alien button, get out of the line of fire, and probably the tricky business of how to put one foot in front of the other. For all that, he does manage to counteract the second doctor's propensity to flap and fuss and over think everything. The Time Lords know exactly what they're doing when they wipe Jamie's memory in The War Games; the Doctor is being punished, big time. Because as Doctor / Companion romances go, the 2nd Doctor and Jamie is the only one worth knowing about.

#2. Capaldi Channelling Hartnell

Hartnell was the original and in many ways the best Doctor. He's got no time for snogging his companions, or trying to explain his ever more convoluted timeline. Instead Hartnell played the Doctor as a grumpy - albeit charming when he wanted to be - old man. I particularly enjoyed the fact that when he lets Susan stay with David Campbell in the Dalek devastated 22nd Century he leaves her with only one shoe. That's just the kind of guy he is.

'I never bother with sleeping. I just do standing-up cat naps.
Generally when everyone else is talking. I like to skip ahead to my bits.'

Capaldi, who shall be forever remembered as the great Malcolm Tucker, took over at the end of 2013 as the twelfth (technically fourteenth) Doctor. What he brought to the role was something which had long been missing - Grumpy Old Man-ness. He's now the kind of guy who tells you to 'hurry up or I'll hit you with my shoe', and is utterly oblivious to Clara's feminine wiles, unable to tell when she's wearing make up, or even differentiate her from a being that looks like a potato. The Doctor has gone back to basics and, in my opinion, has never been better.

#1. Strax

The single greatest thing about Dr Who is Commander Strax, the warrior come nurse come Victorian butler intent on bringing glory to the Sontaran Empire. He's brave, he's multi talented (e.g. he can produce 'magnificent quantities' of lactic fluid), and he looks like a giant potato. Strax is hilarious and, along with Jenny and Madame Vastra, should have his own spin off show. The world needs it.

May I take your coat?

Mums' Days

Friday, 27 March 2015


A and I have completely different views on interior design. I like pattern, colour, retro kitsch... A doesn't. It's not much of an issue at the moment as renting means we couldn't do anything too drastic, even if we had the funds, but in the future I can see it being a battleground. (Albeit one which I shall emerge from the victor.)

Heart Home magazine is running a competition to show off your favourite bedroom style, in conjunction with Betta Living, and it got me thinking about my perfect bedroom. The riot of colour I'd probably plump for were I still single is never going, realistically, to be an option, so the next best thing - the compromise option - would be grown up and glamorous.

The probable outcome were I left to my own devices...

Betta Living had a fitted bedroom set in glossy black named the Valentino, which proved to be my starting point. Rudolph Valentino and his Brilliantined hair oozed art deco glamour - and so would my dream bedroom. I'd have the gloss surfaces and the silver grey fabrics, the vases of Hollywood style flowers and the glamorous nightdresses. I don't like to do things by halves, after all.

Actually 1930s, but what's a decade or so between friends?

Normally A insists on everything being whitewashed or, if he's feeling daring, a nice shade of cream. But even he has a soft spot for the deco era thanks to a life time of Jeeves & Wooster and Poirot reruns. Everything looks so classy and decadent. Check out my #hearthomebettaliving pinterest board to find a grown up bedroom for a (more or less) grown up couple!

Some of the pinned items.


Gorenje UK are running a competition to win a washing machine, you just need to submit your best spring cleaning tip. Here is my entry -

For a bigger view, click HERE.

Fingers crossed! :)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Welcome to Me

Welcome To Me
My name is Jessica (or, more usually, Jess); my mum chose it long before I was a twinkle in anyone's eye and, when I was, she was so convinced I was going to be a girl she didn't concern herself with picking a boy's name. When I was born I apparently looked just like my mum's nan(!).

Me as a baby with my parents
With my mum and dad as a baby.

I'm 27 years old and live in Cwmbran, South Wales, where I was born and bred. I studied history at Cambridge, then moved back and worked in the third sector in Cardiff before being elected to Torfaen County Borough Council in 2012.

Me with friends at university
At university - I'm on the left.

I tried graduate studies at the University of South Wales for a while, where I met Anthony (the love of my life  ). I gave them up just as I found out we were going to be hearing the pitter patter of tiny feet - there seemed more than enough happening to be going on with!

Anthony and Marianna
Anthony and Marianna.

Here is all the above information and more in the form of a handy 'getting to know you' meme:

My name? Jess
My last name? Is really common, but still gets misspelled all the time...
Hair colour? It's naturally dark brown, but I tend to dye it 'blackest black'.
Do I smoke? No.
Do I drink? Very rarely.
Pick three words to describe me? Friendly, random, busy.
Who am I in love with? Zac Efron. I don't care that crushing on the Zefron is for 12 year olds. Just look at those perfectly groomed eyebrows -
Zac Efron.

Do I have any siblings? Yep, I've got a younger brother.
Do I like 'em? Yeah, we have the same sense of humour so we're into a lot of the same stuff. We used to make up all kinds of fantastical Sherlock Holmes' mysteries (we were like 16 and 13...) which would always end with Holmes confessing his undying love for a poor longsuffering Watson. Shipping is in the family.
What's something that makes me cry? Take a Break magazine. Seriously, someone's always dying, or their kid's dying, or their kid's dog is dying.
One of my favourite things to do? Reading, writing, watching old films, shopping, slobbing about...
How many piercings/tattoos do I have? I don't have any tattoos, and these days only my earlobes are pierced. I used to have three in my ears, and my eyebrow pierced, when I was at school.
What are my political views? Socialist, UK Labour Party.

Here's Carwyn, Welsh Labour leader, getting some milk...
Name some of my favourite foods: Anything that's bad for me - crisps, chocolate, chips, McDonalds...
Name a song that I love: More like: Anything by Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog at the moment.
Am I shy or outgoing? What makes you pick your answer?: Shy, sometimes debilitatingly so. I don't feel it at work or anything, just when I'm being 'me'.
Am I a rebel? Not really.
My favourite colour? Red.
My first celeb crush? Scott from Five.
Something I hate: Hate's a really strong word, but racism.
3 of my OTPs: Holmes/Watson. Jeeves/Wooster. Bilbo/Bofur.

My fave Holmes and Watson.
What super powers would I have as a superhero? I want to be able to fly. I'd probably become the female incarnation of Matter-Eater Lad.
Which job suits me best? No idea. I try jobs out, don't like them, go back to the drawing board.
If I were famous, what would I be famous for? I'll probably be infamous for something.
What shoes do I wear most? Babycham sneakers. They're my fave brand. <3
How tall am I? About 5'4".
If I were stranded on a desert island, what would I bring? My blackberry and solar charger!
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