Today I Hate This Country

The news today. Here’s a tweet that I saw this morning:

And I honestly don’t know. My mum’s side of the family came over from Russia during one of the pogroms, fleeing antisemitism. But I don’t know which of these new criteria they would have filled, whether they could speak English or had a “skill” so I didn’t RT.

But these “skills” the British government is talking about…

Carers are considered “low-skilled” workers, no visas for them. And that makes me so angry, right down to my core, in a way I can barely even articulate. I was a carer. Sometimes I still am a carer, sometimes. It’s the hardest job most people will ever have to do. In a lot of cases you have to be a nurse and a friend and a sort-of-parent all in one go. You have to give medication, and if you get it wrong the patient might die, and you have to give people baths and take them to the toilet, you have to know their routines and in some cases the routines of other service users who might associate with them – it’s so hard – in some cases you might be hit, kicked, choked, the lot… LOW-SKILLED! Low-skilled to stop a kitchen knife going into you, them or someone else! Low-skilled to stop someone from dying! Low skilled.

What I was doing in 2002

Today I found some old magazines from almost 20 years ago! Mizz and Shout, if anyone remembers them. I was thrilled. Look!

Celebrity tea!

The pointless quizzes that existed before Buzzfeed cornered the market on pointless quizzes!

Hotties of the era with their names in Comic Sans!

This junk! (It really was junk. Junk not funk.)

Endless, endless denim (but I appreciate they used models who were actual, unglamorous teenage girls)

Michelle Trachtenberg! (My god, these magazines pre-date the end of Buffy.)

Horror stories about mobile phones!

Adverts actually designed to make you feel better about your body! I really hope things like this still exist.

…articles about actual issues that were important to teenage girls…

…really hard-hitting stories about grooming and how it’s never the fault of the victim…

So! I started reading the old magazines thinking I would just end up having a laugh about ’00s fashion but I forgot how genuinely good they were. I legit got an education from teen girl mags of the early noughties.

LOTR tag-question meme

Seen and borrowed from Mary and the Words! As you can tell I’ve been on a Middle Earth/LOTR fandom kick recently SO…

(This will have a slight movie bent, sorry!)

Middle Earth:Hobbit or Lord of the Rings?

Oh, Lord of the Rings. When I first saw the first movie, it blew my young mind completely. Then I got ahold of the books and they blew my mind too. I didn’t read The Hobbit until later alas.

Fellowship: Favorite Hobbit movie

I’ve always been a little torn on the Hobbit movies because as much as I do like them, Martin Freeman as a person gets on my last nerve and they’re a wee bit overstuffed with completely unnecessary things. (cough love triangle cough) But if I had to pick a fave it would be The Battle of the Five Armies. Yeah, it’s a bit all-over-the-place but I can’t help but love its earnestness.

Ring: Favorite Lotr movie / book

Oh, Fellowship of the Ring, hands down. It was the thing that introduced me to the world of Middle Earth, after all. And as a movie it is just stunningly gorgeous.

Bilbo: Favorite character

Hmmm, TECHNICALLY it’s Boromir but I can see there’s a “favourite fellowship member” question further down so for this one I’m gonna say: Eowyn. My god I loved her so much when I was a kid. Now I’m an adult I can see she’s quite a complex and flawed character which makes her even better.

Dor Guldur: Least favorite character

I actually find it hard to pick a least favourite character because they all have their place in the story BUT… oh it’s totally Wormtongue. That slimy little asshole.

Gundabad: Favorite “evil” character

Oh Saruman, easily. He’s evil but he’s such a great character, y’know? A true magnificent bastard. Plus, a snappy dresser.

Also, he’s played by Christopher Lee. I miss Christopher Lee.

The Shire: Favorite place

Hobbiton! I dream of one day getting to go to the Hobbiton set in New Zealand. It’s green and full of nature, the houses are cosy, there are impressive firework displays every so often and lots of hobbits live there. (…in the movie/book, not in New Zealand.) It’s perfect.

Rivendell: Favorite species (hobbit, dwarves, elves..)

I love them all but I guess I should stand up for, ur, my own species and say men.

…and women.

Misty Mountains: Do you have a favorite quote from the movies/books?

Yes! And it’s this:

“The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.”

Very timely, isn’t it. :(

Mirkwood: Would you rather be an elf, hobbit, mankind, dwarf, wizard?

Ah well, I think given the choice most people would be hobbits, wouldn’t they? I already have hair on my toes so I’m halfway there. (Gross, sorry.)

Gondolin: Favorite Durin’s son

I like all of the Incredibly Hot Dwarves. Ultimately, though, gotta be Thorin. Poor Thorin. (Also, man, did Richard Armitage put in one hell of a performance as him.)

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But, sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell.

Ah, that could be another contender for favourite quote actually.

The Nine: Favorite fellowship member

Near-empty religious studies classroom circa 2001:

Person #1: “Who’s hotter, Aragorn or Legolas?”

Person #2: “Boromir!”

Person #1: “Boromir’s an asshole!”

Me (internally): “What movie were you watching?!”

So, him.

(Stupid arrows!)

Sindarin: Favorite weapon

Legolas’s Bow of the Galadhrim. Look at it go!

Minas Tirith: Do you own any Lotr/Hobbit merchandise? 

YES! Except… I kinda lost a lot of it over the years. For example, I got an awesome Gollum figure back when I bought the Two Towers DVD Special Edition, and now I still have the box it came in but NO GOLLUM. Where is he?!

Gig-Galad: Would you have changed something from the movie? 

I would! There really ought to have been a more diverse cast, for one. (The Hobbit trilogy did at least attempt more racial diversity among the extras, but that was about it.) And take out the silly Kili-Tauriel-Legolas love triangle, I cannot name a single person I’ve ever met who liked it. Heck, even some of the people involved in it didn’t like it.

Minas Morgul: Gandalf or Saruman?

Gandalf. Sure he’s an old grouch but isn’t that what really makes a wizard? He’s wonderfully snarky at times too:

“I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!”

I looked then and saw that his robes, which had seemed white, were not so, but were woven of all colours, and if he moved they shimmered and changed hue so that the eye was bewildered.

“I liked white better,” I said.


And there ya go!

Happy new decade!

Time for some 2020 vision. (Sorry.) There are many things I want to do this year, things that will set up the rest of the decade, MAJOR things. So there’s that!

And I also want to try and wean myself off a lot of social media. It’s not healthy. I don’t want followers online, just friends, and that’s the part that Twitter etc isn’t set up for. Twitter will recommend you stuff from complete strangers, stuff you don’t want to see and aren’t interested in, just to try and keep you engaged. Facebook does the same, hell, even WordPress does it. I find it really frustrating.

So I thought maybe I would spend some of today archiving some older Twitter jokes/posts that I actually want to keep on here, and maybe I guess make that whole account private at some point this month? S’like, I just want to use it to talk to people I already know, I’m not interested in terrible people’s thoughts on the UK election or the Star Wars Discourse. (My god, the Star Wars Discourse.) It’s not a healthy enviroment, social media, it just… isn’t.

Reddit is another problem in that it is unbelievably toxic and terrifying, but at least it has a forum system rather than a follow one and you can downvote the many, many offensive posts you’ll find. (Plus, the individual smaller forums such as the fanfiction one are very nice on the whole, it’s just, don’t click on anything to do with news or politics.)

So anyway! There’s that but honestly… 2019 was actually good mental-health wise, and that’s… scary. Also sort of survivors-guilt-y because so many people I know are suffering right now. Sigh. I hope 2020 will just be better for everyone and also the planet stops being on fire.

The Saga’s Never Over (Probably) (Also, Spoilers) (Also, Long Boring Descriptions Of Troubled Childhood)

Once upon a time in 1999, when I was a wee child of elevenish, I went to see The Phantom Menace. You gotta understand, it was a long hot summer, and there was nothing but The Phantom Menace and the marital troubles of my parents. Me and my siblings were shifted around. According to my childhood journal, we spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house, a three hours drive away from the family home, being distracted by a variety of children’s entertainment. We went to a theme park, went to the beach, went to Warwick Castle with our cousins. At one point, I remember, we were taken to a sort of daycare center run by people who gave no indication that they liked kids or had ever been them. (I saw Jurassic Park, a film primarily about an adult learning to not disparage the interests of children, for the first time at that place.) For a few weeks we went to the home of a childminder who kept an eye on us. And throughout all that I was just clinging to this stupid movie about space samurai and teenage girls with laser guns.

(I promise this does actually have plenty to do with The Rise of Skywalker, okay?)

I remember that us and the childminder and a buncha other kids went to the rec for a picnic. Every damn box of food had a character from Star Wars on it. I loved it. Free toys in the boxes, too! I hoarded them all, even those horrible little Jar Jar tongue things which had no purpose beyond getting immediately sticky and gross and having to be thrown away. Oh and later we even got a friggin’ Naboo Starfighter tent!

Basically what I’m saying is, Star Wars was my childhood. The Star Wars prequels were my childhood. In a strange, far-off, voice-on-the-wind type way. When Attack of the Clones came out, it was the first time I was allowed to go to the cinema with no adult supervision, so that was cool. I was a bit older for Revenge of the Sith. My 2005 ‘review’ of it is somewhere on this blog, brought over from one of the archives, and it’s incredibly cringeworthy because being a teenager is incredibly cringeworthy. Anyway.

Those voices on the wind briefly returned for this movie, when Rey finds herself suddenly the avatar of all the Jedi who came before her. Among the voices she hears are Obi-Wan, Mace, Qui-Gon, Ahsoka (!!!) and Anakin. And here we’re getting into the weird space where Who Actually Owns Characters, Really? but it was nice, you know, to hear the voices that once encouraged me come back to encourage Rey.

I sort of did a laugh-cry in the theatre, which is probably also cringeworthy, sorry.

Maybe Rise of Skywalker actually is Objectively A Terrible Movie, as an awful lot of movies lots of people like seem to quickly become Objectively Terrible Movies, who knows? There was plenty of stuff I didn’t like. Really, I absolutely hate and am infuriated that Rose’s screentime was reduced, because I can guess why they did it. That’s horrible. What happened to this scene?

(Also I know the background same-sex kiss has come in for a reckoning, and I understand the problem with it but I just can’t bring myself to be overly mad in any way, because I feel like, I know there must be a child out there who spots it and feels better without understanding the wider problems of representation, and even if that lasts for so little time…at least it happens)

Anakin’s force ghost makes no appearance beyond the voice, which is very disappointing. And honestly, almost nothing about Palpatine makes sense in this film. But that one cry-laugh-with-joy moment was enough for me, and if it’s not enough for you that is also fine.

I very strongly suspect there will be another Star Wars trilogy somewhere down the line. All the people involved are saying “That’ll never happen!” but it’s Disney and they know where the money is. Also, it’s a story about war and there’s always war, we know that. Always kids fighting around the ruins of the last one. I don’t know if I’ll like any even newer movies, because honestly I’ve never been certain whether or not I like the sequels, they just make me feel stuff.

It’s hard when the voices in your head become the voices in someone else’s. But that’s life, and it’s normal, and I’m glad I was here to see it.

Vintage Disneyworld: MGM Studios

…For back in the day, the park was actually named MGM Studios! Now, I believe it’s called Hollywood Studios. Let’s just settle for calling it “the Studios” from this point.

I look remarkably unimpressed here. God knows why, it’s not like there was a shortage of interesting stuff.

It seems like I was there just on time to see the Toy Story Parade! I kinda remember Buzz on the float repeating his stock phrases as he went by.

I have one good scanned photo from the parade, too. Looks like a camera flash was caught in the metal thingy there.

There was more Toy Story stuff inside. I think this might have been the Art of Animation exhibit… or what became the Art of Animation exhibit?

In the same building, or possibly another building, who knows:

Back outside again we have a rather comical-looking old dinosaur:

What or who is this large green dino? Lemme google around to try and identify it. I think it’s an earlier version (?) of Gertie, who is the first result for “disney mgm studios green dinosaur.”

Ahhh, here’s some shots of the Honey I Shrunk The Kids play area, which was my FAVOURITE bit of the park.

You’ve probably noticed by now that I took like, two outfits to Disneyworld. I still have that Minnie Mouse hat somewhere! It’s turned grey now.

I loved this play area so much, I think I must’ve spent at least a couple hours here. I wonder if it’s still there?… nope, Galaxy’s Edge ate it. Oh well.

Well, that’s most of the good photos and this post is long enough!

Vintage Disneyworld: Epcot

So a while back I started posting some vintage Disneyworld photos, all the way from 1996, on here. And then I forgot all about it. But now I have remembered again! So seeing as I still have the photographs lying around on my disk drive, shall we take a look at ’90s Epcot?

Terrible quality photo but you get the idea.

Ah, Spaceship Earth. I remember… going inside it and there was a dark ride in there? Lemme check on Google. Aha! There WAS a ride in there! And I have almost entirely no memory of it.

Look who it is! Yep, at some point during that day we met Mickey. The thing that takes me aback about this photo is the lack of crowding around him.

Tigger was also there…

But it looks like I enjoyed meeting Winnie the Pooh most, if these photos are anything to go by.

I deemed meeting Pooh worthy of inclusion in my holiday scrapbook, even though I couldn’t quiiiite spell his name right.


Now this photo… this I think might have been taken inside a restaurant called The Electric Umbrella. I remember it was technology-themed.

…But, looking up pictures of The Electric Umbrella, it looks a bit different (and lighter) so maybe it wasn’t in there? Perhaps it was on the Spaceship Earth ride? If anyone knows I would love to hear from you!

Let’s move onto the World Showcase!

Heeeere we are! I wonder what was in that bag I was holding? I think it was a plushie of Nala from The Lion King, but I’m not 100% sure.

Some landmarks:

Now I definitely remember IllumiNations being held on the lake here, but sadly I don’t have any photos of it as far as I know. (I imagine some of that is due to ’90s-era cameras being really bad at taking photos at night.)

Hey, person all in pink, d’ya mind not photobombing?

Here’s some shots of me and my family posing all round the World Showcase. Selfies hadn’t been invented yet so I guess the last one must’ve been taken by a kindly stranger.

And lastly, a lovely water feature.

Alas, I don’t know what part of Epcot that’s in, either.

Geez, this brought back memories. I can remember Epcot a bit more clearly than the other Disney parks for some reason. It must have left quite an impression on eight-year-old me.

I met Malorie Blackman!!

I’ve wanted to meet her since I was like… fourteen. I was THRILLED.

Also! Everyone in the hall got to see a sneak preview of the BBC Noughts and Crosses series, which I have been waiting for… again since I was about fourteen years old. It was an unfinished clip, it had a watermark across it and I don’t think the score was done, but ahhh! Exciting! (I’m not sure how much I can divulge, it was a scene at a party, but hopefully a trailer for the whole thing will drop soon anyway?)

It was a terribly exciting day.