Ten Minutes Of Silence *update*

In my last post about taking ten minutes of silence I said that I would give you guys an update on whether anything has changed since I’ve been doing it and, well, things sort of have changed, if only a little.

I must admit, I haven’t been taking ten minutes of silence every day; some days I get home late from work and I’m just absolutely nakkered, and slumping in front of the TV and eating junk with a nice cuppa seems a lot more satisfying than sitting in silence for ten minutes, but on the days that I do do it, I find it really relaxing.

In the book that I told you guys about before, Andy Puddicombe talked about how your thoughts are like cars going along a road: we become mentally stressed by constantly trying to control the traffic. When a good thought comes along, we try and chase after it and hold on to it, but it always goes too fast for us and it disappears, and when a bad thought comes along, we get in front of that car and try to stop it from moving, which never works (trying to stop a moving car? Yeah, not a good idea). So the only way we can get a hold on our thoughts is to sit at the side of the road and watch them go by – the good and the bad ones.

So this is how I want my thoughts to look like…

…but at the moment they look like this.  Reminds me of Lagos on a weekday

I know it all sounds a bit new-agey, but trust me, it’s not. You don’t need to walk around wearing special crystals.

I tried doing this one day and I was surprised to find that it worked. I felt a lot calmer just sitting back and observing my thoughts as they came and went. Of course the next day my thoughts turned into a car crash again, but I think that the more I do it, the easier it’ll become.

The book also explains that the meaning of getting headspace is that even when you experience a negative emotion, you still have that certain part of you that knows that everything will be OK. This has definitely helped me a lot. I remember when I was getting seriously down one time: I had too much work to do in a job I hated, I had no money (well, that part is still ongoing) and I felt like I was getting nowhere near where I wanted to be professionally (another part that’s still ongoing). But despite all that there was a part of my brain that thought ‘It’ll be OK’. I could even physically feel that part, some clear space in my mind – which sounds absolutely ridiculous, I know, but I felt it.

I still haven’t finished the book, and it’s been a good few weeks since I had ten minutes of silence, but when I get a bit further into the book I’ll give you guys another update. However, until then I do recommend just taking time out to observe your thoughts and watch them come and go – it really does help you to control them.



Superhero Sunday: The Lone Ranger

Oh my god, have you seen any of the pictures from the upcoming film ‘The Lone Ranger’?

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  Johnny Depp as Tonto and *deep breaths, Helen, deep breaths* ARMIE HAMMER as The Lone Ranger.

I know that the general consensus is that Johnny Depp is some kind of sex god but I’m not particularly fussed about him to be honest.  But Armie Hammer… oh my god. Those eyes.  The height. That jawline. The man is so beautiful that even just thinking about him makes my nose bleed.  You’ll recognise him from his roles in The Social Network and Mirror, Mirror but I have a feeling that this is the role that will propel him into real stardom.

Don’t let your PTSD flashbacks from ‘Wild Wild West’ influence your impression of this film, people.

So, I reckon the Lone Ranger is one of those characters that everyone knows through cultural references and parodies, but the character was a stalwart of American culture used in particular to uphold a certain moral standard of standing up for a good cause.  The actors who played the Lone Ranger in its earliest incarnations were very serious about the example they set for children, and the original writer of the character, Fran Striker, came up with a moral code that the Lone Ranger lived by.

I believe that to have a friend, a man must be one.

That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.

That God put the firewood there but that every man must gather and light it himself.

In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.

That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.

That ‘This government, of the people, by the people and for the people’ shall live always.

That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.

That sooner or later … somewhere … somehow … we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.

That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.

In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.”

I’ve only recently started to appreciate the Western genre, one that my grandpa is and always has been very interested in, so I reckon this is going to be a film I’ll enjoy for more than just the presence of the quite frankly delicious Armie Hammer.  And in addition, it will be a nice change to have a hero lacking in the high-tech gadgetry that many superheroes and good-guys rely on these days… *cough* Batman *cough*.  It’s apparently been in ‘production hell’ for a while now, with things like budgets and clashing work schedules setting back production several times – can you believe that they considered Pirates of The Caribbean 4 to be a priority over this film? Ridiculous! – but hopefully the film will stay on track for its release in 2013.  And I seriously hope they keep Rossini on the soundtrack.  Don’t push this film back any further, Disney – I can’t wait!

5 TV Shows That Made Being Home Sick From School Worth It

We’ve all been there – you wake up and feel that scratchy feeling in your throat, your head hurts and your nose is all blocked.  You feel gross, so you go downstairs and ask your parents for a day off school.  If you manage to convince them, then you’re set for a day of lying on the sofa being brought mugs of honey and lemon, and bowls of tomato soup (well, if your mum and dad are as awesome as mine, that is).  But what are you going to watch on this day of healing?  Well, here’s a rundown of what I used to watch when I was feeling run-down.

Please note: This includes shows that I used to watch before the days of Freeview, and we did not have Sky television when I was growing up.  So don’t expect anything that recent…

5. El Nombre

If you’ve never watched ‘El Nombre’, I’m not sure I would trust your maths skills.  Take a few minutes and educate yourself, people:

El Nombre was part of Numbertime, which was the programme my mum would let us watch if we took a sick day from school because it was “educational”.  I never really had a problem with maths at school, in fact until I got to high school I really enjoyed maths and did really well in it, so watching Numbertime wasn’t really much help to me.  But you just take a look at those clips of El Nombre and tell me that this low-budget, bad-ass Zorro lookalike doesn’t teach you more than just maths – he inspires youngsters to believe in themselves; he teaches us that it’s important to help those in need; and most importantly, he shows us that it isn’t necessary to know the difference between the Spanish words for “number” and “name”.

4. Supermarket Sweep

I can’t be the only one who watched this and barely took in anything that was happening, instead disappearing into a world where I was granted hour long ‘sweep’ privileges in various shops of my choice (usually HMV):

The dream of being able to just dash round a supermarket – or any shop, for that matter – and just fill your trolley with anything you want knowing that you could smash into things and not have to pick it up, and then just leave without paying… man that’s some good stuff.  Forget the rounds that come before that with all the questions and stuff, we just want to be granted the wish of taking whatever we damn well please without paying for it.  And for many people, that wish came true in August 2011.

The youth of today, crying out for the guidance of Dale Winton

3. Trisha

Speaking of incorrigible scumbags, who remembers Trisha?  I’m not saying that England’s downgraded, C-list answer to Oprah was a scumbag, in fact she seems like a reasonable enough person but the people she featured on her show…oh my god.  Whereas Jeremy Kyle is open about the disgusting nature of the sub-human scum he has on his show, Trisha tried to dress her guests up as if they were first-offenders making honest mistakes, except that as the show transpired you would inevitably be subjected to stories of how these people kept getting into the same mess time and time again.  Or there was the occasional “phobias” show, where Trisha would get people on who suffered from a phobia – from the common coulrophobia (fear of clowns) to the less common fear of mannequins, handled hilariously here in the first minute by Trisha.  Trisha normally handled things with more class and sense than Jeremy Kyle could ever hope to achieve, and her show, while in the same vein as Kyle and the other exploitative chat shows like Jerry Springer and Rikki Lake which we all so secretly love to watch, was somehow more palatable than the other ones.  I dunno, there was just a little more decorum about it.  Unfortunately in 2008, Trisha revealed she was undergoing treatment for cancer, and despite continuing with her show for another year it was taken off the air in 2009.  I had thought that was the end of her television career but something I’m sure not many people will know (and I didn’t realise until researching for this post) is that since 2010 Trisha has served as an occasional consultant and host on the Maury Povich show in America AND in 2011 she landed her own television series in a similar vein to her original UK show.  Come home, Trisha, the kids these days don’t know what they’re missing!

2. Sunset Beach

Oh it’s getting serious now, people.  Yes, Sunset Beach was the go-to show for daytime drama when I was growing up, with its ridiculous story-lines and terrible acting – it made America seem like a place where everyone was beautiful, evil, complicated, and lived by the beach.

There were devious plot twists involving evil twins coming back from the dead, regular visits to a voodoo priestess and stealing babies.  If you were off school because you were genuinely sick, Sunset Beach was a brilliant way to switch off your brain and just enjoy some pretty people behaving in a despicable manner.  The ending was a masterclass in tacky twists – a dream that turned out to be a dream, you’re blowing my mind!  But the beauty of Sunset Beach was that it knew how cheesy it was, and never took itself too seriously which was what made it okay to have such ridiculous story-lines and over-the-top performances.

Just to sweeten you guys up a little bit (as if just being awesome wasn’t enough), here’s a little something you might enjoy, whether you’re a fan or a newbie…

That’s right.  Whole episodes of Sunset Beach on Youtube.  I know, right?

1. Diagnosis Murder

What else was it going to be, huh?  Do me a favour, loop this video while you’re reading.

Awwww yeah.  Diagnosis Murder revolved around Dr Mark Sloan, a physician who dabbled in surgery as well as helping out his detective son Steve whenever a juicy murder case turned up. Along with Dr Jesse Travis and forensic examiner Dr Amanda Bentley (we don’t talk about the Scott Baio years, we just don’t talk about them), Mark and Steve would team up to solve crimes that normally took place in and around the hospital or the beach where Mark lives in a beautiful home that would provide temporary residence for many of the wrongly accused people that Mark met over the course of the episode.
I can’t pinpoint what is so brilliant about Diagnosis Murder but – oh no wait, I can.  It’s DICK VAN FUCKIN’ DYKE.


What a legend.  Yes, this man was the main reason that people would tune in, because Dick van Dyke can and will master any skill, no matter how difficult, and then make it look easy as hell in a tenuous segue during an episode of Diagnosis Murder.  His onscreen son Steve was played by his real-life son Barry, which made their chummy relationship on the show even sweeter.  The appearances of his hundred or so other off-spring and grandchildren was a little annoying at times but HEY, SHUT UP, HE’S DICK VAN FUCKIN’ DYKE.

Diagnosis Murder is pure 80s detective shtick, which is weird because it was made in the mid 1990s.  An unprecedented amount of episodes featured ladies doing aerobics or dance classes wearing spandex leotards, terrorist cells based in LA and rogue cops involved in serious murders.  It was perfect for when you were home from school and needed something to watch on the couch in your pyjamas.  Or, you know, when you’re 24, out of a job, and need something to watch on the couch in your pyjamas.  Screw it, here’s another whole episode from Youtube.

You’re welcome.

He Could Get It…Bradley Cooper

WHY? With Bradley, the eyes have it. They pop out at you, not like “pools” of blue but something more awesome. Like spaceships. Freakin’ spaceships of blue.

He is one of those rarities in Hollywood in a mould that Heath Ledger, Ryan Gosling, Daniel Craig and Michael Fassbender fit into. Blonde And Edible? No, fool! Hot And Talented. He can actually, properly, on-the-real ACT (for evidence until you catch Silver Linings Playbook, please see Limitless – an extremely underrated film).

To top it all, he speaks French like a native, can cook, is funny, has a voice so smooth it could make jam, and his middle name is Charles. Not sure why the latter is hot…

Happy Birthday Scarlett Johansson!

Many happy returns to Miss Scarlett Johansson, who is 28 today!

She’s smart, confident, driven, was great in Marvel Avengers Assemble (and you know how much we loved that!) and an absolute knockout – it’s not hard to see why she’s one of DTSFT’s favourite gals.

We heart you!!!111!!1!


Five Of The Best (And Five Of The Worst) Accents In Film And TV

Now I’m no Meryl Streep, but my guess is that as an actor you have to undergo some sort of transformation to get into a certain role, and sometimes that involves changing your accent. For some actors, accents come to them naturally: they get it spot on and it’s really easy to believe that they are that character. But sadly there are others who decide to save money on lessons and just go for it – but the results are shocking.

Here are five of my favourite Film and TV accents…

Sean Astin, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

When I first found out that the hobbit from Dorset Samwise Gamgee was voiced by an American, I was amazed. His accent was pretty much perfect throughout, and to this day I have no idea how he did it. In fact pretty much all of the Non-English actors who put on brilliant English accents. I know I keep saying that the LOTR Trilogy are my fave films, but I think you can see why, right?

Here’s Sam Gamgee’s ‘There’s good in this world’ speech. Gives me chills every time:

Ryan Kwanten, True Blood

I honestly thought that everyone in this show was from The South until I found out he was in Home and Away and I heard his voice in the animated film Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. His Louisiana accent is so far removed from his normal (and hot) Aussie tones that I almost couldn’t believe it; seriously, I had to go on Google to be doubly sure.

I chose the clip below (NSFW, by the way) because the line ‘white suit motherfucker’ is just brilliant:

Mel Gibson, Braveheart

Braveheart is a gutsy, brilliant film, that needed a gutsy and brilliant actor as the protagonist William Wallace, and nobody fit the bill better than Mel Gibson (y’know, before he became a racist idiot). I thought Crazy Ol’ Gibson’s Scottish growl was realistic enough without going overboard and becoming stereotypical – unlike some I could mention (please see: Don Cheadle), and I don’t think anyone could shout “FREEEEEEEDOOOOOOMMMMMMM!” as good as he does.

Gary Oldman, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises

This man is an acting legend and he’s a straight up G, so naturally he owns every film he’s in, and his accent in each one is scarily accurate, be it cut glass English in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, or a Virginian drawl in Lawless. But I think that his accent is flawless in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy in particular, which makes him one of my favourite characters in the franchise – the man even looked like an American cop with that broom moustache. Isn’t he awesome?

Tom Hardy, Lawless

I said before that Gary Oldman’s accent was pretty good in Lawless, but there’s one other Brit in that film who managed to get the accent down pat – Mr. Tom ‘Beefcake’ Hardy. The entire cast pulled the accent off (well, almost the entire cast), but Mr. Hardy’s in particular (coupled with his intense ‘I’ma punch yew in yo’ neck raht thurr boi’ stare and well-built physique) made him a memorable (and menacing) character. I’ve put the Lawless trailer below: the bit where he says “I’m a Bondurant. We don’t lay down for nobody’ is so scary it makes me want to run for the hills, but so sexy it makes me want to run back and jump into his arms.

…and here are five of my absolute worst. Brace yourselves, ’cause it ain’t pretty. My apologies go to Michael Caine in advance.

Scarlett Johansson, The Prestige

I just couldn’t deal with Scarlett Johansson in this film. The Prestige is amazing, but she single-handedly tarnished the whole with her excruciatingly bad British accent. See for yourself (if you can stand it):

Don Cheadle, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen

Apparently Don Cheadle personally asked to make his character a Cockney in the film. Whoever it was he asked should’ve said no. The fact that his accent was supposed to be British was bad enough, but he just HAD to take it further by making him a cockerney geeza. Donnie, mate, you’re having a bubble.

He speaks at around the 1:00 mark but, thankfully, only for a few seconds:

Clara Bryant, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

It’s been about ten years or so since Buffy ended, and of all of the memories I have of the show, unfortunately this girl (Molly) is one of them. I vaguely remember a scene where Buffy and all the ‘potentials’ were (I think) at a basketball game. I’m not sure what happened before, but Molly says ‘Strong drink?’ in the most ridiculous British accent. She also made her ‘Britishness’ even more glaringly stereotypical by using words such as ‘peckish’. Cringe!

(NB. It seems like I’m only picking on Americans who can’t do British accents, which is completely unintentional, but don’t worry, the script gets flipped later on…)

I tried to find a clip of jolly old Molly, but all I came up with was one of her getting murked by Nathan Fillion. Maybe he hated her accent too. Enjoy:

Michael Caine, On Deadly Ground

To be honest, it was really difficult for me to decide what was worse: Michael Caine’s American accent, or the fact that Michael Caine was in a Steven Seagal film.

Seagal films are my ultimate guilty pleasure, they’re so bad that they’re good, but Michael Caine’s accent was so bad it was awful. I do have a lot of respect for Sir Caine, but I had to call him out for this one. But I’m sure he knows how ridiculous it was, right?

Ewan McGregor, Down With Love

Ah, Ewan McGregor. A fantastic actor (and absolutely gorgeous) but his sort of Southern accent in Down With Love was not so hot. It was Southern mixed with English and then doused heavily with Scottish, which isn’t his fault, but perhaps a few lessons wouldn’t have gone amiss, eh?

Here’s the ridiculously cute trailer:


Superhero Saturday: Bananaman

Howdy folks, time for another SUPERHERO SATURDAY: This week – Bananaman!

For those of you who have never heard of Bananaman, you sicken me.  Like all iconic superheroes, Bananaman has had his own comic strip as well as a TV series, although we have yet to see a feature-length film of his exploits – but I’m holding on to hope, people.

Here’s the lowdown….

Originally a comic strip (which I never read and will therefore just gloss over…), Bananaman revolved around a boy named Eric Wimp – don’t you just love the names in these British comics, such stupid humour, I love it – who has an unusual reaction when he eats bananas…

In his transformation from a soppy little twerp to a fully grown adult, Bananaman’s ripped physique is a testament to the power of a healthy diet.  It’s not enough that this man is saving the world from super-villains while still managing to get his homework done and balance the complexities of being a teenage boy with his duty as a superhero, he’s teaching children the importance of fruit consumption.

Bananaman, we salute you!