Finally a FitBit!

So back in March & April I made a few posts about how watching The Walking Dead made me very conscious about how horrendously unfit I am and how that will hinder (kill) me in a future apocalypse. Initially I really wanted a Fitbit, convinced it would entirely solve all my problems but I managed to talk myself out of it, telling myself to first try several free apps that provided similar services. Anyways as with all things I take to very intensely the exercising burnt out fairly quickly yet I have still felt myself umming and ahhing over getting a FitBit. Especially after I found this buzzfeed article about how someone tried using a FitBit to help them study and hopefully improve their anxiety.

Well long story short, as you’ve probably worked out, I finally bought a FitBit. I received some money for my birthday which I decided to use towards getting one. I knew I wanted one that measured your heart rate, mostly for anxiety monitoring purposes, but didn’t need an overly fancy one more aimed at more serious exercisers who want things like GPS as well. Therefore I settled on the FitBit Charge HR.

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Whilst it is quite bulky I am actually quite impressed with how well it fits, usually I avoid all watches, bracelets and wrist wear because mine are so tiny nothing ever fits properly but this is satisfactorily snug. I have only had it since Sunday but by mid afternoon Monday I had stopped being aware of it on my wrist.

Having only had it a couple of days I’m still getting to grips with it all but so far there’s a lot to like and I can see why these things are so popular. It is brilliantly customisable and very informative. Living in a 3 storey house I knew I was up and down the stairs a lot but I was amazed just how quickly I racked up the acheivement of 10 floors on the FitBit (it has something inside it which can tell when you are going up in elevation and a floor = 10feet  in one go). I also really appreciated the email medals of achievement and the little buzz party you get on your wrist when you have completed your 10,000 steps for the day.

Not being stranger to MyFitnessPal the food diary part of it is nothing new or exiting but I do prefer FitBit’s seperate water drinking record. The sleep monitor is another feature I’m really keen on as I often don’t sleep well and getting up with children in the night I am honestly intrigued as to how much sleep I actually get. It told me that Sunday night whilst I was asleep from 23.18 – 06.47 I only managed 7hours and 5 minutes sleep as I was up 3 times and restless 13 detracting 24minutes from my overall sleep. Seeing the graph and where the sleep interruptions were was cool. Infact all the graphs and details are rather cool even if I’m still not sure what all of them are, they look impressive enough.

Overall I am very impressed but at the same time aware it’s a new and fancy gadget, the real test is how I’m doing with it in a week, a month and whether it’s still a thing in a year. I can also see how easily you could become overly obsessed and invested in micromanaging your life through this. For the moment I don’t have any friends added so will not be partaking in any of the challenges or comparing acheivements; in fact I might avoid ever doing that as I am definitely the sort of person who would end up feeling inadequate and over doing it to try and keep up with them despite knowing some of them regularly work out and train for events. It seems there is a delicate balance between using the FitBit to help you and letting it run you. Hopefully I find the right one and I look forward to writing more about it.

 

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Birthday Times!

Just before the weekend it was my birthday! I love my birthday, it’s almost as good as Christmas, almost. I have no qualms about getting older, instead choosing to appreciate the fact that I have lived another year and it’s the one day a year I force myself to bask in me. As someone who is quite reserved with a sensitive self esteem and a pandora’s box full of painful birthday memories it is no easy feat to accept that yes on this one day a year I am the best damn thing on the planet and deserve every last moment of egotistiacal self indulgent glory. I am getting there and I honestly think that this year was the best yet.

The day started with a lie in, which if you have any experience with children, you’ll know is quite possibly one of the best luxuries in the world. Not that I slept in long, I was too excited and not at all disappointed when I came downstairs to all this.

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Now traditionally on birthdays we have birthday pancakes but given I am the one who cooks them, this was not going to be the case today. Nope, as it was my birthday I was treated to my ideal breakfast of fruit smoothie, Twinnings tea and an almond croissant.

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Almond is quite possibly my favourite thing in the world, marzipan, amaretto, roast almonds, frangipane basically if it’s almond flavoured I love it! After breakfast came the epic task of actually opening all the presents and I was thoroughly spoilt. As you’ll know this year I became a big fan of The Walking Dead and a certain red neck, crossbow wielding bad ass so it probably isnt surprising to see he made up a large part of gifts received.

But it wasn’t exclusively Daryl/TWD gifts I received, I was also lucky enough to receive  some wonderful other things as well.

After presents I settled myself down on the sofa to enjoy a morning of daytime TV on the BBC, something I havent been able to do for nearly two years! There are many who complain about the quality of such programmes but I really enjoy them, maybe because I dont get to watch them often. There was Countryside 999, Homes Under The Hammer, Fake Britain, Neighbourhood Blues and Bargain Hunt, it really is the simple things in life that are the best.

Now the plan was to go out for a picnic but the weather had been looking questionable for a few days and I ended up not wanting to tempt fate so we stayed home for lunch however it looked alright for the afternoon so we decided to head out for the afternoon. Our destination was a village in the Cotswolds called Blockley, this is where a lot of the show “Father Brown” is filmed and has been on my ‘to visit’ list since I started watching earlier this year. I’m so glad we did as there were some glorious views on the way, considering our close proximity to the Cotswolds we really don’t explore enough of it and the village itself was lovely. I really enjoyed recognising the places used in the show and our time in the village. We visited the local cafe and played on the green before heading home for tea which was pizza.

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After the kids were in bed it was time to watch the film I had as a present in the morning, “Hello Herman” starring Norman Reedus which was one of the best films of his I have seen. Even my husband admitted it was good and he is rather anti Reedus. I will get round to writing about the film in a Friday review so won’t say too much here. By the end of the film it was quite late and after a truly wonderful day it was finally time for bed. There was not a single fault with the day, everything was more than I could have asked for and I am very grateful to have so many people that care enough for me to make it such a special occassion.

Red Canyon – Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus

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Red Canyon (2008) is quite possibly the worst film I have ever seen. Not even Norman can redeem this steaming pile of utter garbarge. He’s barely in it and when he is he has nothing to do, he serves no real purpose besides being a bad guy. I don’t even know if I can be bothered to waste my time writing a review about it. Seriously, it made Messengers 2 look like Oscar winning material. The plot was so flawed and full of holes, all the characters were underdeveloped and plain stupid. Noone had any discernible motive for anything, the whole thing was painfully boring and stupid. The half of the film I wasn’t feeling motion sick for I was simply watching dumbfounded that anything could actually be this awful. The “shocking” and “controversial” ending was unusual and might have been interesting if the rest of the film hadn’t been such an utter shambolic disgrace.

Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus: Messengers 2 – The Scarecrow

Messengers 2 – The Scarecrow (2009), sounds like a sequel and I was concerned I would need to watch another trashy horror first in order for this to make sense. Fortunately thanks to the wealth of knowledge that exists on the internet I was able to determine it is actually a prequel and could be watched without any knowledge of what happens in the other film.

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Owing to the online reasearch I did my expectations for this film were as high as they could be knowing it was a straight to DVD horror with poor reviews. To be fair the film started rather well, subscribing nicely to the narrative of a horror one would expects. Farmer John Rollins (Reedus) is a good man struggling with his farm as the crops are failing. That is until he finds an unbelieavbly creepy scarecrow in the barn and erects it in the field against his young son’s protestations. Rather unsurprisingly the fortunes of the farm suddenly take a turn for the better at the same time that local people start dying. People who were making John’s life difficult. Shock, horrow it turns out the scarecrow is cursed and will protect the land it oversees against all threats, at any costs. For John the threat is his family and the cost is their lives which leads to the downfall of the film. Up until this point I was enjoying the tension, finding the film just the right kind of creepy and interesting. Then the scarercrow came to life in the most disappointing, anti climatic and frustrating face off ever. Any potential the film had shown flatlined and kept sinking.

If you are a Norman Reedus fan, particaularly a fan appreciative of his visual aesthic, then this film is defnitely worth a watch as he is the main character with plenty of screen time. He also gives the best performance of anyone in the film. In fact Norman is the best thing in this film full stop. He does a good job with the character John Rollins but there’s only so much an actor can do with a poor writing and directing.

 

Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus – Gossip

The second most reccommended film starring Norman Reedus to me was Gossip (2000) which follows a group of student friends who decide to test the power of hearsay and rumour on campus for a class project. There are many layers to this story all equally fascinating and it was very interesting watching them unfold. For me the best part of the film was trying to work out the truth. Everytime I was sure I had figured out what was actually going on something happend that made me question it all casuing me to rethink everything seen and heard up until that point.

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The nature of the film is very intriguing and something I find very interesting, the notion of people watching and pyschology. I found myself immersed in thoughts of what I’d do in a similar situation, who i’d believe, what action i’d take which quite possibly distracted me from the film as I had no complaints or issues with what I watched although I have since read quite a few negative reviews that particularly comment on the pace and performance. If it’s not a subject matter you enjoy you might find the film quite dull and scrutinise the actors performances more. Mostly I found myself wishing I had watched this film at school or university where there would have been the forum for debate on the issues raised within the film such as the larger consequences of small actions, conscience and moral grey areas as what impact the difference in characters has on interpreting their actions and credibility. In fact in light of recent news stories such as the Stanford rapist more schools could do with watching this film and discussing the themes within it with their students.

Overall I would reccommend watching it, maybe not rushing out and buying it specially but if it’s on TV or you see it in passing (I found it in a second hand DVD store for 50p) it’s definitely worth seeing. Norman is brilliant as the shy, artsy Travis and his performance is matched by those in the film with him (yes that’s the woman who plays Cersei Lannister and the guy who was in Dawson’s Creek). It is a film with a very different feel to it compared to Six Ways to Sunday and Dark Harbour, they seemed edgier and more out there compared to Gossip which feels realtively safe and more mainstream Hollywood. I got the sense it was a film primairly aimed at teens, the sort of thing I would have watched at a friend’s sleepover when at school.

Meet Me In Berlin – Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus

Meet Me In Berlin is a short film of 17minutes, featuring Norman Reedus released in 2007/2008 depending on whether you believe Wikipedia or IMDB. It is a glimpse into the life of guy from New York who had planned to meet a girl in Berlin, only he never made it because he was in car accident en route. As the only person he knows in the country he reaches out to her on the phone and learns that she is housebound because of a knee operation. The film follows them easing each others lonliness, connecting tenderly through phonecalls.

This is a really touching, emotive short with perhaps a large weight of that coming from knowing Reedus really was in a car accident in Berlin. He was launched through the windscreen of a car when it was hit by an 18 wheeler lorry, resulting in injuries that required scerws in his nose and a titanium eyesocket. In interviews he has described himself as looking like a hamburger, that it was so bad he wouldn’t even let his mother visit and he honestly doubted whether he’d ever work as an actor again. He filmed this during his recovery and the state of his face is not a result of special effects make up.

It’s a truly wonderful short conveying a lot with very little. The dialogue is sparse but that is what creates such an impact, what’s not said paints a picture with more depth than any conversation could. It’s easy enough to take it at face value or read more into it depending on your own experiences. As someone who has often found themselves isolated and relying on their phone as a lifeline, the character’s really resonated with me. This is definitely worth a watch and leaves little to be disappointed about.

Friday Night Film with Norman Reedus – Dark Harbour

Dark Harbour, 1998, is another realtively early film in Norman Reedus’s career and it’s one where if you look it up at all you will have the ending spoiled. This is a shame because it’s the ending that really makes this film. I heard about it before I watched it and it definitely changed how I viewed the film. Therefore the first thing I’ll say is, if you can avoid finding out the ending, do. In fact don’t look up anything to do with this film if you’re going to watch it. To be fair knowing won’t ruin the film but it will take the edge off.

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In as little detail as possible the premise of the film is a less than happily married couple are on their way to catch a ferry to their private island for a romantic weekend. On the way they pick up a young man they find beaten up at the side of the road. They repeatedly cross paths with this man due to bizarre and seemingly random circumstances. During this time seems to become quite close to the wife and marital drama ensues. The whole thing concludes in an effectively subtle manner that doesn’t come together until the very last moment.

Whilst interesting this isn’t the greatest film ever. I found it slow to get going and falling short of reaching it’s full potential. At times I was frustrated and bored. I found Alan Rickman’s american accent annoying, although I try to attribute that to the fact it was an unfamiliar way of hearing him speak. Speaking as a biased fan, Norman Reedus was the best part about this film, I can see why he is so often cast as these types of characters because he just plays it so well. His awkward young man in an uncomfortable position was played brilliantly and I truly felt really sorry for him. Where as Polly Walker’s character felt really underdeveloped, I wanted to know more about her. Despite being pivitol in the film she never really seemed to do anything.

That said it is a movie well worth seeing if you come across it. Well filmed with some lovely views, it has just enough character development to become invested in the outcome and the ending is such that you will want to watch the whole thing again. It is a film of subtlities that can only be appreciated post viewing, which is why despite all the negative things I have to say about it I really recommend seeing it. Afterwards I came away with the sense that you’re supposed to be slitghtly bewildered throughout, it’s what gives weight to the ending.