Friday, May 27, 2011

Best F R I E N D S: Chandler Bing

"Good, because I was worried you guys were gonna be vague about this."

Chandler: famous for his humour, ridiculous 80s clothing and being a 'transponster', whatever one of those is. Let's have a look at the traits that make up the 'Chandler' type.

- After his parents' divorce, Chandler's father moved to Las Vegas to open up a drag act. Chandler was frequntly involved in the act or aspects of it such as grooming or choreography.

Having grown up in unusual circumstances, you're not brilliant at predicting the course your relationship will go through. This doesn't necessarily mean you had a broken home or a single parent family: you could have had a normal upbringing followed by an utterly disastrous dating history (anyone remember Janice?). When Monica and Chandler had their first argument, Chandler immediately assumed it was over because he couldn't think past such a row. He didn't realise that he was in a 'grown-up' relationship with a partner who was willing to talk through any difficulties.

- Because of his unusual upbringing, Chandler can be seen as effeminate; and the character's sexual orientation had to be deliberately established.

This doesn't mean Chandler types are girly and/or gay. What this means is that you can have traits that are commonly seen as 'feminine'. For example you may be overtly sensitive, or you may know how to enthuse with women. And this is great! It means you're honest about the way you feel - any woman who is with you won't have to ask you "are you sure you're OK?" twenty times before you admit to being angry; and you can talk to women about things they enjoy with tolerance and interest even if you don't understand what they're talking about. What it does mean is that you may get teased, especially (and ironically) by other 'Chandlers'.

- Chandler uses humour as a defense mechanism which often makes him seem insincere and cold, and can get him into a lot of trouble. 

Chandler has trouble getting himself taken seriously at work because his colleagues take everything he says as a joke, and he ends up seeming immature at a job interview because of a light-hearted comment about "duties/doodies". He winds up a lot of his friends, specifically females (Rachel at one point comments that she would like to punch him, but she "doesn't know why") because it can be viewed as reluctance to answer questions or admit to feelings. This isn't what Chandler is really trying to convey - he simply likes being 'the funny guy' because humour is popular, widely appreciated and an effective way of shielding himself from the awkwardness of reality. This conveys a timid nature - you don't want to lift the shield and expose the tender flesh beneath, but you will when in the right company. You just need to watch out - not all awkward moments appreciate a humourous comment and your words can come out the wrong way.

Chandler's Best Moment: [SEASON 10 EP. 9 - "The One With The Birth Mother"]
After following their trial to become parents, Chandler and Monica register at an adoption agency. However the agency mix up the files, and the couple have to admit to their potential birth mother Erica that they are not who she thought they were. Upset, she says she wants nothing more to do with them and storms out. Monica despairs, and Chandler goes after Erica, catching her in the lobby. He then tells her that although they may not be doctors or priests, they will love her baby more than anyone else could. Despite the fact that it was Monica who went along with the facade, Chandler expresses his sadness at not being able to give her the thing she wants most: a child. Erica warms to his sincerity and agrees to let the couple adopt her baby (or babies, as it turns out).

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best F R I E N D S: Monica Geller

So the time has finally come - digital channel E4 are letting go of long-running 90s sitcom Friends, handing the baton to Comedy Central as of Autumn this year.

Being a digital TV owner, this fills me with a little bit of wistful sadness. I've had the fortune of growing up as the series unfolded, and now I find myself actually starting to go through the things the Friends were going through it's a relative comfort to see other people's perspectives, even if they are fictional. And American. And gorgeous.

This got me thinking. Since there are three girls and three boys, everyone can find a little something to relate in all of them. There's siblings, children, career changes, adoptions, holidays, and even deaths. Everyone had a favourite character; one of the six whose developing personality traits matched up to their own. So with that in mind, I've come up with a little feature:

Which Friend are you most like? Do you love order and rules, like Monica? Are you smart and sensitive like Ross? Do you hide your soft centre behind jokes and tomfoolery like Chandler? Not only are we going on a journey to find out which Friend you most resemble, but we are going to find out a little bit more about the characters as we go along, and hopefully a little about ourselves as well.

Obviously there will be SPOILERS, but I'm suspecting that thanks to our friend E4 most people have watched the series so many times they can replicate the moves from the title sequence. (I once had a friend who could name the episodes each two-second clip was from!) Let's kick things off with a little look at...

"I would get a room with this cake. I could show this cake a good time!"

I'd like to point out that by my standards, I'm a Monica. So if you know me personally you might recognise a few of these traits. If not, here's your handy guide.

- Monica is known for being extremely compulsive. She is fueled by the need for organisation and order in her life, and gets nervous and angry when things aren't done 'her way'.

Whether you iron your used wrapping paper or number your cups, like Monica you need a certain sense of order. Monica struggles throughout the series with the worry that she may be left alone while her friends pair off, and she also struggles when she and Chandler can't conceive naturally. You expect things to work out the way you are prepared for, and when it doesn't you need to rely on other people around you for guidance and familiarity. You don't like to relinquish control which can make you difficult to handle; but it can mean you are great at organising events, like when Monica rescues Phoebe's wedding.

- Monica is very competitive, and not just with her older brother. She throws occasional tantrums during games and is a stickler for 'the rules'. 

Whether you hate to be beaten by your peers or siblings or you get angry when you can't complete something, you're a classic Monica. Famous for throwing a plate during Pictionary, she sometimes gets excluded from parties and you may find people are reluctant not just to play with you but to even argue or negotiate with you. Luckily this means you won't be a pushover and you can usually get what you set out for. Just be careful with that temper - it's not endearing!

- Monica's best friend Rachel was pretty and popular in High School, while she herself was overweight and homely. As a result, she is more timid with the opposite sex and also subject to fond teasing.

It needn't be chubbiness that held you back among your peers, and like Monica getting motivated to lose weight after Chandler's mean remarks it could have been by your own motivation that you shed whatever it was that was stopping you. Perhaps you were held back by your own perception of yourself, or by a partner or friend, or a dead-end job. But like Monica you broke free and became a better person for it. In a relationship you may be insecure and have reservations because you expect your partner to find someone better. You need assurance from your partner, therefore you will choose someone who can support you without patronising you, like Monica did.

Monica's Best Moment: [SEASON 5 EP. 8 - "The One With All The Thanksgivings"]
The Friends decide to tell stories of previous Thanksgivings. After finding out how Monica was compelled to lose a massive amount of weight and slim down into her current slender figure, we learn how she plotted to humiliate Chandler who had called her fat and in the process accidentally severed the tip of his toe. Upset and angry, he leaves and confines himself in the boys' apartment. And how does Monica win him back? She puts a turkey on her head, complete with a fez and kooky glasses and does a dance (terrifying Joey in the process). This leads Chandler to say "I love you" for the very first time. Not bad for a face full of poultry.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Happy Birthday to Neet

Ta daa! By the time you've read this post, I will have aged another year: completed another turn in the Circle of Life, one more turn of the hour glass, moved one more step around the giant Ludo board of my life.

Big deal!

I'm going to reiterate: yes, it is a tiny bit of a big deal, I suppose. I made it through another year, and that can only be a good thing: I'm in no way ungrateful for that. But my point is, are birthdays such a big deal? And at what age do they stop becoming one?

21st aside (my favourite birthday) I think my 18th birthday was my last "Really Super Big Deal Birthday", and it was fantastic. Since there are a lot of May birthdays in my group of friends, five of us decided to club together and have a joint birthday celebration. We rented a hall, had a DJ, and had 100 of our friends come along to celebrate with it. There was even face cake.

Remember when you were really small, and you thought that because it was your birthday it was all going to go according to your plan? It's quite cute really, until you wake up on your birthday and it's raining, or you didn't get the presents you wanted, or your infant brother slapped his sticky little handprint into your cake before you'd even blown the candles out (I still haven't quite forgiven the little shit for that one). Then you learn an important lesson: just because things don't go your way, doesn't mean you still can't have a fantastic time.

Back to the joint 18th: things didn't always go to plan even then: One of the party guests, angry that her boyfriend had asked me for a birthday girl dance, ran out into the main road causing several guests to go looking for her (upsetting two of the parents and making one of the birthday girls cry). One of my friends made a comment about my dress, it got taken the wrong way and I got upset. And just days before the event, the fifth party host broke up with me and was subsequently refunded his deposit on the hall and asked not to come. But when I look back on that day, I don't see all of those things immediately. Like looking at a photograph, you see the main subject and barely notice the imperfections: they're still there, just not as easy to see in among all the fun and laughter.

This year, I'm still going to be the same when I wake up on my birthday as I was on May 6th (just maybe a little greener around the gills). And you know what? That's OK! I don't have to do something on the day, it's no less magical if I have a small celebration a few weeks later when work and money trouble and pressing worries are out of the way.

As an aside, if you don't know what to get me for my birthday (that's me being presumptuous and assuming you were getting me a present, cheeky cow that I am), may I suggest donating the money you would use on buying me an Address Book* to the CCU Unit at Poole Hospital, my chosen fund du jour. There's even a handy Widget tool on your right there. Isn't that thoughtful!

*A boyfriend actually got me this as a present one year. I'd rather have had socks for Fuck's sake. We didn't last much longer after that!!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Losing Face(book)

Births, deaths, break-ups, fights, divorces, breakdowns, injuries, summer flings. We've seen them all: in fact, I've seen them all this side of 2011. I was talking to my mother about it all, and I came up with an interesting statistic:

By the time she was 22, she had experienced all of the above instances, as have I by that same age. However, 100% of my mother's experiences were through a personal interface, whereas mine were significantly lower. This is all due to the advent of the common or garden social networking site.

Now I'm not saying this is at all bad - for example, Brawny could see pictures of his new baby Godson mere moments after his birth, something we couldn't have achieved without Facebook. But I've also seen it from the other side. If you've just had a humiliating break-up, how disheartening it is to know that you've got to log on to the internet to proclaim your newfound singularity to everyone from your Boss to the boy who used to kick you in the shins in First School? And if you don't do it quickly enough, people who find out through the gossip grapevine will be quick to cut you down: "Oooh, she's still 'In a Relationship'. Denial much?!"

So to clarify the rules of Social Net-iquette (because quite a few people seem to have forgotten), I've decided to come up with LADYBLOG's Patented, Tried-and-Trusted Guide to Social Networking Etiquette.

RULE ONE: If You Wouldn't Shout it in Front of Your Mother, Hold Your Fire
Things of this calibre include: your bowel movements, sexual activities, the contents of your nostrils, what last night's Hooch-induced vomit fest looked/smelled/sounded like. If you're totally stuck, or you have a very forgiving family, you might want to say it out loud. If it makes you sound like a douchebag, the chances are that you will sound like a douchebag for posting it. If you have sounded it out and you don't care what you sound like, the odds are you're just that kind of person and your friends will expect that kind of thing from you. Which is totally OK. Just don't try and friend me please.

RULE TWO: If it's Unconfirmed, Don't Say a Word
My family were once on holiday when we received a text from a friend concerning our neighbour, Mike.
He worked around boats, and one day at work it transpired that he'd got his hand caught in a rudder and subsequently lost the hand down to the wrist. When we got back from holiday, he was there to greet us from his garden - waving at us with his "missing hand". Turned out he'd thankfully just lost half an inch from the tip of his middle finger. Because his wife had presumably been in a hurry to get him to the hospital and had probably mentioned the words "accident", "Mike", "hand" and "rudder", the messages had got mixed. The same goes for the following: injuries, illnesses, deaths, relationships. Let it all happen before you comment, otherwise you risk spreading panic and misunderstanding, which can often be worse than the original situation.

RULE THREE: Do Your Own Dirty Work
There's nothing worse than being dumped by voicemail or having a row by text. With the written word, you risk conveying the wrong tone: "OK" could mean "OK", or it could mean "OK, shut up, I don't want to talk any more". This never ceases to baffle me: surely people know it's common decency to talk to the person with whom you have a problem, in order to be fair and let them have their say? Odds are you've already decided to break up with them or that they have wronged you in some way, and nothing they say will change you mind, but does that really give you the right to silence and humiliate them by changing your relationship status while as far as the other person is concerned you're still dating? No it doesn't, and anyone who thinks that is OK isn't even worthy of pissing on if they were aflame.

RULE FOUR: Not Everything Needs Your Comments and similarly, Air Dirty Laundry and People Will Tell You How to Dry it
It's fine to have an opinion. People who put things on social networking sites do it to showcase their opinions or their activities, such as photos or comments on the film they just saw. What they will also do (because it's only human) is voice opinions that you may not share, might find offensive, or say things that you find embarrassing. It's human nature. If that person has an opinion you don't share and it upsets you to the point of anger, do not write what you are about to write. Go and make a cup of tea or yell at some household objects instead: anything to stop you looking like an utter pillock. In the same way, if you post something like: "OMG! Some people are just soooo annoying!", you're likely to start a horrible, spiteful war of words. If you think your friend is a moron, do something pro-active like delete their feeds or log off for a while rather than telling your 308 acquaintances how "stoopid" they are.

RULE FIVE: 500 People Might Not Appreciate How Miserable You Are
People get down sometimes, or as Michael Stipe may put it, "Everybody Hurts". It's a natural thing to feel a bit crummy after a crap day at work and bash out a Tweet such as "So fed up of everything right now". However, there is a fine line between speaking your mind and alienating people. Imagine, if you will, that both of these status updates are from a casual friend, like an acquaintance or a co-worker:

"Feeling a bit down today."

"So fucking upset. I'm worthless. Nothing I do matters."

Admittedly I exaggerated the second example, but which one makes you feel a bit alienated? If someone you only knew casually said something along those lines to you in person, how would you react? Of course this depends on the individual, but most reactions to this are an awkward ", sorry...". If you're really that down, rather than telling a group of people whose only reactions will be to glance over your post and say nothing, why don't you email or phone a close friend or family member who can offer a more comforting response?

RULE SIX: Give Peeps a Chance
Sometimes, word of mouth passes quicker than it does on the WWW. You might hear of a couple breaking up, for example, from a mutual friend of the pair. Break-ups in particular, however amicable, are never particularly nice things to deal with and there's bound to be a lot going on. So please forgive people if their relationship status doesn't rectify itself within five minutes of the breakup occurring. It's not the end of the world and should not be treated with the same gravitas.

And finally...It's Only a Site
Social Networking sites are nothing compared to a good face-to-face chat. I know I sound ancient, but you'll never know what's really going on beyond your computer screen, even if you give it 10000 years of progress. It's nothing compared to looking someone straight in the eye. So maybe log off once in a while, or better yet use the technology available to organise a great night out with your real life friends!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A Message from Neety

I've been having a break from Blogging for many reasons, but I think it's time to explain mainly why.

I have had a few personal crises since late last year, and I've been trying for about a week to plan out a post explaining what those things were, but then I realised it was like trying to wring blood out of a stone (or Heather Mills; cut her and she bleeds acid). Some things you just can't explain very well.

Long story short, I'm going to take this Blog space not to talk about the latest game I played or what I think of certain celebrities; but to tell you about some things I'm involved in that give a little bit back to the world around me that has provided me with so many things that make me happy. Just like all of my other Blogs, I don't expect you to share my opinions or be remotely interested in any of this if you don't want to be, so I won't go getting on my high horse if you stop reading now. In fact, I won't know any better (or will I?)*

I'm going to start by telling you about an event I am co-hosting to raise funds for my local hospital's Critical Care unit. Since I know a lot of people who are into entertainment and singing through various groups or friends of similar interest, it's going to be a charity Karaoke fest. You can find out a bit more via the Facebook event here, which is open to absolutely anyone. The idea is that you pop down and for a small fee you can nominate either yourself or an unsuspecting cronie to sing. In the case of the latter, if your friend doesn't want to sing they can pay a £1 forfeit (all the costs go to the CCU charity so it's all for a good cause!)

You'll also see on the right hand side a little widget. That's useful for two things: firstly it tells you how the fundraising is going, and secondly if you click on it you'll be taken to the JustGiving page where you can donate to the cause online, should you choose to do so.

I'm also taking part in a few other fundraising events, namely Cancer Research UK's Race For Life. I'll be not only walking, but I'll also be pushing my Mum in her wheelchair and helping her along the flat parts that she can walk herself. So if you don't fancy sponsoring me, why don't you sponsor her because she's doing something way more worthwhile.

There will be more proper Blogs soon, but in the meantime, please visit either the Facebook page for the event or my JustGiving page to make an online donation. And remember, just like any of my other posts you can choose to ignore this if you like, I won't be judging you. Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you at Chari-oke!

*No, I won't actually. Boo.