Thursday, 28 April 2016

Experimenting With Drugs

On the advice of my mum, I've started taking my pills at night instead of in the morning. For the past couple of weeks I've been so tired during the day, to the point of nearly falling asleep. Playing the PlayStation only until about nine. Ridiculous. So I'm experimenting.

Today I feel good. I'm in a good mood. I'm not so tired. Only a mild headache. If this works out, it'll be really good for me. Then I've only got my stomach problems to deal with. Been feeling really bloated of late in what I think is my large intestine and especially after eating. It's been going on for a good few weeks now. Coinciding with my dosage going up, but that could just be a coincidence. Could be constipation, IBS, a hernia... Who knows. I should probably see a doctor about that huh?

Hopefully going out with friends on Friday if plans don't change. Should be good. Going to experiment with not drinking or only having three bottles of something at most. I've figured that's about as much as I can drink without it affecting my mood too much the next day. I'm really not good with alcohol. Once it's in me, I have no will power left and I could keep drinking all night. I will try my best.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

'The Witch' Review


I'm not usually one to watch too many trailers but when a friend invited me to see The Witch, I didn't know anything at all about so I indulged. I don't understand how people have complained about this film not being a mainstream horror flick. The trailer to me suggested 'Antichrist' meets 'There Will Be Blood' and that's exactly what it was. The Witch is not a mainstream horror film. In fact it's not a horror film at all. What it is, is an sustained, ninety minute assault on the senses.

From the title and the trailer, I gleaned that there might be something about witches in the film. Within the first five minutes of the film, there was no ambiguity left. There was a witch and it wasn't going to end well for anyone, especially the audience. The sense of constant dread, assisted by the continuous rise and fall of atonal violins, started almost immediately and continued throughout. There was hardly a reprieve. Even when the the music faded away for a moment, the dull colour and lighting carried the feeling through.

It is an uncomfortable watch. Possibly only one scene (you know the one) away from being Antichrist's level of uncomfortable. When I saw Antichrist at the cinema, I was so affected by the film both physically and emotionally, I just had to own it when it came out on DVD. It's still in it's cellophane wrapper. I can't bring myself to watch it again. I would definitely watch The Witch again. I went to the cinema very tired from late night gaming and child waking and I was afraid I would be nodding off by the end of the film. There was no chance of that. My eyes were wide open all the way through and I was actually on the edge of my seat for most of it. That sense of constant dread demanding my attention and me giving it, gladly.

There's hardly a nice scene in the film. Even if it began with with a benign conversation, something dreadful inevitably happened by the end. My wife, since having children of our own, is not a fan of films where children are harmed. If you are of the same disposition, I would suggested avoiding The Witch like the plague. The children are the main focus of the film and all are very good actors. You know how it is with child actors. Well they didn't have any problems in that department. They were believable and terrifying.

I haven't quite settled on what I think the themes The Witch was trying to explore. I've read that it has a very strong feminist message and that the ending of the film gave a feeling of elation and relief for some. I certainly didn't experience those emotions. I was as disturbed by the end as I was at the beginning. For me the strongest them in the film was religion and Christian belief that we are born in to sin and must spend our lives repenting in order to gain Christs favour and access to Heaven. The family's belief that sin must be punished was so strong that perhaps they gave form to that punishment and wrought upon themselves. Or perhaps it was just a film about a witch.

The dialogue was old timey and at times, difficult to understand. Not a massive problem. I always got the gist. As the film ended, a message popped up to say that most of the dialogue was lifted from diaries and court accounts of the time. In retrospect this gives enormous credence to the dialogue and the narrative of the film and makes it all the more terrifying.

My only gripe with the film is a technical one. It was filmed at a high frame rate. I don't know why this is becoming the norm in cinema. To me it looks like a cheap TV movie shot of video. The argument is, is that it makes it look more real and true to life. Well I don't want that thank you very much. Film is a medium of escapism. I want that filter of twenty four frames per second to give it a detached and dreamlike appearance. But in this instance, the film itself was so engrossing, I did stop noticing by the end.

Since being diagnosed with depression and being on medication, I have found that films have less effect on me emotionally. I can't cry at sad films any more. What I've always enjoyed about the medium of film, is it's power to have a physical and an emotional effect on the audience. The Witch managed to penetrate my protective layer of medication and move me in the way that I wanted to. This is a powerful film. My friends and I sat in silence for a moment and sighed in relief when it was over. If you want to be truly moved by a film, this is the film for you.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Camping, Ceredigion and La Calabria

Over the Easter holidays we went camping in Ceredigion. The main reason for picking the area was because someone in work had recommended a restaurant to me, La Calabria. The reason for camping is because we're totally broke at the moment but we needed a bloody holiday. The forecast was awful. In for another storm. Laura could have been a nightmare. She's definitely a fair weather camper.

The evening we got there was clear and mild and we pitched the tent quickly, had a chat with the campsite owner, a woman from Leeds who'd lived in Italy for the past twenty something years. Then we headed to Llangrannog. It was a beautiful evening and the sun was setting as we explored the smuggler's cave and had an ice cream.

The next day and the storm did come but no where near as bad as we thought it would. We meandered around Ceredigion towns, visited Caws Cenarth and ate lots of cheese and found a play centre for the kids. We stayed there quite a long time, I don't know how I didn't go mad.

Maybe it was because in the back of my mind I had the promise of an Italian meal at La Calabria looming that evening. It's a funny place. Right in the middle of nowhere on a farm. You actually have to go down a farm track to find it. When you do, it looks like a bad extension or Granny flat or something, built on the side of a farmhouse. Inside is a lot nicer with a fantastic bar to welcome you.

The story behind the place is really interesting. During the Second World War an Italian soldier was captured and taken to a prisoner of war camp in Wales. After the war he headed straight back to Italy but quickly developed a home sickness for Wales. He moved back here and bought a farm and settled down. Now three generations of the same family have lived on that farm where the restaurant is situated. All speak Italian and Welsh.

The food had a very home cooked feel to it. Mama was in the kitchen. It's pitched as fine dining, but I didn't get that vibe. I guess maybe for the country in the middle of nowhere, that is fine dining. But to me it was just good old fashioned home cooking. I had chicken Marsala. Chicken marinated in Marsala wine and then cooked in a Marsala sauce with roast potatoes and green beans. I've never had anything quite like it. The closest thing I've ever had is chicken satay from a Malaysian. Really interesting and very tasty.

The next day was a little better again and we randomly ended up in Castell Henllys which is somewhere I've been going to for years every time I'm in the that part of the world. I didn't even know we were near it. It was Easter Sunday so there were people in costume, face painting and a birds of prey exhibition. It was great.

So we all had a good time and that was rather unexpected to be honest. We were dreading it ever so slightly but also aware that we really needed to get away. The Easter Bunny managed to find us, so the kids didn't miss out either.

Since then I've been in  a bit of a funk. Finished Farcry Primal and bored of Destiny, I don't really have a game I'm playing properly at the moment which is my usual go to activity if I'm feeling down.

We're trying to get Irvy off the boob at night so I am getting up with him at the moment, which I'm really struggling with the next day. He gets me up about three time during the night and I've gotta go lie with him until he falls asleep. Hopefully after a week or two it'll work out.

That's about it for now so...

Take care x