Gilmore Girls Revival: some thoughts and a handy drinking game

It’s here! It’s here! The Gilmore Girls revival finally hit Netflix on Friday! As you know, I was excited of course, but I had worries. It didn’t matter: I was pleased as punch and grinning like a happy cat when I could settle down with some pizza (and other assorted junk food – it’s just how it’s done) to spend six new hours with my Stars Hollow faves.

There are spoilers in this post, kids, so if you weren’t expecting that I suggest you look away now.

lorelai

For the most part, I was very satisfied. It did most of the things it said on the label: it was true to GG form with all of the fast-talking fervour and small town weirdness I expected. The first three episodes in particular were pretty much exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want to say so too early, but it was only halfway through ‘Winter’ when I decided I was totally on board. Holy cow, this was going to be ok! Everyone was there and they were just the same (except Miss Patty – what happened there?). I wasn’t even that annoyed by Logan or Jess or Dean. Paris’ meltdown in the Chilton bathrooms was vintage and perfect and Liza Weil is just the bomb. Kirk’s film. The secret bar. Michel, and Taylor, and all the peeps from Hep Alien (hi Sebastian Bach!).

bach

#netflixandgil

And yet. Yet.

I have been considering many things since finishing the final episode and hearing chatter from friends and online about how the revival was received. A sticking point for so many people seems to be that, actually, Lorelai and Rory don’t end the series having learned very much or changing their self-centred ways. My hopes for Lane Kim were dashed but I wasn’t really surprised that Rory was again treating her as a sounding board and little else. Lorelai and Rory are not great at maintaining their friendships except with each other. I thought there may have been a good opportunity to give balance to Rory/Lane and Lorelai/Sookie given both Gilmore girls were on paths of self-reflection and apparent change, but again it ended with Sookie, much like Lane, catering (literally!) to Lorelai’s every whim and (frustratingly!) apologising for having some agency of her own.

But am I judging too harshly? Lorelai and Rory have never been anything but hugely flawed characters, wrapped in witty, nice-haired packages. Why I expected any more is a mystery, because Gilmore Girls is largely a study in not having your shit together at any age, by choice, by circumstance or by sheer dumb luck. They don’t always make the right decisions or even good decisions but they try and I think that’s what makes them endearing despite their obvious faults. Would it have rung true for either Rory or Lorelai to completely change and become, for want of a better word, better? In a 6 hour story arc, would it have felt untrue to have a complete turnaround that was barely even considered for seven whole seasons? I think so.

Moreover, was it enough that Emily did change? In truth, I think Emily’s arc was the most refreshing of the series. I was banking on those last four words being between Lorelai and Emily, and in a storyline that hung so much on their relationship, it seemed like it may have been a strong possibility. Given the emphasis on the Emily/Lorelai relationship, the sticking point for me was in Emily’s absence from the wedding. I can’t help but feel that action alone would do much to undo the steps the older mother-daughter relationship had been taking. They were getting there and then, suddenly, they weren’t.

And the actual last four words? Part of me wanted to throw my pizza across the room. But Palladino and Co had a tough gig ahead of them – with a vision of how it would end from the very beginning and a bit of work to do to undo the damage of season 7, and with the fact that people and relationships, even in autumnal, lovely Stars Hollow, are hard, who am I to say if they were right or wrong? In a lot of ways they fit perfectly, despite my misgivings around what that development actually means.

Impressively, A Year in the Life tackled grief admirably. Much like the early seasons tackled conflict and issues with deft conversations, the absence of Richard Gilmore was handled perfectly with all the sadness and effectiveness I could have hoped for. There was a presence in his absence and Edward Hermann was there in spirit if not in person. I was sad, but they did him justice.

richard

There is so much more I could say about this revival, but I’ll hold it there. Overall, I’d rate it 8 take-away coffees out of 10. I’d love to hear your thoughts on A Year in the Life. Hit me up in the comments below.

On a lighter, final note, I couldn’t help but think that A Year in the Life was ideal for a drinking game. So I made one. You’re welcome.

One drink for each of the following:

  • The first appearance of favourite supporting character
  • There is an uncomfortably overt modern day reference
  • There is a reference to Stars Hollow / the Dragonfly Inn being out of date
  • Someone pours an alcoholic drink
  • Someone is drinking coffee
  • Paris Gellar steals the scene
  • Kirk steals the scene
  • Rory is writing
  • Lorelai is complaining

Two drinks for each of the following:

  • Hep Alien jam session
  • Town meeting
  • Luke is not wearing his hat

Finish your drink for each of the following:

  • To stem the tears over Richard’s funeral
  • There is a weird musical montage for no apparent reason
  • When one of Rory’s ex-boyfriends appears
  • That whole musical scene. Just keep drinking, folks.
  • The last four words (then open a whole other bottle)

(Drink responsibly, obviously).

‘Til next time,

Sig

2016 To-Do List Challenge Part 1: the best laid plans of [second] mice and men

At the start of the year, I wrote a to-do list. I felt like in 2015 I got caught up in the have-tos and must-dos and somehow skipped a lot of just-for-fun stuff that I should have been doing, if I thought about how I really wanted to spend my time. So, when it came to thinking about 2016 and how I wanted it to go, I wrote a list 12 fun things that I wanted to do with the aim of accomplishing one per month. It was probably some idea I saw on Instagram about living meaningfully or something, and I’m always vaguely optimistic in the new year. Anyway, it seemed a good plan, so I wrote my list and I was pretty chuffed about it.

todo

And do you know what? It’s the end of November and I have not done a single one.

Not a single one!

And I’m really disappointed. It’s not like they were even hard big-ticket things, like writing a book, or things that required a lot of money, like eating French cheese in Paris (both bucket list items, in case you were wondering). Some of them would have needed an afternoon at most, so time can’t have been a factor either. Am I just the walking epitome of slackness? What are you doing, April?

Luckily, I love deadlines and happen to [legitimately, not in a cliche job interview way] work best under pressure. Sure, there’s only a handful of weeks left in the year, but I think I can – potentially with a few clever reinterpretations or edits based on time restraints – smash out all 12 in this last leg of the year. There is nothing more satisfying than a completed to-do list, after all.

I already have a very vague bare-bones sort of plan of how to make it work. 2016: game on.

‘Til next time,

Sig

CREATURE FEATURE SUNDAY: 50 Thoughts While Watching Mega Python vs Gatoroid

Boasting a tagline of ‘screaming, scratching, biting… and that’s just the girls!’, Mega Python vs Gatoroid (2011) promised to be spectacularly and problematically awful by pitting not only two species of monsters, but also two 80’s pop stars (Tiffany and Debbie Gibson) against each other. We may as well lower our expectations now.

Grab a pizza and a glass of wine. I think we may need it.

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  1. Rousing soundtrack + Everglades – promising start.
  2. People are stealing snakes for some reason.
  3. Ohhh they’re releasing them from captivity because they are environmentalists.
  4. I must admit I am feeling pretty prepared for this. I have watched a lot of Swamp People.
  5. Except they have banned gator hunting this season, you guys!
  6. Quality acting all round.acting
  7. Quality scripting also. (“Where is this snake?” / “It’s in my pants, wanna see?”)
  8. Python: 1, Gator: 0.
  9. It’s a war on snakes!
  10. What is this, Whacking Day?
  11. Oh. It’s 100% Whacking Day.
  12. Heads can stay alive without their body for up to an hour. I think we’d do well to remember that, folks!
  13. “Pythons aren’t at the top of the food chain. I am!” You tell ’em, Tiff!
  14. Oh, that nest bodes poorly for Perfect Boyfriend.
  15. Snake movies: there is always one poor bastard just tryin’ to pee.
  16. Aww, bye Perfect Boyfriend. You were too sweet to live.
  17. “We need a bigger gator!” Best!
  18. They’ve scored some experimental steroids from a random muscle bro. For indefinite muscle growth. Science!
  19. Ohhhhh, that’s the ‘roid’ in ‘Gatoroid’. I geddit.
  20. “Feeding steroids to gators. What could go wrong?” ACTUAL QUOTE.
  21. Gator growth montage! Yeah!
  22. Did one of the gators just do a push up?
  23. 6 months later and everything is fine, you guys.
  24. Wait, is the whole soundtrack Tiffany/Debbie Gibson songs?
  25. It bloody is.
  26. This is not fine.
  27. “You’re gonna get it you gator-baiting bitch!”
  28. Oh lord, an actual Tiffany vs Debbie cat fight. Yay feminism.
  29. Those were conveniently-placed cream pies.
  30. So a horde of gators and pythons are converging on the party. Remember how this movie was meant to be about them and not Tiffany vs Debbie?
  31. No? Me neither.
  32. Everyone took guns to the fancy party. ‘Murica!
  33. “I think we’re alone now.” (I see what you did there).
  34. It’s suddenly day time and their hair hasn’t even dried.
  35. The gators and pythons have hit Miami!
  36. The mall is having a ‘monster Saturday sale’. Zing!
  37. Spraying pheromones from a crop duster to lure them down the highway? Genius!
  38. We have to stay away from that there nuclear facility, he said with a complete lack of foreshadowing.
  39. “You saved my life!” / “We’re stuck in this together!” #girlpower
  40. No, wait. They hate each other again.
  41. Sigh.
  42. Hold the phone! Did they just KILL OFF TIFFANY?!
  43. What the HELL.
  44. Not Debbie too!
  45. No, she’s alive and just being showered with the body parts of blown-up pythons and gators.debbie
  46. Oh hey, remember that thing about heads staying alive for an hour without a body?
  47. I called that!
  48. I was wrong about that whole nuclear facility having anything to do with anything though.
  49. Weird.

 

I’m pretty sad that this was not so much Mega Python vs Gatoroid as Tiffany vs Debbie (it’s like 1987 all over again). In fact, the snakes and gators worked better together than any of the people. So ultimately, who won? Not us, my friends. Not us.

Mega Python vs Gatoroid rates 1 out of 5 ‘roided-up swamp things.

‘Til next time,

Sig

 

Adulting 101: How to write a resume

Listen up: it’s time to get real. It’s an unfortunate truth that one of the perils of being an adult is, occasionally, having to actually be an adult. So. Let’s talk jobs. In my real life, as part of my real job, I see a lot of resumes.

A lot.

And I’ll let you in on a trade secret: heaps of them genuinely SUCK. You guys. Your resume is one of the most vital documents in your working life. Why aren’t you giving it some love? For a lot of jobs it’s the only introduction you will get and bad impressions (or worse: wrong impressions) matter.

job-hunt

On average, for each job I recruit for, I see a minimum of a hundred applications and I have to get through them quickly. Sometimes you hear that recruiters spend less than a minute on your resume (it’s true, for an initial scan at least) and I know that makes you question why you would spend time on it at all if that is the case. Here’s why: if you are looking for a job, you don’t want to piss off the gatekeeper of the jobs.

Don’t make me join the dots myself. Show me what I want to hear. Make it easy for me to see how you are a good fit for my job. Pro tip: the easier you make a recruiter’s life, the more they will like you.

Some things you may want to consider:

Ditch the cover page and the photo. Save the planet and get down to business. And if you really insist on a photo, choose one that is semi professional and not a selfie where you’ve obviously cropped out your bestie but your makeup is on point.

Bin the objective, unless you really, really have one. You’re applying for this job because you want this job, presumably.

so-why-do-you-want-this-job-meme

I don’t care what subjects you studied in school. At most, list where you went and what year you finished. If it was more than say five years ago, you could easily leave it off. By that stage, your experience should speak for itself.

List dates of employment not length of service. I want to know if the eight months you worked at Kmart was the last eight months or eight months ten years ago. I can do basic maths (mostly), just give me a point of reference for how recent your experience is. If you’ve got glaring gaps that you can explain (travelling, raising babies), tell me so.

Give me context. Don’t just list job titles, tell me about what you did in the role. An Admin Assistant in one company might be purely responsible for filing and copying. In another they might also do reception, data entry, minutes and diary management, banking and bookkeeping. If you just put “Admin Assistant”, it keeps me guessing and I hate guessing. Admin Assistant =/= Admin Assistant.

Format neatly. Anything that makes your resume easy on the eye so I can get a picture of who you are quickly, is going to help me. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, but things like consistent headings and dot points are helpful. I don’t want to see big chunks of text, weird fonts (I’m looking at you, Papyrus), jobs listed out of order, and so on.

Don’t waste your space. Ideally, you want your resume to be two to three pages. Don’t fill it with inspirational quotes to show how deep and motivated you are (“You miss 100% of the shots you never take” – Wayne Gretzky). Ain’t nobody got time for that. Focus on what is relevant and recent because that has the most bearing on where you go next. I’m going to pay most attention to your last couple of roles, give or take, depending on how long you’ve been in them. Remember your resume does not have to be an exhaustive chronicle of your entire life back to your 1998 after school job where you:

  • advised on menu items
  • took customer orders
  • handled cash
  • served food

Ugh, seriously stop. Why are you listing that? It’s 2016 and you’ve been working in IT project management for the last six years.

Customise it. Generally, one size does not fit all. When applying for a job, your resume’s sole purpose is to showcase what skills and experience you have in relation to the role you are applying for. So think about what the ad has asked for and how you can demonstrate right off the bat that you have the goods.

Proof read. Bad grammar and spelling errors bug me. And you know what? I’m heaps lazy, so help me out. If I decide I want to call you, don’t make me flip through three pages to find your phone number – put that shit up the front.

‘Til next time,

Sig

Oh Captain, My Captain: thoughts for roller derby team captains

I had the very great privilege to be co-captain of Light City Derby’s Regimental Rollers for one and a half seasons, and I think it will always be something I am most proud of as far as my roller derby achievements go.

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Favourite team photo, by EK Photography

There’s more to being captain than strapping on a ‘C’ in a scrimmage or bout, and this post is not about what your roles and responsibilities are as a captain on track on bout day. I look at my past captains and what strikes me about them, when I think about why I valued them as captains, was their people skills and the hard yards they put in off the track. Being a team captain takes a lot of work.

Of course every team will work in its own way and every team becomes a new team under different leadership, or with changing members. These are my thoughts on captaincy, presented as a handy four-point list.

strategy

Strategic!

You don’t have to be the best skater on the team, have all the answers, or be a derby super star. You do not have to be the loudest voice in the room. I was none of these things, and I think I did ok! Good leaders build a team by recognising the strengths of others, not dominating or outshining them. Being a good captain is far more about attitude than skating skills and titles. If you’re not interested in fostering the development of your team mates and only in it for the glory, captaincy may not be for you.

Your job is to unite the team – the whole team. Don’t forget about the people who didn’t make the roster, are off with injury, are new or lost. On bout day, your focus is the team rostered to play. Every other day (and there are a lot of them), you should lead the team as a whole, not a few.

How do you do that? Talk to them! Building a good team culture starts with knowing your team mates and figuring out how you can help and support them. Do they need encouragement? Feedback? A sounding board? Are they happy just to do their own thing? Will they just appreciate a touch point while they are recuperating from injury? Key to being a good captain is your ability to be approachable, supportive, and fair, and understand what your team needs and doesn’t need from you.

small

Grand Final 2015. This is my proud face.

Don’t indulge drama – and there will always be drama! As a team captain, you might sometimes have to make unpopular decisions. You will also often be the conduit for delivering league news and outcomes which you yourself may not like or agree with. You might see team mates who don’t get along or you may not get along with some of them yourself. Be objective and league-minded. Don’t indulge. As captain, you are in a position of authority and a position of trust – this is the time when you need to uphold league values and behaviours and lead by example.

What it boils down to is walking the talk. Be a role model for your team by committing to and living the basics – going to training, putting in full effort while you are there, respecting your trainers, officials, benchies and league mates. Know your team mates – all of them – and encourage them to work together, to build on their strengths. Talk to your team! A good attitude and decent people skills are what make a strong captain, not just the letter C.

‘Til next time,

Sig

 

10 Halloween reads that aren’t by Stephen King

Halloween. We don’t do it well in Australia. Every year I buy a couple of packets of Cadbury fun-size bars just in case I am visited by trick-or-treaters. I don’t want to be another in a long chain of dud houses who weren’t on board with the All Hallows vibe. Of course, that means every year when there are no trick-or-treaters I essentially have a couple of packets of fun-size Cadbury bars for dinner. Cherry Ripes go well with red wine. If you’re drinking white, I’d go for strawberry Freddos. That’s my hot tip for Halloween.

I read a lot, but I don’t read a lot of horror or what I would instantly classify as horror by the usual definition. You can see then, what the issue was when I decided I wanted to write a quick post on Halloween reading options. Stephen King tops all the lists of scary books, but what if you’re just not into Stephen King?

Still, once I had a good rummage on my book shelves, it turned out there were a number of books that in turns scared and unsettled me, and one or two that legit gave me nightmares. So, using only what was on my shelves, here are 10 scary reading options to go with your fun-size chocolates. No Stephen King to be seen.

books

Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin (1967)

Rosemary reckons her neighbours are satanists, and that’s a scary thing. Levin takes all of the tropes of gothic horror and moves them from lofty distant castles to your own lounge room. Well-plotted and terrifying.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (1985)

Offred is kept as a ‘handmaid’ in a near-future dystopian society where fertile women are owned by the ruling class because of birth rate decline. Told with Atwood’s deft hand, it is frightening in its plausibility.

Dracula – Bram Stoker (1897)

I love vampire stories and the original is still the best.

The Road – Cormac McCarthy (2006)

Post-apocalyptic, disturbing, grim. A harrowing read.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman (2002)

Coraline’s seemingly perfect other world is not all its cracked up to be. They replace your eyes with sewn-on buttons, for one thing. Though for younger readers, Coraline is creepy as shit.

Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Linqvist (2004)

Another vampire story, and boy is this one dark. Oskar is a bullied kid who befriends his new neighbour, a vampire child. A genuinely disturbing book dealing with some pretty confronting and disturbing themes. This one kept me up at night.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (1818)

You know it. Archetypal gothic horror where doctor creates monster – which makes him the monster, actually.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson (1962)

The story of the Blackwood sisters, isolated in their home after one of them poisoned the rest of the family. Atmospheric and suspenseful.

Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham (1951)

Proper sci fi with a plague of blindness and carnivorous plants. I love this book!

Fevre Dream – George RR Martin (1982)

I know, I know. Enough with the vampire books. But vampires on a steam boat on the Mississippi in the 1850s? Please and thank you!

‘Til next time,

Sig

CREATURE FEATURE SUNDAY: 50 Thoughts While Watching Robocroc

robocrocdvd

Hooray! Those geniuses at Syfy cannot be stopped. This installment of Creature Feature Sunday looks at that classic tale of top-secret-nanobots-meet-giant-crocodile in Robocroc (2013). They had me at “nature and technology create the world’s most lethal weapon”, frankly.

Let’s be real: the only thing cooler than movie monsters is robots. Robocroc, then, seemed pretty promising as far as concepts go. And yet.

This is how it played out:

 

  1. Ooh, a rocket! Is Robocroc from space?
  2. No, it’s crashing.
  3. Into a zoo!
  4. Nanobots! Yay!
  5. We’re seriously not messing about here – that’s 30 whole seconds of exposition so we’re good to go.
  6. That is actually more exposition than I anticipated.
  7. Apparently no one has noticed a crashing rocket: it is business as usual at the zoo.
  8. Oh my. The effects budget was far lower than expected.
  9. Corin Nemec is here!

    corin

    Please help me.

  10. “You keep forgetting Stella is an Australian saltwater crocodile, not a shih tzu”. Mate, I’ll tell you about shit zoos – you’re in one.
  11. If there isn’t at least one Streetcar-inspired “STELLAAAAA” in this movie I will be so pissed.
  12. So, quick review: the army is here, nanobots have got to Stella and turned her into a weapon, space debris was super localised, nothing to see here.
  13. This also seems to be the bit where the screenwriters wanted to include all the croc facts they found on wikipedia.
  14. Robocroc-vision keeping us ahead of the game – “reboot”, “momentary paralysis”, “food detected”.
  15. Stella is losing her hide to a “metallic shimmering substance” which I am guessing is, you know, actual metal and not on-point highlighter.
  16. Lion enclosure! “The saltwater crocodile is an apex predator” (#crocfacts). Game on!
  17. Oh, the waterslides are still open. Phew.
  18. Wait – is the waterpark part of the zoo?
  19. Seriously?
  20. Ok then.
  21. Gratuitous bikini shots.
  22. Most unbelievable scene so far: two empty sun-lounges next to each other in packed waterpark.
  23. Comparing scars! Classic movie flirting! Get it, grrl!
  24. All the lakes, pools, ponds and lagoons are connected underground because it helps save water. Seems like a health concern to me if you’re a zoo-slash-waterpark… but anyway, shit gon’ get real.
  25. That dude is fishing? What the hell kind of zoo allows fishing?
  26. fishing

    Totally legitimate zoo activity.

  27. Seriously.
  28. Might this now be a good time to evacuate the waterpark, maybe? No? Ok.
  29. Yawn, this needs to get a move on.
  30. Stella is a crocodile disco ball!
  31. I don’t have great eyesight, but surely someone has noticed a 25 foot armoured crocodile moving about the place? It doesn’t exactly scream incognito.
  32. Oh, they’ve locked people in. Shady government agencies represent.
  33. I am sure locking that one gate will help contain the situation given all the interconnected pools and stuff.
  34. “A robot crocodile? Like a Transformer or something? Hehehe, Robocroc”. Hey – that’s the name of the movie.
  35. There are three ways to shut down the nanobots. Place your bets.
  36. Awwwww yeah! That’s the money shot – Robocroc just took out a goddamn chopper.

    stella2

    Weeeeeee!

  37. We’ve called in crocodile hunter backup. Wrestling soon please.
  38. Scuba diving with tranquilizer guns.
  39. Electricity!
  40. Your plan did not foil Robocroc. Robocroc is queen.
  41. Wrestling. Called it.
  42. Actually I am totally on Robocroc’s side at this point. These people are the worst.
  43. Jesus Christ, this movie goes for HOURS. (Actual running time: 81 minutes).
  44. “Whatever that thing is, it’s still part crocodile”. And part robot. That’s the whole premise. We get it.
  45. Everyone is in the sewers for some reason? What is even happening?
  46. “What in a croc’s cooch are you doing here?” QUOTE. OF. THE. MOVIE.
  47. That is possibly how I will greet people from now on.
  48. Electromagnetic pulse time.
  49. No one shouted “Stellaaaaa”. Missed opportunity.

In a nutshell? Genuinely terrible. Robocroc rates 1 out of 5 poorly planned adventure parks.

‘Til next time,

Sig