Netflix: Encouraging TV binging since 1997

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I came late to the party but by god did I make up for it. House of Cards fell into my lap while on holiday in Italy last month. There’s only so much sightseeing, pizza eating and canal admiring one can do in Venice so at night, we turned to the acclaimed Netflix original. It didn’t take long to ensnare us and before we knew it, we were watching two, three, five episodes back to back. I have always harboured a secret crush on Kevin Spacey. Before this it was a dim flicker, now it’s an all out blaze. Must be a power thing, or possibly the infamous knowing look he shoots to camera, oh how I love that.

Despite studying politics as part of my degree, I had never found it as enthralling as I do now. In my mind, Barack Obama is surrounded by Frank Underwoods and House of Cards is more a documentary than a TV series. Separating fact from fiction has never been my strong point. To my delight, I learned that Obama does watch the show (where he gets the time I’ll never know, Bernard’s watch perhaps?). He also takes spoilers very seriously. As he should.

Needless to say, season one was devoured in a week. The heart-warming news that ALL of season two would be released on Valentines day soon reached me and it may or may not be possible that I started a countdown timer on my phone. I’m not ashamed.

Season two arrived and was consumed in 4 days. It’s important to note that I do have a life, although I haven’t supported this statement with much proof. I’ll remedy that now. In the same four day period I just so happened to be in the UK visiting the boy, went out for a rosemantic meal, watched house of cards, did a bit of shopping, collected friends from the airport, went to a ball, danced a lot, recovered from afore mentioned ball, watched house of cards, ate pizza, flew home, watched house of cards, went to college, played tag rugby, finished house of cards. See, very productive.

So why the rush to binge watch? Thirteen episodes in 4 days, it could have been worse. If I’m honest I think Netflix made a mistake in releasing the whole season in one day. Some of us just don’t have the self control to drip feed ourselves. There’s also the ever present fear of spoilers. The huge quantity of HOC gifs and memes doing the rounds at the moment is mind blowing. As a result, even if I didn’t watch the show (GASP!) I’d probably have a fairly accurate idea of what it’s all about . . . ish.

Thanks to my impatience, I’ll have to wait a year for my next fix. In that time I’ll definitely forget the vast majority of what happened this season and might even have to re-watch a couple of episodes to refresh my memory. In the mean time, I can wear a smug smile knowing that no one managed to ruin the *HARMLESS SPOILER* shocking twist in the first episode for me.  I’ll also have plenty of time to imagine what will happen in the next season. Maybe the world needs more House of Cards fan fiction, I’ll get on that.

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Life Without the Interweb

For years, my family managed to ignore the wonder that is the worldwide web. I live in an old school house in rural Ireland so twasn’t difficult. Neither of my parents are Techies, although my mum identifies as a Trekkie which isn’t exactly the same but sounds fairly similar.

Recently, as a direct result of plenty of pestering on my behalf (bordering on bullying) we invested in the full Sky package. For those of ye not in the know, this allows the user to pause, rewind and record TV. Our package also included wifi, something I never thought possible in the middle of nowhere but by god does it work.

Unfortunately, my bedroom is a technology black hole, the kind in which hippies would delight. Alas despite my long flowing locks, carefree nature and exceptional meadow frolicking, I’m not a hippy. What I am is annoyed. It’s literally the ONLY room in the house that’s an Internet free zone. Not only can I not connect to the wifi, my 3G isn’t available there either. Talk about unlucky.

If I’m completely honest, my Internet consumption is predominantly dedicated to Facebook and watching TV online. It’s not like I’m researching groundbreaking cancer cures, the meaning of life or even uploading adorable kitten videos but I still feel so very ripped off. There are TV programmes to be watched and I’d really like to do so from the comfort of my own bed. I haven’t even almost started The Sopranos for Pete’s sake!! What’s that I hear you say? OMG I haven’t watched The Sopranos? What’s wrong with me? Am I not aware that it’s the best show in the history of time, followed closely by The Wire. Please tell me you’ve watched The Wire! I haven’t. Sorry to disappoint . . .

How do people get time to watch all these must-watch series? It’s impossible to keep up to date with ALL of them and you can never discuss the latest episode properly because there’s always someone who’s behind or hasn’t started at all but intends to, soon. As a result, we find ourselves talking in code, “What about that bit at the end?! Didn’t see that coming at all! Such a twist” and “I wish that person didn’t go to that place, they should have known it would end the way it did”. Plenty of nodding, winking and general, smug, we’re in the know behaviour. Which is fine of course, once you’re on the inside.

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Take me to Church

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I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music. Personally, I’m a big fan. At the moment my addictive personality and I are loving Hozier, unarguably one of Ireland’s finest acts of the moment. More specifically we’re listening to Take me to Church on a loop. I highly recommend it.

Lyrics really do it for me. Can’t get enough of them. This particular song has everything, catchy chorus, swoon-worthy lyrics and honest music all delivered by the most moreish voice in Ireland. Have you ever heard a song and wished it had been written about you? Listen to this, then you will. The whole song is an extensive metaphor between this chaps beloved and Religion, sure read it yourself, tisn’t bad . . .

My lover’s got humour
She’s the giggle at a funeral
Knows everybody’s disapproval
I should’ve worshipped her sooner
If the Heavens ever did speak
She is the last true mouth piece
Every Sunday’s getting more bleak
A fresh poison each week
We were born sick, you heard them say it
My church offers no absolutes
She tells me ‘worship in the bedroom’
The only heaven I’ll be sent to
Is when I’m alone with you
I was born sick, but I love it
Command me to be well

Amen. Amen. Amen

Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins and you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

If I’m a pagan of the good times
My lover’s the sunlight
To keep the Goddess on my side
She demands a sacrifice
To drain the whole sea
Get something shiny
Something meaty for the main course
That’s a fine looking high horse
What you got in the stable?
We’ve a lot of starving faithful
That looks tasty
That looks plenty
This is hungry work

Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me my deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

No masters or kings when the ritual begins
There is no sweeter innocence than our gentle sin
In the madness and soil of that sad earthly scene
Only then I am human
Only then I am clean

Amen. Amen. Amen

Take me to church
I’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of your lies
I’ll tell you my sins so you can sharpen your knife
Offer me that deathless death
Good God, let me give you my life

Ends

I challenge you to listen and not enjoy.

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Addicted to Energy

I’m a fan of energy drinks. There. I said it. These days, we live in a world of food and drink snobbery. With countless options available to us and a growing awareness of nutritional values and RDAs, making poor choices is frowned upon. This doesn’t stop me. I know I’d be far better off drinking water, apparently it contains far fewer additives than my beloved energy drinks but It’s just not the same.

The love affair began a few years ago with a dark and mysterious fellow called Red Devil. The discount shop around the corner from work sold these beauties for 40c a pop, practically giving them away. And so the romance blossomed. It wasn’t unusual for me to buy five at a time. I even drank a can first thing on Christmas morning, breakfast of champions. We had a fantastic run but alas like all great relationships between two exceptional individuals, we encountered problems. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t even him. It was the discount shop. One day I skipped through the door and veered straight for the fridge, as per usual but this wasn’t like the other days. Something didn’t feel right. . . My beloved was nowhere to be found. In his place was a poor imitation of the can I knew so well. I refused to give up and approached a member of staff to enquire into his whereabouts. I was met with the blank faces of those who have never known the unconditional love of an inanimate object. I pity them. Weeks passed and I didn’t give up, popping in as often as possible. I even checked other branches in different parts of the city but no joy.

I have since sought out alternatives (not replacements) and blue Monster is currently leading the pack of wannabes. In fact, I had a can at 7 this evening before heading to see the new Hunger Games film. It is now 03:44 and here I am, full of all the energy in Ireland, pining for the one that got away . . .

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What to Write?

Should we write about our uncensored thoughts? Is that ok? Should I be trying to tighten and tailor my ramblings? Should I read, re-read, get friends to offer opinions and rewrite bits accordingly? Even though it’s only a blog? Do the topics I choose cause people to judge me? Are there too many question marks in this paragraph?

I’m currently trying to ignore my brother singing cheesy Irish ballads. This isn’t very conducive to tapping into my genius. I apologise in advance. It also doesn’t help that I’m watching the fantastic gameshow Pointless. How and ever, it does showcase my exceptional multitasking skills. Try contain your jealousy.

Now is as good a time as any to inform ya’ll of my atrocious memory. It’s woeful. Examples I hear you cry? Ok, I’m doing very well whilst playing along in Pointless. Not a hundred per cent sure if this is as a direct result of my afore mentioned genius or if I’ve seen this episode before . . . Either way I’m still smugly proud.

Since I decided to give this blogging lark a go I’ve found it tough picking topics to cover. It’s not that I’m idea less, it’s more that I ramble and get distracted by my own thoughts . . . Write about what you know, isn’t that the age old mantra? I know TV and films pretty well, we keep each other company on these cold winters nights. Choosing what to watch, now that’s a toughie.

I must admit, I’m an out and proud reality tv fan. It’s just so entertaining! Especially the likes of I Used to be Fat, The Face, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, Great British Bake Off and Catfish. I’m not a junkie. I could quit any time but I’ve no intentions of doing so.

Lettuce focus on Catfish. For those of you who are not familiar with this programme, here’s the general gist. Viewers write into the presenter Nev about people they’ve met online. In many cases, I love you’s have been exchanged, plans have been made for the future, starting a family has been discussed and some have even got engaged. The catch? They’ve never met and most haven’t even video chatted. Nev swoops in to try find out if the other party is exactly who they say they are. He also manages to orchestrate a meeting with the pair and we get to watch all the drama unfold. In most episodes, one of the parties has been lying about their appearance, their job and sometimes even their gender. The couple are usually bitterly disappointed and go their separate ways. Great TV.

I know watching these programmes is a waste of time, I’m under no illusion that I’m learning valuable life lessons from the likes of Catfish. I just think there’s no harm in switching off every once in a while. Reality tv allows me to do that with minimum effort and maximum entertainment.

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Don Jon: Happy Endings Galore

Don JonJoseph Gordon-Levitt wrote, directed and starred in his latest film, Don Jon. I just so happen to find the man as handsome as sin and naturally my bestie shares my enthusiasm so off we trotted.

It’s important to note the other films vying for our undivided attention that evening. Gravity, Philomena, The Butler and The Counsellor (the last of which can not make up its mind on how to spell itself). All in all, twas pretty stiff competition but Mr G-L (Good-Looking, WHAT a coincidence!) came up trumps.  Philomena was a close second for me as I’ve heard fantastic reviews and Judi Dench can do no wrong. Think it’s one to bring the Mammy to though . . . While we’re on the topic of Mammy’s, I wouldn’t recommend taking her to Don Jon, just a friendly heads up.

Let me set the scene. Twas a long-awaited date night with herself. Both our men were out of town so we decided to treat ourselves to the classic combination of dinner and a movie. The restaurant we settled on does a fantastic deal. For €16 you get a main course of pasta or pizza, a drink (we opted for the carafe of wine, mainly because we get immense pleasure out of saying carafe) AND your cinema ticket!! That’s not a deal, it’s a SDEAL! Needless to say the carafes worked their magic and the giddiness descended upon us. Just what we needed for a subdued hour and a half of sitting in a dark room.

Don Jon centres around G-L’s character, an Italian American chap from New Jersey who’s dedicated to his body, his pad, his ride, his family, his church, his boys, his girls and his porn. The film follows his courtship of young Johansson and his attempt to reduce his porn consumption. From the start, Jon confesses that he prefers watching porn to physically being with a woman. Madness. He gives various reasons for this, the main one being, he’s pretty damn selfish. Porn asks nothing of him in return, unlike the incredibly demanding Johansson.

So that’s what it’s about but what is it actually like? I enjoyed it. Jon definitely matures as the film progresses and the audience are left feeling he’s a better man by the end. Mr Gordon-Levitts smile and bulked out body make it extra easy to watch and I suppose ScarJo isn’t an eye sore either. As long as you’ve no aversion to umpteen clips of Pornhubs finest stars, tis worth a watch.

Watch the trailer for Don Jon here

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Wasted Nights

I’m a time waster. No point denying it. This isn’t the confession of someone who’s been in the denial closet. I wish I had some way of turning my finely honed time wasting skills into money but alas then twould be no longer considered a waste of time.

Writing, now that’s something that could be considered a constructive waste of time. How and ever, as a journalism student I’m loath to admit that I don’t spend half enough of my wasted time putting fingers to keyboard and battering out my middle class angst.

Instead I waste a fine chunk of time communicating with my nearest and dearest. This is in fact the only real form of writing to which I commit. They get the best of me. My rapier wit is wasted on such a small and unappreciative audience.

I’d like to know how many times I’ve started writing pieces thinking they’d go in one direction but end up in entirely different territory. What was supposed to be a one sentence tangent has now become the focus of the entire thing. Like now for example. I thought it would be a fantastic call to break my blogging drought with a humorously poignant rant about the lengths I go to in order to avoid doing what has to be done. I’m very good at this.

Examples I hear you cry? How bout sleep. What’s not to love about sleep? Yet for some inexplicable reason, when I get into bed of an evening, I decide to look for every possible alternative to the obvious. It’s not that I’m not tired. Tonight for example, I worked an 11 hour shift today, knackered I am. Came home, made dinner, did some house keeping, got into bed with the intention of watching some cut of a programme on Netflix. Fast forward two hours and bam! Here I am, not a single mind numbing episode has been watched.

Where does the time go? Down like a whiskey chased . . . The things I do that count as time well spent showcase my laziness. I set my alarm for the morning, that felt like an accomplishment. I also did the obligatory countdown. How many hours sleep will I get if I go to sleep right now? Plugging my phone in to charge, that’s an important one. Then I answered emails or texts that I ignored during the day. Those friends of mine are an incredibly needy bunch. Now here I am, rambling on the blogosphere, after midnight when I’ve to be up in 6 hours . . . Ridiculous

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