Batman LIVE!

If you only ever see one thing at an arena near you, it should be Batman LIVE! It’s ridiculously amazing.
I got tickets for Xmas from my lovely fella as he knows how much I love comic book based entertainment. To be honest, I don’t have a clue what I expected. I guess some sort of play version of one of the films. I wouldn’t have been disappointed with this, don’t get me wrong, but I’m so glad it turned out to be more explosive than my original expectations.
The general gist of the show was to include as many characters as possible while still sticking to comic book-esque story lines and even taking some directly from the page. Robin was introduced with the death of his parents at the beginning, as caused by the Joker, which leads on to the Joker trying to bring together all villains encountered by Batman who now reside in Arkham Asylum to fight against the winged good-guy to take over Gotham City. Mouthful. And hours of stage play because of the complex plot and huge intake of characters, mostly villains. Included in the cast were the Joker, Harlequinn, the Penguin, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, the Riddler and many more. It was full on and very intense. Despite taking on so much, however, it kept our attention for the full 3 hours of entertainment.

The most amazing parts of the show included the costumes, the amazing sets and the incredible acrobatics. Most of the show included performers who were taking part in aerial combat or aerial acrobatics which looked fantastic and certainly caused me to say ‘Wow’ on more than a few occasions. The costumes were brilliant, as I’m sure you can see from the pictures – well matched to the comic book style and very close to the original designs as seen in Batman comics. The set was truly incredible. Beginning with a city-like set with tiny buildings on stage to a bat-shaped backdrop which became a TV screen and had the backdrops of the changed scenes on, the whole setting was fantastical. That’s not to even mention the Joker’s props of a huge ceiling-height Jack in the Box, magic tricks, and a massive hot-air balloon which travelled around the arena before being set on fire.

Of course, not everything can be perfect – the acting of the main characters more specifically. Batman was, unfortunately and ironically the worst thing about Batman LIVE! The Joker was by far the best actor involved and no fault can be found in the acrobatic extras. But as this was all I could pick fault with, I fail to see it as a real negative.

There was a moment, approximately 20 minutes into the show where my partner and I turned to each other and said that we never wanted it to end. That’s how amazing it was. After the show, we even said we wanted to come back and watch it another time before the show moved out of town. If you ever get a chance. See it.

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Fundraising

I’ve done one silly thing this year so far – White Water Rafting. When I signed up to do it I thought it would be an amazing opportunity and it was something I’d wanted to do for ages. My mum bought it for my dad as a birthday present and he decided to do it, as he was scared, on behalf of a charity. He chose to help out victims and sufferers of Rhetts Syndrome. It was a cause he felt strongly about because he recently found out a friend’s wife was a sufferer.

I thought it was a great idea. So, I did the same. My cause was The National Literacy Trust – not a charity for people who suffer physically, but for those who can suffer mentally or occupationally. It’s aim is to help children at a young age to increase their literacy levels in order to help them overcome issues in reading and writing later on in their lives. It’s really worthwhile, especially considering how people are struggling more and more to get jobs in our economic climate and now the competition is so strong.

The day came, back in June, where I had to do the sponsored feat. Turns ut I was far more nervous than I thought I was. In fact, I was so nervous I started to get upset about silly things – needing the loo before we went out, the wet suit not having sleeves, the cagoule not fitting me properly, looking a prat in my helmet – things like that. It meant that I was working myself up. I was very puffy in the face by the time it came to getting in the raft and the instructor ended up taking pity on me and asking me if I was alright all the time. I survived, don’t get me wrong, but I didn’t have many pics taken until towards the end of the course, due to the puffiness.

So, bearing that in mind, I thught I’d be a prat again and do more silly things for charity. It’s not as risky and I probably won’t cry this time, as I’ve done it once before back when I was 19, I think. However, it’s not just me doing it, it’s my fiance Nathan as well. And he’s not done it before. And he doesn;t like ‘rides’. That should be interesting and worth a sponsorship at least.

If you can spare a couple of quid, I’d really appreciate it.
http://www.justgiving.com/widgets/jgwidget.swf

http://www.justgiving.com/kirstylouisechapman

Thank you in anticipation.

Transformers 3:Dark of the Moon. Hmmmm.

I went to the cinema today. It’s not an unusual thing. I do it most weeks. I have one of those Cineworld cards that gives you unlimited access to all of the films for £14 a month. It’s really good value so I take advantage of it by going as much as I can to see everything, whether it’s good or bad.

So, as I was saying, I went to the cinema today and this time I went to see Transformers: Dark of the Moon. First things first, I want to talk about the title. What is that about? I get what it’s on about, especially after the first couple of minutes of the movie when it’s explaining about a spacecraft crash on the shadowed side of the moon. What I don’t get is why the title is grammatically incorrect. Why is it the dark of the moon and not the dark side of the moon? Did they think it would make more of an impact if it was shorter? Punchier? Simpler? In essence it just gave the audience a sense of dumbed down entertainment, already with their guard up for media simplicity at it’s finest.

They won’t be disappointed if they wrongly choose to see this film.

The beginning is truly upsetting. They literally re-write American, and in fact World, history for their own gain. And not only do they do it in a silly way, they undermine their ‘true story’ by using terrible CGI when making mock-ups of President Kennedy. I knew I was in for a rough 2.5 hour ride when this was one of the first things they had to offer.

Granted, I’d only ever watched the first Transformers movie, so can’t say where it went THIS wrong, but I do remember the first being pretty passable. It had a decent balance between comical one-liners, a great display of talent and beleiveable / unbeleivable balance that hits pretty well. One thing I do remember is that the decepticons all spoke in a foreign tongue. When did that change?

Anyway, I digress. The third, relatively disappointing installment had a few things that picked it up from the cutting room floor in my mind. For example, the incredible choice of hiring The Hangover’s Ken Jeong for both comic releif and mass-media links. The first introduction to his character is through a photograph. I’m not that familiar with his work, but I recognised him straight away and must say it pricked my ears up a bit more, just as I was starting to get bored after the post-introduction stage of the movie. His short-lived role, however awesome, wasn’t enough to save the movie. After this there was another 2 hours to go.

Something that annoys me about this movie are the figth scenes. I understand the colours and shapes are meant to help you identify the different characters and which are good and bad, but it isn’t enough for me. Maybe I’m just a bit dense. I found it really difficult to decipher the difference between the good robots and the bad robots in some of the fight scenes, despite the small clues. With all the non-stop action in those big scenes, I didn’t really have anough time to recognise the differences until it slowed down a bit. So because of that I found I wasn’t sure who was winning sometimes. It was a bit of a shame as it lost me. And I must say that I don’t think the 3D helped it either. It didn’t particularly add anything to it, the film didn’t use it to it’s full advantage and no special features relied on 3D even a small fraction as it did the CGI. Not that I’m having a go at the CGI. Sometimes, it was pretty good. The large scenes that were obviously CGI were pretty well mapped out, but the small CGI intricacies sometimes got lost in the budget and seemed hashed (see earlier Kennedy comment).

And boy was this film long. I went in expecting a short-ish standard film, having not been bothered to read reviews before I went (big mistake), and instead sat for at least two and a half hours. I mean, some of the action was good, sometimes it was very funny, but it certainly wasn’t necessary to have it running for that long. 2 hours should have really been a maximum running time.

Moving on to my final few words, as I’ve bored you almost as much as the movie might have done… Try it. I know I might have slated it a bit, but it certainly didn’t rate anywhere near the worst films I’ve ever seen. Yes it was long, sometimes boring and sometimes ridiculous, but it was also entertaining at times. I had a good laugh at Jeong, the cliches were amusing and some silly bits made me laugh too. However, if you’re into your history, don’t see it – it’ll drive you mad. I’m not a history buff but it annoyed me that they just changed history to suit their film ideas.

Star rating? 3 at the best, and that’s only because I found the funny side to it all.

Isaiah Mustafa

I have a new obsession. It’s both a person and an object. The objects are Old Spice aftershaves and body wash. The person is Isaiah Mustafa.
After first seeing the Old Spice’s new adverts, I was obsessed. It’s fantastic. So funny. So ridiculous. And, let’s not forget, he’s on a horse. Perfect. The person who writes and directs these adverts needs a medal.
After seeing the first advert I decided to post each and every new Old Spice advert to my facebook and twitter pages (@kirstychappers) I thought I should learn a little more about the man behind the myth. My fella found his facebook page and we both had a good look down it. Turns out that he used to be an NFL player. I should really have guessed that because he lookes like the stereotype. But, on top of that, he’s also done a fair bit of acting. The one that impressed me most is his most recent spot of acting. It seems he’s going to be in the new Blockbuster ‘Horrible Bosses’ later this year. It doesn’t say anything about him or his character in it, but I can only assume it’ll be awesome. I hope he’s on a horse.
On top of all this awesome acting malarky, Isaiah is also a bit of a comic book geek. He’s been part of a marvel online thing in which he was cast by the man himself, Stan Lee. He didn’t play any well known superhero, but he was a superhero nonetheless. You can also see his comic book geekiness in the fact that his daughter is named after a super villain from the Batman comics. Hayley Fitzpatrick, aka Harley Quinn was also the inspiration of my other idol, Kevin Smith, when naming his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith. Clearly, only awesome people name their children after comics. Probably why I’m considering Clarke or Kent for my first boy….

Anyway – for your perusal –

A is for …. Arseholes

I’ve always thought that everyone deserves a chance. You can’t judge a book by its cover, and all that. But I do think first impressions count and, although you should give people this chance, if they mess up that first impression, it’s hard to pull it back.

Take my job as an example. I find that the first lesson with a new class is quite important. I think during that first lesson, although the kids might be a little timid due to not knowing you or the classroom, you can often pick out the kids who are going to cause problems straight away. It might be something they do / say that is very obvious. But more often than not, it’s something you over hear them saying to their friends. That one word or phrase can alter your opinion of that kid and make you wary of them, or make you stand on guard ready for when they kick off.

People are sometimes just arseholes. It’s a sixth sense thing that I think applies in most jobs and social situations. When you spend a short time with someone you can make certain assumptions about them, and a lot of those times you end up being right. Maybe it makes you look for things to back up your theories, but maybe, just maybe, your instincts are right.

People are sometimes just arseholes. It’s something that just happens. Most people have the capability. In fact, everyone does, but not everyone uses that ability. Especially not when they’re in situations when they shouldn’t.
People are sometimes just arseholes. I’m sure everyone can name someone they know really well who they now think are arseholes. I bet the same people can name someone else they thought was an arsehole on their first meeting. And most of those people won’t have changed their mind either.

Sometimes, people are just arseholes.

B is for … Bipolar

Although I have never been to the doctors to be diagnosed, I am relatively positive I suffer from a mental disorder called Bipolar. There are many forms of this disorder, some a lot more severe than others. I don’t think I have it badly, but I do have quite dramatic mood swings, a penchant for ruining my own friendships and I often feel ostracised and neglected. I first thought I might have a mild form of this disorder when I began to have quite erratic mood swings, the first of which began with being unconsolably upset and ended with my crying with laughter, all in the space of 20 minutes.
Maybe I don’t have this disorder at all, but I certainly feel that these symptoms effect me in my normal life. My friendships are few and certainly not constant, my relationships are often doomed to fail, and my head is always a mess.

I like to educate so here are some facts about bipolar:
Types of bipolar disorder:
• People with bipolar disorder type I have had at least one fully manic episode with periods of major depression. In the past, bipolar disorder type I was called manic depression.
• People with bipolar disorder type II have never experienced full-fledged mania. Instead they experience periods of hypomania (elevated levels of energy and impulsiveness that are not as extreme as the symptoms of mania). These hypomanic periods alternate with episodes of depression.
• A mild form of bipolar disorder called cyclothymia involves less severe mood swings with alternating periods of hypomania and mild depression. People with bipolar disorder type II or cyclothymia may be misdiagnosed as having depression alone
Symptoms
The manic phase may last from days to months and can include the following symptoms:
• Agitation or irritation
• Inflated self-esteem (delusions of grandeur, false beliefs in special abilities)
• Little need for sleep
• Noticeably elevated mood
o Hyperactivity
o Increased energy
o Lack of self-control
o Racing thoughts
• Over-involvement in activities
• Poor temper control
• Reckless behavior
o Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use
o Impaired judgment
o Sexual promiscuity
o Spending sprees
• Tendency to be easily distracted
The depressed phase of both types of bipolar disorder includes the following symptoms:
• Daily low mood
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Eating disturbances
o Loss of appetite and weight loss
o Overeating and weight gain
• Fatigue or listlessness
• Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and/or guilt
• Loss of self-esteem
• Persistent sadness
• Persistent thoughts of death
• Sleep disturbances
o Excessive sleepiness
o Inability to sleep
• Suicidal thoughts
• Withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed
• Withdrawal from friends

C is for… Cash

Is it just me or does everyone find it difficult to save cash? It certainly feels like it’s just me. I always feel like I’m sinking in a huge sea of debt.
Being fair on myself, I have a lot less debt than most other people my age. Having such amazing parents who have been willing to give up their money to further my education and set me on my career path has meant that I left university practically debt free. I mean, I owed them a little money from the time I didn’t have a job, but I was almost always working so I didn’t do too badly for myself.
I find it much more difficult now to keep my head above water, though. I earn a good wage, my rent isn’t too steep, and yet I’ve found myself having to get out a small loan to make sure I don’t lose myself. I seem to find that it’s the small and unexpected things that throw me and get me in financial trouble. For me, the small thing has been my car recently. That’s when I knew my money was starting to get out of control.
And it’s also when I decided to get the loan.

To me, taking out that loan was like admitting defeat. For someone who has always been in work, who has worked hard for her goals and who lives a pretty modest lifestyle, it was pretty upsetting to have to admit that I needed financial help.
Obviously, it’s not real defeat and I’m sure it’ll make it easier for me to manage my money in the long term. But it means I have a fairly long-term debt hanging over me. I don’t think that’s good enough for me. Especially with my wedding looming and the debt being there until long after the wedding’s over. I’m just going to find it tough to manage for the next year or so. And I wish I didn’t have to.