Wintery Friday Fun

(I started writing this on Thursday night, intending to finish it on Friday for its usual publication – but life got in the way and given as the Olympics ended on Sunday, I figured there was a need to publish this soon rather than later!)

The Winter Olympics are nearing their inevitable conclusion, but it’s not too late to have some fun with them…

For starters, obviously the best part of any winter games is watching the ice skating. (This is apparently not a universal opinion, but this blog sticks with my opinion.) You can derive further pleasure by browsing this awesome collection of ‘Faces of Olympic Figure Skating’.

Faces of Olympic SkatingI imagine that’s pretty much the face I’d make in that context too.

The same site also brings us ‘Olympic skiers photoshopped onto toilets’, which is exactly what the name suggests.

ski8

If you have some spare time on your hands and some suitable craft materials lying around, you may want to engage in a Winter Olympics themed activity. My sister discovered this clothespin skier craft while preparing for our circle of friends’ day of fun last Wednesday – but as she had pipe cleaners, not clothes pegs, to hand, we used those instead. No, this is not a typical afternoon activity for a group of women aged 30ish, but it was raining outside and we had a surprising amount of fun. Honest. [We also considered doing skeleton bob races on the stairs, using trays, but decided against it in the end.]

Pipe Cleaner SkiersNot too shabby. Mine is the one with the helmet & red skies – a Tonga skier, to join the Tongan luger.

Talking of ice, have you seen “the best Disney movie since the Little Mermaid” [Mark Kermode] aka Frozen? I actually haven’t, because I’ve been spending money I might have spent on stupidly pricey London cinema seats on only marginally pricier West End theatre tickets. But, thanks to enthusiastic friends, I do know its Oscar nominated best song, Let It Go, very well – sung by star of the West End and Broadway, Idina Menzel. [Who I once met on one of my geekiest musical theatre days…] This song has gone down very well with a lot of people – not just Oscar judges – resulting in myriad versions appearing online. But there is a stand-out favourite as far as I’m concerned, in which one woman sings it in the voices of several divas:

Finally, in Cumberbatch Corner, is something that has nothing to do with winter, other than it’s the season in which awards season takes place. Awards season, as far as men are concerned, means suits – and we all know that a good suit on a good man is an excellent thing. Thus, my offering this week is Buzzfeed’s ’18 Times Benedict Cumberbatch Looked Like an Absolute GOD in a suit’. Leaving aside the obvious idolatry issue, it is worth a browse if you’re a Cumberbatch fan, and can’t get enough of Cumberbatch GIFs…

Sherlock Bow Tie

Top quality Friday Fun

This week, I feel my fun offering is of slightly higher quality than it sometimes is. Regardless of quality, there is definitely quantity – so if you’re sat at your desk desperately urging the clock to move faster towards 5pm, there should be something here to amuse you for quite a while.

Firstly, a piece of fun that I can’t actually vouch for entirely. On Monday, the Guardian published a list of the ten funniest Tumblrs. Such is my pace of life that I’ve not had chance to explore them properly (despite the tab having been open for four days), but one has jumped out at me.  Notes to my Future Husband is simply genius (and occasionally a little crass in language, but we’re ok with that, aren’t we?). My entire blog is essentially a manual for my future husband, but this Tumblr is a little more pithy. Here are some gems that amused me:

That latter one is a bit of a running in-joke – but I wholeheartedly agree with it.

Of the others, People Who is definitely worth a look (you’ll be nodding earnestly within seconds); I Love Charts has to be a good ‘un – after all, do we not all love charts? Oh, and there’s an obligatory animal one – Animals Doing People Things. Ok, all of them are probably good – that’ll be why the Guardian chose them! 
Continuing the ’10 things’ theme, here’s something a little more niche. I don’t know about you, but I love ice skating (watching, not doing it) and therefore a Hairpin article entitled ‘The 10 Greatest Figure Skaters Who Never Won an Olympic Medal’, delighted me. Not only is the article full of fascinating ice skating facts, but it’s accompanied by YouTube footage of routines, which basically means that there’s over an hour of skating to be watched. Isn’t that simply blissful? I love those dedicated Hairpinners! 
Finally, a discovery I made last night courtesy of a friend on Facebook whose daughter occasionally features in it – Miriam’s Daily Adventures, a webcomic by Miriam Kendrick. I love a good webcomic/cartoon [see xkcd and Cartoon Church for starters] and I really like people who view the world in a similar way to me. Sometimes xkcd’s geeky science stuff goes way over my head – which is not an issue with Miriam’s work. I give you a recent series on Nutella as an example: 

I suspect you may now be cursing me for triggering a Nutella craving that will last the rest of the day. I am not apologetic for this. *Cackles evilly.*

Actually, that’s not the end. If you’re feeling really unmotivated at this point of the week, let this small American child give you a pep talk:

Further pre-pubescent ramblings

This is possibly the closest I could get to public humiliation (actually, who am I trying to kid, I could get a lot more humiliated than this, quite easily), but there’s something so innocent and enthusiastic about what I’m about to share that I couldn’t resist it.

Remember how last weekend I delved into my diaries? Well, there were a whole host of unexpected surprises in the box – in addition to the holiday diaries that proved to be so illuminating – not least an envelope marked ‘Random Diary Pages’. This contained a diary that my sister (I think, but it could’ve been me) had torn the cover off, as well as extracts from a holiday journal from 1991 and some very random pages of nonsense including the start of a story, some cartoon-like drawings of primary school companions and this…

You can probably read it if you click through, but if you can’t be bothered, this is the gist:

I, Elizabeth Lesiele [spelt wrong!] Clutterbuck vow that in at least 15 years time, I shall be competing in ice dancing at the Olympics. I have decided this after watching Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean skate to Bronze at Lilahammer [also spelt wrong]
Hopefully I shall be able to bring home a GOLD medal! 

Oh dear. At least, aged 12, I had some sort of ambition – albeit a totally unachievable one! For one thing, I was rubbish (still am) at basic ice skating, let alone trying to leave the ice while jumping and pirouetting. For another, 15 years from 1994 would have made me 27 – which is old for an ice dancer – and 2009 wasn’t even a Winter Olympics year. Nevermind. 
Having read this gem, I wonder what my actual ambitions were at that age. I do remember a year previously declaring in a RS lesson (I’ve no idea how the topic came up) that I wanted to be Linzi Hately, who at that point was appearing as The Narrator in Joseph in the West End – I’d say this was possibly more doable than my ice dancing ambitions. It’s also possible that I still wanted to be Kylie Minogue, albeit in her new mid 90s more risqué incarnation. But there is nothing practical that springs to mind, clearly all I aspired to was Winter Olympic glory, the West End stage or popstardom – I guess that’s fairly typical for a 12 year old. 
It has to be said that re-reading these early diaries has been highly amusing and illuminating. There’s nothing more reassuring than realising how much you’ve changed (for the better) since your pathetic teenage days of writing about angst, reports, music and more angst. However, there is definitely nothing more depressing than realising that in some ways you’ve not changed at all and have simply repeated the same mistakes over and over for 16 years! 
On reflection, perhaps I ought to formulate a plan for these diaries once I’m gone. I don’t think I want the otherwise model archive I’ll leave behind to be tainted by these lunatic ramblings… 

Sliders, Skaters & Boarders

Winter Olympic lessons learned so far this olympiad:

  • Tonga’s attempt to emulate Cool Runnings using luge rather than the four-man bob didn’t work. (I know nothing more than that they have no athletes in the games.)
  • Ethiopa and Ghana both have teams in the games – who’d have thought it? 
  • Those competing in sports that involve going down steep courses on a tray/in a sophisticated sledge are collectively known as ‘sliders’. Is it just me, but doesn’t this make them sound like some kind of alien species about to invade earth? 
  • Snowboard Cross is one of the most mental (and captivating) sports invented. Four snowboarders hurl themselves down the course simultaneously and generally (at least from my half hour’s viewing last night) at least one takes a tumble in the process. 
  • Japan’s speed skating suits are gold and shiny, making their athletes look like characters out of a comic book. 
  • Olympic standard ice skating really makes Dancing on Ice look rubbish. On the plus side, a few years of only watching pathetic celebrity routines has made me appreciate the real thing a whole lot more.
  • Vancouver is 8 hours behind London time.
This last lesson may seem obvious (and I’m surprised I’d not fully realised the time difference even though a good friend of mine moved there two years ago) but it’s only been an issue since the Olympics began. 
It’s not often that we get good figure skating coverage on TV and I am rather fond of it. (My family roots are in Nottingham – Torvill & Dean country…) Last night’s Pairs Free Programme was shown at 4am. Fortunately (!) I was woken up be a text at 4.23am and couldn’t get back to sleep, thus catching the final four competitors. Joy. 
Of course, we Brits don’t have a whole heap of medal prospects (I believe the official target is one, we don’t like to attempt the impossible!). I was greatly amused to hear the British figure skating pair referred to as ‘finishing in 16th place, which is a really impressive result’. Impressive? Well, it was their personal best, so I guess impressive in a way… 
With little national interest, it at least means we can take a healthy interest in any sport going – much more fun. So, I’ll be scheduling further insomnia for the 18th, 23rd & 25th ready to support the underdogs on the ice rink.