The One with the Male Nanny: The Complicated relationship between Friends and Toxic Masculinity

If you’ve read my previous post on the subject, you’ll remember that while I and many in today’s 2019 society greatly enjoy Friends – it doesn’t mean we’re blind to it’s flaws. Indeed, looking on it with today’s socially conscious mindset it is a piece of art with many flaws. Homophobic, Trans-phobic, Sexist, low-key racist; name a terrible thing to be, and friends probably made that kind of joke. But by far the most interesting flaw to discuss, at least from an intellectual perspective, is the show’s relationship with toxic masculinity. With the other kinds of prejudices on display, the show makes a joke about it – has the nerve to think it’s funny – and moves on to the next mildly to extremely offensive joke. However when it comes to the subject of Toxic Masculinity, the show seems on some level to not only be aware of it, but to condemn it. And yet, we still gotta make those jokes.

What do I mean? Well let’s take a look at one episode in particular, to gain a little better insight into this strange phenomenon – the sixth episode of season 9 : The One with the Male Nanny. First, a brief plot synopsis before we get to the real meat of the episode. After slogging through hordes of disappointing applicants, Rachel finally finds the perfect nanny for her Ross’ daughter Emma – but there’s just one problem, he’s played by Freddie Prinze Jr. That’s the main story anyway, there is the secondary story of the Episode with Chandler being upset that Monica called one of her co-workers ‘the funniest guy she’s ever met’; however since it only briefly crosses narrative streams with the titular plot-line, I won’t be going too deep into that .

Ross takes an immediate dislike to the new Nanny – named Sandy ; mainly because he is performing a role traditionally considered part of the feminine domain, child care. However Sandy is also a very sensitive man, he cries unashamedly when he is happy – as when he is accepted for the position – and sad – as when he is remembering his last charge. He also cooks, plays the recorder, and has the audacity to do all this while still being completely heterosexual. Ross can barely stand to be in the same room as Sandy, and laments long and hard to whoever will listen of the weirdness of having a male nanny – although never within said nanny’s earshot, such is the coward’s nature. This is a pretty standard move when it comes to Ross, he is the guy that made such a fuss when his toddler son started playing with a barbie doll. What is strange about this situation however, is Rachel’s reaction. She loves Sandy and whole heatedly endorses his non-traditional version of masculinity, being a factor in her child’s development. This is a stark removal from the Rachel Green who once dumped a boyfriend for crying too much; or regularly belittles her male friends when they step even the tiniest bit off the narrow heteronormative version of masculinity. I mean she was right there with the rest of them glaring down at Ross and Joey, when they’d fallen asleep together. That’s it, nothing sexual, just took a nap on the same couch.

So, what does this sudden turn around in one of the main characters of the show mean? Well probably many things, not least among which Rachel doesn’t find Sandy attractive – and thus doesn’t require him to live up to her idea of the ideal man. But the notion I’m going to focus on here, is the underlying message of the story-line. Namely that Ross is wrong. He is wrong to hate Sandy and he is wrong to try and encourage that hate in others – in other words he is wrong in his Toxic Masculinity. A fact that is underscored in the episode’s ending, when Ross breaks down in Sandy’s arms after recounting the abuse his father heaped on him, for not living up to the masculine ideal . Now I know what you’re thinking, Wee Lassie I thought Friends had a bad relationship with Toxic Masculinity – this all sounds really good. Ross finally realizes that he’s been continuing the circle of abusive toxic Masculinity began by his awful father – and he can finally break free of it and become a better man, nay a better person all round. Except that’s not what happens, this is Sandy’s last episode and these themes, or Ross’ connection to them, will never be brought up again. So what can we really take away from this episode? Toxin Masculinity is bad, yes absolutely, but does that lesson have any impact on the viewer, if it has none on the rest of the series?

Femininity in men continues to be mocked. Chandler continues to be called gay – with the implication that this is somehow a bad thing – if he expresses so much as the barest interest in culture ; and the men can’t so much as hint at their love for each other, without the women implying that their masculinity is somehow lessened from the action. At the end of the episode, Sandy still looses his job because he is a man working in a non-traditionally male occupation, and that is what the audience must take away from it. The Writers’ intention, either good or ill, means nothing if the product as a whole cannot reflect it. Still, even if it was only for one brief moment, at least they tried.

If you’ve enjoyed this strange analyse of a 90’s flawed tv show, remember to follow the Wee blog if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads , Instagram, and Tumblr. Also check out the Wee Mailing List for all new rants, photos and more. Until next time my Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Advertisements

The Top Ten Musicals that will leave you Bawling like a Wee Bairn

I love to cry. Alright maybe that’s a tad simplistic, I don’t love to cry – I love to be moved enough to cry. Why is this important? Well, my Wee Readers, after I published my last post, I felt lost as to what I should write about next. So, needing a break I partook in one of my favorite past times – listening to depressing musicals. I know, odd thing to do but it’s very cathartic, so I still recommend it. Just as I shed the last of my tears for a particular heartbreaking rendition of ‘Me and the Sky’, I realized that I had the answer right there before me. So thus, with little ceremony I present to you the Wee Writing Lassie’s Top Ten Musicals that will leave you Balling like a Wee Bairn.

10. Les Miserables

Based on the 1862 Victor Hugo novel of the same name, Les Miss tells the stories of the escaped convict Jean Val Jean ; his adopted daughter Cosette and her love for the revolutionary Marius; and most loudly of all the 1832 June Rebellion in Paris. Of course, I most likely don’t have to tell you any of this since Le Mis, just so happens to be one of the longest running and most popular musicals of all time. It is also, as you may be able to guess by the name, one of the most miserable . The most lovable character (Jean Val Jean) dies at the end, in fact most of the characters in Les Miss die at some point in the play – only four people are alive by the end,and shockingly that’s an improvement from the book. Thus with the ringing of the audiences handkerchiefs, Les Miserable proudly earns it’s spot on this terribly depressing list. In fact the only reason it’s not higher on the list, is because I’ve listened to it so often in my life, I’m practically dead inside when it comes to this magnificent musical. Seriously, play me the final song and I won’t cry at all…these aren’t tears, I have something in my eye.

Song I cried at the Most: Final

Created by: Claude-Michel Schonberg, Alain Baublil, and Jean-Marc Nated (Orginal French Musical) Cameron Macintosh (The Wider known production.)

9. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream-coat

Based on a story from the Bible ‘s Book of Genesis – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor dream-coat tells the story of how parental favoritism and neglect can ruin a family. Joseph, as the favorite son of Jacob, is terribly favored over his eleven brothers and his sister isn’t even mentioned in the play. Culminating with the brother’s snapping after Joseph is gifted with the said Technicolor dream coat, and selling their brother into slavery. Despite the overwhelmingly depressing tone of that premise, for the most part this is a fairly up-beat musical. In fact I would have heisted to include it on my ‘weeping’ list at all, if it weren’t for… that song. The song that makes you realize that everything you’ve been watching up to this point, has not t been a bouncy romp round Biblical times, but in fact very, very depressing. Set just after Joseph’s Master (Potiphar) has discovered his wife sexually abusing Joseph and thrown the boy into jail because of it; Close Every Door to Me shows the audience both the depth of Joseph’s despair, and exactly what kind of musical they’ve actually been watching.

Song I cried at the Most: Close every Door to Me

Created by: Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice

8. Hadestown

Hadestown basically retells the classic tragic Myth of Eurydice (who gets trapped in the Underworld) and Orpheus (who tries and fails to rescue her from said Underworld) in a Great Depression-era inspired post-apocalyptic setting. Which now I’ve said it out loud, is a little weird, but it’s a moving musical so we’ll just roll with it. My only issue with the play, and even then it’s a minor one, is it’s depiction of Hades as the out-and-out villain of the tale. In the original myth he wasn’t – Eurydice just dies, he doesn’t trick her down there at all. Why would he? He’s got enough work with the spirits that are actually supposed to be down in Hades. That being said the play did need some kind of villain – other than Orpheus and Eurydice’s own stupidity – and Patrick Page does such a brilliant job of portraying the King of the Underworld, I’ve even begun to picture him when I think of Hades himself. Plus, the story has such a good build up to the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice, that I’m still going to burst into tears at the first note of that final song regardless.

Song I cried at the Most: Road to Hell (Reprise)

Created By: Anais Mitchell

7. The Hunchback of Notredame

Based on Victor Hugo’s first novel Notre-Dame de Paris and the 90’s Disney Film Hunchback of Notre-Dame, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame tells the story of both the corrupt priest (yeah he’s back to being a priest in this version) Claude Frollo and his severely abused Nephew Quasimodo. Yes that’s right, in this version Quasimodo is the son of Frollo’s brother. Other than that the story follows the same beats as the Disney film – Quasimodo grows up locked in Notre-Dame until he escapes to go watch the Festival of Fools, where he meets Esmeralda. Frollo calls for Esmeralda’s arrest, and she takes refuge in Notre-Dame. Then she falls in love with Phoebus, for some reason. Eventually she’s captured by Frollo, who threatens to burn her alive if she doesn’t sleep with him. Yep, pretty much the same thing as the Disney film. Oh, and *spoiler* Quasimodo dies at the end. Wait…what? Who asked for that back? I know it happens in the book, but so does a lot of other terrible stuff and they left that out. Why? Why? Why do you do this to me Disney? I’m going to go and listen to Made of Stone now, have myself a good cry.

Song I cried at the Most: Made of Stone

Created By: J, Scott Lapp (directed American Production) and James Lapin (book)

6. Dear Evan Hansen

Created by the same minds behind the Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen is a show about social anxiety, loneliness, and most of all teen suicide. Now I don’t really have any experience or proper knowledge of suicide, so I won’t go in-depth with that aspect – but I will just say this, you will be crying from start to finish. Except maybe during the obligatory funny song that every musical feels obliged to include, even if it doesn’t suit the material. Fitever, I’m just going to go listen to ‘Requiem’ in the corner, no one mind me.

Song I cried at the Most: Requiem

Created By: Benji Pasek and Justin Paul

5. Hamilton

Come on you all know this one by now, sing it with me! How does a bastard, orphan son of a whore…damn it, I swore I wouldn’t swear on this blog. Oh well, I guess it doesn’t count if it’s Broadway. *cough* Anyway, ‘Hamilton’ by Lin Manual Miranda is a hip hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton – founding father and complete idiot. I’m sorry but come on, a lot of his problems he brought on himself. I mean for god’s sake, say no to the deadly duel Alexander, say no! There is no outcome where this ends well for you! Sorry, I have very strong emotions when it comes to this musical. But so would you, if you had to listen to songs like ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’, God damn you Lin Manuel Miranda and your brilliant mind. You, beautiful, beautiful person.

Song I cried at the Most : It’s Quiet Uptown

Created by: The One, the singular, Lin Manual Miranda

4. Falsettos

Based on the ‘Marvin Trilogy’ of one-act Off-Broadway musicals by James Lapine and William Finn – Falsettos (created by the same people) tells the story of Marvine, his ex-wife Trina, Trina’s current husband and Marvin’s former Psychologist Mendel, their son Jason and Marvin’s lover Whizzer Brown. Well that’s the players introduced – most of them anyway – so what’s the play about. Well, it’s about a gay couple in the eighties so…Aids, it’s about Aids. And who dies? Because of course somebody dies. Why, the most likable character – because of course. I don’t mean to sound flippant, or rather I do but it’s for a very good reason. If I don’t tell you about this musical in a light and breezy manner, my keyboard is going to get so wet, from all the tears, and I can’t replace it again. Which was partly why it was so difficult to choose a song I cried at the most, the whole second act makes me cry! But finally I settled on two that tipped the scales from enjoyable tears to abject misery. Enjoy!

Song/s I cried at the Most: You Gotta Die Sometime & Falsettoland (reprise)

Created by: William Finn (music) and James Lapiue (book)

3. Waitress

Based on the 2007 Film of the same name, Waitress was created by Sara Bareilles and Jessica Nelson. Jenna Hunterson (played by Keri Russell in the original film) the title Waitress discovers herself pregnant by her abusive husband Earl (played by Jeremy Sisto in the original film); and begins an affair with her gynecologist (played by Nathan Fillion in the original film). Desperate to make a better life for her and her unborn child, Jenna can see no other way out but the prize money from an upcoming pie baking contest. Now, was I first attracted to this musical due to Nathan Fillion’s involvement with the original film…how dare you make that entirely accurate assumption! You are such a cleaver person! But in all seriousness, this a deeply moving musical culminating (at least as far as my exhausted tear ducts are concerned) in the heart wrenching song ‘She used to be Mine’ – in which Jenna griefs for the women she used to be, and reflects on the women she is now. Oh God, I’m gonna start crying again….turn away, don’t look at me!

Song I cried at the Most: She used to be Mine

Created by: Sara Bareilles (music & lyrics) & Tom Kitt (music)

2. next to normal

Well, we’re really in the darker end of the musical thematic spectrum now my Wee Readers. The Rock Musical called ‘next to normal’ is about a women with bipolar disorder and delusional episodes. In soul-tugging efficiency the musical examines the effect this has on not only our main character but her family as well. By doing so it covers uncomfortable topics such as grief, depression, suicide, drug abuse, and modern psychiatry’s ethics. You may have noticed that I’ve been deliberately vague about the actually plot, and no that is not a mistake on my part my Wee Readers – I’m not going to tell you it. Because to do so would be revealing a twist so awesome, it would be an actual crime to story telling as a whole. And as a writer myself I feel I cannot justify doing that – so I guess you’re just going to have to listen/watch the musical yourself.

Song I cried at the Most – that doesn’t give away the Plot Twist: You Don’t Know

Created by: Brian Yorkey (book & lyrics) & Tom Kitt (music)

1. Come from Away

And now we come to the one that started it all. Yes, that’s right my Wee Readers, this is the musical that gave me the idea for this blog post, and why you may ask? Because I cry at every single song on this thing’s soundtrack. Come From Away is a Canadian musical, set in the week following 911. Based on the true story of the 38 planes that were ordered to land in the small town of Gander in the Canadian province of Newfoundland. All the characters are at least partly based on real people, who are probably still alive today, and I can promise you – you’ll cry at every single one of these songs. So if you’re anything like me and enjoy good cry every now and then, then I’ve just turned you on to the perfect musical, however if you’re not then I’ve probably just warned you away from it…so…win all round really

Song I cried at the Most: Me and the the Sky

Created by: David Hein & Irene Sankoff

Well, here ends our tear sodden list my Wee Readers – I know, I know there are so many wonderfully depressing musicals that didn’t even get a passing mention, but such is life. If I included every single musical that ever made me cry, I’d never get this post finished and nobody wants that. But if you can think of some miserable masterpiece that really should have been included – mention it down below in the comments, and I’ll see if I agree. If you’ve enjoyed crying along with me, remember to follow the Wee Blog if you haven’t already, and check me out on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr; not to mention my Facebook and Goodreads pages. And please sign up to the Wee Mailing List for all new rants, photos and more. Until next time my Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

The Power of the Family : or why the heck is Friends still so popular in 2019

Okay, bit of a History lesson here – flick back your clock to a little year called 1994. Tony Blair (the War Criminal) had just been made Labour party leader ; yours truly was taking her first breath in this very strange world of ours, and a little American tv show set in New York, first began airing. Ah Friends, you beautiful…beautiful mess of a pop culture phenomenon. There’s just so much of you that has aged so very badly, such to the extent that each of these poorly aged elements could fill separate blog posts all their own. Shall I list them? Honestly it would be quicker to name the elements that haven’t aged badly but I’ve already planned this post so, onward we go.

There’s the fact that despite living in one of the most diverse cities in America, the friends cast are – baring an occasional recurring or bit character – monolithically white. The sheer amount of gay jokes running throughout many of the episodes of the ten seasoned show is really uncomfortable to watch, particularly on a streaming service like Netflix where you can watch episodes in quick succession…and I’m saying that as a straight woman. The jokes directed at Chandler’s Dad in particular were cringe-worthy at their best. Not to mention t it’s confusing relationship with toxic masculinity – but I’ll get more into that in a later post. Yet, all these terrible things are in no way unique to the show Friends: things like indoctrinated racism; homophobia, Trans-phobia; sexism and encouraging of toxic masculine behaviors were not uncommon in the early 90s to early 2000s – the time in which Friends aired on tv – I’d go even so far as to say they were commonplace. But what is unique to Friends – though please feel free to correct me in the comments if you feel otherwise – is that none of these things seem to have lessened it’s popularity over time. At least not in any significant way. We may no longer laugh at the gay jokes, but a lot of us are still laughing at Friends.

So what we have to ask ourselves is, why? What made Friends so special? Why has it lasted so long while other shows fall by the wayside? Well, honestly there’s probably a plethora of answers to that question, not least being the strong sense of nostalgia present in both Millennials (who grew up with it) and Generation X & Baby Boomers (who were the original target demographic). However, that would be a very different blog post than the one I have planned; so instead we’re getting freaky meta here and looking instead at the underlying theme of the show. *Evil laugh, while lightening crashes in the background.* And there’s no running away, I’ve already locked all the doors.

Okay so, themes. What is the underlying theme of Friends? Could it be the Power of Star Crossed Lovers symbolised by the Ross and Rachel story-line? Nope, by the end everyone but the writers was kind of sick of that. Could it be the power of friendship? After all that is the name of the show. Well, sort of, but I’d like to go one step beyond that in my dissection of it’s theme. Because the “Friends” ironically are not just regular friends, their deep love and affection for one another goes far beyond that. When it really comes down to it Friends isn’t just a show about friendship, but about a group of people that became each other’s family. Thus the Theme is not just the power of friendship or family, but the power of the found family.

We can see this especially clearly when we look at the Series’ Thanksgiving episodes. In the first Thanksgiving episode – season 1’s ” The One where the Underdog Gets Away” – a suspicious amount of coincidences have to line up so that the Friends’ are forced to have Thanksgiving together. Ross and Monica’s parents have to go on holiday, and therefore be unable to host ; Joey has to star in an embarrassing add, and thus have his whole family believe he has a VD; Phoebe’s Grandmother and her boyfriend have to celebrate Thanksgiving in December; and finally most notably, Rachel has to miss her flight so that’s she unable to attend her family’s Thanksgiving Ski trip. However, notice that this is the only episode where these great leaps of coincidences have to happen. Starting from Season 3 onward – since season 2 didn’t really have a proper Thanksgiving episode – it never once occurs to the Friends to eat Thanksgiving Dinner anywhere else. We can see this most distinctly in the Final Thanksgiving Episode – Season 10’s ” The One with the Late Thanksgiving” – where upon hearing that Monica and Chandler just don’t have the energy to host Thanksgiving, Phoebe decides its easier to trick Monica into it, rather than make alternative arrangements for herself. This, despite the fact that she is married to Mike at this point and thus does have someone else to have Thanksgiving Dinner with. A fact that’s even more true for the others, and yet, the possibility is never even once considered.

The affection of the found family over the traditional birth family is repeatedly shown throughout Friends’ 10 season run. A particular notable example being when Joey, and then Chandler, walk Phoebe down the isle – when her step-father is unable to do so. Despite the fact that only Ross and Monica are actually related, these people are each other’s real family. In fact it’s interesting to note that whenever a biological family member does appear on screen, trouble is never far behind. Think Jack and Judy Geller – Ross & Monica’s abusive parents introduced in the episode ‘The One With The Sonogram At The End’ – who always leave to the sound of Monica’s tears, particularly in the earlier episodes. Notably in the episode ‘The One with the Cuffs’ it is Phoebe who comforts and builds Monica back up, after she has yet again been ridiculed and belittled by her own mother. Also consider Rachel’s sisters’ Jill and Amy – who made their debuts in the episodes ‘The One With Rachel’s Sister’ (Jill) and ‘The One With Rachel’s Other Sister’ (Amy) – who give us an insight into how awful Rachel might have become if she had never found her true family . The only time we see Joey’s parents is when his father is cheating on his mother with another woman ; and of course who could forget Ursula, evil twin of our beloved Phoebe. Even Ross and Monica – brother and sister though they may be – were not at all close when they were children. With Monica even claiming that she hated her brother back then; and it wasn’t until they were adults, and away from the toxic influence of their abusive parents, that the two siblings were able to move past that history and find each other again.

I’m not saying that the love and affection these very different people show to one another, which leaves the show with an uplifting warmth not found in every sitcom then or today, excuses all the more unsavory aspects of the show. All I’m saying is it’s one explanation for why we still continue to love this weird show, Twenty Five Years after it’s original airing.

Alright, that’s me done – I’ll unlock the doors now. If you’ve enjoyed this trip down nostalgia lane and haven’t already fled, remember to follow my wee blog, if you haven’t already. Also check me out on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and now my brand new Goodreads account. Also sign up to the Wee Mailing List for all new photos, rants and more. Until next time my Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Moving Round the North: or the eight places in Aberdeenshire you should see before the world ends

What ho, Wee Readers both old and new. My last post was let’s face it, interesting but a bit of downer all round – so I resolved to write about something a bit more cheerful. But that left the question, what exactly? I have things to say about, many different topics and no doubt you’ll hear about all of them in time – but they often tend to descend into a bit of a rant. And I didn’t really feel like doing that so soon after my last epic one. And then like a shining light descended from on high, it came to me. Scotland, specifically the North of Scotland. What on Earth am I talking about? Well, sit down and I shall explain.

If it wasn’t clear from my chosen pseudonym, I am a Scottish Lass – or Quine as we say in the North – and have always been very proud of that fact. I love Scotland, I love everything about it and judging by the fact that you are currently reading a blog called The Wee Writing Lassie – you probably have a slight fondness for it too. I am particularly fond, as you might expect, of my home county of Aberdeenshire. Though sadly sometimes it feels like we’re often forgotten by the world at large ; indeed even our own country men and women, struggle to understand the Doric accent of Aberdeenshire. So, I say enough is enough, people should know what we have to offer and so here we are, moving round the North of Scotland – and the eight places in Aberdeenshire / Aberdeen city you really should visit before global warming turns this planet into nothing more than a husked out shell. What? Too dramatic?

8. Tyrebagger Stone Circle

Tyrebagger Stone Circle
Behold the Standing Stones of Tyrebagger
Recumbent Standing Stones
A Bonny standing stones

Situated just outside of Aberdeen, Tyrebagger Stone Circle is a very hard place to find. You can’t find it by typing a name into Google maps and following the road layed out for you dilagently right into the thing’s car park. There is no car park at Tyrebagger Stone Circle, just a country lane, and a small patch of dirt beside a qaurry and a field. And even then you have to get out and walk a bit up another small country path, until you get to another field where you should see the tall standing stones of Tyrebagger just visable over the horizion. I’m not trying to put anyone off going, really, once you finaly reach it – this beutiful Neol/ Bronze Age Recumbant Stone Circle is more than worth the effort it will have taken to find the blasted thing. But I’m a firm beliver of going into something with your eyes wide open, so I’ll be honest, if all you’re looking for is a fun day out seeing round the sights of the North of Scotland, Tyrebagger may not be for you. However if you’re determined, and don’t mind a few tears on the road while you scream at your stupid Satnav, because it contuines to insiste you’ve arrived even though you’re still on the highway – then all the more power to you. You won’t be dissapointed with what you find at the end of your long, long journey.

7. Broomend of Circhiy Stone Circle

Broomend of Circhiy Stone Circle
Broomend of Circhiy

Situated near the Scotish town of Inverurie, The Broomend of Circhie Stone circle is a lot easier to find than the last entry on this list, it’s even got a car park. Technically speaking it’s a Henge – yeah like that one – with three standing stones placed in the middle, at least one of which is a Class 1 Pictish stone. That particular stone was placed there in the ninetieth century and bears the symbols of the Pictish Beast, and the Crescent and V-road. Now, is that the stone pictured in the photo above? Well, honestly I’m not sure, that was just the best picture I personaly have of the Circle so we’ll just have to live with that.

6. Dunnottar Castle

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar castle on the cliff
Challenge Accepted
The Lion's Den
The Lion’s Den

Dunnottar Castle ( Scottish Gaelic Name: Dun Fhoithear, “fort on the shelving slope”) is a particularly large ruin up here in the north of Scotland. So large in fact that I couldn’t even finsih walking round it, before becoming tooo exhusted to contuine. Tough perhaps that had more to do with the mass amount of stairs you have to climb down to get to the bloody thing. And don’t even get me started on the ones you have to climb up to leave – they’re the same stairs, its just a lot harder coming back up. So the moral of our story, don’t attempt Dunnottar Castle if you’re in anyway, sick, tierd, or just started you’re period. But in all seriosness this is a fantastic piece of Scottish History. Sometimes it seems like it never ended for the densions of Dunnottar Castle – if they weren’t hiding the Scottish crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell’s invading army in the 17th century; they were forfiting their titles by taking part in the Jacobite rising of 1715. I think I even heard somewhere that the Vikings attack Dunnottar, though possibly before there was a castle there.

All in all, this ruin is well worth the price of admission, though I would advise packing some energy bars and bottled water before setting off down that hill.

5. The Bass of Inverurie

The Bass of Inverurie

Behold the hill you see before you is all that remains of Inverurie Castle more commonly referred to as the Bass of Inverurie. No one is quite sure who first raised the Bass or when – but by the time of 1176 it was held by the Leslie family and remained in use until the fourteenth century. Now the only sign of that castle are the two hills left in a middle of a graveyard. If you happen to come across it, it’s really a sight to behold once you reach the top of one of those hills where once a mighty, or at least fairly impressive castle sat. But be careful not to slip, it’s a nasty fall.

4. East Aquhorthies Stone Circle

East Aquhorthies Stone Circle
Long live the Old Gods of Scotland

Dating from the Neolithic / Bronze Age the Easter Aquhorthies Stone circle is one of the most well preserved exambles of a recumbent stone circles or so says wikapiedia anyway. Being one of the few to still have all of it’s stones intacked and unmoved. Yeah, the Scottish people – and by that I mean it’s churches – had a habit of stealling standing stones and building them into their churchs. The part of me that wants to see the good in people, might say that this was done mearly for practiclatity. The Scotish church builders had no idea what these circle of stones were for – in fact even to this day that knowledge still remains lost to us – and they needed stones to build their churches, why shouldn’t they take them? However the other part of me, which is far more scepticle in nature, thinks that at least partly this was a symbolic act. The new religion – the Christ God – concouring the old – who ever came before – by litraly using the stones from their places of power to build their own. Though I will admit that this theory relies on the notion that stone circles were places of worship, or even relgious significance. It’s higly likely they were, but unless someone builds a time-machine to go back and litrally ask the bronze age people what they were doing, we may never know that for certain. However, whatever the case, the fact still remains that a lot of our stone circles were dismantled to be built into churches, and houses, and heck even farmer’s fences – with no thought to the history they were destroying, or the damage they were doing to future genrations that will never get to experience many of these circles in their entirety. *gasp* Oh my God I didn’t know that rant was in me.

Okay…so East Aquhorthies Stone circle , a full stone circle, and a great place to stop and eat a picnic at. Moving on now, before something else sets me off.

3. Our Beaches

Fraserburgh Beach
Fraserburgh Beach

Beaches, yes! I love Beaches! And the one fetured above is a particular favourite of mine. Located in the town – or at least near the borders of the town – of Fraserburgh, this particular beach is well known for its sandy dunes. Look in the distance of the picture and you’ll see one particular sandy hill, known as Tiger Hill – so named for the tiger that apparently once got loose and went wondering on it. What’s most intresting about these particular sand dunes is that they’re not natural at all, they are man made. Turn your clock back to World War II and there were no sand dunes on Fraserburgh Beach at all; but rather mounds and mounds of barbed wire. They were meant to protect the town, and by extension Great Britian itself, from Nazi invasion. And before you start saying that’s completly ridiculous – why would the Nazies want to attack a small-ish town in Scotland; just remember that Fraserburgh actualy was bombed during WWII. Granted it wasn’t so much a planned attack as it was, just dropping all the bombs they had left on the nearest availbe settlement while they fled back home, but still the people on the ground didn’t know that.

Wow…that…eh…that got kind of dark didn’t it, Wee Readers? Okay…well…moving on.

2. Daviot Stone Circle

Daviot Stone Circle
The Circle
Daviot Circle meditation
Sitting in the Circle
Standing Stones
Standing Stones

Ah here we are now, Lonehead of Daviot, hands down my faviourte Stone Circle. Dating from the 3rd millennium BC, Daviot’s stone circle is considered one of the earliest structuures in Gordon, erected nearly 5000 years ago and best of all, it has a car park. You might have to walk through a bit of a forest path to get to it, and pass the huts for the Boy Scouts – yes, we have those here too – though it’s a short and well maintained path. And then wow, you’ve reached the stones and they are amazing. You’ve got you’re usual large standing stones, including the always exciting recumbent stone – but what really makes Lonehead fasinating are the smaller stones cituated in the middle of the outter circle. Spirealed into a ring shape and covering most of the inner ring, until all that’s left in the centre is a small circle filled with gravel. This Circle is less good to take a picnic in than say something like East Aquhorthies Stone Circle, but it’s more than worth a spot on your Scottish Bucket List.

1. Las Iguanas

Olives and Guacamole
Holy Guacamole Batman
Mushroom Fajita Stacks
Yum..Mushrooms
Wraps
I’m Hungry

And now we reach the final slot in our list; I struggled for some time with what I should put here. There are many stone circles I’ve yet to mention, but then there are so many up here that it would take all year to list them all. So not a circle, or a castle either, we’ve had enough of them for just now I think. Something new, something different – and then inspiration struck. Earlier this month my family took my Mum out for a Birthday trip round Aberdeen, which included lunch at our favorite vegan restaurant: the Latin American Restaurant & Bar Las Iguanas.

I could spend hours waxing poetically about this wonderful, wonderful place but that would literally take all day to read and nobody has that kind of time anymore. So instead I’ll just tell you what we had, and let Las Iguanas wax poetically for itself.

My Brother and I had: Fajita Stacks – Portobella Mushroom or the Las Iguanas website described it : ‘Cooked to order in our special mix of spices, onions & peppers. With guacamole, grated cheese, jalapenos, roasted tomato salsa & soft wheat tortillas.’

My Dad had : a Burrito Bowl – Pulled Jack-fruit or as described by Las Iguanas website: ‘All the flavors of a burrito without the tortilla. A loaded bowl of salad, spring onion rice, black beans, fresh sliced avocado, grated cheese, slaw & pico de gallo.

And finally my Mum had a gorgeous Coconut curry that for some reason is no longer on Las Iguanas menu on their website, so make of that what you will.

And we all had the very starter dishes of Holy Guacamole : ‘Make your own & season as you choose, with spice-dusted corn chips ; and Peruvian Botija Olives: ‘Olives in a herby marinade’.

And thus with a grumble in our stomachs, our journey through the North comes to an end.

If you’ve enjoyed this foray into the best and most visit-able sights up here in the cold North tip of Scotland, remember to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already. Or check me out on twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and my brand new Tumblr blog. Also for new, rants and pictures alike sign up to the Wee Mailing List. Until next time My Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Freak-out in Wine Country: or why I don’t find jokes about Millennials Funny

Aren’t Millennials just the worst? Haven’t they ruined society as a whole? Why don’t they ever look up from their phones? What makes them so special? Yes, these are just a few of many such questions modern entertainment has posed to us. Tricky, thought provoking questions all of them. However, being somewhat of an expert on the modern millennial mind – I was born in 1994 and therefore am a Millennial myself – I will attempted to answer. Okay here I go. No, we aren’t the worst – that goes to whichever generation invented the Atomic Bomb. Society was already ruined when we got here. The modern phone is a technological marvel, why should we look up from it? And, probably a lot of things make us special – we’re a very diverse group of people. Now why, my Wee Readers, do I even feel the need to say these clearly obvious truths to you. Because it feels like our modern media has forgotten them.

We can see this in things like Amy Sherman-Palladino’s cracks about ‘trigger warnings’ in the Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life; the reports that Modern Family’s Haley is a narcissist ; or the overwhelming feeling of deep resentment for the youth of the world that comes off in every joke in Netflix’s Wine Country. Ah now we come to the title of the post, but don’t worry this isn’t a review for a terrible, terrible movie merely a triggering incident. And a slightly embarrassing one at that. But first some background. Wine Country, made by Netflix and staring many actresses that should know better, is a truly atrocious film. Filled with many unfortunate implications beyond it’s clear hatred for Millennials, not limited to – a successful woman giving up an amazing job opportunity for the approval of people she doesn’t know anymore, and the implication that if a 50 year old woman doesn’t see herself as a little old lady, then she’s kidding herself. So I guess whatever age you are, you’re going to find something to hate in this film. But seeing how this is my blog, we’ll focus for now on the Millennial jokes.

Over the years you get used to hearing those kind of jokes. To stamping down the embers of deep seated rage every time a character on screen makes a crack about Twitter, or Hipsters; or the general supposed self-absorption of every single member of an entire generation of people all across the globe. However, it was about the time the women in Wine Country where standing in the middle of the art show they’d been kindly invited to by their waitress, calling the other patrons assholes for admiring the – admittedly very weird – art, that I found myself overcome with tears . Not the proudest moment of my life, I will admit, but an interesting one nether the less – I don’t think I’ve ever been triggered before. I was barraged with memories of a particularly uncomfortable Online Tutorial of one of my previous Psychology courses. When one of the tutors running the course – not my own thank the Gods who don’t throw lightening at me – decided to take a detour from what we were actually discussing, to go on at length about the psychologist/ researcher Jean Twenge and how wonderfully insightful she was. Don’t know who that is, ooh lucky you.

Dr. Jean Twenge is an American Psychologist most known for her research into generational differences. She has published several books on the subject including: iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellions, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood (2017) ; The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (2010) ; Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before (2014) – which should tell you a lot about the tone of her theories. She has popularized the notion that Millennials, or young people today (I realize they’re not all Millennials, it’s more just a buzz word to refer to the young ) are Narcissistic because they were praised so much when they were growing up. For, she explains, doing nothing. Yes you heard that right, it’s the participation trophy speech. So if you ever have the misfortune of hearing some jerk complain about handing children stickers or trophies for participating in something, just remember that you have Dr. Jean Twenge to thank for that experience.

Of course you might be saying right now, Wee Lassie, surely this woman is a professional Psychologist – sure, maybe she got it wrong pertaining to a global scale – but there must be some sliver of truth in her research. Well, honestly I can’t say for sure either way in that regard, having never forced myself through the torture of reading such infuriating theory laden books. So, for all I know she could have gotten something in there right, I will allow for that slim possibility. However, Twenge has been accused of cherry picking her data. That is she decides on a theory – i.e young people are narcissistic – and chooses the test results that best correlate to this view of the world. So, it’s probably best to take most things she says, with a little pinch of salt.

Thus, as we can see this feeling of resentment towards Millennials and Generation Z (that’s the generation that comes after Millennials) is not merely limited to our popular culture. There are real people out in the world who believe and perpetrate these myths about today’s young people. But what we really have to ask ourselves is, why? Why all this venom towards the young all of sudden? Well one theory is, perhaps it’s not new at all – after all, older generations have been feeling resentful to younger generations since there were people. In fact, the term ‘Generation Me’ was not originally used to describe Millennials at all, but rather Baby Boomers. Another theory is that it might be political – at least in regards to our media output. Millennials are more likely to be/vote Left-Wing. Which is a threat to the generally more Right-Wing owners of the companies that produce many of these films and shows. But whatever the case, these views and resentments do exist and serve no real purpose in our society other than to breed resentment between us. And how dose that help anyone?

Alright, winding down the rant now.

So, what’s my point, really? Am I saying that the prejudice that young people face is worst than the prejudice thrown at older or middle-age folk? No, of course not – but nor should it be seen as less important. After all when one is trying to make a point against ageism in their film – in what universe dose it aide your message to make snide, hurtful comments about another age group? If anything it hurts your cause, because people who feel attacked – whether or not you feel that feeling is valid – are not going to be listening to your argument. Though I’d like to point out that the film that kicked off this rant – Wine Country – is so awful, I’d argue it makes no deeper point what so ever. *gasps for breath* Oh my God, that felt so good, I’ve been keeping that in for so long.

If you’ve enjoyed or been in some way moved by this mad wee rant of mine, remember to follow the wee blog if you haven’t already; and to check me out on Twitter and Instagram; also, my new Facebook page – The Wee Writing Lassie – and Pinterest just for the fun of it. Until next time my Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

Return of the Top Ten Evil Songs + 3, I added for the fun of it

After much deliberation and investigation – ha, that rhymes – through your, my Wee Readers, many suggestions I have finally compiled the worst of the worst. Yes, that’s right my wee readers this is the Return of the Top Ten Evil Songs – this time with added runner ups, that I added just for the fun of it . So without anymore delay may I present your selections for the Top Ten Evil Songs of 2019.

10. Blue (Da-Ba-Dee)

Many Thanks to Lynn Blair ( https://inkedautist.wordpress.com/ ) for recommending this song. Blue ( Da-Ba-Dee) is a song by an Italian group, Eiffel 65. Written by lead singer Jeffrey Jey, keyboardist Maurizio Lobina and producer Massimo Gabutti – the music video of the song depicts aliens trying to abduct Jeffrey Jey while the other members of Eiffel 65 try to stop them. Now if it sounds like I’ve just recently learned all that just minutes before I started writing, that’s because I did. I knew nothing about this song before I started researching for this post, other than the fact that it was so catchy that I literally had to turn it off mid-way through or it would be stuck in my head all day.

9. Supercalifragilitexpalidocious

Big shout out to Widdershins ( https://widdershinsfirst.com/ ) for recommending this next Evil Song. The first known record of the word ‘supercalifragilisticexpialialidocious’ – at least according to Wikipedia and The Oxford English Dictionary – was found in a column by Helen Herman in the Syracuse University Daily Orange, dated March 10th, 1931. Although it was actually spelled ‘supercaliflawjalisticexpialadoshus’. However the writers of the song – the Sherman Brothers – claimed that they made the word up, and that they based it on memories of creating double-talk words as kids. The original word was also said to mean ‘all that is grand, great, glorious, splendid, superb, wonderful’ which is a change from the movie where it’s implied that it’s a word to use when you don’t have anything else to say. Whatever the case this tune will stick in your head to the day you die, also penguins…we never can forget the penguins.

8. Hips Don’t Lie

Here’s to masercot ( https://morepotatoes.com/ ) for this evil recommendation. Written by no less than six people – Wyclef Jean, Jerry ‘Wonder’ Dupllessis, Omar Alfanno, LaTavia Parker, Vinay Rao, and of course Shakira herself -and first performed by Colombian Singer Shakira in 2006, ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ is an infectious song, with such catchy and lets face it slightly repetitive lyrics that you won’t be able to get out of your brain even if you were to use an ice-cream scoop to do the bloody work for you. Wow…that, eh, that got very dark there. Anyway, Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie…good song, can’t get it out of your head. Moving on now, before I end up creeping you all out.

7. The lemanade song

Big shout out to Em @ The Geeky Jock ( https://kinesiologic.wordpress.com/ ) the Wee Reader who introduced me to this wonderfully catchy/evil Song. The Lemonade Song (sometimes referred to as the Duck song) was first uploaded to YouTube by Bryant Oden on January 21st 2009 as a lyric video. In March 23rd – of the same year, I’m assuming, but please correct me if I’m wrong – the song was made into an animated short by YouTuber Forrest Whaley. 88 million views later and by April 21st the song is now on iTunes for $.99. Wow, what a Duck can do in just four months.

6. Orange and Lemons

Many thanks to ‘davidjhopcroft’ ( https://davidhopcroft.wordpress.com/ ) who recommended this song to me in my last post. Oranges and Lemons is both a traditional English nursery rhyme and a playground singing game. It refers to the bells of the churches in or near London. Of course there have been many speculations as to its hidden deeper meaning. For instance some have speculated that it might be alluding to child sacrifice; or public executions; or even the marital difficulties of one Henry VIII. Now before you dismiss these theories as ludicrous, or possibly from the minds of paranoid conspiracy theorists, just remember this – Ring Around the Rosies is about the Black Death. So let’s not pretend that children’s songs having disturbing origins is in anyway a new thing.

5. The Pink Panther Theme Song

A big whoop to ‘da-AL’ ( https://happinessbetweentails.com/ ) for recommending this Masterpiece of an Evil Song. First composed for the 1963 film ‘The Pink Panther’ this smooth catchy, Jazz tune was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score at the 37th Academy Awards. However it was robbed – robbed I tell you – by the Sherman Brothers for their soundtrack of Mary Poppins. Huh, this is the second time the Sherman Brothers have been mentioned in relation to an ‘evil’ song. Coincidence? Yes, absolutely – but what if it wasn’t?

4. A Million Dreams

Many cookies and thanks to ‘debsdialogue’ ( https://debsdialogue.com/ ) for reminding me of this fabulous song. Originally composed for the 2017 musical film The Greatest Showman, and performed by Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman and Michelle Williams; it’s also been covered by several artists including Susan Boyle and Michael Ball on Boyle’s 2019 album, Ten. One of the newer contenders on this list – what with one of main criteria of an ‘evil’ song being memorability, they tend to stick around in the collective consciousness far longer than there more forgettable counterparts. Only time will tell whether ‘A Million Dreams’ will also have this staying power, though considering how many times I’ve banged my head on the wall to get it to leave, I think it’s chances are good.

3. Fat Bottomed Girls

Another Big shutout to ‘masercot’ ( https://morepotatoes.com/ ) for this second suggestion of an evil song. Recorded in 1978 and first released in 13th October that year and written by lead guitarist Brian May. Now remember when I call a song ‘evil’ I don’t usually mean evil as in ‘evil laugh’ evil – I could never say that about a Queen Song. What I mean rather that it’s a song that sticks in your head no matter how much you shake it, or how many times you wack yourself in the face. And there’s rarely no other song that fits that description better than Fat Bottomed Girls. Even if sometimes we wish it otherwise.

2. A small world after All

Big Thanks to ‘dkatiepowellart’ ( https://dkatiepowellart.com/ ) for recommending this…heinous song to yours truly. Written by the Sherman bothers – oh look there they are again – for the Disneyland ride ‘It’s a Small World’, probably sometime in 1966 since that’s when the park opened – ‘A Small World after All’ is one the most, annoying songs in all of existence. In fact the only reason it didn’t make it onto my last list, was because at the time it seemed a little obvious. But looking back now, I can see that was a mistake – I mean, if you’re going to be discussing ‘evil’ songs, this one should be at the top of your list. After all, according to Robert J. Sherman – Robert B. Sherman’s youngest son – this song is the single most-performed and translated piece of music in the world.

Runners up

And now just for a special treat before I reveal the winner of the most evil song of 2019 – let’s take a minute to mention those songs that while nobody has nominated, I’ve not been able to get out of my head for the past few weeks.

Runner up Number 3. Mama Mia

First recorded in 1975 by the band ABBA, ‘Mama Mia’ was the title song of the hit Broadway Musical by the same name. I chose the film’s version of the song – staring Meryl Streep – because, not only is it one of the funniest versions – try and not laugh at those hippy clothes, I dare you – but its also the one that made me realize that I know every single word to that song. That doesn’t often happen to me, a tune maybe, but often even the most ‘evil’ of songs have their lyrics forgotten in my brain, but not this one. *throws hands in air* Yeah! What? Too sarcastic?

Runner Up Number 2. Dogtanian Intro

The show Dogtanian and the ThreeMuskehounds is a bit before my time – something you could have said for a lot of songs on my previous list as well – but my Mum always brings it up whenever I mention writing one of these ‘evil’ song lists, and I’ve got to admit she has a point. This is a really catchy theme song. Almost, like it’s latching on to the inside of your brain. Oh No. Back, Back I say to the depths of Hell, whence you have come foul song!

Runner up 1. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song

‘Yo Home to Bel-Air’ or as the rest of us know it as ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme tune’ was written by the aforementioned tv-show’s executive producer, Quincy Jones and Performed by Actor and Star Will Smith, under his stage name ‘The Fresh Prince. Smith also wrote the lyrics. In this Wee Writing Lassie’s opinion, this is one of the most catchiest/ memorable theme tunes of all time. What else is there to say except ‘In West Philadelphia born and raised on a playground is where I spend most of my days…’

1. Baby Shark

And now we come to our winner, this heinously catchy song was recommend by no less than three separate people – mainepaperpusher (https://mainepaperpusher.wordpress.com/ ), SnapperTrx (https://rgdev.wordpress.com/ ), and ascreasey ( https://amandasuecreasey.com/ ) – so thank you all for this song in my head. Despite what you may have feared, I don’t hate you at all, I’m much too focused on hating the song itself. I’m joking of course, the only song / person I really hate is Zip-a-de-do-da and the monster who wrote it, whom I will hate till the end of my days. Anyway, ‘Baby Shark’ was created by Pinkfong – which is a South Korean educational entertainment company -and unsurprisingly it is one of their most popular songs, at 2.9 billion views and counting. I won’t tell you what’s it about because if I start to recount it, that song is just gonna start playing in my head again, and then I’m not sleeping tonight. So I’ll just leave you with this thought, isn’t it strange that so many of these ‘evil’ songs were made for children. I mean not all of them, but a large majority were made for those of a younger generation then the people that wrote them. An odd thought , but the song has started up again, so I’ll leave it at that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey into insanity we’ve stepped down into together, if you have make sure to follow my Wee blog for many more such high quality content. Or check me out on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and now my brand new Facebook Page – The Wee Writing Lassie. Until next time, My Wee Readers, have a bonny day.

The Top Ten Songs of the Roadtrip Soundtrack

Well, here we are, My Wee Readers, the final post of my Holiday Trilogy – and it only took me…at least two months to complete. Wow, that’s a big thought. Anyway, onward. I’ve been planning, seeing as it is one of my more popular posts, to write a follow up to ‘The Writing Lassie’s Top Ten Evil Songs’ – using the suggestions you left in the comments (so if you want to add another suggestion, now’s the time to do it). But before we get into the very worst humanity has to offer, let’s take a step back, and look at the best. In preparation for my family’s epic road-trip into the Highlands, I compiled a playlist of all our favorite songs as soundtrack for our wee adventure. Here are ten of the best.

10. Born in the USA

Sing it Bruce!

Released October 1984 – so a good ten years before I was even born – Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA is a commentary on the plight of the Vietnam War Veteran when he comes back home. Once famously used by Ronald Reagan – a man who had clearly never got the joke – on his presidency Campaign. This song has always been a favorite of my family’s, thus it was an obvious choice to include on our road-trip’s soundtrack. I remember listening to this surprisingly rousing tune as we entered the rolling mountain lands of the Cairgorm National Park.

9. You’ll Be Back

You’ll Be Back Bitches!

Sung by Jonathan Groff , who you may recognize from Glee, if like me you are re-watching it on Netflix, this villain song from the Hit musical Hamilton – which depicts the life and death of the founding father Alexander Hamilton – is one of my brother’s favorite songs. Thus it was a perfect choice to help start our road-trip with that theatrical flare that can only come from a former king of England. Sing it away George, sing it away.

8. Donald Where’s your Troosers?

Will someone get this man a pair of trousers?!

Performed by Andy Stewart, this is a very strange song – in which a man wonders around with no trousers, while women ask him where on earth his trousers are. I believe it’s implied that he’s wearing a kilt instead, but it’s not altogether clear – and given the nature of the song, either outcome is likely. In truth its a very infectious song, that won’t leave your head no matter how hard you shake it – I mean, I can’t even remember why I didn’t include it in my Evil Song List to begin with.

7. Don’t Stop Me Now

Freddie Mercury is King

Oh Freddie Mercury, you were truly the King of Rock. Performed by the band Queen, with front man Freddie Mercury singing vocals, many have tried to fathom the meaning of this catchy, up-beat tune. But whether it was a Bisexual Pride Anthem – Freddie was Bi himself after all – an ode, to the front-man’s decodant lifestyle – as the other members of the band claim – or just a fun song, about having a very good time really doesn’t matter to me. Because whatever the case, it is a damn good song to have on a Road trip.

6. Micheal in the Bathroom

I have all the Feels.

Performed by George Salazar, ‘Micheal in the Bathroom’ is a heart wrenching song about betrayal and abandonment from, and I’m just going to say it, one of the strangest Musicals I’ve ever come across – Be More Chill. Okay, stop me if you heard this story before – High-schooler Jeremy feels like too much of a loser to speak to the girl he likes, so after hearing about it from some guy in a bathroom (not Micheal) he decides to take this thing called a SQUIP, to help boost his popularity. What is a SQUIP you ask? Why, a SQUIP is an advanced processing computer from Japan, condensed into pill form. And if you take it with Mountain Dew – don’t ask me why it never really explains – then the SQUIP will connect to you brain and help you to negotiate the terrifying world of pubescent life. Oh, it also shows up as Kenu Reeves in your perception if you don’t change it to someone else… *gasp for air* and that is the basic premise of Be More Chill.

5. I Don’t Know How to Love Him

Mary Magdalene is always a win.

Ah Crucifixion, a far more saner topic to have a musical about. Written by Andrew Loyd Webber, Jesus Christ Superstar tells the tale of the days leading up to Jesus’ death and his subsequent Crucifixion. My family’s not particularly religious, so growing up this was my only exposure to that story that I really paid attention to – which may or may not have caused some strife with my slightly more religious classmates. I mean you mention one time that your favorite disciple is Judas Iscariot and suddenly everyone’s claiming you’re gonna go to hell. Look people, I was eight or nine, Jesus kind of sounded full of himself to my child mind, and Judas had the best songs. Speaking of best songs, this haunting melody is sung by Mary Magdalene played by Yvonne Elliman , as she ponders her confusing feelings for the title character. It truly is a wonderful song to listen to while your driving back home from your slightly exhausting road-trip.

4. Rule the World

Hail to the Ruler of the World

Performed by the band Take That, and featuring in the soundtrack of the film Stardust staring Qweneth Paltro – who was also in Glee, and…other things as well I’m sure – Rule the World is an empowering song of love between two maniacal dictatorships, just trying to keep the populaces in control. What? That’s not what its about…but why is it called Rule the World then? That is a misleading title.

3. Everything is AWESOME

Awesome!!!

Ah, now this is much better – the first song of The Lego Movie is an upbeat tune compiled by a major corporation to lull us into a false sense of contentment so that we don’t notice as they complete their dastardly plan. Both in story and out. Plus I dare you to get it out of your head once you hear it, even just once.

2. Nothing

Best Song Ever

From the Musical ‘A Chorus Line’ this ballad is the sorry tale of a crap, probably boarder-line racist, acting teacher and the young girl who was forced to put up with him…until he died. Sorry, ruined the end there, but it is an awesome song regardless and one I most dearly recommend for any long car ride, particularly if it’s your mother’s favorite song.

1. How Far I’ll Go

The Ocean is alive, I have all the questions

Finally we come to our winner, performed by the amazingly talented Auli’i Cravalho – who was only freaking fourteen at the time of recording – and written by Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame; ‘How Far I’ll Go’ takes its place as one of the Disney Princess’ ‘I Want’ Songs. Other such contenders are ‘A Dream is a wish your heart makes’ (Cinderella); ‘Let it go’ (Elsa); ‘When will my life begin?’ (Rapunzel); ‘Almost There’ (Tianna) ; and one of my personal favorites ‘Reflection’ (Mulan). Now, why exactly did I just spend a good amount of time listing other Disney songs instead of the one I actually listened to while on my road-trip up to the Highlands? Well, two reasons really: number 1, ‘How Far I’ll Go’ needs no hyping up because its so awesome it speaks for itself – so stop reading this right now, go back up and listen to that wonderful song – and Number 2. for full musical education I believing its proper that all the Disney songs are given a shout out every now and then. I’m just kidding, I have no musical education, I just enjoy them.

Well, here we are at the end my wee readers, if you’ve enjoyed this particular musical trip down memory lane or would like to suggest an ‘evil’ song for next time, leave a comment down below. Also follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Until next time, my Wee Readers, have a Bonny Day.

The Top 4 Adventures I had on my Holiday

Great now that we have measured and ranked the food – now it is time to move on to the rest of the Holiday. And by that I mean of course, the rest of the holiday that I took pictures of – because you know the old saying, if there’s no photo it didn’t happen. We will begin our tale of Adventure up the cold roads of Scotland with a bowl of chili.

1: The First Adventure

The Prodigal Chili Returns

If you’ve read my previous post you already know how much I loved the Chili at Kristie’s Garden Centre – which was our first stop on our elustrius road trip towards the highlands of Scotland – so I won’t wax poetical about it here. I’ll just say that it was the best chili I’ve ever had at a restaurant…of any kind.

Teapots Galore!!!

Before we move on, my wee readers, I would just like to draw your attention up to the walls of Kristie’s Garden Center’s Restaurant. You may find yourself asking if what you are seeing is real. And yes, yes you are indeed seeing more novelty teapots than any person – not possessed of some kind of magical power – could count. So, want to show off you magic chops? Then comment down below with your guesses. Winner gets a Scottish Macaroon.

And now, my wee Readers, we take our first tentative steps into the Highlands of Scotland. Well, technically I didn’t step into the Highlands, I sat in a car and listened to awesome music. But…the view’s pretty spectacular never the less.

Finally a quick stop off at Logie Steading for tea and a look round the second hand bookshop. Before we reach our country lodge/ timeshare and our journey comes to an end.

2. The Highland Wildlife Park

Not a hop, skip and a jump from our timeshare stands The Highland Wildlife Park. Containing what was sure to be some of the most exciting animals ever to be seen on Scottish shores -or at least they had better be considering how much we payed to get in.

Look a bear

Behold, the majestic horse I captured (in picture form at least) in front of our car’s window. Yet, to truly be amazed look beyond that, up on the hill to the left of the big rock in front of the fence – it’s a bear. A freaking polar bear!!

Run!!

Behold the mighty Buffalo – one of the few clear photos I managed to take while driving round the Wildlife preserve. I’m just glad he didn’t charge 😁

Long Live the Tiger King

This Tiger was a showoff – always prowling in front of us lowly humans as if to say ‘yes, I could eat you. But I won’t because I like the attention. So come on, where’s my close up maggots?’ Wow that kind of got intense…moving on.

3: Cairngorms

This statute is to comenarate twenty years of the Cairngorm ski slopes – I think. To be honest I got so distracted by the statue that I forgot to look at the information underneath.

I’m especially proud of this photo – I took it just outside of the Cairngorm’s restaurant, where we had a particular nice bowl of chips and lentil soup.

Look at this one – can you even tell it was taken in modern day? Okay, you probably can but just turn off your brain for a second and pretend.

4: The Fun Garden at Brodie Castle

The Fun Garden at Brodie Castle is a strange experience. It’s made up like Alice in Wonderland – although I don’t remember any unicorns in Wonderland. But correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve never read the books.

We start by going down the rabbit hole

Marked by its very own GIANT BUNNY – there are no words for how awesome that is 😂

Our first stop in the Fun Garden is the miniature of Brodie Castle, which can make you feel like a giant when you stand inside it.

Then a step round the black and white spinning Teacups.

Then we take a turn near the giant’s table and chair. If you close your eyes and listen you can just hear his voice in the distance: ‘Fe Five For Fun, I smell the blood of a Scottish man.’ Joke’s on him, I’m not a man

Finally, our journey comes to an end with a glimpse of Brodie castle, leaving us feeling very small indeed.

Well, that’s the end of it my Wee Readers – thank you for your patience during the many days, weeks, years it took to complete this post. If you enjoyed this parade of holiday memories check me out on Instagram or follow me on Twitter. Until next time my wee readers, have a bonny day.

The Top 7 Vegan Meals I had on Holiday

Well I’m back, my Wee Readers. After 7 days up in the Cairngorm National Park staying at one of the Hilton Hotel’s Timeshares, I have returned with photos, and ideas for blog posts galore. Now, you may be asking yourself, if she had such a spectacular time up in the Highlands…why is she just talking about the food she ate? Well, that could be for one of two reasons.

Reason One: I’ve actually got several blog posts planned, and I’m starting with this one because I’m very tired from my holiday, and it was the easiest to write.

Or Reason Two: My mind has only three modes – Writing, Reading, and Eating, repeat when necessary.

Decide for yourself which sounds more plausible to you .

7. Five Bean Chili in a Baked Potato

We start this onslaught of vegan food-porn with a stop to Christies Garden center situated in the town of Fochabers .  They actually had an entire vegan menu, meaning we could each choose something different –  which for someone who was raised vegan in the North of Scotland, and now lives a good hour away from the more exciting Vegan Restaurants – is still a relatively novel concept. We got to eat different things from each other – and they weren’t all just different forms of chips!!

6. New Vegan Subway Sandwich

Mmmm…subway.

Subway has Vegan Sandwiches now! Subway has Vegan Sandwiches now! Eeeeeh! Sorry, sorry I blacked out with the joy of it. This Sandwich consisted of tomatoes, red onions, pickles, cucumbers, sweetcorn, some kind of nut fillet (but to be honest I’m guessing with that particular filling, I don’t actually know what it was); and my favorite, the jalapenos. I love jalapenos – the more feeling I loose in my tongue the better.

5. Pizza Express Frozen Pizza

I’m gonna get so Fat.

Behold the ever elusive creature that is the Vegan Frozen Pizza – rarer still to have a well known brand stamped on the box. I love this new vegan explosion of choice, I have so many more unhealthy things to eat than when I was growing up. I’m going to get so fat just because I can now !

4. Strawberries & Raspberries

It’s good to be home.

Picked fresh at the Findhorn Foundation – these juicy morsels of fruit are the perfect welcome home from a house that missed us dearly. Now, am I implying that the berries  were lying out like that for us when we got home? That my house has somehow reached sentience enough to go shopping? Don’t be silly, I’m not insane – where would a house possibly buy berries from?

3. Chips & Beans from the Happy Haggis

Chips, Chips, Wonderful Chips!

These chips were pretty delicious considering they were bought from a restaurant that I’m fairly certain was chosen purely for its name. Admittedly ‘The Happy Haggis’ is a very hard name to turn away from, and we’re Scottish – we know what a Haggis really is. That’s about it, I mean what else can I say, they were chips – awesome chips, but its not like they were a Five Bean Chili or anything. Speaking of…

2. Five Bean Chili, but this time with rice.

Chili with Rice!!!!

Run!! It’s the Return of the Five Bean Chili!!!! You may be asking yourself why this portion of Five Bean Chili gets its own allotted space instead of just squeezing in with its predecessor? Could it be that despite coming from the same restaurant, and going down the same gullet, one was widely inferior to the other? Particularly because one of them had been served with a side of coleslaw, because our server hadn’t really been listening when we asked for the Vegan option. I don’t mean to sound bitter, but it cannot be denied that the Chili that came with the side of rice was superior to the one that rode in on a bake potato. Also there was more of it for some reason.

1. Vegan Veggie Breckfast

Best Breakfast Ever!

And finally we reach the end of this little list of vegan gluttony with, what was hand to god, one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. The Mountain Cafe located in the town of Avimore boasts an impressive array of vegan items on its menu. However if you’re in the area I recommend you stop in for Breakfast; whether it was the spectacular Potato rosti, or the the hash brown balanced on top of it; the sausage, the tomatoes or even the bake beans, the Veggie Breakfast is the most delicious thing you will ever taste. I don’t know how you make bake beans taste that good, or even significantly different from all other bake beans, but somehow they managed it. And the Mushrooms, oh my God, the Mushrooms…there are no words to describe the mushrooms.

Well that’s the end of it – wow, this took much longer than I thought it would. If you’re interested you can find these photos and many more like them from my holiday, up on Instagram. Or check me out on twitter to follow the procession there. I do have two more holiday related posts planned, but we’ll see how long those take – so, as always my wee readers until next time, have a bonny day.

Adventure Ho!

Behold, My Wee Readers, the glinting waters of a Scottish summer ocean. Gaze upon the footprints left in the warm sand and the shiny gleam of the black rocks before you. The sky is clear and the sun is bright , and for a moment all is wonderful in the world. Now, what is the point of this? You know, other than to show off the fact that I took a really good picture of St Combs beach last week. What has this to do with anything? It doesn’t, I was just distracting you while I finish packing.

That’s right my Wee Readers, I’m going on Holiday. On the 16th of June, I’ll be heading off to the far flung reaches of Scotland for my Adventure – hopefully to collect photos similar to the one above, and not ones depicting a week full of rain. So while they’ll be no new blog posts next week, I do recommend you check me out on Instagram and especially Twitter, as I’ll be continuing to post there frequently all throughout my trip.

Well that’s me said my piece, thus I shall leave you with this image of what hopefully all my food is going to look like on holiday.

Until next time my wee readers, have a bonny day.