Paws For Thought

I wish I could keep a dog here in this apartment. I miss having a dog as my companion, pet and  best friend. Hell, I wish I could Shawny back.

Shawny, as some of you will know, was my beloved Golden Retriever who was with me from 1995 to 2004. I miss her a lot. I think about her every day and in my dreams in which I am in a nicer place or somewhere in a futuristic Star Trek-ish, traveling the universe in a sleek spaceship (with a crew or just a couple of robots) and Shawny is always there by my side. We are both alive and young in this time and so is every other human – no one ages and dies. Well ages a bit but we don’t die. So none of your pets die and neither do you as we have advanced medically to such a stage.

A few days ago, while waiting for a cab, I was standing outside the gate when a man who lives nearby was walking his dog. A male Beagle. The dog looked so regal and majestic and kinda big for a beagle but he was nice looking. I wanted to pet him but it’s kinda odd to go and pet a stranger’s dog. I just admired him from the opposite side of the road and asked the man if that was a beagle and he said yes. Ah, lucky bugger to have the dog in his life. I feel like a dog owner who doesn’t have a dog. I want a dog but then I want my Shawny too. If only…

Make Your House a Home

Moving into a new property gives you a great opportunity to create the environment and ambiance you desire. With these cost-effective tips, you can transform your apartment, townhouse, cottage or estate into a welcoming and inviting home

Do something unexpected

Nothing is set in stone when it comes to interior design, so don’t just follow the crowd. When you’re buying a home, you have the chance to renovate it in any way you choose. Instead of sticking with the status quo and using the existing layout, consider how your property could be adapted, modified or revamped to make it unique and personal.

Trust your instincts

Incorporate the latest design trends into your property can certainly help you create a stylish environment, but listen to what your gut is telling you. Choose dĂ©cor you love and not what’s currently on trend. You can enhance any room with up-to-the-minute pieces and colors but your staple design should be something you adore, regardless of the latest fashion.

Make on-going changes

People often move into a new property, redecorate and then get on with living their lives, perhaps not considering their décor for a number of years. However, your home is a changing environment and updating and modifying the designs within should be a continual process. Enjoy adding, changing or switching pieces in your home to reflect your changing lifestyle.

Make your home functional

Although your home should be comforting, inspiring and relaxing, it also needs to be functional. If you have young children or pets, a light-colored carpeted floor may not be the easiest option! Rooms, particularly kitchens and bathrooms, need to be designed for family life, so easy-to-clean surfaces and forgiving high gloss paints are a must.

Fill your walls

What you hang on your walls helps to create your home environment. Whether you opt for inspiring artwork, though-provoking pieces, kitsch designs or homemade pictures, artwork allows you to put your stamp on the property and immediately creates a sense of ownership. Furthermore, artwork can be rotated or changed regularly, so you can update each area of your home easily and without the need for costly or time-consuming redecoration.

Try something new

Buying a new home is the perfect time to start afresh. If you’ve always stuck with safe colors and straightforward designs, now might be the ideal time to try something different. If you love bold colors, use them. If you want patterned wallpaper or statement prints, hang them. If you want to create a theme for every room in the house, you can! Don’t do what’s expected, do what you love.

De-clutter your life

Moving house can be a stressful and exhausting job, particularly if you have a lot of belongings to move from one property to another. When you move into a new home, however, you can take the opportunity to get rid of items you don’t want, need or love. Take things you don’t need to local charity shops or give them away, but don’t keep things which aren’t going to enhance your home or life in one way or another.

Spend money on everyday items

All too often we save our hard-earned cash for special occasions and items, but this means we don’t enjoy them very often. An expensive crockery set may be a luxurious treat, but if you only use it once or twice a year, who gets the benefit? Everyday items are things you’re looking at and engaging with regularly, so spend a little more on things like bed sheets, throws, drying racks and bins, and enjoy luxury every day.

Grow something

Whether you’ve got a garden, courtyard or any outdoor space, growing something indoors can bring nature inside and create a nourishing feel inside your home. Choose plants with bright, bold petals, luscious greens or tasty herbs and enjoy them as they flourish in your home.

Display your must-read books

Books can bring comfort, escapism, and relaxation to any environment, and the books you love say so much about you as a person. Bring your dog-eared novels, antique hardbacks, and arty anthologies into the open. Whether it’s an inconspicuous stack of books in your living room or a bookcase filled with adventures, let your inner bibliophile out.

Reuse what you can

There’s no need to spend a fortune on new furniture when you buy a new home. Re-purpose and reuse the items you have instead. As well as saving you cash, this gives you the chance to put a unique stamp on items which aren’t being used and helps you to look at the items you already have in a whole new way.

Frame things that matter

When you hang framed artwork or pictures on your wall, it doesn’t have to be by a famous artist. Frame things that matter to you and display them for all to see. A must-loved picture of your family, movie tickets from your first date or a map of your first vacation destination together are great mementos to frame and display.

Admit when things aren’t working

Interior design is all about trying something new and enjoying your environment. If something isn’t working, don’t sweat it. You can make low-cost changes to cover any mistakes or modify a room into something you’re happy with.

Use your home

Once you’ve decorated your home, don’t be afraid to use it! Stunning dĂ©cor shouldn’t prevent you from making full use of each room and enjoying the time you spend at home. Make sure your family lives fully in every room, and that certain areas aren’t out of bounds because of expensive furniture or fragile artworks.

Bring your family and friends in

To really make your new property feel like home, invite your family and friends over as much as you can. Eating, drinking and spending time with loved ones is the quickest way to feel at home, so open the doors and welcome them in.

Leicester 3 Arsenal 0

Jamie Vardy scored twice as Leicester dented Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League with a dominant victory at the King Power Stadium. The unmarked Youri Tielemans headed in a cross from James Maddison just before the hour mark, then Vardy struck late on with a header and a tap-in from close range. Arsenal played almost an hour of the contest with 10 men after Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off. A third successive Premier League defeat left them two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who drew 1-1 with Manchester United at Old Trafford in Sunday’s late kick-off.

Leicester can still finish seventh – they are three points behind Wolves with two matches left – which could earn a Europa League place depending on the outcome of the FA Cup final. Arsenal’s task was made significantly more difficult after Maitland-Niles was sent off for the first time in his career following two bookings in the space of 28 minutes – for a soft foul on Ben Chilwell and then needlessly scything down Maddison near the halfway line. However, a three-goal margin flattered Arsenal and, even with a full complement of players, it is difficult to envisage a different outcome such was the conviction of the performance of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester.

Arsenal were indebted to goalkeeper Bernd Leno for a string of fine saves, the pick a magnificent one-handed diving effort to paw away a Wilfred Ndidi header. Arsenal fans must be fed up with the sight of Vardy, such is the former England’s striker’s potency against them. He has scored eight goals in as many matches against the Gunners – and now has 10 in his past nine appearances against any opposition. While much has been made of the young squad that Rodgers will seek mould at Leicester, 32-year-old Vardy remains an influential presence. On the evidence of this performance, it appears as much as mindset issue as personnel for Unai Emery’s side. Where the Gunners brim with vim and vigour in the confines of Emirates Stadium, that seemingly dissipates on the road as caution infects their approach.

Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero team the Avengers, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2012’s The Avengers, 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron and 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, and the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely and features an ensemble cast including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Bradley Cooper, and Josh Brolin. In the film, the surviving members of the Avengers and their allies work to reverse the damage caused by Thanos in Infinity War.

  • So a couple of weeks have gone by since the end of the Infinity War; the movie starts with Clint Barton, who was retired from the Avengers, losing his family after Thanos snaps his fingers and wipes out half the living creatures in the universe. His wife and two daughters turn to dust while they are having a picnic. Clint becomes a ruthless vigilante, until Natasha comes to recruit him back.
  •  Carol Danvers rescues Nebula and Tony Stark from deep space. They return to Earth and join the remaining Avengers—Natasha Romanoff, Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, Rocket, Thor, and James Rhodes. They find an injured Thanos and intend to take the Stones to reverse his actions, but he already destroyed them to prevent further use. An enraged Thor kills Thanos.
  • 5 years later and the word is still trying to recover from the devastating event. Scott Lang escapes the  quantum realm and meets Romanoff and Rogers at the Avengers’ compound. Lang explains living through a duration of five hours instead of five years, theorizing that the quantum realm can allow time travel. The three ask Stark to help them retrieve the Stones from the past so they can revert Thanos’ actions in the present, but he rejects them out of fear of losing his daughter, Morgan. Stark relents after reflecting upon the disintegrated Peter Parker and works with Banner—who has merged his intelligence with the Hulk’s body—to stabilize travel in the quantum realm.
  • Thor meanwhile is a drunken slob living in a small house in New Asgard (Norway) where Hulk & Rocket find him drinking beer and playing video games with Korg. He is finally convinced and goes to join the rest of the team in the Avengers compound.
  • Banner, Rogers, Lang, and Stark travel to New York City in 2012. Banner visits the Sanctum Sanctorum and convinces the Ancient One to give him the Time Stone; Rogers overcomes undercover Hydra agents and his 2012 self to retrieve the Mind Stone, but Lang and Stark fail to retrieve the Space Stone when Loki escapes with it. Rogers and Stark use the last of their size-altering Pym Particles to travel to S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters in 1970 and steal an earlier version of the Space Stone as well as vials of Pym Particles from Hank Pym so they can return to the present.
  • Rocket and Thor travel to Asgard in 2013 to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster, and Thor obtains his former hammer, Mjolnir. Barton and Romanoff travel to Vormir in 2014 and learn from the Soul Stone’s keeper, the Red Skull, that it can only be acquired by sacrificing someone they love. They fight over which of them should die and Romanoff sacrifices herself. On Morag in the same year, Nebula and Rhodes steal the Power Stone before Peter Quill can. Rhodes returns to the present with the Power Stone without Nebula, due to the latter’s cybernetic implants interfacing with those of her 2014 self. Through this connection, the Thanos of that time captures present-day Nebula and sees her memories. He then secretly sends 2014 Nebula to the present.
  • With all the Infinity Stones collected in the present, Banner uses them to restore those whom Thanos disintegrated. 2014 Nebula uses the time machine to transport Thanos and his ship to the present day, and he attacks the Avengers’ compound. Rogers, Thor, and Stark confront Thanos, and Rogers proves worthy to wield Mjolnir. However, Thanos overpowers them and summons his army to lay siege to Earth. Present-day Nebula convinces the 2014 version of her sister Gamora to turn on Thanos, later killing the 2014 version of herself. Now restored, Stephen Strange arrives with his fellow sorcerers, the other restored Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the armies of Asgard, Wakanda, and the Ravagers. They fight Thanos’ army alongside Danvers and attempt to return the Infinity Stones to the past. Thanos seizes the Stones and plans to destroy and rebuild the universe. Stark steals the Stones back and disintegrates Thanos and his army, but dies from the energy the Stones release.
  • As the movie draws to a close, most of the Avengers and superheroes attend the funeral for Tony Stark. Thor appoints Valkyrie as the king of New Asgard and joins the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rogers returns the Infinity Stones and Mjolnir to their original places in time. He remains in the past to marry Peggy Carter and live out the rest of his life. In the present, an elderly Rogers passes on his shield to Sam Wilson.

Stunning visually and the movie is amazing. Emotional and funny, exciting and thrilling. It’s an awesome film; if you consider Infinity War & Endgame as one whole film, I would say this one of the best movies that I have ever seen and probably in my top 5 of all time. 10/10! It’s that’s fucking good.

Its In Your Jeans

Denim showcase – how many pairs of jeans do you have in your closet? Try on and style every single last pair and put it all up as a fun collage, listing interesting fit details about each.

I do not own a pair of jeans! Yes, I do not *sad face*. And that is because I am so big and fat. I could probably find a pair that will fit me but it just isn’t like before. So I haven’t worn jeans since ….. 2009! Holy shit that is a decade!

When I used to wear jeans I had atleast 2 blue jeans, 1 faded blue, 1 black and 1 grey. Oh I loved that grey one, it was so cool. I also had a lighter brown one which was awesome too. That was in my late 20s or almost 30 I think. Fuck, I even had a green one! Yes, dark green. And it only went with one shirt that I had so I always wore those two together. I remember, the first time I wore that after I bought them was for my oldest cousin’s wedding and it matched and was fine. I even had a denim shirt when I was 17 or 18.

I guess I miss wearing them. Not in the heat though. But yeah, jeans are cool and I wanna loose weight so I can wear them again. If I suddenly lost a lot of weight (maybe like a genie came and offered me wishes) then I would go and buy 3-4 pairs like right now! Well, not right now as it’s almost 10:45pm and the stores are all closed but first thing in the morning, I would go. 2 blue, 1 fades blue, 1 light brown, 1 black and 1 grey! Just like the old days.

Prompt from 15 Writing Prompts for Your Next Blog Post

Some Weird Laws In Australia

1. It is illegal to wear hot pink hot pants after midday on a Sunday

2. It’s an offence to possess 50kgs of potatoes in Western Australia

3. Taxi cabs in Queensland are required to carry a bale of hay in the trunk

4. Bars are required to stable, water and feed the horses of their patrons

5. You must have a neck to knee swimsuit in order to swim at Brighton Beach (Melbourne)

6. The Summary Offences Act of 1966 deems it illegal to be heard by someone singing an obscene song. Does that include Taylor Swift? Oops…

7. It is illegal to roam the streets wearing black clothes, felt shoes and black shoe polish on your face as these items are the tools of a cat burglar

8. It is illegal to dress up as Robin and Batman

9. Only licensed electricians may change a light bulb

10. It is illegal to be drunk in a pub

11. It is illegal to read someone’s tarot or give them a psychic reading as these are forms of witchcraft

12. Having an article of disguise without a lawful excuse is illegal

13. In the Gold Coast, it is illegal for women to wear a bikini whose material exceeds six square inches. Good bye brazilian bikini bottoms!

14. It is illegal to leave your car keys inside an unattended vehicle

15. If advertising a lost or stolen item, you must include the caption “no questions will be asked.” So does that mean that theives can get away with stolen goods?

16. Life sentences cannot exceed 25 years. Are we really that laid back?

17. If a urinal is not readily available, it is legal to urinate on the rear left tyre of your vehicle

18. In Melbourne, it is against the law to vacuum between 10pm and 7am during weekdays, and 10pm and 9am during weekends. Yep. We like our sleep.

19. Children aren’t allowed to purchase cigarettes, but there is no law specifically stating that they cannot smoke them

Rebuilding Your Confidence One Step At A Time

It can sometimes be the case that our confidence shatters. While we might be relatively strong people, certain events can harm your ability to believe in yourself. But luckily, confidence is a malleable thing, and can once again work to help you in everyday life. It might be that you’re coming out of a toxic relationship, a bad workplace, or perhaps a mistake that cost you more than you imagined.

It might be that you have been living in a manner that has eroded your confidence over time. Perhaps you’ve slipped up. For example, those who go cold turkey from alcohol often feel immense shame if they once again decide to sample some. There are many reasons why people lose their confidence, and to pretend as though this isn’t possible is willfully ignoring reality. All of us can do with some help from time to time, and sometimes, that person who’ll help is you.

With the following advice, we hope to help you to this end. It might take weeks, it might take months, but one thing is for sure, you will be better off:

Seek Closure From The Incident

Whatever denigrated your confidence in the first instance might still be affecting you without your current knowledge. For example, it might be that coming out of a toxic relationship has started to truly influence your friendships, and perhaps you are best suited seeing a counselor or therapist to help you talk through your issues. In some cases, even PTSD can be experienced due to abuse, despite many thinking it’s only a symptom of war. It might be that you were injured at work, and despite the positive professions of your previous employer you know that he hadn’t provided you with adequate safety equipment. It might be that trial lawyers could help you seek the compensation you deserve, and through that seek closure.

Start Small Again

Humans are rational creatures to an extent, but there’s also a subconscious world that can often affect our emotions, beliefs and responses to the past. If you’ve experienced something that has shattered your confidence, it can be natural to want to hide away from the world. It might be that you spent plenty of time in your apartment now, and even feel anxious when heading to collect groceries. It’s not uncommon for people to develop agoraphobic symptoms when this happens.

Often, the best way to get your confidence back is to once again engage with things that you love doing. For example, you might absolutely adore playing the violin, but you haven’t since your relationship started or since being knocked by the injury. Taking small steps to resume the things that nourished you can go a long, long way.

Find Support

It’s hard to go through things alone. Often, a problem shared is a problem halved. Even finding an impartial space where you can talk through the issues you’re experiencing can go a long, long way, especially when it comes to simply experiencing talking therapy. Never underestimate the power of getting something off your chest, be that in front of a professional or a close friend.

With these tips, we hope your confidence can be restored.

Why Old-School Video Games Got The Formula Right

If you’ve played practically any modern video game (with the possible exception of Super Meat Boy and the Dark Souls series), then you know that video games aren’t what they used to be. Many of us grew up in the 1980s and 1990s when games were impossibly hard. Remember Tetris? That certainly got your brain working. What about Arkanoid? You had to be some kind of robot to have the reaction times to do well in that one (which is probably why Google’s AI unit trained its software to play it).

But even some of the less archaic games were stupendously difficult. Progression in the first Gran Turismo game on the original PlayStation was notoriously tricky. And on many of these games, it just wasn’t possible to adjust the difficulty to make it easier.

Today, it’s a different story. Gamers get to choose how difficult the game is, and this is part of what is undermining gaming as a discipline. When you complete a task on a modern video game, you don’t get the same sense of satisfaction that you got in the past. Sure the graphics are a million times better, but you don’t feel as if you’ve achieved anything: you just get the sense that you’ve wasted an afternoon.

Giving players the ability to adjust difficulties downward is an error. People need to feel a sense of challenge when they play a video game: there’s no satisfaction unless it’s hard.

Are We Going Back To Classic Video Games?

If you take a look at the number of classic arcade games for sale, it soon becomes clear that the market is changing. Not only are people returning to the old games, but they’re also looking for developers who understand what they want from games.

Sure, they might say that they want games to be tolerably challenging. But how do you explain a phenomenon like Dark Souls? Dark Souls is an insanely difficult IP, with players dying in their droves on the first enemy every time.

Namco, the people behind the Dark Souls series, understand something: they know that the way that you get people to come back to a game time and time again is to make it stupidly hard. People want to be forced to use their brains – almost against their will – to get a sense that they’ve achieved something.

Nobody finishes a game like Dark Souls confused about what they got out of the experience. The game is a rare example of something that challenges you profoundly.

Developers Know That People Want Difficulty

Developers are finally getting the message that people want games to be hard. The problem is that in the past, gaming didn’t have any mainstream appeal: it was something geeky gamers did in their bedrooms on BBC computers and old IBMs. Those days are long gone, and the people who make games need to appeal to a broader audience. In doing so, however, they’ve lost something – the magic of completing a video game. We need them to bring that back.

Wolves 3 Arsenal 1

Arsenal missed the chance to go fourth in the Premier League as they were outplayed by Wolves at Molineux. Ruben Neves put the hosts ahead with a direct free-kick from 25 yards before Matt Doherty headed in a second. Diogo Jota added a third just before half-time after the Gunners gave the ball away and he ran at the away defence before firing a shot under goalkeeper Bernd Leno. Arsenal defender Sokratis headed in from Granit Xhaka’s corner in the 80th minute but it was not enough for the Gunners. The victory takes Wolves up from 10th to seventh, while Arsenal remain fifth, one point adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and four behind north London rivals Tottenham.

With three games left of the season, Wolves are in contention to qualify for Europe. If Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final the team finishing seventh in the Premier League will take the last available European spot and enter next season’s Europa League at the second qualifying round phase. Wolves’ win continues a remarkable campaign for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in their first season since winning promotion from the Championship. The hosts went into the match without a win in three games in all competitions but were on top even when the game was goalless as Joao Moutinho curled wide from 25 yards and Raul Jimenez just failed to connect with Jonny’s through ball.

Neves then gave Wolves a deserved lead in the 28th minute with a fine free-kick after Nacho Monreal had clumsily bundled over Jonny in a central position. A well-worked move from a short corner – albeit with Arsenal’s defenders not applying pressure – left Jonny with space to cross and Doherty got to the ball before Leno to head into the net and double his side’s lead. Another Arsenal error led to Wolves’ third as the ball was given away to Jota, who drove forward and shot under Leno, who should have done better. This win means Wolves have picked up 16 points in their matches against the current top six this season, a record that includes wins over Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United and now Arsenal. Wolves are also aiming to become the first newly promoted side to finish in the top eight since Reading finished eighth in 2005-06, while no promoted team has finished higher than that since Ipswich Town were fifth in 2000-01.

Cream Cheese Omelette

Share your favorite recipe featuring cream cheese.

Pea, feta & summer herb frittata

Put the potatoes in a pan of salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 12-15 mins or until tender. Drain, leave to cool, then thinly slice. Whisk the eggs and egg whites with the milk, garlic, mustard and herbs, and season generously. Add the cream cheese and fold through just a little so that some lumps remain. Heat the grill to medium-high.

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a 23cm non-stick frying pan. Add the potatoes and fry for about 5 mins, until they start to turn golden. Add the courgette and chilli flakes, and continue to fry for a couple mins more. Stir through the petit pois.

Tip the egg mixture into the pan and scatter with the feta and tomatoes. Cook over a gentle heat for 10-12 mins until almost set. Pop the pan under the grill and cook for 3-5 mins until puffed, golden and cooked through. Cut into wedges and serve with a crisp green salad.

From BBC Good Food

Prompt from 30 Days of April Writing Prompts at The SitsGirls

Edu To Become Arsenal Director & Bring Gabriel Martinelli

Former Arsenal midfielder Edu is set to return to the club as their new technical director, according to reports. The 40-year-old, who was a key part of Arsenal’s 2003-04 Invincibles side, is currently the general coordinator for Brazil’s national teams. According to the Daily Mail, the Gunners view Edu as the perfect candidate to become their technical director after they were snubbed by Monchi, who returned to Sevilla last month. Edu would not join Arsenal until after Brazil’s Copa America campaign finishes in the summer, but it’s understood that the Gunners are prepared to wait.

The report also claims that Arsenal are also lining up Brazilian forward Gabriel Martinelli as their first summer signing. Martinelli, a right-sided attacker who plays for Brazilian side Ituano, is reportedly on the verge of agreeing a deal with Arsenal. Last month, reports claimed that Arsenal had offered £5 million for the 17-year-old. This fits with rumours in late March, when it was claimed Arsenal had finalised a deal to sign the player, but they were just waiting on Martinelli obtaining his Italian passport. There have been differing reports on how long that would take, with some rumours he’ll have it this month, and others that it won’t be until June. Martinelli drew a lot of attention in this year’s Campeonato Paulista, as he scored six goals and assisted three in 14 appearances. That put him just one goal off the competition’s top scorer and two assists off the top assist provider, despite his age.

After being released in Spain, Edu signed a contract with his former club, the Corinthians, on 6 August 2009, which was to last until 31 December 2011. After playing four matches during the 2010 season, his contract was terminated by mutual consent, and Edu announced his retirement from professional football. On 17 March 2011, Corinthians announced that Edu would take over from William Machado as the club’s director of football. He also assisted Carlos Queiroz’s Iranian national team during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 3

Arsenal’s hopes of a top-four finish were dented after Christian Benteke’s first goal in a year helped Crystal Palace to an excellent win which confirmed their Premier League place. Benteke was left unmarked to head Luka Milivojevic’s delivery past Bernd Leno, only for Mesut Ozil to equalise with a clever finish shortly after half-time. However, two goals in eight minutes ended Arsenal’s 10-match winning league run at Emirates Stadium. Wilfried Zaha capitalised on a mistake by Shkodran Mustafi to restore Palace’s lead and James McArthur’s header made it 3-1 before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang reduced the deficit with his 19th league goal of the season.

With Manchester United on the receiving end of a hammering at Everton earlier in the day, and Tottenham losing at Manchester City the previous day, this was an ideal opportunity for the Gunners to take a big step towards securing a Champions League place. Yet Unai Emery’s side were punished for an awful defensive performance as they fell to only a second home league defeat under the Spaniard. The marking for Benteke’s goal was non-existent, Mustafi’s failed attempt to block Zaha ended in embarrassment and a second Palace goal, while McArthur was also left unmarked to head home the third. Captain Laurent Koscielny and leading scorer Aubameyang were starting their third game in eight days but this was an under-par performance by a team looking to finish in the top four for the first time in three seasons.

The Gunners monopolised possession but it required a double change at half-time to help them get back on level terms after Benteke’s header separated the teams at the interval. Alex Iwobi, one of the substitutes, was involved in Ozil’s lovely equaliser, his pass finding Alexandre Lacazette to set up the German. That should have been the signal to push on, yet Arsenal fell away and, despite a late rally which saw Aubameyang score, will fall out of the top four if Chelsea beat Burnley at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

Bird Box

Bird Box is a 2018 American post-apocalyptic horror thriller film, directed by Susanne Bier from a screenplay written by Eric Heisserer, and based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Josh Malerman. The film follows a woman, played by Sandra Bullock, as she tries to protect herself and two children from malevolent supernatural entities that make people who look at them go insane and commit suicide. Bird Box had its world premiere at the AFI Fest on November 12, 2018, and began a limited release on December 14, before streaming worldwide on Netflix on December 21, 2018.

What is this creature? What is the horror that plagues the world and makes people go insane and want to hurt & kill themselves? I have no idea. As unexplained mass suicides originating in Russia quickly spreading across Europe, it reaches the US as a pregnant Malorie is in the hospital for a quick check up with her sister Jessica. They leave hastily as a women, who is the first in the film to be infected (or the first one we see) starts banging her head forcefully against a glass wall. They leave in their car but Jessica is infected when she sees something and rams their car creating an accident. She then looks sad and walks into a speeding truck that kills her. Malorie is helped by a couple of people who bring her into a near house. A small group of survivors gather in this house as havoc descends all around them.

One of the survivors, Charlie who seems to have somewhat comprehensive knowledge of what could be happening, theorizes that an otherworldly entity has invaded Earth, taking the form of its victims’ worst fears and driving them insane before causing them to commit suicide. This is not proven but they board all the windows and settle in. Later, Greg, the home owner, volunteers to tie himself to a chair while monitoring the surveillance cameras to find the issue of the entity but kills himself by rocking his chair violently and slamming his head into a hearthstone after seeing it. The group takes in Olympia who was with another group and finds her way to them, blindfolded, by knocking on doors. She too is pregnant and expecting soon, and bondis with Malorie. most of the group go to a supermarket close by to restock. Malorie finds pet birds and decides to take them along with their supplies. The group attempts to help a coworker of Charlie who is locked outside the supermarket begging for help, and whom Charlie describes as “a little crazy.”

As they contemplate the risks of opening the door, the birds that Malorie was saving go into a hysterical fury. The group is attacked by the infected coworker, who was not killed by the entity but is instead used to infect others. Charlie sacrifices himself to save the others, who are able to make it back safely to the house. Two of the group, leave in the car without telling the others. Olympia lets in a stranger named Gary who says he was with another group but it turns out he is ary starts to take out various drawings of the entity and seems to undergo a trance, indicating that he could have already been partially overtaken by the entity when he arrived. He opens the garage door to kill Douglas. He peeks outside and is completely taken over; he then knocks out Tom and proceeds to remove all the coverings from all the windows. Despite Malorie’s warnings, Olympia fails to look away from the windows and jumps out of the window. Gary forces Cheryl to look, and Cheryl grabs a pair of scissors and stabs herself in the neck.

Douglas blindly attempts to kill Gary with a shotgun but fails, which results in Douglas’s death. While Malorie tries to protect the newborn babies (Malorie’s boy and Olympia’s girl), Tom recovers consciousness in time to overpower and kill Gary. Five years go on and Tom & Malorie are living together and raising the kids, who Malorie has named Boy & Girl. They receive a transmission from Rick, a survivor stating that they are well and safe at a community hidden in the forest. The four decide to go to the community, but are ambushed by a group of infected survivors along the way. Without hesitation, Tom runs out to distract the group while Malorie and the children attempt to make an escape. When the group notices Malorie and the children escaping, Tom decides to open his eyes and shoot them dead. He is overtaken by the entity, but with his will, he manages to shoot the last member of the group before shooting himself.

Malorie, the children, and their pet birds, which are contained in a box to protect against the entity, make their way blindfolded down the river on a boat. They fight off an infected survivor, and survive raging rapids. The boat flips but they find each other on land only to get separated when Malorie accidentally slides down a hill. The entity attempts to convince Boy and Girl to remove their blindfolds using Malorie’s voice. Malorie is able to tell them to fight the urge. Once they are all together again, they are chased by the entity, which was implied by the camera movement and wind. The three eventually reach the community, a former school for the blind. Malorie releases the pet birds from the box to the other birds up on the ceiling and finally gives the children names: Tom and Olympia.

Unconvincing horror and the menace kinda reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening. It isn’t boring though and some good acting by Bullock, Malkovich and co will let you stay focused. I give it a 7 outta 10!