Monday, December 31, 2012

Movie Monday: The "What I'm excited about in 2013" edition

It's the very last day of 2012, and that can only mean one thing: it's time for me to Kermit flail with fangirly excitement about movies that are coming out in 2013!!

(Note: yes, a good chunk of these have already been released in the US. Australia is behind the times, yo.)

The Life of Pi
I haven't read the book, and with any luck I'll get the chance to do so before I see the movie. Based on the trailer, this is going to be fairly extraordinary.

The Silver Linings Playbook
I haven't really liked Bradley Cooper in anything since Alias. I'm hoping this is the movie that's going to change that. It looks pretty awesome. Plus, it stars Jennifer Lawrence, who I not-so-secretly want to be my best friend. 

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters
I mean, come on. This movie looks freaking amazing, in a completely terrible sort of a way. You can't tell me you don't want to see Jeremy Renner playing the medieval baby of Jason Bourne and Dean Winchester. 

Cloud Atlas
This one is either going to be a total mindfuck or a truly astonishing piece of cinema. Again, I've not read the book, and am hoping I get the chance to before it hits theatres. Tom Hiddleston recommended it on Twitter though, so it must be pretty good! 

Iron Man 3
Excuse me while I watch the trailer for the hundredth time and send fangirly emails to Kim. I honestly don't think there's any way it can suck. I mean, it's Robert Downey Jr playing Tony Stark playing Robert Downey Jr playing Tony Stark. It's like Inception, only less confusing and with more superheroes.

The Great Gatsby
I'm actually a little hesitant about this one, mostly because I'm not really enjoying the use of modern music over the trailers that have been released. BUT it worked for Moulin Rouge, so I guess I'll just have to wait and see...  At least I have the advantage of not having read the book a hundred thousand times, so I won't be upset if certain details are left out!

The Wolverine
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. I don't particularly care what it's about, I'm just psyched to have another X-Men movie coming out. And Hugh Jackman is always brilliant as Wolverine. 

Much Ado About Nothing
Whedon does Shakespeare in secret on the cheap with all his favourite actors? YES PLEASE OMG THIS NEEDS TO COME OUT LIKE RIGHT NOW. I mean, if nothing else, I want to see it because Wesley and Fred will finally get their happy ending! Also? Nathan Fillion, Clark Gregg, Sean Maher, Tom Lenk, Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker?? It's a Who's Who of the Whedon-verse.

Thor: The Dark World
As if anyone is surprised to see this on here. I loves me a Marvel movie, and considering this one costars Tom Hiddleston, adding it to the list of things I'm excited about was a no-brainer. ESPECIALLY when The Ninth Doctor is the villain of the movie! 

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
I can't wait to see how they handle the giant clockface that is the arena in this one! I just wish we didn't have to wait so freaking long for it to come out, you know?? 

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
HOLY CRAP, YOU GUYS. After the ending of An Unexpected Journey, how can you NOT be excited about this movie?!?!?! I just...I mean...Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug? Having conversation with Martin Freeman?? It's going to be made of win. Plus, DWARFMITAGE.

Basically, it's another year of sequels and comic book movies! I can't wait. What are you excited about seeing in 2013?

K xx

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 in review

It's the end of another year, kids. And that means it's time to review! And by review, I mean recap stuff that actually happened this year, rather than just recapping all the good/bad movies and books and music from 2012. Because I've already done that.

I've written 240 posts this year, not including this one. That scares me a little, because it seems inevitable that I'll eventually reach the point where I'm posting every day, and that seems like a lot of pressure, you know??

Anyway, I didn't miss a single Movie Monday, which I'm quite impressed about, and I'm also in the process of writing and scheduling my Movie Monday posts for January, seeing that I'm going to be gallivanting about the US.

January saw the year starting rather...interestingly...down at the beach. I overhead someone saying that I looked like Kim Kardashian. I crossed two things off my 101 in 1001 list, had Dessert Day #2 with Deidre, I was super judgmental about the kinds of people you find at the gym, and I ate a potato on a stick at the Lunar New Year festival. It was delicious:
Oh, and Kim redesigned my blog into the spectacularness that you see today. Want a blog redesign? GO TALK TO KIM. NOW. Seriously.

February started with me being voted Featured Blogger on the Month on 20SB. I vlogged in honour of the occasion. And half of you went "OH MY GOD, YOU HAVE AN ACCENT!!!". Yes. Yes, I do. Deidre and I held a World Nutella Day edition of Dessert Day, which was delicious. I decided to go back to university again, and started my Ancient History series. I wrote a letter to my high school self, and roadtripped to Canberra with Paulie:
Paulie on the HMAS Otway. Which is 2 hours from the ocean.
And my Gran passed away, which led to me writing this blog post, my brother reading said blog post at her funeral, me ugly crying as a result, him ugly crying as a result of me ugly crying, and Paulie having to shovel chocolate tarts into both of us until we felt better.

March brought me losing at Monopoly to Little Miss A. This was the beginning of a trend that would continue for the remainder of 2012:
March 2012
December 2012. The bank was literally out of £100 notes
I made cider cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day, and asked for ideas for what to do with a plaster cast of my teeth. Also, our house got broken into and my SLR got stolen. Also, I ranted about accents, which involved me singing a snippet of Les Mis.

April contained Easter, which meant a healthy dose of me sending myself to hell. I got a replacement SLR, and wrote about internet friendships. Also, I saw The Avengers and fangirled like a crazy person. I still haven't finished fangirling, to be perfectly honest! Also also, I turned 29 and did absolutely nothing to celebrate. It was awesome.

May saw me pass my 400th post, and head to Canberra again for Emily's baby shower. While there, we saw this completely bizarre parking space, which I had intentions of writing a blog post about, and then never did. Better late than never??
*confused dog head tilt*
I also finished rewatching all of Dawson's Creek, and am still a Pacey Witter fangirl. Also also? EUROVISION HAPPENED.

June saw the end of semester, and me continuing my "rewatch ALL the 90s television" plan by blogging about the first season of The X-Files. Deidre and I went to a macaron making course, and I made a vlog about all the weird Google searches that have led people to my blog. My all-time favourite will forever be "I hate it when I'm trying to study and a velociraptor throws bananas at me."

July brought with it the worst movie of ever, I started writing recaps of Buffy with Lor over on Snark Squad,  and I finally got rid of my hideous passport photo. I also taught Little Miss A how to bake:

August led to an interesting encounter with the police, me showing you the true horrors of my music collection, and discovering Community. If you're not watching Community, WHY THE HELL NOT??? It also featured an awesome bloggy lunch, and the return of Doctor Who.

September made my credit card hurt, because I booked my flights to the US (I LEAVE ON THURSDAY!!!!!!!!) and discovered that my travel agency was staffed by idiots. My parents went overseas, and I reverted to being a teenager as a result. The hard drive on my (three month old) laptop crashed, resulting in me losing a major assignment, and having a small nervous breakdown as a result.

October brought more weird Google searches, along with me holding a themed dinner party and cooking ALL the Mexican food. I also had my third blogiversary and celebrated my 500th post with a rather ridiculous vlog. I also handed in my last assignment for the semester, and celebrated with a gif party.

November? That was NaBloPoMo, and I posted every freaking day, even when I really didn't want to. Deidre and I held another Dessert Day, this time with almond themed deliciousness. I created my hug bucket, finished watching Dark Angel, and got horribly confused about the bands that are touring to Melbourne in the next little while. I headed to Canberra AGAIN (seriously, three times in one year?!) for an industry placement, which involved three weeks of hanging out with cats and babies, and wrote about my make up collection.

And that brings us to December. I was epically vague for quite a while, thanks to the end of NaBloPoMo and the continuation of my industry placement. I flew back to Melbourne, played Lego Lord of the Rings with my brother, and met up with Pretzel Thief. And I did my 'Best of 2012' series. Oh, also? All our appliances randomly started catching fire/producing sparks. We've gotten a new iron AND a new food processor in the past week. We're all waiting with baited breath to see what the third thing will be...

I can't wait to see what 2013 (which brings with it not only a trip to the US with some of my best friends, but my 30th birthday. EEEEEK!!) has in store.

K xx

PS. I will obviously be here tomorrow for Movie Monday. Mostly, I wanted an excuse to use that gif. YOU'RE WELCOME, WORLD. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: The worst of everything edition

Okay, kids. I've covered my favourite books, movies and music from this year. Now it's time to talk about the stuff  I watched, read, or listened to this year that really really sucked.

Captain Thunder and the Holy Grail
This movie was like a 90 minute Eurovision song - equal parts "WTF is this??" and "OMG, this is hilarious, but I don't think it's meant to be." Seriously, you guys. It was terrible.

The Mayan Priest by Sue Guillou
This is the first book I ever gave up on reading, and with good reason. I'm not going to expand on those reasons, because you should really go and check out the post I wrote back in February for the full horror. I still can't believe this came out of a publishing house.

Sex and the City 2
My God, this was a piece of shit. Not to mention being incredibly culturally insensitive! I'm glad it only cost me like $1 to borrow it on DVD. I would have been super cranky if I'd paid real money to see it in the cinema.

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
I wanted to like this, I really did. I mean, Lizzy and Darcy investigate a murder? YES PLEASE. But James went ahead and destroyed pretty much all the characters - they were flat and lacked all the personality that Austen poured into them. Plus, James completely obliterated the timeline by including Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion as background characters but setting the book three years before Anne and Wentworth even MEET. Fail.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe
Holy crap, this movie was awful. It was like they couldn't be bothered coming up with a decent plot because they knew that X-Philes would see it regardless of how much it sucked. It sucked so much that I couldn't even bring myself to fangirl over the fact that there are ACTUAL #secretsexytimes

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Oy. Imagine if the shallow, self-centred popular girl was the one girl in the all the world destined to save humanity. Yeah. In the words of Rupert Giles, "the earth is doomed". As I said in my review on Goodreads, read instead, but imagine there are demons and angels and stuff.

Whistle by Flo Rida
Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh. THIS SONG IS THE WORST. And it's now an ab track for Body Pump, which means I have to hear it ALL. THE. TIME.

Night Life by Caitlin Kittredge
I knew this one wasn't going to end well when I hated the main character by the second page of the book. She's a police detective who's also a werewolf, and she falls for the murder suspect. Who, despite his wife/partner/whatever having just been murdered, is totally okay with falling into bed with bitchy werewolf main character girl. There are sequels. I will not be reading them.

St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold
This one actually physically hurt me to watch. Because David Tennant plays a misogynistic, grey-haired bad guy. Also, Rupert Everett (in drag) hooks up with Colin Firth. I think I'd rather sit through the Twilight movies than watch this piece of crap again. And that's saying something.

The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox
THIS BOOK. Ugh. It just never ended. The writing was really choppy, and it was billed as an archaeological mystery but rapidly turned into a book about gruesome murders replicating ancient human sacrifices (in great detail). I seriously considered adding it to my DNF pile about ten times.

My Best Friend's Girl
This movie was so bad that I've actually blocked pretty much the entire thing out of my brain. I CAN tell you that it stars Jason Biggs as a desperate, friend-zoned douchebag who basically gets written out of the story half way through. I don't think I even laughed once.

The Glamorous (Double) Life of Isabel Bookbinder by Holly McQueen
This was trying to be another Bridget Jones. It failed miserably. The main character was a serious pain in the arse with negative a millionty positive qualities. And the inevitable love interest was only in about four scenes. I kept forgetting he existed!

To summarise my feelings about all of these pieces of crap:

Right there with you, Tom. Right there with you.

What are your 2012 worsts??

K xx

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best of 2012: Music edition

So first things first: I saw The Hobbit this afternoon and, as predicted yesterday, I'm going to go ahead and add it to my Best of 2012 movies list. Because it was awesome-sauce.

Moving on.

Today we're going to talk about the music that I've had on high rotation this year. It's going to be a bit of a weird mix, because I don't listen to the radio and therefore get most of my "Ooh, I like that song! I should download it" feelings from a) Little Miss A playing me something on her iPad, b) Body Pump/Body Combat classes, c) TV shows and movies, d) people sending me things I should listen to. So...yeah.

Some Nights - Fun.

My BFF Megan is responsible for putting me onto Fun., and I'm really grateful that she did because I love their stuff. Sure, the video clip for this song is buckets of weird, but it's really catchy.

Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen
I know, I know. You'll probably all disown me for this. But if you can find me something else that will pep you up on your way to the gym quite like this does, I'll be happy to hear about it! Also, I'm going to go ahead and blame Little Miss A for this one. Because blaming things on seven year olds who aren't here to defend themselves is totally okay, right??

Gangnam Style - PSY

If you say you don't love this song, you're a dirty liar. Kim's responsible for this one, and one day, I'm going to have the money to fly to Wellington and hug her for it. In the meantime, I'll just go ahead and tell you that Little Miss A started singing it last week while we were playing cricket, and when I went "Um. WHAT ARE YOU SINGING??", she changed the words to "Heeeeeeeeeey, chips and gravy". Yeah. That happened.

Give a Little - Hanson
Holy crap, I love this song. Every time you hear it, you can't help but throw a little dance party on your own. It's gotten me out of bed on a lot of days when I just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

Eurovision Song Contest - Eurovision 2012

Come on. Like you weren't expecting this after I live blogged Eurovision three nights in a row! I've had a bunch of songs from this year's competition on high rotation this year. I love the winning song (see above) but I also love the French, Italian, Cypriot, Irish and Icelandic entries.

Doctor Who theme - BBC National Orchestra
Like you didn't expect this either. I'm talking specifically about the season 2 theme, which is also my ringtone. (My message alert is the TARDIS landing) I love the crap out of it, and when Give a Little can't get me out of bed in the mornings, this sure as hell can!

What You Know - Two Door Cinema Club

This one's thanks to Lor's VEDA videos. Another excellent song for psyching me up to leave the house for the gym.

Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins
Paulie and I blasted the shit out of this at least half a dozen time while driving to Canberra back in February. There's nothing quite like a good bit of Kenny Loggins while doing 110kph on the Hume with the windows down! Also, it's a freaking awesome song.

Hands - Jewel
I'm gonna go right ahead and blame this one on the finale of Dawson's Creek. I have no other explanation for why I've been playing it a lot this year.

Les Miserables - Original London cast

Seriously, I've been listening to a combination of this and the International cast highlights ALL YEAR. I'm not even remotely kidding. I love the crap out of it, and it'll probably be on high rotation next year as well. My favourites are The Confrontation, Red and Black, and Javert's Suicide. And One Day More. And pretty much everything ever. With the possible exception of Bring Him Home...

No Good Deed - Idina Menzel
This one's become one of my favourite songs from the Wicked soundtrack this year, and I have no explanation for it. I guess listening to a lot of Les Mis, I love a good soliloquy??

We Are Young - Fun.
Love love LOVE this song.

I Am the Doctor - BBC National Orchestra

This is what I set my alarm to if I want to get up in the morning feeling like I'm about to go on an adventure. And who doesn't want to feel like they're about to go on an adventure???

What have you had on high rotation this year?

K xx

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best of 2012: Movies edition

Aaaaah, Boxing Day. It tends to mean several things in Australia:
1. The Boxing Day test.
2. The start of the Sydney to Hobart.
3. Sales.
4. Eating leftover turkey.
5. The opening of pretty much every decent movie ever for the entire year.

Given the last of these, it seemed only appropriate that I continue my Best of 2012 series with my favourite movies from this year.

Now, the majority of these were released this year, while a couple are movies that I saw for the first time in 2012. I'm gonna go ahead and shove them into the one post because it's my blog and I do what I want I'm lazy.

Les Misérables
I saw this on Sunday, and holy hell you guys. Eventually I'm going to do a Movie Monday post about Les Misérables. Probably after I see it at the movies for the second or third time. For now, my thoughts can be summed up as "OMFG I HAVE A LOT OF FEELS AND EXCUSE ME WHILE I CRY ALL THE UGLY CRIES AND DOWNLOAD THE SOUNDTRACK". Yes. It turns me into the epitome of a Tumblr fangirl. It was THAT good. If Anne Hathaway doesn't get an Oscar for it, I will probably die of surprise. And Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe were both incredible. If you need more of a recommendation, the entire cinema broke into applause when the credits rolled. That never happens in Australia. NEVER.

I saw this well after it came out, after hearing numerous positive reviews from various friends and family members. You guys, it is so freaking good. For a story where you already know the ending (well. You do if you have any knowledge of history, anyway!), it still managed to be full of tension and "OMG ARE THEY GOING TO MAKE IT????" moments. It was also a welcome change from the norm in that it wasn't filled with big Hollywood names. Instead, it was full of people where you spend half the movie going "What the hell do I know that guy from??" and then you look it up when you get home, and it's a cult movie like Ten Inch Hero or Empire Records. Brilliantly done.

The Avengers
There are no words for how much I love this movie. I think it might actually be up on a pedastal with Love Actually and Pirates of the Caribbean as my all-time favourite movie. I got it on DVD for Christmas, and I'm honestly surprised that I've made it to 6pm on Boxing Day without breaking it out of the plastic. I may well end up watching it tonight after the Doctor Who Christmas special. I mean, how can you not love a movie that's written and directed by Joss Whedon, and which stars so many actors who are genuinely nice and incredible people?! (Including but not limited to my future husband, Tom Hiddleston...) I literally bounced up and down in my chair at the cinema while I was waiting for it to start.

The Decoy Bride
Yes, it's insanely cheesy. And yes, it was such a flop at the movies in the UK that they released it straight to DVD in most of the world. But I suspect, much like Firefly, it's one of those things that slipped under the radar and will come into its own now that it's available on DVD. How can you not love David Tennant in anything, especially in this where he makes lots of sneaky Doctor Who references?! If you haven't seen it yet, do so immediately. It's available for streaming on Netflix, America. Merry Christmas.

The Hunger Games
I love the crap out of this series, and I'm crazy excited about Catching Fire coming out next year. Jennifer Lawrence was phenomenal, and Josh Hutcherson is quite possibly the most adorable thing ever. I thought they did a fantastic job of sticking to the book, but also ADDING to the story by showing what's going on behind the scenes. It saved a lot of boring explanation scenes. I wasn't a huge fan of the amount of intentionally shaky camera work, but it seems to increasingly be the way for action scenes. Thankfully, the makes-you-want-to-hurl side effect is dramatically reduced on the small screen!

The Help
I missed this one at the movies when I was in the US last year, so when I got home, this was pretty high up my Quickflix queue (you know, behind Dawson's Creek and The X-Files...). I've since read the book, and I know that a lot of people weren't particularly happy about some of the changes that were made. But I loved it. The casting was fabulous - anyone who says they don't love Emma Stone is lying, and Octavia Spencer earned the HELL out of that Oscar. If you haven't seen it yet, you need to rectify that.

Pitch Perfect
Back in October, I got an email from Deidre that basically read "OMG, PITCH PERFECT. Please come see it with me?????". Sadly, it didn't come out in Australia until the start of December, by which time we had a LOT of expectations around it. I, for one, was afraid of Anna Kendrick's hairline terrifying me through the entire movie, as happened in Up in the Air. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. It was pretty bad, but in a good way. If that makes any kind of sense. With the news that they're in talks to develop a second film, we can but hope that the first person to be cast in it is Rebel Wilson, and that they manage to dig up some attractive men who can sing to join the cast. Eddie Redmayne and Aaron Tveit wouldn't go astray, now that they're done with Les Misérables!

I was a little apprehensive going into this, because I HATED Quantum of Solace. I got to the end of that without knowing the name of the villain OR the interchangeable Bond girl, and now have absolutely no memory of anything relating to it. But Skyfall? Is a completely different beast. I loved that they included so much Bond backstory - it helped to humanise a character who's so often almost superhuman. I also loved that they brought back some of the more traditional Bond elements, which I won't specify - spoilers, sweetie! Judi Dench was fantastic as M, Javier Bardem was brilliantly creepy, and I think it'll be really interesting to see where the Bond series goes in the future.

So, that's my favourites from 2012. (I have yet to see The Hobbit, because it only came out today in Australia, but we can probably just assume that that'll be automatically added to the list of favourites!)

What have your favourite movies been this year?

K xx

Monday, December 24, 2012

Movie Monday: The Muppet Christmas Carol

It's Christmas Eve, and if the gale force winds outside keep up, Santa is going to get crazy lost trying to deliver presents in Melbourne tonight!

Anyway, in honour of the season, I figured that I should cover a Christmas movie. And considering I did a Movie Monday post on Love Actually LAST year, there was only one thing that came to mind.


Reasons why The Muppet Christmas Carol is awesome:
1. The Muppets.
2. Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge.
3. It's so fantastically 90s.
4. The Christmas carols medley/overture.
5. Muppets in top hats.
6. Singing farm animals and vegetables.
7. Ice skating penguins.
8. Cleaning windows with Rizzo.
9. Yelling anthropomorphised doorknockers.
10. Scrooge beating up his dressing gown.
11. "Marley and Marley".

12. Rubber chicken factories.
13. The Ghost of Christmas Present knocking Rizzo and Gonzo into the street.
14. Charades.
15. Tiny Tim.
16. The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come is hilariously awful. It's nowhere near tall enough for its armspan.
17. The hilariously oversized turkey.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "Humbug."
- "Hello! Welcome to the Muppet Christmas Carol! I am here to tell the story." "And I am here for the food."
- "All of our pens have turned to ink-cicles! Our assets are frozen!"
- "Mother always taught me: "Never eat singing food.""
- "Why do you doubt your senses?" "Because a little thing can effect them. A slight disorder of the stomach can make them cheat. You may be a bit of undigested beef, a blob of mustard, a crumb of cheese. Yes. There's more gravy than of grave about you." "More gravy than of grave?" "What a terrible pun. Where'd you get those jokes?" "Leave comedy to the bears, Ebenezer."
- "We were always heckling you." "It's good to be heckling again." "It's good to be doing anything again."
- "Rats don't understand these things." "You were never a lonely child?" "I had twelve hundred and seventy four brothers and sisters." "Boy! Rats don't understand these things!"
- "My name is Charles Dickens." "And my name is Rizzo the Rat... wait a second! You're not Charles Dickens!" "I am too!" "No! A blue furry Charles Dickens who hangs out with a rat?" "Absolutely!" "Charles Dickens was a 19th Century novelist! A genius!" "Oh, you are too kind!" "Why should I believe you?" "Well, because I know the story of A Christmas Carol like the back of my hand!" "Prove it!" "All right! Um, there's a little mole on my thumb, and um, a scar on my wrist from when I fell off my bike..." "No, no, no, don't tell us your hand, tell us the story!"
- "Let us deal with the eviction notices for tomorrow, Mr. Cratchit." "Uh, tomorrow's Christmas, sir." "Very well. You may gift wrap them."
- "You will be haunted by three spirits." "Haunted? I've already had enough of that." "Without these visits, you cannot hope to avoid the path we tread." "Expect the first ghost tonight, when the bell tolls one!" "Can't I meet them all at once and get it over with?"
- "You can fit through those bars?" "Yeah." "You are SUCH an idiot."

Merry Christmas, y'all.

K xx

Friday, December 21, 2012

Ancient history, Volume XXXIX

Previously, OH GOD, I'M DYING. Otherwise known as "Don't eat ice or sour cream in Latin America".

The following day, I was still sick, but not to the about-to-pass-out point, which was a vast improvement. Arizona Boy, Waterproof Trousers and Irish were heading off for the wilds of Honduras that morning, so I dragged myself out of bed and out to the lobby to say goodbye to them. A couple of hours after that, I had to dope myself up on Imodium, bid a very miserable farewell to my BFF Sara and board a minibus heading to Guatemala City. Once at the airport, I braved the first food I'd had in about 40 hours - McDonald's chips (that's fries to you, America).

My logic in eating McDonald's chips was as follows:
1. Said chips are deep fried, and therefore very unlikely to result in a repeat upchucking performance;
2. Said chips are covered in salt, and salt is important when you're dehydrated;
3. Said chips would provide a large number of calories without me needing to eat very much.

Genius plan, no??

Anyway, the flight to Mexico City was relatively uneventful. Well, besides the fact that the flight contained the  Guatemalan under 10 soccer team, and that whichever member of the team was sitting behind me felt the need to kick the back of my seat for the ENTIRE flight. But once we landed in Mexico City? Things got...somewhat more interesting. We landed in the pouring rain, only to be told - after sitting on the runway for 20 minutes - that there were no air bridges available and that we'd need to disembark onto the runway and take buses to the terminal. Which would have been fine, except that half the plane - including myself - got stuck behind an old man who managed to walk down one step around every minute. So we were all rather drenched by the time we got to the terminal.

Upon arrival at the terminal, it seemed that around a millionty planes had arrived at once, and Mexico City only had about four staff working the immigration gates. The queue to get through immigration took over TWO HOURS, and by the end of that time, I was about to sit down on the floor and cry. About half way through the insanely long wait, there was a bit of a kerfuffle behind me, and a familiar figure ducked under the barriers. That figure?

Okay, so it was Michael Richards and not Cosmo Kramer, but whatevs. Apparently he decided that being a celebrity(-ish. Seinfeld was more than a little passe by 2008!) should entitle him to queue jump. The Mexican authorities took great delight in giving him death stares and pointing to the back of the line.

Anyway, I eventually made it through the queue, claimed my luggage, and headed for the pick-up area. Only to find that two hours was apparently far too long for my $96 transfer driver to bother waiting. I attempted to find a phone number for the company to insist that they send the driver back, but the only number listed was in Peru. NOT particularly helpful. So I headed for the taxi rank, only to have half a dozen taxi drivers refuse to take me to my hotel because parts of the city were flooded. Thankfully, the concierge guy stepped in, and insisted that one of them take me.

So I eventually arrived at my hotel, arranged a tour to Teotihuacan, and collapsed into bed. Only to wake up the following morning with approximately a thousand mosquito bites on my back, thanks to a particularly bloodthirsty and unwelcome roommate.

I dragged myself out of bed and onto a tour bus. The tour consisted of me and three slightly mad Argentinian women who spent all day calling me Chris. I'm going to go ahead and just show you a bunch of pictures of Teotihuacan because I don't really remember that much about it on account of I hadn't eaten since the chips the previous day...

On the way back into Mexico City, we stopped off at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which I found rather hilarious. Why?
1. Because it looks like a football stadium from the outside.
2. It houses the original icon of the Virgin of Guadalupe, and in order to pray before her, you stand on a series of travelators. One goes left to right, the one behind that goes right to left, the one behind that goes left to right and so on. This ensured that everyone got a chance to pray without causing a traffic jam.

3. You could get yourself blessed with holy water outside the Basilica. Except that the holy water was housed in huge plastic rubbish bins, which just made it seem kind of gross.
4. There was a GIANT statue of Pope John Paul II and one of his Pope-mobiles outside.

Who doesn't love an unexpected statue of a dead Pope?!

Up next, the most enormous flag of ever, some weird happenings at the National Anthropology Museum, and I fly to Las Vegas.

K xx

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Best of 2012: Books edition

Now that we're rapidly heading for the pointy end of the year, I figured that I'd take the opportunity to do a couple of posts covering my favourite things from this year. As is to be expected with me, we'll start with the books!

To date, I've read 171 books this year, and I foresee passing 175 before the end of the year. Some of them REALLY sucked. Four of them I couldn't bring myself to finish, which shows just how terrible they truly were - leaving books unfinished makes me twitchy. But a decent chunk of them were made of awesome, and they deserve to be honoured accordingly.

NB. A good chunk of this list is going to be young adult books, because I've read a crapton of awesome YA this year. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Everything by John Green
2012 was the year that I discovered John Green. While his writing has kind of ripped out my heart and stomped on it, it's been worth every single second of it. He creates stories that stay with you well after you finish reading, and I can see most of them being regular rereads. Especially Paper Towns. Holy crap, I loved that book.

Everything by Gail Carriger
I mean, come on. How can you not love her books? They're equal parts paranormal and steampunk, with a good dose of hilarity. I'm just gonna sit here waiting for her next series to start, and hoping like hell that someone decides to make movie versions of the Parasol Protectorate series. Because THAT WOULD BE AMAZING.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett
This was so completely different to any of Pratchett's other work. It's a fantastic mix of fiction and actual historic characters, including Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, and Robert Peel. I particularly loved how lots of Dickens' titles were sneakily written into the story. It's a mixture of fantastic characters, humour, and incredibly serious issues, and I'm not sure anyone but Pratchett could pull it off quite as well.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
ALL THE UGLY CRYING. It's beautifully written, with fabulous illustrations. The plot comes to a fairly predictable ending, it's true. But the number of lines that I wanted to read over and over again was truly astonishing. So yeah. Heartbreaking, but a must-read nonetheless.

Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
These books, you guys. These books are so stinking cute that I can't even handle it. The teenage voice in both of them is perfect, and both of these books fell into the "I'll just read one more chapter HOLY CRAP IT'S 2AM" category. Sure, they're overly dramatic and kind of predictable. But I can't wait for the third book in the sort-of-series to be released next year. I may camp out at the library and fight a bunch of 16 year old girls to be the first to get my hands on it.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
This book is like Mean Girls and Groundhog Day had a baby. Except in a less creepy way than it sounds... The character development that the protagonist goes through in the course of the story is amazing. The ending was kind of inevitable, but I still wish it could have been different. SIGH.

The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld
A steampunk alternate history of World War I with big secrets all around? YES PLEASE. I love the characters, the boffins, the beasties, and the illustrations. Sure, it's intended for 14 year olds, but pff. It's still made of win.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
OHMYGOD. On the surface, this book is completely and utterly hilarious. But then every so often, you come across a line that gives you a moment of "Huh. I hadn't thought about that before..." that you end up reflecting on for days afterwards. It's equal parts Miss Congeniality, Lost, and Lord of the Flies, and it's brilliant.

The Rogue Agent series by K.E. Mills
Oh my God, I love this series. If you like Rincewind from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, you'll probably enjoy Gerald Dunwoody. It's a perfect combination of humour, excitement, fantasy and adventure. I'm VERY curious to know if the series is going to continue, and if so, where it's going to go from here! Also? The first book has the greatest dedication of EVER:

The Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
Must Be Thrifty gave me the first three books in this series for my birthday, describing them to me as "Hornblower, but with dragons." Basically? Napoleonic Wars rewritten with dragons = WIN. Things occasionally get a little insanely hilarious (teenage dragons, y'all...), which may have something to do with Novik's background as a fanfic writer. But the whole series is made of awesome. Although possibly don't read the entire series back to back - there's only so much dragon sexy times the brain can handle!

Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson
If you don't read The Bloggess, then you should go and rectify that situation right the hell now. And then you should track down this book. Because holy HELL, was it hilarious. Public service announcement: do not read on public transport, because you will probably bust an organ trying not to laugh hysterically in public.

Mr. Darcy's Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Okay, so this one is fan fiction, pure and simple. The author acknowledges it in her In a kind of weird sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy is a werewolf, and wants to tell Lizzie before he proposes to her. It was completely and utterly cheesy, and featured more bodice-ripping than I usually like in my books. But I loved every single second of it, and if I ever come across it in a bookstore, I *may* have to go ahead and buy it. BECAUSE OF REASONS.

So. What were the best books you read in 2012??

K xx

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another bullet pointed update

Try as I might, I'm currently incapable of coming up with a single coherent idea to turn into a blog post. So instead, you get a lot of rambling. Aren't you lucky?!

  • I went to see Argo with my parents last night. Half way through the trailer for The Hobbit (it doesn't open here until Boxing Day), my mum turned to me and went "Bilbo is the porn guy from Love Actually!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Yes. Yes, he is.
  • I just discovered that Seth Green played a vampire in the original Buffy movie. I now feel the need to go and watch it immediately.
  • I finally managed to persuade my travel agent that no, my travel insurance policy should not come with the title "Mister". This is something of a relief to me.
  • I got a Christmas card from Kat the other day. It came from somewhere rather more exotic than New Zealand:

  • I had dinner with the lovely Pretzel Thief in the city last night. I'm honestly surprised that it took us a good hour and fifteen minutes before we discussed Pacey Witter Dawson's Creek.
  • Deidre and I went to see Pitch Perfect last Friday. Our one sentence review: "Could they really not find more attractive men who can hold a tune??"
  • The Channel 7 catch up TV thing is refusing to let me watch last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy. This makes me sad. 
  • I bought the twins this (amongst other things) for Christmas. It's quite possibly the most brilliant thing EVER. 
  • If you leave candy canes sitting in a cupboard for an unknown number of years, this is what happens:

Ew. And yes, I have a freckle on the palm of my hand.
  • There's a possibility that I had a small emotional breakdown this afternoon on account of how a decent chunk of my clothes don't fit any more, and I'm about to spend a month in the home of all things deep fried. 
  • Related to the previous, who wants to start coming to the gym with me so I actually have the motivation to go regularly??
  • I have a truly terrifying number of Buffy episodes to watch for Snark Squad before I leave the country on January 3rd. Instead? I seem to be spending my evenings watching Sliders and Alias. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
  • There's a possibility that I piled six of the paper hats from Christmas crackers onto my head this evening. Because I'm classy like that.
What's new with you guys?

K xx

Monday, December 17, 2012

Movie Monday: Grease

While catching up on Glee last week (yesIwatchGleeshutupit'saguiltypleasure), I realised that it had been about a millionty years since I watched Grease. And considering I got the soundtrack on CD for my 14th birthday and used to listen to it practically every day, I felt that it was time I rectified the lack of watching I've done in recent years.
I have no idea what is going on with the eyebrows here. Source

Reasons why Grease is awesome:
1. The opening credits.
2. THE MUSIC OH MY GOD THE MUSIC. I dare you not to sing along.
3. John Travolta attempting to play an 18 year old (he was 23).
4. Olivia Newton-John attempting to play an 18 year old (she was 28).
5. The hair.
6. The cars.
7. Making fun of the football team on the bleachers.

8. Blanche and the Principal. They're HILARIOUS.
9. The costumes.

10. Stockard Channing. I don't even care that she's a 33 year old woman playing an 18 year old high school senior. There is no one else who could have played Rizzo as brilliantly as she does.
11. Jeff Conaway as Kenickie. Fantastic.
12. The sleepover scene. It's my favourite.
13. Frenchy's pink hair.
14. Jan at the dance. LOLTASTIC.
15. How hilariously long the cheerleaders' skirts are.
16. The scene where Danny's trying out for various sporting teams. It's brilliant.
17. OH MY GOD, HOW ON EARTH DID OUR PARENTS LET US WATCH THIS MOVIE?!?!?!?! It's so insanely smutty.
18. The buckets of crazy that is the Teen Angel scene.
19. The Pink Ladies.
20. Thunder Road.
21. The utter ridiculousness of 'Hopelessly Devoted to You'. I mean, she's singing to a piece of paper in a paddling pool.
22. The T-Birds.
23. The entirety of 'You're the One that I Want'.
24. Blanche working the fairy floss machine at the carnival. So hilariously incompetent.
25. The hilariously random flying car at the end.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "I've got so many hickeys people will think I'm a leper." "Relax... A hickey from Kenickie's like a Hallmark card: when you care enough to send the very best."
- "The only thing that hangs around you, Sonny, are the flies."
- "Blanche, do you have the new schedules?" "Yes, I just had my hands on them." "Oh, good. They'll be nice and smudged."
- "You're cruisin' for a bruisin'."
- "Too bad his brains are in his biceps!"
- "I don't look at it as dropping out. I look at it as a very strategic career move!"
- "What's with you tonight?" "I feel like a defective typewriter." "Huh?" "I skipped a period!"
- "Hey, Marty, are those new glasses?" "Oh, yeah, I just got 'em for school. Don't you think they make me look smarter?" "Nah, you can still see your face!"
- "That is the ugliest looking thing I ever saw."
- "Oh, I'm not very hungry. Just gimme a double Polar Burger with everything, and a cherry soda with chocolate ice cream."
- "Sandy, you just can't walk out of a drive-in!"
- "Twinkies and wine? Oh, that's real class, Jan." "It says right here, it's a dessert wine!"
- "Are you making fun of me, Riz?" "Some people are so touchy."
- "What did she give him?" "A lock of hair. From her chest."
- "Doody, how do I look?" "Like a beautiful blonde pineapple!"
- "We have pictures of you so-called mooners. And just because the pictures aren't of your faces doesn't mean we can't identify you. At this very moment those pictures are on their way to Washington where the FBI has experts in this type of identification. If you turn yourselves in now, you may escape a Federal charge."
- "Don't worry about it, Sandy. If she screws up, she can always fix your hair so your ears don't show!"
- "Tell me about it, stud."

Okay, so it has a pretty terrible message to young girls. But it's just so much freaking fun!

So. Thoughts?

K xx

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ancient history, Volume XXXVIII

Previously, crazy trousers, beer pong, and inappropriate snack foods.

The last proper day of our tour dawned bright and sunny. We were up bright and early again, and on yet ANOTHER several-hour-long-stupidly-boring bus trip. We stopped on the way out of Panajachel for group photos and marvelling at the pretty:

From there, it was on to Antigua with a stop at the markets of Chichicastenango. The market crowd was completely insane and somewhat overwhelming. Sara and I briefly considered buying our very own statues of St. Anthony to put on his head in the freezer if he didn't deliver us husbands in a suitable length of time. But ultimately, neither of us could be arsed with the idea of carrying a statue of St. Anthony home again, and we decided on smaller and less confiscatible-by-customs-staff-at-the-airport souvenirs. I bought one of the two rings I own, and the only one I ever wear:

It's silver and moonstone, and cost me about 60 quetzales, or a whopping $8.50. I strongly suspect it's the best $8.50 I've ever spent!

From there, it was back on the bus and heading to Antigua. We arrived not long after lunch, and spent most of the afternoon camped out in the square, using the internet and eating cake at Cafe Condesa. Seriously, if you're ever in Antigua, go eat cake at Cafe Condesa. Hell, just go eat there full stop. They do good breakfasts too!

ANYWAY. That night, we went out for our farewell dinner. And the place we went for dinner had two for one drinks. So obviously, this happened:

Because we're classy like that.

After dinner, we went out for MORE drinks, and Sara and I discovered that when you order Malibu and pineapple juice in Antigua, the bartender will reply "Oh, you mean a Panty Ripper?", which will promptly turn you off your drink, because EW, NO. After visits to a couple of other bars, we headed back to the hotel with grand plans to go shopping and buy lavender jade the following morning.

But then the following morning dawned, and with it came Montezuma's Revenge. And the downside to getting Montezuma's Revenge when you're a history nerd? Your first thought is "Oh God, I have cholera/typhoid/amoebic dysentery/yellow fever/PLEASE KILL ME". In reality, it was probably just food poisoning from the sour cream on my dinner. Or the ice in my cocktails...

The plus side to bathrooms in Guatemala being minuscule? You can puke your guts out into the shower while you're sitting on the loo.

I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. That was quite the extreme overshare. But it's true.

The day got worse from there. I nearly passed out while taking a shower. Then Sara (who was also not well)    and I had to change hotel rooms. Then we needed to go into the town centre to buy Gatorade and get money from the ATM. And for some bizarre reason, every single taxi and tuktuk driver in the whole of Antigua decided to go on a break at the same time. ALL OF THEM.




Do you know what's not fun? Walking like ten blocks through a strange city when you feel like you might pass out at any minute. Do you know what's double not fun? Walking the ten blocks to find that you have to stand in a long queue to use the ATM. Triple not fun is when you're standing in the queue and everything starts spinning and you're about to pass out, and the bank's security guard comes up to you and starts to raise his gun because CLEARLY you're planning to rob the bank.
Pretty much like this. Except with less trolls in the dungeon, and more guns.

Eventually, I got my money without actually losing consciousness (only because I leaned against the wall while I used the ATM), and we made our very slow and miserable way back to the hotel. I drank two bottles of Gatorade and half a bottle of Pepto Bismol, and slept for twelve hours.

Next up, I don't die from cholera (SPOILER ALERT!), I fly to Mexico City, and have to stand in the longest queue of EVER.

K xx

PS. I promise I won't talk about puking or sitting on the toilet ever again. PROMISE.
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