Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another year over. What?!

I honestly can't even begin to process the fact that it's the 31st of December already. RIDICULOUS. Anyway, instead of doing my usual year in review post with a million links to a million posts that no one will actually bother to click through to, I figured that I'd do this year's wrap up in vlog form.


Happy New Year, y'all. I'll catch you in 2014!!

K xx

Monday, December 30, 2013

Movie Monday: The "what I'm looking forward to in 2014" edition


Um. How is it the end of another year already?! I could have sworn that it was only about September last time I checked... Anyway, given that it's the end of the year, let's talk about the stuff I'm excited about seeing next year, shall we? I'll warn you now, it can pretty much be summed up as "Marvel movies and adaptations of YA books", because OBVIOUSLY.

The Fault in Our Stars
The poster that was released during the Project for Awesome gave me All the Feels, so I can't even begin to imagine how much of a trainwreck I'll be when the movie actually comes out...

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
You guys, I am SO EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE OMFG. The trailer is so completely and utterly BAMF-tastic, and I've been fangirl flailing since it first came out.

The Monuments Men
Okay, so this looks a little bit like Ocean's Eleven set in World War II, but whatevs. It still looks pretty fun, and with a nice dose of history added in for good measure!

Divergent
Look, I'm still not convinced by the casting of Four. Theo James is literally the complete opposite of what I had in my head when it came to Four. But I'm still pretty excited about seeing this story come to life on the big screen.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
I'm a little unsure about this, because some of the shots in the trailer make it look like X-Men Go To The Disco. But whatever, it's Marvel so I'm still excited about the next installment of the story.

Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
I saw the trailer for this when I went to see American Hustle the other day, and it looks pretty incredible. And there's no doubt in my mind that Idris Elba will do the role justice. This is also my personal reminder that I really do need to read Long Walk to Freedom one of these days...

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Okay, so the trailer looks a little over the top, and some of the special effects are a little meh-tastic. But I really enjoyed the first one, and it's Marvel, so...yeah.

The Lego Movie
Oh my God. Words cannot describe how excited I am about this film. It's going to be completely ridiculous and utterly insane, and I am looking forward to it with every fibre of my being.

Mockingjay Part 1
I have yet to see Catching Fire, because I'm a bad fangirl (plus, it came out when I was in New Zealand and by the time I got home everyone else had already seen it). But I've heard nothing but good things about it. So I have high hopes for Mockingjay, especially seeing as according to IMDB, Danny Strong (Jonathan from Buffy) is writing the script.

Guardians of the Galaxy
I know almost nothing about the characters involved in this installment of the MCU, but I have no doubt in my mind that it will be fabulous.

What movies are you looking forward to seeing in 2014?

K xx

Updated to add: OH MY GOD, HOW DID I FORGET ABOUT THE VERONICA MARS MOVIE?!?!?!?!?!?!?! I CANNOT WAIT. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 Book Wrap Up

You guys know I love all things books, so when I saw that Emily was doing a wrap up of her 2013 reading, I knew I had to jump on the band wagon!!

1. How many books have you read this year?
At the moment, it's sitting on 168. I'm 98% through another one, and about a quarter of the way through a second, so it'll be at least 170 by the time New Year's Eve rolls around next week!

2. What book surprised you the most?
Probably Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, because it's one of those books that's got a major plot twist that's managed to remain a secret to the uninitiated despite being hugely popular.

3. What book were you most disappointed in?
It's a tie between Buffy season 8 volume 8 - Last Gleaming, and Kelley Armstrong's Thirteen. The first because it was just SO COMPLETELY AWFUL (as I already discussed last week), and the second because it felt decidedly average in comparison to all the other books in the series, and left me feeling like the series deserved a better ending than it got.

4. Did you start any new series?
Did I ever!
- Kate Daniel series by Ilona Andrews
- The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood
- Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch
- Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
- Wilfair series by Alysia Gray Painter
- Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
- The Darkest Minds series by Alexandra Bracken
- The Fifth Wave series by Rick Yancey
- Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
- The Vicious Deep series by Zoraida Cordova
- Gone series by Michael Grant
- Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
- Virals by Kathy Reichs
- Matched by Ally Condie
- Finishing School by Gail Carriger
- Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
- Ashfall by Mike Mullin

5. Did you finish any series?
Not nearly as many as I started, but I did finish a few. I'm not counting those ones where I'm currently up to date with the published books but there are others in the pipeline!
- Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
- Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
- Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray
- Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth
- Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce (reread)
- The Ellie Chronicles by John Marsden
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 8 by Joss Whedon et al.
- Harry Potter by JK Rowling (reread)

6. What was your favourite book cover of the year?
I don't tend to pay that much attention to covers, and as a result they don't really play much of a role in whether or not I read something (unless they're half-naked-people covers in which case they tend to go right back on the shelf). That said, the cover of These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is GORGEOUS.

7. What was the best non-fiction book you read?
I read almost no non-fiction this year. I think it's a product of having used my Kindle a lot more, and also frequenting the library a lot - non-fiction usually takes me a while to get through and I like to have it in physical copy. The best one I read was the book based on the gallery I worked on in Canberra, and I feel biased saying that because I'm listed as a contributing author. So I'll go with what I'm currently rereading - Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City.

8. What are you currently reading?
As I just mentioned, I'm rereading The Devil in the White City. I've been trying to do more rereading in the past couple of months, just because it seems like forever since I read some of my favourites. I'm also about to finish Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight.

9. Any reading goals for 2014?
I'd like to reach 175 books again, like I did last year, because it seems like a nice round number (I swear, if I could read another 7 books before the end of this year, I would be THRILLED. 170 isn't the same...) and I'm not sure I can successfully reach 200, unless I cheat and read a whole lot of really short books...

Other than that, I have plans to record how many pages I read each day, just for the hell of it.

10. What books are you looking forward to in 2014?
Oh my God, there are so many series that are due to finish next year that I can't wait to get my hands on. Fairlwil by Alysia Gray Painter, for starters. Plus Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, and Clariel by Garth Nix. I'm also insanely excited about Rainbow Rowell's Landline, because of reasons. Plus, Libba Bray's Lair of Dreams.

11. What other books deserved a shout out?
The Wilfair series, which I give almost constant shoutouts to. But you guys, it's just SO DANGED CUTE. Also the Kate Daniels series, J. Meyers' Anywhere, Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why, and Sarah Tregay's Love and Leftovers. Yes, the last is a verse novel, which I wasn't expecting and which I still don't know how I feel about. But it was pretty damned fabulous.

12. Your top three books of 2013.
You have no idea how hard this was, you guys. But I think I'm going to have to go with Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, and Garth Nix's Newt's Emerald.

If you want to see everything I've read this year, you can click here. And feel free to add me as a friend on Goodreads too!

Now go write your own post and link up with Emily!

K xx

Monday, December 23, 2013

Movie Monday: The Holiday



So I'm scraping this in with a whopping seven minutes to spare of Monday, because the first of the family Christmas celebrations was this evening, and also I totally forgot to publish it earlier. WHOOPS. My go-to Christmas movie is obviously Love Actually, but as that was one of the very first things I covered for Movie Monday, I had to go to my second favourite. I love this movie, even though it's ridiculously cheesy and completely predictable.

Reasons why The Holiday is awesome:
1. Kate Winslet. She's flawless.
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2. Ridiculous fake movie trailers.
3. Cameron Diaz
4. Solo shopping trips.
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5. Jack Black.
6. Entire walls of DVDs. WANT.
7. Jude Law.
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8. The music.
9. Eli Wallach.


10. Meet cutes.

11. Dustin Hoffman's cameo.
12. Solo dance parties.



13. John Krasinski and Kathryn Hahn, albeit for two seconds.
14. Attempting-to-cry montages.
15. Singing in the video store.
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16. Fabulous tent of fabulousness.
17. Iris helping Arthur to improve his walking. Adorable.
18. Arthur walking in to a full theatre when he expected ten people to be there. ALL THE FEELS.
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19. New Year's Eve adorableness.
20. The two houses.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "Would you mind if I sat? I feel like I might bump into you..."
- "I can't believe that you have had sex with the woman staying in my house!" "He told you that?" "Oh, my God!" "Oh, my God!" "Oh, my God! I thought I was talking to Graham! Can you just hold, please? I'm terribly sorry."
- "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to kiss you twice. And then linger on the second kiss..."
- "I'm looking for corny in my life." "That's a nice line."
- "I'm thinking we should have sex. If you want." ".......Is that a trick question?"
- "You're supposed to be the leading lady in your own life for God's sake!"
- "What exactly has gotten into you?" "I don't know, but I think what I've got is something slightly resembling... GUMPTION!"
- "I sew, and I have a cow. How's that for hard to relate to?"
- "Hello. My name is Mr. Napkinhead."
- "Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend."
- "I'm a major weeper."
- "Accidental boob graze."
- "Hate my horrible life!"
- "I'm having a Hanukkah party!" "Did you join a Temple since I last saw you?"
- "You look like my Barbie!"

Have a fabulous Christmas, you fabulous people. Catch you on the flip side!

K xx

PS. What's your favourite Christmas movie?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Best of 2013: The worst of everything

Right. We've talked about the best stuff I've read/watched/listened to this year. Now let's talk about the flip side of the coin. You know, the stuff that months later we're all still complaining about because it was just SO. INCREDIBLY. BAD that you don't want anyone else to subject themselves to it. Yeah. That stuff. Let's talk about that stuff.

Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines"
Let's just jump right to it, shall we? This song is the biggest piece of misogynistic bullshit to hit the radio airwaves in years. It should be destroyed immediately, and Robin Thicke should be shot out of a cannon with no safety equipment as punishment for its existence. Don't even get me started on the video clip. And to think, last year I was complaining about Flo Rida's Whistle. That song has NOTHING on Blurred Lines.

Bachelorette
Oh my God, this film was awful. I hated every single character in it with a fiery passion, it wasn't funny, and I really wish I could have the two-ish hours of my life back.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 #8 - Last Gleaming by Joss Whedon et al.
Volume 7 of the season 8 comics was pretty damned awful. But it was this, the final volume of season 8, that I hated most of all. I'd waited a long time to read it because I couldn't bring myself to actually spend money on it after how completely insane volume 7 was, so I had to wait until it became available at the library. And then I hated it with such a fiery passion that I actually screamed and threw it clear across the room after I read the last page. I've heard that season 9 is better, but I just can't bring myself to start reading it...

Agents of SHIELD
Look, it's not so much that this is bad so much as that it's really really boring. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it's Marvel and it involves Joss Whedon, so I was kind of expecting greatness. Instead, I got something that was decidedly mediocre. I don't care about any of the characters, the storylines in the episodes I've seen have all been decidedly average, and Coulson seems completely out of character when you compare him to the MCU. When I can reach the end of an episode and be so bored that I tuned out completely within the first five minutes? Your show is meh-tastic.

Apocalypse Now, Redux
I'm pretty sure this was the longest movie on the face of the earth. I only watched it because it's on the AFI 100 Years 100 Films list, and I really wish I could have the millionty hours of my life back. Because in addition to being indescribably bored (really, Coppola? An extra FORTY NINE MINUTES OF FOOTAGE was necessary??), I ended up completely and utterly traumatised because NO ONE WARNED ME ABOUT THE BUFFALO SCENE AND MACHETES TERRIFY ME. I was literally dry heaving while watching that scene.

Eyre House by Cait Greer
We've already talked about this one. I don't really have anything to add that I haven't already said!

Land of the Lost
I should have known that I'd hate this film when I discovered that it starred Will Ferrell and Danny McBride. Unfortunately, I decided to watch it anyway. Big mistake.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
I wanted to like this. I know a lot of people who absolutely loved it. I, unfortunately, was not one of them. There's a difference between a strong female character and a female character who hates everything feminine and all the implications of her gender. Katsa grated on my every nerve, and her "NOPE, NEVER GETTING MARRIED OR HAVING KIDS OH WAIT THAT GUY LOOKS HOT WITH HIS SHIRT OFF SEXYTIMES AHOY!!" was beyond ridiculous.

Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special
Sigh. I had such high hopes for awesomeness after it was announced that David Tennant and Billie Piper were coming back for this. Instead, what we got was boring, retconned, hit-the-giant-reset-button typical Moffat nonsense, complete with penis jokes and irritating one dimensional female characters. I think the thing that I was most disappointed about was that it wasn't a celebration of a show that's been running for 50 years. It was a celebration of The Guy Who's Been Running The Show For The Past Few Years. And once you add in the complete lack of communication between David and Billie, I was firmly on Team Why Did You Do This To Me, Moffat? Thank God for that unexpected appearance by Tom Baker, or the whole thing would have been a complete nope-fest.

In short, these things made me make this face:
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So. What are your worsts from this year?

K xx

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best of 2013: Music and TV edition

I had intended to split this across yesterday and today, but yesterday was graduation, so I was eeeeeeeeeever so slightly busy. Here, have a picture of me looking incredibly dubious about the sleeves on my Masters wizard robe:

ANYWAY.

Let's start with TV shows, because there are only four new (to me) shows that I've loved this year and I'm pretty sure I've already blogged about how much I loved them:
1. Veronica Mars;
2. Orphan Black;
3. Elementary;
4. Sleepy Hollow.

Onto music. As I probably mentioned this time last year, I'm not really a big music person. I can't stand the radio, I rarely get all "Wow, I relate to this so much" about songs, and I generally have a policy of "Does this song make me happy? If yes, listen to song on a never ending loop. If no, skip song every time iPod attempts to play it" approach to things. Which means that I have a tendency to listen to the same 120 songs over and over again even though I have over 2,000 songs in my iTunes library. ANYWAY. Here's some stuff that got added to my "Press repeat" playlist this year, many of which I've been completely late to the party on:

Adele - Someone Like You
Neon Trees - Everybody Talks
Scouting for Girls - Millionaire


P!nk - Try
The Basics - Just Hold On
Darin - So Yours


David Guetta feat. Sia - Titanium
Mike Mains and the Branches - Stereo
The Basics - Hey Rain


Darin - Nobody Knows
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Friday on My Mind
The entirety of the Pitch Perfect soundtrack


Ollie Murs - Troublemaker
The Basics - Home Again
Emmelie de Forest - Only Teardrops


Yes, Eurovision is completely and utterly responsible for three of the songs on this list, and the gym is responsible for several more. Oh, and Ylvis has also been on high rotation in recent months. Because OBVIOUSLY.

What have you been watching/listening to a lot this year?

K xx

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Best of 2013: Book edition

It's been a few weeks since I joined in for Top Ten Tuesday, but I still can't think of Tuesday as anything but "the day I really should be blogging about books". Tuesday may be nearly over in Australia, but whatever. Let's talk about my favourite books from this year!

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Oh my God, this book made me ugly cry so hard. It was suspenseful and funny and moving, and you should all go and read it immediately. And then talk to me about it. Because it's better once you share all the feels.

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
I've adored everything I've read by Patrick Ness, and this trilogy was no exception. It was completely intriguing, with fabulous characters and a brilliantly crafted setting. I was on the edge of my seat for the duration of these books.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Cue further ugly crying. Eleanor and Park are just two ordinary kids living in Nebraska in the 80s. Their story shouldn't be exceptional. BUT IT IS. If you haven't read it, you really should. Because it was completely and utterly beautiful.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I know a couple of people who've had serious issues with this book, but I thought it was magnificent. It took me quite a while to get into it, but once I did, I loved it. The power of the narrator was fabulous, and the ending made me ugly cry like an idiot.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
ADORABLE FROM START TO FINISH. It's pretty much Tumblr in book form. I related to Cath a liiiiiittle too much at times, but I think that her roommate, Reagan, was my favourite character. If you've ever had any interest in fandom, you should read this.

The Wilfair series by Alysia Gray Painter
I've mentioned these books a lot in recent months, but with good reason. They're so adorably squee-tastic that I can't help but recommend them non-stop. I enjoyed Wilfair, but Redwoodian and its massive levels of swoon were where things took off for me. Plus, Stay Awhile features the magical sentence "Love triangles are a tired cinematic device that add predictable drama where there is none." ACCURATE.

Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix
I read this over the weekend and absolutely loved it. If you mixed Jane Austen with a dash of modernised language, a touch of magic, a wee bit of swoon, hilarious antics, and some totally understandable cross dressing, you would get this book. It was fun and exciting and basically just a completely enjoyable read from start to finish.

So. What have your favourite books been this year?

K xx

Monday, December 16, 2013

Best of 2013: Movie edition


This past weekend was kind of busy (and yet I still managed to read 902 pages?!?!?!), so I didn't have a chance to pick a movie. But I figured seeing as it's basically the end of the year anyway, why not just make it Best Of week?!

Let's start with a disclaimer that this list will include neither Catching Fire nor The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. The reasons for this are as follows: I have yet to see the first because it came out when I was in New Zealand and I'm a slacker, and I have yet to see the second because it doesn't open in Australia until Boxing Day. SIGH.

ANYWAY.

Brave
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I saw this on the plane home from the US in January, and I honestly can't believe I waited that long to see it. Because it was pretty damned phenomenal. It was funny and exciting and moving, and brilliantly animated. Plus, there were a million sneaky references to other Pixar movies. Which, WIN.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
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Yes, this movie was a total and utter cheesefest. No, I don't care if you judge me for loving it. It was hilarious. And fun. And action-packed. And filled with Jeremy Renner. What more do you need in a movie?!

Iron Man 3
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There are no words for how much I loved this movie. Tony being his usual sassy self, combined with an epic plot twist regarding The Mandarin, awesomeness courtesy of Don Cheadle, and a nice dose of humanity and mental health problems for Tony following the Battle of New York? YES. SO. MUCH. YES.

Much Ado About Nothing
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Oh my God, Joss Whedon. You are a genius. This film was completely and utterly magical. It's a who's who of the Whedon-verse, and they're clearly having an absolute blast doing it. Alexis Denisof, in particular, was hilarious perfection as Benedick.

Sunset Boulevard
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This film? Is AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING. You should all watch it immediately, even if it's a millionty years old.

The Silver Linings Playbook
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The characters in this film are all so completely and utterly fucked up. But they're also incredibly human and real. And the whole thing was brilliantly acted from start to finish. Jennifer Lawrence deserved the shit out of that Oscar.

Thor: The Dark World
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I took myself to see this at the movies and loved every second of it. I saw it again with Kim while I was in Wellington, and I think I loved it even more the second time around. It was funny and moving and exciting, and just plain old enjoyable from start to finish. I didn't love it QUITE as much as I did Iron Man 3, but it was still fabulous. Plus, Tom Hiddleston. OBVIOUSLY.

So. What are the best movies you've seen this year?

K xx

Friday, December 13, 2013

A most unfortunate curse

So Kat mentioned in the comments of my last post something that I'd completely forgotten about - that Bethells Beach wasn't quite as close to deserted as we would have liked, in that there was a man quite a distance down the beach wandering around on his own who proved, upon closer (but not too close) examination to be rather elderly and completely naked.

And this, in turn, reminded me of another incident - New Year's Eve two years ago. In case you weren't around in those days and/or are too lazy to click on that link, I'll recap. I went to Fairhaven with my brother and a bunch of his mates. We decided that we'd wander down to the beach for actual midnight, and watch the fireworks display from Lorne across the water.

Somehow, we ended up with a crapton of glowsticks and sparklers, and so were playing around with those as 2012 commenced. Shortly thereafter, an incredibly drunk and incredibly naked New Zealander staggered up out of the surf. Someone informed this random dude that he should be carrying a glowstick so that we knew where he was, and didn't have to see his junk. Upon which he grabbed a glowstick from someone, shoved it between his butt cheeks, and ran off down the beach.

He then bent down to pick up his clothes, causing the glowstick to fall out from between his butt cheeks. So he kindly picked it up and threw it back to us. You've never seen a group of people scatter so quickly as when the butt germs glowstick fell towards us.

ANYWAY. Apparently that incident served as a precedent, and now I'm cursed to see naked New Zealanders every time I go to the beach. Because I'm about 99% sure I didn't go to the beach at all in between those two random-naked-New-Zealander events. And there was a small naked child running around during the five minutes Kim and I spent at the beach while I was in Wellington.

At least now I have a good excuse not to go to the beach?? "Oh, I can't, sorry. I'm cursed, you see. If I go with you, a naked New Zealander will appear and everything will get slightly weird..."

Are you randomly cursed in any way?

K xx

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Auckland - the "mmm, ice cream" edition

So. Let's do this thing!! With the exception of having to get up at 5am to get to the airport on time, getting to Auckland was surprisingly painless. I rock starred my way through immigration, threw my socks all over the place in customs (because I had to show them my hiking boots and I'd cleverly shoved all my socks in there), and met Kat and Ness in the terminal.

A short drive later, we were back at Kat's place just in time for a very belated lunch of toasted cheese sandwiches and Haribo Tangfastics. After much catching up and generally admiring Kat's new house, we went for a little walk along the foreshore and came back via a trip to the dairy (otherwise known to Australia as the milk bar). Which was, I think, about the time that I discovered that my entire life was a lie and that Hairy McLary is not, in fact, from a dairy as in the place where they milk cows, but from a dairy as in a MILK BAR. It's been several weeks now and I still feel betrayed for inexplicable reasons.

Anyway, we picked up a Kapiti stick each - mine was raspberry and white chocolate and it was amaaaaaazing - and headed back to the house for a few drinks on the balcony, a spot of dinner, and Hocus Pocus on DVD. Because, obviously.

The next day, after endlessly mocking the Shopping Channel while having breakfast, we piled into Kat's ute and headed north. We stopped in Wellsford for an early lunch, then continued on to the Kauri Museum at Matakohe where, despite being allowed to take photos, I completely neglected to because I was so busy being all "Holy crap, these dudes were hardcore" over the early kauri foresters. We ended up spending several hours there because there was so much stuff to see. We made it back to Auckland just in time for Cider O'Clock and sunset on the deck:


And then we watched Heavenly Creatures, which is an INCREDIBLY weird film.

The following day, we got back in the ute and headed out to Puhoi for some cheese tasting and ice cream nomming. Award winning ice cream, nonetheless! If you go, I heartily recommend the Dutch chocolate/mixed berry combination:
NOM.
From there, we headed out to the west coast and Bethells Beach. I was particularly intrigued by this particular sign which we came across about two seconds after walking onto the sand:

Luckily, we didn't come across any. Bethells Beach has black sand thanks to the surrounding volcanic rock, and we quickly discovered that black sand gets rather warm in the sun. Thankfully(?), it clouded over not long after we got there so it was actually bearable to walk on the sand. It was almost deserted and amazingly gorgeous:



Aaaaaand this is already long enough, so I'll leave what we did on the way back from the beach until next time!

K xx

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ranty McRanterson

Being a fan of things is great. But sometimes, dealing with other fans? Is really not. In the past year, I've ended up dealing with a lot of fans of two shows in particular. And as a result, my feelings towards those shows have changed quite dramatically. I vlogged about it, because it seemed easier...



Has fandom ever ruined something for you? Were you able to love it again down the track??

K xx

Monday, December 9, 2013

Movie Monday: The Empire Strikes Back


This may seem like a strange time of year to cover The Empire Strikes Back, but I always associate it with Christmas time. Because a family friend was completely obsessed with Star Wars when we were kids, and every time we came home from Canada/England/wherever, we'd go to their place for New Year's Eve. And the four kids would end up sitting in the front room watching Star Wars. You may ask why this doesn't mean that I associate the Star Wars movies with New Year's. An excellent question. Well, it's because they were one of the few families we knew/know in Australia who have a real Christmas tree. So said viewing of Star Wars would always be accompanied by the smell of slightly sad and dried out Christmas tree.

ANYWAY.

Reasons why The Empire Strikes Back is awesome:
1. Harrison Ford. I mean, come on.
2. The music.
3. This scene:
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4. Carrie Fisher.
5. The literal translation of the French title is "The Empire Counter-attacks", which I think is fabulous.
6. Tauntauns.
Source. Also, LOL.

7. Abominable snowmen. LOLOLOLOLOL.
8. C-3PO. Oh my God, the sass.
9. The obligatory chopped off arms.
10. YODA!! Even if he's kind of an obnoxious little shit to start with.
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11. Han trapped in carbonite.
12. Taking down the AT-ATs.
13. Moving rocks with the Force while doing handstands.
14. The fight scene between Luke and Vader.
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15. Hiding out in the asteroid belt.
16. Lando Calrissian.
17. R2-D2. Tiny droid of awesomeness.
18. The big reveal of Vader being Luke's father.
19. The laws of physics are optional extras.

Plus, the following quotes:
- "Why, you stuck-up, half-witted scruffy looking NERF HERDER!" "Who's scruffy looking?"
- "The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi."
- "Do, or do not. There is no try."
- "I love you." "I know."
- "I am your father."
- "Prepare the boarding party. And set your weapons for stun."
- "You like me because I'm a scoundrel. There aren't enough scoundrels in your life."
- "Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1!" "Never tell me the odds."
- "Always in motion is the future."
- "Why, you slimy, double crossing, no good swindler!"
- "Laugh it up, fuzzball!"
- "Oh, my! What have you done? I'm BACKWARDS. You flea-bitten furball! Only an overgrown mop-head like you would be stupid enough to..."

Friday, December 6, 2013

101 in 1001 #1

Well, hello! I had every intention of starting to tell you guys all about my trip on Wednesday, and then I ended up spending a hundred years writing selection criteria responses and the next thing I knew, it was 10.30pm. And then I was going to do the same yesterday, but I ended up spending the afternoon Hulk smashing the planet because of the Buffy episode that we were covering on Snark Squad today, which has been the cause of many MANY ranty "WTF IS THIS EPISODE???" emails between Lor, Sweeney, and myself.

ANYWAY. As it's now after 6pm on a Friday night, I'm too lazy to start telling you about my trip in detail. So instead, I shall tell you this: that my trip crossed off the very first thing on my 101 in 1001 list(!!) - to visit a new country. Sure, I've flown through Auckland a bunch of times, but I'd never actually left the airport or cleared passport control. And now I have! Not that I have the stamp to prove it... *sad panda*

I promise I'll start telling you about my trip really soon. But in the meantime, here's some purdy pictures to prove that I actually left the country:
Auckland

HOBBITON!

The Champagne Pool

Mt Ngauruhoe

Wellington

Have good weekends, y'all.

K xx

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

TTT - Top Ten 2014 Releases I'm Dying To Read


Another Tuesday, another link up with The Broke and the Bookish!

There are a lot of books I'm looking forward to next year, most of which seem to be long-awaited sequels. They're also primarily YA, because grown up books are overrated. Or something.

ANYWAY.

1. Fairwil by Alysia Gray Painter
OH MY GOD, I NEED THIS BOOK IMMEDIATELY. I need the under-the-diving-board scene. I need more squee-worthy adorableness. I need more Gomery in my life. Alysia, please write faster. Kthxbai.

2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
I'm kind of at the point where I would read a shopping list if it were written by Rainbow Rowell. I've loved all of her books, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.

3. The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
I devoured The 5th Wave and was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. I can't believe the sequel doesn't come out until AUGUST. That is far too long to wait.

4. Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Oh my goodness. I've loved the first two books of this series, and I can't wait to see what happens in the third one. Personally, I'm hoping Soap plays a major role.

5. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
I can has now please? The first two books in this series were the most adorably squee-tastic and fabulous and everything you could possibly want in life. I can't wait to read this one too.

6. Cress by Marissa Meyer
I'm so excited about the next installment of this series, because it's been completely magical thus far.

7. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Sure, they're pretty cheesy and predictable, but it's pretty hard to read Jennifer E. Smith's books without a giant smile on your face.

8. Clariel by Garth Nix
Another Old Kingdom book? YES PLEASE. My inner teenager is screaming with excitement.

9. Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray
Sure, the cover design may be completely terrible, but I'm really excited about finally reading the sequel to The Diviners.

10. Sisters' Fate by Jessica Spotswood
After the insane ending of Star Cursed, I really cannot fathom how Jessica Spotswood is going to finish this series without me being in tears.

What books are you most looking forward to reading next year?

K xx

Monday, December 2, 2013

Movie Monday: Serenity


I honestly can't believe it's taken me this long to cover today's installment. Because it's pretty damned fabulous. Not *quite* as fabulous as the TV series that started it all, but a better ending to things than Fox gave us, that's for sure!!

Reasons why Serenity is awesome:
1. The opening scene with River.
2. Nathan Fillion. Oh captain, my captain.
3. The scene where Mal's talking to Inara on the wave, and the rest of the crew are busy shipping them.


4. Alan Tudyk. Excuse me while I cry all the ugly cries.
5. The conversation between Mal and Wash after the primary buffer panel falls off the ship.
6. Simon and Kaylee. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!
7. Gina Torres.
8. River fighting reavers. Holy hell, the choreography in this scene is incredible.
Source
9. Morena Baccarin.
10. The soundtrack. Dear God, the soundtrack.
11. Summer Glau. She. Is. FABULOUS.
12. That during Mal's conversation with Inara on the wave, you can see a bunch of scars, all of which were incurred during the series.
13. Jewel Staite.
Source
14. Badass Inara during the fight at the training house.
15. Sean Maher.
16. The aerial battle between the reavers and the Alliance.
17. Adam Baldwin. Especially his attachment to grenades.
Source
18. The scene between Simon and River after he gets shot. ALL THE UGLY CRYING.
19. Ron Glass. More ugly crying.
20. Mal fighting the Operative above the engine room.
21. Sarah Paulson. She may only be in one scene, but what a brilliant and terrifying scene.


22. It's Joss Whedon.
23. The cinematography is pretty freaking gorgeous.
24. Chiwetel Ejiofor. Goodness, he's fabulous.
25. River as co-pilot at the end.
26. That typical Whedon "Haha, you thought it was all over but I'm about to kill your favourite character with no warning!" moment. Sigh.


Plus, the following quotes:
- "I aim to misbehave."
- "I'm a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar."
- "I don't care what you believe, just believe in it."
- "You take care of me, Simon. You've always taken care of me. My turn."
- "Where are you hiding, little girl?"
- "We're gonna explode? I don't wanna explode!"
- "No grenades."
- "Everything's shiny, Cap'n. Not to fret."
- "She's tore up plenty, but she'll fly true."
- "Bullet in the brain pan, squish."
- "What was that?" "Did you see that?" "Was that the primary buffer panel?" "It did seem to resemble..." "Did the primary buffer panel just fall off my gorram ship for no apparent reason?" "Looks like." "I thought Kaylee checked the entry couplings. I've a very clear recollection of it." "Well, if she doesn't get us some extra flow from the engine room to offset the burn-through, this landing is gonna get pretty interesting." "Define "interesting."" "Oh God, oh God, we're all gonna die?" "This is the captain. We're having a little problem with our entry sequence, so we may experience some slight turbulence and then...explode."
- "Do you know what your sin is, Mal?" "Aw, hell. I'm a fan of all seven."
- "I swallowed a bug."
- "In all that time on the ship... I've always regretted... not being with you." "With me? You mean to say...as...sex?" "I mean to say." "Hell with this. I'm gonna live!"
- "You wanna run this ship?" "Yes!" "Well...you can't."
- "Don't pay anybody in advance. And don't ride in anything with a Capissen 38 engine, they fall right out of the sky."
- "Shiny. Let's be bad guys."
- "Dear Buddha, please bring me a plastic rocket and a pony and..."
- "Do you know what the definition of a hero is? Someone who gets other people killed."
- "You do that, you'd best make peace with your dear and fluffy Lord."
- "At last. We can retire and give up this life of crime..."
- "Can't stop the signal, Mal."
- "Ain't logical. Cuttin' on his own face, rapin' and murdering - Hell, I'll kill a man in a fair fight... Or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight, or if he bothers me, or if there's a woman, or if I'm gettin' paid - mostly only when I'm gettin' paid. But these Reavers... last ten years they show up like the bogeyman from stories. Eating people alive? Where's that get fun?"
- "Ready to get off this heap, back to civilised life?" "I, uh... I don't know." "Good answer."
- "So...trap?" "Trap." "We goin' in?" "Ain't but a few hours out." "Yeah, but...remember the part where it's a trap?"

So. Thoughts?

K xx

Sunday, December 1, 2013

#readWilkie - Whodunnit

After getting off to a roaring start with The Moonstone in the first two weeks of November, I struggled a little with the second half. Not because it wasn't interesting, but because I was on holiday in New Zealand, and my reading was basically limited to one chapter before bed. And given that I was reading Allegiant and Curtsies & Conspiracies and The Moonstone simultaneously, it was fairly slow going.

Luckily, I had an hour's flight from Wellington to Auckland and then a four and a half hour flight from Auckland to Melbourne yesterday, and took advantage of the "please switch off your electronic devices" portions of the flight to finish The Moonstone.It took me a little while to get back into the swing of things, but ultimately, I loved it. It turned out that I remembered less of the plot than I thought I did at the half way point - I remembered that Franklin was partly to blame and that he was under the effects of opium at the time, but not who the ultimate culprit was. I'm fairly certain I gasped in surprise and confused the people sitting on either side of me on the plane...

I was highly suspicious of Ezra Jennings at first, but it wasn't long before his story gave me All The Feels. Sure, the whole "let's give Franklin opium again and see if he'll do exactly the same thing he did this time last year" plan was a wee bit contrivance-filled. I mean, what would they have done if they'd given Franklin the opium and he'd just taken a twelve hour nap?? But really, it's no more far fetched than Dickens and that case of spontaneous human combustion that he put into Bleak House

My favourite thing, though, from the second half of the book was Sassy Betteridge. His queries in response to the way the house was to be set up for the experiment were fabulous, and I laughed throughout, particularly over the exploded buzzard, and who was to be responsible for making Franklin's room messy. Bless you, Wilkie, for creating such a magnificent character. 

In summary, I loved pretty much every second of this read-along. It was a fantastic reminder for me of why I fell in love with Wilkie Collins' books way back in 2001, and I'm going to do my utmost to reread The Woman in White before the end of the year. 

And finally, thanks to Ellie for organising the read-along! 

K xx
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