Thursday, January 29, 2015

We don't usually vanquish humans

A mere seven months after I finally finished watching Charmed, and I'm FINALLY remembering to get around to my thoughts on season 8. WOO. Season 8 was light on decent guest stars (boo) and high on incredibly boring drama (double boo), and it doesn't surprise me at all that the show didn't get renewed based on the quality of this season. It was...decidedly not great. Still, on with my thoughts!


  • Okay, how the hell are they affording all these designer brands? Between the three of them, they have ZERO JOBS. 
  • Oh my God. Are they seriously going to do a Sex and the City themed episode when Phoebe's love interest is Smith from Sex and the City?! 
STOP. Also, source.
  • Bahahaha, Paige is becoming a cop??? Oh, wait. No. That was too much to hope for. She's going to quit and make out with a cop instead. Of course.
  • Ugh, seriously? They're bringing The Source back AGAIN?? 
  • Oh wait. It lasted a red hot second before they vanquished him again. Excellent.
  • Thank God we're done with this stupid double identities plot. It was getting incredibly confusing. 
  • ANOTHER body swap episode? Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh.
Awesome special effects, team. Source.
  • Okay, Phoebe and her ticking biological clock are indescribably annoying. 
  • What the hell is that thing that looks like an ubervamp mated with the fluke monster from The X-Files?! EW.
  • Ahahaha, a super soldier plan? Good job, government. That's bound to end brilliantly.
  • Leo's hair is getting insane.
  • Demon Charmed One impersonators?? What even is this show any more. 
  • Pretentious British Guy is pretentious. 
  • Well. That was quite the insta-wedding, Paige. 
  • I have zero fucks to give about Christie and her secret evilness.
  • I kind of love Phoebe and Coop, even though he was totally added in at the last minute to wrap things up.
  • Christie is the worst. THE WOOOOOOOOOOOOOORST.
  • Welp. They blew up the house. I guess the show really IS ending. 
FEELS. Also, source.
  • This finale is so wibbly wobbly timey wimey that my brain can't keep up.
  • I find it oddly hilarious that Phoebe's worn ugg boots through the entire finale.
  • Kaley Cuoco is a really terrible fake crier.
  • I really wish they'd worked out a way to bring Shannen Doherty back for the finale.
  • Okay, that ending was hella cheesy, so HOW IN THE HELL DID IT STILL MAKE ME CRY?!?!?! 
So. There you have it. It took me a stupidly long time, but we have fiiiiiiiiinally reached the end of Charmed

Did you see season 8? What did you think?

K xx

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

TTT - Books I'd Love To Read If I Had A Book Club

Another Tuesday already? Must be time to talk about books and link up with the Broke and the Bookish!

First things first - I need to admit that I'm kiiiiiiiiiiiind of cheating on this one. I'm not a book club person. I think I'd be endlessly frustrated having to read books that other people chose, books that aren't necessarily to my interests. Plus, the whole idea reminds me a little too much of high school English, and NO THANK YOU.

That said, I comprised this list a little differently than I think was intended. Instead of going with books that I haven't read but would be interested in reading as part of a book club, this list is instead comprised exclusively of books that I've read already and think would be very interesting to sit around a table and discuss with people. They're not necessarily books that I loved, because I honestly think that spending the entire time fangirling over the book would get pretty boring pretty quickly. Yes, some of them are books that I loved, but they're generally books that were quite polarising or had some kind of contentious issue that it would be interesting to discuss as a group.

1. Nona and Me - Clare Atkins
This book is about a white teenage girl living in a remote mining town in Arnhem Land and her former best friend/adoptive sister, Nona, who's Yolngu. Rosie, the narrator, makes some truly terrible decisions and the book gets pretty racist at times, and it would be really interesting to discuss the conflicts between Indigenous Australians and white Australians, especially as it's set in the lead up to the 2007 election and Kevin Rudd's apology.

2. Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy
I really didn't like this book. Alice was a truly awful human being. Harvey was a doormat from start to finish. The story often made me want to punch Alice in the face for her truly terrible life choices and her inability to Use Her Words. And yet, I know people who gave it five stars. I want to discuss it, to see what they saw, to see if maybe I was looking at the book at surface level, to see if I was missing something.

3. Attachments - Rainbow Rowell
I love this book. I love the characters, I love the way the story is told through emails, I love the feels and the squees and pretty much everything. But really? Lincoln's decision to continue reading Beth and Jennifer's emails is pretty dubious, and it gets to a point where it almost borders on stalking. And I think it would be really interesting to discuss that side of things.

4. The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling
I think a lot of people went into this book expecting a grown-up version of the writing we got in Harry Potter. Instead, they got ten years worth of swear words and sex scenes that Joanne had been hoarding while writing Harry Potter. There are so many characters and so many concurrent stories that link together that I think this one would be really interesting to read and discuss as a group.

5. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick
I have suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I think it's a really important story to tell, and it was incredibly moving and said a lot about the power of good teachers. On the other hand, it was an indescribably disturbing book and I spent at least half of it feeling very uncomfortable. So I think it would be a good one to discuss with others.

6. Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
This one seems to be a book that people either love or hate. It's full of unreliable narration and unlikeable characters and I really need to reread it now that I've seen the movie to see how the two differ. Which would add an extra layer to any book club discussion!

7. Life After Life - Kate Atkinson
This one was totally mind-bending. It follows Ursula from birth to death, but when she dies, she goes back to the beginning again and the decisions that she makes change the path that she's on and how she ultimately dies. It was fascinating and complex and often a struggle to keep track of what happened in what version of her life, so discussion would be fabulous if only to sort out all the threads of the story in my mind!

8. Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas
Look, mostly with this one I'd want to see if people guessed who did it before it happened. I'd be like a creepy stalker, texting them constantly to find out where they were up to and who they thought committed the murder at various points of the story. Kind of like watching Broadchurch, really.

9. More Than This - Patrick Ness
Frankly, I would read the Yellow Pages if it was written by Patrick Ness. And I really enjoyed this book and its existential "what is life?" questions. But it's a book that raised a lot of questions and which had kind of an uncertain ending, so I think there's the possibility for a hell of a lot of discussion about it!

10. Alex As Well - Alyssa Brugman
This book is fascinating because it demonstrates really clearly how there are two sides to every story, and both of them can be massively unreliable. Both Alex and her mother are incredibly unreliable. After watching an interview with the author where she talks about the narration and how much of Alex's story takes place inside Alex's head, I'd love to reread this one and discuss it with a group.

What's on your list?

K xx

Monday, January 26, 2015

Lady Chatterley's Lover - D.H. Lawrence

It was bound to happen eventually, friends. I mean, sixty classics on my list. Sixty is a lot of books. Hating one was only a matter of time. That's right. I hated this book. I mean, I didn't hate it enough to rate it one star. I could see the merit in elements of the story. But I was on the struggle bus from start to finish, and there were times when I honestly thought I wasn't going to be able to finish it and would have to throw it across the room instead.

So. Lady Chatterley's Lover is the story of Constance Chatterley, who gets married in 1917 and whose husband comes back from the war paralysed from the waist down. He loses all interest in sex and basically in being around her at all, but decides that he'd quite like to have a child. He suggests that she go off and get knocked up to a nice, respectable man, and that they raise the child as the heir to the estate. Except that Constance falls for the rough-as-guts gamekeeper, Oliver Mellors, who introduces her to real passion, and Constance feels herself coming to life for the first time.

This book is/was hella contentious. It was banned for the better part of forty years due to the fact that it contains numerous sex scenes and a ton of swearing and A WOMAN ENJOYING SEX OH MY GOD NO HOW SCANDALOUS. And really, I feel like if it weren't for the fact that the book had been banned, this book wouldn't be anywhere near as popular or infamous as it became.

While there were some passages that contained interesting discussion of the state of English society in a post-war environment, for the most part I found this book incredibly boring. Seriously. Literally none of the characters are likeable. I didn't care about any of them. I found Mellors to be particularly abhorrent, which made it difficult to get through the supposedly salacious sex scenes (frankly, I've read better sex scenes in fan fiction that's written by 15 year olds...).

Either it was incredibly boring scenes of Constance and her husband doing boring upper class things, boring scenes of Constance gushing to her sister about Mellors, or moderately boring scenes of Constance and Mellors boinking. And even that wasn't enough to keep me interested, especially not after I realised that D.H. Lawrence had something of an obsession with bowels and referred to them constantly.

Not even kidding. You want quotes? Because I've got 'em.

"...compassion flamed in his bowels for her."

"Yet the passion of it licked round her, consuming, and when the sensual flame of it passed through her bowels and breast, she really thought she was dying: yet a poignant, marvellous death."

"...the passion for him moved in her bowels."

" her womb and bowels she was flowing and alive now..."

"And he went into her softly, feeling the stream of tenderness flowing in release from his bowels to hers".

"And he himself loathed the mention of bowels of compassion."

You and me both, Mellors. You and me both.

In short, I tried to like this book, I really did. I know a lot of people adore it. But when it wasn't boring me senseless, D.H. Lawrence was making me angry by saying that gay people are only gay because they haven't had REALLY GOOD straight sex.

I know it was written in a different time, blah blah blah. But it lost me time and time again. Especially when Mellors made a passionate speech about the state of society and Constance didn't hear any of it because she was weaving forget-me-nots into his pubes.

Yeah. No.

Have you read it? What did you think??

K xx

Friday, January 23, 2015

Did you just call me a ho?

With Charmed season 7, we progress to the stuff that I hadn't actually seen before. We also progress to a less than stellar era of the show, but we still get some hilariously awesome guest stars, so...there's that. My thoughts are shorter than usual this time around, probably because at least half of my thoughts were just flailing over the guest stars...

Why does HMC look like an afterthought?? Source
ONWARDS WITH MY THOUGHTS (which are from May, so there's every possibility that Present!Kirsti has no idea what the hell Past!Kirsti was talking about...)

  • This floaty ghost head is like a cross between Voldemort and Slimer. 
  • OH. MY. GOD. Did Charisma Carpenter guest star in EVERYTHING?! 
  • ...................the Angel of Death is bitching about working overtime. 
  • Charisma's character is a total sass explosion who gets premonitions. Apparently she's still playing Cordelia Chase.
  • Seriously, I can't take Agent Brody seriously because he's Jack from Dawson's Creek.
  • Leo, dude. Remove the knife from Piper's stomach and THEN heal her. 
  • I wonder if the real reason that they got rid of Phoebe's active powers is because they ran out of money to make her levitate. 
  • No, but seriously. Why the hell would they even let Agent Brody in the house?! 
  • Bahaha, the Avatars basically have touchscreens ten years ahead of schedule. 
  • Billy Zane is singing. What the eff. 
  • Paige: "Okay, hi. I'm wearing lip gloss. Do I LOOK homeless??". Don't be judgey, Paige. Homeless people are allowed to care about their appearances too. 
  • Why the hell do all the scenes with the Elders suddenly take place on top of the Golden Gate Bridge?
  • Did we HAVE to have a close up of Piper sewing up Leo's shoulder? Gross. 
  • Oh no. Did they just give us an "into every generation, a girl is born" storyline for Pandora's Box? Ugh, they totally did. 
She's even blonde. Source.
  • Pretty sure Phoebe's love interest guy just got killed by the demon version of Wolverine...
  • Are they seriously faking their deaths? WHY. WHY IS THIS PLOT A GOOD IDEA? I ALREADY HATE IT. 

Guest stars from this season who should have known better: Nick Lachey, Charisma Carpenter, Kerr Smith, Billy Zane, TJ Thyne, Oded Fehr, Sebastian Roche, Seamus Deaver, Jon Hamm, David Anders.

Two questions, friends. 1. Are you as astonished over some of those guest stars as I am? (JON HAMM???), and 2. Any suggestions for what show I should watch and have a lot of thoughts about next? 

K xx

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pretty things and ghostly toilet paper

Previously, we headed down to Belem, got caught in yet another rain storm, saw a fancy monastery and ate our body weight in custard tarts.

With our last full day in Lisbon, we decided that we should head back out to Sintra because there was still more to see and do. The day didn't start brilliantly - we stopped at Starbucks because Mum was in need of coffee, and I figured I may as well get a hot chocolate. Except the typical Starbucks name-for-the-cup thing didn't turn out quite right for me:

Yup. Costy.

We started our second day in Sintra with a trip to Quinta da Regaleira, which if I recall correctly was built by an eccentric rich dude. The house was a weird mixture of ridiculously ornate and incredibly plain that seems to be common in Portugal. The British and European palaces and stately homes that I've visited have all been over the top rooms with over the top furniture in them. Portugal? Over the top ceilings or walls, everything else is plain and boring. Weird...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanywho, the house was pretty. But not *too* over the top.

Who doesn't love to hold a starfish to their
boob while at the beach?! 
Ridiculous doorknob is ridiculous.
The gardens, meanwhile, were lots of fun. It wasn't so much that the plants were spectacular so much as it was that the gardens were HUGE and there were unexpected buildings and underground grottos and stuff all over the place.

Once we'd exhausted the possibilities in the gardens, we stopped by the cafe for a quick ice cream based lunch and headed out to the bus stop to wait for the bus to our next destination. It turned out that the bus was running about 15 minutes late, so a very nice guy from a fancy hop on, hop off tour company who happened to have a mostly empty bus was like "Yeah, don't wait for the crappy public bus. I'll take you for free!". So that was awesome.

Our next destination was Monserrate Palace, and it was pretty damned spectacular. I think it was easily my favourite of the places we visited in Sintra. The gardens were fairly fabulous, but it was the house that I liked the most. It was open and spacious and full of Indian and Middle Eastern influences, and it was just GORGEOUS. Even the rooms that were still under repair and had no ceilings.

Mildly ornate walls.

The music room was especially stunning, and I kind of wish I could attend a concert there.

By the time we'd finished there, the afternoon was rapidly disappearing. C wanted to go to another palace that was further afield, but we had no idea how late it was open or what time the buses finished and we didn't want to risk being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting back to town. So we spent 20 minutes waiting for a bus, headed straight to the train station and back to Lisbon, had a drink or two, and then went back to the little restaurant we'd found near the cathedral for a delicious and relatively early dinner before heading back to our apartment to pack.

And take photos of the ghostly toilet paper, because obviously:

Next time, we head to the airport and back to jolly old England where we spend a stupidly long time standing in a queue. Obviously.

K xx

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Time for a change

A few months ago, I decided that I was sick of my bookshelf. So I decided that I'd get a new one. Somehow, that snowballed into the realisation that I could also get a new chest of drawers and a new desk and have my room look totally different.

So not long before New Year's, I trekked down to Ikea and spent a small fortune on flatpack furniture. The desk I wanted wasn't in stock, so I came home without it and proceeded to stalk the Ikea website waiting for it to come back in. Except then somewhere along the way, I realised that I hadn't really used my desk in years. Sure, I sat at it from time to time, but mostly it was a dumping ground for things that didn't really have a place. So what the hell was the point in paying $450 for a desk that I was barely going to use? 

Instead, I ended up getting another (smaller) bookshelf and a big comfy chair. Which, of course, Ikea didn't have in stock on the day I went down there. Today, though? Today they had that damned chair in stock, and my room is FINALLY finished. 

Sure, it wasn't exactly cheap. But it didn't break the bank and still cost me $130 less than it would have if I'd bought the desk, so...there's that. 


Terrible phone photo taken standing on my bed at 12.25am. Desk = dumping ground

Prior to getting the third unit, rearranging things 100 times and buying storage boxes

There's now a little more stuff on the top

I think the chair might need a cushion of some description...

So. There you have it. Weirdly, considering it's got MORE pieces of furniture in it than it did previously, my room feels bigger now. Which is exciting.

I still need to rearrange all the stuff on the walls because it's now all at weird heights, but that's pretty straightforward!

Super important question: should I get a cushion for the chair, and what colour should it be?

K xx

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TTT - Books that weren't what I thought they'd be

Another Tuesday already? Must be time to talk about books and link up with the Broke and the Bookish!

It's a freebie topic this week, and after reading a few books in recent weeks that really weren't what I thought they were going to be, I figured I'd talk about ten books that I had totally wrong in my head. 

1. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Thanks to Hollywood, the story seems to be all mad scientist and limping lab assistant and lightning and IT'S ALIIIIIIIIIIIVE-y. When really, the book couldn't really get any further away from that.  Yes, Victor Frankenstein builds a monster out of bits of dead people. But the minute his creation comes to life, he's horrified and disgusted by what he's done. Similarly, the monster that he creates isn't a shambling green skinned mess, but an articulate creation who just wanted to be loved and, left to fend for himself, turned instead to anger. Which led to hate. Which led suffering. Which led to the dark side. Wait, what? 

2. Shadow & Bone - Leigh Bardugo
I have literally no idea why, but I'd always thought the Grisha series was about dragons. I honestly can't explain it. I'm pretty sure I read the blurb for this book once or twice. I'd definitely seen friends reviewing it. Not one of them mentioned dragons in any way, shape or form. And yet, when I started reading it a week or so ago, I was like "Wait, isn't this a dragon book? Why aren't there dragons? I'm SURE there were dragons." Nope. 

3. The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch
This one I'm blaming entirely on the title. I knew this was a book about a bunch of thieves. And I knew the name "Gentlemen Bastards" was involved somewhere, because that's the name of the series. But courtesy of the title - EVEN THOUGH IT'S SPELLED DIFFERENTLY - I somehow ended up under the impression that this was set in Scotland. Add in thieves and gentleman bastards, and I kind of assumed it would be an action packed story about whisky smuggling and ruining the reputations of young ladies in the late eighteen century. Seriously, you guys, my brain is odd. 

4. Pointe - Brandy Colbert
I blame the cover for this one. I was expecting a ballet book. I think I must have only read the first two sentences of the blurb, because I remember that I was expecting her to have an eating disorder and I was definitely expecting ballet. The thriller side of things? That was a little unexpected.

5. Chocolat - Joanne Harris
The movie is 150,000% responsible for this one. I anticipated a story set in the 1950s. And I expected the local count to be the villain. Instead, I got a story that was largely timeless right up to the point where someone started playing with an iPod or brought a bottle of 1989 wine to dinner, and a story where the characters of the priest and the count were one in the same. 

6. Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy
Comparisons are a freaking nightmare, you guys. This was billed time and time again as being just like The Fault in Our Stars. Instead, I got a really angry teenage girl who didn't know what to do with her life when she DIDN'T die, and a total doormat of a male lead who followed her around like a sad puppy. And the desire to throw the book at the wall. 

7. The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
I expected a sci-fi thriller filled with killer plants from outer space. Instead, I got killer plants that were created by the Soviets and a "meteor" that was probably actually a Soviet weapon that sent everybody blind and allowed the killer plants to do their thing. And that, my friends, is much more terrifying than killer plants from outer space. 

8. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
This was the first classic book that I ever read, and based on the cover I was expecting to be bored shitless for a million pages. I only read it because we were studying it in English, really. But what I got was anything but boring. And I DEFINITELY wasn't expecting a mad woman in the attic. 

9. The Lost World - Michael Crichton
I saw the (truly terrible) movie version of this well before I read the books, so I was expecting much of the same - T. rex rampaging through San Diego blah blah blah. Instead, I got a book that was filled with dino-riffic violence and thrills, and discovered that the strangely placed child character in the film was, in fact, two characters in the book. Which made far more sense. Considering Spielberg apparently pressured Crichton into writing a sequel so that he could make a movie of it, the crappiness of the movie version makes even less sense. 

10. All The Truth That's In Me - Julie Berry
Don't ask me how, because a bunch of people I know have reviewed this, but I had no idea it was historical fiction. I thought it was a contemporary novel. I don't know why. If anything, the cover screams 1970s to me. But definitely not colonial America. That part was unexpected... 

So. What are some books that haven't been what you were expecting? And please tell me you expected something similar if you've read any of these??????? 

K xx

Monday, January 19, 2015

Everybody likes a crispy bottom

Previously, we went to Sintra, where it poured with rain. We saw a bunch of palaces and had to sell a kidney or two to pay for a round of drinks. 

We briefly debated going back to Sintra the next day because there was still more to see and do, but ultimately decided to break things up a bit with a trip across to Belem, which is a waterfront suburb of Lisbon. It's about 15 minutes on the tram from where we were staying, and the day started off with C and I realising that none of us had enough money on our travel cards to actually get to Belem and running across the main plaza to the train station in search of a machine to top them up. Running because the next tram was due in like 16 minutes and we figured that would be enough time to get over there, top up the cards, and get back.

Turns out, it was, but the machines were ridiculously slow so we cut things pretty close. When we got to Belem, we wandered through a park and stumbled across this statue:

Given that there's a statue of him, he's presumably important in some way. But there were no signs or markers identifying him, and Google Maps is of no assistance. Womp womp.

Eventually, we made our way down to the Monument of the Discoveries (Padrão dos Descobrimentos for those of you who prefer Portuguese). The giant map in the forecourt was pretty awesome, although impossible to take photos of courtesy of dozens of tourists. C did better than I did, so I totally stole this photo from him:
Damned tourists...
The monument itself wasn't particularly exciting. I mean, it's kind of pretty. But it's also pretty depressing when you think about the fact that the men depicted on said monument are responsible for the deaths of millions upon millions of indigenous peoples and the destruction of a ton of societies and environments. So, you know, there's that...

We paid the €3 fee to take the elevator up to the top, and I have to say that the view was pretty damned great.

You know, until we noticed that massive rain cloud up there rapidly heading in our direction... We scurried back to the bottom of the tower and managed to take a few pictures of the outside before it started to pour with rain. Sideways rain. Torrential sideways rain.

We ended up sheltering around one side of the monument, which stopped the worst of the rain hitting us, and luckily the rain didn't last too long. But it did look like it was going to return relatively soon, so we hightailed it over to the monastery with intentions of going to the National Maritime Museum. Due to my inability to focus, we ended up at the National Archaeology Museum instead (in my defence, they're essentially next door to each other) and didn't realise until we were half way through an exhibit on Roman culture. I blame general vagueness and the fact that they had a huge exhibit about shipwrecks...

On the plus side, the exhibit about Roman culture meant that C and I got to nerd out and spend like 15 minutes trying to translate gravestones from Latin. Because we're cool like that...

Once we'd exhausted all the possibilities at the museum, we headed in the direction of our REAL aim in coming to Belem: Casa Pasteis de Belem, home of the much loved Portuguese custard tart which was apparently invented just up the road at the monastery that was to be our next stop. It was pretty busy, and the wait time for service was pretty terrible, but I can highly recommend the toasted cheese sandwiches. And the pasteis de Belem were TO DIE FOR:

Once we had custard tart food babies and my poor, gluten intolerant mother had glared at us for long periods of time, we headed back to the Jerónimos Monastery. And if you think I didn't have the Eleventh Doctor bouncing around in my head the whole time, you're very wrong. There wasn't a whole lot of information provided about the monastery, from memory, but it was pretty damned spectacular, inside and out.

The church was amazing, and included the tomb of Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea, which is a pretty incredible feat.

We finished at the monastery not long before they closed for the day and then speed walked the one and a bit kilometres to Belem Tower, sneaking in with about 10 minutes to spare before last entry. Phew!

There's not really a whole lot to see at Belem Tower. The interior is basically empty with a few story panels on each level to tell you about the original purpose of that floor of the tower. But, you know, there was this gargoyle of a monkey playing the violin, so that's something!

From there, we headed back to the tram and started making our way back into the city. But part way there, the trams were all stopped by a firetruck blocking the tracks and we were told that we'd have to take a bus instead. Of course, no one spoke English and we had no idea where the buses were going or where we were, so we ended up jumping on a bus that SEEMED to indicate that it was going to the city centre and hoped for the best.

It didn't go quite where we thought it would, but somehow we ended up at a surprisingly good restaurant half way up a big flight of stairs with bird cages full of finches out the front. I have zero idea of what it was called, but I can tell you that the food was pretty damned tasty, they had no qualms about adding or removing things from their dishes, and I ended up having a sweet potato cake with olive oil ice cream from dessert solely because it sounded so intriguing. Definitely weird but still pretty tasty!

Next up, we head back to Sintra to visit some more national palaces, because apparently Portugal has a million of them. 

K xx
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