Friday, November 26, 2010

Big50 Day 19: Tattoos

I currently have two tattoos, but I have plans for at least 3 more.  Here are my current ones:

The tattoo on my back is the first one I got.  I scoured books and magazines and the internet for nearly a year before I found this design on some random webpage of uncredited Pagan symbols, and I knew it was what I wanted straight away.  I've never seen another like it.  When I showed it to my tattoo artist (the fabulous Dave Stevens at Electric Ink) and told him where I wanted it, he told me that I'd chosen pretty much the most painful tattoo I could for my first!

The main symbol is a pentacle.  Clockwise from top-left, the smaller symbols are as follows:

  • A six-pointed star, generally recognised as the Star of David
  • Aum, which is a sacred syllable in several Indian religions
  • Yin yang, a Chinese symbol that represents how opposing forces interact
  • A triskele, an ancient Celtic symbol
  • A sun cross, a prehistoric symbol that can be found all over Europe
As you can see, the symbols come from many cultures and religions.  Without sounding too much like a stupid privileged white person, I tentatively interpret my tattoo to represent balance, harmony, wholeness, and the sacred nature of all things.  I absolutely love it.  My only regret is that it's not somewhere I can see easily, because I could certainly do with a reminder of those things every day!

When my first one was done, my tattoo artist asked me what I was getting next.  "Nothing," I said.  He laughed and gave me a knowing look and said, "You'll be back."  He was right - I was back about 12 months later for my armband!

I knew I wanted an armband tattoo, but I wanted one a little bit different from everyone else.  I chose this design from a book of Celtic tattoo designs I had.  Sadly, the book doesn't say where it is from, but of the examples were from illuminated Bible manuscripts.  It's a bit hard to tell from the picture, but the tattoo is interlocking dogs in alternating red and green.  I chose the dogs because I love animals, and my tattoo artist helped with the colours - I knew I wanted colour rather than black like my previous tattoo, and he suggested the red and green as being traditional Celtic colours.

My remaining plans are: a small silver fern on the inside of my right wrist, a phoenix on my right shoulder (I'm hoping to cover my huge scar from removing my birthmark but apparently you shouldn't tattoo over a scar so need to think about that), and a quote, probably from Shakespeare, around my left ankle.  Then I'll have to come up with some more.

I'm reluctant to try another tattoo artist because Dave at Electric Ink did such a fantastic job, but I am getting really desperate for a new tattoo, and making a special trip to Levin just for a tattoo pilgrimage seems a bit extreme!

Do you have any tattoos?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Big50 Day 18: Simple Pleasures

Man, I am so far behind!

I'm finding it very hard to blog about simple pleasures today because I haven't had a very pleasurable few days, but never mind.  In no particular order...

  • Lying in bed while it's raining outside and reading a good book
  • Crisp clean sheets
  • Baths (oh how I miss having a bath!)
  • Cuddling with my fur babies
  • Beautiful underwear
  • The feel of silk against my skin
  • Hugs
  • A baby on my hip
  • Bubble Tea
That will do for now.  What's your favourite simple pleasure?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Big50 Day 17: Meat Loaf

Oh man, I am so far behind, and I started out so well!  I have to catch up, and fast, because I have posts planned for certain days!

So today I'm going to talk to you all about Meat Loaf.  Not the food, as I hope at least some of you have guessed, but the musician.  I fell in love with Meat Loaf after finding his Bat Out of Hell record in a box of my parents' old vinyl.  I even wrote a poem about that discovery.  Here was this man - this fat, messy, hairy man - who still had this amazing power through his voice.  I loved his music - the epicness of it, the emotion of it, the poetry.  It was the start of a life-long love of Meat Loaf.

A few years after that, a boyfriend found out about my love of Meat Loaf, and when I bought my first stereo, he gave me two CDs as a gift.  One was U2's Rattle and Hum (because he was trying to introduce me to them, and I instantly became a convert).  The other was Jim Steinman's Bad For Good.  Chris explained that Jim Steinman has written most of Meat Loaf's hits, and in fact Meat Loaf has recorded several of the songs off Bad For Good.  He was introducing me to the world behind the star, and I loved it.  I've even been known to recognise Jim Steinman compositions when I hear them, like Céline Dion's version of It's All Coming Back to Me Now.  He has such a distinctive style.  I still have both CDs on high rotation.

I'm ashamed to admit that I just realised I still haven't bought Bat Out of Hell III.  I will need to remedy that next time I'm in JB HiFi!

Right before I moved to Australia, Meat Loaf was touring.  I went to his concert in Auckland.  It was amazing, being able to actually see him perform on stage.  He made a joke about the little poem at the start of Hot Summer Night, and Bat Out of Hell sent chills down my spine (as it always does).  My only regret is that I didn't have anyone there with me to enjoy it.  It's the only time I've been to a concert alone, but it was worth it!

Meat Loaf showed me that music is always better if there's real, powerful emotion behind it.  Jim Steinman showed me that a carefully crafted song will always stand the test of time.  Who was your first musical love?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Big50 Day 16: Comfort Food

I've already talked about chocolate and baking, so it should be clear to you by now that I really love my food!  In fact, I just added a new category for "Food" to this blog.  As I write this, I have my second Christmas Pudding of the season boiling in a pot on the stove, and a batch of choc-marmalade-walnut biscotti cooling on the rack.

Comfort food means many things to me.  When I'm sick, I want my Nana's poached eggs and lemon honey drink.  My favourite dessert was her rice pudding, which my Daddy does an excellent imitation of.  When I'm home, I want Mum's bacon and eggs and mushrooms for breakfast.

Sausages with onion gravy and mash is my favourite meal to cook when I'm craving something comforting.  We get some really good quality sausages and make a slow-cooked onion gravy with this recipe.  It really is worth the hour of cooking, it's just perfect.

I guess what all my comfort food choices have in common are that they are traditional, home-cooked meals.  There really is nothing like home cooking for comfort!

What's your favourite comfort food?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Big50 Day 15: Celebrity Crush

I'm a couple of days behind for various uninteresting reasons, sorry loyal readers!

Today I'm going to tell you about my celebrity crush, or rather, crushes, because there are a couple I want to mention.  My oldest and most enduring crush is on Keanu Reeves.  I used to have several posters of him on my bedroom walls as a teenager.  He gets slammed for being a crappy actor, but he starred in one of the biggest movies of the 90s, and who can imagine anyone other than Keanu as Neo?  There's just something about him...I loved him in the Bill and Ted movies, that was where it started for me I think.  His artless, wide-eyed character just appealed to me when I was in high school.  He'll always be my first celebrity crush!

Another crush I have is on Alan Rickman, or more specifically, his voice.  He has a gorgeous, smooth, sexy voice that commands attention.  I love it!  He's amazing as Snape in the Harry Potter movies and I can hardly wait to see him in the final two-part movie.  I'm not going to put any spoilers here, but I think Alan Rickman is going to carry off Snape in the final movies of the franchise perfectly.

Who's your biggest celebrity crush?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Big50 Day 14: Children

You know what? I'm going to skip today.  You all know how much I want children.  I don't think I need to say any more.

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Big50 Day 13: My First Job

I got my first job when I was 15.  They had a noticeboard up at school, and there was an ad for a petrol station very close to my place.  When I went home and told my Daddy, it turned out one of his buddies from the drag strip was the owner.  So he came along with me, had a chat to Wayne (the boss) and I got the job.

I loved it.  The work was just physical enough that I felt active, and was much more interesting than flipping burgers or packing groceries.  I got to meet cute guys with nice cars, and I learned a lot about cars while I was working there.  I was given responsibility and not talked down to (by my boss at least) even though I was a girl in a man's world.  Weekend mornings in the summer we were so busy I hardly had time to turn around, but mid-week evenings were quiet enough that I could read the magazines while I waited for customers.

It wasn't all sunshine and bunnies though.  We never got held up while I was working there, thank goodness, but we did have several drive-offs, or people would leave valuables for their petrol and never came back.  We had one guy come in and leave 4 brand-new tyres as payment for his tank of petrol.  He had several more in the back seat of the car.  Wayne smelled a rat and ran his number plate.  It turned out the car (and the tyres) were stolen from a dealership, and our security video helped to catch him.  Another time, a lady came up to the counter where I was serving while the guy she was with pumped his petrol outside.  He was yelling at her to come back out, and she was yelling back that she wanted to buy smokes.  When she got to the counter, she leaned over and said urgently to me, "please help me, he's kidnapped my baby, he has a machete under his seat."  I knew that it wasn't some kind of joke - she was terrified.  I poked my head out the back where Wayne was and repeated what she'd told me, and he casually leaned over and hit the emergency stop on the pumps, then, while his wife called the cops, Wayne ambled out to the guy like nothing was amiss and told him we were having a problem with the pumps and he had to wait.  He stood and chatted to the guy, reassuring him that the pumps would be back up in no time, right up until the cops pulled up.  Sure enough, there was a machete under his seat.  It turned out they were an estranged couple and he'd tracked her down and taken off with her and the kid.  Who knows what his plans were?

We also had an incident where one of my coworkers was stealing from the till.  She was very careful to do it only when she was working with me.  I'm not sure if she was aware that my family was friends with Wayne and that I was the least likely person there to be stealing from them, but she was certainly trying to frame me.  Wayne was sure that it wasn't me, but he had to get proof, so they marked some bills in our float one day and asked both of us to turn out our wallets when they were missing.  Of course, they were in her wallet, not mine.  Wayne was devastated and it was shortly after that incident that they sold up and I got a new boss.

The petrol station was also where I started smoking.  Most of my coworkers smoked so I picked up the habit from them.  I was never a really heavy smoker, and have been completely smoke-free for nearly 7 years now, but that doesn't stop me getting cravings still, especially when I'm stressed.

What was your first job?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Big50 Day 12: Learning

I've always enjoyed learning new things.  I read non-fiction for fun.  I'm in the middle of my second bachelor's degree.  I enjoy learning new skills for work, and how things work, and what makes people tick.  I soak up knowledge like a sponge, so I'm good at Trivial Pursuit!  The one thing I have trouble with is dates and numbers.  I was always really bad at history subjects because I could never remember all the dates things happened, which is a shame, because I really enjoy learning about history.

Learning, for me, is a lifelong process.  My Mum is also studying at the moment, and was doing night classes through most of my childhood.  She also loves learning, and passed that on to my sister and I.  My Daddy is more a practical learner - he likes to know how things work and why things happen.  My sister is currently doing her PhD.

Because I enjoy learning, I also enjoy teaching - but only teaching people who want to learn.  I don't understand people who are happy in their little rut, not learning, and find it difficult to relate to them.  At one point I was planning on teaching high school, and still have a vague idea that I might continue with my higher education and eventually teach at university level, but I'm not sure about that.  I still don't really know "what I want to be when I grow up".  I want to learn about everything!  I always struggle to choose my papers for my university studies because they all sound so interesting!

Today I learned several new things for work.  What have you learned today?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Big50 Day 11: Chocolate

Ah, chocolate.  I have a sweet tooth, I'll admit that freely.  I get it from my Daddy, who always has to have chocolate in the fridge.  One of the things my Naturopath and Acupuncturist said I had to cut was chocolate, because it heats me up, apparently.  I've cut my chocolate consumption right down, but I still have a little bit every few days.

My favourite chocolate is Whittakers Dark Ghana.  It's so rich, you can only have a few squares at a time.  And they're a New Zealand brand, so that's an added bonus!  It can sometimes be hard to find all their varieties here, and when they bring out a new flavour in New Zealand it can take a while for it to cross the Tasman, but I can generally find the Dark Ghana fairly easily.  Whittakers are also supporters of Fair Trade, and don't use palm oil or genetically modified ingredients in any of their products, so they're a good choice!

I also have a huge weakness for Guylian Seashells.  The hazelnut praline in the centre is just divine.  Guylian Seashells are my preferred chocolate bribe, in case you ever need me to do you a favour!

Chocolate is very much an emotionally comforting food for me.  I crave it when I'm hormonal, or emotional.  Chocolate is also great to share!  Most people won't say no to chocolate.  What's your favourite chocolate flavour?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

OOTD: Black and White and Red All Over

Question: What's black and white and red all over?

Answer: A sunburned penguin.  Or a bashful zebra.  Or a skunk swimming in strawberry jam.  Or a newspaper (wait, that's read all over).  Or...Me, in my OOTD!

Skirt: Big W
Shoes: Rubi Shoes
Necklace: Definatalie
Glasses: Oroton at OPSM

Another OOTD with my favourite red shoes!  I planned this outfit ages ago and was just waiting for my necklace to arrive, which it did on Friday.  The neckace is by one of my favourite body image bloggers, who is also a designer.  I missed out on this necklace twice before I snagged one in her last pre-order.  I think she's planning another pre-order soon.  I also have new glasses, finally.  My old ones were getting pretty ratty and I wanted a new look.

I love this necklace!  Natalie's work really is amazing, check her out!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Big50 Day 10: Natural Therapies (TMI)

I was going to talk about natural therapies today, but I realised I've already covered a lot of what I wanted to say in this other post.  I can't believe it's been two months since I first saw my Naturopath!  Since then, I've been seeing her every 2 to 3 weeks, and my Acupuncturist every week (except for a couple of weeks I missed due to scheduling issues).  I definitely think it's helping - my migraines have dropped right off and my stress level is pretty good considering everything that's happened over the last couple of months.

I managed to convince Dave to see my Acupuncturist for the first time today too.  I won't go into too much detail for fear of boring you all, but the short story is that he's been given two different medication options for his medical condition, both of which suck pretty bad.  So our current plan is for him to see the Acupuncturist in the mean time until after my laparoscopy in February, because we'd prefer him not to be starting any severe medications when we may need to consider some form of fertility intervention.  Basically, I need to get pregnant before February!  But if it doesn't happen, then we'll reassess all our health options after that.

My naturopath is Trina Chan at CompMed in Southport and she really is fabulous.  If you're on the Gold Coast and are looking for a naturopath, I highly recommend her!

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Big50 Day 9: Baking

I love baking, that's no secret.  I probably get it from my father's mother, who always had home-made biscuits and slices and various other goodies in tins in her pantry.  When I went back to NZ to see her when she was very sick, before she died, Mum and I made Nana some rock cakes.  She wasn't too sick to demand cherries n her rock cakes!  Baking Nana's specialty with my Mum in Nana's kitchen is a very special memory.

I try to bake every week or so, although it doesn't always work out that way.  I'm currently on a bit of a biscotti kick - they're perfect for dunking in tea and everyone loves biscotti!  I gave people at work so much biscotti, I was dubbed the Biscotti Fairy, and so another Twitter account was born.  I also love rock cakes, and make a mean Carrot and Orange cake.  I try to bake bread as often as I can as well.

One thing Dave and I do each year is make a Christmas Fruit Cake.  I'm not sure where he got the recipe from, but we make the same one each year.  It's loaded with fruit and extremely alcoholic and is always popular!  It's so rich it doesn't need icing.  We're soaking our fruit overnight tonight to bake the cakes tomorrow.  This year we are also making a Christmas Pudding.  We planned to do it next weekend, which is, by happy coincidence, the traditional weekend for making Christmas Pudding anyway (Stir-Up Sunday, the Sunday before Advent).  I also usually make spice cookies or something, for people who don't have alcohol.  I'm planning on getting some Christmas cookie cutter shapes this year!

Baking is a very nurturing thing, I think.  The act of making something from scratch and sharing with others always makes people happy.  I believe most problems can be solved with a cup of tea and a biscuit, especially if the biscuit is home-made!

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

We Interrupt This Blog For Some PSAs...

Dear readers, you remember back when I introduced this blogging challenge and mentioned the fabulous Sleepy Dumpling?  Well, she's just announced on her blog that on Australia Day (January 26, for you non-Australians) she is going to shave her long pink hair all off to raise funds for the Australian Cancer Council.  I can't express how amazing this is to me.  Please donate, if you can, and come along to the event if you're in the Brisbane area.

On the subject of fundraising, I'm also going to take this opportunity to  plug my favourite charity, Child's Play.  Started in 2003 by the guys behind my favourite webcomic, Penny Arcade, Child's Play collects donations of cash and gifts for children in hospitals at Christmas.  You can choose which hospital you'd like to donate to, including hospitals in Australia and New Zealand.  I've supported these guys every year since they started and it always amazes me how much the gaming community, and people in general, get behind this great charity.

Even if you don't choose to donate to either of these causes, please spare a thought for those people who are not as fortunate as we all are.  While I usually hate Western Christian ethnocentrism, Christmas really is a good time to remind people how lucky we are (you might not think you're lucky or fortunate - but if you're reading this blog, that means you have access to an internet connection, which means you're more fortunate than a lot of people).  So, please consider donating to one of the many charities that do fundraising drives at this time of year - food, clothes, money, or time, it all helps.  And if you have a favourite charity, post it in the comments!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Big50 Day 8: Pets

For most of my life, I've had at least one cat and one dog.  Growing up, we had one of each, plus various fish, birds, and even a chinchilla.  My first pet was a cat named Solitaire.  My parents had had her since before I was born, so naturally, she hated my guts.  Even as a five-year-old, I understood that when she started letting me pat her, that was the beginning of the end.

After Solitaire died, we got Sharna, who was supposed to be a pure-bred Himalayan but turned out to be just a moggy after her mother "got a bit friendly with the local Tom" as my Daddy put it.  She was grey and shaggy and definitely knew I was the softy in the family.  She was put outside at night, and as soon as Mum put her out, she'd run around the side of the house, jump on my windowsill, and meow to be let in.  Mum would find her curled up smugly on my bed in the morning!

Shortly after we got Sharna, we also got my first dog, Jem.  Jem was a pure-bred Keeshond and was simply the nicest dog.  My Daddy is like the dog whisperer, dogs just naturally follow him and do what he says, and we never had any trouble with obedience with our dogs.

I've been through several other cats, who have come and gone from my life for various reasons.  My current fur babies are one dog and two cats.


Phoebe is currently my oldest fur baby.  I got her when she was a few months old in mid-2001, making her nearly 10 now.  She's kind of awkward-looking - no one knows quite what she is.  Her body is just a touch too long, and her legs a tiny bit too short.  I'm fairly certain she has some Kelpie in her, and some Staffie, and maybe some Rottie, but really, who knows?  She's moved from Wellington to Auckland to Hobart to the Gold Coast with me - she's been with me longer than anyone.  She's mellowed out in her old age - she used to be a complete menace - but she's also gotten more neurotic.  She's terrified of thunderstorms, to the point where even just rain makes her cower in fear.  She's getting very grey around her muzzle now too.


Jeddah is the elder of our two cats, and has her own Twitter.  We acquired her when a co-worker at my old job was moving to a new rental property and couldn't keep her.  I took her home, and when Dave got home I said, "now, don't be mad, but we have a cat now."  He got used to her eventually (he never had a cat when he was growing up) and is now a cat lover as well as a dog lover.  Jeddah has a very piercing meow and will "talk" to you if you meow at her.  She also purrs very loudly, and is a kneader - she won't settle on you until she's kneaded with her paws for 5 minutes.  Her nickname is "Buddha".  I'm sure you can see why.  She is about 5 years old now.


Bubbles is the youngest of our fur babies.  A few months after we moved in here in early 2007, our elderly neighbour knocked on the door while I was at home and Dave was at work.  In the palm of his hand was a tiny ball of fluff and fleas.  He had found her in the park when he was out for a walk and knew we already had one cat, and wanted to know if we wanted this kitten.  How could I say no?  I gave her a bath and cleaned her up, and when Dave got home, I said, "now, don't be mad, but look! We got a kitten!"  And of course he couldn't say no either.  Bubbles totally adores Phoebe - she grooms her and snuggles up with her and comforts her when she is freaking out over a thunderstorm.  She and Jeddah get on okay, but Jeddah is a bit more independent.  Bubbles got her name from a Blackadder episode in Season 1, it's short for Beelzebubbles.  Her nickname is "Smoochy" because she's a very smoochy cat!

I love my fur babies and could never be without them!  Do you have any pets?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Big50 Day 7: Books

I might have mentioned once or twice before that I read.  A lot.  I have 5 bookshelves that are absolutely chocker-block (including one dedicated to cookbooks).  I mostly read fantasy.  David Eddings was the first fantasy I ever read and still has a special place in my heart.  I love George R R Martin for his realism and his amazing characters.  I am a complete Harry Potter nerd.  I'm in the middle of re-reading the series at the moment in preparation for movie #7.  I've read the entire series through so many times I've lost track, and I still find new things each re-read.  There are still scenes that make me cry every time (Neville and his parents in St Mungos in Phoenix springs to mind).

I also love Stephen King books, especially the Dark Tower series.  The Gunslinger has the most hook-y opening line ever: "The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."  Does that make you want to keep reading or what?  The Stand is also a perennial favourite.  Terry Pratchett is hilariously funny.    Ditto for Ben Elton.  Patricia Cornwell is also an author I like - I wanted to be Kay Scarpetta when I was a teenager!   Speaking of...when I was a teen, I loved Margaret Mahy and Roald Dahl (I still love Roald Dahl).  Historical fiction is also a genre I like, particularly Margaret George, and Guy Gavriel Kay writes novels that are somewhere between fantasy and historical fiction.

Apart from fantasy, I also enjoy reading books that expand my general knowledge.  I have a bookshelf dedicated to non-fiction books as well.  Freakonomics and Superfreakonomics are both excellent.  Anything by Bill Bryson is amazing, particularly his Short History of Nearly Everything.  Also, Richard Dawkins is the reason I now identify as Atheist.  The God Delusion really opened my eyes and helped me work through my spiritual beliefs.  Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder should be required reading for any Philosophy 101 course (and anyone interested in philosophy).

I think that's barely scratched the surface of my reading habits!  I used to go through around 3-4 books a week, but since I've been studying and my working hours have changed, I've had less time than I'd like to read.  What sort of books do you like?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Big50 Day 6: TV

I know Day 6 is supposed to be about books, but my Books post is going to be way longer and more work than my TV one and I'm too tired, so I'm swapping days!

I've never been a huge TV watcher.  My family happily watch TV.  When I was a teenager I used to prefer to sit in my room and read, but my Daddy would tell me to "come out and be sociable", so I'd sit in the lounge and read while they watched TV instead.  But there are some TV shows that I like.

My favourite TV shows are generally British comedy (like my favourite movies!).  Blackadder and The Young Ones are my two favourites, and I also like Coupling (the original British version).  I've also recently discovered Black Books (and am partway through Season 2).  I used to be a huge Simpsons fan, not so much recently, but I'll still happily zone out on a Sunday morning with the Simpsons re-runs for 3 hours, if given the chance.

My favourite current TV shows are House and The Big Bang Theory, which should come as no surprise.  House because I love Hugh Laurie, Big Bang because it's a TV series for nerds!  I also liked the first season of Heroes (never watched more than that, apparently I'm not missing much).  My friend keeps telling me to watch Chuck, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

I used to watch Next Top Model (US and Oz versions) but I got so frustrated with the obvious staging and general crapness that I kicked the addiction and have been Top Model Free for about a year now!  I also enjoyed Girls of the Playboy Mansion, because I'm a bit of a Hugh Hefner fan, but stopped watching after the original 3 girls left.

We have satellite TV, so we have plenty of channels to choose from, but we mainly have it for the sports.  I also enjoy the documentary and animal channels, although they're mostly war and "most dangerous jobs" type deals now, which is a bit disappointing.  I love David Attenborough documentaries.  And I also watch a bit of music TV.  Not MTV, are you kidding?  MTV showed so little music that now it's classed as a reality channel and is not even in the block of channels for music any more.  They gave us "MTV Classic" instead, which is supposed to actually play music, but they still use it for crapumentaries about musicians, or countdowns or whatever.  Apparently we got another MTV channel this week, but I don't know what that's like yet.  I used to like VH1 but they took it away and replaced it with the MTV Classic channel.

Do you have a TV show you can't miss?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Big50 Day 5: Music

Why did I schedule this so early in my 50 days?  I should have learnt from my 30 Days of Me and left it to the end, because I still haven't sorted out my music collection.  Oh well.

I don't get as much opportunity to listen to music as I'd like.  My new car at least lets me play CDs now, but I need to get a new stereo for it that is mp3 compatible, because most of my music listening time is in the car.  Or on Saturday afternoons at work because I'm alone in the office - I'd like to get some better speakers for work too.

I love Green Day, U2, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Dandy Warhols, Gossip, Nirvana, Madonna, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Lady Gaga, The Offspring, Queen, Basement Jaxx, David Guetta, The White Stripes, Pearl Jam, Pendulum, Metallica, Guns 'N Roses, Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Björk...and of course, Meat Loaf (more on him on Day 17!).  Recently I've been listening to Placebo (prefer the older stuff), My Chemical Romance, and Jane's Addiction.  Honourable mention also goes to 30 Seconds to Mars, Jimi Hendrix, AC/DC, Eurythmics, The Feelers, INXS, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Sneaky Sound System, Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Bullet For My Valentine, Hot Hot Heat, Primus, and The Rolling Stones.  Phew!

I usually try to get to 1 or 2 concerts or festivals a year.  Unfortunately, we're not able to make any this year.  In February next year is the Soundwave Music Festival in Brisbane and holy crap, would I like to go.  Check out the lineup: Iron Maiden, Queens of the Stone Age, Slayer, Primus,  Slash, 30 Seconds to Mars, Bullet For My Valentine, Rob Zombie, Third Eye Blind...Unfortunately, tickets are $160 each, and with the various health issues we've both had recently we simply can't afford it.  Ah well.  I'm really bad in crowds anyway!  And I'm not supposed to be talking about how we're missing it, so moving on, before I get in trouble...

Since we've been on the Gold Coast, we've been to the following:

  • V Festival early 2008: the first music event we went to together and it was amazing.  We were there for the whole day and saw Hot Hot Heat and Modest Mouse, who were both excellent, and were right up the front for Queens of the Stone Age and The Smashing Pumpkins.  QOTSA were simply amazing, Josh Homme, oooh....Sorry, where was I? Oh, right - the atmosphere was great, we were in the perfect spot, and we got to see two of my favourite bands.  Perfect!
  • Foo Fighters Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace tour, late 2008: very good concert, Dave Grohl is so full of energy and I really like that album.  I would have described it as fantastic, but Green Day blew them away (more below).
  • Big Day Out early 2009: Big Day Out is basically just an excuse for a lot of idiots to get drunk and/or stoned.  Plenty of people go just for that, they don't even care who is playing.  I hate the crowd, there has to be a lot of great bands playing for me to risk it.  In 2009 we saw Arctic Monkeys, Sneaky Sound System, Pendulum, Bullet For My Valentine, and Drop Kick Murphys.  We particularly wanted to see The Prodigy, but they were the last to play in one of the tents, we were tired, I was starting to get panicky, there was no way you were getting me in that tent.  So unfortunately, we missed them.  Still, Pendulum were just about worth it alone.  Bullet For My Valentine sucked, I don't know if they generally suck live or if it was just that one performance, but they were a real disappointment.
  • Green Day 21st Century Breakdown tour, late 2009: wow. Just, wow.  I've loved Green Day for ages (before they were mainstream cool and attracted a teeny-bopper following) and we had previously missed their American Idiot tour because it was right before we moved up from Hobart (and of course they didn't go to Hobart - who does?).  Green Day were one of the bands I was determined to see live at some point in my life, and there was no way we were missing this concert.  It was just amazing, we were on our feet the whole time, screaming along...They performed a lot of old stuff as well as most of the 21st Century Breakdown album.  Love, love, love.  Best concert I've ever been to.
Nothing in 2010 unfortunately, but hopefully we make it to something next year!

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Big50 Day 4: Movies

Ah, movies.  I have a fairly sizeable collection, not on par with Hugh Hefner (how I envy his movie collection!) but certainly a good number.  I can't go into JB Hi Fi without buying at least one DVD or CD.  Yes yes, I know these technologies are virtually obsolete, but my ISP is still in the dark ages when it comes to download speeds and limits (I can't get ADSL2+ here yet) and anyway, I like having DVDs.  I'm planning on getting a whole new home enterainment system in a year or so, and will look at a PC-based entertainment centre at that point, but until then, DVDs are it.

I mostly like movies similar to the sorts of books I like (more on books on Day 6): fantasy, adventure, that kind of thing.  I like superhero movies, British comedy, action movies...I DON'T like chick flicks, romance movies, or horror.  I really can't watch anything scary.  Even the trailers for scary movies give me nightmares.  I'll happily read a Stephen King novel, but when it comes to movies...I was scared in the Sixth Sense!

My favourite movie ever is The Princess Bride, followed closely by Love, Actually.  I watch both of those movies several times a year.  Notable mentions also include Hairspray, Walk the Line, Titanic, the Matrix movies, the Life of Brian (and other Monty Python movies), and the most recent Star Trek movie.

In terms of actors, I love Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie, Nikki Blonsky, Emma Thompson, Johnny Depp, Keanu Reeves, Gary Oldman, Bill Nighy...A few Brits in there, huh?  What can I say, I love British actors!

What movies are your favourites?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Big50 Day 3: Weather

Living on the Gold Coast means our weather is pretty mild.  Even in winter, the temperature rarely drops to single digits*, even overnight.  In summer, it's unusual to get over 30 degrees.  Most of the year the temperature hovers around the mid to high 20s, although the humidity does make it seem hotter than it is.

Of course, that was plenty hot enough for me when we moved up here from Hobart.  We moved in the middle of a particularly hot, dry summer, and I hated it.  I had a headache all the time and felt miserable and was sure the move was a huge mistake.  Now, I've acclimatised, and find that when I visit New Zealand I feel the cold much more than I used to!

Apart from the temperature, the most notable thing about the Gold Coast is the rain.  It's very unusual to get a week straight with no rain, and it's always humid.  We also get a lot of thunderstorms, which my dog, Phoebe, hates.  The rain so frequently comes in the form of thunderstorms that Phoebe is now even scared of the rain.  She hides under my desk and hyperventilates.

Of course, when the Gold Coast turns it on, the weather can be fabulous, and those are the days that I love.  Clear blue skies, warm days, and rain overnight are my ideal weather conditions!

Naturally, temperatures mentioned are in Celsius.

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big50 Day 2: The Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is the fourth city I've lived in and my current home.  We originally moved here because, due to the huge tourist industry, there's a lot of work opportunities in hospitality here, so it was fairly easy for my husband (who is a semi-trained chef) to find a job.  He also has some family here, which made the transition a little easier.

Things I hate about the Gold Coast:
  • The touristy nature of the area means there is little actual culture
  • It's hot all the time
  • The transient population means a lot of friends come and go
  • Everything is dangerous, from the bugs to the Drop Bears
  • Rental properties are all through agents and most are in complexes and thus have "body corporate" rules
Things I love about the Gold Coast:
  • The touristy nature of the area means I often have friends or family visit
  • It's hot all the time!
  • The transient population means I get to meet lots of new people
  • The wildlife is so beautiful
Most of the time I enjoy living here, but I've never felt really at home here.  You'll learn more about the place I consider home on Day 40!

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big50 Day 1: My 16-year-old Self

This post, to kick off my Big50 Blogging Challenge, is inspired by a trend on Twitter yesterday which involved people tweeting to their 16-year-old selves.  This is what I had to say to myself:
  •  Don't listen to everything your parents say. Whatever you do, DON'T lose contact with Rhys! You'll regret it later.
  • Don't let the haters get to you. You are BEAUTIFUL & let no one tell you otherwise (from @BBWCupid)
  • You will turn out to be more like mum than you realise. And you won't mind it so much (from @missRbit)
  • Listen to more Green Day. They are going to rock even more later on.
  • You don't NEED to have a career plan. Things will work out. You'll meet cool people and go to cool places.Chill out!
  • Don't give your flute to Brad. You'll regret it later. It's more special than you think.
If you knew me when I was 16 (and now that I think about it, not many people who read my blog did), then the names will mean something.  If you didn't, well, I'm not going into who those people were here.  I actually feel a little uncomfortable sharing my tweets, if we're going for full disclosure - on Twitter, I don't mind revealing a bit more than I probably should, but I know my Mum reads my blog!

This was also yet another hint that @missRbit and I were twins in a past life.

Being 16 was one of the best times in my life.  As a 16-year-old, you're old enough to be treated as an adult, work so you have spending money, and drive, but young enough to still have no responsibility.  You feel as if you can change the world.  The world is yours.  I have a tendency to live in the past a bit, and my 16-year-old-self is one of my favourite Past Me's to visit.

What would you tell your 16-year-old self?

This post is part of my Big50 blogging challenge series.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Big50 Blogging Challenge

So the fabulous Sleepy Dumpling, who participated in the 30 Days of Me Challenge, has recently started another blogging challenge.  I was feeling a bit down after I realised I was nowhere near geeky enough to to participate in my friend Jethro's 30 Days of Geek challenge (he did the 30 Days of Me too), so the Big50 challenge was the perfect antidote to that.  Then, when I was pondering it a bit more today now that my exams are over, I realised that if Day 1 is tomorrow, then Day 50 will be Christmas Day.  It Is A Sign.  So, starting tomorrow, I will be blogging once a day on the following topics:

My 16-year-old Self
The Gold Coast
Natural Therapies
My First Job
Celebrity Crush
Comfort Food
Meat Loaf
Simple Pleasures
High School
Body Image
On Being Underestimated
My Spiritual Home
Senses: Touch
Senses: Smell
Senses: Taste
Senses: Hearing
Senses: Sight

By the end of this challenge, you should know more about me than I know about myself!  I hope you all stick around and don't mind me flooding my personal blog with personal info...Oh, wait...