Friday, June 29, 2012

Top 10: Picks for Future Travel Destinations

I feel like I’m stagnating when I’m not planning a trip, so it should come to no surprise to anyone that I was back to planning pretty much within a month of settling down in London. America isn’t happening for me this year, but that doesn’t mean I am going to wallow in self-pity. Places to go, things to do, let’s get started – my top 10 picks for my next destinations

  • Edinburgh/Scottish Highlands
This makes top of the list because it’s easily achievable – I’m looking at the end of August when we have another delightful bank holiday. It’ll be a quick visit but at least I’ll get there…Scotland is the only country in the UK I haven’t visited yet.

  • Santorini, Greece
Again, achievable aim. It’s not too difficult to get to Greece from London and if I simply fly into Santorini, I cut out all that pesky ferry business. Might try and do this before I go home too, provided imanage to save enough money.

  • The Serengeti, Kenya

The only part of Africa I miss is the wildlife and I would so happy to spend two weeks just on safari. Alas, it’s ridiculously expensive but I’m hoping knowing the right people might make it more afforable. Hopefully in 2013.

  • Kolmanskop/Sossusvlei, Namibia (The Namib dessert)

Namibia looks amazing. I love the idea of the dessert ghost towns being reclaimed by the dessert – it’s just poignant and beautiful in a way. Completley different and desolate and awesome. I’ve decided that next time I’m due for a visit to SA, I’m not going to stay in Joburg. I’ll head off and see Namibia, Botswana (and the aforementioned Kenya) instead. Why waste the opportunity?

  • Tokyo, Japan

Cherry Blossom time! That is my main motivation.

  • Hawaii

Stunning beaches, dramatic landscapes, laid-back people. What’s not to love about it?

  • Morocco

It seems like a fascinating places and a couple of people I know have been there, and loved it. So, hey. Why not?

  • Tromsø, Norway (Northern Lights)

Definitely at the top of my bucket list. I want to do this with my mum one year. Somehow, we must make it happen. (Save! Save like the wind!)

  • Machu Picchu, Peru

I do love all that ancient wonders stuff and this seems so remote and amazing. I am thrilled to discover there is potential to go in January (um…save like the wind?)

  • Canadian Rocky Mountains

Cause I like me some mountains, okay? It’s a toss up between Canada and Alaska for the last spot really, but I’m going with the Rockies cause I’ve always kind of wanted to see them.

Related -
Top five places to visit in the US: New York, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Denver.

Of course, New Zealand will be my main destination next year. Hopefully. It worries me how completely I’ve given my heart to the country… I doubt I’ll ever love another places quite as much as I love it.

Music: Read My Mind - The Killers

Monday, June 25, 2012

Every vessel pitching hard to starboard

I was having weird stomach pains pretty much all day today. I suspect this might be my body’s way of telling me that Heineken, a kitkat, an aero and donuts are not a suitable weekend diet. So I had to suck it up and make a proper meal this eve - and by proper I mean fry up the last of my potatoes in an attempt to recreate the surprisingly delicious potato meal from two weeks ago. It worked too, the were golden and crispy and nommish.

But I was again struck by the fact that, except for the times when Abbi feeds me, I pretty much live entirely off bread, cheese, pasta and potatoes. I am, for all intents and purposes, eating like Martin Crieff.

I can't afford to go out, to buy nice food - I live on toast and pasta - sometimes, for a treat, I have a baked potato!

This is my life. I am more of a student now than I ever was when I actually was a student. I'd like to think it's character building. And good practice for next year when I will be student again, without the benefit of living at home. If I get in, of course, which is highly unlikely if I don't start doing some research instead of just sitting around in the evenings, watching movies.

But this chair is so uncomfortable. Moan.

Anyway. Tomorrow I have a full day of induction, it'll probably involve some sort of hideous team building exercises. Joy. But on one hand, it's good that I'll be away since I've finished all my assigned work and nothing else has come in that they can give me. Oh, the curse of being too efficient.

I need to find a place I can loiter during lunch that is a) not at my desk, and b) not somewhere I have to buy something. I suspect this will prove tricky. I kind of miss the library I used to frequent back in north London - so convenient!

In other news, last week of the month means I am completely and utterly broke. Hate this monthly pay business with a fiery passion. I just hope my old job don't forget to pay me otherwise I will be completely screwed *crosses fingers* Can't wait for the end of the month - pay which means food and new things, bigger room, and tax refund time back home. All positives!

Oh, hey, spoke to the parental unit last night and discovered that they were embarking on a road trip with my aunt and uncle, driving all the way to Cape Town. 'Driving?' I exclaimed, in horror. 'Jesus. Why?' Cue manic laughter from the other end of the phone. Now, I know lots of people who have driven to Cape Town. I personally have never done it - coming from the aviation-privileged life that I do - can't say I've ever really wanted to either. But whatever. Their plan is to do it over three days (I suppose 1,603km isn't so bad divided) I'm envisioning some sort of Darjeeling Limited family quest of sorts. It's giving me novel ideas.

Actually, I just spoke to them and they are here now -

The Three Sisters. 1,066 km from where they started. In one day. So much for taking it easy and stopping along the way. Although knowing them, it was all probably achieved by excessive speeding (speeding runs in the family, we are terrible. In SA, pretty much all of my dad's side consider a good average to be 160km/h on highways. I think my dad once drove us to the coast in four and a half hours, a 630km journey which according to google should take 7-8 hours.)

Now they have to drive through the Karoo -

Which should be... different. I am sort of jealous, except for that bit where I'm terrified of deserts. Not desserts, for they are delicious. (Haha, I'm so witty. No? Oh. Okay.) Anyway. I'm quite interested to see how this little adventure pans out. They're having another ceremony for my granddad in the Cape and scattering the ashes. It's very appropriate since it's the place he was always the happiest and where he always wanted to go back to, but couldn't. So that should be special. Will see, I suppose.

Anyway. I suppose I have procrastinated as much as I can on this blog. Time to write something...

(This chair really is uncomfortable though. Severe back pain. Gah.)

Music: Don't carry it all - The Decemberists

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Put another dime in the jukebox

I’ve had a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a week – all internalised of course because I clearly have issues. But I don’t really feel like getting into it. Let’s just say it was my grandfather’s funeral yesterday and it was quite tough to find myself sitting on the other side of the world to my family and being unable to support them. That’s really what upset me more than anything. I mean I feel pretty useless in those situations in general, but now it was a thousand times worse. Who knew that was possible? But yeah. Not getting into it.

So what have I been up to this week? Um. Good question. New job is still going well, I’m definitely enjoying learning new stuff…although learning more stuff right about now would be a plus. The team is really nice too, which is always a bonus. Friday was pretty hilarious as we were all working away so we could leave early, resulting in some classic one liners.

I also managed to finish three books in a week and a half, so I’m pleased with myself. It’s been so long since I’ve just read. It amuses me that one of the books (High Fidelity) actually dates back to January – I bought it in Paris when we first started our trip. But then I was of course sucked into reading A Song of Ice and Fire so it was forgotten. Lugged all over Europe, but forgotten. It’s so similar to the movie though, dialogue is virtually identical. One of my uni tutors once remarked that Nick Hornby didn’t write novels, he wrote screenplays. You can see where he got that idea from. The other two books I read was for book club - I’ll save my discussion for that. One of them is Fifty Shades of Grey so it'll no doubt be lively o_O

What else? I am terribly disappointed I missed the All Blacks game yesterday. I wandered down to my local pub to watch a replay of the Australia v Wales match, hoping they’d play the AB game afterwards but no, it was not to be. See, I would go to see it live but since it’s in 8.30 in the damn morning, it’s kinda hard to find a pub that’s open. I should just trek out to the Walkabout but…but…but. So. Yeah. I suppose I should be glad that it’s almost Tri Nations (Four Nations? What is it called now?) time, at least when they play in South Africa it’s a reasonable time here.

Other than that, I’ve spent this weekend watching movies. I feel like I watch a lot of movies lately. Since last Sunday, I’ve watched Rock of Ages (soooo much fun), Fast Five, The Muppets, Ratatouille, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (so good, I don’t understand how people think it’s boring), War Horse (despite my better ‘this is going to be so emotionally manipulative’ judgement), and Breaking Dawn Pt 1 (skeletal Bella is kinda terrifying.) I’m also still working my way through Homeland (oh, Damien Lewis, you are so amazing) and trying to finish off Merlin season 4 – that’s taking a while mostly cause I’m lazy and they’re just recycling the same story tropes which is a bit frustrating, but the show still has some desperately awesome adorkable moments so I’m trying to persevere.

And…yeah. That’s about it. My friend A was in town on Monday so we had dinner and I did one of those blitz tours – I’m getting quite good at those. It amazes me that since I’ve been here, I’ve had four sets of friends visiting. The world’s really quite a small place. But sadly she was the last of the planned visits. When I was first organising this year away business, there was talk of my parents dropping by in June/July but that’s obviously not going to happen now.

I have to do some writing today but I’m going to have to build up to it slowly, I think. Bit of a headache. Bit of an extreme laziness. Might watch another film first…

Music: I love rock n roll - Joan Jett & The Blackhearts

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Throw out your bouquet

When you're little, they tell you all this stuff about growing up. And you think you understand but all you see is a mythical sense of freedom. You envy it, you crave it, you look forward to it. You enter your teens and growing up becomes invested with other meanings when they tell you about 'responsibilities' and 'decisions' and 'your future.' It seems daunting and complicated and involved. And it really isn't. It's simple. Growing up is merely realising and understanding, deep down in your heart where it hurts to breathe, that everyone you love, every single person you care for, is going to leave you. And there's no way around that.

You can count the passing of your existence by the number of people you lose.Welcome to life. It's started, and it's over.

"I don't want to have to cope with the sort of unhappiness Laura's feeling, not ever. If people have to die, I don't want them dying near me."

Music: At the bottom - Brand New

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Let the casting of The Hunger Games begin...

About two weeks ago, I was absolutely outraged by the rumour that Cedric would play Finnick Odair in Catching Fire. Twitter nearly caught alight from my ire. It then led to pretty much a whole day of trawling IMDb at work in search of a better option (read: anyone). I mean, Finnick’s supposed to be this bronzed beach god. In no universe can that description ever apply to Robert Pattinson. Just, no.

Since then, it has emerged that he will definitely not be in The Hunger Games films but since the casting for Finnick still hasn’t been revealed, here’s my list of 10 actors who could possibly pull it off (although to be honest, it was incredibly hard to even come up with 10 and I have yet to find someone who actually feels like a perfect fit…Finnick is a difficult one to place, he’s almost otherworldly.)

Art is better than people. By the amazing AliceXZ.

To the list portion of events...

1. Bradley James
Aka Arthur Pendragon of Camelot, the most oblivious of all kings.This came to me as Abs and I were watching a Cary Elwes film (yeah, apparently Cary Elwes makes me think of Bradley…I don't understand either.) Granted, he is not the most brillant of actors but he is very pretty. He’s got that whole golden boy aura thing about him and he has stunning eyes. I could deal with this.

It's been four seasons and yet I have no idea the person I spend most of  my
time with has magic powers...even though said person is probably the least
 subtle or stealthiest  person on the planet. Good work.
2. Chase Crawford
Kinda the same boat as His Royal Obliviousness up there…I’ve never seen him in anything other than Gossip Girl so not too sure how his acting skills will hold up on the big screen. But he is very pretty also, and could pull off a more androgynous vibe which is sort of important to Finnick (is he, essentially, a veela?)

I think the only way to describe his look in most of the pics that
came up in my image search  is smoulder. I went for smile instead.

3. Ian Somerhalder
I don’t know why they’re all tv actors but bear with me here. I don’t actually watch Vampire Diaries so I have noooo idea whether he can act, but the dude has amazing eyes. And bone structure. I’m being entirely shallow with the casting of this but physical appearance is so important in this instance, surely I can be forgiven…right? He’s also early 30s which is a plus when you consider Finnick is supposed to be 10 years older than the others…and they’re all played by 20-22 year olds.

I have chosen this pic because he is on a beach.
See how much thought I'm putting into this?
4. Zac Efron
Things we know about Zac Efron: can pull off a tan, can bulk up, can be very cheeky. Could work. I mean, he's good-looking in that swoony way, and Finnick does have a bit of that going for him too.

I have also chosen this pic because of the ocean. Yeah. I'm making an effort.
5. Armie Hammer
Probably too chiseled for the role? But he was very good in The Social Network and he could probably do justice to some of that inner depth Finnick gradually reveals.

And I have chosen this pic because I have no idea what this photogapher was
thinking when he came up with this. Yes, hold two sheets of plastic. Brilliant!
6. Jensen Ackles
Because of the eyes, and the smile. Yes.

Okay, okay, I’m struggling with this list... but he is adorable.
7. Taylor Kitsch
I haven’t actually seen him in anything, I only know of him cause a friend of mine fancies him. He does kind of look the part. Oh, wait no, I lie, he was Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine... not that it says much.

Gambit, for the record, is awesome. When is he getting his own movie?
8. Kevin Zegers
Same friend fancies him too. Saw him in Dawn of the Dead but that’s about it. If Zac Efron can be on this list though then so can he. Same basic look happening.

9. Nicholas Hoult
Thanks to Skins we know he can play arrogant and yet be likable and vulnerable. He’s quite versatile as an actor and I think pretty solid as well. Not exactly conventional beach god material, but it could work? Maybe.

Bow ties are cool.
And, finally, dare I say it…

10. Jake Gyllenhaal
Well. He’s Jake Gyllenhaal. Right age. Cheeky. Gorgeous. We could do way worse.

Yes alright, Mr Gyllenhaal, that's quite enough.

Another possibility: Brandon Routh 
Brandon strikes me as underappreciated, mostly because his Superman film never took off, but I thought he was rather brilliant in his small bit in Scott Pilgrim so on that merit, I’ve included him in this list. 

Also, Alexander Skarsgard. Because if you look up blonde adonis and/or perfection in the dictionary, this is what you'll find:

The reason he's such a convincing vampire is because he is clearly not human. 
While everyone stands around drooling, he will destroy us all.

But, realistically, I can’t help but feel that the part will probably go to Alex Pettyfer (who is actually much more palatable when he uses his natural accent, who knew) or Garrett Hedlund (who I like, but for this? I don't know.)

This was all too hard. Let’s move on to casting Beetee…yes, he’s supposed to be in his fifties or something, but we can all agree we want Matthew Gray Gubler, right? 

Music: Oh My God - Kaiser Chiefs

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Shopping time!

I have been paid, I have a new job, it’s a loooooong weekend and I want to buy a t-shirt. This is how I celebrate (well, I also celebrate by having too much rum, but we took care of that last night SO! Moving on.) Problem is I am still a skint backpacker really, so I can’t go nuts and buy ALL the things, like I really want to. And that’s where you lot come in. Opinions pleeeeease, dears. Vote for the shirt you like most and help me pick the latest addition to my geek arsenal.

The only qualifying remarks I will offer on this is that I am leaning towards a Sherlock tee, and also that I don’t particularly want another black tee as pretty much all the tshirts I have with me are black - a little diversity would be good.

Anyway, here goes. Ten shirts to choose from. Yes, I know that’s a lot but it took me ages to get it down to even that. Yes, I have issues. That’s why we’re here people! (Also I had nothing to do at work this morning and too much time on the internet leads to too much choice. What can I say.)
Elementary - The first of the Holmes options. You can't really see it here but the shirt is like a creme
colour which I'm not very keen on, but it's a Threadless tee so at least I know it's decent quality.
Moriarty Crown - probably the most expensive of my selection but also kinda my favourite.
I like shirts that are more obscure in its references.
Spruce Moose - Absolutely cracked up this morning when I saw this. Classic Simpsons moment. 
Avengers Assembly - I was amused.
Loki - I do what I want Thor! Quite fond of this one too,
again cause it's kinda random.
Starfleet Academy - I do worry that I'd feel like too much of a fraud if I got a Star Trek shirt.
Princess - I do not own any Star Wars tees. This seems like an oversight.
Sherlock - Third of the Holmesian options.
Travelling Lemon - Again, love it for the obscurity. Unless you're a
Cabin Pressure fan this will make absolutely no sense. Brilliant.
Harry Stardust - I just really like this design.

Clothe me! free polls 

Music: Cherry bomb - Joan Jett