Wednesday, May 25, 2011


So I am sick. It is one of the things that I hate most in the world, and something that tends to happen to me often. But, I decided that since I am relegated to the bed, I might as well take this opportunity to write a blogpost. There was one that I had in mind since this weekend, and it is another movie review. But don't worry, it's a goodie this time.

I am a big fan of Hugh Jackman, but for the most part it's just because he is very nice to look at. Sure, he was fun as Wolverine in the X-men trilogy; sure he can play the romantic lead in movies like Kate and Leopold and Someone Like You. But I do not really know him for his serious roles. I somehow missed out of Australia and The Fountain. But one of his serious movies that I did not miss out on was The Prestige.

The Prestige did not do very well at the box office. In fact, I am not sure that it came out on the circuit at all, and though I had heard of it purely because it starred Hugh Jackman, it wasn't until it came out on DSTV that I actually got to see it. I remember that at the time it was being compared to another movie, The Illusionist starring Edward Norton, that had come out at the same time and had also been buried. I saw The Illusionist first, and seem to recall quite enjoying it, but my impression of that movie has been blown away by my memories of The Prestige.

I quite enjoyed The Prestige the first time I watched it. Enough so to recommend it to Grant when he came to visit me in Korea and we turned on the TV to find it playing one night. I loved it the second time I watched it. Enough to not object to watching it a third time this weekend when some friends came over for a movie night. I think this is the kind of movie that I cannot get enough of - I could just keep watching it over and over again and learn something new every time,

I will try not to give away too much of the storyline (it is quite an intricate one), but I do want to give you a hint as to what the movie is about. The title, The Prestige, comes from the theory expressed in the beginning of the movie that there are three stages to every trick: the pledge, where you are shown a normal object like a bird in a cage; the turn, where you make the bird disappear; and the prestige, which is the best part of the trick - making it come back. The movie follows two main characters: Robert Angier, also known as "The Great D'Anton" and Alfred "Freddie" Bordon. The two start off working together as stage hands during magic shows along with Angier's wife who is the magician's apprentice or assistant. There is an accident and Angier's wife dies. Angier blame Bordon, who cannot remember if the accident was his fault or not, and a dangerous rivalry develops between the two of them as they each try to undercut and hurt the other.

I am not really going to go any deeper into it than that, as I woudn't want to ruin the numerous twists that occur throughout the movie, but I would highly, HIGHLY recommend watching it, It is definitely one of my favourite of this kind of semi-thriller genre.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Days 7-17

So I am way, WAY behind on all of the blogging that I was supposed to be doing. I got a job, you see, and the time that I was spending typing up blogs on my laptop at home was replaced with time spent typing up legal documents in plain English. Anyway, I am sure there will be another post about my new job at some point or another, but that is not what this post is for. This post is to catch up on the days that I missed from the book challenge. I didn't want to give up on it, and I didn't want to write eleven separate posts, so I figured that I would put them all together here. I won't bore you with long stories about why I chose these books this time around - just a line or two to explain how they apply to the topic. The book covers are a little small at times, but you can click them to be taken to a bigger picture or you can click the book titles to be takes to their Wikipedia pages. Enjoy!

A book that you can quote:
The Great Gatsby is one of the books that I was forced to study at University, but that I absolutely loved. This meant that when it came to the exams, it was one of the books that I aced purely because it was one that I managed to remember well having enjoyed it so much. And yes, I can quote a couple of lines from it.

A book that scares you:
As someone who would like to have children some day, the idea that my child could turn into a monster or a psychopath is scary. The whole nature vs. nurture idea that was behind
We Need To Talk About Kevin is one that intrigues me and yes, scares me more than a little.

A book that makes you sick:
I don't see how anyone who has ever read American Psycho could disagree with me on this one. It was another book that I studied at University, and I pushed through it, but could only read small sections at a time as at times the descriptions would just get far too vivid and I would actually start to feel physically ill.

A book that changed your life:
I know that this is going to sound more than a little corny, but
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone really did change my life in more ways than one. It got me addicted to reading, addicted to fantasy (and led to some more hardcore fantasy reading of course) and it was the foundation for one of my best friendships - I don't think that Natasha Karpul and I would have ever clicked if we hadn't discovered our mutual love for JK Rowling!

A book by your favourite author:
Choosing a favourite author was always going to be a difficult one, but there is one author whose work I love and that is Khaled Husseini, author of The Kite Runner. You will see another of his books later in the challenge.

A book that reminds you of your own life:
This was another hard one, but the first thing that came to mind (and this is more from the movie than the book really, although I have read the book) was Bridget Jones's Diary. A silly, overly emotional rollercoaster is the best way to describe it, and yes... that does sound quite a bit like my life.

A book that has a main character very much like you:
I haven't seen the movie, so I cannot tell you that I am very much like the character in that, but I can tell you that I am quite a lot like Becky in The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic: a. A shopaholic (Grant can attest to that), b. Have an over-active imagination (once again, just talk to Grant for proof) and c. Am more than a little nutty (no proof required).

A book that has a main character that you want to marry:
I am not the kind of girl who likes bad boys. I like gentlemen, men who are kind and sweet and nice and lovely and... anyway. The quintessential gentleman? Why, Mr. Darcy from
Pride and Prejudice
of course! Sure, he wasn't all that kind and sweet in the beginning, but it turned out that way at the end, didn't it!

The first "chapter book" that you can remember reading:
I still fondly remember sitting on my mother's lap and paging through Black Beauty. There were a number of books that I did this with, but Black Beauty was also the first that I snuck off to read on my own, a fete that I remember being rather proud of!

The longest book you've read:
It took me awhile to think of this one, but I believe the answer would be The Earthsea Quartet. It may be four books in one, but it certainly is a very long collection and, as I have yet to finish The Lord of the Rings, I think that this is probably the closest that I have gotten to that length.

The shortest book you've read:
This is, without a doubt, Heart of Darkness. It is a novella and I was really surprised and excited to see how thin it was when I had to study it in High School. Little did I know the horror ("The horror!") that awaited inside. A cure for insomnia if ever there was one.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cooking Up a Crumble

It has been a long while since I last posted here, but I thought that I had better do so today before I lose out.

You see, I have a friend in Cape Town whose name is Tandy. I believe that she is a wonderful cook, though I have never tasted any of her cooking, because she has a food blog with recipes that make my mouth water. Her blog is called Lavender and Lime and can be found here.

In any case, Tandy is running a baking competition where the winner will get a cassis rectangular bake set from Le Creuset. For those of you who don't know what Le Creuset is, I don't particularly blame you. Until a few years ago, I had no idea! And then I went to see Julie & Julia, a wonderful movie that follows the life of Julia Child and Julie Powell's attempts a recreating her recipes. It turns out that Julia Child was a big fan of Le Creuset bakeware. And so are a number of other people that I know of, including Tandy and Lynne, another family friend. So when I heard about the giveaway, I knew that I would have to get involved. Sure, it wasn't likely that I would win the prize, but I wasn't going to let the opportunity pass me by!

The competition involved baking something and, not being particularly good at baking myself or having very much experience with it, I decided to go for something simple to start off with. Grant suggested Apple Crumble, since it is one of his favourite desserts. So, apple crumble it was to be! I scoured my cookbooks for a recipe, and when they failed me, I went online and found one that I liked the sound of. With the recipe scrawled down, off I went to the shops to get the ingredients for it:

1/2 cup castor sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup coconut
1 tbs ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 cup melted butter
Apple juice
2 tbs vanilla essence

Whipped cream

You may notice one gaping whole in this list of ingredients, and that is apples. That is because buying apples for Grant is a very difficult process - he only likes Granny Smiths, and that seems to be the one kind that the Grahamstown Pick n Pay never seems to stock. So, instead of buying apples and boiling them down myself only to have Grant upset with me, I chose to get a can of apples to replace it with, and Grant was thrilled with my decision. So, I used a large tin of canned apples instead of the 7 apples that the recipe recommended. If you are going to do the apples yourself, make sure to set aside the juice that comes from out of them for later.

Once your apples (canned or stewed/boiled/however you like to do them) are ready, combine the castor sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon, mix well and toss through the apples. Place the apple mix evenly in a medium casserole dish and set it aside for later.

To start the crumble, combine the flour, brown sugar, oats, coconut, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Now you can start to melt the butter, and this is where I started to deviate from the recipe slightly on the advice of some comments that I had found on the recipe. The recipe recommended a 2/3 cup of butter, but some people recommended using only 1/3 butter and mixing in the leftover apple juice. Not having made the apples myself, I bought some apple juice and added a swig of it to the butter once it was melted. Also add the vanilla essence to the butter and apple juice and mix them together.

Add the butter mix to the dry ingredients and mix well. The recipe recommended a fork, but I found using my hands to be a lot quicker and easier. Ensure that all of the ingredients are moist and the mixture has a crumbly texture.

Spread the crumble evenly over the apple mixture and bake in a preheated oven at 180'C for 30-40 minutes or until the crumble is slightly browned.

We chose to serve the crumble with whipped cream, but it can also be served with ice cream or custard. One person even suggested putting Nestle Treat over the top, an idea that I found intriguing, but which Grant quickly vetoed. I will have to try it another time.

Either way, the dessert went down an absolute treat. The friends that came over for dinner on the night that I made it did nothing but wow over it, each of them having seconds (even our neighbour's son who hardly ate any dinner at all). So if that isn't a success, I don't know what is.

I made a second one a couple of nights later, as we had tons of extra ingredients, and I followed the recipe exactly the second time - using a 2/3 cup of butter and no apple juice, and I definitely think that the apple juice was an improvement on the recipe. I highly recommend it. Unfortunately, all of the photos were taken at night in a badly lit kitchen and are examples of the non-juice version. However you make it, ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


There is a website that I go to often when I am bored and it provides me with hours and hours of entertainment. Or it used to when it was still new to me. These days I have been through most of the content on there anyway and it merely provides me with about half an hour for each day that I have missed. This website is Sporcle.

Sporcle is a website that consists of hundreds if not thousands of quizzes on various topics ranging from history to science to religion and entertainment. There are audio quizzes, video quizzes, visual quizzes and plain straight quizzes. There are quizzes that ask you to pick up on whose laugh you hear and quizzes that ask you to guess lyrics without any hint as to what the song is. There are quizzes for days and I can guarantee you that no matter what your particular hobby or interest is, you will find a quiz that will relate to it.

In addition to the quizzes that are written by staff members, there are also quizzes written by members of the website and you can make your own quiz if you think there is a niche for it. There are also Daily Doses, and these are some of my favourite quizzes. Each day the staff provide four quizzes of set varieties for the members of the website to try. They are as follows:
Minute Morsel - you have one minute to answer between 5 and 10 questions from one of the staff quizzes. If these questions spark your interest, then a link is provided to the full quiz.
Missing Word - you are given a number of phrases with missing words. They could be move titles, song titles, book titles or they could just be common phrases that you may have heard, and you have a time limit to fill them in.
Mixed Word
- you are given a number of jumbled letters to make words from. Often there is more than one word that can be made, but you are given a theme that you must stick to or else there is a common theme between the words that they are looking for. For example, the letters A-T-E-S can be made into a number of words including SEAT and EATS, but if the other answers are WEST, NORTH and SOUTH, you know that the answer that they are looking for is EAST.
Word Ladder - This is the newest category that the Sporcle gang have added to their Daily Dose, and it is certainly my favourite. You start off with one word of either four or five letters and change one letter according to the hint to get you to the bottom of the ladder. I often find these kinds of puzzles to be the most fun.

And so, if you are at home and bored and not sure what exactly you can do, why don't you head on down to Sporcle and see if you can find something to keep yourself entertained for awhile. I guarantee that if you look hard enough, you will.

Chasing Meaning

A couple of months ago, I came across a list. This list was in honour of Miramax closing down and listed the best movies that had come from the company in the last few decades. Of course, when I hear "best movies", I think that they are going to be good, and so I found a couple of them and have been watching them over the course of the last few months.

Now, to be fair, I haven't watched most of these movies and a lot of them, though I have heard that they are good, just don't appeal to me. But the few that I have watched I haven't been particularly impressed with. Today I am going to look at one of these movies, and that is Chasing Amy.

I have never been a huge fan of Ben Affleck, and him being in a movie is not a particular draw to me. In fact, I was quite surprised that a movie with him as the lead character was in the list of top 15. It's not that he is a BAD actor per se. I have just never seen him as a serious actor. He is in romantic comedies and dramas, but serious and him just don't gel well in my books. Anyway, I figured that I would give the movie a chance regardless.

The movie was a little predictable from the start - man (Holden) falls in love with woman (Alyssa), woman rejects him, woman comes to accept him, best friend (Banky) tries to come between them, yada yada yada. Not what you would call new ideas. There was a little twist though in the fact that Ben Affleck's love interest prefers women. That throws a bit of a spanner in the works, but not too much of one as she realises that, by limiting herself to falling in love with women, she is closing herself to the opportunity of falling in love with a man. And closing herself off to the opportunity of love is the last thing that she wants to do. And so, they get together, and things are hunky dory for awhile until, predictably, the best friend and business partner steps in and messes things up by dredging up her past, making Ben not trust her anymore. This is where the concept of Chasing Amy comes into play, with an appearance from Jay and an uncharacteristically Unsilent Bob, who explains the concept of losing a girl because of judging her on her past. One thing that I did find to be a little unpredictable was that, after this talk, the movie does not come to a happy ending, but ends with Holden having a deep conversation with Alyssa and Banky and suggesting that the only way to fix their problems is for the three of them to sleep together. That's right. The solution to relationship problems that involve your best friend is to have a threesome. This idea ends his relationship with Alyssa and his friendship with Banky, and that is that.

I didn't hate this movie. I was surprised that I didn't hate it considering the explicit sex talk and the impromptu dialogues that are supposed to be soul revealing but end up making me want to smack the actors in the face because they just don't fit in with the rest of the movie. No, I didn't hate it. I didn't particularly enjoy it though. I have very neutral feelings about it, and though it doesn't feel like I wasted my time watching it, it doesn't leave me with a sense of fulfilment or enjoyment or anything else. It just leaves me empty and not knowing what to do with myself. Should I laugh? Should I cry? No. I should just walk away and forget that I ever watched it as the movie slips into the back of my mind along with the other droll that I have watched over the years.

Overall, I would have given the movie a 3 out of 10. It isn't low enough to hate it, but it isn't high enough to recommend to friends as anything - not a fun movie, not a serious movie, just nothing. I cannot for the life of me understand why IMDB has it listed as a 7.5 out of 10. It wasn't terrible, but it certainly isn't something that I would watch again, certainly isn't a 7.5 in my books and certainly shouldn't be listed under the top 15 of Miramax's achievements. Then again, neither should Heavenly Creatures. But that's a story for another time.

Day 6

So today I am supposed to write about a book that I loved when I was a young adult. There were many of these because that was when I really started getting into reading. Sure, I read before, but I didn't swallow books whole like I did back then. This was the age when I started having all-nighters just lying in bed and reading until the sun rose. Those were the kind of all-nighters that I loved, far better than the university variety which involved staying up and studying or writing essays until the sun rose and it was time for your first lecture. Anyway, because I figured that a lot of the books that I read at this age would come up elsewhere in this challenge, I decided to pick one in particular that I thoroughly enjoyed but many people have probably never heard of.

I can remember very clearly what drew me to Stargirl. It was the bright pink, very simplistic cover and the price tag that read only R11. I knew that Mom couldn't say no to letting me have the book at that price, and of course she didn't. And then it sat on my bookshelf for a long while without my bothering to pick it up. I had other books to read first. One day, my friend Natasha came over and saw the book. She had nothing to read at the time, so she asked if she could borrow it, which I let her do without hesitation. Natasha was like my library at that point - I was constantly borrowing books from her (she had all the best ones after all), so when I had a chance to pay back the favour, I leaped at it. And she absolutely adored it. Within two days she had returned the book to me and went on a mission to find her own copy. Of course, by this point I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and opened up the book myself. And then couldn't close it again!

Stargirl is a wonderful story for young girls about a girl who doesn't quite conform to what people think she should be. Fine, she is downright strange. She prances around the school halls being what some people see as overly happy, and for awhile her individuality is praised. For awhile, people look up to her and admire her and she becomes the centre of attention. People start wanting to be like her. Which ends up taking away from the individuality a little bit, because how can you be an individual when you are the same as everyone else? Anyway, the acceptance doesn't last for long, and soon people start turning against her when they realise that she really doesn't conform and is never going to. The whole book is seen from the eyes of her "boyfriend" and the way that he sways with public opinion.

Basically, I think this book is a wonderful example for teenage girls, the morals of the story being that it is better to be an individual than to conform to peer pressure. It may not be one of the best books that I read in those years, but it is certainly one that stands out in my mind and is still lining my bookshelf today in the hopes that one day my own little girl can read it.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trying to get it write

I am attempting to write a book.

This is not something new for me - friends of mine from high school may remember my attempts at book writing back in those days; friends from uni (particularly those that did the creative writing course with me) will surely remember my NaNoWriMo attempt, and those closer to me may remember the other numerous attempts that have come in between. Readers of this blog my recall a certain promise to get a script going involving a modern day Northanger Abbey. But I refer to them all as attempts. None of them have progressed any further than a couple of thousand words (30 000 in the case of my WriMo attempt of 2009) and the ideas behind them still intrigue me and are still lodged somewhere in my brain, waiting to be rekindled, they have all essentially fallen by the wayside. Once this happens, it is incredibly difficult to pick them back up again. I lose my train of thought, that particular style of writing that was being used, and no matter how hard I try to get it started again, I just cannot get back into that novel's particular rhythm.

This time is different. This time I am trying really hard not to let my novel fall by the wayside. I have great plans and I am not going to let myself and my silly little brain get in the way of letting me succeed. This time it is personal.

So what is my next great attempt about? I am hoping to write up a detailed account of my year in Korea. I don't know how many of the people reading my blog received my fortnightly updates, but many of the people who did read them insisted that I should attempt to write a novel. They said that they all thoroughly enjoyed the short(ish) accounts that I provided them with, and thought that my adventures would make a brilliant book. And so I am trying to put it together piece by piece, trying to figure out what should stay in and what should stay out; who I should mention and who I shouldn't.

Of course, there are aspects to this that remain very difficult. Pieces of information were intentionally left out of letters for example (my parents and grandparents don't need to know about my semi-drunken escapades), and I am sure that some of my friends would not appreciate their own personal lives being put on display. Does that mean that I shouldn't include that information in the book? Does it mean that I should change names to protect anonymity? Should I do all of this now, during the writing stages, or should I finish writing and remove the dodgy bits later during the editing stages? Ah, life's great questions.

Regardless of these questions that keep pestering my mind, I am moving forth. I am not very far into the writing of the book yet, and still have to figure out how I am going to lay everything out, But I am writing, and that is the important part. As long as I keep doing that, I am sure that this one will pan out. Hold thumbs for me.

Oh, and the question for today: Would you object to being referred to in someone else's novel?

Day 5

Day 5 is supposed to be a book that you wished you could live in. Once again there are many of these that come to mind, from Memoirs of a Geisha to almost all the novels of Jane Austen and more. But, though I found myself easily getting lost in those worlds, there was one world that I found myself particularly drawn to and I decided that should really be the book that I write about today.

I really loved CS Lewis as a child, and the world of Narnia has remained engrained in my brain (teehee for assonance). With its beauty, its lore and its mysticism as well as the touch of magic that is sprinkled around, I think that Narnia is the one fictional place that I wish I could live in. Well, maybe not live in per se. After all, you can visit Narnia and stay there for a lifetime and return back to the real world to find that no time has passed at all. Perhaps it would be the ideal vacation spot - a place to run away to when the stresses of life get a little too much. A place where you could have your own adventures separate from the real world and return to reality without anything having really changed. How lovely would that be?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Day 4

For day 4, I am supposed to write about a book that makes me cry. This was a very difficult one for me. Though I get overly emotional and tend to cry in just about every movie that I watch (terrible, I know) it is not quite the same for books with me. I think that it's because when I get to a point where I feel I might cry, I can just put the book aside and do something else for a short while, detaching myself from the story and giving my emotions a bit of a break. There was one book though that despite my tears, I just couldn't put down.

The Time Traveler's Wife is one of the most beautiful, terrifying, funny, mindbloggling, glorious, heartwrenching books that I have read and I absolutely love it. You should have seen how angry I was when I realised that my copy of the book (frugally purchased for R10 from Cafda before I had realised what a treasure it was) had been ruined by... I don't know what exactly. Coffee? Perhaps. Whatever it was, more than half the book is covered in a dark stain that cover at least half the width of the pages, and though you can read what is written, it is certainly not pleasant. I look forward to purchasing another copy of the book very soon, but the story behind my finding of it will not be quite as interesting or lucky, I am sure.

Day 3

So I didn't get around to writing this blog up yesterday, but day 3's book is supposed to be one that makes you laugh. The book that I chose for today came to mind pretty quickly and it's one that I have written about here before.

When I read Northanger Abbey, I couldn't help but laugh at the way Austen describes her characters and sets up situations. Towards the end of the book, the humour died out a little, as should be expected considering that the book was supposed to be more of a drama than anything else, but even so, the comical language exchanges continued throughout and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 2

So, on day two, I am supposed to talk about my least favourite book. This is quite a difficult choice for me because it is not often that I come across a book that I truly dislike. I might come across books that I find to be a little boring at times or a little disappointing, but never BAD. But there is one book that stands out amongst the disappointments that I have experienced, and that is Shalimar the Clown.

Perhaps it is because I had such high expectations for the book. Perhaps it was because I spent so much time reading it, put so much effort into it and found all of my hopes for it torn apart, but I had the worst time reading this book, and by the time I finished it, all I wanted to do was throw it across the room and give up reading forever. The little bit that I had read of Salman Rushdie before this had given me such high hopes, and Shalimar the Clown tore them right down. And so, I think that this, if anything, counts as my least favourite book. I am not, however, giving up on Rushdie and still intend to read books like The Satanic Verses and Midnight's Children.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My World of WoW

Just because I am doing my 30 day book challenge doesn't mean that I am going to forget about my other blogging duties. Today, I thought I would talk about something that has been taking up a lot of my time and that has been on my mind a lot lately. And what else would that thing be but... World of Warcraft.

Yes, that is right. I am indeed a little more geeky than many people realise. I am an avid WoW player. This wasn't always the case. It all started when Grant got into the game back in 2008. He created a character, and most of his time was spent playing said character at nights and on weekends while I sat in the background reading books, taking naps and watching series. Life went on in this manner for quite some time until I started complaining that Grant was spending more time playing the game than he was spending with me.
What was his solution to this problem?
Creating me a character.
And so Risuna, my human warrior, was born. At first I didn't get what all the hype was about. And then I started getting really into the game. And then I took over Grant's computer because all I wanted to do was play the game.
What was his solution to this problem?
Create me my own account.
Of course, that wasn't really a solution to my addiction, but it allowed him to indulge in his addiction while I indulged in mine. There was a minor problem with this solution, however, and that was that transferring of characters between accounts was not only costly, but also not particularly timely. And so, while I saved up my pennies and counted down the hours, I created myself a new character to level while I waited. And so Khalla, my night-elf druid, was born.

I had tons of fun playing with Khalla and decided that I far preferred having a druid to having a warrior. They were a lot more fun to play with because they could shapeshift and, compared to my warrior who could only DPS, had a lot of options to play around with. I could DPS or tank or heal as I liked, and being able to change between the forms meant that I never really got bored. Before I knew it, I was level 80 with Risuna, who had by this time already been transferred to my account, lagging behind at level 65.

I could have continued to play on with Khalla forever, venturing into dungeons and raids to my heart's content. But unfortunately, Grant got bored with the game, as he inevitably does, and decided to cancel his account. Though he did offer to keep mine going, playing with him was part of the reason I had so much fun playing the game. Without him, it just didn't seem worth it anymore. And so, towards the middle of 2009, we both cancelled our accounts and the joy that I'd had playing WoW faded into the back of my memory.

By September 2010, I had just about forgotten about my days of WoW playing. They seemed like a distant dream, until they were refreshed by a friend of mine who became obsessed with levelling his character in time for the release of the Cataclysm expansion. Watching him play brought back all the good times I'd had levelling my own characters, and I begged Grant to reconsider opening our accounts once again. After some hmming and haaing, it was decided. We were going to try again. But on the European server this time around. This meant that we would have to start fresh, creating new characters. Because all of Grant's friends were playing Horde characters, it also meant a changing of sides, something that I wasn't particularly looking forward to. I had always been the good guy (or gal). I had always been the one keeping people in line rather than the one toeing the line myself. But there wasn't much choice in the matter - if I was going to play again, and if I was going to play with Grant, I was going to have to switch sides and become the bad guy (or gal).

And so Keillan, my tauren hunter, was born. Her name was a bit of a tribute to Khalla, the lost druid that I had loved so much. The tauren race, being one of the original few that could become druids, are not well known hunters, but I wanted to try something new. I didn't particularly like the look of any of the other characters (besides the blood elves, whose choices in profession were few), and so I decided to stick with my tauren and become a hunter. And I have found that I quite enjoy it. If I cannot become another animal, at least I can have them as pets.

I recently managed to level Keillan up to 85, the highest that Cataclysm will allow you to go, and am currently running her through heroic dungeons to gain justice points and try to gear her up for raiding. And so, this is what I have been spending my time doing. As geeky as it is, I am a WoW player, and I am proud of it.

So my question for today: What is your strangest/geekiest/most embarrassing pastime?

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 1

So I have been seeing a lot of challenges going around lately. There are photo challenges, music challenges and movie challenges. But I had never heard of the 30 Day Book Challenge, and I was rather intrigued when I came across it. And so, I thought that I would start to take part in this challenge (as well as the music challenge - you can follow my progress in that one over facebook). I didn't want to do this challenge over facebook, as I figured that I could use this opportunity to write little posts about each of the books - why they are up there and all.

For those of you who would like to join me in this endeavour:

Create a photo album and use Photobucket, Amazon, or Shelfari (or some other sight with pictures of books) to share pictures of the books on this list day by day.

Day 1: Favorite book
Day 2: Least favorite book
Day 3: Book that makes you laugh out loud
Day 4: Book that makes you cry
Day 5: Book you wish you could live in
Day 6: Favorite young adult book
Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite
Day 8: Book that scares you
Day 9: Book that makes you sick
Day 10: Book that changed your life
Day 11: Book from your favorite author
Day 12: Book that is most like your life
Day 13: Book whose main character is most like you
Day 14: Book whose main character you want to marry
Day 15: First “chapter book” you can remember reading as a child
Day 16: Longest book you’ve read
Day 17: Shortest book you’ve read
Day 18: Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like
Day 19: Book that turned you on
Day 20: Book you’ve read the most number of times
Day 21: Favorite picture book from childhood
Day 22: Book you plan to read next
Day 23: Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t actually finished)
Day 24: Book that contains your favorite scene
Day 25: Favorite book you read in school
Day 26: Favorite nonfiction book
Day 27: Favorite fiction book
Day 28: Last book you read
Day 29: Book you’re currently reading
Day 30: Favorite coffee table book

And so, to day one. My favourite book.

This is a bit of a hard choice and an easy choice at the same time. There are so many books that I love, but the first one to come to mind was Cloud Atlas. I have spoken about the book before, but I absolutely love it. From the moment I opened it to the moment that I put it down, I never stopped loving it, and it is one book that I don't think I could ever get enough of.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sleep Deprived

I have been struggling to sleep again. I hate it when this happens.

Part of the trouble is my caffeine addiction. You see, I wake up in the mornings feeling tired and worn out. By mid-afternoon, I feel exhausted. What occasionally happens at this point is that I have a nap, but regardless of whether I do or not, I end up feeling lethargic by late afternoon, and find myself needing caffeine to get my through the rest of the day. Coffee isn't my fix (though I do have a cup every now and then). Coke sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. My real addiction is Red Bull. At least one and at least three times a week. And then I can stay awake, stay focussed, stay in a happy mood for the rest of the evening rather than reverting into a slum where I won't talk and will just sit there being miserable until Grant asks me what is wrong, when I will respond that it is nothing but me being tired. Red Bull for the win!

But then the trouble comes in when I want to go to sleep. Yes, Red Bull keeps me awake and happy and lively when I want to be, but it also keeps my mind working even when I want to shut it down completely. I lie in bed, waking Grant up with my constant rolling around and sighs of frustration, with my mind jumping from subject to subject.
I need to book flights to Johannesburg.
I need to find accomodation in Johannesburg,
I need to make sure that the dress is ready on time.
I wonder if I can take photos at the wedding.
I should be taking more photos.
When was the last time that I took a photo?
I need to get more photography gigs.
I need to get my website up and running.
I need to write another blogpost.
I need to write another chapter of my book.
What will I write for the book?
What happened on this day last year?
You see... it is utter nuttiness. And these were just some of the subjects that were floating through my mind two nights ago when I literally rolled around for over two hours unable to fall asleep.

Now, you might say that the solution is simple enough - stop drinking Red Bull or, if I need to drink it, drink it earlier in the day so that my sleep isn't affected. That would probably be the smart thing to do, but as I said, my caffeine addiction is only a part of my sleeping woes. Even on days when I have had no caffeine - zero, zip, none - I often struggle to sleep. Sometimes it is because my mind is just on overdrive, sometimes it's because the things that my mind conjures up are either insanely weird (cue the semi-dream of me flying around on my mount from WoW taking photographs of my goddaughter) or just plain scary (cue the semi-dream of people breaking into my house on a nightly basis and not only taking all of my stuff, but breaking the things that they didn't take eg. my camera lenses.)

I know that many people believe that dreams have meanings, and the meanings behind my dreams are not hard to realise. I am obsessive. I get into a habit of doing something, and I become obsessive about that habit. Take photography, for example. I enjoy taking photos, but at some point photography became a giant part of my life, so much so that I eat, drink and sleep photography. At one stage back when I was in high school and didn't have a particularly advanced computer, I became obsessed with minesweeper, and my dreams consisted of clicking little grey buttons and praying that a bomb didn't blow me up when I clicked it. You see, whatever my hobby of the moment is, my dreams tend to take that on, but to the extreme. To the point where the hobby isn't fun anymore, purely because the stress that comes with it (and yes, even the funnest hobbies can be stressful sometimes) seeps into my dreams making it difficult for me to sleep.

So, my question for you today is this: How do you get to sleep when your mind is driving you nuts?