Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey... Stuff

It's safe to say that May kind of got away from me. That's okay, though, because once I build my TARDIS I can just go back and write posts closer to the days that I actually think of these topics and you'll all be none the wiser... except then I'll have to erase this post.

Gosh, time travel is so confusing!

Any excuse for a Doctor Who clip

This won't be a coherent post, but I wanted to get a few thoughts down while they were still relatively fresh in my mind. Random? Yes. Important? Probably not. Going to talk about them anyway? Hells ya!

There has been lots going on in my life at the moment. Biggest change? I got a new job. I'm still with the organisation but a new higher-up position. As my brother said when I told him my new title, "you've got 'co-ordinator' in there. Nice!" It's handy when your family are also bureaucrats, they get what titles mean.

Being honest, I love the bathrooms on my new floor!

After my pub board game night with 106 and T, 106 found a Monday night board game meet up here in Victoria. We've been twice and it's awesome! He even bought one of our favourite games from this past Monday and I pretty much had to physically restrain myself from just inviting myself over to play it. It's called Guillotine and it's super simple, super quick, and super hilarious. Also, board games rock. I just wish they weren't so freakin' expensive.

Euro 2012 starts on Friday. That might not mean much to most of you, but it's huge for me. It's the first time in 24 years that Ireland has made it to the Euro. (In fairness, it's only held every four years. It's not like they've missed it 24 years in a row.) The last time Ireland went (which was also the first time, we're a young soccer nation) this happened:

It was kind of a big deal for us. They even wrote songs about it. Never ones to let a moment pass without signing about it, there's an official Ireland song for Euro 2012 as well.

(Snarky me adds a 'unless you score with a handball' at the end.
Yeah, I'm still bitter. Stupid France.)

Speaking of Ireland vs. England, people were chatting in the lunch room today about the Queen's Jubilee when one of them turned to me and seriously asked "you're Irish. Are you excited about the celebrations? Is your family doing anything special?" I was slightly dumbfounded at the question so I just said 'no' and left the room.

I don't have anything against the English, and good on the Queen for sticking in there, but Irish people aren't exactly known for our love of England or the monarchy. In fact, we're kind of known for disliking them. We fought a war of independence over it. The resulting separation of the island of Ireland made a few of the papers. So did the ensuing Troubles. While I don't expect this non-Irish coworker to be able to list names and dates from the last 100 years of Irish history, I would expect that somewhere in her brain would be the understanding that Ireland won't be celebrating this Jubilee. Or any Royal Jubilee.

I'll have to remember to ask her what she's doing for American Independence Day in July.

I have made no secret of my love for Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer. If you love science, you should check out his quote turned into awesome graphics by Zen Pencils. It gives me chills reading it. If you want to get me something nice just because, I'll take a print of that comic. Thanks.

I had a crush on a guy in high school who I always thought was way too cool for me - it was the classic nerd-girl-likes-jock-a-year-older-than-her crush. While I thought I always played it cool, I'm sure he knew. How could he not when I just randomly always seemed to be hanging out in the hall near his locker? Or sitting by the field when he was practicing soccer? He was nicer than some of the crushes I had and politely tolerated me but we had nothing in common. Nothing! Except we both liked 'Ocean Pearl' by 54-40.
While I liked the song, crush-boy loved it. He had all of 54-40's albums, he went to a few of their concerts, and he talked about wanting to meet the band.

This song still gets me dancing.

My crush ended suddenly one day. His friend made fun of him for his geeky hanger-on and his previously tolerant demeanour changed. In front of all his friends, he made me feel about two inches tall. I was devastated.

Skip forward 18 years to this past weekend. My friends, Justin and Ian, played Friday and Saturday night with their recently acquired drummer, Matt Johnson. As in, Matt Johnson of 54-40. It wasn't my first time meeting Matt, but it was the first time we had a conversation between us without Justin or Ian instigating it. Despite friends with him both nights, he made a point of coming over and say 'hello' and asking how I was doing.

As I nursed a hangover of epic proportions on Sunday (more from lack of sleep than the four beers the night before), I thought of that high school crush for the first time in more than a decade. Man, did I ever wish I could tell 14 year old me that some day one of my crush's hero would laugh at my jokes. That would have stopped a few of those tears.

Friday, May 4, 2012

It Was Going To Be a Post About May the Fourth...

Like all good little sisters, I borrowed my brother's personal items when he wasn't home. When I was younger, it was his G.I.Joe's. As a pre-teen and teenager, it was his tapes and, later, CDs. The only cool thing about me by the time I got to high school was that I knew the lyrics to every song on the License to Ill record.

I felt numb when I read the news today that Adam Yaunch, better known to most of us as MCA, had passed away. I broke the news to my unit at work. It says a lot about the Beastie Boys that despite a 25 year age difference in our group and different socio-economic upbringings, we all had a Beastie Boys story to share. They crossed genres and generations in a way that very few other groups have.

And singing along with Fight For Your Right will never go out of style.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Memories of a Mzungu

I am spending my Friday night watching the 1962 John Wayne movie Hatari!

Don't worry if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Five years ago, I had never heard of the movie and I went through a period in high school of watching a classic movie a week. I had watched more John Wayne films than I could name.

But then I went on safari in Tanzania and visited Tarangire NP. Everywhere around the entrance guard hut were signs about the movie being filmed there. Hatari means danger or caution. Baby Bro and I found it hilarious to yell "HATARI... THE MOVIE!" at each other for the rest of the trip.

We usually made this hand gesture as we yelled it...
although that was just coincidental.

Obviously, we had to watch the film when we returned home. Now it's my 'I miss Tanzania' film.

This round of nostalgia started when E and I ended up in Munro's Books in the language section. A Swahili book caught my attention and soon I was pontificating about how even a small knowledge of the language goes a long to increasing the willingness of the locals to help you and decreasing the opening quote on items in shops. I bored entertained E and the lady browsing down the aisle with stories which illustrated my point. (You're welcome for the travel tips, by the way, lady-who-kept-staring-at-me.)

The local mode of carrying goods.
The girl on the left is carrying an axe on her head.
Three days later, I found The White Masai on clearance for $5. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop. The writing isn't great and some of the decisions made by the author frustrated me to no end but the story just drew me. While the book is set in Kenya, the two countries are geographically similar and the bureaucracy is exactly the same. (A better term would be bribeaucracy.) As I read about Corinne's frustration with getting immigration papers sorted, I recalled how my low cut v-neck shirt got me a visa renewal when only a day earlier my scoop neck shirt was told it had to leave the country to renew my visa. (That's the power of the boobs, ladies!)

The beach at Kendwa, Northern Zanzibar

Memories I hadn't thought of in years came flooding back. The simple memories I don't pull out for dinner parties because there's no set story to entertain or inform those around me. Memories like the contentment of sitting on the shaded stoop of Susie's shop on a sunny day, drinking a coke baridi and chatting with the passersby I know. Or how looking at Mt. Meru as I left the baby home made the day complete.

The eastern wall of the Great Rift Valley. You can almost reach out and touch it.
I started dreaming in Swahili which is amazing because a) I haven't done that since five months after I came home and b) the only Swahili I remember when I'm awake is what I had to yell say to the children 18 times an hour - Stop it! Come here! No! Sit down! No hitting! Lunch/Dinner time! Go potty?, pretty standard toddler sentences - or basic greetings. In my dreams, however, I recalled a lot more. Although I'm more than willing to concede that most of the 'Swahili' I was dreaming in was probably my mind making up appropriate sounds. But there were a few actual words I was able to recall upon waking up.

The streets of Stone Town, empty during Ramadan.
Invigorated by these six relearned words, my Swahili hip hop* and Bongaflava downloads found their way back into my music rotation. Because obviously, if I'm dreaming in Swahili, I'm f*cking fluent! Baby Bro interviewed me for his paper on the education system in Tanzania while another friend invited me over for Ethiopian takeout and a movie set in Kenya (based on a true story... and you should totally watch it). The Amazing Race - the only reality show I would ever want to be on - headed to Tanzania and even went through a town I remember fondly, Mto wa Mbu (which is not what you'd expect someone to say about a town named 'river of mosquitos'. And for the record: mmm-toe wa mmm-boo). All these little reminders of Africa kept popping up.

Hard at work teaching me Swahili patty cake rhymes.

So here I sit with John Wayne humanely catching monkeys in the background while I stare at travel brochures for East Africa advertising trips I can't afford. Oh, to stand up in the jeep as it bumps its way down to the Ngorongoro Crater floor. To jump out of the dhow and wade ashore with my bag on my head as old fishermen fix their nets in the shade of the old Portuguese fort at Kilwa Kisiwani. To watch the sun set on cloudless Kilimanjaro as I eat dinner with Mama Musa, Hadija and the rest of the nannies. To barter with a stall keeper and then watch him charge the other tourists more because they don't greet him in Swahili.

To sit on the shaded stoop of Susie's shop on a sunny day, drinking a coke baridi and chatting with the passersby I know.

View from the ridge of Ngorongoro Crater after our game drive.

*The Hip Hop group I linked to, X Plastaz, is known because they rap in Swahili and Maa (the language of the Masai). The song I linked to doesn't have a video but it's the first X Plastaz song I ever heard and I love the use of the Masai throat singing in the background.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Then Things Got Really Nerdy

So I went to Seattle and this happened. (Not my photo album.) The Emerald City ComiCon was my first ever Nerdapalooza Comic Book Convention. It took all of about an hour milling about waiting for Wil Wheaton's 90-minute Awesome Hour for me to decided to return next year. It took all of an hour and five minutes to decide that I would make a costume for next year.

Yeah, you read that right! Costume. Nothing elaborate just something a bit more fitting of the event.

The whole weekend was fantastic. While I could have made a better use of my time overall (chalk it up to being a convention n00b), I crossed off everything on my 'must do' list. I attended the above mentioned Awesome Hour, the Walking Dead panel, met The Oatmeal and got his autograph (and a personalized drawing of me in which 5'3" me became a giraffe... um, alright then) before this happened:

I met Wil Wheaton! I met Wil Wheaton! I met Wil Wheaton!

He was my first celebrity crush when I was 10 so it was kind of a big deal for me. While waiting in line, I practiced a few short soundbites I could rattle off when I got up there. You made being a geek cool for me as a teen. I hate that you've already read The Bloggess's book, you lucky bastard. I love that you love hockey, but why the Kings? WHY? Can you tell Aaron Douglas that I have a Doug and the Slugs CD for him. (Okay, maybe not that last one. That was a twitter moment between me and Aaron that's best not shared with the world... outside of twitter... and Edward James Olmos who was with Aaron at the time.) I got up to the table, selected the picture, said hello and my name, and then stared at my shoes.

Because I'm cool like that.

The only really bum part of the weekend was remembering how awesome Seattle is and not really getting to see it. We made it down to Pike Place Market for a wander and then dinner on Saturday night, but I didn't really see Seattle. I've decided I need to take a long weekend sometime soon and head back.

You'd think that returning to Victoria was the end of my geeky good times. Scratch that, GGT will never end. You'd think that returning to Victoria was the end of my Wil Wheaton good times, but it wasn't! Last Thursday, Wil tweeted/facebooked/social media'ed a couple of Walking Dead references about "where's Carl? He's not in the house." Shortly after the Carl comments, he turned his attention to the LA Kings game with a comical suggestion of who should have dressed for the line up that night. I responded.

That made my night. In fact, it made my whole damn day. Even better? It happened on my birthday. Wil Wheaton laughed at my joke on my birthday. Happy 32nd year to me!

Big thanks to the folks at ECCC for putting on an awesome weekend. Big thanks to Wil for being just as funny and cool as 10 year old me always thought he was.

And a big 'up yours' to the restaurant in our hotel for completely ignoring us for 15 minutes despite less that 50% capacity. Our food was pretty damn fantastic at the other restaurant anyway so I guess it sort of worked out.

Friday, March 30, 2012

While I Run Away to Seattle This Weekend...

...a few thoughts on geek-hood from the always awesome Simon Pegg.

[Found via Wil Wheaton but originally from here]

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm Tired and Cranky. This Is What You Get

I had a couple of book reviews I wanted to write up tonight.

And I wanted to talk about my love of the new show GCB (totally my guilty pleasure).

And how I'm five episodes in to rewatching the entire Star Trek: The Next Generation because that show was such a huge part of my childhood so I've decided to watch an episode a night for the next, oh, eight months or so until I'm done. (Eight months is longer than it should take me at an episode a night, but I'm allowing for nights of going out.)

And how Game of Thrones comes back on Sunday but I won't be able to watch it because I'll be in Seattle ::sadface:: for the Emerald City Comicon ::happyface::

And that if I don't end the weekend with Wil Wheaton phoning security to remove me from his room, I've totally failed in my objectives.

I'm kidding!

I just plan to hang around his table until he gets creeped out and asks security to remove me from the entire convention.

Again, just kidding!


Obviously, I had a lot I wanted to write about, but my computer is being a total twat and just ate my last post before crashing... twice. So instead, you get this:

On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
Been on my too-read for a long time. Really glad I did. Found it fascinating. Recommend it if you have an interest in science... otherwise it can be a bit dense and dull. I highly recommend getting an annotated edition because he often references other scientists/science papers from that era.

They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children by Romeo Dallaire
Started reading this last year. Got a little emotional so I put it down... for 11 months. So, so good (but I will always recommend Shake Hands with the Devil first). I tip my hat because the man can also craft some good fiction in amongst his fabulous non-fiction.

Malachy McCourt's History of Ireland by Malachy McCourt
Loved it. It was written very much like an oral history. I felt like I was sitting down with Mr. McCourt at a table in a bar as he told me the stories. My dad, who is no big fan of the McCourt brothers (and I'll talk about that in another post with another book review), even loves it. There's a line in the book which sums it up nicely (and I'm paraphrasing because my dad has the book at the moment): You should know by now that in Irish history, whether or not something is true is not as important as whether or not it makes a good story.

Playing With Fire by Theoren Fluery
If you like hockey, read this book. If you are curious of the thought process of someone dealing with being sexual abused as a child, read this book. If you want to better understand the mind frame of an addict, read this book. I'm not going to talk about him being some great writer (because he's not, although he is good), but his honesty and openness about what he went through is incredible. He lays his entire life out for everyone to view and he doesn't sugar coat any of it. Loved this book.

There are more books but these are the only ones I feel like mentioning now that I'm tired, cranky, and hating my computer so why write about the books I wasn't enamoured with? And, because no one wants to end on a downer, I found another craft project online that I want the pattern for:

They even put a bumb on Worf's forehead! *squee!*

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Couple of Late Night Thoughts

I had intentions to actually write a proper post earlier to evening but it got so late I reached a feck-it-I'll-do-it-tomorrow stage. I made the mistake of doing one last random web search before heading to bed when I came across two things worth sharing.

First, if you're a zombie fan (and who isn't, these days?) and you're in England (or have random money lying around which you've just been itching to waste on a last minute flight) then you should know about a zombie killing adventure in Reading. You and your friends/fellow survivors, get a bit of hands on training with the weapons and then you have 2.5 hours in a closed shopping mall with a horde of ravenous recently deceased yet ambulatory individuals.

As much as I think I want to do this, I also know that I a) startle very easily so I'd probably just hide in a broom closet and b) giggle constantly when my adrenaline is going. In short, I'd get myself and everyone around me 'killed' telling knock-knock jokes to the infected janitor. I'd rather hole up in a nearby pub and watch the events unfold on a couple of CC cameras.

Second, a cousin recently passed along a link to In the Name of the Fada, a six-part documentary about an Irish-American comedian, Des Bishop, who decides to learn Irish. I've been watching the series on YouTube and it's been a good laugh. I'd encourage anyone with even a passing interest in Ireland to check it out. But that's not why I'm telling you about it. I'm telling you about it because Des decided to translate and perform "Jump Around" as Gailge. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Few Words About Words

St. Patrick's Day is coming up and, I know I don't usually talk about it, but my family is from Ireland.

I'll give you a moment to get over that bombshell.

I will admit that I find North American people's interpretation of St. Patrick's Day a bit comical. It's a play-by-play of every Irish stereotype wrapped up in a plastic shamrock bow. There is nothing Irish about the way we celebrate St. Patrick's Day. But it's also endearing, in it's own way: everyone in green outfits and plastic shamrocks from head-to-toe while trying out Oirish accents as they order copious pints of Guinness.

Nike decided to get on the St. Patrick's Day bandwagon this year by releasing a line of Irish beer themed shoes just in time for the big day. I, as I am want to do, had a few opinions about this.

I don't have a problem with the drink, Black and Tan, as it's not an Irish drink. People assume it is because of the standard practice of using Guinness for the top, but the drink didn't originate in Ireland and the name can be applied to any two-toned beer combination.

But the shoes. They bug me.

Never mind the fact that a Black and Tan isn't actually an Irish drink, but this is not the first time Nike has put its foot in its mouth when it comes to Ireland. Is there no one in the whole of the Nike corporation that understands how Google works?

The Black and Tans in Irish history were British military units sent to Ireland during the War of Independence. The actions of these men, many of them WWI vets suffering from shell-shock, were nothing short of horrific. Their job was to stop Irish rebels at any cost, and if they suspected that you were a rebel they took a shoot-first-ask-questions-later attitude towards handling you.

The name came from their uniforms: khaki pants left over from WWI and dark tops to denote them as members of the Irish Constabulary. You can perhaps see then why naming an article of clothing Black and Tan in a highly misguided attempted to celebrate St. Patrick's Day got my nickers in a knot.

All this leads me to a drink name I do have a problem with: the Irish Car Bomb.

In the past, I've had friends offer to buy me this drink, Hey Andrea, you're Irish. Let's have an Irish Car Bomb. Ha Ha Ha! I've always declined (and not just because of the name. Who chugs Guinness? Who ruins whiskey by mixing it with Bailey's? Or vice versa?) This is not an Irish drink and its name is offensive. You wouldn't name a drink an Afghan Roadside Bomb, so why is it okay to name one an Irish Car Bomb?

Approximately 3500 people died in Northern Ireland as a result of the Troubles, many of them from car bombs. Countless more were injured. Loyalist. Republican. Catholic. Protestant. Military. Civilian. People died and we think it's acceptable to order it as a drink. While the Troubles are officially over thanks to a bunch of politicians signing a piece of paper, car bombs are still around.

In 1998, mere months after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, a car bomb exploded in Omagh killing 29 people and injuring over 200 more. Last April, Omagh was rocked again when the bomb attached to Ronan Kerr's car killed him. Constable Kerr was a new recruit to the Police Service of Northern Ireland. He was 25 years old.

If you really want to celebrate Ireland and the Irish this St. Patrick's Day, ask your bartender for a Durty Nelly. It's the exact same drink but with a much less offensive name.

Unless you happened to be named Nelly.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop the Crochet Hooks!

Most important thing you need to know about today is that I found this Game of Thrones craft online:

As if the Stark family isn't cute enough they come with little direwolves!
And Arya has a tiny Needle!!


At the very least, I want the crochet pattern. I've never crochetted dolls before but I've done beanies so how hard could dolls be? Famous last words.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


My calendar tells me it's March. I think it's lying to me but my phone tells me the same thing.


Another month down. Granted, it was a short month but it still seemed to fly by. I made the mistake of starting choice to begin a couple of projects in January which, coupled with returning to work, made February a busy, busy month. My fun time was one episode of The Walking Dead a night until I caught up with the series.

My willingness to get over my natural tendency to avoid anything graphic
might have something to do with these two guys.
Love me some Daryl and Rick!

I enjoy zombie movies but I usually enjoy them for the camp-factor. The Walking Dead is anything but camp. In fact, it's disturbingly realistic in its portrayal of decomposing dead (yet ambulatory) bodies. Just debating whether or not to watch the show gave me a horrible nightmare. I woke up three times, once I was crying, and every time I fell right back into the nightmare. I was sweaty by the time I woke up and emotionally distraught over having to shoot a few of my friends in the head. Since I actually started watching the show, I haven't had a single bad dream. Note to self: it's never as bad as you imagine it to be.

February was also the month that I committed to attending the Emerald City Comicon in Seattle at the end of March. Why yes, it is just as nerdy as you think it is. Nerdy and dorky and awesome. I can't wait. Finally, my dream of stalking awkwardly-staring-at-while-waiting-for-his-autograph-because-I-can't-think-of-anything-to-say-meeting Wil Wheaton will come true!

I've read a lot of books lately which I may or may not talk about at a later date, but most recently I started reading Playing with Fire by Theo Fleury. By recently, I mean Sunday. It's good. I can't put it down. For those who are not familiar with Theo Fleury, he's a Canadian hockey player who struggled with various addictions throughout his career. After cleaning up in the mid-2000's, he came forward and spoke out about the sexual abuse he suffered at the hands of his junior hockey coach. While I've never been a huge fan of Theo's (um hello, he played for Calgary! Automatic 37 strikes against him!), I fell a little in love with him when he posted this on his blog during the Penn State abuse scandal back in November 2011. I made a decision then and there to read his book. So glad I did.

I caught a travel show on Switzerland a few days ago. Suddenly, I find myself looking at flights and googling gondola trips up various mountains. You may find a couple of Swiss photos sneaking into future posts along with trips down memory lane about the proper way to prepare a cheese fondue or what it's like to experience an Alpabzug (bringing the cows down from the mountain pastures for winter). Oh Switzerland, I miss you.

I'm hoping to get back to writing on here more often, but I make no promises. Game of Thrones was just released on DVD today...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Case For Giving Me All Your Money

Save for a month and a half last spring, I have not worked full-time since August 2009. For the record, returning to full-time work kind of sucks. I mean, money is nice. Paying bills is nice. Showering every morning and leaving the house with a sense of purpose is nice.Working? Not so much.

It's nothing against this specific job or my current work place, it's just work in general. Why couldn't I have been born into a titled Victorian family? Or be a lady of the court during the Tudor reign? Or waxed poetic about the plight of the plebs while lounging on a bed of pillows in a lavish Roman villa? In short, why couldn't I have been born ludicrously privileged and ridiculously wealthy? Is that too much to ask for? For the record, I would kick ass at telling my servants what to do. I'm very good at telling other people what to do. It's like I was meant to be a socialite from a bygone era. (Not one from this era because apparently I enjoying wearing too many layers of clothes for that role.)

Of course, work is only a small reason I've been absent around these parts. Another reason is Downton Abbey which I kept hearing people talk about and finally decided to watch. Um, yeah. There's nothing I can really add to the reviews and ideas already tumbling around the Internet except to say 'watch it and thank me later'.

I've also been working on a few crafting projects which may or may not see the light of day on this blog. Mostly, this depends on whether or not I fork out for a new camera in the near future. It's really difficult to show the Internets your crafting project when you don't have a camera. Also, I'm cheap so I don't even have a decent camera phone to take pictures with.

If I was independently wealthy, I'd have you all around for tea with little sandwiches while I show you my craft projects in person. *sigh*

Saturday, January 28, 2012

It Pretty Much Went Like That

And just like that, almost two weeks went by...

I wasn't so overly busy I couldn't post, I was just lacking the motivation to write anything. I think I kind of burned myself out on the Christmas posting and just needed a no-guilt break from posting for a little bit. It was well-worth it. Still, life continued on while all was quiet on here so let's glance back.

1. My goal of listing everything each week is still going well... kind of. I got a little overzealous after my last post and wrote a list which was three pages long. Granted, it was a lot of small (but important) tasks written on pages only 20 lines long, but it was still long. Monday and Tuesday, I attacked that thing like McCarthy attacked suspected communists.

Image from Hyperbole and a Half. Specifically this post.
Full disclosure: I love Ali Brosh with all my heart.

Wednesday I looked at the list and did a few things but just couldn't find the motivation to keep it up for more than an hour (plus there was snow to play in!). Thursday, I woke up feeling achy and unable to concentrate for longer than 5 mins at a time. Friday was full flu-epidemic in my world. Dammit.

Monday and Tuesday had taken the list down to one page so I'm clinging to the idea that had I not been incubating a petri dish in my nasal cavities/head/throat/achy back muscles, I totally could have gotten the list completed. And I totally would have cleaned all the things!

2. It snowed in Victoria. It was beautiful. I don't have pictures because a) I had to return the camera to its rightful owner and b) just like you don't bring a knife to a gun fight, you don't bring electronics to a snowball fight.

But it was really pretty. The temps stayed low enough that it stuck around like proper Alberta snow instead of turning into the slushy, icy, deathtrap snow that it usually is in Victoria. Then one night it started raining and when the city woke up the next morning, the snow was gone. That's the way I wish it would happen every year.

3. Season Four of Merlin has started. Yes, I watch Merlin. Judge me all you want, I like it.

It's cheesy fun times with adorable accents and awesome sets. And seeing as Doctor Who isn't on right now, I need something to watch while I enjoy my Sunday morning coffee. Also, James Callis (aka Gaius Baltar from BSG) has a guest appearance on it this week so my geeky heart is just jumping with excitement. I will defend my love of this cheesy, cheesy show. Now, if you really want to judge me...

4. The Challenge: Battle of the Exes has started on MTV. Strangely enough, I don't actually care for 'The Real World' from which this was born. The Challenge is different. I always make an effort to watch it. Judge me. Please. Goodness knows, I'm judging myself for admitting this. The first episode aired this past Wednesday and I was way more giddy about it than any 30+ year old has any right to be.

5. I'm back to work in the office. I've been put in charge of a new project which is both awesome and intimidating. I'm the only person in my building working on it, while all my contacts either work in the other building or work for a different ministry/business partner. It's strange to go from a position where all my thoughts on a program had to go through my supervisor for approval before being signed off at the ministry to a position where all my thoughts go through me and, within my little sphere of influence, the ministry doesn't have to sign off on it.

Check back in six months for my update about how I ran the program into the ground and brought the entire government to its knees with an excel spreadsheet.

Guess where I borrowed and modified this from.

6. Remember when I said I was working on a vlog? Almost done. Just thought you should know that. You know what else is almost done? My final Ireland post with reviews of places we stay/ate/visited. It turned into a book so I'm going back and editing it down to a more bare-bones, less trying-to-be-funny, review post. Strictly reviews/suggestions for other travellers.

7. More judging: I'm going to Underworld: Awakening tonight. Is it going to be crap? Probably. Will I love every crappy moment of it? Definitely. I have an unhealthy love of that series... even the second really crappy one. For all my 'I read science blogs and non-fiction books', I have crap taste in films and have no right to judge anyone's film preferences... unless it's Twilight.

But not the second one. It barely had a story.

8. I got my DVDs of Firefly back from the person I lent them to. Between lending them to three different friends, I haven't had them in over six months. Obviously, I need to rewatch them. I'm toying with the idea of a 12-week Firefly Friday post series. Just giving you all fair warning that it may get really nerdarific up in here!

I've missed my little corner of the Internets. It feels good to be back.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pressure On!

Two weeks ago, Under Pressure randomly popped up on my music list. I love Queen and when it started playing, I walked down the street with a grin on my face. I tend to list to the Greatest Hits I more than the II so I don't hear Under Pressure all that often. I switched to repeat and listed to the song five or six times in a row.

I was a child of the late 80's/early 90's and my first introduction to Under Pressure was through Vanilla Ice's Ice, Ice Baby because it was everywhere when it came out. The first time I heard that familiar riff and it wasn't Ice, Ice Baby I almost fell out of my chair. You mean this addictive riff is actually part of a good song?!? YAY!

It was the lyrics of this song which helped propel me to commit to going to Tanzania in 2007 (the part about love daring you to care) so it only seems appropriate that five years later, I start the year by having this song on repeat.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pegging It Onto the To-Do List

I'm a week into my resolution to create weekly/monthly lists and so far? It's been awesome. Who knew that writing down what you need to do will help you do it? Oh, right. Everyone. Granted, last week's list was pretty skimpy because I didn't want to overwhelm myself and fail before I even got started, but I rocked it.

Obviously 'write a blog post' was not on my list. That's been corrected for this week.

An item on this week's to-do list which I really didn't expect is learn to play crib. It's a game that my mom taught me as a child but we only played it when we went camping so I'd forget from year to year. I think I've 'learned' to play crib (or cribbage) three or four times. Even over the summer it came up in conversation and I joked that I had retired from crib. Then I learned that Ed (this guy) needed people to play with.

Shortly before that post, Ed lost his wife. The building managers (BMs) have gone above and beyond the requirements of their position and regularly meet up with him for coffee, dinner or games of crib. For my part, I drop off treats whenever I bake and I anonymously sent him a postcard from Ireland. When I finally admitted to him at Christmas that the card was from me, he gave me and our BMs grief for not telling him. "Do you know how long I've stared at that card trying to figure it out? EVERY DAY!" But the big grin on his face was worth the fake anger.

Our BMs are leaving on holidays for two weeks on Saturday; Ed will be without his crib partners. Knowing that I have a soft spot for Ed (I went with them to visit him when he was in the hospital last March), one of the BMs asked if I played crib. Learning crib was on my to-do list before the conversation was even over.

I can't wait to cross it off the list!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Failure to Plan and All That Jazz...

I excel at setting long-term goals. EXCEL AT IT! Every January, I look at the blank canvas which is the year ahead of me and think of what is possible in that year. What could I do with those 12 months? Then I think of all the amazing things, pick a few I like, and write them down.

Where I fail is setting short term goals to reach those long term goals. I look at my goals and think "I have 12 months to complete that, I'll deal with it tomorrow" and then continue to think that until a couple of  months down the road when I just stop looking at my goals. It's easier to ignore them if you never open the word document.

I set goals last year and didn't achieve on of them. Not one. I'm sure part of that is due to the fact that I couldn't even remember what they were without looking them up. So instead of setting goals for this year and talking about them on here, I'm making a resolution: set and work on short-term goals on a weekly and monthly basis.

That's it. No grand plan to unicycle up Everest next Christmas Eve. No decision to memorize and recite the entire Histories in Ancient Greek. I have a few goals for the year, but what I really want is to look back and see 12 months of goals set to help move myself forward towards my 'big' goals. I want to see 52 weeks worth of goals set and (mostly*) achieved which will allow me to complete the monthly goals.

I've found an unused lined notebook. I'm in the middle of turning into a goal book of sorts so I can keep track of my monthly/weekly goals etc. It's pretty much my goal for this week!

*I'm not going to get upset if I don't make every single goal every single week as long as I'm still moving forwards towards the end result.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

How to Start a New Year

Realise you've had less than six hours sleep three days in a row so opt to be a good girl and stay in.

Make yourself a hot chocolate and Bailey's and settle in to watch the Doctor Who Series Six DVD you got for Christmas.

Decide that as you're taking things easy, you can stay up until midnight, just head to bed very quickly afterwards.

Be halfway through an episode (Let's Kill Hitler by the way) when the new year arrives. Laugh at your cats doing laps around the apartment every time a firecracker goes off.

Once the episode is over, start trolling the internet and find lots of Doctor Who themed pictures.

Yes. Yes, it is.
Well, it's mine at least.

Go to bed at 2AM.

Wake up at 7:30AM and curse the addictive hilariousness of Doctor Who fans.

Watch another Doctor Who episode while you potter about the house.

For the first time in the five years that you've thought about doing it, go to the Government House levée, arriving just in time to be the last person in the receiving line.

Sing 'Auld Lang Syne' with hundreds of other people and the pipe band before making your way to the patio to stare across the Juan de Fuca Straight to the snow capped Olympic Mountains. Remind yourself that you live in a pretty freaking beautiful part of the world.

Laugh as the Lieutenant-Governor 'pays the piper' and then cry while he gives his speech. (In this case, 'pay the piper' means to share a wee dram with the piper who led in the head party.)

Vow to make it to the levée in future years. Next time, drag people with you suggest your friends come along.

Write a couple of thoughts as to goals for 2012. Set them aside so you can sleep on them some more.

Go to your mom's for dinner. Receive an impromptu guitar lesson. Celebrate your older brother getting even older.

Curl up on your couch with your cats and watch another episode of Doctor Who before bed. Decided that this sentence will stay on your 2012 list of goals:

Best advice I've been given in a long time.

I hope you've all had a wonderful first 24 hours to 2012!