Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Skyrim Hoarders

Two of my favourite varieties of entertainment combined - Skyrim and Hoarders!

Skyrim Hoarders. (I can't seem to embed this one here.)

They missed buckets and brooms though... those are the things my Skyrim character seems to hoard the most.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

These are my new favourite songs

There are so many new albums coming up that I can't wait to get my grubby little mitts on, it's insane. Also, please note, my hands aren't actually grubby - they are quite clean and well manicured today, thanks to Georgia and her awesome manicuring skills.

My first new favourite song is from Paramore. "Still Into You" is the second single from their upcoming self-titled album, and it's a corker. The album is the first they have recorded as a trio, since brothers (and two of the founding members) Josh and Zac Farro left the band in 2010. I saw the band live a few months before the split and it was painfully obvious that the Farros did NOT want to be there. While the three current band members were bursting with energy, Josh and Zac literally stood behind their instruments and did not move. It was still a great show, but I felt pretty bad for Hayley, Jeremy and Taylor, having to work with that kind of attitude. I really dig this song and have been listening to it on repeat for the last few days. It kind of has an eighties punk sort of feel, and makes me think of Siouxie and the Banshees and Blondie. Not because it sounds particularly like either of those bands, but more like Paramore were listening to them a lot when writing and recording, and little things have seeped in...Unfortunately, I can't embed the video directly on to the blog, but check it out on YouTube here.

City and Colour have a new album out soon, and one of the tracks "of space and time" is now up on Soundcloud here, for your listening pleasure. I will never get tired of Dallas Green's voice, it is just so beautiful. For those of you not familiar, City and Color is the solo side project of Green, who is also the singer for Alexis on Fire. If you're interested, I highly recommend checking out other songs, such as The Grand Optimist.

Last but not least, Laura Marling has a new album coming out in May. The first song to hit the interwebs is called Where Can I Go? and it is beautiful. It reminds of all the great female singers from around the 1970s - EmmyLou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and Rita Coolidge. Check it out on Soundcloud here. I love Laura Marling and could wax poetically about her all day long, she nails what so many others are trying to do and who always seem to fall slightly short of the mark they are aiming for. Go out and listen to everything Marling has done ever. Right now.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

5 Things I Love: Veronica Mars

I know, I know. The movie hasn't been made yet. It hasn't even started filming. But with all the excitement this week, I thought it was definitely appropriate to do a 5 things post. Finding out that they reached their Kickstarter goal of two million dollars - in one day! - and that the movie will actually happen, was right up there with getting third row tickets to see Bruce Springsteen in my "greatest moments of my life" list. It's just one of those warm and fuzzy examples of what people can actually achieve, and using the interwebs for good and not evil. And nerdpower, of course. It's kind of like girl power, but far more inclusive.

1. A strong female heroine

As a girl who went through my teenage years in the nineties, I consider myself pretty lucky to have had a few strong female role models on my television screen (speaking of girl power). I don't really feel like I can say the same about the last decade or so. In the last year or two things things seem to have been looking up a little, but not quite enough for my liking. There are still better roles for women on television than there are in film, but it feels like there always has to be some kind of caveat. Claire Danes does an amazing job as Carrie Mathieson on Homeland, but Carrie's intelligence and strength is inextricably linked with her struggles with bipolar. Lena Dunham is starting some serious conversations with Girls yet people still just seem concerned with how often she is naked (and the fact that as someone who is not a size two, she probably "shouldn't" be naked on our screens. Our eyes! Our valuable eyes! Her thighs touch! How will we ever be the same again!) as opposed to the stories Dunham is telling, the comments she is making and questions she is asking about being a young woman and that particular journey towards independence, self-worth and self-awareness (hopefully). I'm not even going to touch on all the great female comedians there are gracing our television screens at the moment, but I just get this overwhelming sense that these characters aren't allowed to be intelligent, successful and strong without being slightly unhinged, or worse, obsessed with their dating lives. There's a little too much laughing at, and not enough laughing with sometimes. Cue, wacky camera angles and those awkward moments that make me cover my eyes and just try to ride it out until the scene is over. I mean, Geena Davis started the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media for a reason. If you haven't figured out what that reason is yet, I'm not sure I can help you...

Anyway, I could stand on this soapbox all day, but for the sake of my blood pressure I won't. My point is, that in the last ten years, Veronica Mars has been one of the best examples of a strong female character. Like Buffy (you didn't think I'd get through this post without mentioning Buffy did you?) she's strong, not just because of her internal resources, but because of her friends and mentors. Strong female characters don't need to be lone wolves, but they do need to be interesting, independent, layered and diverse. When Veronica displays vulnerability that's exactly how it's portrayed, rather than as weakness, when the two are too often mistaken for one another. Sometimes she's overconfident and falls down, needing someone to help her up again. Mostly however,  she is three (or four or five) steps in front of everyone else. She stands up for those who are downtrodden and harassed, and for what she believes in. All in a completely realistic wardrobe for a teenage girl, and with a good helping of snarkiness, of course.

Oh yeah, and Kristen Bell is amazing. Seriously.

2. I just love a good noir

For the unfamiliar, Veronica Mars is a story about a high school girl who is also a private investigator, in the fictional California town of Neptune. Veronica investigates the death of her best friend Lily, while assisting her P.I. father (who used to be the town sheriff), and solving mysteries for her school classmates - for a fee, of course. Being noir, the show has a darker side of course. In the pilot episode, Veronica describes how she was drugged and raped at a party, and how she is still looking for answers in regards to that particular investigation. The show also addresses the class divide in Neptune, with the town being divided between the ridiculously rich, and the people who work for them.

It sounds like a lot of Very Important Issues for one TV show, but it's all handled intelligently and with grace and humour. So much humour. There are so many quotable one liners, your head will spin trying to remember it all. One of my personal favourites:

But remember, it's noir, so don't go expecting too many happy endings, okay?

3. What's that song?

Choosing songs to appear in episodes of TV shows is a big deal, with most series' having their own soundtracks, and it can be an amazing platform for unknown artists to be heard. It's certainly one of the ways I sometimes find out about new music, and the Veronica Mars team were particularly good at finding great songs to appear in the show. Plus, they got We Used to be Friends by The Dandy Warhols for the theme song. I don't think it gets any more perfect, you know? So if you like shows that not only have smart and clever scripts and casting, but smart and clever music choices as well, this is the show for you.

4. The supporting cast, featuring Enrico Colantoni, i.e. the best TV Dad ever

I could write a whole blog post about each of the supporting characters in turn, and I kind of want to. Who knows, maybe I will? My favourite though, is Enrico Colantoni who plays Veronica's father, Keith Mars.

I touched on this a little in my 5 things post about The Perks of Being a Wallflower - I get really tired of dysfunctional families being overused as part of the narrative arc in films and television. The relationship that Veronica has with her (single) Dad, played by Colantoni, is a delight. The chemistry between Colantoni and Bell is undeniable, and together they have some of the best scenes in the show.

It's full of humour and care, and the difficult father/teenage daughter moments are navigated with a light touch rather than that baseball bat that I swear some screenwriters keep beside their desks with "use liberally" painted on the side. Plus, Colantoni is just awesome. And for those of use who love it when things get "meta", there's a storyline in which he dates a woman played by Laura San Giacomo from Just Shoot Me. I know, right?

5. You adorable marshmallows, you.

Fans of Veronica Mars are referred to as "marshmallows" and as I write this, contributions from the marshmallows to Kickstarter to fund the film are standing at almost 3.5 million dollars. Not only is this an amazing show of passion about a show that was only on for three seasons and left the air six years ago, it's opening up a whole new way of getting things made that people want to be made but the big studios won't give the green light to. Firefly, anyone?

Friday, 8 March 2013

Liebster Award

The lovely and adorable Bec over at Paper Trailing has nominated us for a Liebster award; an award for up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers ...The Liebster award is a bit like a chain letter, but it seems like a great way to share some facts about yourself, spread the love to some other lovely bloggers, and kill some free time. Of course, there is no obligation to answer the questions if you're nominated. But it is fun!...

The rules:

  • Share 11 random facts about myself,
  • Answer the 11 questions the person who nominated you asked,
  • Nominate other up-and-coming bloggers for the Liebster award (don't forget to let them know you've nominated them) and,
  • Ask the people you've nominated 11 new questions.



11 random facts about me - Caroline:

1. I hate strawberries. 

2. I'm incredibly clumsy, and am usually sporting bruises on my legs from bashing into various items of furniture.

3. I have strong homebody/hermit tendencies that I try hard to manage, most of the time.

4. Drivers who queue through intersections and pedestrian crossings drive me crazy. It's just so selfish and rude.

5. I try to be active on social media, but most of the time I forget that it's there. 

6. I have two degrees - neither of which have anything to do with my professional career. I regret nothing!

7. I am claustrophobic.

8. I hate having my back to the door in restaurants.

9. I love classical music, but much prefer chamber music over orchestral.

10. I don't like speaking on the phone socially, and hate calling people because I feel like I'm probably interrupting them.

11. I value independence over many other things - sometimes to a fault.

Bec's questions - Caroline:

1. If you had to move to a different country tomorrow, where would you go?
Probably Britain, as some of my favourite people are in London. Although, I am also a huge fan of Seattle and moving there one day is a favourite daydream of mine, so also the USA, potentially. 

2. What is your favourite comfort food?
Macaroni and cheese - the really processed stuff that comes in a packet and costs like $1.50. I very rarely eat it though, as dairy and wheat are not my friends.

3. It's raining outside... What are you doing to keep yourself occupied?
Write! For Four Letter Birds, or some creative writing. Also, clean, read and reorganise my wardrobe.

4. What's the weirdest dream you've ever had?
I recently had a dream in which I was good friends with the Obamas - Michelle wanted me to write a speech for her to give at the inauguration ceremony, and they were trying to set me up with one of his political aids. I wasn't into it, even though he was cute. What's wrong with you, dream Caroline?!

5. Who is your most embarrassing celebrity crush?
All of my celebrity crushes are pretty vanilla, sorry to disappoint. Even in high school my big crushes were on cool people like John Cusack and various members of Blur. Although in primary school I thought Edward Furlong was pretty dreamy - and this was just from pictures 
in TV Hits magazine - I've still never even seen Terminator Two.

6. What song do you listen to when you need cheering up?
Magic by B.O.B. featuring Rivers Cuomo.

7. What is one habit you have that you don't want to change?
Being an early riser. I do like mornings.

8. And one you do want to change?
Staying up too late...see above!

9. What is the first album that you ever purchased?
River of Dreams by Billy Joel.

10. If you could hang out with someone famous for a day, who would it be?
Jennifer Lawrence - she is my spirit animal. I figure we could spend all day eating corn chips and talking about boys, and then go out for Mexican food and tequila shots, but still be home before midnight.

11. What is your favourite TV show?
I could never choose just one! Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Friday Night Lights, Girls and Vampire Diaries to name a few. Oh and Homeland. Good lord, how could I almost have forgotten Homeland! I'm sorry Mandy Patinkin.


11 random facts about me - Georgia:

1. I am almost six years older than Caroline. 

2. Like Caroline, I also hate telephones. I hate ringing people and I find talking on the phone extremely stressful. Working in an office as the receptionist/office coordinator was terrible and it didn't cure my problem. If I can avoid talking on the phone I usually will.

3. I'm really bad at telling jokes. In fact, my husband and my brother sometimes encourage me to tell a joke just so they can laugh at how bad I am at telling it. Premature punchlines are my forte.

 4. If I hadn't gone to art school I think I might have become a geologist of some sort. My husband laughs at me because I can be a bit of a rock nerd when a documentary about volcanoes comes on the television.

5. I got a High Distinction in a Performance Art class at university!?!? I'm not a big performance art fan and I tend to be pretty shy and self-conscious. Not great traits for a performer really.

6. I used to play The Sims for hours and hours every day. I think I might have even taken a day off work once so I could play it. I would probably still play it if I wasn't the mother of a toddler and if my computer was powerful enough to run it properly. I now play 'The Sims Social' on facebook most days. If you need a new neighbour, let me know... although I don't need more reasons to play that time-waster.

7. I can recite the alphabet backwards very fast.

8. I've never seen the movies 'Jurassic Park', 'Independence Day' or 'Titanic' and I don't want to.

9. I once won a competition for flying a paper aeroplane the furthest.

10. I swear that my baby boy's nostrils were little heart shapes when he was first born.

11. I really value good manners. I'm not sure if I always display them... actually, I know that sometimes I don't... but if someone I meet has good manners I will usually remember them well.

Bec's questions - Georgia:

1. If you had to move to a different country tomorrow, where would you go?
That's hard! I might choose France because I have been there before (briefly) and loved what I saw. I might choose Hawaii or Japan because I haven't been to either of those places yet but would love to go. Also I'd love to check out the volcanoes there (see point #4 above).

2. What is your favourite comfort food?
Food. I suppose at the moment it would probably be a cup of tea and some Caramello Koala chocolates.

3. It's raining outside... What are you doing to keep yourself occupied?
It actually is raining outside. I'm writing here on the blog and waiting for our toddler to wake up from his nap.

4. What's the weirdest dream you've ever had? 
I have so many weird dreams! Apparently I woke my husband up early this morning by yelling out something like 'But I can't get any sleep!'. I can't remember what that dream was about but I was reading an old diary of mine recently and came across a funny dream I wrote about. I dreamt that I got married at the local library. I didn't know who the groom was but my dress had yellow plastic flowers on the shoulders. I wish I remembered that when I actually did get married! Ha! That would have looked lovely!

5. Who is your most embarrassing celebrity crush?
Ha ha! I was almost going to do a whole blog post about this but decided it was too embarrassing.  I think my most embarrassing crush was on Michael Tunn. You may not know who Michael Tunn is if you aren't an Aussie somewhere in your '30s who used to watch 'The Afternoon Show' on the ABC. I think I found his awkwardness endearing and non-threatening maybe? I did get over that crush fairly quickly though. I'm not sure if I have a current crush, embarrassing or not.

6. What song do you listen to when you need cheering up?
Probably something by The Sundays... or Van Halen!?! Any number of songs can cheer me up... and any number of songs can make me depressed too.

7. What is one habit you have that you don't want to change?
Cleaning my teeth morning and night.

8. And one you do want to change?
Not flossing my teeth often enough.

9. What is the first album that you ever purchased?
I can't remember what the first album I purchased with my own money was. It was probably Kylie Minogue or Kate Ceberano or maybe Icehouse. The first music video cassette I bought was 'The Kylie Collection'. I remember that day and our trip to Brashes music store vividly.

10. If you could hang out with someone famous for a day, who would it be?
I often wonder who I would like to invite to a dinner party if I could invite anyone I wanted to. 
If I could hang out with someone famous for a day I might choose a number of real or fictitious people. It would depend a lot on what they were going to do with that day as I suspect that many celebrities live normal and boring lives. I don't think Wonder Woman would have boring days though so I might choose her. It might be interesting to spend the day with a famous recluse, like Doris Day, if they would allow it, to find out what changed in their lives.

11. What is your favourite TV show? 
Hoarders, Hoarding - Buried Alive, The Hoarder Next Door, How Clean Is Your House. (Can you see a pattern forming?) 

For some reason I also really like watching "The Middle". Sue Heck, the teenage daughter character, cracks me up... actually the whole family does. I love Sue's jackets with hearts on them. She's so '80s in a hearts, rainbows and colourful pencil-cases kind of way. Hey, Caroline, that makes me think, I know you love Shoshanna from "Girls". I think maybe you'd like Sue Heck too but in a more family-friendly, younger, sitcom way. Actually, that also reminds me, my new embarrassing celebrity crush could be Axl Heck, the teenage son... embarrassing mainly because I am almost old enough to be his mum... if I was a teen mum.

Another Liebster Nomination

Also, after seeing that Bec had nominated us for the Liebster Award I remembered that another blogger had nominated me back in September last year and I haven't answered her questions yet. Here are the questions from Hui at Putting The World Back On Its Axis.

Hui's questions - Georgia

1. What is your fashion style? 
Denim I suppose, if that is a fashion style. Jeans or skirt on the bottom and a nice t-shirt or blouse on the top. Smart casual? I like dresses too but they aren't very practical with little children.

2. Medicine or naturopathy? 
 A bit of both depending on the problem. Natural remedies can work to a point and then sometimes medicine needs to jump in to help out. I think if you lead a healthy lifestyle in general (not that I always do) then you will need less of both of these.

3. Which one Youtube guru/Makeup blogger is your absolute favourite? 
Lisa Eldridge. She seems very professional, experienced and realistic. I find the fact that she is a bit older than me helps me to respect her advice too. She works with some very big names but she is also happy to talk about her own personal makeup preferences for her own face. The thing I have most recently taken on board from her is that you don't need to apply foundation all over. Different products (foundation, concealer, primers, highlighters) applied to different areas can help you achieve a much more natural and much less ageing appearance.
4. Fitness junkie or couch potato? 
Neither. Those are both a bit too extreme for me.

5. What is your worst food habit? 
It was drinking too much Cola but with some encouragement from Caroline and our Auntie plus a little bit of will-power, I have cut right down!
6. How old were you when you first discovered makeup?
I discovered some makeup when I was a young teen as I had bad skin and was always trying to cover it up a bit. I didn't really start trying to figure out how to use it properly until a few years ago. I think you need to change the way you use makeup as you get older to work with your changing face and skin.
7. Top 3 books 
A difficult question. I reserve the right to change my mind on this but today I choose - 
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein
These are three books that I have read at least twice and would happily read again at any age.

8. How often do you buy beauty items? (eg. skincare, makeup)
Sometimes too often and sometimes not often at all. It fluctuates. 

9. How did you come by your blog name? 
I can't remember exactly. I think I was just brainstorming ideas and Caroline and I were sending ideas back and forth until this one stuck. We had some other choices we liked but they were already taken by other blogs.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
 Dropping the kid/s off at school then going home to draw pictures for money?
11. Top 3 makeup must-haves 
  At the moment my must-haves are Benefit's Porefessional, any of my favourite mascaras and a little face powder.

Hui's questions  - Caroline

1. What is your fashion style? 
Hmmm, I don't know what I would describe it as. I wear a lot of skirts and dresses, and I tend to gravitate towards styles that are a bit classic or retro. I wear a lot of scarves, and almost always flat shoes. 

2. Medicine or naturopathy? 
Both? Neither? I'm yet to make my mind up about either.

3. Which one Youtube guru/Makeup blogger is your absolute favourite? 
Georgia! Duh.
4. Fitness junkie or couch potato? 
Neither. All things in moderation.

5. What is your worst food habit? 
It's a tie between skipping meals out of laziness, and too much sugar.

6. How old were you when you first discovered makeup? 
Old! Probably in my early twenties was when I really started using it.

7. Top 3 books 
Just 3? Sheesh. In no particular order:
1. Persuasion by Jane Austen
2. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

8. How often do you buy beauty items? (eg. skincare, makeup)
Only when they run out - it's one of the few new year's resolutions I've ever kept!

9. How did you come by your blog name? 
Georgia thought it up, because she's good like that.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
Hopefully I will have escaped corporate life, be writing more (maybe even professionally) while living near the ocean in a white house with wooden floorboards, big windows and a colourful garden.

11. Top 3 makeup must-haves 
Bronzer (Guerlain), blush (whatever is available) and mascara (usually one I've picked up free with a magazine).

Our nominated blogs:

It's tricky finding blogs with less than 200 followers isn't it? I guess that is the point of the Liebster Award though. It makes us dig out some of the lesser-known folks on the internet.

The Loft-SG - This is our cousin Tom's blog - but I'm making an executive decision and declaring him eligible! He lives in Singapore (Singas!) and is pretty much the best ever.

Work Clothes I Suppose - I love a good "real-life" fashion blog. Brie-Marie lives in Seattle and has cool glasses. Love it!

All Things Kirpy  - I've chosen Natalie's blog as she is one of our (few) blog followers and she has less than 200 followers of her own (and she has a cute little bird next to her blog title too).

GGsdolls Blog - Gigi collects some unusual and cool dolls and builds some great little dollhouse rooms to display her collections. 

There is no obligation to take part at all but go for it if you are interested! 

11 Questions for our nominees:

1. Why do you blog?

2. What is your favourite song?

3. Do you collect anything interesting? Tell us about it.

4. What is the best job you've ever had, your favourite job? (If you haven't had a favourite, what do you think would be your favourite, dream job?)

5. If you had a time machine and you could go back in time is there something you wish you could tell yourself?

6. Do you have a favourite artwork (famous or not well known at all)?

7. Gold or silver (or other)?

8. If you could give yourself any gift today, what would it be?

9. If you could give a loved one any gift today, what would it be?

10. Facebook has been around for a while now. Do you think it is still useful or 'fun'?

11. Which TV show do you wish you could see more of? And which TV show do you wish there was less of?

Caroline & Georgia

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Travelling bugs

I'm on the downhill run to my next overseas trip - in 8 weeks and 2 days I will be on my way to London, and I won't be home again for just over four weeks. It's been 5 years since I've been away (I don't count a week in Bali) - not that I'm counting the days or anything. It will be my second time in London, I went to Europe way back in 2005. It was my very first overseas trip and London was my very first stop. I was jet-lagged and a bit shell-shocked and I also arrived in the middle of a heatwave, so I'm probably the only person in the world who associates London with uncomfortable, muggy, sweaty heat. Ever since then, my feelings towards London have been pretty lukewarm. It wasn't the greatest experience of my life, and I'm so looking forward to going back and getting a "do-over." It's my chance to put all those lessons I learned last time into practice - and really, how often in life do we get to do that? (Don't answer that. I realise it's probably a lot. Just let it be rhetorical, okay?) 

1. Some details are really important.

Now, I'm all for not over-scheduling or over-planning before going away. However, because it was my first big trip, I didn't really have any idea what I was doing. I didn't bother to find out important information, like what time I could check into my hostel.  Cut to me landing at Heathrow at some hour of the morning that I'm not even going to mention, because it doesn't exist in real life, and then arriving at my hostel only to realise I had oh, about 7 hours to go before I could check in. Combine all those things with jetlag, exhaustion, and a heavy dose of first-time-out-of-the-country stress and what do you get? Tears. I'm not going to lie. I sobbed. I managed not to lose it in front of the check-in guy, but I the first phone call I ever made from one of those red telephone booths was to my mum. Which leads on to my next lesson...

Education on the tube (c) Four Letter Birds

2. Don't call your mum (or dad) in tears.

I want to make something clear here: my mum will disagree with this lesson, because she is loving and supportive and hates to think of any of her family being in distress and feeling like they can't talk to her about it. However, although a phone call home will make you feel better in the short term it is in fact, spectacularly unproductive. When you hang up the phone, you will still have a problem that needs solving, and not only that, you now have a parent who is probably at home fretting and worrying and wishing they could be there to fix whatever the problem is. Plus, you will probably feel kind of guilty about making them worry. I know I always did. So my advice here is to figure out your own catastrophe scale, and only call your parents when things are becoming dire. I mean, definitely CALL them, but don't deviate past "Everything is super great, yeah I'm a bit tired and man, hostels are noisy but I'm having SO MUCH FUN" unless you really have to. Find other ways to solve your problems like...

3. When travelling, fixing problems by throwing money at them often works.

Photo courtesy of Vogue China
This little gem was handed to me by my sister-in-law, and it's a travel-code that I live by. In this particular situation, I had a friend also in London (actually it was Emma!)  and my solution was to jump in a cab and go and spend the day with her until I could check in. I probably spent about $200 on cab fares that day (at least), and I'm certainly not sitting here now, eight years later, reprimanding myself for being so extravagant. I was upset. I was alone. I sought out a friend. At that time in my life, it was the right thing to do. Just remember there are problems and there are "problems." Wanting to buy all the clothes ever, is not a problem. It's definitely a "problem." I'm looking at you, me. 

4. Be better at making friends.

This might come as a surprise, but I was not always the charming, erudite, social butterfly you see before you now. One of my biggest regrets (yes, I believe in regrets) is that I wasn't more open to meeting new people in my travels as a younger me. To be honest, I was always slightly suspicious of people who tried to strike up a conversation with me. I'm sure suspicion was the appropriate emotion in some instances - after all I was a young woman travelling alone much of the time - but I wish I had been more confident and loosened up just a little. Because travelling is about people. When I tell people about my time in Dublin, I always tell the story about the friendly guy on Grafton street, who was signing people up to make monthly donations to Greenpeace. Once he figured out I didn't have an Irish bank account, he proceeded to spend twenty minutes chatting to me about Australia, my travels, and what I should do in Ireland. And the lovely woman who ran the hostel I stayed in near Waterford, who emailed me a photo of her two adorable kids after I left a positive review of the hostel on a website. People are, on the whole, inherently good. 

Dublin and the river Liffy... (c) Four Letter Birds

I'm not doing so much travelling alone this time, although I hope I squeeze some in as it has become one of my favourite things, ever. One of my main motivations for this trip is to visit some very beloved friends in London, and I am looking forward to seeing the city through a local's eyes. I don't know if I'll ever be able to shake that "I'm doing it all wrong" feeling, but who knows? Maybe London and I will get a second chance at love...

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Five things Emma loves: Gettin' Enthusiastic

Today we have our very first guest post here on Four Letter Birds. Please give a warm round of applause to Emma, as she shares with us her thoughts on enthusiasm. Enthusiastically. Because that's how she rolls.

How do you do, Four Letter Bird readers? I am most pleased to be the first guest blogger on this lovely blog! One of my favourite things about FLB (ACRONYMISATION) is that a lot of it is about liking stuff without worrying about liking the ‘right’ stuff or liking stuff in the ‘right’ way. As I get older, I find that nothing is more wearying to be around than too-cool-for-schoolness. I want to be around people who are enthusiastic! Exclamation mark! The general positive vibe of FLB is something that brings me back to it again and again, and the “Five Things I Loved” feature is a perfect example.
So in light of that, here is my guest twist on “Five Things I Loved”, with five examples of enthusiasm making life better.
1. Our friend (let’s call him... Shmobertson) at Weezer.
Weezer toured Australia for the first time in sixteen years recently, playing a ‘Best of...’ selection and then The Blue Album in full. I’m a big Weezer fan, but I have many friends who are far bigger fans than me; none more ardent than Shmobertson. Weezer is his favourite band and he had never seen them play live before. We were all excited at their show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, but he was just RADIATING joy and it was fantastic to be around.
Also one time he had Iced Magic for the first time without realising it’s supposed to go hard and crispy (he’s Canadian... wait, I mean... Schmanadian) and his reaction to that was also awesome.

2. Effortful Halloween parties.
I’ve. only been to a couple of proper, all-out, spookily-decorated, elaborate-costumes-encouraged Halloween parties, but they were so awesome. The most recent one in October last year was especially enthusiastic – there was a SMOKE MACHINE. YES. ONE OF THOSE MACHINES THAT PRODUCES SMOKE. There is nothing worse than going to a Halloween or costume party where no one has made an effort , whether out of laziness or concerns about looking silly. This party was great because almost everyone just threw themselves into it with gusto. It was like being in a Halloween episode of Roseanne.
I dressed as a vending machine. The plus: snacks at the ready. The minus: did not fully consider the implications of the fairly low-slung placement of the retrieval section: looooooots of ‘box’ and ‘flap’ jokes.
3. Dancing at weddings.
With the occasional break to track down any cake that has been left foolishly unattended, I usually try to spend the majority of a wedding reception on the dance floor. Just a bunch of slightly tipsy, happy people tearing it up like dorks to songs that errybody knows all the words to. Most recently, my cousin got married at a beach resort on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands (I know, whatever, no big deal, right?) and the dance floor was sand. Sand!  So forgiving of experimental and risky dance moves!
My favourite dance move I learned that night was moving my arms like a ticking clock then miming an explosion (ahem.. essplosion) for the “Tick Tick Tick Tick BOOM” part of Boom Boom Shake the Room.
4. The Nerdist podcasts.
A friend recommended Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist podcasts to me a few months back and after downloading a couple from iTunes I was instantly addicted. Hardwick (and occasionally his various Nerdist colleagues) has these rambling, super interesting conversations with some of his favourite people: Tina Fey, Bryan Cranston, Nathan Fillion and heaps more. Think of all the people you love in film, comedy, music and television – Hardwick will likely have interviewed a huge chunk of your list.
I think my favourite so far is the Tom Hanks one. Firstly, because it made me realise Tom Hanks is so much more awesome than I had previously appreciated. He came across as a completely wonderful guy. And secondly, because of the story of how the interview came about (Letters of Note is an amazing blog, BTdubs).
5. Paddle Pop afternoons at work.
One time months and months ago it was a slow afternoon at work, and my manager at the time and I were talking about how much we wanted a Paddle Pop. So my manager went and bought a couple of boxes for the team. This has now become a fairly regular thing that encompasses all four teams in the area I work in, with Mini Calippos and other awesome frozen treats thrown in as well.
Since that glorious first event, it does not matter how many times I am offered a Paddle Pop on an afternoon between the horrendous zone between approximately 2.30pm and 4pm when it actually genuinely truly FOR REALSIE feels like the day is never going to end and my life for eternity is going to be me at my desk with only Eclipse mints to eat and the same Excel error recurring for the reeeeeeeeest of my whole liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife – every single time it feels like it’s the first Paddle Pop anyone has ever offered me.

Thanks Emma! Come on back anytime...