Tuesday, 29 December 2015

A warm Christmas

Christmas is lovely in Australia. We opened presents, had waffles and spent the rest of the day at our friend's house. Usually, we go for a swim at the beach but we ran out of time this year, unfortunately. 

I definitely miss the snow at this time of the year. Sure, it's great to have a warm Christmas once, but I miss the snow and the Christmas music which plays all the time and the decorations and the tinsel. 

I'm not complaining, of course. It's just different. (And to be totally honest here, I'm not sure what the point of this post is other than the random ramblings of an immigrant who misses snow but is enjoying the heat. *shrugs*) 

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Bonus Post: Spider-Man and my eternal state of woe

My obsession with Spider-Man started when I was in about second grade. On school days, we'd wake up earlier in the morning, get dressed, flip on the fireplace and switch the channel. Every morning, the 60's version of Spider-Man would come blaring through the speakers. The theme song first, which helpfully explained the major plot points, then the episode. Of course, being in about first or second grade I didn't really understand most of it, especially since the singers in the theme song were a bit hard to understand. If you asked my second-grade self what Spider-Man was, I'd probably say something along the lines of "he's a man with spider powers who beats up bad people". Granted, that was all I really needed to know. After all, the exact origin story of Spidey wasn't really necessary to understand the beating-up-of-bad-guys bit. 


I forgot about the web head until a few years later, when my brother began watching The Spectacular Spider-Man on TV. I watched a couple of episodes, thought it was dumb (because who has time for TV when there are books to be read?) and didn't watch another episode until about three years ago. 

That, ladies and gentlemen, was when I got hooked. The humour! The wit! The fights! The bad guys! The sarcasm! I adored it, and watched both seasons in about a week of late nights, early mornings and forgotten homework. Yes, it was cheesy. Yes, I still loved it, and was heartbroken when I found out that they cancelled the third season. 


Then, we watched the trilogy. This was the point in my life when my eternal state of woe began. To be honest, I hated it. Spider-Man wasn't written the way I thought he should have been (I bitterly missed the banter between Spidey and the bad guys), I didn't think the actor suited Peter Parker, I hated Mary Jane and how she screamed/got herself kidnapped in every. Single. Freaking. Movie and I didn't like how the relationship between Peter and Harry was played out. The plot didn't make any sense and the bad guys could have been done better. In other words, I was heartbroken. It was about this time that I started ranting about how Spider-Man needed to team up with the Avengers. 


I consoled myself with The Spectacular Spider-Man with its ever amazing theme song until the The Amazing Spider-Man came out. My goodness, I was excited, and I wasn't disappointed. The actor fit much better, Gwen Stacy was AMAZING and there was much more banter and humour. The villain was more complex (somewhat) and the feel and tone of the movie was much better. Still though, it was missing... something. At this point, I was still disappointed, because while it was a much better movie, it was still average, and in my opinion Spidey deserved much more than an average movie. 

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was awesome. It could have been much better (as in half an hour shorter) but it hurt and it was funny and it answered some questions. Without a doubt, it's my favourite Spidey movie to date. I think the gap it filled was the meaningful relationships; Peter and Aunt May got some time together, and Peter and Gwen's relationship was more meaningful in two hours than in the trilogy and the previous film combined. Not perfect, but it was up there. (
I have tried The Ultimate Spider-Man, but I haven't had time to get past the first two or three episodes, so my judgement on that one is still up in the air.)

Then. The unthinkable was thought. The undoable was done. The unspeakable was spoken. The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was cancelled. I was seriously sad. I mourned for a whole five minutes until I hear the incredible news. Oh my goodness gracious sakes alive. Spider-Man joined Marvel. This was what when through my mind at that point:


Thus, I come to the end of my current Spider-Man journey. Three sucky movies, one decent one and one pretty good one. So far, I feel like none of the movies I've seen have truly done the web head justice, and I'm hoping that the newest reboot will finally give Spider-Man the movie he deserves. 

Is anyone a Spider-Man fan? Who is excited about the reboot? 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Animals we have had in our house

Last night we went for our nightly walk around the block and discovered a snake lying on the road. My sister yelled out "snake!", my brother panicked and almost ran right into it then Dad threw sticks at it. *sighs* 

While the snake was on the street, we have had a lot of... things in our house. 

1) Huntsman spider. It must have crawled in through the air vent thingy and Mom discovered it at 2am in the bathroom. It was HUGE! Dad tried to spray it with bug spray but it didn't do anything.That stuff has killed entire ant nests without trying too hard. We ended up having to suck it up with the vacuum. 

2) Cain toad. This guy hung out near our door for a little while under we got a broom and pushed him out. 

3) King Brown snake. Yeah, I know. AAAHHH! These are super poisonous. I was at school then this one happened, and Mom and my brother were home. The snake was about to disappear into my room where we would have never found it, so Mom put a garbage can over it which was incredibly brave and stupid at the same time. She ran outside to get help and there were some movers who had gotten lost and turned into our street, so they came and helped to get it out. 

4) Praying mantis. He hung out on our ceiling. He was pretty cool. 

This wasn't me, but a friend of mine had a carpet python in her ceiling and it came down in the bathroom. 

Have you had any unwanted animals in your house before? And I won't be posting on Friday because it's Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Friday, 18 December 2015

Movie review: Star Wars The Force Awakens


Ok, I feel better now. 

Let's just say I've been waiting for a long, long time (in a galaxy far, far away) for this movie and it was AWESOME!!

The story opens with your typical good resistance fighters pitted against the evil overlords of the galaxy. In that sense, it was nothing new. (Also, note to self: do not call the resistance fighters the Resistance.) There was a new Sith lord to fight, another Death Star-like planet to blow up and lots of gunfights in space. In other words, I had a serious case of déjà vu. 

And now onto the good stuff. I would like to give an enormous, huge, GIGANTIC shoutout to the diversity in this movie. There was an African American dude and a woman who were the main characters of this huge Blockbuster action movie. If you take a look at the past Star Wars (or most action/sci-fi/fantasy/anything) movies, you'll notice that white men tend to take centre stage and it was so amazing to see that change. 

Finn and Rey were awesome!!! Finn was a stormtrooper who refuses to kill and Rey was scavenger who lives in the deserts of Jukka. Finn was funny and kind and sweet and brave while Rey was super smart and strong while not conforming to many stereotypes that are typically found in these kinds of movies. She wasn't invincible but she didn't need to be rescued all the time, either. (I cannot stress enough how amazing she was. It was like the writers finally figured out that women are people too!) They had a great relationship and just ASDFJKL!! Both characters were deep but there wasn't a backstory dump, either, and that balance is incredibly hard to pull off like they did. 

The look and feel of the whole movie felt just like Star Wars should. There were old faces and new faces and I felt so warm and fuzzy re-meeting Hans, Leia, Luke, R2-D2 and C-3PO. The action sequences were great, the special effects cool, the villain AWESOME (I'm a huge fan of a good villain, and this guy was fantastic), BB-8 (!!!!!!) and the humour. The final lightsaber battle was just incredible, and I think it's the best duel I've seen so far. I couldn't stop smiling the entire time. If you're not a Star Wars fan, you might not like it. (Mom fell asleep several times. Needless to say, she's not a fan.) But if you are, this is a warm welcome home. 

Have you seen the movie yet? What did you think? Did you think I fangirled enough in this review? 


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

An ode to kookaburras

(Well, apparently an ode is a poem of sorts, but I'm a rule breaker who's really bad at poetry, so today's ode comes in post form (as you do.))

When we first moved, I went on a camp with the school which included a night tenting with friends instead of cabining (which is now a word). When we were tenting, I woke up completely freaked out. There were crazed monkeys in the trees!!! Did Australia even have monkeys? What was going on?!?!

I very quickly learned that they were just kookaburras. Since then, we've had a neighbourhood kookaburra that likes to pop by every once and a while and sit on our fence or The Stick. (Quick story about The Stick. A couple of years ago Mom managed to pick up a tiny frangipani tree, but within a few months it lost all its leaves. We thought it had died, dubbed it The Stick and left it, too lazy to throw it out. It seriously looked like we had planted a stick in a pot. To our delight, we discovered it was just hibernating and had lost its leaves for the winter. It's now almost as tall as me, but we still call it The Stick.)

I've named the kookaburra Nelson (because it was the first name to pop into my head). It took a while, but eventually after repeatedly calling this bird "Nelson" everyone else started calling him that too. (I have power in this household :D) Of course, we've now found out that there are like five kookaburras who hang around our neighbourhood but they're still all Nelson. More recently, we've started differentiating between the males and females with Nelson and Nellie, respectively. 

I absolutely adore Nelson. He likes to puff up his feathers and sit there like a cute ball of fluff that I want to hug/squeeze to death, and sometimes he'll just sit on The Stick and watch me as I watch him. (He'll also bang bugs against the fence to kill them and body parts fly, which is simultaneously disgusting and awesome.)

Do you have a favourite neighbourhood animal? What do you think of a kookaburra's laugh (they seem to all like to laugh at like 5am and annoy me to death (not my video, by the way))?

Monday, 14 December 2015

Bonus Post: Life's Like That (in which I will never be a seamstress)

I was finishing up exam week, and as you do when you have an exam the next day I was procrastinating. All of a sudden, my housecoat really needed to be mended because it sounded like a lot more fun than doing chemistry

My version of sewing is really simple. I take the needle out, stick some thread through and tie a knot. Then, I randomly stab the item of clothing in question until it looks like it's been fixed and tie several knots in the thread. I pray it sticks long enough for me to wear it. (Needless to say, I've never taken Home Ec.)

So a few weeks ago I ignored my homework, pulled my housecoat out of my closet and got to work. (It goes to show how much I was procrastinating because it's summer here and I can barely survive in an air conditioned room, let alone in a housecoat.) The belt loop had come off so it was a simple task of sticking it back on. I did so with great effort, sweat, tears and a lot more time than what was probably necessary. It wasn't the nicest looking job, but all it needed to do was to keep my housecoat belt on so I wasn't terribly concerned. 

I yanked my housecoat  on, stuffed my belt through the first loop then searched for the second one, the one I had repaired. I couldn't find it. I searched all over my housecoat to find this stupid loop, only to discover I had sewn it onto my sleeve. 

I think it's safe to say that my career in sewing was dead before it began. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Fiction characters that I would die to know in real life

Warning: the following post will contain quite a lot of fangirling (and caps). 

My favourite part of a story is the character. Even me, a ginormous fan of explosions, gunfights, explosion, car chases, random science that doesn't always make sense (*cough* Dr. Who *cough*) and explosions, will not like a story with lame characters. 

Who cares about the end of the world if the people on it don't matter? 

Therefore, the following list of awesome people was created (in alphabetical order, so I don't have to order them BECAUSE THEY'RE ALL AMAZING.)

Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl)


Artemis is so deliciously bad in the first few books (and selfish and cruel) but eventually through his adventures and friends he turns into this amazing guy who would literally do anything to protect his friends. His friendship with Holly and Butler especially is so deep and real and it's just awesome. (Although he'd be a hard person to be friends with in real life. I would feel so stupid all the time.)

Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit)
Biblio represents the average person. Most people are totally comfortable staying at home by the fire, but Biblio proves that once you go on that adventure that you can accomplish the most amazing things. You can be brave and honest and care about people so much that your heart breaks, but you can be so much more if you only just follow that gray wizard. (And may I just say that Bilbo/Martin Freeman totally made The Hobbit movies?)

Captain America (Marvel)

He's just so good. I don't even get it. He's the "ideal" character we should all probably strive to become (brave, honest, caring, selfless, awesome) while still having the dark side that makes him relatable. Just look at his weapon! It's to protect, not to destroy. 

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles)

Cress pretty much grew up alone in a satellite with little to no contact with the outside world. When she finally gets out, she feels a little stupid, lost, confused and scared BUT she still tries her hardest to help save the world. She's sweet and innocent but still a strong character at the same time, and she's fiercely loyal to her friends. 

Deryn (Leviathan)

Deryn disguises herself as a boy to join the airforce in a WW1 steampunk Britain. Not only does she not take no for an answer, but she has the greatest voice ever and is constantly pulling her friends out of trouble. She's also totally impulsive and has a soft side for the wee beasties on her ship and a certain prince, which I think is pretty darn awesome. (And she's always saying "barking spiders!" which IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!)

The Doctor (Doctor Who)

Can we take a moment to appreciate that this dude travels across time and the universe, defeating evil aliens because he loves life and imagination? He so totally gets that life is sacred and that's why he fights. And how does he fight? With words, science, his two hearts and a sonic screwdriver. He doesn't use weapons of mass destruction or guns or anything. He protects and only kills when necessary. I think we need more heroes who don't pull a gun out at the earliest opportunity. (Plus the 10th Doctor has great hair :) )

Edward Tulane (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane)

Edward is a simple toy bunny who, in the beginning, is obsessed with his silk clothes and his perfect, fluffy ears. He gets lost, though, and after sitting at the bottom of the ocean, in a landfill and travelling the world alone, he eventually doesn't care about how he looks or what he has. He only wants to be loved. I think he's so beautiful. Love is the most important thing in the world and when he loses it (then finds it again) my heart broke for him. 

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Smart, brave, selfless? Need I say more? This is Hermione Granger we're talking about here. She hardly needs a long paragraph describing how awesome she is. 

The Penderwicks (The Penderwicks)

(I couldn't choose one of them, alright? They're all so amazing.) The Penderwicks are four sisters who tackle life head on, with a lot of shoving, running, yelling, love and care. They all stick up for each other no matter what and bring the carefree, summer daze into everyday life. They exaggerate and have weird traditions and love each other and their friends to death. Life would never be boring with the Penderwicks. 

Viola/Todd (Chaos Walking)

(Once again, I couldn't choose one. Todd and Viola are inseparable.) They're so brave and care so, so, so much for each other that they start and finish wars just to keep the other one safe. When one starts to fall under the weight of saving the world, the other picks that person back up and they never leave each other, no matter what. Love like that is hard to find in today's world. 

Who are your favourite characters? Did any of mine make your list? Tell me in the comments, my jabberwockies!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Oh, the Places You'll Go: Melbourne

We went to Melbourne a few years ago on vacation in July. It was winter and it was quite cold... SO I GOT TO WEAR MY SCARVES!!!

I was pretty thrilled. 

We wandered around the city for a couple of days, seeing the sights and enjoying the cold weather. Melbourne has a huge Italian background, so we had dinner on this one Italian street where pretty much every single restaurant had amazing Italian food. 

There's also this giant road by the ocean called The Great Ocean Road (who saw that one coming?). We took a tour bus for hours, watching out the window and stopping at different beaches and views. While the landscape was totally amazing, I did not appreciate being in a car for such long hours with lots of other people. I know, introvert problems. 

How amazing is that view?!?!

Another day, we checked out the fairy penguins on the beach. There was this information centre that we went to first, then we headed towards a walkway and waited until nightfall. Eventually, tiny penguins tumbled in on the surf and waddled towards their burrows further inland. The whole area was roped off, of course, so we didn't get to cuddle the wild animals (for some reason, someone thought that was a bad idea) but we did get to watch, which was pretty cool. 

Sadly, with the beach being dark and roped off, I couldn't get
any pictures of  the penguins. However, there were wallabies
on the hills next to the beach and they are pretty darn cute. 

There was also this costume exhibit at the museum (unfortunately, with it being a museum and an exhibit and other boring reasons that I'm not 100% sure about, we couldn't take pictures). We got to see Spider-Man's costume (!!!) (have I mentioned that Spidey is my favourite superhero yet? I think I might have to do a post on it in the near future...), costumes from The Great Gatsby (unfortunately I didn't appreciate it at the time because I hadn't even heard of the book), Harry Potter, The Wizard of Oz and The Dark Knight. I absolutely adored it. 

In case you haven't noticed, I am the queen of putting up pictures
that have nothing to do with my post. (Like I mentioned before, we
couldn't take pictures in the exhibit.) So, I have plopped a random
picture of a cool building in instead!! It is pretty cool, though, I
think. (I am also the queen of super long captions. *shrugs*) 

We haven't been back to Melbourne, which is rather unfortunate. I think it's my favourite Australian city I've been to so far. Brisbane is too familiar (I know, it's weird but true), Sydney is too touristy but Melbourne is a super cool blend of home and Australia. 

Friday, 4 December 2015

A Writer's Life for Me tag

Thank you to Heather at Sometimes I'm a Story for tagging me!

The rules:
Thank the person who tagged you.
Answer the ten questions.
Re-post the picture.
Tag 5-10 bloggers. 

Now onto the questions...

1) What kind of writer are you?
I write pretty much whatever comes to mind. Sci-fi, contemporary, paranormal, short stories, action, poetry (and blog posts, obviously). 

2) When did you start writing? What made you want to try it?
I started writing waaaaay back in second grade when I wrote a 2,000 word short story about a girl who grows wings and ends up in Cloud Kingdom. I was very proud. I then realised how bad it was and journaled for years until I picked writing back up when I was thirteen and didn't look back. 

3) What inspires your stories?
People, places, other stories. Everything and anything, in other words. 

Things like Harry Potter inspire me. (And Harry
Potter world in Tokyo is awesome. Just saying.) 

4) What themes do you like to explore in your writing?
Friendship is a big one and I'm beginning to write more about family. Selfishness is a big problem for a lot of my characters. 

5) Are you a pantser or a plotter or a bit of both?
It really depends on the story. For my fantasy (Formulas) I had a detailed outline of each chapter (it had three narrators, so that may be part of it) then for the next book I wrote I had no outline at all and just pansted it. I always know how it ends, though, and usually have some kind of outline. 

6) Where are you at in your journey? Querying, agented, published?
Querying. (Still.)

7) Have you ever entered any writing contests? Finaled? Won?
I finaled in a Go Teen Writer's contest a while back, but that's about it.

8) Who are your writing heroes?
Anyone and everyone who has the courage to write something they believe in. (Look at me, being deep today.)

9) Have you been to a writing conference? Share your best or worst conference experience. 
I have never been to a writing conference. I'd like to go one day, but today is not that day! (*cue Lord of the Rings music*)

10) Top three tips you'd give to newbie writers? 
1) If you write, then you may call yourself a writer. There is no secret meeting or ancient ritual or evil sacrifice that you must attend/take part in in order to become a writer. If you write, you are a writer. The end. 
2) Edit something until the story is right. Don't give up just because you think you've already done enough work on something and ignore that feeling that something's wrong. Your story deserves to be finished. 
3) Don't come to me for advice because I have no clue what I'm doing and I'm making it up as I go along. (I'm good at pretending that I know what I'm doing, but in reality I'm rather lost.) 

And I tag everyone! If you decide to do the tag post it in the comments and I'll put a link up. 

Edit: RM Lutz at The Book Hound has done the tag, so make sure you check it out. 

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

My complete and total embarrassing incompetence in surfing

When we first moved, Mom wanted us kids to learn to surf. And like, yeah, why not? We moved halfway across the world, we may as well learn what seemed to be the national sport. (It isn't, by the way. It's cricket. (And I thought it was AFL. (Or NRL. Or footy. I STILL CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE, OK? And I would like to say sorry to all the Australians I've just offended, but I just do not get it, nor do I really care. (Did you hear that? That is the sound of every Australian gasping in shock and horror.) (As a side note, do you know what else I don't get? The phrase "fair dinkum". (How Australian is that?) When I ask, they say it means "legit" or "true" or "really" but everyone keeps using it in different contexts and I'm so confused. Anyways.)))(And I have just used so many brackets that I've lost track of them all. I think I may have an obsession.)) 

That quixotic dream soon got buried under mountains of stuff such as homework, movies and books, so we didn't really get to learn to surf. Plus, we live in a part of Queensland where there are no waves. Seriously, the waves we get here on a stormy, rough day are like little splashes in the kiddy pool compared to the waves that Surfer's Paradise/Gold Coast get every day. You can kind of manage to get the occasional wave, but we just don't have great surfing beaches. 

Our other problem is our lack of a surfboard. Actually, this might be the biggest problem. *shrugs* And we don't have a surfboard because we don't have a car that can transport a surfboard. It's kind of not a great system we have going on. 

The final problem to my lack of any surfing skills whatsoever would be that I'm not very good. And yeah, practice makes perfect and everything, but like I've mentioned, we don't exactly practice a lot. And I'm naturally clumsy, as I'm sure my family would love to tell you. (I regularly impress myself with my clumsiness.) It's just not pretty when I attempt surfing. (I'm really good at the lying-down-on-the-board-and-refusing-to-stand-up thing, but that's about it.) 

I suppose that shows how far stereotypes can go. Before I moved, I imagined that I'd turn into this really cool surfer girl (you know, the tanned ones with the long, wavy blonde hair who always have a bathing suit underneath their clothes and carry a surfboard around with them everywhere) within a few months. In reality, my hair is still a good three inches shorter than your average surfer girl (and it's gotten darker instead of more sun bleached and I do not have a tan because I would like to avoid getting skin cancer, thank you very much), I do not own a surfboard and I wear my school uniform a thousand times more than my bathing suit.  

And you know what? I'm ok with that. Somehow I feel more Australian in my school uniform with a Panama hat and my friends by my side than I would in a bathing suit with a surfboard.