Tuesday, 28 June 2016

On identity and the weirdness that comes along with it

Identity is this really weird thing where you're expected to kinda know exactly where you belong in this world. (Obviously not everyone does know, but it feels like you're expected to know anyways. (Which is lame.)) You can identify yourself with different people and things and whatever, so I say that I'm a sister and a daughter and a niece and a granddaughter and a friend and a neighbour. I'm also a pharmacist assistant, (a Spider-Man fan,) a deferred engineering student, a high school graduate and a writer. I'm also an immigrant. (Hence this post.)


All of that is pretty easy to identify with. Obviously, it's easy to say that I'm a sister or a high school graduate or a Marvel fan because those are facts. (We all know I'm a Marvel fan. The end.) The difficulty for me comes in when I'm trying to identify as either a Canadian or Australian. 

I've been reading this blog lately (it's called Writing with Colour and is a fantastic resource for writers who want to write People of Colour) and one of the posts was talking about how one Chinese-Canadian immigrant felt too Chinese for the Canadians but too Canadian for his Chinese friends. I think that's sort of where I'm at now, where it's difficult to explain all of my experiences to my Canadian/Australian friends and family because it's so difficult for them to understand. 

It's gotten better for me, I think. (I know, I know, everything's always about me, but let's be honest, it's my blog here.) The longer I'm in Australia, the more I'm able to say that I'm Canadian-Australian, and the better I'm able to deal with the weirdness that comes with it. Like figuring out where I should live one day, or what nationality I should call myself or coming to terms with the fact that I can no longer say that I'm 100% Canadian. I'm getting used to being both, even if it's weird and hard somedays. I think it just comes with time. 

So yeah. I'm not sure what the point of this post was, other than to rant and ramble a little bit. 

Do you ever get confused about your identity? 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Blogoversary!

Well, here we are. Roughly a year ago, I started up this little blog in hopes of being able to talk about the stuff I cared about without anyone interrupting me and of making a few new friends who shared my interests. 



And I suppose that's what happened. 

Although everyone has been so much more incredible and amazing and friendly than I ever could have imagined, and I just wanted to send all you jabberwockies a huge, huge, HUGE thank-you for everything you've done for me. I'd never imagined that anyone would want to read any of my stuff, let alone be kind enough to leave all those wonderful comments. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you

So thanks. 

(And also, if you could do this survey for me? I'd really appreciate it.)

Thanks for a great year, everyone. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

7 ways Australia can kill you

Australia is a dangerous country. We all know this. (Granted, every country can be dangerous but Australia is kind of known for being dangerous. (Just like Spider-Man is known for being awesome, Australia is known for having many different ways in which it can kill you.)) So if you ever decide to come and visit, here's some stuff to watch out for.

1) Snakes. Dude, look down and make sure you're not going to step on anything nasty. (Especially when it's at night and you're stepping out onto the deck or something. (Always turn the lights on. Always.))

2) Spiders. While you probably won't die from a spider bite (and you may or may not gain superhero powers, too), you might die from a heart attack. So there's always that.




3) Riptides. A riptide will suck you out to sea and you'll never be seen again. *waves*

4) Sharks. Where I live sharks aren't a huge problem, but when you get to Perth or Sydney or even the Gold Coast, sharks can be a major issue. They have helicopters patrolling the beaches, looking for sharks from the sky. Enjoy your swim!

5) The Outback. If you get lost in the Outback, you're done. It's thousands and thousands of uninhabited desert out there, with nothing but drought and snakes and scary stuff to keep you company. 

6) The temperature. We had the power cut for a couple of days after a cyclone (therefore no air conditioning). It was during summer. I almost died. 

7) The weather. It will randomly flood here, or a cyclone will come up, or it won't rain for years. If a sharknado were to happen anywhere, I'd put my money on Australia. 

So yeah. Come to Australia!

What are some ways your country can kill you? Which way would you be most afraid of dying (snakes, spiders, riptides, etc.)? 

Friday, 17 June 2016

Tag: The Bookshelf Tour

The ever lovely Liz @ Out of Coffee, Out of Mind has tagged me for a thing. (I know, I know, I'm so descriptive.) So allons-y, jabberwockies!

1) A short but powerful book.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne.


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Can you get more powerful? This book puts the word "forbidden" in "forbidden friendships" and honestly, to be able to see the Second World War through the eyes of an eight-year-old is beyond powerful. Plus, I sobbed during the movie. (As my poor sister will remember with great clarity. (I honestly think she's scared of me now.))

2) A good, long book. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.


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I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but whenever I read this book I have to lock myself in the bathroom and cry because honestly, it's so beautiful. Using the power of words to bring people together, hoping when no hope could be found, to believe in the common good of every human being and cling to each other in difficult times. *sobs*

3) Favourite classic (on your shelf).

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.


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Honestly, I love Bilbo and his fantastic journey. He's just a guy who'd rather sit by the fire, and he turns out to be so much more. (It may or may not remind me of anyone in particular... *cough* me *cough*)

4) A relatively obscure book. 

The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf by Gerald Morris. 


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I LOVE this book. It's absolutely hilarious (at one point they discuss the proper way to use "cloven" (cleaved?) during a sword fight to the death) and the characters are fantastic, and I've never really heard of it anywhere else before. 

5) An underrated book. 

Dragonskin Slippers by Jessica Day George. 


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This is like the cleanest, cutest fantasy book ever with a great female lead, an extremely cute prince (coming from me, by the way, who throws the book across the room if the narrator mentions the love interest's abs) and dragons with lots of personality and stained glass windows and gorgeous ballgowns. 

6) An overrated book. 

I'm going to say Insurgent and Allegiant (I know, I'm cheating) but not Divergent by Veronica Roth. 


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I adored Divergent. It was a quick read, the pacing was fantastic and the world building was amazing. But I just kinda got lost during the next two books (ALTHOUGH I APPROVE OF ALLEGIANT'S ENDING, BY THE WAY, DESPITE EVERYONE HATING IT) which was too bad. 

7) Most reread book. 

Artemis Fowl The Lost Colony by Eoin Colfer. 


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Who saw this one coming? (Basically Eoin Colfer is the most amazingest author ever and is my greatest inspiration. If you haven't read his books yet, go do so immediately.)

8) Of all the books you own, how many have you not read? 

Eighteen (excluding the dictionary for obvious reasons). That's 5.3% of my collection. Not bad, huh? 

9) A book you haven't read. 

The Sorcerer Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. 


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I read the first three books in the trilogy (which were top-notch, by the way), then noticed this book at the store and bought it. Little did I realise it was book #5, not #4 so now I have to get around to tracking down the fourth book before I can read this one. 

10) A short story collection. 

All of my American Girls books. 


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They were basically my childhood. 

11) A non-fiction book. 

Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls. 


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This was actually a fantastic book. His story was so interesting and to hear this amazing story from a Christian perspective (which wasn't a huge part of the book, but it was there) was really great. 

12) A book (the physical copy, not the story itself) that has an interesting story behind it. 

Trapped in Ice by Eric Walters.


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So I may or may not have been reading this in the bathtub when I was like twelve and dropped it in. (Oops.) I had to spread it out over the floor vent to dry it out. (Also, he's my favourite Canadian author so I was just a little bit sad. (Sorry, Mr. Walters. I didn't drop your book on purpose, I swear it just slipped out of my fingers.))

And I'm pretty sure Liz tagged pretty much everyone, so I'll just put a blanket tag out there for you to do as you desire. Pop the link in the comments if you end up doing it, and I'll check it out!

Have you ever dropped a book in the tub before? Have you ever bought the wrong book in a series? What did you think of Allegiant's ending? 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Oh, the Places You'll Go: The most beautiful room in the world (AKA The King's Library)

As you may recall from the fifteen billion posts I did a few months ago, I went to Europe in January of this year. I left some stuff out in the interest of keeping posts under a million words, so today I thought I'd revisit my trip and tell you about the most beautiful room in the entire world. 

Welcome to the King's Library. 




George III had a collection of over 60,000 books and in 1823 it was donated to England by his son. (Info.) We stumbled across it by accident when we were visiting the British Museum in London (which, by the way, was amazing). My dad, brother and I were walking past this hallway on the way out the door, and I happened to look in and see a wall full of books. Needless to say, I was a little intrigued and check it out. 

I could have spent all day in there. There were coin collections, stuffed birds, drawers of old medicine, Copernican models of the solar system, statues, vases, globes and artefacts and books and books and books and books. I was in Heaven. It was science and literature and mahogany. Honestly, it was the most beautiful room I have ever been in, and probably the most beautiful room I ever will be in. Unfortunately, my dad and brother weren't as impressed as I was and didn't feel like spending another week in there, so we had to leave after about half an hour. (It's a grudge that'll come up until the day they die. (Can you tell I'm a total bookworm?)) Enjoy the pictures. (Also, sorry but the pictures are kind of blurry and I'm not sure if it was because the lighting was weird or what. So sorry.)

Random Egyptian (I think?) statue in a library, just chilling. 



I have no idea what kind of bird this is, but I want one. (Quite desperately.) There were cases and cases of birds, all stuffed and quiet and beautiful.

A drawer full of old medicine. How awesome are those labels?

Copernican model of the solar system, where the earth and the planets revolve around the sun (as opposed to the geocentric model where everything revolved around the earth). I may or may not be utterly in love with the mahogany and brass and science and history in this picture.

Sea shells, coral and fossils. 

What is the most beautiful room you've ever been in? 

Friday, 10 June 2016

Starting Sparks: French fries and revenge

I'm back for Starting Sparks with Emily and Ashley. This month's prompt is "his mind was filled with thoughts of French fries and revenge" which I actually already had a story planned for. (So yeah, that was cool.)

***

"Amélie!" I watched out of the corner of my eye as Zacharie stormed into the room, a cigarette still burning between his fingers and a glowing cell phone in his other hand. "Amélie, we have a problem."

"Bonjour to you too," I muttered, still engrossed in my book. 

"I just got a text from Eric down the street, and he insulted my nose. I'm fighting him in half and hour, and I need you to be my sniper."

I glanced up from my book to see that he was a frothing, simmering mess of dark lines and sharp angles, all contained in an easy shrug. Retired assassins didn't have an easy time adjusting. "What, you don't think you can beat a thug by yourself?"

"Of course I can!" He waved both his phone and cigarette around for emphasis. "But if he brings buddies, then there's only so much I can do." 

"I once watched you fight five different guys at once." It was a terrible fight, too. Zacharie had no formal training, and as a result it'd taken many broken arms and smashed ribs before he learned to keep his elbows in. I'd learned that when I was five. 

"And I broke my arm and my nose for the trouble. I don't want to break my nose again, I like my nose! Look, it's a beautiful nose!"

I frowned. I didn't know he had broken his nose before. I stared at it, but couldn't find any evidence of a break. The doctor must have done a good job as it was indeed a beautiful nose. I made a mental note to myself to break his beautiful nose if he ever annoyed me. I sighed. "Fine, I'll be your sniper. But if that police show up then I'm leaving you."

"I'll meet your for fries after my revenge." Zacharie grinned and gave me a thumbs-up, then scurried out before I could get angry at him for smoking in the apartment. 

Are you linking up with Starting Sparks? Does anyone else think fries go well with revenge? 

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

5 of the dumbest questions I've been asked about Canada

I've been asked some pretty dumb questions about Canada. (Less dumb questions about Australia, surprisingly.) Here are the top ones. 



1. Do you know the Johnsons? Um, excuse me, who? What are you talking about? Apparently, Canada is so small that I should know the Johnsons. We all realise that Canada has a population of 36,000,000 people, right? 

2. Isn't it cold in Canada? No duh, Sherlock. We're only famous for our hockey skills and other winter sports for no reason. But it's actually warm in the summer. Surprise!

3. Aren't there snakes and spiders in Australia? Once again, no duh, Sherlock. 

4. Do you know Justin Bieber? Yeah, we were best buddies in elementary school. In fact, his igloo was right next to mine. Of course, we were homeless in the summer because they melted, but we had lots of fun hunting polar bears together and gathering maple syrup. 

5. Isn't Canada and America the same? NO. Two different countries. I can show you a map if you'd like. A variation on this: Isn't Canada a city in America? *smashes something*

So those are the main ones. I get asked a lot of similar questions, but they aren't all stupid and are actually intelligent 98% of the time. But still. I regret to inform you that I don't know the Johnsons. 

Have you been asked any dumb questions? Which one is your favourite? 

Friday, 3 June 2016

My favourite villain monologues

Usually, I hate villain monologues. It's basically an excuse to insert a bunch of backstory, which is lazy writing. However, I've found a total of three villain monologues that I've actually enjoyed. (Sorry that some of them are kind of long, bad guys like to rant for some reason.)

Tomorrowland

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Plot: The good guys are trying to stop the apocalypse. The bad guys are trying too, but they're trying to help by broadcasting a message of the incoming apocalypse into everyone's minds to warn them. Or something. I don't know, it was a bit of a confusing movie. 

Monologue: "The only way to stop [the apocalypse] was to show it. To scare people straight. Because what reasonable human being wouldn't be galvanised by the potential destruction of everything they have ever known or loved? To save civilisation, I would show its collapse. But how do you think this vision was received? They gobbled it up, like a chocolate eclair. They didn't fear their demise, they... sprinted towards it with gleeful abandon. Meanwhile, your Earth was crumbling around you. You've got simultaneous epidemics of obesity and starvation. Explain that one. Bees and butterflies start to disappear. The glaciers melt. Algae blooms all around you. The coal mine canaries are dropping dead, and you won't take the hint! In every moment, there is the possibility of a better future. But you people won't believe it, you won't do what is necessary to make it a reality. So you dwell on this terrible future, and you resign yourselves to it. For one reason, because that future doesn't ask anything of you today. So, yes, we saw the iceberg, we warned the Titanic. But you all steered for it anyway, full steam ahead. Why? Because you want to sink. You gave up. That's not the monitor's fault. That's yours."

Why it's great: I love this. I believe every person has the capacity to be the best and the worse of humanity, and the bad guy here can only see the worst while being the worst at the same time. He thinks he's given humanity a fair warning and they've given up, yet he's done exactly that. He's given up. (Also, because that future doesn't ask anything of you today. Powerful stuff, man. Powerful stuff. Waiting for the apocalypse doesn't require us to do anything.)

Pan (2015)


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Plot: Peter Pan has to defeat Blackbeard and save Neverland. 

Monologue: "Neverland is a dream from which you never wake. Ever had that one? A dreadful nightmare you know is not real, but your sleep is so heavy, so deep, so delicious that you just can't wake up. Drowning in sleep. Slow dream, drowning in the soft, black sea. Do you know that sea, Peter? It's death, boy. Murmuring to you. It's where we end. Most of us. Would you like some chocolate?"

Why it's great: I love the description in this one. Blackbeard is doing his best to describe death, something he fears so much and he wraps it up in a metaphor as familiar and easy as sleep. We all sleep, it happens to all of us. Just like death, but Blackbeard has decided that he doesn't want that as his fate. Plus, he's so wrapped up in his monologue that when he snaps out of it, he changes subjects so rapidly. Would you like some chocolate? 

Skyfall
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Plot: James Bond vs supervillain. 

Monologue: "My grandmother had an island... One summer, we went for a visit and discovered the place had been infested with rats. They'd come on a fishing boat and gorged themselves on coconut. So how do you get rats off an island? Hmm? My grandmother showed me. We buried an oil drum and hinged the lid, then wired coconut to the lid as bait. And the rats would come for the coconut and they would fall into the drum. And after a month, you have trapped all the rats. But what do you do then? Throw the drum into the ocean? Burn it? No. You just leave it. And they begin to get hungry. And one by one... they start start eating each other until there are only two left. The two survivors. And then what? Do you kill them? No. You take them and release them into the trees. But now they don't eat coconut anymore. Now they only eat rat. You have changed their nature. The two survivors, this is what she made us."

Why it's great: Dude, this is so creepy. it's savage and cruel and dark, and it ties Bond to the villain so perfectly. I always love it when the hero has a shade or two of the villain in their DNA. In this story, the bad guy makes no distinction between him and Bond. They're both the most savage rats on the island. Of course, I love what he says about M (AKA the grandmother). 

Do you have a favourite villain monologue? Do you like it better when the bad guy and the protagonist are polar opposites or are similar?