Saturday, April 23, 2016

She Wants The V

I like vampire novels.

I am not ashamed to say that.

... Yes, yes I am ashamed to say that, but not for my sake.

I am ashamed for those who got into vampire fiction the same way I did but never managed to crawl out of the pit of bad fang-fic (get it?) and other horrid stories of which I almost fell into.

I'm confessing this because I'm currently re-reading J.R. Ward's The Black Dagger Brotherhood series and just loving it. I really really really adore this series and funnily enough not because it has vampires. I love it because the author has an amazing grasp of realistic dialogue and the modern difficulties of relationships. Which is a far cry from where I started.

And I started at Twilight.

Yes! That was me! I was one of those! I used to sit in my English class in high school and talk to the girls about how wonderful Edward was and OMG how could Bella even consider going with Jacob I mean COME ON! Vampires are like, waaaay sexier than werewolves, duh!

No need to hate me, I hate my younger self plenty enough for everyone.

What I came to realise over the years is that if it weren't for Stephanie Meyer's basic grasp of teenage angst and fleeting crushes I wouldn't be reading the amazing novels I am today. And neither would a lot of people.

So here's how it happened:

You're a teenager, right? Angry, lonely, confusingly horny, and you hate and love a lot of different things; sometimes simultaneously. Got it? Good.

So you're in high school and all your friends are talking about this book saying how amazing the character is and how cool the modern vampire is and you're suddenly like "My god, I haven't read a book since I was little? Why did I stop? Oh that's right, because I turned into a lazy piece of shit obsessed with the latest trends and couldn't be bothered putting effort into anything with substance or worth".

And you decide to read this book because everyone is talking about it and telling their friends to read it and you want something you can use to fit in. Great plan, right? What could possibly go wrong?

But what's this?! You actually enjoy the book? It speaks to you on a level you thought you would never be able to express? Hot diggity daffodil!

You consume everything there is about this book. About the author. About the film and the actors and the extra stories and the fans and literally anything you possibly can because when you read these books you feel like you're connected to the hundreds of thousands of other people reading them and somehow you don't feel as empty as you did before this all started.

Plus for some reason you find these people attractive but we can forget about that for now... or forever.

Now everything is in full swing and it's a full on fanfest everywhere you go. There's screaming, and crying, and hysteria of all kinds. But soon you realise something. Everyone is fawning over the wrong things. They're loving the broodiness, not the emotions. They're loving the sex not the relationships. They're rooting for the ending instead of enjoying the journey. And all of a sudden you don't like these people anymore.

Or the books.

But you still loved that feeling of reading something another person has created with their own passionate imagination and you wonder if there is anything else out there like this. Plus vampires.

Oh boy is there!

Just look at all these wonderful books just waiting to be read?

Hold up a sec...

Could it be that, you perhaps don't just like the vampire part of the books, but maybe, just maybe, you are enjoying the reading part? ... No? Okay, nevermind.

And on and on it goes. So many books. So many series. Christine Feehan, Charlaine Harris, Shiloh Walker, Cassandra Clare, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, oh it goes on! For years you absorb the emotions and characteristics of these imaginary people who speak to you and softly whisper that life is going to be okay.

Except nothing really fits. You enjoy the books, but you start to notice things. The darkness isn't sexy anymore. The feeling of anticipation is just getting annoying. And why on earth are there so many happy endings? Ugh. Finally it starts to feel like every book is the same.

And that's when you ask yourself the question again.

Was it the vampires you liked? Or the stories?

It was the stories.

I loved the stories. But since I've read so many romance series now I kind of hate it when the villain is an empty shell only there to add tension and force the characters hands. I hated how no matter what happened I knew things were going to turn out alright. And I especially hated that after several years of reading and writing and learning the industry, I could guess immediately how a story would end.

And was very rarely wrong.

This is when I got back in to reading. Really reading. I was finally wandering out of that teenage girl corner with the fantasy and the lust and moving into a bigger world of gripping crime and mysteries and beautiful non-fiction.

And that's when I finally realised I'd crawled out of the paranormal pit of punishment and adventured into the big wide world of wondrous books. Never have I been so glad to come this far.

Except I still allow myself to have one vice.

That little whisper that hides under the mattress.

A delicate inner thought shoved far back in the underwear draw.

One tiny little exception.

And that is J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

I can't predict the endings, sometime the characters die, the villains are the characters themselves and relationships they try to hold together. The series fills all my emotional needs as well as my literary ones.


It has vampires, it has sex, it has romance and sumptuous amounts of ooy-gooy moments. It is my own personal pit of paranormal depravity and I love it to bits.

No joke, but as I was writing this I just bought the entire Fallen Angel series because I trust that Ward's writing is going to be just as good no matter what the subject matter. So what if it's another paranormal romance? I also like eating half of a family-sized Tim-Tam packet as snack most days and I'm cool if people know that.

Then I should also be okay with people looking at the very sexual front covers of the books I read. Behold my sexy front cover and be jealous of the emotions it gives me. Also you should be thanking me for making your train ride more interesting.

I guess what I've somehow managed to confess to is that I think it's alright to have a vice, even when it comes to something is unexpectedly straight as books. I am, and will continue to read the series for as long as it goes, for one simple reason.

It makes me happy. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Penguins Are Awesome

I can scratch Penguins off the list of animals I have been lucky enough to pat in my lifetime.

Last year it was otters; this year it was Gentoo penguins, the angry football sized members of the pathetically adorable flightless water bird family. I'm thinking of making this a tradition. Hopefully for my next birthday I can pat some sort of capybara, or manatee, or sloth! I'm just worried this list may also cross over into my "Eat the Flesh of All Creatures From Around the World" list. I think penguin would taste like blubbery chicken. Mmmmmm Mhm Mhm!

But as for the living ones, I went to Sea World on the Gold Coast for the day and it would have been an absolute disappointment if I hadn't got to spend a good hour in the penguin enclosure giving high-fives to literally dozens of these guys. When you're a kid there's this magic to going to a new place to see new animals for the first time and it's amazing to witness all these creatures you've only dreamed of from picture books sitting on rocks right in front of you. But when you're older it all just seems a bit sad. Especially in the hot Australian summer sun.

So that's why, twice now, I've forked out the big bucks to get up close and a little too personal with small furry creatures. And it is 100% worth it. No watching the backs of animals sleeping at the back of their enclosures. Uh uh. I'm gettin' right up in their shit.

For cuddles.

You see that thing above? The black and white mass of non-threatening salty love? I had that sitting on my lap as it hissed at me. And it was absolutely terrifying until the keepers told me it was apparently how they showed affection. Then it was slightly less terrifying. It's kind of like if someone came up to you at a bar, bowed slowly, and then whistled really low while craning their spine back 180 degrees. A tad creepy until someone tells you they just want a belly rub.

And patting these things isn't like patting a cat or dog. There's a familiarity when patting another mammal because you can feel the same basic muscle and skeletal system under the fur and skin. That springy push back you get as you massage the tendons in one stroke and they enjoy the pressure on the same areas you would.

Ooohoho not with Gentoo penguins. These little buggers are like dense footballs covered in a slip'n'slide. You try to pat them and either your hand just slips off or you just end up nudging them sideways because there's no spring back. It's not like I'm expecting them to be squishy but you kind of want them to be squishy.

High expectations aside, this was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Going into the enclosure you get swarmed by these little friendly beings as they start going for the chew toys we were given. And not penguin specific chew toys, just plain ol' doggy chew toys. One of which was a plastic tetrahedron which Reuben (a penguin) liked to flick back and forward as if he were reenacting the time his friend George (also a penguin) was eaten by a leopard seal. I don't know if that actually happened but I'm sure Reuben would be great at telling stories purely based on his enthusiasm for wrestling with shapes.

 I had a female penguin called Aurora sit on my lap while she hissed and cuddled up to me. It would have been super adorable if penguins weren't also known for spraying salt water at you whenever they flipped their heads around. Which is all the time. So thankfully we were given goggles to go with our ski gear. Ski gear, which unfortunately was not loose enough for me to smuggle Aurora home with me. She would have lived in my fridge and been adored like the queen she was.


I love penguins.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Confessions of An Anime Lover

I love anime.
I looooooooooooooooooooove it.
It holds a special place in my heart and has more respect than most living humans I meet.
I love it that much.

It's not a shameless secret to be afraid of; I just appreciate the artwork, the voice acting, and the hilarity of most comedy romance shoujos. And how the story can literally be about anything and still be good.

Ninjas?        Pfft, easy. 
Gods of Death?        Plenty. 
Vampires?        Of course.
Vampires who feed on other vampires?        Please, get more creative.
Love stories?       Oh god, they're more plentiful than oxygen!
Revenge stories?       Same as the love stories. In more ways than one.
Robots?      Oh yes!
Giant Robots?      Hell yes!
Giant Fighting Alien Robots?!    OH GOD YES!
Futuristic Samurai who do odd jobs in a world filled with aliens to pay their rent?     Welcome to the party, boys!

Don't even get me started on the red headed vesper-riding chick who can make a robot come out of a dimension in your forehead just from smacking you with a guitar. Did that sentence make sense? No? Good. That's anime!

Last week I discovered the cutest anime in existence. And I do not throw that term around lightly. I say this as a 20-something year old female who loves film and television, appreciates animation, and has been immersing myself in the Japanese cartoon world since Pokemon was created. I love this anime. And for the next few lines of text I'm going to squeeee as hard as I can over it because for the first time in a long time I felt a tender squeezing of joy in my heart which has not occurred since I was a little.

Ore Monogatari

This. This is cute. The absolute definition of cute. It is impossible for anyone to watch this show without your heart growing two sizes larger. It's the story of Takeo Gouda, an unusually large, muscular, and kind-hearted high schooler who is fumbling his way through his first (and hopefully true) love.

Anyone can identify with this show. It deals with such relatable issues in love, family and relationships. The pain of wondering whether your crush likes you back. Choosing to be lonely so your friend can find love. First kisses, first dates, first everythings.

I really can't put into words how much I feel for this show without posting the entire series here to watch, so instead I will leave the link to it, and a few stills to confuse and arouse your curiosity.

I love anime.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

A New Zealand Holiday

Finally had my first holiday in over a year.

And of course like every Australian looking for an easy getaway, I went to Kiwi Land! Australia's nicer little brother with cheaper booze and better mountains.

And just like any tourist I spent a lot of the first few days just pointing at things and going "Look! it's so cold here the water freezes! Everything is covered in snow! I've only seen this kind of thing in films!" Because anyone from the north half of Australia thinks snow is a myth made up by Americans to make Christmas look more magical.

My god it was good to go snowboarding again. Queenstown on the south island of New Zealand is tourist central for all kinds of winter activities, especially if you time it just right so it's not too cold but still has an abundance of snow. Lucked out on that one; snowboarding is infinitely harder when the weather is shithouse. It also helps if you remember everything you learned from the lessons you had over five years ago. Which I totally didn't.

I went to Perisher in 2009 and successfully managed to become an amateur snowboarder. And now...!

... I'm still an amateur but I got some badass photos of me doing bunny hops. Ruins the magic of the photo I know but I don't want people asking how the half pipe was when it took me 4 days of building confidence to do a simple S turn. It's harder than it looks when you have to dodge 5-year-old skiing prodigies.

God damn skiers. 

Back to the actual holiday, I have decided to move to a place surrounded by mountains. Sure it'll take ages to get anywhere, but the view is totally worth it.

So pretty~!

Food was awesome too. At least when it's cold you can justify eating a bowl of chicken wings, whole pizza, jug of beer, and bag of cookies. "That seems like a lot of food for on per-" "IT'S FOR INSULATION!".

New Zealand: 10/10 would definitely go again.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Keep On Truckin'

It takes some time away to realise the important things in life.
Like how super gay my new website theme is.
What the hell was I thinking.

Anyway, someone told me earlier in the year that being 22 is the worst year of your life. Not only are you officially an adult according to legal and social laws but you start to get that panicky itch most young people get if they don't feel comfortable in their life.

I have that itch.

I finished university last year with the most optimistic outlook on life. I had my degrees, I had a nice resume, I had time to contemplate where I was going with my life.

Now it's halfway through the year and I still have all of those things but they seem less useful than they did 6 months ago. And I'm not the only one in this boat. I have numerous friends and acquaintances in the same shitty boat. It's not a bad boat either. Comfy, reliable, we can see where we are going; it just doesn't stop us from realizing we're all sitting in this tight space going in one direction with no control and you either have to decide if this is the right river you want to go down or should I jump into the water right now and take my chances with the unknown.

I'm choosing to sit in the boat for a while until some of the other small comfy boats sailing past start to look better than mine.

It's a tough world out there you know.

I applied for two graduate positions earlier this year with two well respected and well known companies, and as you can probably tell from the weird boat metaphors, they did not go well. I was lucky enough to experience two different types of disappointment.

Now the first company was upfront with me, didn't play around, and straight up said "Thanks, but fuck off". Concise. No fuss. I like it. I only had to wait 2 weeks to find out I wasn't good enough, but at least I could tell from the speed of the rejection that there were a tonne of other applicants and I was not shiny enough to be collected.

The second company was almost as good and took the same 2 weeks to consider me before sending out an automated message saying "Thanks, here's a test we want you to take to make sure you're not stupid", which is an interesting thing to do for someone with two Bachelor degrees and a long list of experience in different fields but what the hell, I'm awesome, this should be easy.

The next four weeks was a back and forth of "Do this please. Thank you. You're smart! Do it again!" where they sent me strange tests and games to challenge my brain. They even sent me feedback saying I was in the top 20% of average results, which was kind of them. So by the time I told my parents I was in the with a shot and was confidentially planning my life for the rest of the year I was pretty high and mighty when I got kicked off the pedestal.

Over a month spent being told I'm awesome and I get told I'm still not good enough. I really couldn't tell which hurt more. The straight up NO or the long goodbye.

That's a lie, I totally can; it was the second one.

It makes the whole 'Tell them you don't like them straight away rather than string them along' advice people give to those relationships you're not sure you want to be in. Rip off the band-aid quick! Bam!

And that's where I'm at. Exactly where I was a year ago except no assignments and no idea what might happen next.

Thank god for video games.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bye Bye Baby

Yesterday I said goodbye to my baby. My old, ugly, broken, beautiful baby.

But it was time to say goodbye to the old girl.

You never forget your first car.

She was a 1993 Toyota Tercel and she was WONDERFUL. And for those that may not know of a Tercel, think of a Corolla but smaller. Like if there was this really pretty girl next door kind of girl, but she had a slightly older sister you knew was older but still looked the same age because she was smaller and could keep up with the rest of the crowd. So much so you didn't mind she still wore acid wash jeans up to her waist. Like that but a car.

Anyway my little Tercel is about as old as I am and now she's probably in the backyard of one of the douche salesmen I traded her in to getting the shit kicked out of her for fun. She's worth so much more. I drove through a flood with her and she survived. Drove to Bribie Island and back with a cracked radiator and survived! Egged, scratched, bumped, and not one, not two, but at least 13 attempted thefts along the window frames. She's a fighter.

Just look at that masterpiece of Japanese craftsmanship. They just don't make 'em like they used to.

Seriously don't.

Brisbane had a shit load of hail storms of this summer, one of which had stones ranging from golf to baseball sizes. They tore right through our window screens and left most unprotected cars unlucky enough to be left outside for those horrible 10 minutes with permanent acne scars.

But not the Tercel. Oh no. None of that flimsy fiberglass shit for her. I left my car, not only flush out in the storm with not even a tree for protection, but I had it parked in such a way on the hill that it was getting full hits in the face.

Not a scratch. Not. A. Scratch.

Sure that paint was already coming off the bonnet anyway but there was not one single chip, crack, or dent in the little monster and now I can only imagine she's a cube of crushed metal and shag carpet the size of a carton of beer.

Oh no, you never forget your first car. Especially when it features in the greatest Shakespearean teen drama of all time!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I Have No Friends

It took me a while to see but I've come to the realisation that I have no friends.


It's not something I'm crying over, I have been noticing it for a while and my lifestyle isn't unsatisfying or anything; the only really annoying thing is I don't have anyone to accompany me to shows.

And I see a lot of shows.

The Brisbane Comedy Festival just started and I usually go to at least 3 shows. Now in case you don't know anything about comedians, they tend to pick on people for fun, and that fact that I have actually gone to a comedy show alone before and did not enjoy it as much as if I were sharing it with a friend, I REALLY need to get myself a buddy.

Boyfriends don't count.

I love my love unconditionally but he and I don't always share the same joys, which isn't unusual, it's just that he isn't as good as compromising as he thinks he is and I don't like forcing him into things I know he won't enjoy. You see my problem. So if you've got no partner, and no friends, what are you left with?


I'm considering taking a stuffed animal with me just so I can pretend I'm crazy. At least that's a judgement I can handle.

This would be my life and I am okay with that.