Category Archives: Summer

Hell is teaching in a heatwave with no power..

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The power went out at school yesterday, leaving more than 1000 teachers and students suffering in a 40+ degree day with no air-conditioning.. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of being around young adults during hot weather, but there are two things main things to know:

  1. They do absolutely no work whatsoever
  2. They smell. 

Continue reading Hell is teaching in a heatwave with no power..

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Hello October!

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Things that I want to accomplish this month include:

  • Finish reading the Thone of Glass series by Sarah J Maas – I’m addicted and currently in the middle of Heir of Fire (book 3).
  • Swimming at the pools a minimum of 1km per session, and at least three times a week.
  • Eating at least two pieces of fruit per day, and at least two servings of vegetables per day. Doctor says I have dangerously low iron levels so I’m looking to completely revamp my diet, starting with a new love of mushrooms and spinach!
  • Going to the beach at least four times this month. I’m ridiculous, the second the sun comes out a light goes off in my head saying “well. must be summer, time for thongs and bathers and sand and seaweed!”
  • Walking/running at least once a day – again. with the aforementioned revamp. I call it “Operation Hottie.” I’m also doing the Colour Run on the first of November, which I know is more fun than run, but I still want to do well!
  • Keep my bedroom clean. End of term saw me doing a lot of mindless dressing in the mornings without any time for laundry at night, resulting in the Everest of dirty clothes piles in my bedroom.
  • Stick to my Lorna Jane Active Planner – it’s all pink and amazing, and the core of my 12 week aim/Operation Hottie for the next three months. And on that note..
  • Lose at least 2cm from some measurement in my Lorna Jane planner. I’m trying hard to remember it’s less about weight and more about how my clothes fit me (especially with all my swimming making my arms so BUFF), but who doesn’t want to see that number on the scale go down? And finally:
  • Watch my darling Eagles take the flag this Saturday!

Hope you had a fantastic September and that your plans for the last three months of the year are coming along great! Just 12 weeks until Christmas!(shudder)

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Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

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It is killing me to no end that while today is the third day of winter here in little old Perth, almost everything else I read is gearing up for summer! Fortunately that also allows me to vicariously live through what I read and imagine that it is in fact summer and I am sitting on a beach instead of huddled up underneath my doona getting warmth from my laptop.

I am a sucker for any kind of summer article, book, movie, music anything. it just makes me feel so happy and warm. Most importantly it helps me to forget my mounting troubles and (as corny as this may be) radiate some sort of inner warmth. So without further ado, and brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish,  here are my top ten books that will be in my beach bag this summer, and that I always end up reading during my December to February summer.

  1. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
  2. Summer Crossing – Truman Capote
  3. South Beach (and the rest of the Spring Break series: French Kiss and Hollywood Hills) – Aimee Friedman
  4. Boy Meets Girl – Meg Cabot
  5. Surf School and Surf Sisters – Laurine Croasdale
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
  7. Silver Shadows – Richelle Mead (what I will be reading when you guys are all having summer)
  8.  Top Secret Twenty-One – Janet Evanovich (ditto)
  9. Unlucky 13 – James Patterson (ditto)
  10. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green (ditto, plus I figure I may as well read it now)

Hope you guys are staying warm (if like me you are beginning the descent into winter) or pumping up the summer jams!

Love,
Andrea

Fashion Friday: Wishful Thinking

While I am cuddled up in my bed, I am immersing myself in Jack Johnson, mango and passionfruit juice and The OC, trying to wish myself out of this freezing Perth afternoon and into some sunshining days.
i’m not very fashionable at the best of times, but hey, summer, is summer!
Love,
Andrea

Wishful Thinking

Emilio Pucci summer dress
$1,135 – jades24.com

Quiksilver bikini top
nordstrom.com

Jimmy Choo wedge sandals
saksfifthavenue.com

Dezso by Sara Beltrán red purse
$125 – brownsfashion.com

Summer necklace
handpicked.net

Mixit stretch ring
jcpenney.com

Sperry Top-Sider earrings
sperrytopsider.com

Heart glasses
shopzerouv.com

Ray Ban ray ban wayfarer
$220 – harrods.com

Friday Five: Greatest Non-Champions (Day 83)

Greatest NBA Players* To Never Win A Title

*Let me first preface this by saying, this is based largely on players that I have seen play live, not old videos, so really it’s my list of greatest players never to win a title. I haven’t seen much if any of the NBA prior to 2004 so my thoughts are based on that. Let me again emphasise this: I am making my list up of players that I have watched live. So feel free to educate me! I am also not going to include current players who are still in the midst of their careers such as Dwight Howard or Carmelo Anthony (though I make an exception for Steve Nash because as much as it pains me to admit I feel his time is coming) I will also here admit to a teenage love for Luke Walton after watching one of the Detroit/Lakers finals games where he must have played almost average or something. So clearly I am not too discriminating in my tastes but hopefully this week’s list is a little more educated than that.

Reggie Miller
I feel that this is all that needs to be said about Reggie Miller:

Karl Malone (and I’ll also add here John Stockton though I’ve never seen him play)


Steve Nash

In 2010 and at age 36 Steve Nash beat three point guards in their early 20s in the All Star weekend Skills Challenge. While yes, there are certainly other things that hold a lot more merit; this is still one of the ones I love most about Nash. How many people wish he had stayed in Phoenix now, especially this season?

Charles Barkley (I haven’t seen him play, but from old games I have seen and of course Space Jam this seems like a no brainer. I am of course joking about Space Jam.

Dikembe Mutombo

Honourable Mentions (retired or near): Tracy McGrady, Brandon Roy, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill

Honourable Mentions (current): Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard

Players formerly on my list: Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd

Let me know what you think! Who have I missed (of the era I’ve covered)?

Love,
Andrea

Friday Five: Happy Valentine’s Day to my true love (Day 76)

I personally am of the belief that you should spoil the person you love most every day of the year, and not just on February 14th. So for Valentine ’s Day this year I am giving to you all moments of deep, meaningful and true love for me: sporting related incidents. These are a tiny, TINY selection of sporting moments that have truly moved me, and that represent everything that I truly love about sport.

  1. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd win their first championship with the Dallas Mavericks at the end of the first year of Miami’s Big Three.
    This win had the added bonus of depriving LeBron and company of a championship, but I was surprised at how emotional I got when Dirk and Kidd took to the podium. Both players have always been on my “greatest to never win a title” list and I think I was just so floored to finally be able to watch them achieve something long deserved. Now if dear old Steve Nash had just stayed in Phoenix, this year may have been his year to get off that list!
  2. April 28th, 2012. 1:20 left in game one of the Bulls/76ers round one playoff series.
    I don’t even have words for this one. Watching it now still devastates me, and knowing what it meant to not just one team, or one city, but an entire world full of basketball fans that would now be deprived of watching one of the most deserving players get his chance to shine. My eyes are actually stinging now at the thought, and perhaps my biggest basketball related fear is that his career highlights are only ever going to be before April 28th, 2012.
  3. John Aloisi kicking the penalty against Uruguay that takes the Socceroos to the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
    This was the kick that sent millions of Australians back onto the soccer bandwagon (I will apologise ahead of time for calling it soccer, but unless they change their names to the Footballroos, it is easier). I remember watching this with my dad and even without knowing much about Australian soccer at the time, knowing that I was watching history. Even now seeing a clip of that footage, hearing the commentator yell “ALOIIIISIIII!!” gives me chills. It is just a phenomenal moment and lead to one of my favourite World Cups ever.
  4. Towards the end of Invictus (fictional, yes, but based on the incredibly inspiring and true story so I believe it counts) where the team visits Robben Island and then when the whole stadium erupts after the Springboks win.
    As a proud South African, even though I have no accent to speak of and have only spent a combined one year in the country of my birth, this movie just does something to me. The combination of phenomenal performances and rugby, and knowing that even now the Springboks are still the best team in the world, makes this movie full of really emotional moments for me. Fun fact: every time I watch Invictus I pick up a really odd South African hybrid way of talking for a couple of hours.
  5. The West Coast Eagles winning the 2006 AFL Grand Final. 
    2006 was a rough year for me, not just because it was my final year of high school, but because of a lot of personal stuff that was happening too. Someone else who had a rough start to 2006 was good old Benjamin Cousins. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up in a diehard Eagles household watching a baby Ben Cousins play in the blue and gold from the min-90s, but I cannot stop loving him. So watching the course his season took from losing the captaincy, to being brought onto the podium by Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd to be the first to touch the premiership trophy was something truly special to me. In a truly tough year for me, I turned quite heavily to sport as my drug of choice and I will always remember this moment with a smile and a tear in my eye.

Like I’ve said though, there are about a billion other moments (watching the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony, Nadal fighting through back pain this year at the Australian Open, watching the Perth Wildcats win their first championship in ten years, the 2009 first round playoff series between the Bulls and the Celtics) that really hit me. I have a love for sports that any man is going to find difficult to replicate!

Hope you guys have a great Valentine’s Day! Me, I shall be watching basketball and getting ready for All Star Weekend.

Love,
Andrea

Friday Five: Gilmore Boys Who Made It Big (Day 41)

I have been a Gilmore Girl from when it was first broadcast in Australia on Channel 9. I can remember sitting with my mum watching it, and being at some family party and sneaking into my cousin’s bedroom to watch the one where Rory turned 16. In all my years watching this delightful show, one thing always hits me: the incredible amount of dreamy young actors that the show produced. So in no particular order, and with the dates of their first GG appearance and of their post GG fame (and more than five, because I can!):

Dean Forester (Jared Padalecki, 2000-2005)Dean

Dean was Rory’s first everything pretty much. I personally am not the hugest fan of his but in rewatching season one episodes, he is just so adorable with his floppy hair and tall boy awkwardness. Dean eventually got married, had an affair with Rory then faded into Stars Hollow when the affair came out. Jared Padalecki then went on to become the brother of a Dean, as Sam Winchester (2005-present) in Supernatural.

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Tristan DuGrey (Chad Michael Murray, 2000-2001)chad1
Tristan was Dean’s Chilton rival, poor boy. I would always choose Tristan over Den, but then again I have a thing for the worst possible guys.
chad2Lucas Scott (One Tree Hill, 2003-2009, 2012)

Dave Rygalski (Adam Brody, 2002-2003)AdamDaveRygalskiadam2

Seth Cohen (The OC, 2003-2007)

Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia, 2001-2006)Jess-jess-mariano-23217484-494-700Peter Petrelli (Heroes, 2006-2010)

Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry, 2004-2007)logan1THE GOOD WIFE
Cary Agos (The Good Wife, 2009-present)

Zach Van Gerbig (Todd Lowe, 2002-2007)todd_zachTodd-LoweTerry Bellefluer (True Blood, 2008-2013)

Alex Lesman (Billy Burke, 2003)

Lorelai---Alex-gilmore-girls-139988_533_400In the course of my reading, I discovered that Alex is the one boyfriend that Lorelai did not technically break up with, on screen anyway.

billy1Charlie Swan (Twilight, 2008-2012) billy2and Miles  Matheson (Revolution, 2012-present)

Luke (Dean’s Friend) (Max Greenfield, 2003)max4Who was also Deputy Sheriff Leo D’Amato (Veronica Mars, 2005-2007, 2014)max2a Young Sandy Cohen (The OC, 2007) max3and Schmidt (New Girl, 2011-present) max1

Graham Sullivan (Teddy Dunn, 2004) 

702088_320Rory goes on a date with Graham at the end of season four, the date where she calls Dean to come rescue her and thus begins the affair.. Graham then goes on to a little town called Neptune, California where he becomes Duncan Kane, ill-fated boyfriend of Veronica Mars the same year he is on GG until his run on Veronica Mars ended in 2006.
duncan-kane-profileNot to mention Brandon Routh in a season one cameo before he was Superman, Jon Hamm in the season three episode where Lorelai asks her mother for a guy’s phone number, Sebastian Bach as Gil,  Scott Cohen as Max, Nick Offerman as creepy cousin Beau, and the delightful Daniel Pudi working at the Yale Daily News.

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The moral of this story? Gilmore Girls is amazing and all time, and society owes it a significant debt.  
Have a great weekend!
Love,
Andrea

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Day 39)

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

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Because I like thinking in list format (pro writer) and have now seen The Desolation of Smaug twice (once in HPR 3D and once without) I feel I know enough to share my thoughts on it via a PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting) list because my head is filled with them making lesson plans for uni!

PLUS

  • smaug4Evangeline Lilly is made to be an elf. She just fits in perfectly with the aesthetic that Jackson has established for the Elven kingdoms. I see a lot of similarities with Arwen character-wise and yet I think that Tauriel is more kick ass than her. This might be because I think of the Mirkwood elves as being more warrior-like than Rivendell or Lothlorien.
  • Kili and Fili are the best brothers ever. The moment in Laketown when Fili said he would not leave his brother made me so happy, and for me gave a bit more of the book’s Fili and Kili to the film. I like that they also made reference to Thorin as their uncle. Having re-read this particular section of the book I feel that is an important distinction to make, especially given what happens to the trio in the book. However, noticing Thorin saying to Fili that he will be King Under The Mountain someday, I also wonder if the next movie is going to end with someone other than Dain on the throne.
  • I also really liked the increasing focus on Bilbo and the ring. With the ring’s theme being played in the background it helps show the transformation that Bilbo is undergoing because of the ring. The scene with the spider (or scorpion looking thing) where he just goes nuts after dropping the ring is the one that really strikes me as highlighting the power and darkness of the ring.
  • Visually, the sight of Smaug flying higher and higher flicking off droplets of molten gold before heading off to Laketown was stunning.
  • The sequence of the dwarves in barrels heading from Mirkwood to Bard was amazing. There were many scenes in this movie that I felt could make fantastic theme park rides but none so much as this one. There were a few times when the water and the elves leaping around got a little too CGI, but overall this scene was phenomenal.
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  • Seeing Gandalf at the tomb, and realising whose tomb it was, probably gave me the biggest “OHHHH whaaat??” excited reaction of the whole film, so in that was the inclusion of Gandalf’s adventures was awesome.
  • Also found it hilarious seeing Fili just keep pulling weapons out of nowhere.

MINUS

  • I will preface this all by saying I am usually a strict “Book First” person, with more loyalty to a book than to its movie adaptation. I understand that in some cases (e.g. LOTR) there is an overwhelming amount of source material for the amount of screen time they can dedicate to it. However, and using the LOTR example, I feel that this second movie in particular has about half an hour of book action and two and a half hours of made up nonsense. I was worried when the first movie came out that for such a short book, there would be a lot of fluff that they would make up to fill out the story. I was beyond glad when watching the first movie and in particular the scene where Bilbo finds the ring. Word for word almost exactly like the book, it is my favourite scene throughout all five Middle Earth movies because it is loyal to the book and cinematically dynamic. This movie however, there is a LOT of non-book material, some of which I like but most that just irks me.smaug6
  • Take the storyline of Tauriel and Kili. Having read the novel I know what happens to Kili (and Fili) but having Kili poisoned by a Morgul blade (of sorts) so early on concerns me. I liked the mirroring to Frodo/Arwen with Tauriel’s healing of Kili however I am not sure about having Tauriel crushing on Kili. Looking at the actor’s face, the emphasis on his mother and Tauriel saying he was tall for a dwarf, I wonder if they are going to mess around with the character a little and say he his mother (or father) was an elf.  While this would certainly be interesting to see I don’t want the story to be jeopardised just for the sake of some shoehorned in relationship. I can understand the inclusion of Tauriel, I like her as a character and as a girl I like seeing strong female characters within this patriarchal universe. However I would rather them be characters with motivations in their own right (Galadriel, Eowyn to an extent) instead of reliant on a romantic storyline.
  • While I can respect the cinematic and narrative need of having the dwarves attempt to slay Smaug, to me it just seemed pointless. As the climax of the film it might have worked for those who haven’t read the book, but almost the whole second half of the movie I sat there thinking “What are they doing? This isn’t going to work and if it does I will lose it. Why isn’t Bilbo mentioning the arrow in Laketown?”
  • And Laketown. You have a sophisticated surveillance system that the Dwarves and Bard have to overcome, and yet you miss a whole pack of Orcs stomping around your roofs? Completely makes no sense.

INTERESTING (A.K.A WEIRD)

  • The point at which the movie ended. I was expecting the second movie to be all about slaying Smaug, and for the third one to be about the Battle of the Five Armies. I suppose it makes sense to keep the dragon around as long as possible, he is a huge attraction for the casual viewer, but story wise the movie just kind of ends with Bilbo literally saying “what will happen next?”
  • Also the point at which the movie started. In the book meeting Beorn provides the perfect opportunity to reintroduce the dwarves two by two, which is what I assumed would happen in the movie. I also don’t think Beorn would let the dwarves sleep in his homestead before being introduced to them. I think this was an opportunity that the filmmakers missed out on, even having read the book I found myself only remembering about half the names of the dwarves (matching them to their faces I mean).smaug7
  • I have a feeling that the writers/producers felt that people didn’t really connect in the first movie that Gloin was the father of Gimli. I don’t know what other reason there would be for Gloin’s increased dialogue and the specific mention of his son.
  • I also don’t quite know how I feel about seeing just what it was that Gandalf was off doing when he wasn’t with the dwarves in the novel. I can understand wanting to link this trilogy to the LOTR trilogy, but there are times that it feels unnecessary.  Seeing the image of Sauron melting in to the eye over and over again was admittedly awesome, but seeing Gandalf imprisoned in Dol Guldur doesn’t really have a lot of terror or urgency to it because we know who he is and what he can do. Most likely what will happen is he’ll pull the “moth and eagle” trick that he has done twice before in these movies. I like using Galadriel in voice over to tie things together, and it is interesting to see Sauron growing in power as the ring is calling to him from the shadows each time Bilbo uses the ring, but I don’t know that it’s completely necessary. This novel is dense enough (if not terribly long) that there are things they can include without stretching the source material.
  • Something else that really bothered me was this: If Gandalf knows or at least suspects who is stirring in Dol Guldur, does he not wonder why?? I feel like a wizard as powerful as Gandalf should at least wonder why Sauron would just randomly decide now was the moment to make a move. And also, would he not be able to sense the ring? I feel that now he knows it was the ring wraiths who were resurrected, the next movie should at least suggest or mention the ring in connection with them .Obviously Gandalf would know who the ring wraiths were and why they deserved such a tomb, so surely he must wonder why they were brought forward. I will be disappointed if nothing comes of it.
  • Not quite movie related, but still. Although I know who the three elven rings went too, I feel they should have been equally distributed through the three elven realms of Middle Earth, meaning Thranduil should have ended up with one of the rings or at least have come into contact with the One ring. I feel like his would have been an interesting reaction to it, perhaps similar to Galadriel’s though I feel it would have been a mix of her’s and Boromir’s intentions.

What did you think about Jackson’s newest Tolkien adaptation? What were you good, bad and interesting bits? I’m simply itching to talk about this movie with people are as Tolkien-nerdy as I, so nerd away!

Love,
Andrea

PS: Also see these awesome thoughts on the movies so far:
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Good Story Telling
The Hobbit: A Meticulously Prepared-For Journey
The Nerdist Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

 

Friday Five: Summertime Series (Day 34)

Sweltering heat plus holidays equals a lot of indoor time. While I occasionally spend that time at friend’s houses or at movies, more often than not I sprawl out on the couch or my bed and turn to my favourite summer time TV shows.

The following five I watch year round. They always make me feel warmer, and in the mood to sit at the beach discussing relationship problems and solving mysteries with a bottle of wine.

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  1. Summerland
  2. The OC
  3. Cougar Town
  4. Laguna Beach
  5. Veronica Mars

Also see:

Hope you enjoy the sunshine while it lasts in this unseasonably cloudy and cool January so far!

Love,
Andrea