The Passion and the Glory

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Latimer: I’m not a sporty person in the slightest, but I think I had a weirdly profound experience at a rugby match last weekend.

Thinking back on it now, I’m feel like – ‘wow, I learned so much – about winning… about losing, and sportsmanship! Yet, I’m kind of freaking myself out about how philosophical I got about it!’  – let me take you on a journey of my weird thought process as I watched Ireland face down the mighty All Blacks!

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A cheeky photo of NZ supports - it's a long way to travel so they were rare and kind of exotic!!

A cheeky photo of NZ supporters – it’s a long way to travel so they were rare and kind of exotic!!

The All Blacks are the national rugby team of New Zealand… and considered the best team in the world. I was overjoyed to get tickets to this match. And I couldn’t wait to see the All Blacks do the Haka live! (it’s an amazing Maori tribal display they do before all their matches – it’s spine-chilling – here is the one displayed at the Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ9Rs_2EiRg

The atmosphere at the match was electric.

I’m not a person that gets invested in sports (hardly ever) – I don’t jump up on my feet screaming until I’m hoarse –

I thought I would be like this:

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But I was actually like this:

sport fan

I felt so swept up in the emotion of being proud of the Irish team on the pitch.

But okay, in the end, even though we ALMOST won, Ireland lost. And so it goes – in sport, it doesn’t always work out that the team that deserves to win, actually wins. Here’s where I learn about the bitter reality of losing.

And Ireland has NEVER, ever, beaten the All Blacks – nope, not once. This match we came the closest we ever had before – it was our best chance, we ALMOST had it.

The clock had ticked right down to the end… we were winning (22 to 17) when the game entered it’s final play! Then BOOM – swift and sleek, like a giant panther over the line, the All Blacks scored a TRY! Now, we were even, 22 a piece… Then they converted a kick and bang, it was all over for us – All Blacks won 24 to 22.

seriously

We came so close and we lost.

It made me sad, sure, but (this is where I learned about the nature of sports and sportsmanship, and got kind of zen about the whole experience) – the whole experience, coming that close to winning something, having tried so very hard – it’s life isn’t it?

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I never thought I’d say this, but sports is like an analogy for life (come with me on this) – you play the game, you win or you don’t, but you keep trying and that’s the key. It’s not about accepting that you lost, it’s about believing that you’ll win next time.

Rob Kearney, one of the Irish players said that the game isn’t over until the very last moment. You need to keep your head in the game. You need to keep focus until the absolute end – because if you don’t you can lose in a split second (as we had).

In a way that’s a good thing – it means that nothing is done, hopeless or final, until the very, very, very last moment. Someday Ireland will be the ones that swoop in at the very last breath and win – we all have our day!

And, even though it still hurts me to think about how we almost won (it honestly, bizarrely squeezes my heart a little) – I think the way people in sports handle defeat is something to be admired!

Thank you for teaching me a valuable lesson!

happy

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Gift Giving

ID-10037232Ridley: So it’s a bit early to be talking about Christmas (well actually never too early in my book!), but I have to say it’s my absolute favourite time of the year. I mean, when do we have such an absolutely fantastic combination of being able to eat loads of chocolate and at the same time give presents? Like, you have Easter, which is great for the chocolate side of things, and then there’s birthdays for the presents, but Christmas is like Easter and a Birthday smushed together! (and obviously I know the whole point of Christmas isn’t just presents and food, but work with me on this!)
Anyway, I love getting presents for people that suits them, it’s fun to see their faces when they open up something they’ve always wanted or least expected and never knew they wanted. So, while it’s still early, I have begun to look for the unusual presents you can only get online and that can take awhile to get here once ordered. In the interest of helping others with their present searching (cause I’m nice like that), here are some of the best things I’ve found for sale on my favourite craft site, Etsy.com (and yes, it is a case that I’ve been just sharing all my internet procrastinating haunts, but they’re good!!)

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Absolutely beautiful and colourful handmade jewellery. They’re a little like stain glass, aren’t they?

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Have a charm bracelet or want to start one? Here’s some Christmas charms! So dainty!

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PaperMatthew

Paper sculpture, so brilliant, there’s real craft gone into these. Usually the actually sculptures are a little expensive for my wallet, which no doubt reflects the skill and amount of time that’s put into them, but they currently have a sale on, and you can pick prints of the sculptures too.

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asherjasper

Handmade wool and felt toys! So unique, and you can get custom ones made for you!!

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Kreativlink

I absolutely adore unusual notebooks and journals, here some beautiful and unique ones!

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Some really cute artwork and designs. Mind, there’s loads of fantastic artists on both etsy and on deviantart, maybe if you wanted something unusual for that special someone, why not think about supporting some of these unknown but absolutely fantastic artists?

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And everyone, just to get you into the Christmas spirit, here’s the new John Lewis Christmas ad. It really almost brought a tear to my eye. Absolutely stunning!!

 

 

The Essentials

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This is from Stressed Jenny’s deviantart page (she’s amazing, click to visit it!!)

Latimer: On deviantart I’ve seen people do this really fun ‘tag’ where they draw the contents of their handbags. I thought it would be fun to do the written version of that.

Let’s start with the cruddy bag itself.

Okay, I don’t actually have a handbag per say – I have a Ouicksilver carry ‘parcel’, the size of a trade-paperback book. I have spent the better half of ten years with a backpack – I think I’ll always have one (my laptop will go with me to the grave basically!), and god it’s hard to wear a proper handbag when you’re lugging a backpack around! For me – unfortunately, because I kind of hate it – the Quicksilver bag just kind of works.

So in the handbag department, I am very unfashionable. But I need it, for the carrying of the essentials!

First – the kindle, it goes everywhere with me. I do a lot of commuting so I need stuff to read and the kindle is just so handy. When I got it first I was dubious, but god, it’s a great thing (and it hasn’t curbed my paperback buying!).

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Keys – well I have so many keys (for getting into secret places!) and swipe cards – have you noticed how many people have swipe cards these days? They make me feel all important and stuff (but not when I forget them and get locked out of the lab!).

Lip balms, several, because I have dry lips – yup! Burt’s Bees hand cream that smells like bake well tarts – really, really almond-y, it makes people around me sick or exclaim; ‘Oh what’s that lovely smell!’(It’s so powerful I’m afraid to use it on public transport!)

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My glasses, because I’m blind without them!

Train tickets and money for the bus – exact change because I can’t bear the thought of Dublin Bus getting any more money off me than they should! I’m really, really anal about this – I will hand in a fist of coppers with my head held high, staring down any would-be retorts (when they come, I glare like a mo-fo!)

Wallet and separate card case (you open it and it fans out all your cards) – I thought the card case would be a good buy, you know? That it would lessen the stress of taking cards out of my wallet (which is very annoying and hard sometimes) – but actually it just means I now have an extra wallet and my actual wallet is severely under used… STUPID Latimer!!

Phone – I check my bag non-stop before I leave my house to make sure I have my phone, but… the thing I would really HATE to leave without is…

My iPod!

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I love you iPodo!!!

This item – I have been surgically attached to this since I bought it, in Tokyo (hell yeah! Back when the euro was actual currency, boom, boom) in 2008 – it is an iTouch and 16G. It has done me proud all these years.

It has all my random playlists from down through the years (Disney, J-Pop/K-Pop/C/T-pop, anime playlist) and a ton of indie albums. And, hours and hours, worth of Ricky Gervais’ podcasts and old XFM radio shows; and Smodcast podcasts. I really LOVE listening to podcasts (if you are looking for cheeky laughs, I love Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s Smodcast!). Also a really interesting podcast that is SO worth a listen is Welcome to Night Vale (which I happened across on Tumblr!).

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Fan art of Cecil… of Night Vale – it’s such a good show!!

Because the iPod is my major essential item I thought I play this: iPod song game (you put your iPod on shuffle and answer these questions!)

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Playing the game!!

Will I get far in life?

Down to Earth – Wall-E… I think this is pretty positive? I think… yup.

What is the best thing about me?

Walking on a Dream – Empire of the Sun… I like this; ‘never looking down, I’m just in awe of what’s in front of me’ – not always the case, but yeah, I think that’s sometimes true!

How does the world see me?

Below my feet – Mumford and Sons… I love this song, but I don’t know – does this sound good?!

What is good advice?

My Pace – Sun Set Swish… okay, this is in Japanese, but I love this song so much… Okay I had to look this up, but this IS good advice!!

“Time passes, it’s left behind, you mustn’t forget my feelings of impatience, they say that reckless defiance is useless in the end, you mustn’t get up – Offense! Raise your voice in painful times, Offense! Go in the direction that you’re aiming for, I’m not afraid of the big wall, standing tall, I won’t lose my way in this life without answer, keep my pace!”

Where will I live?

Planet of the Apes… Oh no…. Well I already do, crumbs, it means I don’t get to go off world!! This is witchcraft!!

What will my dying words be?

The Pact (I’ll be your fever) – The Villagers… okay, so… is that a warning? ‘This fever that is killing me… it’s gonna get you, now goodbye – the pact, I’ll be your fever!’

Handbag essentials… they keep you sane during the day…. right :)?

(Aside: Ridley and I are currently working hard getting the follow up to Legend Unleashed, ready for send off to the editors! Can’t wait to show everyone!)

Wondering Heights

There are more.... there's always more; like Highlander

There are more…. there’s always more; like Highlander

Latimer: Recently I did a post about my reading-list, and how it’s never-ending.

baby-reading-book

The list keeps getting diverted, or side-tracked. During Halloween, I came across a free download of Bram Stoker’s Dracula on amazon. I had never read it, so I put Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Private Life aside (again) to read something else (I feel like I’ll never finish that book, even though it’s so good!).

I spent about a week reading Dracula. I was so taken with the story that for a while all I could see was Stoker and vampires. Every time I passed Kildare Street, on the way to work in Dublin, I would look up transfixed as the bus zipped past Stoker’s house. It looks odd – the door is very small, and painted a faint lilac colour; there doesn’t seem to be anything inside; the windows are small and dark, covered by white shutters… what goes on inside that strange little house?!

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Well, after reading Dracula, I was spun off into Wuthering Heights – a book I often return to from time-to-time, but have mixed feelings about. I’m a hopeless romantic, but I never could take to the Heathcliff and Cathy romance. They aren’t easy characters to like and because I can’t like them, I don’t care much about their feelings.  

But, if I don’t like them, why do I always sneak back to the moors?

Ah, well…! That would be for the half-story of Catherine Linton and Hareton Earnshaw!

The growth of that sweet little relationship is so lovely. She’s a spoilt princess, but she has a heart. And Hareton – ! He is such a wonderful character, he makes my heart bled that boy. He was the ‘most wronged’ but the one with the greatest capacity for forgiveness and love (the hero of the story).

That part where Hareton is transfixed by Catherine and reaches out to touch her hair... *squee*

Fan-art of that part where Hareton is transfixed by Catherine’s hair and reaches out to touch it… *squee*

When I finish the book, I always put it aside wishing that there was more about Catherine and Hareton (always). I feel so bereft for being denied that story… I know the book isn’t supposed to be about them, and probably the only reason their story exists in the story at all is to contrast the destructive nature of Cathy and Heathcliff’s relationship.

But, oh, I know Emily Brontë could have written that beautiful book. Even though Wuthering Heights has always been stuck in my head, I think the story of the spoilt princess and the gruff uneducated farm boy, wronged by his adopted father and scorned by everyone, would have been one of my favourite books!

Is it okay for me to mourn that non-existent story :(?

Does anyone else have a half-story that they wished was the main story?

Tickle Me Pinkish

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Ridley: There are some really fantastic, skilled people on youtube, whether they’re online for their animation, their comedy, their music or just to share their opinions, there’s something there for everyone. Two of my favourite youtubers that I said I’d share with you are Domics (Lat likes him too, actually she was the one who originally discovered him) and Communitychannel.

Domics is an animator and is quite funny with interesting stories told in his minimalist style of animation. It’s the expressions that he puts on his characters that are the best, I love watching his videos! Bitches Be Crazy is just a brilliant song too, kinda strangely catchy and I laugh at the funny arm dances in it each and every time.

 

Communitychannel is an Australian girl who is absolutely hilarious and tickles me pinkish with her random, fairly nerdy (at times) jokes! Her video, ‘Be my Friend’ could just totally be me.

It’s kinda strange when you think about it though. That you sit down in the evening and watch total strangers put up videos from their bedrooms, and you start looking forward to their new releases like any new episode of your favourite show. The power and reach technology and the internet has given us all is mind boggling really!

Memories – made by Disney

Latimer's Disney selfies - can you guess what movies they're from?

Latimer’s Disney selfies – can you guess what movies they’re from?

Latimer: Ah Halloween, it came and went and I am about half a stone heavier as a result (damn Trick r’ Treat leftovers!).

As it was Halloween season I had to watch ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’.

I love it, but it honestly scares me. Like, if I ended up in Halloween Town, with Dr Finkelstein, I’d start shrieking, smack him over the head with a gravestone and run, like my life depended on it (which it probably does at this point) to the forest and the Christmas Town door.

So scary!!!!

So scary!!!!

I like Jack and Sally, even the Mayor (just about), but not the Doctor… no…

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The thing of nightmares!!

The thing is, as I watched (mumbling to myself, ‘oh the horror!’), I started to think, as I always do, that the Doctor isn’t actually a bad person. He just looks creepy… So yeah, it’s a moral (don’t judge people) – ah the moral, it’s a Disney thing isn’t it?

I don’t think there are many people in the world who haven’t been shaped by Disney movies in some way. Every generation has their Disney’s.

I come from the Disney Renaissance, animation wise – to me, that’s The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast (my fave), The Lion King (such a big deal at the time my God!) and Toy Story (the first full-length CGI movie!), Aladdin and Mulan (LOVE Mulan, I entered a competition for a giant Mushu teddy – I lost but I’ve always wondered about that lucky sod who won it).

Hehe.... Cos she does!!

Hehe…. ‘Course she does!!

Way back when, I used to get these magazines every week, called Disney and Me.

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Yup. And I never read them, nope, just looked at the cartoons and tried to draw them. Funny thing, I wasn’t a big reader in my childhood… The extent of my reading?

“I’m going on adventure today!” I’d say, packing up the essentials – bread for the eating, dock-leaves for potential nettle stings and an illustrated copy of Alice in Wonderland.

My copy did not look this cool... ah, I still wouldn't have read it though!

My copy did not look this cool… ah, I still wouldn’t have read it though!

I’d precede to the climb the trees around my estate and think to myself, “Today, I will read this book”.

It was a big book at the time. And… 5 minutes later, “Yup bored now.” How many pages did I read? None, ha.

Then I’d head to my friend’s house and watch, watch, and re-watch, her VHS copy of Disney’s Alice in Wonderland. She hated me for that.

My mother’s friend had a copy of Beauty and the Beast that I used to borrow and watch… I spent a whole weekend watching it once and I cried when I had to give it back (seriously).

I can still hear Angela Landsbury singing in this scene... yup (aside: I also loved Murder She Wrote!)

I can still hear Angela Lansbury singing in this scene… yup (aside: I also loved Murder She Wrote!_

But, even when I was young, I felt there was one MAJOR flaw in this movie… The Prince… He just isn’t a good-looking man! My heart always dropped a little in disappointment! (It still does…!)

He's just... argh.... such a disappointment!

He’s just… argh…. such a disappointment!

This is a good looking ‘prince’…. 

Ah Flynn... Eugene... whatever, you're beautiful!

Ah Flynn… Eugene… whatever, you’re beautiful!

Anyways, when The Lion King came out, in 1994, I didn’t get to go to the cinema to see it. Back then no one was taking child-me to the cinema. I’d only been once in my life at that point – to see Jurassic Park.

Luckily, a girl in my class in school, her father worked overseas and he got a pirated copy of The Lion King (ohh… hehe). And the teacher said we could watch it! We were astounded (now that I think of it, the teacher probably just wanted to see it too – I know now that’s what I’d do!).

With the blinds pulled down in our classroom, we all got to watch the wonder of The Lion King. I was also madly in love with Jonathon-Taylor Thomas (voice of Simba) at this point, so it was the best movie I ever saw in my life at the time.

What ever happened to him? Hmm...

What ever happened to him? Hmm…

There was a girl in my class (we’ll call her Sara) – she was one of my art rivals (Everyone had one. But she never viewed me as her rival – ah ha, oh that’s cold!). Sara was the best at drawing Disney-style animals. And after The Lion King she was like a celebrity; “Draw a Simba on my desk!” everyone would squeal.

A years later, I did manage go to the cinema to see Toy Story. I have very vivid memories of standing in line, being so excited to see this movie. I think that’s why I cried so badly at the end of Toy Story 3 – I was finally saying goodbye to them after 18 years! It was pretty heart-breaking…. The scene where Andy plays with the toys for the last time! Argh, I… I just can’t….

How heart-breaking is this?!?!

How heart-breaking is this?!?!

Disney’s stamped all over my memories.

There came a point during growing up that I threw away the Disney cloak. That’s for kids, I thought, and I am a child no more! (ha, yup, that did NOT last)

The Disney Renaissance had ended anyways. But, then, it entered a revival era! The age of the CGI animated movies (Pixar) came into being and I was pulled back in!

By about Finding Nemo I was back on the Disney bandwagon. My counterparts on the wagon, who had stayed the course, eyed me with disdain; “We stayed true!”

I still do a bad impersonation of the surfer dude turtle!

I still do a bad impersonation of the surfer dude turtle!

The Incredibles is a brilliant movie.Tangled? Oh god, love it. WALL-E – how gorgeous is that movie?

I love this movie for her glorious hair alone!

I love this movie for her glorious hair alone!

Brave, Brave… yup… Disney’s back in my heart.

And now I’m waiting hopefully for Frozen.

Really looking forward to this! I’ve even starting doing some fan-art – take that Sara it only took… err a few (a lot) years! Ah, ha…

Kristoff and Anna... please let this movie be Tangled epic!!

Kristoff and Anna… please let this movie be Tangled epic!!

All those memories… Disney really is King of Childhood Dreams…

Everyone has a Disney favourite! Right :)?

 

(When we were in Tokyo a while back, we stumbled across the Disney store! It also brought back a lot of childhood memories!) 

Visiting Hobbiton via Newbridge

Ridley: The Newbridge silverware shop in, of course, Newbridge is holding a Lord of the Rings exhibition. It has loads of the costumes and props from the movies on display. I wandered over on Sunday to take a gander, and what I saw was absolutely beautiful. Latimer and I have often watched the ‘making of’ videos on the Lord of the Rings dvds, I’m pretty certain we’ve both had starry-eyed dreams of one day working with Weta workshop. Well maybe it was more of a case that we wanted to wander in and out of the different workshops and visit different people and basically see what everyone was making and just make a nuisance of ourselves, rather than actually doing any hard graft. The detail and the designs gone into some of the weapons is absolutely awe inspiring. The pure craftsmanship and love of their art shines through in each of the pieces. Even for different parts, whether it’s the handle, or the blade, or the inside of the helmet, areas that will probably never be seen in the actual movie, they’ve still gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure every inch was designed, etched into, and craved to the best of their ability.

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Ringwraiths always freaked me out, especially when they made that weird screeching noise!!

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This is a Ringwraiths sword. Really fits with their image and rather creepy it was too.

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He was so tall, and scary!! I really wouldn’t have liked a whole troupe of Uruk-hai after me. Oh bloody hell!! Run!

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There was so much to see, I let my inner fangirl out with a massive smile. If you’re in Ireland and you get a chance, do get to Newbridge, it’s a completely free exhibition, and while you’re there you can check out some of Marylin Monroe’s dresses (she was tiny!!) and some iconic Michael Jackson suits too over in the other sections.Marilyn-Monroe-Icon

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