Top 5 Things You Would Recommend to People

Latimer musing over her Top 5's (kawaii artwork inspired by Miss Wah)

Latimer musing over her Top 5’s (kawaii artwork inspired by Miss Wah)

Latimer: Another one of the Top 5 posts! This time, things you’d recommend to people!

This is a modified version of a series that comes from the archive of the ‘Top 5 Wednesday’ Tag. This Tag was started by Lainey on Goodreads; here’s the link if you want to check it out: Lainey!

This is a complete list of everyone partaking in the Tag if you want to check them out.

1. Adventure Time (cartoon)

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Our OC fangirls Pebble and Piccadilly are also discovering the wonders of Adventure Time!!

Our OC fangirls Pebble and Piccadilly are also discovering the wonders of Adventure Time!!

I never really understood what Adventure Time was, or why it was so popular. Now I get it. The Bravest Warriors on Cartoon Hangover was my gateway drug to Adventure Time. They were both created by Pendleton Ward (excellent name) and the guy has the most amazing, random sense of humour.

The great thing about Adventure Time is you don’t really have to understand what’s going on, you just jump in. It’s just a cartoon about a boy (Finn) and his best bud (Jake), and all the adventures they go on, filled with strange hilarious characters.

If you want to laugh, watch it!

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2. BubzBeauty (YouTube)

I like watching the beauty videos on YouTube. They give you some cool ideas for facials and make-up etc. I like Bubz videos; she’s a very cheerful person, very down to earth with some cool ideas. I particularly liked her video on simple nail art and orange facials – come on that’s excellent!

My attempt!

My attempt!

3. Smodcast (podcast/comedy)

Latimer love's Smodcast

Latimer love’s Smodcast

I got into listening to Smodcast (Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s podcast) via Tell Em Steve Dave, another excellent podcast run by Kevin’s childhood friends, Bryan and Walt, and recent friend Brian (also known as Q). Smodcast is such a good podcast (so is Tell Em Steve Dave) – these guys always put a smile on my face! Love them.

4. Loot Crate (loot!)

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I’ve always loved the sound of Loot Crate – monthly gift boxes filled with geek and gamer goodies – but I couldn’t get them in Ireland, so I admired them from afar for a year or so. Luckily, recently they started shipping to Ireland! So, this month I’m finally getting a Loot Crate (yeah!) – I think I’m going to love it, the past crates seem pretty amazing. 

5. Kindle (reading)

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I’m totally addicted to my Kindle now; so very addicted. It’s a fantastic way to carry all your books with you on holidays. And, in the current world of ‘I need everything now, now, now!’ – the instant delivery of a book whenever you want, well, it’s amazing.

I would have loved a Kindle when I was young – I remember how painful it was to wait for books to come into the shop – or having to search for the book, or getting it ordered in specially.

Ah, the waiting game, it’s a dying game now.

What are your top 5 recommendations at the moment?

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Trekking around Thailand

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Latimer: Lately I’ve been doing some globetrotting. Every time I hitch up my trusty wheelie bag and head off into the far blue yonder, I come back with lots of stories and lots of ideas. I think the most recent trip to South East Asia has me all inspired for writing!

Ridley and I are really excited to be working our way through our Keeping Secrets series, plotting and outlining all the books to come. We are back firmly on track now – and we’ll be releasing Book 2 by the end of August! So stay with us for updates!

In my recent travels I visited Thailand. It was a quick run through the north of the country from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, to a fly-by visit at Chiang Rai and then Chiang Khong (to cross into Laos). I didn’t see that much of Thailand really, but what I saw was stunning, beautiful, strange, inspiring and… stranger still!

Bangkok is a pretty cool place. There are lots of things to see there – when I was there I took a trip around the canals in the city and went to Wat Pho to see the huge golden reclining Buddha, which was amazing. Buddhism (and monks) feature strongly in my Asian travels; I sometimes think I’m starting to understand it, then I always get stuck and realise actually I don’t know much about Buddhism, but it’s really interesting.

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Bangkok canal views

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Reclining Buddha… massive!!

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He looks like he’s pretty comfortable here!

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Wat Pho outside views

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More of the Pho

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Yet more Pho!

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Another Buddha inside another temple in Wat Pho – I ear-wigged as this guy was explaining Buddhism to these people!

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Lot’s of monks – notice how young some of them are! All men in Thailand must serve a year (at least) as a monk before they get married, to be considered ‘a good man’ for marriage

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Thai green Curry… because… it’s Thailand!

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From the back of a tuc-tuc… the only way to travel in Thailand… I love tuc-tucs!

From Bangkok, I got an overnight train to Chiang Mai. Lots of people on the tour were worried about the overnight train, but having experienced the Chinese ones, I was no longer afraid. The ones in Thailand are actually brilliant; and compared to the Chinese ones, they are very spacious and comfortable – this coming from someone with extreme ‘creature comfort’ problems!

Chiang Mai was a fun place; we had a walk around in the blistering heat, went to see beautiful Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple ate some lovely Thai food and went for a cool bike-ride around the city. While on our bike ride we stopped at an orphanage for Hill tribe children, for dinner. I bought some lovely artwork by the children – it was Naruto inspired 🙂

During my time in Chiang Mai, I was coming to terms with the heat, I won’t say I ever ‘got used to it’, just learned to accept I would always be dripping sweat and needing to drink water and isotonic drinks.

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Train station catching my ride to Chiang Mai

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These trains are fantastic! So clean and comfortable. There’s a bunk that comes down from over these seats and the seats themselves are transformed into another bed – big and very comfy.

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I had the top bunk, which was fine… but not as big. I had some pocky for the trip!

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Some cool outside dining in Chiang Mai

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Artwork on the streets

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Beautiful, random temple

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More temple action

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Buddha outside the temple

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A very cool dragon vomiting snakes… well, maybe not but that’s what it looks like!! Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Walking up to the temple, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep bells

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Getting my fortune at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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Monks visting Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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I got this white blessing bracelet from a monk in Wat Phra That Doi Suthep; he said a prayer over it, for luck and safety in travel.

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A delicious vegetable spicy soup…. it was feckin hot though!

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Buddha overlooking the river on my bike ride around Chiang Mai

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Handle bar views in Chiang Mai

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Buddhas in Chiang Mai

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More views from my bike in Chiang Mai

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Chiang Mai temple

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Chiang Mai temple

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Chiang Mai temple

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Cool artwork done by the Hill tribe orphans

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More temples from my bike ride Chiang Mai

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Buddha and candle wax – from bike ride Chiang Mai

From Chiang Mai, we stopped off briefly in Chiang Rai to see the White Temple, which is a bit like Sangrada Familia in Barcelona, in that it’s unfinished at the moment and being built by the artist that designed it. It’s full of demons and cultural references – though I never got to go inside, as we were late getting there and it was closed! It’s supposed to have like cartoony stuff inside and be really strange and interesting. This temple was badly damaged after we had seen in, in the earthquake that hit Thailand – so I feel lucky to have seen it before that happened!

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Batman and Pinhead… heads.. .weird!!

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Freddie, Pinhead and Hellboy… retro weirdness!

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Yummy food in Chiang Khong

Yummy food in Chiang Khong

Then from Thailand, I took a bus into Laos! But that’s a post for another day!

For other posts about South-East Asia check out: Lovely Laos and Laotian Living

Make me Laugh

Latimer love's Smodcast

Latimer love’s Smodcast

Latimer: I love me some funny podcasts and Smodcast by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier is one of my favourites. I just love listening to these two old friends talking about random stuff and joking around.

Smodcast is full of bizarre stories and funny nerdy references, and life lessons.

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I just love these two, they make me laugh but they also have all this funny random advice about taking risks on doing the things that you love, and being creative and surrounding yourself with ‘why not?’ people. All this inter-spaced with Kevin’s obsession with Batman and Canada, and fascination with Jaws (or just sharks and being eaten by one).

“But… what would Batman do Scott?” and “Can you give me that in Jaws measurement*? How many Jaws’ would that be Scott?” (*Jaws measurement being one of Kevin’s ways of measuring things in the standard unit of a Jaw’s shark!)

I’m so happy to say that Ridley and I will be heading off to see Kevin Smith doing a live podcast in Dublin in June! I can’t wait 🙂 

If you don’t mind swearing and you like to laugh you should check out Smodcast!

Latimer watches… Shingeki no Kyojin

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Oh holy hell!

Latimer: I’m so behind the times! Like Ridley, I recently started watching Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan).Being a newbie to the show, I thought it’d be fun to document my initial thoughts as I watched the first 2 episodes!   

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Okay let’s go-go….!!

I just imagine the massive Titan looking over the wall and saying – “Hello dere!” All the Titans have faces that suggest they are about to say; “Hello dere!” instead of eating you. But in all seriousness, hell no would I still be alive in that world – as with zombie apocalypse I’m in the ‘first wave of non-survivors’!

HELLO DERE!

HELLO DERE!

I want one of the weapon rigs! Ah they’d be great – but I know I couldn’t use it properly!

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Well, I know it would all end badly for me!!

They have such a cool opening song!

This world looks very German, style-wise – I think it would be really cool to see this anime dubbed in German!

It really is suicide being a soldier in ‘Attack on Titan’!

Eren (the main character) said living behind the wall is like; “living like livestock for the Titans” – hmm, yup, that about sums it up all right!

Okay so there’s different soldier ‘corps’, with different crests – like Hogwarts houses… err… not really… well sort of; survey corps = Gryffindor (bravery); military police = Slytherin (smart, stay inside, let the Gryffindors do the hard graft :))… and garrison = Hufflepuff (who knows what you really do – who knows?!).

So the survey corps came back after their ‘trip’ (ha, their mini-break!) beyond the wall. There’s a guy with bandages around his mouth, ekk! Lots of soldiers were eaten; oh… one of the commanding officers is handing a bundle back to a crying mother…

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Jaysus… it’s…. an arm?! What…!

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God Eren, I’ve been here in your world 5 minutes and I don’t want to leave the walls (the outside world be damned I tell you, it’s not worth it! Sand and the sea, it’s not that impressive!). Why do you want to go outside Eren, you’re crazy!

Whooh, a big Titan just appeared (looking over the wall… ‘hello dere’)

Oh noo, he destroyed the wall, other Titans are coming in and eating people….. oh it’s on! IT’S ON!

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My immediate thought to describe Titans – “leering grins and naked arses!” I know all you people looked, they are giant naked people (where do your eyes go first?)!

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I love how in animes (this used to happen in Bleach too) there’s always cool-looking baddies (the big Colossal and Armoured Titans in this case; they are the important ones), and then there are the weirdest, oddest, bubble-headed, comical-looking strange ones, that you know the artist was like; “Bored now! Bring on the weird!”

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Hello dere!!

In all seriousness, you'd initially have to laugh if you saw this guy THEN scream and cry and run....

In all seriousness, you’d initially have to laugh if you saw this guy THEN scream and cry and run….

Ah, Eren’s house was crushed by stone from the wall – his mam is stuck under the house!

She told them to run away and save themselves (a Titan is coming!). I’d have asked them to kill me before they ran away – “I’m doing you guys a solid by letting you go; the least you could do is kill me before you run away!” (I don’t want to be eaten by a giant).

I wonder will Eren eventually befriend a Titan and that’ll be the turning point… – Oh holy hell… no he won’t!

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Hannes the soldier – running away from the Titan instead of engaging – I feel you Hannes, you’re a soldier, but you’re afraid. Of course I never would have become a soldier because I’m afraid. Just sayin’

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“Hurry if you don’t want to be eaten…” I never want to hear someone screaming those words at me. Ever.

All those people living in that city are traumatized. The gate’s closed, leaving them behind to die by Titan, that’s horrible. But, well, maybe it’s for the best; like everyone in Game of Thrones… maybe it’s better to go out now, happy one day, eaten the next! I mean the soldiers are happy, then traumatized, then eaten!

Hannes, the soldier, is screaming at Eren that his mother died because he’s weak. In fairness the mother’s not gone because anyone’s weak, she’s gone because a massive man-eating monster ate her!

Eren’s having all these flashbacks of his Dad injecting him with something (he’s been acting the maggot!). I wonder… that dark-haired titan I’ve seen around on pictures and tumblr… is he a genetically engineered titan – from Eren’s DNA?

And… end 🙂

Update: I finished the series, I won’t ruin anything – only to say it’s as good as everyone says it is!

I noticed that… well, a lot of the Titans run… a little like I do…? (the fat, or short ones, not the cool ones) it’s sad, disturbing, but true… I run like a Titan… wow, wow… ah geez…

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And then, Just to say, my favourite character is Jean Kirstein… and I leave you with this epic gif of him fighting a Titan…

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So It Begins

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Latimer: And so it begins… Christmas shopping… the last ride of the Rohirrim… 

Okay, that might (might) be an exaggeration! But I saw this funny post on Tumblr and it sort of fit:

It’s Christmas, you have one of two feelings:

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Or

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I’m not totally one way or the other, but it feels like this year, Christmas sneaked up on me – then knocked me out with a sledgehammer.

As I stumbled around half-dead for three weeks, I now find myself madly shopping in a delirium of, sweat, confusion and panic, blind panic!

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Over the past few years I’ve found myself buying children’s Christmas presents for nieces and nephews. The last time I had been in a toy shop was to… well, be the one who people were buying presents for! I was the last child I knew!

Now, I have five nieces and two nephews to be buying presents for!

And I panicked. When I stepped into the big toy shop to do my ‘buy, buy, buy SOMETHING… ANYTHING’ Christmas shop last weekend, I faltered. I got confused; really confused.

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I reverted back in time. I stood staring at the Sylvanian Families, laughing; “Aww, still as expensive as ever… oh! The Badger Family, I remember you!” 

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I was a child again. I forgot why I’d come to the shop.

I started looking at all the new dolls, thinking they were cool. Asking myself if a three year old could handle the awesomeness of gothic dolls based on monsters (no, thankfully I came to my senses on that one).

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I bought myself some glitter glue; which I needed for making my Christmas present tags for the kids, but it was weird because, I’ve not had glitter glue since I was a kid!

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Thankfully I did manage to leave the toy shop without going too crazy.

Although my last giddy thought as I left was; “I have money now… I could buy things if I wanted…I could buy the Sylvanian Families cottage/barge/windmill! Oh the POWER!”

I pray the power of the toy shop will not have grown stronger by next Christmas!

Indie Adventures

Latimer's Web Adventures!

Latimer’s Web Adventures!

Latimer: Somehow I’ve found myself on an indie odyssey through the internet recently, stumbling over people making really amazing art, from conception to end-product. As Ridley and I are indie writers ourselves, it’s always great to see what other indie people are up to around the web!

There are some amazing artists out there, doing really cool innovative things. The invention of Kickstarter also means that more and more people are finding ways of getting their ideas out to bigger audiences. It’s really inspiring and I’ve stumbled across some great finds as I’ve wandered and bounced around the wide-open spaces of web-land!

Here are a few of my new, sparkly treasures!

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Podcast: Welcome To Night Vale (created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor and voiced by Cecil Baldwin), this really cool podcast about a fictional town somewhere in America, where strange things are happening, almost always… they have hooded figures, mysterious dog parks, vanishing interns… it’s all very random, but brilliantly random!  

Webcomic: Ava’s Demon – oh wow, this webcomic by Michelle Czajkowski, is just fantastic! It is semi-mixed media, in that for each chapter, there are a number of beautiful single panels, and then the very last part of the chapter is a short animation. The story is set in outer-space and on different planets, but it also has this cool fantasy feel to it. It focus’ on a girl called Ava who is possessed by a demon with a mysterious/bloody past.

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The artwork is beautiful and after running this really successful Kickstarted campaign, the artist now has the money to update the comic twice weekly and add lots more fun stuff! (Currently the comic is updated every Thursday! Check it out! It’s great!)

Webcartoon: Bee and PuppyCat, a really cool webcartoon. Bee has been fired and as she walks home, a puppy-cat falls out of the sky. This is so brilliant, hilarious and just… it’s so strange that it draws you in and you are hooked wondering – what on earth is going on?

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The artist and creator of Bee and PuppyCat (Natasha Allegri) works on Adventure Time (she created the female/genderbender version of Finn and Jake – Fionna and Cake!). And Frederator Studios, the indie studio that makes Bee and PuppyCat (and the other shows on the channel), also made Adventure Time (so there are similarities). I’ve never watched Adventure Time, but I feel like I should now!

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Currently Bee and PuppyCat is only one episode, but after a Kickstarter campaign she got enough money to make a series! Not sure when it will be out, but I’ll be subscribing to keep track!

Webcartoon: Bravest Warriors (by Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time), this is also on the same channel (Cartoon Hangover) as Bee and PuppyCat and made by the same people. It’s actually really, really funny. I love the humour in these cartoons, it’s so unbelievably random and quirky!

I can’t wait for the next find! There are some amazing people, doing really cool things out there 🙂

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!)

Worrisome Wasps

'I'll get you Latimer!!'

– ‘I’ll get you Latimer!!’

Latimer: As summer draws to an end (NOO :(!), I’m plagued by the last remaining wasps. And I hate wasps!

I mean I really hate them.

But my hate is based on fear, pure fear. If a wasp is in the area I warn people with; ‘Listen, listen guys, there’s a wasp over there, now I might jump up and run away screaming and kicking at the air, but don’t mind me!’ This warning more often than not becomes reality.

I run based on what might happen to me, because, I have never in my life been stung. Well, up until last weekend that is…

I was moving bags of clothes from downstairs to upstairs and I got a sudden pain in my foot and thought initially – ‘argh a splinter’ but then the pain got worse and I lifted my foot and screamed…

- 'Oh JAYSUS!'

– ‘Oh JAYSUS!’

There was a wasp stuck to my foot! Still I am screaming, because now one part of me is thinking, ‘oh no I have to touch it to get it off! NO! I don’t want to touch it!’ and the other part is just shrieking.

Now, my hatred-fear of wasps is complete. It is warranted. I don’t want to be stung. But wasps are angry, vicious creatures (hence the term ‘waspish’). I don’t bat at them, I just run away, because batting them makes them angrier and they come at you!

Sharing my experience resulted in people telling me all sorts of stories about their experiences of wasps.

First there was the boy…

He told me a story about when he was a young carefree lad, he used to play in the bushes at the back of his house – where randomly, mid-way through this wasp story he drops; ‘the bushes were Ian Paisley told me off for being one time’ ha.

The bushes had been cut and piles of leaves had been left on the ground. The young boy got excited and raced over to the piles and started playing. Then a swarm of wasps crawled up his chest out of the pile of leaves (he’d stood on a hive).

- Poor Boy!!

– Poor Boy!!

Naturally he ran shrieking to his mother (covered in wasps). His clothes were ripped off, and a wasp flew out of his underpants. Yep, the wasps got him everywhere.

- ...everywhere...

– …everywhere…

The boy  then tells us how he was staying with a friend once and one morning the friend decides, ‘today will be the one day of the year I will be a real man and cut the hedges’. The friend was then confronted by…

- 'I'm gonna get you bub!'

– ‘I’m gonna get you bub!’

 

- 'And I got ALOT of friends!!'

– ‘And I got ALOT of friends!!’

And he runs into the house screaming; ‘get me vinegar!’ And in front of everyone in the house, the friend starts ripping off his clothes, getting naked and running into the bathroom, still screaming for vinegar. He got stung a lot.

We then hear how the boy and his friends were outside one day, enjoying the sun and having some drinks, when the sky went black as a swarm of bees descended on them; ‘hundreds of thousands, they eclipsed the sun briefly’ he said. They all ran into the house, screaming; ‘CLOSE THE WINDOWS! CLOSE THE WINDOWS!’

- 'Close the window, the boy's getting flashbacks!!'

– ‘Close the window, the boy’s getting flashbacks!!’

Now my story of being stung is so boring! But give me time, I feel like another story is on the horizon for me! The last few weeks I’ve been plagued by wasps; now I’m even more afraid – I’m under-siege!

Summer is a time of joy… and wasps 😦