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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Latimer watches… Beauty and the Beast

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer wants adventure in the great wide somewhere!!!

Latimer: I’ve found myself watching lots of Disney movie’s lately. This is mainly due to the fact that my niece loves to watch Disney movies, since she’s finally old enough to sit still long enough to watch an actual movie! So, I ended up watching Beauty and the Beast for the first time in years, and I had some random thoughts as I watched!

When Belle sings her first song and heads into town to return her book, I just love the part where she enters the bookshop and chats to the owner and rolls around on the ladder looking for books. It’s always been a moment I’ve loved!

Gaston has shot something at the start of the movie, and LeFou is carrying it, and fecked if I know what on earth it’s supposed to be – it has no head, horns, fur and feathers… what the hell is it?! Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps.com-484 When Belle sings her ‘I want adventure in the great wide somewhere’ line I bob my head in agreement! I can often be found randomly singing that line in a passion when I’m gearing myself up for an adventure! Ha!

This has always bothered me – how come no one knows about this beast and the castle in the woods? I mean come on! It isn’t that far from their town and the beast was cursed when he was a young man and he’s only got until his 21st birthday to find someone to love him… which means he could have only been cursed for a few years – therefore everyone in town, including Belle, must remember the prince in the forest?! Surely!

It breaks my heart when Belle’s Daddy goes to the tavern to ask for help to save Belle and everyone laughs at him and ridicules him for talking crazy about a beast (which, again, they should all know about anyway!), and they throw him out into the snow. He is left there saying; ‘will no one help me!’ (that line has always stuck with me, even the way he says it!). Damn, so sad. 500px-Beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps_com-3472 How does the Beast have a woman’s bedroom with woman’s clothes that fit Belle like a glove? They could have just jigged that a bit, like the clothes needed to be tailored a bit by the castle tailor, who has been transformed into a measuring tape with his needle and thread assistants! They could have fought at the end of the movie with the rest of the cursed inhabitants – they could have had a scene where they stitch-up a townsman – the measuring tape could have tripped up another person! Ah Disney you missed an opportunity there – ha!

Some of the cursed castle inhabitants don’t have mouths or eyes… what does that mean? Did the witch/enchantress think the Beast would need to have enchanted cutlery as well as servants enchanted to be cutlery? I don’t get that. be-our-guest-beauty-and-the-beast I guess it’s pretty interesting to consider that Beast is always the one that judges based on looks. He assumes that Belle doesn’t like him because he’s a beast, because of the way he looks, but actually the reason she doesn’t like him is because he has a terrible temper and is verbally abusive to her!

It still annoys me that Belle doesn’t really eat anything at the dinner song! I love all that food! (I love food, I really, really do)

Lumiere sings that ‘10 years we’ve been rusting’ – 10 years?! That would have made the Prince 11 years old when he was cursed! The enchantress cursed an 11 year old for being a superficial person? What a crazy woman she was! And wouldn’t that mean then that Chip, the cup, was probably born a cup? Because he looks like he’s probably 6 years old when he’s a human! Ah, apparently there was a flashback scene in the Enchanted Christmas special, that kind of explains things (but also doesn’t!).

The Prince was a boy when he was cursed – and Chip was a child when he turned into a cup. But the Prince is a man when he turns back into Prince – because he’s 21 years old now – but Chip, alas, for some reason, is still a child?

Okay, while I seem to have been picking a lot at the movie, I actually really love this movie. It’s not my favourite Disney movie, but I definitely rate it highly on my Disney movie list!

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!

Middle Kingdom Musings

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Latimer: I’m back! For reals, not from a place of scheduled posts! Yup, my epic trip around China has ended and I’m now suffering from a major case of ‘holiday hangover’. You know the feeling; ‘It hurts so bad! It’s over!’

I think the only cure is to go on holiday again… *cue sneaky smile* well, maybe you never know!

Basically this can be applied to holidays too o_O

Basically this can be applied to holidays too o_O

But for now let me rewind my memories – do you want to come with me on a trip to the Middle Kingdom? Sure you do! Let’s head back in the way-way-back machine! This will either be cathartic or depressing for me. If you look to your side at any point and see a smiling Latimer, good times, if she’s weeping, please take a moment to comfort her J

So, this trip was a reward for me finally finishing college. Yes, I was still in college; institutionalised possibly (definitely). Thankfully, the ending was a good one (i.e. piece of paper, awarded – just need to dot the i’s etc) and so, I was off I went to CHYY-NA (or ‘wild CHYY-NA’ as I kept calling it) with a travel group.

First the long-haul flight… okay so, I don’t sweat them much anymore, but they are still annoying. I’ve been on a lot of them, so I know my pattern pretty well at this stage; a) I can’t sleep very well and b) I can’t eat the plane food (can’t even stomach the smell of it). I literately recoil when the steward/ess trusts it under my nose – “no! No I don’t want it! Please don’t make me…”  

So, knowing this at the airport I’ll stock up on essentials (food and water), like someone planning for the zombie apocalypse (where we’ll only be able to get crap, ‘it’s bad for you but who cares there are zombies’, food). This time, in the wonderful Terminal 2 of Dublin Airport (this is our really fancy new (ish) terminal), I found a nice shop to buy sandwiches in, which may not sound like much, but when you are contemplating your fear of airplane food it does mean a lot!

Oh and by a nice sandwich, I mean, one that doesn’t contain mayonnaise (for some reason this type of sandwich is hard to find). In this shop I found a plain cheese sandwich (I almost wept for joy). Then I nipped around for some water, Hula Hoops crisps and a chocolate bar (these bad boys will pop up again in China). 

On the flight I stayed away from the plane food and scoffed down my sandwich and water. Then when I got to my layover in Dubai (that’s a new, semi-novel stop for me; what a nice airport it is), I got some food (a stir-fry, easing myself into the Chinese food) while I watched my gate for my Beijing connecting flight.

I gulped down my food getting a bit nervous about when my flight would start to board. Then I had to fight the rush of Chinese people trying to board the plane. It was a bit of a free-for-all; even though the airline was calling out the rows that would board first, it seemed like people were having none of that. I had to push my way up through the crowd to board (as my row had been called, not because I’d turned into the Hulk and just decided it was ‘my time’ to board, people be damned).

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After a bit of a wait, we were off to Beijing!

When we were close to landing, I started thinking about transportation from the airport (like I always do). I start to… not worry, but overthink it? This is the part of my holiday I research and research and print out very piece of information before I leave my house (unless Ridley is travelling with me, then I use her like a GPS and guidance system; she is basically a map that you can interact with and befriend, haha. Seriously though she knows she’s part map)!

So touching down in Beijing, without Ridley, I was armed with all the information and warnings internet could provide me on – a) fake Chinese money (and how to detect it; it’s all in your Mao’s ladies and gentlemen; run your nail over Mao’s hair, if it’s ridged your note be real, if not your note be fake and no Chinese person will take that bad boy off you – tip, always check your Mao’s!); and b) getting a taxi from the airport.

Ah, one thing about getting a taxi in China; don’t get the black taxis. These are fake and they’ll over charge you.

Okay, fair enough I thought, I’ll not fall into their trap, oh no, I am an informed Westerner!

“Stay in the queue for the taxi” – the internet warns you, “don’t let someone lead you out of the queue! Look at the locals!”.

So, what happens when I get to the top of the queue and the people directing Chinese people to their taxis carefully ignore me?

Oh yeah, some man comes up and takes my little piece of paper with the hotel’s name on it and reads it; “I can take you there!” he says in English with a smile, trying to lead me to his black car.

Oh hells no!

I smile, laugh, take back my paper; “No thanks, I’ll wait here” (inside growling Wolverine style: back off bub!)

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The thing is, the people directing people to the taxis, they backed off and let him try and lead me off; after he didn’t manage it they were still half-ignoring me. It was very strange. Basically they know what’s going on, but it’s like, “oh well let him have a go”. Not cool ladies.

Later I found out that one of our travel group did get one of the black taxis and ended up paying 100 USD for the trip that cost me 12 euro in my registered taxi (12 euro = approx. 16 USD – a BIG rip off!).

My first taste of a taxi ride in China was strange – my taxi driver hacked and spat out the window three times (as we were driving, amazing dexterity). I was staring, then cringing in amazement – where was I?!

Then I started to notice other odd things. He had an empty glass jar of coffee resting next to his gear stick (phrasing!). There was liquid the colour of pond water in the jar, and what looked like twigs and leaves gently tapping against the glass; like something you’d find in a science museum from the 1800s. Me staring stupefied at the jar as he gulped down the contents and zig-zagged through traffic (there are no rules of the road), kept me occupied for the whole trip. I’d come to see this empty glass jar and strange contents again and again and again over my trip (it’s tea, or something, but it looked really weird straight off the bat!).

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Another top tip from the internet was to always have your hotel address written in Chinese and also to have the phone number of the hotel. Thank you great and noble inter-web, you saved me there too!

My taxi driver had to call the hotel to find out where it was. And even though I don’t speak Chinese, I could tell he was saying; “Where the hell are you? I’m out here on the street and you’re not here – haha, what the hell? Where? Oh… hmm”

He ended up dropping me off on the side of the street, gesticulating and shouting in Chinese at some building hidden behind a row of other buildings. I stared at it.

“Yeah, I got yah.” I said nodding and pointing at the hidden building (my hotel’s name emblazoned on the very top of the building). The taxi driver watched me as I walked across the street; then started shouting at me in Chinese and pointing at the building again.

“I know!” I called back, nodding again and struggling to find a way through the row of buildings that blocked my hotel. Why was it hidden behind a fortress of other buildings? How did one get inside? Did I have to walk through the small convenience shop in front of it, was there a way through it or what the hell was going on? I felt like Pacman caught in a corner!

The taxi driver was driving away by now, slowly passing me as I walked up and down the street trying to figure out a way through the buildings to my hotel. Would I have to tunnel through, like Andy Dufresne from Shawshank?

The taxi driver starts shouting at me again and I just know by the tone and his actions what he’s saying – “Hey! Idiot, your hotel’s there! It’s right there you foolish girl!”

And I reply laughing (but frustrated); “I know! I know! Thanks!” Then I watch him shake his head and drive off. I stare at the guys outside the convenience shop (who are staring at me too). I make for the door, dragging my wheelie bag with me. They talk to me in Chinese and point down the street and make the universal ‘around the corner’ sign.

I nod. “Thanks lads!” and walk off towards a car park barrier. I stare down the lane; it looks like an office car park or something. Shrugging I walk down and turn the corner, finding my hotel nestled in an odd little courtyard, hidden from the rest of Beijing (and mankind).

The combination of jetlag and culture shock has me buzzing by this point. I meet up with my group and our Chinese tour guide (and I am only semi-conscious) and we go out for Peking duck. My mind is racing from lack of sleep at this point; “god it’s colder here than I thought; why is it called Peking duck… I really want to go to bed but I have to have a shower when I get back… plane rides make my hair greasy… I really want to go to bed!”

Yup, and so ended my first day in China! The adventure continues 🙂

Next post: Walking Along a Wall

Never-ending Reading List

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Latimer: I remember a while back I did a post about how I was struggling through a long read list – well, not struggling, because I like having a lot of books to read, but sometimes when you find yourself buying more than you’re reading you do feel like giving yourself a kick in the brain!

Back then, I had been reading (on and off) Bill Bryson’s At Home; I am so happy to say I finished reading it before 2013 ran out! Yes, the never-ending reading list is getting just a little bit shorter!

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It really sickens me how long it took me to read such a great book. Bill Bryson has to be one of the best authors; I’ve only read two of his books, but they have both been so amazing (and they both took me forever to read). There’s just so much information in his books and so many funny, strange and sad stories, that you find yourself stopping to digest what you just read and staring into space shaking your head!

This is a small example; in At Home, I read about roof rats. Yup. Now every time I hear something skittering across the attic floor, I no longer think ‘birds’, I think… ‘roof rats’. No one else is buying what I’m selling, but in Bryson I trust, so yup… roof rats.

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Apparently the modern home is a great environment for the roof rat. And the behaviour of the modern rat – wooh, it’s scary. They show no fear, ‘and will even deliberately approach and make contact with motionless persons. They are particularly emboldened in the presence of infants and the elderly’ (neither of which I am, so I’m fist punching the air, shouting “do you hear that roof rats! Fear me!”)

‘Rats have very sharp teeth and can become aggressive if cornered’ (won’t be doing that so!) ‘biting savagely and blindly, in the manner of mad dogs’ (holy moly!) ‘A motivated rat can leap as high as three feet’. Then they are also very, very smart; there was an incident where rats were stealing eggs from a farmer without breaking them (which even now as I type sounds like a cartoon); the rats worked together, where one rat would embrace an egg on all fours and roll over onto its back, and a second rat would then drag it by its tail to their burrow.

This image has stayed with me since I read the book. And there’s so much more in the book, that I kind of feel like I will have to re-read it a lot to remember most of it. But it’s such a good book.

I don’t have much of a feel for ‘special interest’ books. I just read what I’d like to know about; there are a few people though who seem to have a gift for reading really interesting sounding books.

I’m addicted to Smodcast, and Kevin Smith’s friend, Scott Mosier, reads some really interesting books! He’s always reading something and he mentions books so often that someone put together a list.

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary (maybe!); check out the list of books he’s mentioned! There’s some really interesting ones! http://smodbooks.wordpress.com/page/3/

I think my reading list is always going to be never-ending… 🙂

Study Woes

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I’m frreeeeeeee…… hehehehe

Latimer: Recently I found myself facing exams again. The sort of nauseating exams that force you into ‘study mode’ – a mode that no one, no one, wants to be in. It’s the mode that makes your heart recoil in your chest shrieking – ‘Dear god no! I don’t want to go back into the box!’

In short, I don’t like exams, but my predominant feeling towards them is always fear – abject fear.

When I study, and I remember Ridley saying the same thing, I get lots of ideas – I imagine a lot of things, totally unrelated to the exam. I think about cartoons, pictures I could draw, holidays I could go on, holiday’s I’ve been on… that bag of chips I had when I went to London when I was seven, and so on. Basically anything and everything except the dark tunnel ahead of me!

There comes a point in the study fever where I’m pulling out post-it notes and jotting down random plot holes in books we’ve written and sketching little cartoons of pictures I should draw; and then I’m surrounded my post-its and getting annoyed with myself for lack of focus.

As the years go on I’ve noticed how, I just ain’t as good at studying as I used to be. I looked back at my former selves (who were also shrieking at themselves for lack of focus) and I think, ‘wow, you were good once… once – now get back to work!’

Well thankfully the dark cloud of exams has finally lifted – leaving me looking forward to a holiday and putting all those random fever-induced sketches together into a cartoon summing up my experience…

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Yup, studying sucks!!

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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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 🙂

Game Watchers

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt... ho-yah!

Bring us the girl, wipe away the debt… ho-yah!

Latimer: I used to be a recreational gamer.

I wouldn’t say I was a real gamer, because I know what it is to be obsessed about stuff and I didn’t qualify for this one!

I do have a bit of a history with gaming though.

We used to have an Amstrad in our house, when I was young. I say we, but that’s a lie, my big brother owned it and it got passed down to us young’ens over time.

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It was a clunky, beautiful beast.

Games came on cassettes and you had to wait for it to ‘load’ whereby the title image would appear on the screen, one painful, pixelated line at a time.

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Games took a very, very, long time to load. I remember we had a game called ‘Run the Gauntlet’ that was a series of different races; boats, cars and a final cross-country level – that was impossible to pass!

I always wondered what came after that, as the computer AI’s whizzed past my character… I would sigh, thinking, ‘I’ll never know’. And I never did. The joy of being denied content because you have no talent for gaming – that was my lot!

I used to beg my parents to buy me a console.

A Sega Mega Drive?

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NO!

A Dreamcast (what happened to them!?)?

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NO!

A Playstation –

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No – look how are you not getting this by now? Stop asking!

Sometimes we would rent consoles from the video shop (I wonder do people do that at all anymore?) – it was about 10 pounds (back before the euro!) a night, and you’d get a game. Usually the console was a Sega. And it would be the best night ever and I’d wake up early the next day to get all the enjoyment I could before the console was pried away from me, never to be touched by my crappy, but loving, gaming hands again.

My brother somehow managed to wrangle a Gameboy out of my parents one year.

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That was brilliant… that’s when I met Kirby, in Kirby’s Dream Land. Oh what a game! The premise – you are Kirby, loveable vacuum-powered ball of joy, protecting his homeland from an evil dragon-creature.

Sssss... POW evil tree!

Sssss… POW evil tree!

This was one of the few I cleared and I still take it as a badge of pride. Ridley has this honour too I believe!

We did have games for the PC though. That’s where I met Lara Croft and I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist – ah, yeah, I was easily swayed!

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When my sister got a real job, she bought herself a Playstation and that was my first look into having a games console on demand. She bought Kingdom Hearts and to this day I will say that it’s my favourite game to play.

I'm a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

I’m a Keyblade Master!! I AM!!!!

Here’s the thing, the ending made me cry and the whole game made me love Disney again. Yup, that’s the power of Kingdom Hearts – I won’t have a bad word said about Sora and the boys (Donald Duck and Goofy)!

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If I still had my young heart today, I would buy a console; a Playstation 3 or 4… or 5,000 – whatever it is now. But, truth is, being denied the content of a story because I couldn’t figure out the puzzle or beat the boss (which would be inevitable) would kill me. I remember telling Ridley once (as I was playing Kingdom Hearts 2) that I got a stabbing pain in my eye and had to lie down, because I couldn’t beat a boss (the one with the water guitar – ARGH!) – I got so frustrated I literately had to go lie down and sleep away the anger.

So I know that I couldn’t handle the stress.

That’s why today, I don’t play games. I’ve moved from recreational gamer, to avid games watcher. You see I love watching games trailers and game cutscenes.

That might seem weird, but computer games combine two of my loves, art and story-telling. Games are beautiful pieces of art and they’re getting smarter and bigger all the time – and this means the stories can get more complex and involved too. Games are like books; they draw you in.

Because I don’t play, I like watching people like Pewdiepie playing for me – because it’s fun to have the shock moments during the game and Pewds is fun!

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The new games today are amazing feats of world-building.

Bioshock Infinite had this massively involved story set in this epic world. It was a stunning place – a city in the clouds.

My ultimate favourite game to watch though is the Uncharted series! Oh how brilliant are they! It’s basically modern-day Indiana Jones treasure hunting.

Damn it's hot out in the desert...

Damn it’s hot out in the desert…

Uncharted 2 is a major reason for me wanting to go visit Nepal! I want to stand on a mountain surrounded by temples and prayer-wheels and flags… one day…one day!

I often wonder if there are other people out there who love to watch games as much as I do – other games watchers.

We should come up with a name for ourselves – unless it exists already, in which case… what are we? 🙂