clo_again: (Maneki Neko - Year of the Cow)
Hahahaha 'post more often'. Yep. So, moving on!

Hello, I am not yet dead or giving up on LJ or- actually no, everything else is pretty much what you'd expect; work is boring yada yada, life continues much unchanged yada yada...well I suppose that's not technically true. There's been recent work dramallamas in the continuing saga of Why Must Everyone I Work With Be So Relentlessly Stupid and it all kicked off with an official complaint by another admin girl last Monday, but I've had phone conversations since (I was off Wednesday - Friday) that implies it's all sorted and we are in fact in good nick with the management who think we're doing a great job. I guess I'll see tomorrow. The whole stupidity has really crystalised the fact to me that I don't want to work for that place long-term even though I don't mind the job itself, because stupid dramallama stuff that should've been avoided with a little common sense happens all the time. It's reminded me that I need to actually focus on saving money towards an eventual Masters, preferably in Cardiff, so I can flee the place.

This resolution to save started most excellently well as I almost immediately went off on a three-day shopping trip to Cardiff. In justification it's been planned since April, I did actually desperately need new shoes/jeans, and it's like getting it all out of my system before I go cold turkey on spending, right?

(It made more sense when I was using it as an excuse to buy things, really.)


This building never fails to make me happy. <3


The trip was so lovely - I think I definitely needed just to get out of dodge for a few days because I'd been getting more and more stressed with everything at work and actually just leaving the county (and the country, given that I went back to Wales!) was good timing, and I felt better about life, the universe and everything just by the time I got to London Euston.

Yes, I went to Cardiff via London. Yes, there was an excellent reason for this; I arranged the entire trip around going to the Hampstead Theatre to see Propeller (I may have mentioned them before. At length. In the previous post. I really like Propeller) perform their Twelfth Night again. I love the play so much, I couldn't bear the thought of not seeing it again and despite fretting the entire way down that I'd miss it (due to engineering works I had to catch a train to Manchester, wait an hour for my next train to London, then catch a couple of Tubes and find the theatre by 2:00pm) I got there in plenty of time. I did a post about it over in the Propeller comm, so I won't repeat myself but it was wonderful. In the interval I tweeted "My idea of heaven is sitting in a dark theatre and watching Propeller perform this play over and over", and I meant it. If it hadn't finished touring yesterday I'd say to go see it; as it is they're touring Midsummer Night's Dream/Comedy of Errors starting in November and everyone should go see at least one of them. I am. Multiple times. (No, I really am.)

Then, after catch-up sushi and mocking the Tie Rack workers at Paddington station with [livejournal.com profile] kindoftrouble and A, it was a packed train and then Cardiff. I love Cardiff. I may have mentioned this before. And this time it was mid-week so the shops weren't too busy (apart from flocks of graduates in robes that bizarrely kept congregating everywhere), everywhere had great sales, the weather was hot but not humid at all, and everywhere I went people had Welsh accents (a girl standing behind me in Schuh exclaimed over a pair of Converse "Oh those are lush!"). It was lovely. I shopped all day Thursday, ate down at a packed Cardiff Bay full of people enjoying the sunshine and workmen turning Roald Dahl Plass into a beach, complete with helter-skelter.



It's going to be a beach for all of August, complete with sand, a water play area, and traditional seaside amusements. I wish I could go back to see it because I think it'll be amazing.

I also saw Pacific Rim on Thursday night which was so delightfully, uncompromisingly ridiculous that I loved every second of it. I think it demands a suspension of disbelief from the very first line and how much you enjoy it depends totally on how far you're willing to simply shrug and roll with it, but if you do it rewards you by being a lot of fun. Even if every time someone said 'jaegar', I couldn't stop myself mentally adding 'meister' onto the end.

Friday was more shopping, and gbk and then an endless six hour trip home which definitely increased my stress levels again but an entire weekend of dedication lounging has fixed that. I'm sad that I have to go back to work tomorrow and that I don't have any more time off until October, but Cardiff remains fabulous. I wish I could win the lottery so I could just buy my penthouse flat on the Bay and stay there.

~

Other Things:

- [livejournal.com profile] jesse_kips is a rockstar and got us tickets to see Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus after Christmas. I want to say how awesome this is but I don't think words that awesome have been invented yet. It's entirely possible one or both of us will end up with restraining orders against us but given the general insanity of Hiddleston's fans we'll probably just blend right in.

Incidentally, that'll make it five times that I've been to the theatre this year. That's pretty good. Next year I'm thinking that I'll aim to make it six.

- Andy Murray won Wimbledon! This made me utterly delighted, (especially since they can now stop repeating that awful interview from 2012 when he was crying too much to speak oh my god BBC seriously, STOP SHOWING IT). I wrote 5000 words of post-final Murray/Djokovic in a fit of inspiration that was killed by work stress and shopping. It's so close to being finished, I should actually just suck it up and do it. Argh.

- In general, writing is going- well, I don't want to say 'not well' but 'distinctly average'. Must try harder.

- The sun came out in Britain about two weeks ago and hasn't gone back in yet. Everyone enjoyed it for about a day and then old people started dropping like flies, doctors started screaming about skin cancer and all the salt marshes on my train ride to work have dried up. Dear Britain, the next person to complain about the rain will be taken out and shot, understood?

- Still haven't won the lottery, despite multiple attempts. Sigh.

- I promised to post about Peter and Alice, didn't I. That's not a question. I know I've failed, even though I have it all written down. It was fantastic and made me cry like a baby, and I think that may be as far as I get in forming coherent thoughts. Sorry. :(

- I had another point, and then I thought of Ben Whishaw and promptly forgot it. Er. It probably wasn't important.

- This is probably it for another two months but I do check LJ every day so if you do want to check I haven't fallen off the face of the planet, leave a comment & I will get it & reply. Keep posting. For all its failings, it makes me sad that LJ is slowly dying. I'll miss it if - when - it finally gives up the ghost (plus I've forgotten my Dreamwidth password again. Typical).
clo_again: (Roger/Mirka - So Hail to the King)
Oh dear, why has LJ made my default font when typing an entry into the posting box, so terrible? Didn't it used to be Verdana or Arial or something you know, that didn't hurt your eyes to read? My browser default font is still Verdana. This is most perplexing and I do not approve. I'm typing on the Rich text option just to make the font readable but I know from experience that I tend to forget and put my own HTML tags in and that confuses it terribly. Hhmm.


What I was originally going to say before LJ perplexed me so: did anyone else find Merlin somewhat pointless tonight? I was really looking forward to it and it started so interestingly with the pre-credits opening, only to fall into boredom. I spent most of the second half reflecting on how much my foot itched and it was frustrating that Casper was sitting on me so I couldn't reach to scratch it, which I suspect indicates the extent to which I was gripped by what was happening onscreen. I can't even be bothered to put a cut in because I have nothing really pressing to say about it that deserves spoiler-cutting. Just, oh Arthur. You are not this much of a prat anymore. Why do they keep feeling the need to hit the reset button every series and wipe out all the common sense you've spent the previous series learning?

I also spent much of the episode protesting that they were pronouncing 'Caerleon' wrong, because I've always pronounced it 'Cai-ar-lee-un' as in 'Caerdydd' (Cardiff in Welsh, which I've always heard pronounced as 'Cai-ar-dyth' as in the second pronounciation here) but a swift Google after it ended proved me wrong: according to this, it is actually pronounced Car-lee-un', similar to how Merlin had it (although Bradley James seemed to insist on saying it "Carleeon" or "Care-leeon" depending how much of a hurry he was in). I like it when Merlin proves that it's smarter than I've given it credit for, though it doesn't happen often.

The weekly shout-out to the slash-fans is getting a bit bizarre at this point though. Once or twice, fine. Every week, a bit odd. Seriously. We get it; y'all read the internets. Could you read the bits of the internets that want more of the knights please? Though at least they got lines this week. Oh wait, I realised something I need to spoiler-cut )

~

What else did I mean to mention (99.9% of my posts seem to be Merlin-related recently; I'm nothing if not obsessive). It was my birthday this last week for which I took two days off from work to have a four day weekend but I spent the day being stalked by a bad mood brought on by idiotic Parcelforce (this is a polite request to all of you: please, never use Parcelforce. They steal and lie and overcharge you, and generally need to be wiped from existence) and not getting a kitten and argh, I don't know. I like to do things on my birthday, go to new places or fun places or exciting places, but this year with work and general lack of money and the parental working on the day, I sat around at home feeling old and sorry for myself. It was a terrible plan. So, next year I'm going to have to do something pretty spectacular to make up for it I think.

But on Friday me and the parental went to Glasgow, somewhere I've heard many good things about re. shopping but I've never got around to going before. The shopping is most certainly excellent and we got lost in the five-floors of Debenhams and I mourned over the beautiful Desigual shop where I couldn't afford anything (£49 for a scarf!) and I braved the busy horror of Primark to stock up on long-sleeved tops which I desperately needed and generally, a good time was had. Not as good as if I'd actually got the kitten I wanted for my birthday but I finally found a pair of boots I liked enough to buy after looking for about five months. Minor victories! I spent a little more money than I should've but I got paid slightly more than I expected and I had birthday money and oh, it's only money. At some point I'll have enough of it to stop worrying about shopping overspends.

In conclusion have a picture of the Duke of Wellington with a traffic cone on his head (and some other things) )

~

I am going back to Tamora Pierce's Mastiff now. It's very good but there's something about it that's making me wonder if she's going to kill off characters I love before the end. Just a feeling. (I hope I'm wrong.)
clo_again: (Monkton - Where are we going?)
So I have Feelings about tonight's Merlin but they mostly take the form of incoherent squeaking sounds of mingled distress and joy, which is rather hard to type up (I liked it. I think. I'm not sure 'like' is the word for "Bradley James' sad!acting is making me want to leave the room so I don't have to watch the heartbreak anymore". It was certainly good, though I think it deserved to be a double parter really).

So instead of my Conflicted Feelings, have two most excellent Merlin-related things to watch!

First, Colin Morgan, Katie McGrath and Eoin Macken (WHO HAS CUT OFF HIS GWAINE HAIR, WHAT. THIS BRINGS MY DISAPPROVAL) were on the RTE Late Late Show yesterday (that's a link because I'm too tired to work out how to embed that vid. I hope it's watchable everywhere. They show up at about 1:11 in; the vid just let me to skip to that point wihout buffering which was...nice). Colin has an adorable cold-voice and Katie is stunning (I love her top so much) while talking about her massive crush on Han Solo, and they jointly mock Eoin for his modelling and ask THE MOST HILARIOUS QUESTION ABOUT ACTION LOL WHAT (I'm watching it as I type this, with pauses to flail madly at the air in joy that the internet exists to bring me these things. Stick around after the Merlin bit too because Tim Minchin sings a special RTE song! \o/ Clearly a GENIUS put together the line-up for this show.)

Eoin also (guiltily) lets slip that he and Rupert (Sir Leon) get to have a proper fight at some point which I can't quite form words of coherence over; I adore Leon and he still slightly gets lumped with the 'expendable' knights despite being there the longest and he needs more action. Especially with other pretty knights. ESPECIALLY. I can't wait for this episode (oh Merlin, why are Saturdays so far apart?)

Second thing to watch is the Gay Times shoot/interview with Rupert (Leon), Tom (Percival) and Eoin, which cuts between them prancing about being shirtless and giggly and exceedingly pretty and the three of them answering questions together in a hilarious bantering testosterone-filled way, with much mockage and Rupert trying to be sensible and Eoin not trying to be sensible at all and just, awesome. Also, I actually have the embed code for it yay!



(I have a shameful confession: after watching this interview, I walked into WH Smith's the next day with every intention of buying the Gay Times magazine. I made it as far as the magazine section, as the right shelf, and I was eyeing the cover admiringly - it dawned on me it was on the top shelf with the porn and I honestly could not bring myself to reach up there and take it to the till. I AM SO ASHAMED OF MY LACK OF COURAGE. AND CARING WHAT IMPRESSION I MAKE ON A CASHIER WHO WON'T EVEN REMEMBER ME. Fail, self. I've had knowing looks from male cashiers while buying chocolate and ibruprofen, which was actually a dumb move since he obviously suspected I was PMSing and should've been wary of being punched in the nose. I went to see the first Pokemon movie when I was in high school and we got laughed at by the ticket guy! Nothing should be embarrassing after that. But apparently, this is. Sigh.

I'm meeting [livejournal.com profile] jesse_kips for what should, it has just occurred to me, be a special joint-birthday dinner in a week so I may drag her along for moral support if the magazine is still there. Dammit, I will own my own shirtless!Knights of Camelot.)

~

And so this isn't just another yet-more-Merlin rambling in an LJ post-post, have some pictures from a walk over the fell today (I had a lot of fun finding interesting mushrooms, most of which I'm sure are massively poisonous but pretty! )

In conclusion: I am very tired now and wishing it wasn't already Sunday. Work is somewhat stressful right now (you have no idea. No, really) and I could do with a three day weekend. Someone, please sort that for me, thanks.

Alternatively, change the two numbers I got on the lottery ticket I hopefully bought today into seven and let me never have to get up to work a Monday morning ever again. This would also be lovely.
clo_again: (Paul McDermott - Help Me!)
Because the parentals are away for the weekend and I can put off loading the dishwasher until SUNDAY if I so feel:


• Post ten of any pictures currently on your hard drive that you think are self-expressive.
• NO CAPTIONS! It must be like we're speaking with images and we have to interpret your visual language just like we have to interpret your words.
• They must ALREADY be on your hard drive - no googling or flickr! They have to have been saved to your folders sometime in the past. They must be something you've saved there because it resonated with you for some reason.
• You do NOT have to answer any questions about any of your pictures if you don't want to. You can make them as mysterious as you like. Or you can explain them away as much as you like.



(This was hard. At first because Harry II doesn't have that many pictures on him yet (I've only been using him for about six months, discounting travel when I took Beaver instead) and I was considering using photos I'd taken which I didn't think was the point, and trying to avoid anything too obvious like stuff I'd posted before or rambled on about or that would have everyone going "...Been there, seen that." Then it was different-hard because I went back to my desktop to look for pictures and there were too many.)

I still don't know which ones I'm going to pick because I've uploaded more than ten possibles. So. Surprise (several v. large pictures under the cut btw)! )
clo_again: (Jeff Hardy - bliss)
Today I discovered the Bog of Eternal Stench, found a pretty cool hot pool that I'm pretty sure I've seen on a David Attenborough program sometime and threw myself off a very tall pole in one of the more terrifying things I've ever done (I missed the trapeze. I was annoyed. But not enough to want to do it again). A minute after that I threw myself off another, taller platform and swung around wildly in mid-air for a few minutes. I actually paid to do these things.

The swing was fun, after the initial drop during which I yowled like a particularly-upset cat. The pole was not fun. It was windy and the guy was yelling up "Just lift your left leg up and stand on top!" and I knew I was attached to ropes and I still did it faster than the two people before me but oh holy crap. I counted to three twice before I could make myself jump.

Why people go bungee jumping is beyond me. Seriously.

I'm now off to see Taupo for an hour or so because I'm only here overnight. It looks really pretty though, and unlike Rotorua I didn't dislike it on sight for no apparent reason. Which, considering the lake (which is apparently bigger than Singapore) is actually a volcano, is odd. Hm.

Anyway. Onwards!
clo_again: (More Rain?)
A picture post for those not on my Facebook or who'd rather check it out here.

So today I went to Hobbiton (rather, a farm near Matamata owned by the Alexander family but really, Hobbiton.

Here be hobbitses precious. Rather rained-on and soggy hobbits... )

After getting back from Hobbiton slightly soggy despite the massive umbrellas they kept on hand for obviously such days, and very excited about The Hobbit film after spending the whole forty minute bus trip talking about it and the fact that they're actually making two films, The Hobbit and then a second film about what happens between Hobbit and Rings, which I did not know and is VERY EXCITING :DDD, I was kind of tired and didn't want to do much. However, the tour bus had come in on a different road than I'd been along before and I'd noticed a park with lots and lots of steam rising from it really close to my hostel. So, since I'm leaving in the morning and I hadn't yet seen any hot springs or boiling mud or anything that Rotorua is supposedly famous for, I stuck on my raincoat and went along.

Now, you have to understand that I find this place entirely batshit. I cannot imagine why anyone would look at boiling mud and think it's sensible to build right next door to it. So I went into the park stepping warily in case of sinkholes and thinking of Centralia which I've found both fascinating and terrifying ever since I first stumbled across it (probably I think, in reference to Silent Hill which used the idea of the town abandoned due to a coal fire. Yes I was thinking of Silent Hill too and twitching considerably even though I haven't even played/seen it). Anywhere that has steam rising from the ground cannot be safe, really. And as I walked around the admittedly impressive park, with steaming ponds and lakes (one complete with ducks), deep holes in the ground from which the sounds of boiling water could be heard or worse, boiling mud, puddles in the path that steamed, a distinctly unpleasant smell and more-than-slightly alarming orange tape around a few areas where apparently the ground had subsided into a sinkhole and they hadn't had time to build a proper solid fence yet... all I could think was 'I'm so freaking glad that I'm leaving here tomorrow.'

I'm not saying it wasn't an impressive park. It's not just everywhere you can wander in and see mud bubbling happily away while clouds of thick steam rise through autumn trees. But what gets me, especially when I stumbled through the steam along a wooden path to find myself on boling mud flats with dead trees and water that would probably burn my fingers off if I touched it, was this place is in the centre of town. There're houses and hostels and shops built all around the edges of this park. From the orange tape, clearly new sinkholes and hot pools open up on occasion.

Who in their right mind would live next to that? I have no idea, same as I have no idea why people would want to stay in Centralia. You couldn't pay me to live here in Rotorua. Seriously.

Have some pictures of why )

I need to pack and book my Uluru trip which I still haven't done, so I can cancel my disappeared card... and all I want to do is watch another episode of Good News Week (the two latest podcasts downloaded today, hurrah!) I'm tired and it's lovely to have the hostel room to myself for a bit so I can watch stuff without headphones. Eh. Maybe one more episode. Then productivity. Probably.

I really enjoyed Hobbiton today. I bought a LoytR location guidebook from the little shop after and it mentions the horse riding stables I'm doing my day's riding with (I need to call them soon and give them card details; must remember!) There's also apparently a superb LotR shop in Queenstown. I might've got a bit excited over that. LotR shop! :DDDD Awesome!

And now productivity. Yes.
clo_again: (Andy/Roger - Your Regard)
Woke up this morning to the news that Roger got married. While it's cute and kind of hilarious how he managed to do it so under the radar (I haven't found a single picture of it yet which considering he's Roger Federer is pretty impressive), suddenly living in a world where Roger's married was a bit like stepping into a cold shower that you thought was hot. You just don't see it coming. The universe really needs to provide advance warning when it's about to shatter the OTP you've cuddled close for almost five years. At least Andy's faffed ridiculously and publicly around for a while with his sounds-like-a-McDonalds-meal Brooklyn.

But. Congratulations Roger! Well done for convincing me so throughly that you were only waiting to retire before you came out, and also for marrying Mirka who is very sweet and cute and probably looked lovely in the dress that there're no public pictures of (not that I'm bitter. Just, there is never enough pictures of Roger in a suit).

Now stop thinking about marriage and babies and get back to playing tennis again because I would really like you to win the French and Wimbledon this year understand? Good. Also, take a golden Easter Egg for the shitstorm that probably broke in every single sports media office across the world when you announced on your website that you'd got married without telling any members of the press, you sneaky bastard. I'm actually kind of proud of you. :D

In Australia News, today we went to the Old Bus Depot Markets which was wonderful and made me wish I had endless money because there were silk scarves and beautiful pictures and jewellery and oh, one day I will go back when I'm rich. Then we went to Borders which looks exactly the same here as it does in the UK except the books are twice as expensive and I had to remind myself I still have two and a half books still to read (I picked up Archer's Goon by Diana Wynne Jones secondhand at the Market and I haven't even started Un Lun Dun yet). Yesterday we did the National Museum which was fabulous, even when there was a fire alarm and we went down to the doors only to find they were locked. Which seems dubious evacuation policy but did give us the opportunity to discuss the best ways of sliding down the very shiny floor we were sitting on to wait. Mattresses, I think was the conclusion.

Tomorrow I'm to be introduced to Koko Black (I went to the one in Melbourne's Royal Arcade but only had tea and was more concerned with being on time to meet [livejournal.com profile] chickybee32 so I wasn't actually paying attention). I've been told it is one of the greatest experiences ever, so it should be fun if I make it out without overdosing on chocolate. Mmmmm. So far I'm enjoying Canberra very much, although I doubt I'd enjoy it without [livejournal.com profile] mayakitten because I would've got entirely lost days ago and probably eaten by cockatoos of which there're many. I love that my Aussie flisters are looking after me in Australia. You're all very awesome. *loves*

AND. Because they finally uploaded, have a few pictures! Had a rethink on just posting them because they were really stupidly big, so just click the links )


So happy Easter everyone! Hope you all had as good a day as I did. :D Eat lots of chocolate!


(Also [livejournal.com profile] chickybee32, you've infected me with Bam!fever. I keep looking at the Viva La Bam DVDs and wanting. You're so very evil, damn you!)
clo_again: (Casper - Curiosity)
There's a very pretty kitty hanging around our back garden right now. Apart from being entirely too demanding for a visitor, she is quite adorable (except for one half-hearted attempt to bite me when I stopped feeding her treats. Just reinforcement for my theory that all cats are gits underneath the pretty face.) Even Casper seems more intent on watching something down the garden than bothering with her and he's usually the first to freak out about visitors.

Because she is very pretty )


I am behind on life right now. I know this. But bedroom is almost sorted, I'm almost organised and I need to start proper job hunting from Monday. Expect much internet procrastinating.
clo_again: (Hustle - WhileYouSleep)
Watching two sets of Scrubs outtakes and then four of the Red Dwarf Smeg Ups one after the other messes with your head. Seriously. I flicked onto Top Gear after and spent ten minutes waiting for Clarkson to start laughing over screwing up. Even when I was telling myself it wasn't outtakes, my brain was still waiting for the catch.

Yeah, my life is totally busy right now. Um. Yes. Which is why I haven't caught up on 'net stuff yet. Really. *laze*

Catching the boat to Penarth tomorrow. If I wake up in time. Hm. Also, I went into Blue Banana today and was so intimidated by the sales people (they looked & dressed like I would look and dress if (a) I looked that good and (b) had enough money to buy the stylish gothy-type clothes and make-up) that I had to buy something, so I bought chrome nail varnish (the only thing I could afford in the damn shop. Though the shoes, oh the shoes. *heartbreak*) It makes me look like I've had my nails coated in silver. Think that scary claw-woman from X-men 2. Yeah. Only more silver.

Interestingly, it doesn't go with any of my remaining clean clothes and I don't have nail polish remover. Then again, the woman in front of me in the Thorntons queue today had bright blue fake nails that were a good two inches long. She couldn't pick up her change with them. So maybe I'll survive.

To round off, have some random Cardiff pictures )

And now I'm totally going to bed. -_-

edit: Except, I stopped to watch the video of me and John Barrowman just posted by [livejournal.com profile] dukedee (scroll down to the last one).

I'm torn between being amused and mortified that my first thought after meeting John Barrowman was "LIVEJOURNAL. MUST HAVE PROOF FOR LIVEJOURNAL." ^_^
clo_again: (Snow)
So I did go for a walk. It was fun; all quiet and pretty and I drew smiley faces on the cars. ;-) Then I came back and, just to prove there is nothing stupid I will not do for snow, built a snowman. In the dark. At gone midnight.

Immortalised here because no doubt he'll be gone tomorrow )

Tired now. ^_^
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