Wednesday, 31 October 2012

bookworm; 2

I borrowed this book from Justin's Dad, on recommendation. He's a bit obsessed with Iceland (not dissimilar to my obsession with Sweden!) and he knows I like a good crime thriller.

This, however, was an average crime thriller. It started out really well, with an interesting introduction and relatively good character development. The first 100 or so pages were moving at a good pace and I'm interested and then I'm not sure what happened...

I would describe the beginning as the best, the middle as too stretched out and wordy and unnecessary and the end as unsatisfying. 

I think I managed identify the problem though. This novel was originally written in Icelandic and I think that whenever you translate something, you lose some of the original meaning. I also think that the style of language used and the pacing of the novel are perhaps more culturally apt and appealing to Icelandic people. To me, a lot of it seemed to waffle on and really didn't contribute to my understanding of the characters or the plot.

That all being said, it was an interesting novel. The Icelandic town names and character names were fun, and I did learn a little about Icelandic culture. The plot itself was relatively unique but...

The end was so unsatisfying! Things were resolved, you could say, but I just felt like I didn't really understand the characters or any of their motivations. That's frustrating because crime thrillers, in my opinion, should really be about the psychology of why something has occurred. Do you agree or do you think that's asking a bit much and it should just be about solving a crime?

So what's the verdict I hear you all asking?

Overall: 2/5

I would say that I probably would not recommend this book, unless I discover a sequel (which there doesn't appear to be!) It just ended without giving me closure! If there was a sequel, perhaps my questions would be answered although I doubt it. Either way, you could probably give this one a miss - unless you're specifically interested in Icelandic crime investigation. That being said...

What is your favourite type of genre to read? Why?

Monday, 29 October 2012

weekly round-up 16;

Last Wednesday night I went to a "wine and beer" dinner with Justin's family. The general gist is that there are four courses and each course comes with an accompanying wine and an accompanying beer. You get to hear a little about each wine and beer and why it was selected to go with the meal, which was really fascinating. After you've tried them both with the course, you get to vote as a table which one you thought went the best. It was really fun and delicious! 


This was written on a chalk wall in the restaurant. I was very impressed and had a good old chuckle. That was pre-intoxication... Yes, I chuckle whilst sober.

So now the fun part of the week is out of the way, we move onto the most stressful/exciting thing that has EVER happened to me. I'm flat-out lying right now but go with it. 

So I looked at Beastie (my car) the other day and realised how ugly and dirty she was looking. Bit disgraceful, seeing as when I stumble out of her, I always just look amazing. Beastie is more of a "hot mess", if you will. After work yesterday I had no energy to wash her and complained about this to Mum, who suggested I put her through a carwash.

A carwash? A carwash?! 
... 
Genius.

I've never put Beastie through a carwash. The last time I was in a car that was in a carwash was over 10 years ago and that was Mum's car and I was 10. If you know me, I think you could gather how excited I was by this idea. I promptly jumped in my car and sped to the carwash. 

The man at the petrol station did not share my enthusiasm for the carwash by the way... Our conversation went something like this:

Me: HI! How much for a carwash?? :D
Him: ... *points to a sign behind him* 
Me: Oooo! Hmm, I'll have an "Express Wash" please!!
(Don't worry, I didn't do the air-quotation marks... Although I was tempted!)
Him: ... *hand out for the money* ... *hands me the ticket*
Me: THANK YOU SO MUCH! 

And then... It begins. I was so nervous I needed to poop. Waiting for the car before me to finish was one of the most nerve-wracking experiences ever. I don't even know why - I knew exactly what was about to happen.

And now, I will let the pictures do the talking... 





Have you recently had a "first time" experience? 
Or, you know, do you get as excited by the carwash as I do?

Thursday, 25 October 2012

big things!

beware of big things, such as giant flowers

The end of this year looks to be pretty massive. In roughly 5 or so weeks time, Justin's sister-in-law will be popping out a little bambino and in just under 8 weeks, I'll be jet-setting half way around the world for a trip to Europe.

They, my friends, are BIG things.

As a rule of thumb, I like to pretend that I handle everything in life really well. Nothing could be further from the truth. I handle pretty much everything really poorly. I'm always far too emotional for any situation - whether that's extreme happiness or extreme sadness, either way, I'm the person sitting in the corner crying because "It's too much!" or "I'm so happy right now!"

But these big things are good big things. I'm excited to be an unofficial Aunt. I'm excited to see this little baby be a baby and then grow and learn. I haven't really spent much (read: any) time around small people before and so the thought of nappies and spit up actually secretly excites me. I want to experience being around a little baby and experience growth in such a noticeable way. 

I'm also excited to visit Europe. I've never been before and those 6 weeks are going to open my eyes and my heart and I am so ready for that. I want to experience life in a completely different way. I want to be the one who grows and learns.

I'm prepared to be completely overwhelmed with emotions because that's who I am. I sincerely hope that I'm overcome with extreme happiness and no sadness, but knowing myself, something is going to upset me and I will end up bawling half way through a transatlantic flight. I do not envy those travelling with me I tell ya.

I feel that the end of this year, and the start of the next year, is going to mark a significant time in my life. I can just feel that who I am will shift incredibly and I sincerely hope that my mind and my heart change for the better. 

And now, to lighten things back up again, I leave you with...

I know you can be overwhelmed and I know you can be underwhelmed... But can you ever just be... whelmed? 

What movie does that come from my friends? 

If you can guess then you really should be my mini-me! Speaking of which, you don't have long left to enter the world's greatest giveaway - go go go!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

cirque.

{Have you entered my giveaway? You're going to want to!}

Firstly, a big hello to all of my new followers! Tis lovely to have you around :-) Secondly (even though I've already mentioned it and ruined the order of these two sentences) I'm hosting a giveaway on Mish Lovin' Life's blog and you have the chance to win Tim Tams. That's all I'm saying...

A couple of months ago, it was Justin's 21st. Now, me being the brilliant girlfriend I am, had no idea what to get him. In my defence, he has everything. So, you know, not my fault.

I was talking to a friend of mine and she said she has the same problem, so now she just buys her boyfriend "experience" gifts. The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. It's stuff you might not necessarily think to organise yourself but you generally always enjoy the experience and it's usually pretty unique. 

I went for Cirque du Soliel - Ovo
Better than socks huh babe?

When I went to book tickets though, everything was basically sold out. Thus, why we went last Wednesday - two months after his actual birthday. That's how crazy it was! 

I am definitely glad I didn't get put off by that though. It was the most amazing experience! I have never seen anything like it! It definitely made me want to run away with the circus. Think I need to work my on flexibility a bit though... Eep!

I couldn't snag any actual photos of the performance because that stuff is prohibited and fair enough. I imagine camera flashes are pretty dangerous if you're attempting some crazy-ass acrobatic stunt metres in the air. Fair call guys, fair call. I did of course get some photos to mark the event. Couldn't call myself a blogger if I didn't!

For the locals, it was at Moore Park and relatively easy to get to. We hit some traffic driving in but you can bus or train it (oh, and parking was like $7 - boo.yah.) Check and see if there are any tickets going for the remaining shows (I went through Ticketek)! It's worth it my friends. 

It means 'egg' in Latin ;)

I made him do this photo. He still loved it.

Under the Big Top...
Happy 21st birthday to the loveliest of boyfriends - I think the sun shines out of your bum and will continue to think this for many years to come :-)
(I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!)

Have you been to Cirque? Any other good "experience" gifts you can recommend?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Monday, 22 October 2012

weekly round-up 15.

Last week was really busy but I didn't even notice!

I discovered last week that I've nearly blown my phone Internet usage for this month already and I have ages until it refreshes. Thus, no photos. How does that equal no photos? Well I couldn't have my phone Internet on when I was out so I couldn't get inspiration from Instagram and felt no desire to take photos. Maybe also because I forgot. I did get a couple though...


 * I housesat for Justin's brother and his fiancee on the weekend and they got me flowers to say thanks. I'll admit, it was pretty hard to sit in a freshly painted unit and watch Gilmore Girls whilst burning a nice smelly candle. Life is hard...



*
For Justin's 21st we went to Cirque du Soliel on Wednesday night. There's a post coming up about it this week!

Other things that happened...

* We went to a really nice dinner on Monday night at Glass restaurant. The theme for the night was Peruvian and it was delish. The waiters came to know me as "Jasmine-no-seafood" which was somewhat embarrassing but it also meant that the seafood dishes were replaced with delicious vinegary bean dishes. I died.

* I got my hair did and now I feel pretty and witty and gay! I'll show you that one when it's less poofy, more... flat?

* Oh, and part of the housesitting involved letting in delivery guys who came bearing a fridge and a washing machine. They said they were coming at 7am. They came at 6.40am. To say that I was unprepared is an understatement... The flip side of this is that I sort of, somewhat, not really helped get the fridge set up. I'm a regular handyman. Just call me Handy Jazz. 

Don't do that. 

What did you guys do this past week? Anyone else had delivery guys arrive waaaaay earlier than is acceptable?

Friday, 19 October 2012

baby shower.

A couple of weekends ago, my (future -- *ahem* Justin?) sister-in-law had her baby shower. She is due in early December and I am pretty excited. I didn't think I would be, to be honest, because I don't know how to interact with babies. Over the months, however, I've really warmed to the idea and practiced talking to little bambinos.

That's right. I now actually attempt to interact with small people and I actually find them relatively cute. I'm a changed person.

There were a lot of people at the baby shower but it was a really lovely day. We played the chocolate-in-the-nappy game, unscramble the baby words and pin the sperm on the egg in the uterus games (one of the more obscure baby shower games..) I had a really lovely time and am so excited to meet the little guy! 

Also, if you could arrive on December 12th and weigh 3.1kgs, I'd appreciate it little buddy and I could win that baby shower game! ;)

Can we all just take a minute to appreciate these cupcakes?!

 Little buddy's gift from his two Aunties. We love you little man! And your dog.. I regret not keeping that dog for myself.

Oh hey little monkey just sitting on the cake. You da boss and you know it!
P.S - I'm super excited to see a breast pump in action -- is that weird? I also want to try breast milk... I'm going to get in so much trouble for saying that, ha! 

Has anyone tried breast milk?! What does it taste like?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

weekly round-up 14.

** Note: I wrote this post this morning. All was well. Then I parked over a driveway at the train station because I was running late and got a $100 parking fine. But you know what, still a good day! Plus, my first ever fine ;) I'm excited!

Aw hey der!

That wasn't another language, that was just me saying hi all crazay and stuff. 

So I'm still recovering from my sickness. Does anyone else feel when they're sick that their head is really heavy and your neck gets tired from trying to keep it upright? I get that a lot. I always say I feel like one of those old roly poly dolls that used to have foam in their bodies and really heavy heads then you pushed them and they just keep doing roly polys. 

Are you guys still reading at this point..?

That's how I feel anyway. You could push me over right now and I'd just keep on rolling, head first. I actually probably wouldn't be averse to that happening because it kind of sounds fun?

I worked quite a bit this week and had a fair few university assessments to hand in. I had a serious emotional breakdown last Monday. I'm talking sitting in the shower crying type of breakdown. It wasn't pretty. And it was a bit cold now I come to think of it. Thankfully that was my low point and things only got better from there.

I haven't been keeping up with the Photo a Day challenge this month. I'm quite sad about that really! I enjoy having prompts -- I respond well to instruction and guidelines that give you room to interpret and be creative. That's actually really important to me -- in all things, I like guides that allow you to use your head and respond in a way that still requires critical thinking and allows you to be creative. 

BAM. Monday morning self-reflection.

You just want the photos don't you? Sigh, here you go my little minions - enjoy!

On Saturday night we attended a murder mystery party! It was set in Casablanca in the 1940s. Justin's character was an American cafe owner, my character was a Russian aristocrat and Jack's character, featured below, was a Gestapo officer! It was a really fun night filled with ridiculous accents and false accusations ;)


We also went to a glitter themed party -- thus Justin's glittery bow tie (which he made himself!) // I also decided to be a little American this week and went all out with the colours. This was also conveniently what I wore to work..


I saw this blender and got upset because I really want it :( soup AND smoothies. Plus, it's a beast. // This table is an IKEA table. And I put it together. That's right, me. Very happy with that!

 
A couple of snaps from my poor attempt at Photo a Day October. I'm inconsistent this month guys :(


What have you been upto this past week or two? What's the haps kids? The 411?
Disclaimer: Jack is not really a Nazi and doesn't participate in any activities that support Nazism. Please no one be offended by the photo -- it was a costume for a themed party where it was required he dress as a Gestapo officer. I love all people in the world equally. So does Jack. 

Friday, 12 October 2012

g'day mate!

One of my favourite things to witness is people from all over the world attempting to do an Australian accent. 99% of people just get it so, so wrong. But thanks to the media there are a few Australian stereotypes, that whilst funny, should not be taken seriously on a global scale.

First of all, no one sounds like Crocodile Dundee. Except Crocodile Dundee and one or two farmers in really, really, REALLY rural Australia. Oh and Fosters beer? Yeah no one here likes or drinks Fosters. If you're really going to pick a beer that is Australian, go with VB. But Fosters?! Just no.

{source}

It's funny how we don't ride kangaroos to school. You might think this is a bit extreme but we had an English exchange student come to my high school many moons ago and she said that she was genuinely surprised we didn't. Really..? As a side note, kangaroos are really massive, scary and relatively vicious. They don't just hop down the road!

There are a few stereotypes that we definitely do indulge in and I love it when foreigners pick on us about those. Our ability to shorten every name, the way we inflect at the end of every sentence and the way we just casually don't pronounce g's or r's at the end of words? That stuff is brilliant.

But please know, we do not ride kangaroos around, not everyone likes Vegemite and it's kind of weird to say 'Aw g'day mate!' 

If you had to imitate an Australian, what is your go-to impression? Do you fellow Australians out there notice our little quirks?

Friday, 5 October 2012

bookworm; 1


Third Strike - Zoe Sharp

I'm aware I've done other book reviews, but I want them all in a section and I need something to keep motivated. Thus, the 'bookworm' series.

I picked this book up for a couple of dollars from Woolworths. It was just sitting in one of those clearance bins placed strategically near the counter for people such as myself. 

I'm quite partial to thriller novels. Not thriller movies - just thriller novels. It's the music in those movies that always makes me poop my pants. Action thriller novels and crime novels are probably my favourite genre to read, even though I'm a big scaredy cat at heart and am paranoid for days after reading them.

For the price I paid of this book, it matched the value I got out of it. It was a really, really easy read surprisingly (seeing as it's 400+ pages long!) This book is apparently the third book in the 'Charlie Fox Thriller Series' by this author but that didn't really hinder my understanding of what was going on (I haven't read the first two and had never even heard of this author prior to this book). I drew a couple of blanks about references to the past that kind of went straight over my head but you can piece together what happened. 

I don't really understand how it's 400 pages though. There seems to be a LOT going on and you could have written more but 400+ pages for a novel is massive and way too daunting. It flowed relatively quickly and with ease but I was a bit disappointed by all of the family drama. It had enough action to keep me all excited, but the amount of domestic drama far outweighed actual thriller suspense. 

If you're new to the genre, read this book (if you can find it for dirt cheap). It's easy to read and you really do fly through it; it has enough action to keep you nervous but not enough that you're overwhelmed by it all and it deals with family themes that I think most people could probably relate to, if not understand, relatively well.

If you're a seasoned crime thriller vet, you could probably skip this book. I'd say, if you come across it in a library, borrow it. But maybe don't add it to your collection?

I'd just like to issue one or two warnings. Sexual intercourse with underage persons gets a mention in this book (don't worry, it doesn't actually occur) but themes such as gang rape are actually mentioned and from what I gather, the protagonist was a victim of this crime in a previous novel. There are no graphic details of any of these events but they do get a mention, so if you're uncomfortable around these topics, bear that in mind.

Overall: 3/5

P.S - If you've decided you'd like to read this book, first person to ask for it will get my copy posted to them :-)