Saturday, 31 March 2007

16 weeks to go

OK, so actually thats ages, but we went to our local Waterstones today to check if they were doing a midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and they are, so we pre-ordered our copies. Thats right, copies. There are only 2 of us, but we have to get 2 copies so we can read it at the same time - this will be the third release we've done it for.

The first time, for Order of the Phoenix, we also had our first big boxes of Krispy Kremes, because the Penrith one had just opened - junk food is definitely an integral part of the first read, because you don't have to go to any effort, or more importantly time away from the book, preparing it. That book was massive and I ended up having to get some sleep about two-thirds of the way through, but Graeme read it straight through and then slept, before proceeding to dance around me while I finished so we could talk about it.

Both times, we just got them from the massive piles in Target at 9am (when it is released in Australia), then gave our second copy to my family because they weren't quite as eager as we were. This time, Graeme decided he wanted to get the adult cover, so we're getting one of each and will probably end up keeping both :)

So, if anyone else is in London, we'll be at Waterstones on Chiswick High Road on the evening of 20 July, eagerly awaiting the 21st.

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10000 photos

My camera's photo numbering system uses the date and a 4 digit sequential number to name the photos. On Wednesday night, the 4 digits had to start back at 0001, meaning we have taken over 10000 photos with our Olympus D-SLR, which we bought in July 2005. The 10000th photo wasn't very interesting though, because we were experimenting with the new lens add-ons we just bought so nothing was in focus. This is the 10001st photo, still not anything spectacular, just playing with the macro lens in our living room, but I thought I'd share it.


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HP Friday 5 - Which would you choose, and why?

I totally overthink these questions, but nevermind, here are my answers...

1. Perform unblockable Legilimency for 5 minutes on Snape, Dumbledore, or Voldemort?
I kinda have a problem with this - invading someone's mind without them having the ability to even try to fight back - not very fair and definitely something I wouldn't want to happen to me... Based purely on the opportunity to learn more about the character's history and their motivations, I think I would choose Dumbledore, because there is still so much we don't know about him and I think some stuff about the other 2 would give me nightmares.

2. Be a dinner guest at the Malfoy Manor or The Burrow?
The Burrow for sure. Malfoy Manor might be cool to look around, but I would much rather share a meal with the Weasleys. It would be totally fun (and probably an awesome meal) no matter who was there, but even moreso if the whole family was.

3. Spend the night in the Shrieking Shack or the Chamber of Secrets?
Are we talking before or after their associated plotlines are concluded? Actually, I don't think it matters - my choice would probably be the Chamber of Secrets either way. Its big and ancient and the basilisk would only get you if someone was there to tell it too. Plus, I could get some amazing photos. The Shrieking Shack is just a decrepit old house with risk of werewolf...

4. Attend a Deathday Party or a meeting of the Slug Club?
Slug Club for the edible food, warmth and lack of terrible music. But I would insist on going with Ginny so we could laugh at everyone.

5. Visit the Three Broomsticks or The Leaky Cauldron?
As a stand alone place, the Three Broomsticks is more appealing, for its warmth and butterbeer, but then The Leaky Cauldron is attached to Diagon Alley, which would be more fun than Hogsmeade, I reckon. Oh, but then Hogsmeade is in Scotland and I LOVE Scotland (and am a bit over London). So yeah, basically I can't decide. At a push, I'd probably choose the Three Broomsticks.

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Thursday, 29 March 2007


The cover art for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been released - exciting and intriguing.

I like that Hermione has finally made it onto a cover and that it looks cool without really giving anything away. The appearance of the stag intrigues me and that is clearly Hogwarts on the back there... You can go to mugglenet or somewhere if you want to see the other covers (adult version and US one)

Oh, if you haven't read the other books, you may not want to read the blurb - I don't think it would really spoil anything, but you never know...

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Saturday, 24 March 2007

HP Friday 5

1. Do you think Dumbledore, ultimately, did the right thing by leaving Harry with the Dursleys when he was a baby?
Well, yes, because he needed the whole blood protection thing to work so Harry would actually stay alive, right? Sure, the Dursleys are an excellent example of biggest jerks on the planet, but Harry survived and probably came out of the whole experience a much stronger kid than if he had been pampered his whole life.
2. What minor, non-Voldemort-related plot would you most like to see revisited?
Following on from Q1, I will be very disappointed if we don't find out more about Harry's family and why it is that the Dursleys are the only ones he has left.
3. Which character do you think would be most likely to betray others in their organisation (be it the Order, the DA, or even the Death Eaters)?
Other than Snape? Someone like Mundungus who's only in it for themselves, or maybe a Malfoy, now that their family is in total chaos.
4. Will the climax of book 7 be an epic battle? If not, then what?
I have NO idea. And whatever I say will be wrong for sure. Obviously Voldemort has to be defeated, but how exactly that will happen is basically the biggest mystery remaining, so I'm not going to even guess.
5. Will you be there for the release of book 7 at midnight?
YES! I'm quite excited about this, because its never been an option before (since the books get released at 9am in Australia). Although we haven't decided where yet (we live in London, but have even considered the trek to Edinburgh), so if anyone has any great suggestions, please let me know.

Oh, and just FYI - I wrote most of that while watching Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) on The Jonathon Ross Show

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Blue Man Group: take 2

Yeah, we're now such theatre-goers that we're actually starting to see shows for a second time...
We first went to this show in May last year and loved it (here's what I said then) so when Graeme got the opportunity to get those coveted £5 tickets we have come to love, we decided we may as well go again. Funny, that sounds so blase - yeah, we figured we may as well go to another west end performance - lol.
It was almost as good the second time around, too. The show was virtually identical, so obviously there was very little surprise involved, but it was still fun, and we still ended up in a heap of laughter, so I reckon it was worth it.

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Thursday, 22 March 2007


so, i didn't actually end up doing the day in the life thing. i started to, but my day was even more boring than usual, so there is no exciting results to share. i did, however, take a self-portrait (since we are up to k on the alphabet shoot challenge and i had no better idea than k=kate...)


i set up my tripod in the living room, used the rug as my background and took a bunch of photos. then i made graeme choose the best :)
notice i have a fringe at the moment? i got frustrated with the length and just chopped it - it ended up shorter than i'd planned, but i kinda like it (once i got over the fact that i haven't had a fringe like this since the early 90s)

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Wednesday, 21 March 2007

The DaVinci Code

I just realised I never wrote what I thought about this.

OK, so Graeme read the book ages ago, in the very early stages of all the hype. I thought the guy who wrote it sounded like a wanker, and as I do when I am offended by someone or something, I tend to ignore whatever it is they are doing and getting attention for. Not that I was offended by what he had written (I had, after all, never read it and had no right to speak to that [which leads to a tangential rant about those people who criticise Harry Potter without reading it, but I'll let that go, for now]) I was just offended by the instant mass appeal this guy had and how he claimed to be revealing the truth - dude, its a work of fiction and from what I had heard about the plot, it illicited from me a big so-what?

And then the movie came out and I was still rebelling against it. Sometimes, when you don't partake in an element of popular culture, you get stubborn about never participating (right, Sharon and everyone else who has never seen Titanic?). Then it came out on DVD and Graeme, of course, bought it, having not seen it yet because I refused to go to the cinema with him to see it.

So when I decided to do 101 things in 1001 days and added the "Australia's Favourite Books" list to my things to do, I was kinda annoyed that The Da Vinci Code was on it (and especially because it was so high up, but then that was probably because of when the list was made) because it meant I would finally have to read the thing. Usually, I prefer to read the book before I see the film, but Graeme really wanted to watch it, so we watched it a couple weeks ago. The film was OK - enough suspense, didn't spoil the twist early or anything, but nothing very memorable. So the next day I figured I may as well get the book over and done with too, figuring it would be a pretty quick read since I already knew the plot. I actually thought the book was better (as usual) because it took them longer to solve the puzzles and whatnot. It was paced well and kept you guessing, but in the end, it didn't create a massive reaction in me - just more so what? I'm not having a crisis of faith over the contents of a fictional work.

If you're worried about spoilers, I suggest you stop reading here

And anyway, so what if Jesus was married and/or had children? Does that really change who he was or what he did? And so what if the Catholic Church have been trying to hide it for forever - I don't care, because they are whack anyway. Although, I guess I can see why people IN the Catholic Church got a bit pissy, with claims they have been trying for centuries to murder a bunch of people. But again, just because the guy CLAIMED it was based on fact and such, doesn't mean it was.

I'm sure other people have written similar reviews to this, but I'll probably never read them, because it just doesn't affect my life that much.

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I don't think I actually have anything interesting to say, I just felt the need to post. So, here's some random thoughts from the mind of me:

  • I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books in anticipation of the release of book 7 (4 months and like 6 hours away - yay - still trying to decide where we want to be for the midnight party). I'm trying to follow a schedule I found online and pretty much failing miserably. related to that...
  • I achieve much less when I have more time on my hands. I'm not working at the moment, so you'd think all the things I want to do would get done, right? nope. I think the lack of any time pressure allows me to spend way too much time doing not much of anything, like spending stupid amounts of time online.
  • I have a growing flickr addiction. There's so much cool stuff there when you explore. But I am learning things too - about photography, image manipulation, cool software - so I guess thats good.
  • My attempts to get some work took a huge leap forward today - looks like I'll be doing some supply/casual teaching pretty soon. In regards to points 1&2, this probably means I'll at least get more reading done - not much else to do at lunchtime when you don't know anyone.
  • I miss having friends. Well, I miss having friends I can acually talk to face-to-face on a somewhat regular basis. Its mostly my fault - I haven't made any effort to go out and meet new people. Yet, sometimes I wonder if there's any point making new friends when I'll just be moving back to Australia - I don't want to miss people again after I move back home.
  • I considered doing a more low-skilled job or something just for the opportunity to meet people to hang out with, but I just can't justify the crappy pay compared to what I can earn for a few days a week of teaching.
  • We went back to the Tower of London on Saturday, then to a place near Graeme's work for Dutch Pancakes and then to the British Museum. We decided to make a more conscious effort to do something at least every other weekend. So, over the next couple of months we plan to go to the Tate Modern to ride the giant slides; visit Thorpe Park one last time before our passes run out; go to Monkey World (featured on Animal Planet show Monkey Business), explore south-west England while we're there; see the baby elephant at Whipsnade (like Western Plains is to Taronga, Whipsnade is to London Zoo); go to Amsterdam and see lots of tulips; and try to book a longer holiday in continental Europe. Thats why I need to work :)
  • Tomorrow, I plan to do A Day In the Life Of me. Basically you take a whole bunch of pictures showing what your day is like. There's a group on flickr (told you I was addicted) where everyone does it on the same day. Not sure how interesting mine will be, as I think I have already established that I'm not doing much lately - although maybe it will motivate me to do something so I have something to photograph...
Oh, and it's my sister's birthday today (well, technically it has already passed in Australia, but whatever), so:
Happy Birthday Elizabeth!!!

Wow, that was much longer than I expected it to be...

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Friday, 16 March 2007

HP Friday 5

1. Which character evolution has been your favorite to read, and why?
Harry's obviously, because that is the focus of the books, but I also love the way Neville has come/is coming into his own, from the kid who lets Hermione boss him around to the Neville at the end of book 6 - wow.
2. When Harry was originally sorted, the Sorting Hat told him he'd make a good Slytherin. How do you think Snape would have treated Harry had he been sorted into his own house?
See, I have trouble with questions like this, because I am very much of the mind that the story doesn't work unless he is sorted into Gryffindor.
But, ok, since you asked, from a purely hypothetical situation, imagining these are real people and their fate wasn't determined by the writing of a series of books... I think Snape would've been more cautious of Harry (rumours that Harry was going to be the next dark wizard, anyone?), but I don't think he'd have been any nicer. Wouldn't have docked so many house points though, thats for sure.
3. Do you give any creedence to the "McGonagall is a spy" theory? Why or why not?
Nope, none. I think this is one of those theories developed by people who have way too much time on their hands and are reading into things that just aren't there. I mean, I get the idea of Snape being a constant red herring to throw you off, but McGonagall? Pfffffft
4. Which character do you get a sense is JK Rowling's favorite? Why?
Other than Harry, who she has to love to write about him for so long (you know, besides the fact she's said as much), I think she loves writing a lot of the characters, but especially the other two members of the trio... and their blossoming romance :)
5. We all know that the last word of Book 7 is "scar." Write what you'd love to see as the last sentence, and make sure to include "scar" as the final word!
oh, this is so hard. everything i can think of is really lame/corny.
i wanna say something along the lines of:
Harry had a constant reminder of those he had loved and lost, whenever he caught a glimpse of his reflection and saw that scar.
but less lame

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Thursday, 15 March 2007

more flickr fun

If you click here you will get to a map of the world. On that map, will be the location of many of the photos on my flickr account (I don't put the ones I took at home on there for fairly obvious reasons). I plan to upload my best photo or two from all the places we've been so that my map will be covered in pink dots. At the moment, its not too exciting. Although if you do go play with it, I offer 2 pieces of advice:
1. zoom right in there - i've tried to place the photos as close as possible to exactly where they were taken.
2. be warned that it sometimes has a meltdown and can take a little while to load...

have fun.

eta (thats edited to add, not estimated time of arrival): to preserve people's privacy, I am choosing choice spots nearby to place photos. for example, the photos i took at sharon's over christmas have been placed at the intersection of the M4 and the Nepean River. if you think this is still too revealing, let me know and i'll take them off the map

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Monday, 12 March 2007

HP Friday 5

OK, so its Monday... and this is actually an older set of questions... because, well, I'm lazy and some of the questions get too spoiler-ish for me to post here.

1. Pick your favourite subject back at school - what do you suppose is its magical subject counterpart? I liked all the creative subjects in school (no surprise there) and I'm not sure they have a magical counterpart - maybe Divination, because its all about making junk up :)

2. Would you rather be a Pure-blood or a Half-blood? Why? I think the point of the books is supposed to be that it doesn't actually matter - like race, so I don't really care. If I was a pure-blood though, I'd hope to be part of a Weasley-type family rather than a Malfoy one.

3. What job would you ideally have in the wizarding world? This took me awhile, but then I figured it out. One of my "dream jobs" that would be EVEN better in the wizarding world - photographer. All that puff of smoke stuff and the moving pictures - awesome. Or, the person who paints the moving/talking portraits. Yeah. I'm sure most people say some job in the Ministry or something, but we all know the Ministry are Morons.

4. Given the opportunity, would you ever use a love potion? No.

5. Have you ever named a pet/child/inanimate object after a Potter character? Well, I often refer to my iPod as Harry, mainly because I use it to listen to the audiobooks quite a lot. Other than that... not yet. I do say a lot how I want a puppy named Sirius, or a rat named Scabbers, or how we could named our kids Seamus or Hermione or any other random HP name that I decide I like... Maybe they'll get HP middle names :)

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Friday, 9 March 2007


One of the things on my 101 in 1001 list was to see a show on Broadway. You can read about our adventures in New York on our website - I'm just going to talk about the show.

As we approached the tkts booth in Times Square, we discovered we had quite a few options of what to see that night. We whittled our choices down to two which we were both happy with. Graeme's first choice, believe it or not, was Beauty and the Beast (primarily because its run in New York finally comes to an end later this year), which I'm sure would've been great, but I was pushing for Rent, since we were in New York and it is about New York. Plus, as much as I love theatre and film, I had never really been exposed to it and I thought our first broadway show should be a completely new experience (I have, after all, seen Beauty and the Beast on film several times, as well as knowing all the words to the soundtrack). I'd pretty much already succeeded in convincing him, but I think, in the end, we finally decided on Rent because it was cheaper - lol.

I really should've written this review much earlier, because I am having trouble recalling details. So, I'm going to resort to bullet points, just so I can get all the things I thought down, without having to worry about coherent sentences...

  • Playbills are awesome. In London, the only way to get a cast list is to buy a programme. And then, of course, I have to also have the big souvenir one with the full-colour pictures. This usually sets us back at least 10 quid. In New York, they give you the proper programme with the cast and crew bios and everything. They even gave us a little bit of paper with that nights precise cast (because there was some understudying going on). Of course, I still bought the big souvenir one - it came with a free drawstring bag/backpack.
  • The show was very 90s. I know thats when it was written and set and stuff. It seemed (although I'd have to do more research t be sure, and that ain't happening) that they'd made some attempt to update it, but I could be wrong. Either way, it didn't feel dated, where it could have.
  • We both recognised more songs than we thought we would. I spent all of the next day singing them :)
I really can't think of anything more specific to say. And besides, I'm starting to worry that what I am saying may not make sense (its 1.30am here) so I'm going to leave it by saying that I loved it, thought it was awesome and am glad to have seen it on Broadway.

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The Lady from Dubuque

On Tuesday night, we went once again to the theatre on the West End. I have to say, this whole west end thing is one of the few parts of living in London that I will miss when we move home. Anyway, we got the tickets through Graeme's work, as usual. Usually, unless it's for a show he knows we both want to see, he checks with me before he asks for tickets. This time, however, he didn't ask - the sole reason being Maggie Smith. Yes, THE Dame Maggie Smith is playing the title role in this limited season of a play I'd, admittedly, never heard of. No matter what the play, you don't pass up an opportunity to see Maggie Smith live on stage, do you?

Actually, the play was really good. A bit strange, but then the guy who wrote it is considered a pioneer of American absurdism. Plus, I like when we can walk out of the theatre and have a discussion about what it was supposed to mean. And Maggie Smith? She and Peter Francis James, as Oscar, totally stole the show.

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Thursday, 1 March 2007

a quick update...

...just to let you know i am still here and am aware i have a lot of things to tell you about still (like my progress on my 101 list and reviewing a heap of shows/films), but on top of the jetlag i got sick and now, it seems i am already getting some hayfever (which until last spring i never realised could be so bad), so my days have felt very short and unproductive.

the one thing i can say will probably continue to be updated regularly is my flickr, even if its only one photo every other day, because i am participating in a challenge/competition to take photos inspired by every letter of the alphabet.

sorry its not more exciting news...

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