August 17, 2012

Pastaholic on holiday.

I could tell you the story of how I got really annoyed with my ex this morning and consequently unfriended him this time. But I already had a nice gossip with my friend about it and Vacation Me is nudging me in the side, telling me to let it go and come out to play. To my big surprise I want to oblige.
My bag is pretty much packed, the list of last minute things to buy is small, all errands are ran, the Kindle is full, and the pastaholic in me is getting very excited for all the couscous I will be getting soon. I have nothing left to do but some leisurely yoga, a final dinner with my friend Kate, and one more sleep. After this there will be silence from me till September as I shall be in Morocco and the Airbook will not. I heard camels and Airbooks are no fans of each other. Unfortunately I’m also not organized enough these days to schedule posts while I’m gone so you will have to do without me for a little bit.
Before I go I quickly wanted to pad myself on the shoulder as this is the 250th post I have written. Whoop whoop. Yesterday I read the 1st and 100th post again and it made me smile – check it out! For number 250 I will leave you with a goodbye, a see you soon, and a bit of Dr. Seuss, which I love:



August 15, 2012

Vacation Me.

I need a holiday. There I said it. No, I am not overworked or overly stressed, I just need to get away from my life for a bit. I need to morph into this wondrous person that I call Vacation Me. This person is different. This person is everything I am usually not – friendly and patient and not easily annoyed. Mind you the time I spend on the phone with call centres or reading about religious anti-gay fanatics online is limited when I am on vacation so that helps to make Vacation Me appear, but even if… as Vacation Me I am gracious and compassionate and as long I have something to read I don’t even mind flight delays. Vacation Me likes little plane pillows and eye masks, movies on tiny screens and wine in tiny bottles, and yes, even airplane food! Vacation Me doesn’t mind being tired and jetlagged when dragging a too heavy suitcase into scorching temperatures while still wearing travel winter clothes. Vacation Me doesn’t even mind traffic and hooting while in a taxi driving through a new city. Vacation Me smiles a lot and asks a lot and listens a lot more. Vacation Me seems to be a better version of me and right now I’m as far away from being the Vacation Me as I possibly could. So you see – it’s time, I need a holiday.

I will see if I can start the holidays early, go home, and download books for the trip onto the Kindle. For some reason I think it may just get Vacation Me in the mood to come out…

August 13, 2012

Starcrossed: A very proper book review.

I woke up with newly painted nails and a whole lot of energy which was probably due to the fact that I spent the entire weekend in bed with the Kindle eating Clafoutis (which I know sounds like an STD, but is in fact a warm cake with lots of cream, cream cheese, and a little fruit), doing little else thus re-energizing. This energy push lasted till now, till I realized again that it seems any ideas I come up with these days are being blocked left, right, and centre, and I am asking myself – why bother? I don’t like to do just the minimum to get by, but if everything else is being shut down, I decided to do what I please and write a book review of one of these books you love to hate.
Let me start with a question: Is it okay to completely copy the content, setting, and characters of a book and use them to write a ‘new’ book? If you are lazy and can’t come with anything original, okay maybe. But wouldn’t you at least rip off a really old book or one from an obscure author that no one knows so no one will notice? Why on earth would you copy a bestseller? A bestseller series made into movies? Box office hit movies? Box office hit movies whose the main actresses is a slut and cheated on her real life and onscreen boyfriend with their director, which we all know will only increase the numbers once the latest movie comes out?
Even if you are not a teenage girl you should by now have gathered that I am talking about Twilight. In this case the copee. The book in question copying from Twilight is called Starcrossed* and should be from now on called the copier.

So, okay, I will admit, this is not really a book review, I’m just bitching a tiny bit…

Copee aka Twilight vs. Copier aka Starcrossed

Copee: Set in a small town with crap weather.
Copier: Set in a small town with crap weather.
What’s the appeal with the small town and crap weather? Are we so over New York City and sunshine?

Copee: Heroine is a shy, annoying, geeky teenage girl, who has felt out of place her whole life.   
Copier: Heroine is a shy, annoying, geeky teenage girl with superpowers, who has felt out of place her whole life.
Oh, what I would give for a story’s heroine to actually be a heroine i.e. not whiney, annoying, and boyfriend dependant. I’m sorry, but all girls (teenage or other) I know want to be like Bella because of Edward not because Bella herself is so awesome.

Copee: She lives alone with her Dad and always has transportation issues.                                         
Copier: She lives alone with her Dad and always has transportation issues.
That would be fair enough if it didn’t lead to her controlling boyfriend constantly insisting on driving her around. In both stories.

Copee: Family of vampires moves to town. Yawn. Old news.                                                   
Copier: Family of demigods moves to town. Somewhat more exciting. Greek mythology has been a little underrepresented in recent prose.

Copee: All family members are ridiculously good-looking and have some sort superpowers.
Copier: All are ridiculously good-looking and have some sort of superpowers.
I guess good looks just sell. So do superpowers, but that is nothing new either. 

Copee: The family is rich and lives in a beautiful house in the woods.                                                
Copier: The family is rich and lives in a beautiful house in the woods.
Again, that’s fine. Don’t we all want to be rich and live in a beautiful house in the woods? Which is also much less depressing than living on a beautiful house on the beach in town with constant crap weather. There is nothing sadder than a rainy beach. 

Copee: Boy meets girl and girl doesn’t like boy.                                                        
Copier: Boy meets girl and girl wants to kill boy.
The old story of pulling pigtails. To different degrees I will admit that.

Copee: Boy saves girls life and she falls in love with him.                                       
Copier: Boy saves girls life and she falls in love with him.        
Does that ever happen in real life? Are girl just a lot less clumsy in reality? Or is it the (apparent) lack of vampires and demigods that make for more safety and less opportunity for boys to save us these days?

Copee: Boy’s family is sceptical at first, but girl wins them all over.       
Copier: Boy’s family is sceptical at first, but girl wins them all over.
Argh, cute. I wish I could be a complete idiot and klutz and still win potential father-in-laws over with my non-existent charms.

Copee: Evil vampire starts hunting the girl.                                                
Copier: Evil demigod starts hunting the girl.
Finally some action.

Copee: No sex though boy and girl are crazy about each other, because he might smash her to bits because of his strength. I can only imagine the hormones sighing in frustration and the parents sighing in relief. This could have easily turned into a teenage 50 Shades of Grey. 
Copier: No sex though boy and girl are crazy about each other, because that would start a war. Ja, don’t ask me to explain that one, but again no sex, no fun. 

Copee: No sex, but girl really wants to badly and keeps tempting boy and boy has to put up all his strength to resist her.        
Copier: No sex, but girl really wants to badly and keeps tempting boy and boy has to put up all his strength to resist her.
Yes, yes, evil Evas all around…

Copee: Evil vampire family clan in Italy.                                                                       
Copier: Evil demigod family clan in Spain.
Are Americans really just mortally afraid of anything European?

Copee: Girl is constantly pouting and boy is constantly frowning.          
Copier: Girl is constantly pouting and boy is constantly frowning.
Not a pretty picture and very annoying to read about as well.

Copee: Girl keeps saying she doesn’t need rescuing, but then does something really stupid and thus boy needs to come to the rescue.
Copier: Girl keeps saying she doesn’t need rescuing, but then does something really stupid and thus boy needs to come to the rescue.
Jeez, are women really that stupid or do we really need to feel rescued for our egos? 

I will stop here. Are you bored yet? Yup, so was I and the similarities don’t even stop there. Surely substituting vampires with demigods is not enough to call it a-story-never-told?! I think the only thing worse than a story with bad prose, boring characters, and lots of clich├ęs is a 1:1 copy of such a story. Are the teenage girls of the world at least with me on that?!

*In case you still want to read Starcrossed after my smashing review, make sure you get the one by Josephine Angelini. Apparently there is another book out there also called Starcrossed, but that's about Aliens & Co and not Demigods. Wouldn't want you to be disappointed!

August 8, 2012

Starstruck.

Some people get starstruck and others don't. I belong into the second category. The only time I got close to starstruckness was when I was about to teach a class and my teacher told me before that an actress was going to attend as her production company had called and made arrangements. That didn't really make me nervous since he didn't even know who she was and even if – who cared? Once he told me her name though, I got a bit excited – the girl with the dragon tattoo was coming to my class?? Mind you not the Swedish one, but the one from Hollywood, the one who had hot steamy onscreen sex with Daniel Craig. Which was probably why I got excited, because I pictured us becoming guru and disciple and she telling me all about filming the sex scenes with him. Have I mentioned that I like Daniel Craig so much that I even dated a lawyer for a couple of months in New York just because he had the same nose? A lawyer! The nose! And the nose is really not Daniel's best feature as we can all see.
In the end it was much ado about nothing. It was not the girl, but just a girl with a very similar name and a C class acting history behind her. Nevertheless she was lovely and we got on well, though there was no dirty dishing about Daniel.
So you can see that actors don't really do it for me. Neither do musicians. Definitely not models. I don't know...maybe one gets cool after living in New York and in the fashion industry for too long. I saw quite a few literally stripped naked in front of me and thus they lose facade and what's left is not necessarily pretty or even witty and entertaining. A friend of mine actually snatched a date with Jonathan Rhys Meyers after working with him and she still tells the tale of how he was so boring that she begged one of her favorite bartenders to get him high, so she would at least have some sort of a fun dinner companion.
But you know who gets me non-star-starstruck? Ballet dancers! When I worked on one of my very first shoots in St. Barth's I didn't care about Kate Moss and ignored her request for a Corona at 9am, I cared that we were shooting in Nureyev's house. I felt like I was walking on holy ground – the honor, the prevision that little me, was allowed to set foot into his holiday home!
I remembered that today, because the just recently retired prima ballerina of the Cape Town City Ballet comes to my yoga studio. Not only that, but I had her in the class I taught on Monday and apparently she loved it so much, that she not only told me after class, but again today. Then she chatted to me. Like a friend. I sat there with my mouth slightly open, thinking I must be the luckiest girl alive that a real prima ballerina was talking to me. I was completely starstruck. When we walked to our cars together, I quickly told her my Nureyev story, which let's be honest is little more than an anecdote, but there she was, now looking at me, well, starstruck.  

August 7, 2012

Book tripping.

I’m not doing very well with my to-do lists these days. My chalkboard looks still quite empty after Friday in terms of checks, except for the be-kind-checks, which wasn’t so hard as I didn’t leave the house much over the weekend and when I teach, yelling at people is not not kind, it’s called motivating thus doesn’t go against getting a check for being kind. The good excuses I have are two fold – I have been feeling crappy as in not quite sick, but definitely not well. Therefore I did little writing, okay, well, no writing and no French except for this one episode of Lost I watched when a bunch of dead French people arrive on the island and I was trying to understand them without subtitles. But we know that in all honesty that doesn’t really equal a check on the board for French learning. My lack of yoga was due to my body feeling like a robot all weekend and me rather teaching instead of practising. Yes, yes, I know…excuses, excuses.
I decided since my success rate with lists is so bad right now, I wouldn’t even attempt to do one for Morocco. I have my vaccinations, passport, and ticket and everything else can sort itself out. Jaa, right. Okay, ask me again next week, but for now the only list I have made for the trip is called:

 Books to load on Kindle.*

Yes, I caved. Usually my favourite part of any given trip is buying books for the road. Once I have them I keep them locked away so I don’t read them before the travel begins. Depending on how excited I am for the books that may or may not work and sometimes I have to buy more last minute. Airport book buys are not uncommon either and especially pleasant because money spent at airports doesn’t really count as we all know.

This time around though I realized upon reading my trip notes that in addition to the usual flight time, waiting time, before bed time, and tanning on the beach time there will be lots of being on a bus/car/camel time. I am not physically strong enough to carry all the books I could possibly read in this time and yes, that includes the fact that I don’t really plan on reading while riding a camel (but can you imagine?!). The idea of being stuck on a bus for hours with nothing to read really scares me. Multiply this by approximately 10 rides (and by rides I now mean bus or car not camel!) which I will be taking to get around Morocco and the horror is so great I don’t even want to go anymore.
And that is why I caved and bought a Kindle.

It’s coming today or so I pray to the shipping gods. By now I am so excited, I feel like someone locked me in a library and threw away the key. Maybe I should throw away my credit card rather quickly as my list of Books to load on Kindle so far is getting a tiny bit long/out of hand. Though while writing this I did some more research and now I just quickly need to add one more to the list: Lonely Planet Morocco! For the Kindle! Oh the excitement!!

Picture to follow upon arrival. I think it’s pretty pretty.

*I don’t even know if that name is appropriate – are they still called books when on a Kindle? What is the correct terminology? Can someone fill me in please?!

August 3, 2012

Challenge accepted!

Today feels like a cloud has lifted over my head. I won’t bore you with the details of why and how and what. I think I have been wining enough already lately and don’t feel like doing it anymore. I have been unhappy with myself and thus have been a complete monster to everybody around me (though I partially blame the full moon for it too this week!) and then yesterday I found this on Facebook:


I thought the only nice thought I had was the thought of eating a bag of wine gums with tropical flavour. Which I did later and it was great, but I was still a bit concerned about my facial expression if a bag of sweets was the only good thing to keep me going. So I decided after I came home from teaching that things needed to change… once again. For the next fourteen days the motto is:

Be kind.

Do yoga.

Learn French.

Write a story.

Every day.
It’s even up on my blackboard, because that’s how much I like checking things/days off lists. As it goes with good resolutions, you get instant gratification once you have made resolution the so I went to bed yesterday feeling quite peachy. During the night I got promptly smacked on my wrist, probably because I didn’t deserve to already feel so good for a resolution just made, but not lived through yet. Thus I had a dream about my ex, the new girlfriend, lots of potatoes, and a braai with them. Again, I blame the full moon, but I behaved like such a bitch in my dream, I even refused to come out of my room and stomped my feet all while making snotty comments about the girl. My mother was there too and had to tell me off… grrr. But I also loved the dream in a way. Who can blame me for enjoying a dream where I could just behave like a child? Rolling my eyes and just being really immature about the fact that the ex has a new girlfriend, something we can’t (or shouldn’t as I recently learned the hard way…) do in real life, but secretly kind of want to. Then again, you know, things really have to change when your mother is coming to tell you off in your dreams…therefore…let the challenge begin!
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