22 April 2010

BIG Update

I actually started this entry a while back... saved it as draft and didn't get back around to it. So, here goes my how-ever-many-th attempt to get an update online.

And when I did start this, it was Earth Day - awesome igoogle logo:



TV Shows
Keeping up to date with: HIMYM, Castle, Bones, Glee, USOT, Vampire Diaries, and Gossip Girl. Have to admit the second series of USOT is not grabbing me as much as the first did - Toni Collette is still awesome, mainly as Tara or Buck so far... but it just doesn't have the oomph it of the first season. Rich is keeping up with Nurse Jackie - I did like the first season, but it was kinda take it or leave it for me. I'll catch up with a marathon session I think.
Speaking of marathon session, over the weekend I watched the first season of Starz 'Spartacus: Blood and Sand' (13 episodes). After spotting familiar faces and accents, a trip to IMDB told me this series was shot in Auckland, NZ. The pilot was cheese-on-toast, complete with '300' knock off effects... but I kept going. Something about it was strangely compelling or addictive (and no, it wasn't the extreme nudity, violence, or language!). Lucy Lawless is deliciously devious, as is John Hannah. Anyways, marathon viewing allowed me to almost complete a cross-stitch of Jane Austen's house (for my mum, who bought the kit in the UK for me to do for her. Side note, she also bought one of Wordsworth's house, so I am going to be sick of stitching houses very soon!).

Movies
I have been very lax with movie going. Whether it a time or cost issue, I just haven't been as much as I normally would. It hasn't been for lack of good movies - I've missed some goodies! I'm doing my best NOT to miss 'Kick Ass', 'Iron Man 2', and 'How to Train Your Dragon 3D'. I fear it's last days for the third listed, but where there is a will, there is a way.
The last movie I did see was 'Date Night' - Rob's choice. I had read some mixed reviews, but you know what? I enjoyed it! Last thing on a Friday night, after a long week, watching Steve Carroll and Tina Fey improve it up was fun (and I didn't have to think! Plot definitely is secondary). And just that fact that Rob still chuckles at the mention of robot sex made it worth it!

DVDs
Though it did made me squirm, I really enjoyed 'The Informant!' (discomfort/embarrassment on screen, makes me anxious too). It was really well acted and funny. Go Matt Damon.
Also watched lately, quick fire: The Edge of Love (ok, but meh), The Duchess (more Keira Knightley. This one was better, but sad), White Noise 2 (Not even Nathan Fillion could save this one), The Thing (I was REALLY enjoying this, then the DVD crapped out - I've yet to see the end of this John Carpenter classic), and The Visitor (great film - bitter sweet and touching).

Books
I FINALLY managed to finish my overdue library book - I'm not talking 30 cents fine here, I'm talking over $10. Yeah, I know. Why the hell didn't I return the book and get it out again (or just buy the book!)? My answer to that is: I'm lazy and now I must pay the price. Anyway, it was called 'The Library of Shadows', and it was ok. Yeah, I know, for that much fine I should've been in love with it. It was enjoyable and interesting.
I'm now onto 'Shutter Island' (one of the movies I missed and wanted to see). So far (and we're talking a few pages) I really like it!!

Concerts
I've come to the end of what was a hoard of gigs. Last week I knocked off the last two (I'm getting old - two in one week was hard work), Wilco and Vampire Weekend. Both were lots of fun, but Wilco wins - incredible!! What a performance.

Theatre
Well... it was IN a theatre - SkyCity Theatre that is. A friend decided she wanted to go see 'High Tease', a show with a selection of kiwi burlesque performers, for her birthday. So we all bought tickets (a very reasonable $38) and enjoyed a 2 hour show. It was titillating, funny, full of talent, and entertaining. We all had a FAB time, then headed to Ponsonby afterwards for some drinks.

Improvements
Or Added Value... or maybe not added, because I am referring to a hair cut... Anywho, whatever the subheading, I got my hair done last week. It was long overdue, but the ultimate reason was for a pick-me-up. And it worked (even if only one or two people noticed!). I had been growing it - I can never stick it out. I had the longest layer chopped off (above my shoulders), and some colours put through - including 'chestnut' (aka red!). It looks good though IMO (and really, that's the most important one right?).

Food
I've been eating out a bit lately - I blame the concerts (yay concerts!). Last week I managed Japanese twice (at the same restaurant - Sakanaya is awesome), Italian once (Gina's), and Thai (take out, thanks to Richard).
However, I did cook for Rob for the first time the other week. It wasn't anything special, just a simple Monday night dinner that I whipped up (no recipe required). It was received well by all (Rich ate with us) and seemed to go down a treat (fresh ravioli and tortellini, with a tomato sauce that included mushrooms, 3 kinds of capsicums, egg plant, garlic, onions, herbs, 2 kinds of pesto, courgettes... Simple but tasty).

School
Yes, I've been doing a short database course. The course itself has three parts - I signed up for the first part (and plan to take up the second after a wee break). It's based around Microsoft Access, and is run just up the road from my work. The database at my work isn't Access, but the fundamentals of the course - basic understanding of DBs, and DBMS, data types etc - can be applied in many DBMS, not just Access. The easy access of Access just means I can practice what I've learned on most PCs.
Basically you log in hours (this course allows 50 hrs) and work at your own pace from a work book. This has pros and cons, one of the major cons being I never met anyone else doing my course! It's graded on a project (worth 30%) and a three hour exam (worth 70%). I passed with flying colours, and with eight hours to spare.
It was great to be back learning again - some parts were challenging, others easier.

Travel
I haven't been on many office trips lately (had one a week there for a while), but I am off to Wellington overnight next week. Seeing a heap of people in different divisions, so hopefully I have enough steam to stay awake for all.
And of course I have Buenos Aires on May 20. Can't believe it's almost here. I have done no preparation, other than getting a new passport (essential).
A few weeks ago I took a Monday and Tuesday off work so I could go away up North with Rob (he had two whole weeks school holidays). We drove up to Baylys Beach to stay with Rob's friend. As well as us, another friend was staying, along with his four year old daughter (who attached herself to me from the get go). After a night there, Rob & I headed to Paihai - caught the ferry to Russell, walked around - ferried back and had a divine meal at a restaurant called 'Only Seafood'. Tuesday before driving back to Baylys Beach, we went to Waitangi. Then headed back to Auckland!

People
Well, trying to stay in touch! Got to catch up with Mel (over from the UK) briefly, along with Evette, which was lovely.
Rob and I have made it through nine months together. Nothing to do with a baby.
Mum and Dad had a fab time in England. They missed Paris due to ash cloud, but still had an awesome time. Great to have them home though!
While returning my overdue library book I ran into my old boss - almost literally. We had a five minute catch-up in the library's lobby; he is still the same old flamboyant character.

Music
There are some great new albums out there. I am digging the Fatboy Slim and David Byrne 2CD album 'Here Lies Love'. Also enjoying the new Yeasayer, Turin Brakes, OK Go!, and Broken Bells.
I've put together my latest mixed-tape, but have yet to send it out to many of you (ha, many...). The track listing follows. All are tracks I've been really enjoying (some aren't particularly new):

1. Doubt ~ Delphic
2. Radd Pitt ~ Egyptian Hip Hop
3. When I'm Small ~ Phantogram
4. Ambitions ~ Donkeyboy
5. No Fucking Around ~ Rafter
6. WTF? ~ OK Go
7. Something I'm Not ~ Penguin Prison
8. The King & All of His Men ~ Wolf Gang
9. Angel ~ Mr. Little Jeans
10. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National
11. Don't Really Know Me ~ Snowden
12. The High Road ~ Broken Bells
13. Hide it Away ~ Retribution Gospel Choir
14. Stranger ~ Dr Dog
15. Red River ~ Rocky Votolato
16. False Alarm ~ The Wooden Birds
17. Here Lies Love ~ David Byrne & Fat Boy Slim, feat. Florence Welsh (Florence & The Machine)

I am itching to get the new The National album - I've heard great things about it, and I really like the track 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'.

In Summary...
Busy busy busy. Seriously, how did it get to May already?! Generally, it's all 'good busy', not 'bad busy', though I could use some more sleep! Lot's to look forward to (Mum's B'day, Rob's B'day, Buenos Aires, the weekend!). Many books to read (stack on my floor), DVDs to watch (there are never enough hours), cross-stitches to do (while watching the DVDs), and lists to complete (one list has the three things I just listed on it).

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