Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Missing in Action

I seem to have these little off blog periods don't I? Well this latest one was induced by a bout of night duty itis combined with sinusitis and the end result was a tired, snotty, cranky me. Now I am on antibiotics, have had a moderate amount of sleep and no longer feel that death is imminent. I have achieved some (small) things in my down time such as read a book (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) and seen a movie (Harry Potter, what else?) and played the violin in a concert (Beethoven Symphony) and gone to work. So now I am going to try and get my blog back to it's former glory (haha) before I go on a two week holiday soon. Yay!!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ingrid Michaelson. Wow.

I haven't written anything on here for a very long time. This is due to a combination of excessive night duties and general slackness. But I do feel the need to share with you all the wonderful music that is Ingrid Michaelson.

On Tuesday I discovered that she was going be in Brisbane this Friday (which was yesterday) and I took my lovely sister to the gig last night and it was amazing! I haven't had the pleasure of seeing her live before and it was one of the most amazing live performances I have ever seen. If you listen to any of her songs you are immediately struck by the quality of her voice and the dreamy, quirky, beautiful lyrics of her songs. Despite their upbeat happy tunes they are often incredibly moving and have awesome imagery.

Me going on and on about her will not do her any justice, so I suggest you watch this clip of her that some lovely Brisbane resident kindly uploaded to youtube. Don't give up because of the banter at the start!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


This website is amazing. Now there is a place for spelling criminals to go for rehab!! Like a penal colony for those who believe that DEFINATELY is a word!!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Now I know I intended to review Taylor's new album on Friday but there was lots of celebrating to be done and cosmopolitans to be drunk and I was just too excited!! So here is my review now. Warning: this will be brimming with over-the-top enthusiasm as this was THE BEST ALBUM EVER!

Speak Now has 14 tracks on it and I will admit I was a little bit nervous about it. I have been disappointed by third albums before when the artist is now quite famous and becomes less like themselves as a result. Well the exact opposite is true of this album!! Taylor (as we are now on a first name basis) wrote all the songs on this album without a co-writer and subsequently they are all entirely honest and magical.

She also has such a wicked sense of humour and writes songs that are funny and clever. I think it can be a big risk in the music business to write funny songs which may be misconstrued as serious, and I understand that as a result of this Taylor can sometimes be misunderstood as immature and bitter. She so is not!! A lot of her songwriting is very tongue-in-cheek and I completely love that I am often torn between singing my lungs out and laughing my head off. How is this for a lyric?

She's not a saint and she's not what you think
She's an actress, woah!
But she's better known for the things that she does
On the mattress, woah!

I love being able to listen to her CD and guess what each song is about, sometimes it is obvious, sometimes not. There are some great sing-along songs such as Mine, Sparks Fly, The Story of Us and Haunted which are beautifully written and full of drama which I love, but also some beautiful ballads, some heartbreaking (Never Grow Up, Back To December, Dear John, Last Kiss), some forgiving (Innocent) and some magical (Enchanted). There is humour in Speak Now, Better Than Revenge and Mean, and then the one that I think is my favourite. Long Live. This one actually made me cry, it was written for her band about their time on the Fearless Tour (how beautiful is that?) and I just love it.

Long live the walls we crashed through
All the kingdom lights shine just for me and you
I was screaming "long live, all the magic we made"
And bring on all the pretenders
I'm not afraid
Long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
Long live the look on your face
And bring on all the pretenders
One day
We will be remembered

This is my favourite album ever. I love it love it love it and will be listening to it non stop forever I suspect. I can't wait another minute for her to tour here!! Long live Taylor Swift!!

Over and out.

Oh, but here is the video for Mine to keep you going :)

Quote of the Week

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious."

~Brendan Gill

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It Gets Better

I have seen things about the It Gets Better/Trevor Project on a few blogs floating around and I think it is just the most important and wonderful thing. For any young person to feel there is no solution to their problems is utterly tragic and for LGBT teens this is such a problem, particularly in America, at the moment. I have some wonderful gay and lesbian friends who lead fabulous and happy lives and I think it is the most tragic thing to think that some people are so marginalised and bullied that they can't see into the future and realise how magical and wonderful life should be. For everybody. There are hundreds of moving videos on youtube at the moment bringing the message "It Gets Better".

This one I found particularly moving:

Monday, October 25, 2010

Les Miserables 25th Anniversary

On the 3rd of October the O2 Arena in London hosted the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables, one of the greatest musicals ever!! Some fabulous people filmed it and it sailed its way across the ocean to my local cinema where I went to watch it last night. Wow. Amazing.

I have seen the real live show twice, once here in Brisbane and once in London and each time was devastatingly wonderful. I saw the 10th Anniversary Concert on DVD and was very excited to see this concert, as 15 years on things would inevitably be larger and brighter than they were on my old TV from my scratchy DVD. It was such a privilege to be able to see this on the big screen and such an absolute delight from beginning to end.

Just when I thought that the magic was over and that there could be nothing more wonderful that what we had already seen, the most magical thing happened! The cast all stood to the side... and in, from the dark and smoky back stage, walked... the Original 1985 Cast. And then, this happened:

I think that may be one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen or heard.

Count Down To Speak Now

Some of you might be aware that I completely love Taylor Swift and have been hanging out for Speak Now. Now for those of you living in America, the album is available NOW. You lucky devils!! For those of us on the other side of the equator we have to wait for the actual CD to hit stores on Friday, and I'm not sure when it'll his Aussie iTunes (I'm obsessively checking approximately every 15 seconds, that's right).

So from now until then this blog will probably be bombarded with posts about the wonderful Taylor. I just can't help myself. Her music lifts me up... And on Friday there will be a very positive review of the album, I'm sure of it!!

For those of you out there who aren't as enamoured with Taylor, I apologise for excessive Taylor wonderfulness this coming week. For those who love her, yay!! And for the rest of you, go and buy her album and have a dance in a sparkly dress for me!! I'll join you on Friday.

Quote of the Week

"To me, Fearless is not the absence of fear. It's not being completely unafraid. To me, Fearless is having fears. Fearless is having doubts. Lots of them. To me, Fearless is living in spite of those things that scare you to death."

Taylor Swift

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay Read-along

Ash over at English Major's Junk Food is holding a read-along for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. What fabulous timing! I have wanted to read this book for ages, I can't remember what really sparked my interest, I suspect it was the use of the words 'amazing adventures' in the title, and perhaps the Pulitzer Prize mention!!

So I have decided to finally read it. Yay. I'm currently approximately 150 pages into my 636 page edition and am loving it so far. I think this is one of those books I never would have picked up if I didn't have a push in the right direction. It is so beautifully written, very atmospheric. We're aiming to be finished by the beginning of November.

To join the read-along see Ash's blog here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chortle Chortle

This was an email sent to me by a friend. One of those ones that go round and round. But I really really loved this one.

Bob Hill and his new wife Betty Hill were vacationing in Europe... as it happens, near Transylvania .  They were driving in a rental car along a rather deserted highway.   It was late and raining very hard.  Bob could barely see the road in front of the car. Suddenly the car skids out of control! Bob attempts to control the car, but to no avail!  The car swerves and smashes into a tree. 
Moments later, Bob shakes his head to clear the fog Dazed, he looks over at the passenger seat and sees his wife unconscious, with her head bleeding!  Despite the rain and unfamiliar countryside, Bob knows he has to get her medical assistance.Bob carefully picks his wife up and begins trudging down the road.  After a short while, he sees a light.  He heads towards the light, which is coming from a large, old house.  He approaches the door and knocks. 
A minute passes. 
 A small, hunched man opens the door.  Bob immediately blurts,"Hello My name is Bob Hill and this is my wife Betty Hill.  We've been in a terrible accident, and my wife has been seriously hurt.  Can I please use your phone?" 
"I'm sorry," replied the hunchback, "but we don't have a phone...
My master is a doctor; come in and I will get him!" 
Bob brings his wife in.
An older man comes down the stairs.  "I'm afraid my assistant may have misled you.  I am not a medical doctor; I am a scientist.  However, it is many miles to the nearest clinic, and I have had a basic medical training.  I will see what I can do. Igor, bring them down to the laboratory." 

With that, Igor picks up Betty and carries her downstairs, with Bob following closely. 
 Igor places Betty on a table in the lab. Bob collapses from exhaustion and his own injuries, so Igor places Bob on an adjoining table. 

After a brief examination, Igor's master looks worried.
 Things are serious, Igor. Prepare a transfusion."  Igor and his master work feverishly, but to no avail. Bob Hill  and Betty Hill are no more. 
The Hills' deaths upset Igor's master greatly. 
 Wearily, he climbs the steps to his conservatory, which houses his grand piano.  For it is here that he has always found solace...  He begins to play, and a stirring, almost haunting melody fills the house. 
Meanwhile, Igor is still in the lab tidying up. His eyes catch movement, and he notices the fingers on Betty's hand twitch, keeping time to the haunting piano music. 
 Stunned, he watches as Bob's arm begins to rise, marking the beat!  He is further amazed as Betty and Bob both sit up straight! 

Unable to contain himself, he dashes up the stairs to the conservatory.
He bursts in and shouts to his master:
 Master! .....
The Hills are alive with the sound of music!" 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quote of the Week

'There's only us
There's only this,
Forget regret,
Or life is yours to miss.
No other road,
No other way,
No day but today.'


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things I Love

Saturday, October 16, 2010

[title of show]

Earlier in the week I went to this FABULOUS musical called [title of show]. My friend David (who conducts my orchestra) was musical director and played the keyboard on stage. Has anyone heard of this musical? I feel that it needs to be a priority that people find out about this because it is a sensation.

So the idea behind [title of show] is that two New York nobodies (as they define themselves), Jeff and Hunter want to enter a musical into the New York Music Theatre Festival but they have no ideas. However they decide that their lack of inspiration may actually be the key to creating a hit musical. Far fetched, yes, but they decide to write a musical about two guys writing a musical about two guys writing a musical. They exploit the talents of two actress friends, Heidi and Susan and create their musical. Basically they're three weeks leading up to the closure of entries IS their musical. If that sounds a) confusing b) boring or c) ridiculous, don't be put off because it is in fact a little bit of genius.

I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face, I didn't notice the minutes go by, I was inspired, thrilled, and loving every minute of it. I will admit that I initially only went along because David was in it however I am now telling everyone I know that they MUST make it a priority in their life to see this show. Unfortunately closes here in Brisbane today, but if you are somewhere in the world that you can see this show you absolutely should.

Here in Brisbane it was put on by Oscar Theatre Company, which is a Brisbane theatre company which is run by the brilliant Emily Gilhome, and they do wonderful theatre type stuff here in Australia. This was the first production I had seen by Oscar, however it was so utterly professional that I will now be going to everything I can.

So I suggest, simply because it is FUN, that if you are somewhere that [title of show] is currently playing you should go and see it. If you aren't, go and see a local theatre production of whatever you like. It will lift your spirits and broaden your horizons. I promise you.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Booker Prize Winner

I haven't read it, have you? What did you think? Did it deserve to win? I will try and read it over the coming months and see what I think.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I Love Pink

Here is a musical moment that took my breath away. I went to the Pink concert on a whim last year because I'd heard that she was a 'good performer'. I consider that the greatest understatement of 2009!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Promise me you'll always remember
You're braver than you believe
and stronger than you seem
and smarter than you think"

Christopher Robin

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Book Review: The Sweetness At The Bottom Of The Pie by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie is a very endearing mystery set in England in the 1950's. It's heroine, Flavia de Luce (such a fabulous name) is a precocious eleven-year-old chemistry enthusiast with a dazzling intellect which she puts to use when her father is accused of murder. It all begins when, upon hearing a raucous in the cucumber pit below her window in the middle of the night, Flavia goes down to investigate and discovers a very nearly dead man who breathes his dying breath right into her face. Well far from being horrified, this is by far the most interesting thing that has happened in Flavia's life and she is determined to solve the mystery of who he is, why he is here and how he died.

This book was no work of genius but I loved it just the same. The character of Flavia, though annoyingly bright, is so likeable and very clever for an eleven-year-old. The plot of this book has lots of delicious twists and turns, lots of interesting trivia and delectable language. There are old-fashioned English policemen, secret identities, custard pies, stamps, King George, picturesque scenery (so I imagine), a character called Mr Twining (my favourite brand of tea) and a lot of general English delight.

I haven't read a lot of mysteries. My favourite series of mystery books are the Thursday Next books by Jasper Fforde, I love mystery when mixed with humour. This book is often humourous, to me simply the premise of it was humourous!! This is the first in what promises to be a simply delightful series.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Book Posters

My friend informed me of this fantastic website that creates posters from famous books, they are very simple and creative. And exciting. Here are some of my favourites:

The War of the Worlds


Pride and Prejudice

Jane Eyre

Moby Dick

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

All images are from here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Quote of the Week

"There are some days when I myself think I'm overrated... but not today!"

Meryl Streep

Friday, October 1, 2010


Is everyone up with the wonder that is Glee? The second season has been on for two weeks here in Oz. I was super late in catching up with the craze but boy am I glad I have!! I love it!! Yes it is cheesy, but in the very best way. Here is the finale of Season 1.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Future of Books

My sister sent me this, it is super interesting. What do you think?

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Immune Boosters

I am sick. I dislike being sick. Who doesn't? At work on Sunday evening I was looking after a particularly snotty baby and I thought to myself "I'm going to get this aren't I?". Yep. Occupational hazzard!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

"If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously."

Cate Blanchett

Sunday, September 26, 2010


I saw this in the supermarket the other day. It made me giggle.

Entertaining fish hey? Who knew fish (particularly frozen) could be so entertaining?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Seussical The Musical

Earlier this week I fulfilled a dream of playing violin in a musical. A theatre company in Brisbane put on a one day performance of Seussical The Musical. I really just like saying it!! It was super fun!! But I will just say, how the hell do professional musicians do this? I have massive knots in my shoulders, neck pain, have discovered muscles I didn't know I had, and a sore back!! From approximately 6 hours of violin playing spread over about 13 hours. Madness!! I will never think as music as a 'lazy' activity ever ever again!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 TRAILER

Be still my beating heart... I can't believe it is nearly here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quote of the Week

"I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient of living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of the telescope, which is what I do. And that enables you to laugh at life's realities."

Dr Seuss

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pretty Things

Shaun Tan (who I LOVE) has brought out some new exciting things. Firstly a book titled The Bird King and Other Sketches which is a collection of his quirky and beautiful artwork and has studies inside for The Red Tree which made me squeal with excitement!!

And also (and possibly even better) some blank journals with his illustrations on the front!! They are amazingly beautiful and I want them all. Every last one. I can't help wondering if I would draw more if I had something so pretty to draw in. I would like to think I would.

Some other beautiful things I have found recently are these divine pieces of jewellery by Amanda Whitelaw who is a Brisbane designer who hand makes all these super cute accessories. Some of them are a bit more macabre than I would normally choose but they are sensational nonetheless!!

Zombie Clown Brooch

My Favourite Day Brooch

Toadstool Earrings

And my two favourites: A Little Rain Brooch

and Red Balloon Brooch

All of these delightful things are available at Hungry Designs and there is heaps more stuff there. It is fabulous!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tomorrow, When The John Marsden Obsession Began

On Monday I went to a screening of Tomorrow, When The War Began followed by a question and answer session and a book signing with THE John Marsden. I am entirely unaware of how big a deal this is to anyone outside of Australia, but if you were growing up in Australia in the 90s it is a REALLY BIG DEAL! For those who aren't aware Tomorrow When The War Began (first published in 1993) is about a group of teenagers in Wirrawee, a fictional rural town, who decide to go on a camping trip prior to going back to school. They venture further than they ever have before, into Hell, a wild valley surrounded by mountains, virtually inaccessible. While they are away Australia is invaded by an unidentified enemy and a war begins.

Just even writing that little synopsis gives me goosebumps!! This book turned into an epic series of 7 which was unrelentingly exciting and devastating. So just over a year ago they announced that they were making a movie that would star Caitlin Stasey (from Neighbours) and Lincoln Lewis (from Home and Away). You could hear all John Marsden fans collectively groan, sigh and bitch about what a disaster this movie would be. Of course we would all go though, just to be sure they royally stuffed it up!!

Well how wrong we were. I will admit that one friend of mine called it "Neighbours with explosives", but I LOVED IT. Every feeling I felt when reading this book 13 years ago came screaming back to me, every tingle, every jump, every tear, my heart beat faster, I was shallow breathing, I completely LIVED this movie. Everything looked as it did in my imagination and I didn't feel let down at all. Yay.

But then John Marsden came out. He was divine!! He was so down to earth, chatty, hilariously funny, smart, just wonderful wonderful wonderful. I met him, he signed all of my books (bless his cotton socks) and had a lovely chat with me and my friends. It was so wonderful for us to have the opportunity to tell him how much his books meant to us. He was so humble and generous and I just loved the whole day.

John Marsden, you are amazing!! You're books made me laugh, cry, scream and run faster during high school cross country pretending I was Ellie and her friends. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet you, and relive my childhood for a little while.

Here is the preview for the film, which if you have the opportunity, please go and see. Hopefully you'll find it as satisfying and wonderful as I did.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Astronomy Photographer of the Year

I have all of a sudden become interested in astronomy. As of yesterday when I saw these pictures. Most likely another fleeting obsession... but WOW. Imagine spending your nights chasing galaxies, nebulas, comets, moons and stars! It just seems so marvellously magical!

And the winner...
Images from here

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quote of the Week

"Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century."

Dame Edna

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Book Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Wowzers. This is an amazing book. My first read of this year's Booker Shortlist. I don't know how the others will compare but at the moment I really hope this wins. It is such a bold and brave book to write, such a difficult subject matter and a child narrator can be very difficult to pull off.

Room is told by Jack, a five-year-old boy who has lived in Room his entire life. Room is an eleven by eleven foot room with minimal furniture, a skylight, and a electrically locked door. He lives with his mother and is often visited at night by a man he knows as Old Nick. When he turns five his Ma reveals to him that there is a whole world outside of Room and she asks him to help them both escape.

I really don't know where to begin with the wonderfulness that was this book. And by wonderful I mean absolutely horrible, nausea-inducing, moving, moving, moving. I read this book in three days, and the only reason it took me that long was because I had to work all three of them, and on the second day I was going to a party and decided to drive and thus not drink because I was too scared to go in a taxi lest I get raped and abducted and kept in a room for years and years and years. Yes, I have a tendency to overreact, but still, bloody well done Emma!!

Perhaps the most moving aspect of this book is that is told by a five-year-old. The language and his observations are entirely innocent and I felt that this made the book so much more tragic and affecting than if it were told from Ma's perspective. In this way, we are exposed to the rape, violence and manipulation that Ma experiences but never explicitly and never with detail. It is ever so chilling. The plot is fast paced and compelling and frankly, I can't fault this book!!

Good luck for the Booker Ms Donoghue!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Every now and then I read a YA book and whenever I do I think back to my teenage self saying to my Dad "I'll always want to read YA books. I'll never grow out of them." and he, wisely as ever saying "Maybe one day you will." And then the strange discovery one day that all I read was adult fiction and had truly left the YA genre behind. But every now and again I feel compelled to revisit it, just in case there is some magic there that I am not acquainted with.

I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman in one sitting (a huge positive about the YA genre) and enjoyed it for the most part. It reminded me in a way of The House of Secrets series by Joyce Stranger that I relished as a pre-teen, Georgie's Secret (has anyone read that?) in that the central character is unconscious. Nice. If I Stay is narrated by by Mia, a classical music loving 17 year old cello player, who is involved in a horrific car accident and is stuck somewhere between life and death watching the aftermath. She soon comes to realise that she has to make a decision, to stay and live with the love of her life, or to die and be at peace.

I loved the premise for this book, I can never go past a tragedy, but there were a couple of frustrations for me. And to be fair, I'm being super picky here. No, really there was just one main issue. She misspelled Haydn. A classical composer. And Mia, who loves classical music and her cello more than anything talks about about 'Hayden'. There is no 'e' in Haydn. Now I don't know if Ms Forman was trying to make this book more accessible to the teen audience, or she genuinely didn't know the correct spelling, or if in fact they refer to Haydn as Hayden in America, but whatever, it annoyed me. I don't think it ruined the book for me and I definitely know that I'm overreacting so I will now shut up on that point. I also feel that the injuries Mia sustained (particularly to her brain) will actually require a miracle for her to recover from, but perhaps I'm a bit jaded by brain injuries in my workplace. And this is a work of fiction and miracles certainly do happen!

Overall I think that this is a great book for teens. I found it a bit too sentimental at times, but what teenage girl doesn't love a bit of drama? There is a sequel to this due out next year called Where She Went, which in itself may give away the ending of this book, but my lips are sealed. Who else has read this? What were your thoughts?