Monsterful Monday- brought to you by the letter R

Recommendations

I decided to get my ears pierced for my birthday this year. Strangely, with three tattoos (and counting), I’ve still never gotten any piercings so this was my first time. I therefore asked a friend of mine who has MANY holes punched in her where she gets them done, and she pointed me at Streetwise in Newmarket. They were brilliant. I was lucky enough to get Shane Johnston, a Master Piercer who’s been doing piercings for 20 years. He told me what they were doing at each step, explained what everything was for, spent a while fussing to get the position of each pierce just right to look symmetrical (as someone who is weird about symmetry, I really appreciated that).

It’s two counts of gratitude, really- one to the friend who recommended Streetwise, and one to Streetwise themselves for being so good. If you’re in Auckland and want to get a hole punched in you (well, one that involves jewellery), then hit them up.

Relaxation

Next weekend is going to be hectic as, so I was very grateful not to have too much to do this weekend beyond mainline Project Runway All Stars (I don’t love it as much as the original, but it’s still sewing crack), unpack more boxes, and knit. And also ask stupid questions while my Best Beloved plays Minecraft. Always fun.

(T) Rex

Lets face it, the T-Rex is the real hero of Jurassic World. We all know it. Even the film-makers know it. I watched it with some friends at the weekend, and it was everything you would hope from a big silly movie with dinosaurs. Including hero shots of the dinosaurs. Also, whoever thought you’d come out of a movie thinking “those velociraptors were adorable”? Certainly not me. And yet.

RuPaul (and Priscilla)

Meet RuPaul and Priscilla, the metal flamingoes who arrived as a gift from a bunch of friends for the housewarming at the magic house. The Best Beloved hid them outside the door, rang the doorbell and legged it around the back of the house while everyone else watched for my reaction. I love them, aren’t they fabulous?

rupaul

 

I’m so grateful to the friends who got together to organise buying them, hiding them (in the garden shed no less) and surprising me with them.

And the Rest

Snuggling, living with the Best Beloved (so far so good), crafting on the train- and fellow crafters on the train, supportive friends, tea, marmalade, Parks and Recreation, co-writers and GMs, Carl’s Jr (the buttermilk ranch chicken burger is so gooooood), working out a quicker route to work, and sleep. Oh, so much sleep.

Gratituesday: My life in boxes, again

Well, it’s almost all in boxes ahead of the move at the weekend. This is somewhere between my 23rd and 28th move (depending on which ones I count). The fact I’ve actually lost count is rather scary. Such nomad, much moving. Hopefully this will be the last one for a long time.

Mad Max: Fury Road

I took a break from packing (and made sure one of my flatmates-to-be did too) to go see this at the weekend. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t going to see it, and then I read about how it’s got the MRAs up in arms and I *had* to go. Holy hell, I was NOT disappointed. Aside from anything else, it was a damn good movie. Fast-paced, exciting, well-realised characters. And most of all, it passes the Bechdel test repeatedly, and has well-rounded female characters who are actually agents in their own survival. They don’t need Max to save them, they fight for their own liberation, and he fights alongside them- and in fact, they rescue him too. You never get the sense that women, of any age, are safe because of their gender- just like the brilliant ‘Attack the Block’, in which you never get the idea that the young characters are safe because of their youth. Anyway, the brilliant Laurie Penny expresses what’s great about this movie for women much better than I could, so I encourage you to read what she has to say- and also to go see this movie. It deserves to be a huge success. And some more about the feminism in the movie at the Mary Sue.

I’m thankful for the break, thankful that films like this are being made and being successful and also for the opportunity it gave me to have a discussion with my Mum about representation of women in the media. She didn’t know about the Bechdel test- she does now.

Eureka

Deputy Andy and Sarah the house are my OTP. Who knew you could get so emotionally invested in the relationship between an android and an artificially intelligent house? Not me. I’m thankful the Best Beloved was there to give me cuddles.

Pinterest and Offbeat Home

Because I’m moving house, to a place where I can actually make changes to stuff if I want to. And that means I’ve been looking for ideas. Bring on the DIY!

Auckland Library

Because free interiors magazines, for the same reason as the last one.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour

I was lucky enough to see the live show when it came to Auckland last week. ‘Beyond Belief’ is my favourite, because how can you not love Frank and Sadie Doyle? I’m sad the show is finishing up (though I totally understand why, after 10 years, the people behind it are ready for a change).

The Little Things

My Kindle, knitting, marmite, flanelette sheets, tea, snuggles, Miyazaki inspiration, $5 vegan lunches (om nom nom), packing tape, Villainess perfumes.

What about you? What are you thankful for this week? Let me know in the comments!

 

Gratituesday: Pack All The Things

Has been what I’ve been doing, mostly. That and sorting out all the things for the new place. It’s a people roundup this week for gratitude!

SophNickIel, and W

They have bestowed upon myself and the Best Beloved the gift of BOXES. So many boxes. Maybe even enough for my stuff.

What can I say, it’s been a week of “dude! I SO forgot where this was!”.

The Jackson 2

Have offered help for moving day, which is awesome. And their daughter had the best idea for the unused-in-6-years spa pool in the Rumpus room… BALL PIT.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking it’s a joke and I wouldn’t actually fill a spa pool with plastic balls. You would be mistaken.

My flatmates

Who are lovely, and have been such great people to live with for my first 8 months in Auckland. Who gave me Geoffery Wildington Peabody III, who is very excited about her new home. And who recommend websites like Find the Invisible Cow.

The Best Beloved’s parents

Have gamely offered to store a sofa until moving day (now if I can just get the seller to get back to me), and have loaned their van for picking up furniture, and generally been lovely.

The Best Beloved

I can’t wait to be living with him. All the snuggles.

Monsterful Monday: Aces high

Birthday happiness

Not mine, but my Best Beloved’s. He loves Lego, and he loves Star Wars, and I knew just how much he would love to have the Lego Millennium Falcon- the BIG one. So for his birthday I got in touch with a bunch of our friends and hey presto, we clubbed together and got him one. It was so wonderful to see how happy he was, getting it and then making it. Of course now he has to rearrange his shelves so he can display it but still- I’m so grateful that our friends were willing to go in on it, and that it made him as happy as I hoped it would.

Also, Lego Chewie is adorable.

Pirates and Cowboys

This weekend just gone I attended the Pirates and Cowboys LARP weekend, out on the Awhitu peninsula. I had a great time playing two silly and one serious and gritty game, in shopped-in-my-wardrobe costumes (though I’m very grateful to my friend Anna for loaning me a poufy red pirate shirt for one of my costumes, it just made the outfit!), with a bunch of great people. I was exhausted by the end of it, but I had a great time- and I was very grateful to be at a gaming weekend that wasn’t to do with the current big campaign over here.

Even the weather was on our side- it was a clear, warm night for the first silly game, glorious sunshine for the second, and then wind and blasts of rain interspersed with hot and dry for the gritty Western. It’s nice when Nature gives you a hand with the atmosphere.

B School

It starts today. Or sort of. It starts today in America, which because of the time difference means it starts early tomorrow for me. I’m so excited to get going on learning more about online business and get my hustle on, and thankful for having the funds to do it. I’m also grateful for the lovely community of students, it’s great to be going through it with such a supportive and friendly bunch.

The Little Things

Toast, tea, free Burger Rings, scheduling, the existence of this ridonkulous fabric which I totally plan on buying at least 2m of to make a skirt, being called a majestic unicorn by Betty Le Bonbon, new ideas, comfy beds to sleep in, good showers, getting back into some sort of running routine, decluttering, re-reading awesome books, and of course snuggles and kisses with the Best Beloved.

How about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Monsterful Monday: #choosemust, bicycle bears and a birthday

Webstock

Er. Ma. Gerd. Webstock 2015 was everything I hoped and much more. They put up the talks from each year for free online after the convention, and when they do that for 2015 you can be sure I’ll link y’all to Elle Luna‘s inspiring and beautiful talk on ‘The Crossroads of Should and Must’. The talk was born from an article she wrote on the subject, which she has since turned into a book (which I have pre-ordered, something I almost never do, because I’m so excited to read it).

I got to meet her at the after party (after 2 days of keeping an eye out for her and failing) and she was super-lovely and I went all dorky but she didn’t seem to mind.

Other highlights included Matt Patterson talking about customer service, Des Traynor- “using software is the new smoking a cigarette, the minute we go anywhere we’re taking a drag” (so true), Harper Reed and his amazing suit, Shelley Bernstein- who made me really want to go see the Brooklyn Museum if and when I go to New York (and hopefully don’t get ill with a temperature this time), Janet Crawford on gender inequality, Frank Chimero (building a site against the intentions of the internet leads to a Bicycle Bear website- “yeah, OK, the bear can ride a bicycle, and that’s kind of cool, but also cruel- just let the bear do bear stuff, man!”) There were some very interesting points raised about technology making decisions for us, about our relationship to the internet, about privacy, about the power and danger of the web. Every talk was fascinating and I’ll be saving up to make sure I can go next year.

My rockstar moment of the weekend was being retweeted by Cory Doctorow. Who also told a friend of mine he liked his cape.

Someone told one of my colleagues that they wanted to lick my Molly Crabapple tattoo, which was a lot weird. Someone else told me that the same tattoo reminded them of Delirium of the Endless, which was not weird at all and very cool. That same person also said I was “looking very punk rock- a lot more punk rock than when you left Wellington”.

Outside of the talks, the food was delicious, the icecream dangerously yum, the drinks free-flowing, and seeing/meeting other web folks was great. And I’m so grateful that this event that I’ve been looking forward to for ages was as good as I hoped it would be.

The Pride Parade

The Best Beloved and I hit Ponsonby Road on Saturday night to enjoy the Auckland Pride Parade, which was colourful and fabulous and I swear there was a guy dressed up as a heavily-bedazzled Hydra soldier. Seriously, there was a silver octopus on his hat. There were drag queens on swings, actual flames, some glitter (there could have been more glitter) fantastic costumes, and we got to wave enthusiastically at friends in the parade. Also I got to wear my flamingo dress (which is finished- photos and a blog post coming soon) and it wasn’t out of place.

Birthday fun

It was the Best Beloved’s birthday at the weekend, and I’m grateful for any excuse to spoil him. We spent part of it at a LARP, where I was cast as the Big Bad- it’s my first time playing the iconic villain of a campaign game, I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses (though we all know how it’ll most likely end- dramatic death scene ftw!). The rest was spent doing very little except snuggling, reading, and eating tasty food. All good ways to spend a day, and all things to be thankful for.

The little things:

Starting to go through the links and book suggestions from Webstock, flights going smoothly, my year planner, useful convention swag, hot chips, butter chicken, butter naan, mental white space, photobooth photos, knitting, being with a man who says “go for it” when I want to drink the sauce from my starter at a restaurant, working out how to style outfits, bright ideas, supportive friends, not having to get up quite so early in the morning (at least sometimes).

How about you? What are you grateful for this week? Let me know in the comments.

 

Gratituesday: the well-rested edition

Crafting time

The practice of setting aside 20 minutes each morning to craft is making me much more productive. Doing something just for me before I get up and face the day is really good for my state of mind, and once I’ve started I just keep going. Yes, I’ve missed more than one bus because I was busy stitching, but it’s worth it. I’m getting lots more crafting done.

Project Runway

In the evenings, the flatmates and I have dinner, and watch Project Runway, usually while I craft. We’re watching Season 8, which I’ve never seen before. I’m told Mondo was robbed. I’m already seeing that in some of the episodes. He’s quiet but very creative, just getting on with each challenge and coming up with gorgeousness.

Galavant

All I can say is if you haven’t yet seen this, you need to. It’s a medieval musical comedy fairytale- how many of THOSE do you see on TV? I’m grateful to Tumblr, without which I wouldn’t know it existed.

Long weekends

Things have worked out well, it’s all I can say. I’ve managed to make it so that I’ve got a month where every week is a short one. It makes adjusting to being back at work so much easier. And on Waitangi weekend, I’m getting my next tattoo started. I can’t wait!

The little things:

English Breakfast Tea being back in the kitchen, great cookbooks from the library, having things to do, snuggles and kisses with the Best Beloved.

What about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Gratituesday: lets all be acerbic and make wookie noises.

The weekend just gone was Kapcon, an annual roleplaying convention down in Wellington. I was one of the helper-monkeys, and it was utterly exhausting but ran smoothly (which is always good), and I got to play in some fun games. I was also Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Owen Lars, Red Leader and Admiral Motti in a reading of ‘William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope’.

Apparently I was especially good at getting the acid tone into Leia’s insults. Even in iambic pentameter. I forget, until I get a chance to do it, how much I enjoy scripted acting, especially Shakespeare. And when I told the Best Beloved I was playing Chewie he laughed his ass off.

I was also a boy scout child of hippies (“I want three of your Mum’s cookies!” “Do you remember what happened when you had *two* of them? DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN WE FED ONE TO THE DOG?”), and a map-reading, accidentally-kill-stealing Greek hero. Those were both great too. And the Police Commissioner in a superhero LARP- for which I won ‘the Nolanverse award for grittiness under pressure’. That’s what happens when you start smack-talking superheroes.

I was very grateful to get back to snuggles from the Best Beloved, and also that I took the day off on Monday to recover. Such sleep. Much naps. Very lazy. Wow.

The 15 in 2015 is coming along very nicely, which I’m definitely grateful for. I got a lot of embroidery for one of the quilt projects done over Kapcon (the advantage of tabletop), and I’ve been spending many pleasant evenings stitching and watching Project Runway. I’m pleased with how things are turning out (with my crafting, not always with Project Runway. We’re on Season 8 at home, which I haven’t seen, but I suspect I’ll come away agreeing that Mondo was robbed…)- which is good as one of the projects is for a very particular friend of mine who once re-wrapped all their Christmas presents so they’d match. You can’t make this stuff up. That’s going to be a challenge for my usual punk-rock, laissez-faire-les-f***-ups attitude to crafting.

The little things

Fun things in the mail, being decisive and actually using one of my precious Molly Crabapple stickers (my Kindle is now 100% more badass), sunshine, Jenny Hart’s Embroidered Effects, the library, plums being in season, experimental rosemary scones, sausage rolls, Burger Fuel’s Firestone Fish burger (it’s what the Filet o’ Fish dreams of being), Stephanie Dosen and Hans Zimmer music, my little red carry-on suitcase.

How about you? What are you grateful for this week?

Monsterful Monday- monkey cuddlepile

And other highlights of the Hamilton Zoo, where my Best Beloved and another friend went after the Medusa LARP convention on the weekend.

It was so nice to go to a small-but-perfectly-formed convention, play in two very good games (in one of which, as the Lovecraft scholar I got the ultimate fangirl ending- hooking up with HP Lovecraft himself and in the other of which, I forgave the man who murdered me and ended up a military tactician in the Army of Heaven- not bad for a waitress) and have a blast GMing a third, plus go exploring with three friends.

I’ve never been to Hamilton before, so it was fun to get out and about somewhere new, even if we couldn’t find any cafes open (just the comic book store- yay Christmas gifts!- and all the adult shops, weirdness). Also, much hilarity ensued when we were typical big city dwellers- “WHERE IS THE COFFEE?” and my friend’s GPS seemed to want to send us back to Auckland. I couldn’t help wondering at how quickly I’ve adapted.

The Art of Asking

Turns out, if you’re having trouble working out what to get someone for Christmas, just asking them what they’d like works really well. Thus my brother gets a new coffee maker, and I get to buy him something I know he really wants. Our relationship has been distant for a long time but we’re finally getting to know each other and I’m very very thankful for that.

Oh and Amanda Palmer’s book of the same name which I’m still reading is very good and you should totally go buy it.

The Adorables

Is apparently mine and the Best Beloved’s new nickname. I love it. It’s like the Incredibles, but involves more cuddles. The BB took very good care of me this weekend. Conventions always exhaust me, and having someone to look after me was really good.

Advent!

Time to visit Santa, start in on the advent calendar (no, I don’t have a chocolate one…I just get my own chocolate), and get excited about the Christmas break, which I’m so ready for. Yes, I said visit Santa. I never did it as a kid, because I was scared of Santa, but now with the weirdness of Christmas in summer, I love going and saying what I want for Christmas, and getting a photo. It makes me feel very festive. And yes, there will be photos.

The little things

Black pudding, snuggly naps, being productive, finishing projects, resisting the Black Friday sales (so proud of myself), mango chicken, the Bloggess, planning trips, crafting, exciting parcels, insane Christmas ornaments, and words of affirmation.

Monsterful Monday: paying attention

 

I thought today, in lieu of the usual post, I would share a story with you.

Earlier this week, I was on my usual walk home, quite tired from work and wishing for the weekend (lots of time with friends, some Best Beloved snuggles, and a fantastic LARP in the local park, since you ask), when I happened upon this garden:

 

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I stood for a few moments utterly dumbfounded. I walk along this street most days, usually twice. I couldn’t work out how I had never noticed it before when it was so lovely- so many colours! Someone in that house clearly worked very hard to grow their garden.

I looked across the road to see what was on the other side, which must have been distracting me and it dawned on me. On the other side of the road was the Dog House.

You see, on this street, at that particular point in the road, is a house where, on my first trip along it, a barking, growling dog came rocketing out of the house and pursued me, while its owner called it off and I tried to stay still. Whenever it sees me, it barks and growls. It does this to everyone.

I realised I’d started looking with apprehension at that gate to see if the dog was there waiting to bark at me and make me jump out of my skin.

All those weeks, and spring had sprung and I had completely ignored the gorgeous flowers across the street, because I was too busy looking at the gate where there might or might not be a dog.

That’s why I do these posts, each week, every week. To try and notice the beauty in my life instead of the fear and the barking trying to attract my attention.

There is a lot wrong with the world. Some of it we can help with. Some of it we can protest about (as I did at the weekend by attending the Bust Rape Culture protest at the High Court). A lot we can’t. But we can at least try and focus more on hopeful things and good things. Because that makes the world just a little bit better.

The little things:

Kisses, comforting touches, the expressions on peoples’ faces when I named a big boss monster Fluffy, the reactions when I was offered glitter, balloons, tea, sleep, talking to Anna, champagne saucers, this planter, learning a really useful method at the NZ Bloggers Network meetup, music, writing, crafting, old Jim Henson goodness, tasty food, catching up with lovely people, terrible ‘erotic’ Britney Spears dancing.

Monsterful Monday: There’s no place like home

I’m back from a lovely weekend away getting inked and seeing people. It was lovely going through wedding magazines with one of my BFFs, eating very large cooked breakfasts (and having the excuse of “I’m about to get a tattoo”, at least on one day), catching up with folks and enjoying their reactions to my flamingo hair. But it was also lovely coming home to Auckland, being met by the Best Beloved and going off to have fish and chips by the seaside.

Chupa Chups

Turn out to be a magical pain-reducing elixir! No really. I was given one part-way through my tattoo session, which did make me feel rather like I was a well-behaved child at the doctor’s BUT OMG people, when you have something like that to distract you it does make a difference to the pain. I’m starting to understand why people take their iPods along when they get inked. But that seems a bit cut-off-from-things to me, after all you book in with an artist because you like them, and surely it’s a chance for a chat? I was grateful for the lolly, grateful that it was a cola flavoured one (my favourite), and grateful for the effect it had.

Hash browns

Do I even need to explain this one? Hash. Browns. She who is tired of fried shredded potato is tired of LIFE.

Time to myself

In the midst of the catching up with folks and being sociable, I really value getting time alone to recharge my batteries. This weekend I got it by going to watch ‘The Maze Runner’ after my tattoo session- distracting yourself with a movie is a great way to make sure you don’t worry at the wrapping until enough time has passed. Pretty good movie, and I always have time for Thomas Brodie Sangster- I’d like to read the book to see how it compares. Though as a feminist I was frustrated about it being all boys except for the one girl- why couldn’t the author make it a community of boys and girls? Would that have changed it so much?

Crafting inspiration

I am, of course, trying to avoid catching startitis (you don’t get immune to it once you’ve had it, let me tell you), but there’s a craft get-together coming up that I’m excited about, and new projects are always fun. Mainly because you haven’t reached the ‘dear God will this never END’ part of them.

Tomorrow!

Because tomorrow I share the Oracle Deck tutorial with you, and I’m so thrilled to be doing so.

The Little Things

Sinamay hat bases (and ideas about them), sleeping in your own bed, Hustle Butter, delicious smelling and tasting lip balm, being finally able to nap in an upright airline seat, great books (‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St John Mandel and ‘Lets Pretend This Never Happened’ by Jenny Lawson), loose-fitting clothing (because of the tattoo), new juicer (now I can at least attempt to make tasty green juice), dry socks, awesome art, Instagram, new embroidery floss and Aida cloth, getting excited for Christmas.

What about you? What’s floating your boat this week?