Saturday, November 30, 2013

They might fly through the air with the greatest of ease, but they're taking years off my life while they do it...

I think I was about three years old the first time I went to the circus.  

I have this vague recollection of going into a tent, sitting on some rather uncomfortable benches, and watching the usual circus type entertainments.  They had performing animals (it was back in the 70's when they could still bring a wild animal into an enclosed space with young children), tumblers, a ringmaster, clowns ... the whole kit and kaboodle.  

I don't really remember much of it, I was far too young, but there is one part of the whole show I remember with almost startling clarity.  

The acrobats.

I remember watching them, utterly convinced they were going to plummet to their deaths.  They didn't, of course, but from that point on I have to say it was my least favourite part of the circus ... something that I was vividly reminded of recently when I went to see a circus themed stage show with my friend Bob.

So many bloody acrobats swinging around like they were trying to break their necks!  With each one I was equal parts impressed and horrified.  But it wasn't until the last one that I almost lost it.

He was young, just a kid really, and he settled himself on the bar of the trapeze and just started twisting around and around, contorting until he was all tied up in the ropes and barely a foot from the ceiling, at least twenty metres up.  Then he looked down at us, smiled, and let go. 

And I just about had a heart attack.

He was fine of course, he just tumbled around and around and then turned his feet out at the last minute to stop from falling to the ground.  Got quite the round of applause in fact.  I, however, was only barely able to restrain myself from giving him a good shaking!  I was sure he was going to end up a smushed little spot on the ground!

So here's my message to you, Mr Acrobat.  I was incredibly impressed by your skill and dedication to your craft.  But if you ever scare me like that again, you little shit, not even Bob's hand on my arm will stop me from rushing onto that stage and giving you a good slap!

Bloody trapeze artists...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

It'll be just like Pay It Forward ... you know, if Haley Joel Osment was an eighty year old woman...

Hello you gorgeous people you!

Today, instead of entertaining you wall with the rambling minutiae that runs through my brain, I was hoping to ask you all a favour.  I think we're at that point in our relationship that I can do that.  Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to help me move, or to pick me up from the airport, or anything like that.

No, I just want to a wee little favour on behalf of a fellow blogger, Janie Junebug.

You see, her mother in law, Margaret, is turning 80 next month, and she was hoping to get 80 birthday cards sent to her from all around the world.  Isn't that a lovely idea?  I know I'd be pretty chuffed if I was turning 80 and so many people took the time to send me a card.

And it's such an easy thing to do, just buy a card and pop it in the mail.  Margaret gets a bunch of birthday wishes, Janie gets the best-damned-daughter-in-law-in-the-world award, and you get the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from doing something nice!

It's a win all round!

So if you'd like to help out, just head on over to Janie's blog here [link] for the address and other details, or send the card to the address below

Janie Goltz
PO Box 61371
Jacksonville FL 32236

And congrats Margaret!!! Way to make it into the Octagenarian's Club!

Monday, November 25, 2013

If you're happy and you know it wag your tail...

For a geek, I like to think that I tick most of the boxes.

I love Doctor Who to a degree that is, quite frankly, both unhealthy and kind of awesome.  I play World of Warcraft and have multiple toons at the highest level.  I've been to more than one midnight screening of Star Trek movies.  Hell, I even used to play Dungeons & Dragons, and I keep my dice in my bedside cabinet to this day!

But if there's one element of the geek lifestyle that I've yet to indulge in, I'd have to say it's cosplay.

For those of you who don't know, cosplay is the practice where someone dresses up as a character in a show, movie, book, or game that they love.  Gender doesn't matter.  Physical appearance doesn't matter.  Hell, species doesn't even matter!  All that matters is that you love that character so much that you want to pretend to be them, even if just for a little while.  

Truthfully, I've never felt any desire to cosplay.  I get why people do, but it never really appealed to me.

At least until now.

I saw this video the other day from a company who've invented an electronic tail that works depending on your mood and I had an instant and violent reaction.  I WANT ONE!  I'm not sure why, just that I desperately do.  I mean, come on, who WOULDN'T want a tail that wags faster the happier you are!

Okay, I know it's not really cosplay in the traditional sense ... in fact, it skirts closer to furries than I'm entirely comfortable with ... but I'm going to blithely disregard that fact.

Take a look and I bet you'll want one too ...even if you won't admit it.

I'm not even sure if they're being produced for sale yet, but if they are and anyone is looking for a Christmas present for me...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I won't lie, I'm a bit of a princess...

This will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has met me, but I'm not really one for roughing it.

I don't camp.  I don't sleep on the ground.  I don't stay in hotels less than three and a half stars.  I don't share rooms with strangers because it's cheaper.  I don't do bush showers, or amenities blocks, or "we don't need bathing facilities, we'll just wash in the creek".

I'm a bit precious when it comes to things like that.

To be completely honest, I'm a bit of a princess.  Given a choice I'll pick three days in a five star hotel over four weeks in a caravan, no question.  When I travel (and in my home town for that matter), I prefer to stay at The Stamford.  I like room service.  And movies on demand.  And masseuses you can have come to your room.

I've actually used a pillow menu, for god's sake!

But as much of a diva as I like to think I can be about things like that, I've got nothing on these guys [link].  For you linktually challenged people out there, the website gives a list of strange, over the top things you can request at some of the world's most fancy hotels.  Things like a tanning butler, or a dog psychic, or a menu of sex toys.

Well I think it's quite obvious I've been slacking off in the demanding guest department.  Why have I never thought of insisting on a massage in a gondola?  Or someone to hand slice my soap for me?  Or a gold plated iPad?

And truth be told, I honestly think if I called the concierge at some of the hotels I've stayed in and asked him to send someone up to slice my soap, he actually would.  The staff always seem way too eager to do whatever I've ask, no matter how ridiculous and unreasonable the demand.  Nothing is too hard, no request too difficult.

It sure beats home where, no matter how many times I ask, Gypsy the Feline Dictator refuses to turn down the bed and put a chocolate on the pillow.

But seriously, if you've never stayed in a five star hotel before, do yourself a favour and try it, even if it's just for a single night.  Get on one of those cheap last minute hotel deal sites, book the room that has the biggest discount, then go and pretend to be rich and famous for an evening.  Ask the concierge to bring you extra bubble bath.  Call room service and have them bring you an icecream sundae.  Order every spa treatment you can to be done in your room.

It's indulgent and totally decadent ... but so worth it.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Apparently your birth month says a lot about your health, even if it can't predict that you're going to meet a tall dark stranger...

I've never really been a believer in horoscopes.

I know, coming from a Pagan that's pretty rich, but there you have it.  I've always looked at them in the same way I look at fortune cookies ... fun, but not something I'm going to be basing any major life decisions on.

Still, I might just have to eat my words if this study [link] is anything to go on.  Scientists are saying that there might be a connection between what month you were born in and what sort of diseases and conditions you're susceptible to.

And we're not just talking about one crackpot in a labcoat who surveyed fifty people and called it a day, there are over 200 studies dating back to the 1920's that all support the theory.  I have to admit my first reaction when I read the article was to scoff, but when I thought about it from a scientific perspective it does make a strange kind of sense.  Different conditions, different climates, different temperatures, I suppose they must all have some sort of an impact on an unborn child.

You poor people who were born in April ... I'm so sorry.  You definitely come out worse on this particular survey.  Of the fifteen different categories, you guys are susceptible to eleven of them.  But on the plus side, at least you miss out on Alzheimers, Down's Syndrome, Epilepsy and Schizophrenia, so that's nice I suppose.  In comparison, if you're born in September, October or November you only have one category to worry about.

Lucky bastards.

I'm a May baby, so I seem to fare better than some of the other months.  I rarely drink so alcohol abuse is unlikely, and autism and childhood diabetes are already off the table.  I suppose I'm still in the running for eating disorders, glaucoma, and Parkinson's Disease, but I'm pretty optimistic of my chances.

As for the personality disorders ... no comment.

Monday, November 18, 2013

UK internet filters V's determined teenagers: my money's on the kids...

I'm not a big fan of censorship.

Considering I work in a library, that's probably not much of a surprise to any of you.  We're kinda big on the whole open access to information schtick, so when I read about how the UK are going through with the Internet block rigmarole in a wildly unproportional attempt to shelter kids from online pornography [link], my freedom to information loving little heart broke a little.

This is a slippery slope you're starting down, UK.

To be fair, it's not like they're putting a blanket block across the whole country, people can still "opt in" to be able to access the naughty rumpty pumpty sites if they want to.

And that's the thing, isn't it.  If they want to see those sites, they have to actually have the balls to put their hand up and say "Yes, I'd like you to let me see the filth you're so bound and determined to stop me from looking at".  Really, UK?  You're going to shame your population into becoming so sexually frustrated they'll have to resort to old school methods like dirty magazines and bootleg porn movies?

Where does one even find a bootleg porn DVD in this day and age, anyway?

But let's be realistic here, this is not going to solve the problem you're so desperately trying to find a solution to.  All it's going to do is get every husband in the country put in the doghouse by their wives, and it's not going to stop a single kid from accessing porn if they really want it bad enough.

Because no matter how good you might think your filters and processes are, they simply aren't a match for a 14 year old with high school level computer skills and a burning determination to see Busty Ladies VII.

Just saying.

Friday, November 15, 2013

How much do seeing eye dogs cost anyway...

In the laundry...

Me:  (filling the washing machine) Hey Gypsy, you okay down there?
Gypsy the Feline Dictator: ... 
Me:  Usually you're meowing up a storm, begging for food.  Gotta say, it's nice to be able to finish this without having to stop to get you a chicken wing. 
Gypsy the Feline Dictator: ... 
Me:  How about I finish up with this laundry, then you can come into the bedroom with me and we'll snuggle up while I read?   
Gypsy the Feline Dictator: ... 
Me:  You really are being quiet, are you okay? 
(reaches down to pat her, then jerks away) 
Me:  Um ... 
Vacuum cleaner: ...

I actually spent ten minutes talking to the vacuum cleaner last night.  Ten minutes, using that sickly voice you always use with animals, not realising that the cat was sitting out in the loungeroom and I was talking to a cleaning appliance.

I think perhaps it's time to look into laser eye surgery ... or I could just remember to put my glasses on before wandering around the house.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

If I murder the infomercial people, I'm pretty sure I could get off with justifiable homicide...

They used me, abused me, and violated me in ways most unbefitting.  I thought I could trust them.  I thought they had honor.

I will never trust television advertising again!

I was watching something on television the other day when an ad came on ranting about the benefits of using this new frizzy hair product. You'd smooth out the tangles, you'd reduce the static, you'd end up looking just like the model ... apparently.

I found it hard to believe that I'd end up looking like a six foot amazonian blonde who seemed to have left her lower ribs at home that day just because I used a handful of goop on my hair, but hey, I'm open minded. I decided to give it a go anyway.

I suppose I should have known better than to believe a ruddy hair product ad. They've never told me the truth before, why should they start now?

But despite what my common sense was telling me, I trotted down to my local apothocary and shelled out the ridiculous sum of $40 for the bottle of serum.  A very, VERY small bottle of serum.

Sure it was a lot of money for such a teensy amount of hair product, but it'd be worth every cent if it actually worked.  My hair has always been on the curly side, with a definite leaning towards frizz whenever I'm silly enough to try brushing it.  If the production worked even half as well as they claimed, it would have been money well spent.  I got home, washed my hair and smoothed the stuff on, then dried it.

 No difference. No berloody difference whatsoever! 

 I've been duped! Hoodwinked! Honestly, one of these days I'm going to hunt down all these snake oil merchants and exact my own special brand of vigilante justice!

Seriously, it's a dangerous thing to do, tempting a frizzy haired woman with promises of smooth, silky curls!  There isn't a jury in the land that would convict me!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It was a dark and stormy night when Harry crept into Draco's dorm room...

There's one question I get asked a lot that never fails to make me gulp in a visually comical way.

"So, Kellie, what are you reading at the moment?"

I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about.  When people find out you like to write, it's just a short jump to assuming (quite correctly) that you like to read too.  And if you like to read, then you must have some amazing recommendations of stuff that will blow their minds.  Perhaps some hidden gem that will turn out to be the next Harry Potter series.

Oh boy, I could definitely recommend things that would blow their minds ... I'm just not sure if I should.

Okay, I'll just come out and say it ... I read fan fiction.

I know, I know, I'm not supposed to like that stuff.  Or at least I'm not supposed to admit to liking that stuff.  But you know what?  I'm done with the hiding!  I'm coming out of the literary closet!

I'm a fan fiction reader, and proud of it!

And really, before you go scoffing at my lack of literary depth you really should try it first.  I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful it is knowing that somewhere out in the world there's a small army of people, and they're all writing hundreds of thousands of words a day about shows and characters that I already love.  I never run out of things to read, I get to see what my favourite characters would do in situations the TV networks would never allow them to be in, and I don't have to pay a cent for it!

So instead of hiding my literary leanings, I've decided I'm just going to be honest from now on.  When someone asks me what I'm reading now, I'm just going to tell them.  Maybe I'll even give them an URL or two.

But I don't think I'll warn them about the tendency fan fiction authors have to pile on the homoerotica and make all their characters gay.  I'll just leave that as a surprise.

Kellie's Fan Fiction Recommendations (just some of my favourites)

Sandstorms [link] by Mithreon (Stargate Atlantis) - Lot and lots of angst here.  I cried so much reading it! 
Make A Wish [link] by Rorschach's Blot (Harry Potter) - This was written before the series was finished, but it's hilarious and well worth the read.   
My Father's Keeper [link] by Emerald1 (NCIS) - Another angsy offering, this time with poor Tim McGee getting the rough end of the stick. 
Syrup and Honey [link] by LauGS (Glee) - a really well done "what if" story where Kurt owns a bakery. 
Ianto Jones' Diary [link] by Torchwoodfour (Torchwood) - This one was great!  A bit of a "missing scenes" one, in the form of a Bridget Jonesesque diary written by good old Ianto.  
Feel free to leave recommendations of your own in the comments!  I'm always looking for new stuff to read!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Go back to Uni, they said ... it'll be fun, they said...

Help, I've got my first postgrad exam on Tuesday and I'm kind of having a melt down!  Send chocolate!

Okay, maybe I'm overstating it just a tad.  I'm not exactly panicking yet ... I'm sure that will happen sometime on Tuesday morning ... but I am starting to get worried.  Why did I decide to study accouning?  Why couldn't I choose a nice, safe postgrad in ancient history or anthropology or archaeology?

But no, I had to decide that if I was going to make my career in finance, which given that I've been working in the field for 18 year seems pretty likely, it might be a good idea if I actually had some qualifications.  I know, I'm full of kooky ideas like that.

Now I'm no stranger to mature age tertiary education.  I did my archaeology degree while I was working full time, so I know all about having to juggle work and study and how to make use of the company photocopiers.  Back then I could do my readings before work started, jot off an essay in my lunch break, and barely break a sweat.

But a postgrad in accounting?  That's a whole other kettle of fish.

Last time around I was studying a history based course, which pretty much meant I spent all my time reading stories and then bullshitting essays based on what I read.  I was good at that!  Hell, I'm sure any blogger out there could cruise their way through a history based degree on the power of their bullshitting skills alone.

But I can't do that with this course.  This time I can't rely on a half assed knowledge of the facts and a better than average vocabulary to get me by.  This time I actually have to STUDY stuff!

I know, the sheer nerve!

Oh well, I guess I should just suck it up and keep at it.

But seriously, how the hell does one do a Cashflow Statement anyway?  Because as far as I can tell the numbers make about as much sense as if they'd been pulled out of one of those rolling bingo cages at random.

I just wonder if they'll provide the bingo cage in the exam or if I have to supply my own.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Warning, cranky woman ahead...

My head hurts. My hair's being all sticky up. My shoes are too tight. The underpants gnomes ate all my undies. My pen is scratchy. My computer is flickering. My bird hates me. My fridge smells like dirty sweat socks and cheese. My carpet is like a wilderness preserve for ants. My desk is buried in paper. My filing cabinet is trying to eat me. My cat is ignoring me.

It's just one of those days, I'm afraid.  It feels a little like the world is conspiring to ... well, not make me angry exactly.  Annoy me a little, perhaps?

Do any of you ever have those days?  You know the ones, where everything seems to take a perverse delight in going wrong and no matter how hard you try all you really want to do is yell at someone and my GOD why do people insist on standing so close to my desk to have a twenty minute long conversation about something I neither know nor care anything about?

Seriously, you've all got your own desks!  What's so appealing about mine that makes you all head straight to it!

I know, I know, I'm being unreasonable, but I just can't seem to help myself.  Everything is rubbing me the wrong way today and it really is only a matter of time before someone's left in tears ... and it ain't gonna me me. 

Normally I'm PMSing when I'm in this sort of a mood, but I've checked the calendar and I'm definitely not.

It's official then, it's not me. It's all the rest of you guys.