Ahhhh, I am so bad at keeping this blog up to date, I have just been so seriously busy. Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry.
I DO keep meaning to sit down and write movie reviews, but (a) I don’t like the ever present risk of spoilers and (b) that’s not really very specific to Northern Ireland now, is it? I realize I occasionally veer off this very strict path I’ve set myself, but I think it’s okay if I’m trying not to. At least. Maybe.
SO. Here are some marvelous Etsy finds for the month of July. And oh, it has been glorious! Have you been enjoying this seriously un-Northern-Irish weather? I decided to backtrack to July, since I will probably run out of things to talk about later in August and then I can pull out the Etsy Finds card again. Genius.
As per usual, all these AMAZING crafty treasures are made by buyers/Etsy stores based in and around Belfast. It never fails to surprise me what local people are capable of. Not because I think you’re all rubbish (I don’t!), I’m just that impressed by the handiwork.
First up: look at how topical I can be. Since they have just revealed the new Doctor, here is a wall decal that every fan of Doctor Who should rush out and buy immediately. Except that you don’t even have to rush out, because you can get it on the internet, by clicking that picture right up there.
Speaking of mysterious creatures from other worlds…
My obsession with Adventure Time continues. I just think I would’ve been a much better adult if I had been able to watch that cartoon as a child. Or I would’ve turned out like Lumpy Space Princess and somehow taken over the world. If you are feeling particularly crafty, this is actually a PDF download for a crochet pattern. Click on the picture to pay and download.
If you DO make it, send me it. Or at least a picture, as proof.
I apologize, gentleman, but excuse me for just one moment.
OH, HOW CUTE ARE THESE SHORTS? I just realized I could have put an “eat my shorts” joke here, but I’m too lazy and hungry to think of one right now.
Welcome back, men folk. Don’t worry, I saved the very best for last.
How amazing! And also awful. I’m crying, but also impressed. These are hard emotions to understand. Again, you can click on this to find and buy it.
You’re welcome. I will try to be better with the blogging situation, but if the sun comes out again, I will make no promises…
You may have noticed, if you notice such things, that I am not quite as prolific in my blogging as I have been in the past. I apologize, but the thing is, on any given day, I HAVE FOUR HUNDRED THINGS TO DO.
In fact, I am only doing this blog now because I’ve just done an hour and a half of uni work and I need a break before my brain explodes and redecorates my bedroom. With brain gunk.
On the plus side, for those of you that dabble in the reading of blogs, I shall be much, much easier to keep up with. Instead of, like, eight blogs a day about what I’ve just eaten or the episode of the Clone Wars I’ve just watched.
SO. I did, in a past blog, promise you that I would go to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition over the weekend and then tell you about how great it was. I assured you it would be face-melting (or something to that effect), so HOLD ONTO YOUR FACES.
First of all, I would like to say that getting tickets for this free (that’s my favourite word) event was much, much more difficult that it should have been. I mean, the internet is all powerful, surely ‘click and possess’ is a fairly straightforward concept? Alas, the website was crashing all over the show and the phone lines were busy and I was starting to hyperventilate and stress. I did a mean, awful thing – don’t judge me. I was scared I would end up with no tickets at all, so I sent a nasty email to Titanic telling them to wind their neck in and make things work better.
I am a mean, bad person. I am ashamed.
To make the shame even worse, some lovely bloke from Titanic Customer Services emailed back immediately, with an apology, and then offered to book the tickets for me. Eek. I still feel bad about being a grump.
Good on you though, Titanic, your people are marvellous.
Ticket drama aside, I was so excited about this. The little clip advertising it was immense…and WordPress still won’t let me embed videos. I had forgotten that. Oh well,here’s the link.
I had never actually been inside the Titanic building before (I know, I know, I am a museum geek and a touch patriotic, so I really should go for a proper visit), but it’s pretty flippin’ cool. And busy, which is always nice to see. The guys at the coffee shop thing were dressed like ye olde times paper boys, and the toilets were ultra clean and shiny. What more can you ask from anywhere, really?
Wisely, when booking tickets for the exhibition, you had to choose a time slot – this sounds kind of like hassle and a bit odd, but it meant the displays weren’t too crowded and you didn’t have to queue for too long to get a good look at anything. AND OH, the things there were to look at.
The exhibition was divided up according to family – the Starks, Lannisters, Baratheons, Greyjoys and Targareans all had their own little areas, as did the Nights Watch (although characters from North of the Wall were stuffed in that display too, which makes sense, I guess). There were videos playing all around the place too, and although they were really just behind the scenes videos from the DVDs, always worth a watch. Some of the main characters did little ‘Welcome to the Game Of Thrones Exhibition’ clips too, which was a nice feature.
I don’t want to trawl through every single item I saw, but highlights included some of the Starks’ costumes (all lined up beside each other, like in the first episode before they all shoot off in opposite directions all over Westeros), Ned Stark’s head on a spike (which I only noticed because I tipped my head back to yawn – it was pretty high up), Ice and Needle (among LOADS of other weapons) and the dragon eggs and scale models of Drogon. All in all, it took around 40 minutes to see everything.
So neat. Some of Emilia Clarke’s costumes were out on display along with said dragons, and man, that chick is TINY. The detail that does into all the costumes in mind blowing – small stitches and teeny details that a camera would never pick up, just proof that this show takes itself seriously! As well it should.
I think that’s more than enough of my talking, here are some blurry, dark, badly taken Iphone photos. You’re so welcome.
You may notice that there are only two dragon eggs here; one of them hatched! Teehee, I kid, obviously – the third egg was given to George R.R. Martin as a wedding gift! I thought that was a nice gesture.
The exhibit is in Belfast until June 17th, but there are no tickets left now. If you are elsewhere in the world, see where it goes next on their site!
If you’re heading down to the exhibit, or if you have already been, nip over to Facebook and tell me if you liked it!
I already had a rant about the airport and covered the Eiffel Tower in day one – you can go read that here, if you like.
While I had a plan for the weekend in mind before we set off, day two (Saturday) was meant to be a day of wandering and discovering. And oh, it was. I am not a healthy, sporty or fit person, but I think we might have walked about 5 miles. First thing in the morning I hopped out of bed (also something I don’t usually do, at home it’s more of a roll-and-splat motion), and we made a beeline for the Seine. If you are headed to Paris in the future, you really, really have to start your trip with a boat tour. It’s insanely beautiful, very informative and gives you an idea of where everything is in comparison to everything else.
We went with Bateaux Parisian, because it wasn’t raining and we could sit outside and take fifty million pictures.
After our very lovely boat trip, we WALKED from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame, via a whole bunch of bridges and museums and gardens and landmarks. Paris really does need to be done on foot, we would’ve missed so much if I had been more me-like and refused to walk. Notre Dame is spectacular, of course, but they’ve built a viewing platform-thingy for the 850th anniversary (yes! 850 years! That is one OLD, OLD building), which was packed, ruined the view from the ground and looked downright cheap and tacky. Especially when you put it beside on of the most recognizable cathedrals in the world.
RIGHT. On to the real geekery. First up, after getting into Notre Dame and being silent and respectful, we got a little bit lost. Which would’ve been fun, if my legs weren’t about to drop off and if we weren’t literally going in circles. We did stumble across the world’s fanciest toilet, but I don’t think that’s really a feature of the city…
Eventually we found the Pantheon, one of the big tourist attractions that nobody seems to really go to. Except for the French. Good news is, if you are between 18 and 25 and from the EU, you get in for free! Same goes for the Louvre and the Arc De Triomphe. It pays to be from Northern Ireland. Sometimes.
This one time.
I highly recommend a visit to the Pantheon though, it’s really amazing. They have a wonderful exhibition on how the church building is actually crumbling and falling down, which was both interesting and terrifying. Maybe bring a hard hat? The real sights are underneath the church/mausoleum part (it’s changed purpose so many times, thanks to all those revolutions), where there are crypts where the French government bury citizens of note. Of which there are many! Voltaire, Rousseau, Marie and Pierre Curie, Victor Hugo, Alexander Dumas, Louis Braille…the list goes on and on. Humbling to visit and fascinating to look at (all the info. panels are in French, by the by, so you might want to get a book or an audio guide if you really want to know what’s going on).
After we went and visited some famous dead people (ah Paris, the city of love), we got lost a little bit more, but again, in the pursuit of something marvellous. If you have been to France/Paris and you are of a geeky persuasion, you really must’ve gone to Album.
Album is sort of like Forbidden Planet. Except, bigger. And better. With newer stock and older stock and displays that nearly put Disneyland to shame. It’s just…wow. They have an English section as well, so if you aren’t fluent in a foreign language (I got by okay, I’d like to point out), you won’t be completely lost.
PICTURES. ALL THE PICTURES.
As we were heading back to the tourist-beaten-track, we stumbled across another store I’d been dying to see – Shakespeare & Company. An English bookstore opened in 1951, named after an even older English language bookshop (that closed during the Second World War), the place is pure, incredible chaos. There are books everywhere, each room leading on to another room, people crammed into every little space. Oh god, I really loved it. I want my house to look like that. So many books. Heavenly, it really was. The outside of the shop is just as lovely, with little benches and trees and tables of books. Everyone who works there seems to be American, which struck me as odd (HIRE ME?!), but at least you don’t have to try and ask for a specific book in broken French!
All in all, a brilliant day of wandering and finding and shopping and romance. And now, I am sitting in Northern Ireland, wishing so badly I could just go back and stay there forever.
Don’t worry though, days three, four and five are on their way!
So, you may or may not be aware that I am a girl. Of the female persuasion, if you will. Actually, that makes me sound like a lesbian, but I’m just trying to convey to you that I am a chick. Anyway, I can’t speak for all the other geeky lady folk out there, but from time to time, I do like to embrace my inner Barbie. I just like pink, is all. And glitter.
Only sometimes, mind you. Mostly, I like Batman and converse and cats.
With this in mind, here are some pink bits and bobs that I’ve seen around; don’t worry gentlemen, I’m sure you can pull off pink just as well as any lady. Smash the gender roles.
£4 in H&M! Such a bargain, and they still have them in the store in Belfast. They don’t appear to be on the website any more, but if you click the picture, there is an even cuter Iphone cover for under a fiver…it’s panda shaped! If, however, you are a crazy cat lady like myself, you can get something very similar on Amazon. I can personally recommend this one, because I went and ordered myself one when I needed cheering up recently. It has a little tail on the back, too! Bless.
Cute, yesyes? Spotted in H&M in Belfast (the Royal Avenue one, I think). I can’t remember the exact price, because it was a while ago and I was skint and didn’t want to look too closely, lest I get depressed.
Also, I’m not actually a fashion blogger, go look and find the price yourself. Leave me alone.
More Primark love now, in the form of Hello Kitty. The little slippers were £4, but when I went back after payday to buy a pair, they were nowhere to be found! Typical. The onesie is around £14, complete with Hello Kitty ears and bow.
I know I said earlier that this was a boy friendly blog…and I truly meant it. I would greatly like to see a picture of a man in that purple onesie. Not for any weird sexy reasons, just for a giggle. Honest.
Finally, another pink pick from Primark (Lisburn). I’m not entirely sure about this, because it doesn’t really make any sense, grammatically. I do so love a garment that lets everyone know that you’re smarter than them, though. It saves telling everyone you pass in the street, which is time consuming.
I think that’ll do nicely for girly moment, I am all pinked out. I might scrounge up the energy to do a ‘Feelin’ Blue’ for the male types out there…but only if you comment nice things.
My ego needs the boost.
Much to my horror, I didn’t get to watch Game Of Thrones on Monday night, I had to wait until Tuesday night. The reason being I was in Paris, and I suppose if there’s any reason to miss Game Of Thrones, that’s a pretty good one.
I had very mixed feelings about this episode – while some of the scenes were beautiful and moving and clever, some of them seemed (to me, at least)…rushed. This is not to say that I enjoyed it any less, but season two did this as well; some aspects of the story line are dragging, while others are tumbling all over the place at breakneck speed.
For example, the scene with Jon and Ygritte was brief and abrupt; I think they were aiming for cute and tender, but instead it was cheesy and strange. I can’t quite place my finger on what exactly it was about this that I didn’t like…perhaps they had been building it up so much, only to throw it all away with a game of tag and a quick cave tumble?
Argh. I’m annoyed I can’t find the words. Still. Rose Leslie is hot, so that’s okay.
I sound like a grumpy old critic, so I’ll go on to a scene I did like. Jamie and Brienne in the baths was extremely touching. Finally, finally Jamie Lannister seems like a half-decent human being – perhaps, away from the twisted brain of his manipulative sister, he is developing a conscience? We get the Kingslayer’s side of the story and for the first time, Ned Stark does not seem to be as straightforward as he seemed all along. George R. R. Martin writes real characters, each with their faults, failings and shades of grey.
Back to a scene I didn’t like. We’ll alternate, shall we? Jorah and Barristan’s little conversation may have been enlightening into each of their motives (Jorah all the while trying to ascertain whether or not Selmy knows his reasons for following Dany in the first place), but it was drawn out and I found myself more interested in what the queen was getting up to in the background as opposed to what her loyal men at arms were doing in the foreground. It was annoying, because she was blurry, so I couldn’t really tell.
Grey Worm is not an awful lot like what I expected him to be like, either. I thought…bigger? I don’t know, but I was all thrown off by the skinny young man that I only really got the gist of what he was saying.
I did like the Hound’s trial by combat, but given my strange crush on Berric Dondarrion, I am sure this is not unexpected. He coped awfully well when faced with a flaming sword, given how he has run screaming from tea-lights in the past, but alright, I’ll let it go. I continue to be a fan of Thoros, too. I approve of a man that drinks and brings people back from the dead. Like, Jesus. The Jesus of Westeros.
We got two new characters thrown at us this week, too. I do so love a new character. Selyse Baratheon is obviously a fully fledged nutter (she keeps her dead babies in jars and is thrilled that her husband is having a shadow-baby-making affair), and their daughter, Shireen, seems to spend all her time alone in a miserable little room, singing away to herself. I’m sure she has some wider role to play before the season is over, but in the meantime, she seems as mad as her mother.
“Oh, what’s that? You are in prison? I shall teach you to read, that will solve all your problems!”
I’m really just skimming the episode here, but I’ll finish with another scene I was not a fan of. Tywin telling Tyrion that he has to marry Sansa Stark in order to put an end to the Tyrell plot was not as moving as I thought it would be. Tyrion was outraged, yes, but they are bundling towards one particular aspect of the story line (if you have read the books, you are doubtlessly aware) with very little building of tension or atmosphere. The unraveling of this plot was far too fast and simple – serving only as a reminder that Littlefinger has many spies (and some mysterious personal motives that do not include Sansa’s well-being) and that Loras is still gay.
Good to know.
I am giving the real impression that I didn’t enjoy this episode at all – that is really not the case, I just enjoy dissecting things like this. I was entertained, appalled and amused at all the appropriate points, but, much like in the middle of the last season, I am beginning to think that ten episodes just isn’t enough time to give the story the complexities that make it so fantastic.
p.s. ROBB, NO!
Oh. My. God.
This is one of, if not the, greatest episodes of Game Of Thrones so far. It had everything that a fan wants out of the show – intrigue, new characters and dragons. All three of them, at once! That, like, never happens.
I shall start my praise like I usually start – with a confirmation of my love for the Tyrells. Yet again, Margaery shows herself to be a genius little minx, leading Joffery around by with his own ego while his mother watches haplessly. Olenna, too, is well clued into the games that go on in King’s Landing, enough to even catch Varys off guard.
Sidenote: Varys’ revenge on the sorcerer who ‘cut’ him as a child was not in the books (at least, not to my recollection?), but I liked it! It made about a dozen points about his character – he’s powerful, patient and his arm stretches a very long way indeed.
And he’s from Ballycastle!
The episode starts with a bit of a recurring theme – pity for the bad guys. Both Jamie Lannister and Theon Greyjoy were main protagonists in seasons one and two (killing children does not really make for a hero, does it?) and now…well, comeuppance has never been so completely soul wrenching to watch. We’re meant to hate these guys, right? So why does seeing Jamie pushed in the dirt with his severed hand tied around his neck make me so very sad? And why isn’t watching Theon cling to misguided hope feel more satisfying?
Curse you, George R. R. Martin, you are causing me inner turmoil.
This week we finally, FINALLY, got a look at one of the new characters that I have been looking forward to the most. Berric Dondarrion, head of the Brotherhood Without Banners has finally got some screen time – I’ve been expecting him since episode two! He looks a little bit the worse for wear, which is not surprising considering…well, if you’ve read the books, you’ll know he’s had a tough time. He made a rousing little speech about the role the Brotherhood had to play in the war (justice!), and sentenced the captive Hound to trial by combat. Awesome.
I’m going to say something really weird, but give me a minute. Look at both those pictures. The details that go into the costumes and make up and accessories and…everything! These characters are perfectly constructed – Olenna could not be more like how I imagined her if I’d cast her myself. I did picture Berric as being younger and hotter but, well, that’s just me, I suppose.
Anyway, there were, in my opinion, two main scenes in this episode, an icy one and a fiery one. DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?
While we got some nice new characters, we lost one. Mormont, the Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, was struck down in cold blood during a mutiny. Sniff. Poor, poor James Cosmo. He was at Heroes and Legends in W5 this year, y’know. He wasn’t there when I was, or else I would’ve given him a preemptive hug. Craster had his last moment as well, which was well deserved, obviously. During the ensuing fighting and killing and dying, Sam grabs Gilly and her son and slips off into the darkness.
Slightly different from the scene has they had it in the book, but as I has said before, this doesn’t really bother me, as long as everyone is still pointed in the right direction. On the other hand…aren’t we getting anymore white walkers this season?
Meanwhile in Astapor, Daenerys is kicking ass. The moment she was all like, “Yeah, I speak Valyrian, I AM DAENERYS STORMBORN, IT IS MY MOTHER TONGUE”, I screamed. Yes yes yes, I’ve read the books, but I sort of forgot that little detail. And it was so well done!
She’s definitely becoming a queen in her own right, I like how it’s been a gradual change too, and not a haphazard montage or something.
The closing scene of the episode was literally the greatest scene in anything ever, and it goes without saying but I really can’t wait for next week. *
*Next week, I shall be watching a recorded Game Of Thrones on Tuesday night, because I’ll be in Paris for a long weekend. It is a hard, hard life.
A little while ago I mentioned that I got Sky TV. I won’t go back into my adoring prose, because I’m pretty sure everyone knows how much I love it by now. I also mentioned that there are a butt load of new shows starting at the moment, and that I would no doubt have a blog on what I do and do not like. So, well, yes, this is it.
I watch an awful lot of TV recently. Recently, if someone so much as sneezes within a two mile radius of my delicate self, I seem to get sick and have to spend a week on the sofa, so it gives me something to do at the very least.
Anyway, first up on awesome-Sky-TV night, I started to get caught up with Spartacus. Having only seen the first season and the prequel season, I’ve got a quite a bit to catch up with, given that the series just ended. I don’t know what put me off ever watching it after the prequel…I think the change in actors (unavoidable as it was) and my awful habit of moving house lots in the last few years (away from the safety of the parental nest and Sky box) had something to do with it, but I really am I very big fan. Sexy, violent, gory and clever, this is a must-watch show. Preferably not with your parents in the room, which is usually the sign of a great program, no?
Spartacus: Vengance is currently showing on Pick TV.
Next up, I took a gamble, and watched a show that I really did not like the look of. Da Vinci’s Demons is (yet another) fantastical historical drama, based around the history and life of Leonardo Da Vinci. You know, that guy from that Dan Brown book. Anyway, when I say fantastical, I mean of the fantasy genre, I am most definitely not making a reference to the quality of this show.
Made by the same studio as the aforementioned Spartacus series, Da Vinci’s Demons is trying so very hard to replicate the popularity of it’s ancient peer, all the while attempting to cling to the back of the rollercoaster that is Game Of Thrones. It fails it both aspects. The story line is overly complex, the characters are the least engaging they possibly can be (especially ‘Leo’ himself. Playing him as flamboyantly camp yet troubled was a strange way to go, and the actor can’t quit pull it off) and I’m pretty sure there is some harsh racial stereotyping going on in there. There are at least three characters who are summed up completely by their nationality; and please don’t get me started on Da Vinci’s gormless manservant/boy toy. It’s not made entirely clear what that relationship is, but it is not healthy.
There are some saving graces – this is not a low budget production, so it is well shot and there is some interesting use of CGI in making Da Vinci’s ideas and doodles come to life. I’ve decided that I will watch at least two more episodes, in the hope that, maybe, the first episode was just aiming too high. Even then, I am anticipating that those will be two more hours of my life that I will never get back.
Finally (and this one will be brief, because my need to shower and eat meant that I only caught a little bit of the episode), there is Defiance. I know very little about this program, apparently there’s a game based on it? Or it’s based on a game? Or it is a game? I don’t know. Basically, there’s been some sort of event and now humans and a race of (very humanoid, but very pale) aliens have to live together. Either way, some very recognizable faces, an interesting concept and reasonable production value (if you ignore the crappy CGI, which I cannot), this is actually shaping up to have some potential. I might even be tempted to go back and watch the whole episode.
This is high praise indeed, coming from me.
Anyway, more shows are on their way, so I suppose more blogs are too. Both Banshee and Hannibal (as in, yes, Hannibal) look incredible and are starting in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out, yesyes?