Northern Ireland based geekery & nerdisms

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I love ASOS. I make no secret of this; over the years I have found some weird and wonderful little things on the site. Mind you, they are, like most regular non-geekcentric websites, slaves to trends. I don’t approve of trends. They are too much like change, and I hate change.

Anyway, the ASOS sale is bloomin’ marvellous. Here are some things I want that you should want too.

Rawr.

Rawr.

Dinosaur t-shirt! Okay, maybe not “geeky”, but adorable and lovely. And I really like green and everyone knows dinosaurs were green. Plus, a steal at £8. It’s only a bargain if it’s under £10.

Subtle, no?

Subtle, no?

Sticking to the girly items for  a moment, this little bangle. Sometimes it is necessary to hide your true, nerdy inner child self under a blanket of maturity and normal-ness (job interviews, weddings, funerals, murder trials), so it is necessary to be a little more subtle in your choice of accessory. This bangle has a teeny pair of geek glasses for a clasp, but I’m sure no one will notice that unless you feel the need to point it out.

Which, of course, you will.

Batman. Always, Batman.

Batman. Always, Batman.

Don’t worry, boy people, I have not neglected you. Batman vest! Vest with Batman on it! Ignore the generic model with generic model head tilt, focus instead on the wonder of the cowl. ASOS mens’ stock has been a little bit disappointing of late, unless you like dressing like a rainbow threw up on you, but every now and again, you get a little gem.

 

Squee.

Retro.

No affirmation necessary. Go get this.

Nom.

Nom.

This came from the men’s section, but I like to think it’s fairly gender neutral. In honour of True Blood making it’s way back to our screens (erm, well, America’s screens) recently, it seems only fair to include some vampire themed bits and bobs. Although, it seems they have fallen slightly out of vogue in the past few months (Twilight is all over and done with, after all. And thank god), Sky is screening teasers and trailers for the Dracula series they are gifting us in Autumn…so I see fangs making a big comeback.

If you are really into the child-of-the-night-but-not-a-hooker look, there’s also this gothic bling.

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ASOS delivers quickly, does not mess you about with returns and exchanges, and the quality of the stuff is beyond decent. Highly recommended. If you do buy something, or see something wonderful that I’ve missed, let me know! I like to know I’m helping someone somewhere in someway, somehow.

S.

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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.

Like this picture, of a university class, having a class beside the Seine. So jealous I could just hurl stuff at them.

Like this picture, of a university class, having a class beside the Seine. So jealous I could just hurl stuff at them.

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.

This was in Notre Dame. I don't know what it was, but CREEPY, yes?

This was in Notre Dame. I don’t know what it was, but CREEPY, yes?

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.

Rarely.

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).

Dome! Amazing. I took a video, but I look well rough, so it'll never see the light of day.

Dome! Amazing. I took a video, but I look well rough, so it’ll never see the light of day.

Marie & Pierre Curie, complete with little picture.

Marie & Pierre Curie, complete with little picture.

Hugo & Dumas.

Hugo & Dumas.

Voltaire's tomb.

Voltaire’s tomb.

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.

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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!

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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!

S.


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.

Also, look.

Also, look.

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.

TOO groomed.

TOO groomed.

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?

S.


Look! A blog that isn’t about Game Of Thrones. Well, I’m going to mention it just the once, but you can ignore that if you want, because it’s not entirely relevant to the story.

So, there are some incredible movies set for this year, and while I am not quite as excited as I was in the run up to The Dark Knight Rises (but then again I have never been that excited ever, so that’s to be expected), I shall be counting down the days.

Man Of Steel

14th June

First up, Man Of Steel! I saw the new trailer for the first time during Game Of Thrones on Monday night (told you, but that’s the one mention, promise) and jumped right out of my seat.

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Unfortunately, WordPress won’t let me embed videos in my blog, which is a shame, because I would totally do that all the time. Click the picture of General Zod to see the new viral trailer for Man Of Steel. Speaking of which, Michael Shannon is shaping up to be an amazing disgruntled Kryptonian! Look at that build! That snarl! The latest trailer (I gave you the link, go watch it) makes him sound awfully familiar…he definitely has a hint of Bane-ish-ness about him; he seems like a more modern, intimidating and intelligent villain, which is fantastic, because this is what Zod NEEDS to be! We need to be terrified of him, we need to believe he could exist.

Everyone is comparing Man Of Steel to Nolan’s Batman trilogy and of course they are. I am trying not to read TOO much about it, or study the trailers TOO closely. I have high hopes and expectations, and for once I think I would rather be surprised.

The Wolverine

25th July

Wolverine-Film-Teaser

While there is no doubt in my mind that Man Of Steel will be awesome, I am not as sold on The Wolverine. Set after the events of The Last Stand (which is news to me, I thought it was a sequel to Origins, but there you go), Logan travels to Japan and confronts a mysterious figure from his past.

A mysterious figure from his past?! Gosh, no X-Men medium has attempted this EXACT thing before…

Lev_Sabertooth

LadyArtistsStrike

249px-Strykermovie

Okay, so I’m being sort of harsh, the truth is this is shaping up to be huge. Based on one of the most popular story lines from the comic books, there are samurai, Yakuza crime gangs and Svetlana Khodchenkova. Gentlemen, you are going to want to Google her.

300: Rise Of An Empire

2nd August

300-rise-of-an-empire-poster

Now. If you know me at all (in real life, where there is grass and fresh air and real people), you might know that I have a degree in Ancient History and that I am slowly groping my way towards my Masters’. Given this brand new information, it should not surprise you that I CANNOT WAIT for this. The prequel to 300, this flick will focus on battles that happened at the same time as the ill-fated Battle Of Thermopylae, centering on the characters of Themistocles (Athenian politician who was popular with the rabble) and Artemisia (one of Xerxes lovers and queen of Caria). Best bit? Guess who’s playing Artemisia.

Yay!

Yay!

All in all, I am planning very little over the summer, except for sitting in a dark room with a sticky floor with strangers. And maybe going to the cinema, too.

S.


I am showering you with blogs today! April showers. See what I did there? It’s April now.

Lisburn has been really disappointing recently as far as magical geeky shopping is concerned – I suppose it doesn’t help that all the shops are closing. I’ve seen a few wee bits and bobs I would rather like, though. I thought you might like them too, although I’m not convinced all of them are geeky enough to warrant blog coverage. Still, they’re nice, you might like them. Bear with me.

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The pictures are giant, to make my blog look nice and colourful. And to make you think this is longer than it looks, because I am crafty that way. First up, this framed poster. It’s both adorable and geeky, because it references Twitter. Geeks like Twitter, almost as most as C-list celebrities and comedians do. I only meant to take a picture of the one poster, but I seem to have caught a second, equally adorable one in the bottom right. It’s mean and sarcastic.

I like it.

These works of art were in TK Maxx (Lisburn). They’re probably not there anymore, but there’s usually a great variety of every-changing oddities in that place, so it’s always worth a look.

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And we come, inevitably, to Primark. This time last year you couldn’t move in Primark without walking into something with a Bat-symbol on it. However, the times have changed, and Batman isn’t ‘trendy’ anymore. It’s okay, Bruce. I still love you. While ‘geek-chic’ is finally over (don’t get me wrong, it was handy, but there’s nothing I hate more than a chav or a skank with a Superman t-shirt), there are still a few precious gems to be found. The picture above (another Twitter reference, obviously) is from a pair of girly pants. Adorable.

Boys, zone out for a moment. Thank you. Ladies, have you noticed that Primark have changed their pant sizings? You can now either get them in ‘too small’ or ‘too big’. I do not like this, not one little bit.

Sorry. Back on track now.

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I am aware this is not remotely ‘geeky’ (unless you are passionate and enthusiastic about ice-cream…which come to think of it, everyone should be), but so cute! And it smells like summer and sugar and everything nice. I’m just so glad that winter finally appears to be ending, that I am suddenly attracted to everything yellow and shiny.

Like a magpie, but with candles.

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Okay okay, so again, maybe not super-geeky, but who doesn’t love a nice pug? Look at that face. I am mad about cushions, but my boyfriend doesn’t see the point of them.

Maybe he’ll read this and realise that I’m rather upset we don’t have more snuggley lovely cushions on our sad, cold sofas? Maybe? Hello?

Ack. Nevermind.

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And finally (still in Primark, by the way), there is this thing. It’s a shower glove? Face cloth pocket? I don’t really see the point of these things at all, but mostly they’re for children, so I don’t really think about it. I think this one goes under the name ‘wash mitt’. Good to know. Anyway, it’s only £1 and has Spiderman on it, so it must be worth owning.

So, that’s your lot. Mini-findings. I intend to have a good hunt around Belfast at some point this week, as places get their Spring/Summer stock in around now, so there could be a Batman themed stationary set that I’ve never seen before. How exciting!

That was only a little bit of sarcasm. I really like stationary.

S.


I may have discovered the cure for writer’s block…and it may be snow. Seriously, I have been freakin’ prolific this week, because it’s too cold and difficult to get anywhere or do anything. Hence, a Sunday review that’s actually on time. It’s such a shame that my life is quiet and simple, and I am desperately running out of things to review. Without turning this into a movie blog, which would be dumb, because I like to watch the same flicks over and over and over and over.

Clerks and Tangled are currently in heavy rotation. I think the trick is to have insane variety. And catchy Disney tunes.

Anyway. Yes. It’s Sunday, I should decide what I’m going to review…shall I be a tad more intellectual, perhaps?

REFUGEEKNI’S 10 BOOKS TO READ BEFORE YOU DIE

SO LITTLE TIME.

SO LITTLE TIME.

I always hate those sort of titles, because it’s like…your death is imminent. And probably zombie related. It is sort of catchy though, so I suppose I shall leave it. Anyway, I’ve tried not to be too obvious in my choices (I could have just picked any book from A Song Of Ice And Fire or The Hobbit and gone back to bed, but I owe you more than that).

  1. The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

    This recommendation comes with a warning; this is one twisted, horrible book. Not one for animal lovers. Or fans of basic human decency. Banks’ novel is centered around Frank, who kills wasps (and various other small creatures) in complex rituals, believing the outcome to indicate some aspect of the future.

    Gory, soul-destroying and fascinating – this is not a novel for the faint of heart.

  2. The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

    While my first choice is dark and terrible, my second is deep, but uplifting. I am not a religious person and despite the title, I truly believe that this is not a religious book. It’s very human, revolving around the idea that when you die and go to heaven, you meet the five people to whom your life was most influential. The protagonist, Eddie, tells the story of his 83 year long life through these people he meets – although some of them he didn’t even really know at all.

    It’s a thought provoking read, and while it isn’t necessarily ‘geeky’, everyone should read this book.

  3. Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

    Androids and bounty hunters! Strongly influenced Bladerunner. Need I say more?

  4. The Dice Man by “Luke Rhinehart”

    What if you left everything in your life entirely to chance? To the roll of some dice? Luke Rhinehart does this, and the results range from entertaining to life-destroying. A truly intriguing read – sex, murder and psychology.

  5. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

    Inspired one of the greatest movies of all time (Demolition Man. No, really, I truly believe that it is a masterpiece), Brave New World is set in 2540, in a world where psychological conditioning and ‘reproductive technology’ are the order of the day. I guarantee, you won’t be able to put this book down.

    Sidenote: my cat is named Huxley. Surely, that is the greatest of all honours ever to be bestowed on an author?

  6. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

    If you haven’t heard of the book, you’ve surely heard of the movie, starring Aragorn. Um. I mean Viggo Mortenson. McCarthy gives us the post-apocalyptic world that we most definitely do not want to think about. Zombies are all well and good, but starvation and complete and utter hopelessness? Very real fears. The novel follows a father and son through the murderous wilderness, and the massive lack of punctuation is just further testament to how THERE IS NO POINT TO ANYTHING.

    Don’t expect a happy ending.

  7. Misery by Stephen King

    I am not a huge horror fan, but this book really stuck with me. In an age where celebrities are considered public property, the scenario of a super-fan abducting an idol and keeping them locked away is not as fanciful as you might like to think.King at his very best – you’ll never want your fifteen minutes of fame, after all.

    If you don't want to read it, it's cool - Family Guy did a recap.

    If you don’t want to read it, it’s cool – Family Guy did a recap.

  8. The Great Gatbsy by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    A strange choice for a geeky selection of books, I’ll grant you, but this is truly a masterpiece. I read it at least once a year, but I’m amazed every time. The characters are so real that you’ll want to scream at them (or hug them), and you’ll further lose your faith in humanity. Because everyone is a dick who is out to use and abuse you.

    Also, this is happening soon.

    Also, this is happening soon.

  9. The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

    Oscar! Beloved Oscar. Another book I consider to be extremely psychological (it would seem I do like a page turner that messes with your head…), Dorian Gray is a vain narcissist, granted immortality. While his physical self is left untouched by his years and his sins, his portrait bears the scars.
    I am a massive Oscar Wilde fan, for the same reason I am a Shakespeare fan. People and their attitudes never really change; The Portrait Of Dorian Gray is as morally relevant today as it was when it was written.

  10. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

    TERRIFYING, because it practically came true. The government are in your homes, in your heads, watching your every move! Big Brother is watching, people. Always watching.

There! I think my book choices may say more about myself than anything else, but at least you’ve got a nice little peek inside my brain. Obviously, there are also hundreds of other books you NEED to read – I am a huge fan of the fantasy genre, and while I’ve avoided it successfully for this whole blog, I do so love a book with a nice wizard or a lost prince or an angry god.

That’s another blog for another time, though.

S.

p.s. I have a Facebook page. It needs your love.


I am a huge fan of finding geeky things in places in which you may not expect to find geeky things. Like Tesco or a cat boot sale. I was wandering around Toys ‘R’ Us rather recently, and was pretty darn impressed with some of the toys that are out there for tiny children to gnaw on. They are the geeks of the future after all, and it is our responsibility to leadeth them in the ways of the force/Star Fleet protocol/One Ring.

We should also instill in them an idiot proof zombie apocalypse plan, because if it doesn’t happen in our lifetime, it’s sure as hell going to happen in theirs.

Click for hilarious captions/insights.

I have to admit, out of all the many hundreds of geeky toys for kids, the Lego has always been my favourite; I think it always will be. Video games and light-up-singing-wonder-dolls are fairly amazing, yes, but there is no joy in childhood like building something vaguely resembling a spaceship all by yourself. And then hurling it at walls and siblings until you get a good wreckage to start all over again with.

Many happy childhood memories. Although there is no pain like standing on a Lego brick in your bare feet.

S.