Thursday, January 28, 2010

From Out of Nowhere

^^An amazing song, a fitting post handle and was actually the working title of my first novel (changed now due to cliche contexts, etc).

Anyway, this is the continuation of the last post. I probably should have just wrote out the whole scenario at the time since a few days have passed now and the experience doesn't seem as poignant or as magical as it did at the time. But I digress, I'll try to finish the story with some of the jazz.

Before I go anywhere, just wanted to give a belated birthday shoutout to my muse, Michael Allan Patton. Happy 42nd Birthday (Jan 27)!




I can't think of a more weirder, creative or complex muse to have but that's just the way things go (and as you'll read on, nothing happens by accident). May you only get weirder and more unconventional with age. Continue to push the boundaries and stuff your face with food (and shoelaces). Just remember though, it can't hurt to lay off the hair grease. And maybe get a trim.


ALSO, please keep being a sarcastic smartass and bullshitting the press: for a refreshing clip in this now infamous and unaired interview, scroll to the 55 second mark: "Music sucks. I hate all music" AND play it at the 8:15 mark: "We (Faith No More) want to become a disco band. We are here to defend disco. Wait...is Paula Abdul disco? I really like the new Paula Abdul song, I have to say..." YOU'RE SUCH A LITTLE FUCK, MIKE, I LOVE YOU!

So, anyway...

The other day I was feeling down, depressed, anxious and completely off my rocker.

I had heard about this herb Ignatia Amara (sp?) and had already gone to various health stores in California last week but no one had heard of it. Apparently it helps you deal with grief better, feel the sadness without the suffering and also had many other uses, including helping to ground those people who are very ADD and all over the place.

So I went into the really good health store nearby (I've been in there before and they are VERY perceptive) and asked the guy I kind of knew if the herb would help me. He introduced me to their herbologist, naturopath type lady behind the counter because she knew 800 herbs and flowers inside and out and would put me on the right path.

She asked me what was wrong and I could barely speak. Things were coming out choked, in fragments. She took one look at me and said, "everything is caught here" gesturing to my throat, "I can make you something special just for you if you'll come and talk to me."

I followed her to the couches in the corner of the store and it began. First with my first name, then my birthdate, then she was able to deduce a lot of things about me without myself even opening my mouth. It was uncanny. And I am open-minded, thank God.

She said many things about me and about what was going on in my life right now, ie, why the fart was I so shaken up and so lost. I'm not going to repeat everything because A) it's personal and B) I only tell my friends what happened. Not that you aren't my friends, BUT I don't know what you believe and I don't want to share this in detail with someone who isn't open-minded and non-judgemental. Of course, if you believe in more - shall I say "Hippie/New Agey" stuff - then feel free to email me and I'll let you know. Apparently 2010 is one of the biggest years of my life and right now, this turmoil, is just the groundwork being laid, the preperations have begun...

Somethings that I will disclose though, are her observations (I say that loosely because it's more than observing, it's full-on KNOWING). One important one is that I have been dismissed my entire life. And she is so, SO true, I had just never been able to put that...feeling...into context.

I am dismissed by my parents and this angers me. Because they don't hear me. For example, because I am such an emotional and sensitive person, I feel way too much and have no coherent way to let it out. I don't express myself.

I THOUGHT I DID. But after talking about this with my boyfriend and my parents, it's true that what I express is mumbo jumbo. I have problems speaking...sentences are fragmented and disjointed or all over the place. I just can't articulate very well verbally. Most of the time when I think I am "expressing" myself, it comes out in crying or yelling or this huge built-up volcanic explosion which scares the crap out of people and confuses them...(ie, I thought you were mad about THIS).

For example, in Palm Springs, it was a day or two after Muffin's death and my mom and I had just gotten back from the air museum. It was fun but I was down and tired. My mom went into a store, I stayed in the car. It started to POUR with rain and I started crying my eyes out. For muffin, for the loss of control I felt, for other things too, I guess.

My mom gets in the car and offers no sympathy for me. We get to the house, I go straight to my room and my dad says to her, "What's her problem NOW?" and my mom says, "Oh just one of her moods, ignore it."

WELL. I. BLEW. UP.

I flipped my lid and lost it. Screaming, slamming the door, I felt like I was possessed and some fucking demon was escaping out my throat. Of course my parents got scared which turned to anger and it was even worse.

I was so angry. This wasn't a MOOD, the fucking dog just died. I couldn't help it if they were ignoring that, I was dealing with it NOW. I was so angry I vented on Facebook, to which some "holier-than-thou" girl I barely know took it upon herself to act like the fucking Facebook police and tell me off for expressing myself. AGAIN, DISMISSED. Like my feelings don't matter.

Anyway, my reaction scared me but when the empathist/herbalist brought it up, I realized that's why it hurt me so badly. Because no one ever listens to me.

It could also be said that I was so distraught over Muffin's death because I knew she was sick and for days I was telling my parents to take her to the vet BUT THEY DIDN'T LISTEN until it was too late. Yes, taking her to the vet earlier most likely wouldn't have saved her life, but I still felt powerless.

And, btw, my parents admitted to me that they DO dismiss and don't listen to me because they don't understand me and don't know how to "fix" me.

Also, I'm dismissed because of my looks. People look at me and think I'm a dumb blonde and can't possibly be smart or talented or have any sort of idea what life is about.

Even my friends dismiss me because they see the intensity beneath me and it confuses them. It doesn't match my sweet face. (This btw is all her words haha).

No wonder I always want my opinion out there. No wonder I hate talking on the phone and would rather text. No wonder I blog.

And no wonder why I am a writer. This is the only way for me to truly express myself in a compelling and coherent way.

And luckily, my writing is the thing that's going to change me, and others, in the end.

I also met the resident clairvoyant (and medium who does cold cases). This sweet woman could barely stand next to me because I was brimming with such nervousness and anxiety but she too had a few poignant insights. She wasn't a psychic in the sense that she could tell my future, but she could at least tell my present. I might be seeing her again soon, we can work on how I can protect my heart better (I take everything WAY too personally) and how I can prepare for what's going on...and get some damn focus.

There were other weird things going on at work during that session (without me mentioning what had happened with my "office" she was able to describe the mom and the image of cleaning, endless cleaning. So true) and I left with a better understanding of what the FUCK is going on in my life and how to better handle it.

She even made a special formula of several flowers, each having a special purpose in my life at the moment. I take it three times a day and with time, things will change.

Change to what... I don't know. It's day three of this now and nothing crazy exciting has happened. I do feel different. Kind of stoned, definitely a lot calmer, a lot less angry and anxious, so hey, that's something. And sometimes, when I really put my feelers out, I can feel the wheels turning...

So that's my story. Sorry for making it seem more dramatic than it actually was. And sorry for being kind of vague. Like I said, there are lots of other things that were said, I just don't feel comfortable sharing them here. But I do feel, hippie dippy crap aside, that things are going to be different now.

(PS if this post seemed too heavy for you, I suggest you watch that video of Mike Patton above. OH! THAT REMINDS ME! She had said that in times of expansion, I may find myself drawn to certain people or music or whatever. I mentioned my deepening appreciation and love for one certain musician and certain types of music...she said it was no accident that I am being drawn to someone that is misunderstood, opinionated, loud, angry, complex, mysterious and just plain weird. This person has found HIS tool to be heard and express himself, though it's one that most normal people don't "get," now I just have to develop mine).




Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Aww, you guys...

First of all I want to say THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to all my wonderful readers and commentors, I was actually very touched and surprised to see that you people care. I just thought it was me complaining again, just to get it out there, I don't often realize that people ACTUALLY LISTEN TO ME. And that's wonderful. Seriously teary-eyed here.

Fashion blog, smashion blog, I will keep writing because I need to - and yes, I probably need to write and blog MORE OFTEN. It's good for me. I'll explain...

As I type this, I am sitting in my parent's driveway. On a wet bench I moved from the garden. It's January (still wtf?). I must look very odd. We live in a townhouse block, so there is no lack of people walking around and wondering what the hell I am doing. But this is the only sunny spot and I've been locked out of my parents house and have nowhere else to go lol. Sure, there's the place where I actually live, which is just a half hour walk up the road but I'd rather sit here looking like an idiot than go there.

See...this is the thing. I got back from Palm Springs on Saturday. My bf picked me up at the airport with roses, he was wearing a suit. Very nice and unexpected. He doesn't do this often so when he does it's pretty special.

We went out for sushi and had a good night, came back to our place (remember, I live with his parents) and had a nice evening there.

Next day I was super tired, I guess from traveling. His parents house is just so dark too, especially the bedroom, and it just filled me with dread. Can't explain it, but whatever the feeling is, it makes me tired and unable to leave the bed.

However, I eventually got up and had a nice lazy day. Watched four episodes from Season 2 of The X-Files (I'm going waaaay back), had chinese food, then sushi again, then watched Inglorious Basterds (not bad btw, I was expecting to hate it because Brad Pitt was in it).

Then I picked up my new laptop that I was using in the TV room and took it upstairs to my "office."

See, with me being out of a job, I felt like I had nowhere to write or apply for jobs or whatever. They have an office but the dad is always in there. And the only other place to write is downstairs in the kitchen but the mom is always in there. So I was stuck.

Then I remembered a while ago, when I wrote in the mornings before work, that the mom suggested I used my bf's sister's old room because she had a desk.

Well, right after I was laid off, that's what I did. I put my nameplate on the door (as a joke, it's removable) and set up camp complete with Ipecac and MST3K figurines, writing books, iPod dock, paper and pens, and my Faith No More poster I scored in New Zealand. It was my space, the door closed and I had a happy place to just....be. Me.

So Sunday night, as I was moving my computer up to the office, I was thinking about all the writing I would do and how grateful I was for my own space.

I get in there...and it's wiped out. His mom cleaned it, cleared all my stuff out and put it back to the way it was. Even my Faith No More poster is gone and I fear that she just thought it was junk and chucked it out.

Well folks, I LOST it. I've been losing it all week, so it wasn't anything new, but I just broke down in front of my bf (also nothing new, though for the last 10 days my breakdowns have been over the phone).

I started sobbing uncontrollably and the past seven months came flooding out.

Seven months ago, we moved in with his parents to save money. It worked. I rented out my apartment to some nice tenants. His parents made us food and we didn't pay any rent.

But I never knew how badly the situation was affecting me. You see, I'm an independent person. I like to be alone. I need my space. And I have always had my space, or at least a space that I felt comfortable in.

But for 24/7 for the last seven months, I have felt nothing but uneasy, unwanted and uncomfortable. It's not even a matter of "this is their house and you are just a houseguest" but the feeling that my very nature and spirit has been shut-down, dismissed and denied. Like my lifeforce scares them. Sounds hooky, but sometimes, when I am at the dinner table, I feel like I am the only there that is actually alive.

His parents are good people. Generous and pleasant. But they do not mesh well with me at all. They don't understand me at all (not many people do) and that bothers them. I feel like a plague in the house. And even when I am holed up in my dark, dark room, I can still feel them downstairs, everything they do is just this hostile blackness ready to swallow up whatever I put out there.

When I was writing, as I was everyday for 6 weeks, in the mornings and evenings, they expressed very little interest in what I was doing. When they asked me about it, it was just being polite, they actually didn't care. And when I was done my book it was met with a "well you celebrate if it gets published." The fact that I accomplished something that few people get to and something that I never thought I COULD do was nothing. With them it's "if you make it" which is something my bf and his band have to put up with as well.

They are very neat, very rich and retired, very...perfect, in that sense. I come from a house of chaos. This house is a house where no chaos is ever shown. If there is chaos, it is hidden and swept under the rug.

Then there is me, all emotion and ideas and creativity and mayhem - which apparently comes through even when I am trying to hide it - and well, KABLOOM.

I don't want to blog ill about his parents because I know that this is hard on them too and taking from their natures, I know they are just really freaked out by me. I know once we leave, they will breathe a huge sigh of relief too.

Again, they are lovely people and anyone else would be lucky to have them. But the problem lies in me.

But it just never really occured to me, until Sunday night, that this is what has been pulling me down all this time. I don't have stability or a happy, safe home and in a turbulent world and a turbulent mind, that's something I need very, very much.

So...after the realization comes the problem-solving. How do I change this? And more importantly, how can I be prepared to change this....how can I make things happen instead of being afraid and lost. Because I am full of great ideas but I lack focus and direction. I am simply overwhelmed.

That answer came the next day...feeling low, depressed, anxious and brimming with directionless fire, I stumbled across two ladies whom I think will end up changing my life forever....

To be continued (which means I'll write more, haha)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Morning After



First of all, I want to say a big THANK YOU to my blog readers who have stuck around. I see your guy's comments and it really means to the world to me to know you guys are still out there. I've not looked at Sitemeter for a long time cuz I knew the numbers would be disappointing with me blogging less, so for now it's ONLY my comments that let me know people are reading.

Second of all, thank you for your kind words about Muffin. I didn't know the dog that well but her death affected me like no other, probably because I've never seen ANYTHING die before my eyes, let alone something I was trying desperately to help. It's been really, REALLY hard on me and I've had a hell of a time trying to let go of the guilt. Animals TRUST US to take care of them and I failed. I failed.

Of course my parents no doubt feel worse, and for that I am heartbroken too because I didn't think it was possible for anyone to feel worse than I do.

But I'm trying to pick myself up.

It's hard. It's a hard month. Lost my job...lost my dog...lost Conan O'Brien. I totally thought 2010 was THE year and so far it hasn't been good, to say the least. I feel beyond fat, I've lost confidence and I've lost the will to write. In fact, I'm afraid to write because I'm starting to think it's all for nothing. What's the point, life's just going to be a piece of SHIT and it'll come to nothing.

But I'm trying to face my fear and just do it. Ignore the little voices and the overanalysis that I fall prey to all too easy.

I'm also a bit torn about my blog.

I'm losing readers and followers, slowly but surely.

I'm not sure how to correct this.

I think some people expect a FASHION blog out of me but to be honest, it's just not important to me right now.

Aside from being about 15 pounds overweight (which dissolves ANY enjoyment in clothes for me), I haven't bought ANY clothes in over TWO MONTHS! Yes, the shopoholic has been cured, I guess.

So...I'm not rich (I've lost my job, afterall), I'm not skinny as most fashion bloggers are (I blame, well, not going to the gym and being depressed) and I don't have the newest, coolest clothes. I think it's safe to say I have no future in this genre anymore.

I'm sure it'll pick up one day when I get money and confidence and my life starts to be stable enough that I can care about something as stupidly frivolous as the latest designer shoes, but until then I'm kind of at a loss as what to do with my blog.

I just don't have a focus, and frankly I don't care. But I know that this blog does bring me happiness, especially with the people I meet with it, and that it will come in handy down the line. And for that matter I don't want to quit. But...

I just...feel stuck. I don't know what to do. With my life, with this blog, with anything really...

Why the hell do you people read this thing anyway?

PS One good bit of news: buying my Coachella tickets tomorrow morning so I can see Faith No More on April 17th.

I'd gladly pay the $260 to see them, but when you add in some of the musicians I admire most (Josh Homme, Damon Albarn, Dave Grohl, Thom Yorke, John Paul Jones) it's icing on the cake.

PPS I know I haven't been too productive, blogosphere-wise, but I am DEFINITELY coming to visit everyone who commented on my last post. Visit your blogs...not where you live. That would be stalkerish.

PPPS SHIT SON! This is my 601 st POST!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Maybe I don't love Palm Springs


My parent's dog that they just rescued from a shelter only 9 months ago just died.

In front of our eyes.

She had been sick for days...listless, dazed, with a bloated stomach, vomitting liquid. My parents said she had been like that once before but then got better. So they weren't too worried.

But I was. Finally today I noticed she would wander around the grounds, and lie down in a ditch or a faraway place. I had a bad feeling...it was like she was looking for a place to die.

So even though it is Saturday and the vets were closed, I knew we had to get her to one right away. Originally my parents said they would take her to get checked up on Monday.

But I had a feeling she would be dead by then. So we called the hospital at 340 and they had a cancellation at 4 and could fit us in.

I felt we had to rush. We got there, filled out forms and waited. Muffin just waited by the door, staring at the outside world, the desert air. Me and my mom sat down. Muffin lay down and stared out the door, not facing us.

We talked for maybe a minute then looked over at Muffin. My mom said, "Oh no is she breathing."

She touched Muffin but she didn't move and didn't breathe. She had died right beside us and we didn't even notice. We didnt even get to say goodbye.

I called for help and the vets rushed over, picked her up and took her to the emergency room but it was too late. She had a congestive heart failure caused by the liquids in her abdomen, which was probably caused by cancer. Or heart disease.

The rude vet told us we could have saved her life maybe if we acted sooner and if it was heart disease. But if it was cancer we couldn't have done anything.

I wish I forced my parents to take her to the vet earlier. Maybe they would have saved her.

Muffin was an old dog and she was rescued...she was always sort of strange and probably always sick.

I'm glad she got 9 months of being loved and spoiled. I just wish I could have helped save her. We were so close. So close.

It feels like a bad dream, a nightmare, but its real and it wont go away. My heart hurt so much...not only to just suddenly lose such a lovely, loving dog but that this is the second time it has happened to my parents in two years (ironically Ellie, other dog also died in Palm Springs...what does that mean? She was hit by a car so it's not the same, but why here? WHY?).

And I am so sad for my mom. This little dog gave her so much love. This is so hard.

RIP MUFFIN. You were an angel to us.

I heart Palm Springs




WHERE AM I?

So, I'm in Palm Springs right now. My parents were here and since I was laid off from my job on January 4th, I thought HELL, why not?

Yes, I did get back from New Zealand less than a month ago (and I promise more photos are coming...there are just so many!) but you know me, can't stay in one place for long.

Also the weather in Vancouver has been absolutely miserable with constant rain and I needed to head to desert climes.

This is the 10th time I've been to Palm Springs which makes it like a second home to me. Something about the dusty, craggy mountains, the retro-tinged towns, the movie star-named streets, the palm trees and dry desert air always make me feel at home. Maybe it's because I live in one of the greenest (and wettest) parts of the world but the desolte beauty of the desert has always had a special place in my heart.

WHAT AM I DOING?

Anyway, I came down here also with the purpose of writing. My next book is set in the deserts of New Mexico so I figured Palm Springs would be a lot more inspiring setting than sitting at home.

And I am totally sitting at home - with a sore toe, no car, no transport close by and no job to go to, I am literally trapped at my boyfriend's parents house 24/7 (where I live). It is NOT a fun scenario.

But I'm here now, so all is well. Just been tanning when I can (overcast today), reading a bunch of books and stocking up on makeup at ULTA. Today we are going to the Palm Springs market which should be a good photo op, and maybe I'll pick up some cool jewelry or something.

FASHION?

Did you know I haven't bought clothes in TWO MONTHS!? Seriously. I don't even have the urge...I don't online shop anymore, I don't go into stores. I've just stopped. As a result I haven't looked at any fashion websites or read any fashion mags either so I have no clue what's going on in the fashion world. Anyone care to let me know?

GEEK STUFF

I have been buying electronics though...I'm getting my iPhone when I get back to Vancouver which is very exciting, I bought an iPod speaker dock for my iTouch AND yesterday I got a brand new laptop!

My old computer has been crap for a long time now. The screen cracked a YEAR ago when a friend sat on it (shouldn't have put it under a pillow!) and I've been trying to WRITE damn it with a blurry crack down the middle. Not to mention the battery lasts FIVE MINUTES at the most and the C Drive was always so full that I couldn't even run Word half of the time. I don't even know why it was so full, everyday I removed more and more stuff until it was bare bones.

Anyway, the straw that broke the camel's back was the other day when - while in the middle of writing Chapter Three in my new book - a weird website popped up and wouldn't close.

I had a scary, fishy feeling about it so I immediately saved my work and emailed the document to myself so I would have a backup in case something went wrong.

And went wrong it did. Microsoft Security alerted me that my computer was under attack. I must have clicked on the pop-up and suddenly I was bombarded with millions of security alerts. They all said I was infected and that I needed to download the "Antivirus Live" program to get rid of it.

Meanwhile, it took over my computer and all my files. It wouldn't even let me open Task Manager and if you tried to go to the internet, the only page it would let you go to was to Antivirus Live.

Of course, the whole thing is a virus and a scam. It basically disguises itself as your windows security thing and then hi-jacks your computer and holds it hostage. The ransom is that you can only get rid of the virus IF you go to the website and give them money.

The they would take your credit card info and that's that. You are screwed.

Luckily I knew what was going on but for awhile there it looked like my computer was hopelessly screwed. You couldn't even run any other anti-virus software, they wouldn't let you.

Thus why in the end I just got a new laptop...a sleek, sexy Gateway with 200% more power and space than my old laptop.

And in the end, thanks to some helpful internet tips, I ended up booting up my other comp in Safe mode and tinkering around and changing my LAN settings, so now the virus is completely gone. I'm happy I was able to save it but even happier that I have a better computer. I mean, I'm a writer...I need a good computer! And my old comp will be going to my BF who doesn't have one himself. Everyone wins!

COACHELLA?

I've decided that if the rumoured Coachella Festival line-up that is apparently going to be announced on Tuesday (see link here ) turns out NOT to be true (please God, make it true!), that I am going to put on my OWN festival.

A naked Indian and Jim Morrison visited me in my dream and told me that if I booked them, they would come.

HAITI

Hope you've all donated something, even just a dollar, to this cause. It's amazing to see that even the smallest bit really does add up and will make a difference! Such a sad and terrifying thing...I even felt a wee earthquake at 4AM last night, scared the crap out of me, so I can only imagine :(

Hope you're all having a great weekend! Here are some "fashiony" pics of what I wore yesterday:






My mom and I at the golf club, Escena, that my dad just joined...super nice. Like the Marc Jacobs sunglasses I gave her?



Dress: Karta
Cardigan: H&M
Sandals: Overlander
Purse: Miele Bianco
Necklace: Gorjana
Belt: Vintage

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Of music and dolphins



Now that I am in full-on writing mode (am working with my editor on the rewrites to the first novel, which I think now has the tentative title of "Darkhouse" and have also started the next one in the series - which, btw, is awesome...being with my characters is like saying hello to old, dear friends ;) I need a constant supply of amazing music to keep the words and story coming.

My iTouch has been at full capacity for awhile (thank God I'm getting the iPhone in a few weeks so I can stick even more music on it) and I am quickly going through albums like it's sour candy (I like sour candy).

At the moment I've got Tomahawk's Anonymous (a song of which, Red Fox, is actually a direct influence on the second novel), Queens of the Stone Age's Songs for the Deaf and Depeche Mode's Violator cycling around my head on repeat. I just can't get sick of these albums, so far anyway.

To be sure I've added Them Crooked Vultures and Depeche Mode's Music For the Masses into the mix, as well as self-titled Fantomas. Yeah, weird mix I know, but my stories are a bit off-kilter.

Anyhoo, it just reminds me about how behind I am in music. Like, always. I think the only band (now, aside from Them Crooked Vultures) I ever liked at the same time they were underground was MUSE and I was still two albums behind with them.

It's hard because I just don't like any of the music that is coming out these days, least not the NEW music. All bands sound like souless unoriginal garbage like Nickleback or FallOut Boy or some pop-based bullshit - I can't even LISTEN to the radio for this exact reason.

The only bands/people that are even remotely doing anything different are Lady Gaga (I like her though I can understand how some people might think she's calculated).

Anyway, though I am actively looking for new bands to get behind, the lack of music that moves me means I find the music I love in old bands. And that's fine...I love what I love.

The only problem of course is that I am constantly missing concerts because either the bands have broken up a long time ago or they are between albums.

In fact, last year I only saw ONE concert and that was begrudgingly, which was The Killers (which, btw, turned out to be an awesome show). The years before were amazing...Mark Knophler (Dire Straights), The Who, The Police, Silverchair, Jack Johnson, Stone Temple Pilots, Radiohead, and some others.

2010 thankfully is shaping up to be THE YEAR OF MUSIC for me. We've got Mike Patton's Mondo Cane coming out, Gorillaz Plastic Beach, a new Silverchair album, Them Crooked Vultures and Depeche Mode still touring, TWO Muse concerts in April (I've got tickets to the April 1 show in Vancouver and will be going to see them at Coachella, maybe), potential Mars Volta or Massive Attack, Elton John and Billy Joel, Mark Knophler again, maybe David Bowie, Soundgarden (wtf!), and I'm not even going to mention Faith No More.

2010 - though you've started out SHITTY (having just lost my job last week and I'm living with my future in laws and I don't have a car and therefore have NO ESCAPE) I think you're still going to be the best year yet...not just for my writing but my GOD think of the MUSIC!!

Sorry for the music rant. This post was actually about dolphins! TEMPO SWITCH !

Behold:

In New Zealand, Mike and I stayed in a gorgeous studio apartment on Ohope Beach, a short hop from the town of Whakatane on the Bay of Plenty. It was just for one night though we both wished we could have stayed later and along with plenty of beach time and fantastic weather, we also got to go dolphin swimming.

Now, I've done dolphin swimming in NZ before, back in 2000 when I went off the coast of Kaikoura, but I had to make sure Mike got to experience it too.

Well after piloting through the Bay of Plenty for quite some time, our boat finally found a pod...of 150 dolphins on the move! Holy MOly it was insane to watch and even more insane to actually get in the water with them. "Swimming with Dolphins" should really be called "Floundering helplessly while dolphins zip past you" but anyway, still rad.







































Monday, January 04, 2010

NERD BATTLE



Twizel, New Zealand.

The town that never was...supposed to be there more than a few years. The town was constructed peice by peice a long time ago in order to service the men, who were building canals and dams for hydro, and their families. Well after the work was done, residents elected to keep the town where it was - the original plan was to move it. After all, each house was one of those mobile-type above ground houses that could be placed on a truck and moved away.

And such, the town of Twizel remains. It's not very pretty and it's nothing to write home about but the location could not be more convenient for exploring the beautiful Mackenzie Country which surrounds it and which also houses such treasures such as Lindis Pass, Lake Tekapo and Pukaki, Mount Cook and Peleanor Fields.

Yes, Peleonor Fields, where the epic battle for Rohan took place in the third Lord of the Rings book, Return of the King.

If you ever find yourself in Twizel, for some reason, and with nothing to do, I suggest taking the LOTR two-hour tour from Discovery Tours.

I'm not a huge LOTR fan - I never read the books - but I do have a family connection to the film since my brother-in-law is tight with Peter Jackson and worked on all three films. I also thought the films were dope, plus my bestie is obsessed with the films. We had already visited the set back in 2003, in Wellington, and saw an epic battle with orcs being filmed, and got to touch and feel all the costumes. It was frickin' awesome.

Anyway, this time I decided to treat my bf with this epicly nerdy tour (Merry Xmas, Baby!) since he had read all the books and loved the films.

This tour was pretty low-key - we were lead by Vernon, a man who worked on the film while it filmed for three months outside of Twizel, and went around to the private land/farm where those battle scenes were filmed. We heard lots of the gossip about what happened on the set - really cool tidbits - and watched the corresponding scenes from the actual DVD. It was cool to hear about how some shots were made too - we were sitting in a van on the field and you could see in some scenes that everything looked as it did when we were there except maybe the mountains to the right were lifted from another scene.

There is a lot to explain - our heads are bursting with all this secret filming knowledge, but I don't want to bore my readers. Instead I'll just leave you with some pictures of the best part of the tour: dressing up in costume and having nerd battles with each other. Enjoy!!









Killed the King of Rohan!


Mike is sad about it...all hail King Whatshisname


Vengance is mine!


Retreat!



I am no man *stab you in the face*


Eowyn and the witch king...scandalous!

Just a couple of orcs!




PS for an amazing place to stay in Twizel and a good place to eat, please read my post on my travel blog here.