Sunday, 31 July 2011

Guilty Creatures

Book number 14 in the 100+ Reading Challenge.

Guilty Creatures
by Sue Welfare

Outer back cover: Mim Pilgrim is so fed up with her husband that she's driven to exploring the full extent of her window-cleaner's tattoo. Fisher (once known as Frank) Pilgrim doesn't notice. A TV shrink on the verge of his big break, and officially an expert on family matters, he's failed to spot that his daughter has something more than a teenage crush on her drama teacher and his adolescent son is suffering an overwhelming dose of hormonal disruption.
But a promotable family background is vital for Fisher's image. So when Mim becomes acquainted with an eminent literary figure, he and his producer decide to make the most of it. It's a catalyst for chaos, and before long everyone is entangled in a situation way beyond the reaches of pop psychology...

The book kind of starts of with a bang, but then it sizzles out. There are some funny parts and some interesting parts but the book was also very easy to put down.

The Pilgrim family is just a mess in a way, but it's interesting to read about what's going on and how they are going to deal with it. I could really feel Mim's annoyance with Fisher, but when the focus was on Fisher I could occasionally understand part of why he acted the way he did, but most of the time he was just annoying, and it made me worry about any relationship I get into might end up like Mim and Fisher's.

My favorite part of the book was when the kids were at the dance. There was just so much happening, and there were some things I thought would have different outcomes than what they did.

The book was ok, not really special in any way, I doubt I will ever read it again.

Up with the sun and a first sighting.

I went to a market just north of Caboolture this morning, we had to get there early to get some fruit.
Up with the sun...
I got some dutch pancakes for breakfast when we were there. And they also had some salt liquorice, so of course I had to get that.
And I got a soft serve before we left, the man selling them complained because I got  a "kiddies" one.
On our way back home we saw some kangaroos!! It''s the first ones I've seen since I've come to Australia, and they were wild ones as well!!!
They're posing for me!

video

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Spiders!

When I was studying music I wanted to do one year here in Australia but I was too scared of all the spiders that I had heard was here. The reason I came here now is because I decided I wouldn't let the fear of spiders keep me from doing what I wanted. 

That doesn't mean I'm not still terrified of them though.

My host family has been telling me about the spiders that they get here. Sometimes they even get into the house! I'm NOT looking forward to THAT!!! I have also had to look at photos of them on the internet so that I will know what type of spider it is, although I don't get why, I don't care whether it's poisonous or not, I'll run as far away from it as I can anyway! 

Blimey! You've got some giant spiders Australia!!! 

We're planning to go to Australia Zoo or something next weekend, and my host family was saying that they will take me to see the spiders there... No thank you!! 

Not a big fan of spiders!

So, Australian spiders: please stay far away from me while I'm in Australia. Pretty please. Oh, and don't bite me if you have to come close to me. Thank you.

Friday, 29 July 2011

World Famous Serial Killers

Book number 13 in the 100+ Reading Challenge and the third in the What's in a name challenge (Evil, it said to be creative and I think serial killer is pretty evil.) Click here for both challenges.

World Famous Serial Killers
by Colin and Damon Wilson

Outer back cover: Who were they? Why did they do it? The crimes of serial killers are so terrible as to baffle understanding. In this gripping book, true crime experts Colin and Damon Wilson take a look at the most infamous.
The cases covered include Jeffrey Dahmer, the cannibal necrophile of Milwaukee, Ted Bundy, the charming psychopath who murdered innocent young  women, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, sadistic soul-mates and killers of children, Richard Ramirez, the terrifying "Night Stalker," and many more. The authors also take a look at the history of serial killing, from it's evil birth in past centuries to the horror of modern day mass murderers.

This is the first non-fiction book I have read in either challenge (except Postsecret), and I thought it was very interesting, and scary to read about what some people are capable of doing. I hadn't actually heard of many of them, not as far as I can remember anyway. I have of course heard of Jack the Ripper, of which they didn't have much information. Another one I had heard of was the Unabomber, but I didn't really know much about him, I had only heard the name, so it was exciting to learn a bit more.

One of the most fascinating serial killers they wrote about was Carl Panzram. He has actually written an autobiography, which part of me would like to read one day, but the other part of me is scared of having nightmares about it for a year if I read it because it's actually true.

At one point in the book they were talking about how people complain that some movies will make people serial killers and I really like what they wrote about that (page 168): It would seem more likely that the sort of person who will eventually become a serial killer is highly likely to want to watch sadomasochistic movie. But sadist with no access to such material still become serial killers - so blaming the movies for serial crime is as over-simplistic as blaming wars on Hollywood, because the politicians who declare wars sometimes watch war movies.

I really enjoyed the book and I learned a lot. I'm still having difficulty believing that people can actually do things like that though (even after what happened in Norway last week) it's just hard to believe that anybody can be that evil. Luckily it hasn't made me too scared of stepping outside the front door!


Monday, 25 July 2011

31 Dream Street

Book number 2 (number) in the what's in a name reading challenge, and book number 12 in the 100+ reading challenge

31 Dream Street
by Lisa Jewell

Outer back cover: Leah is fascinated by the strange mix of people living across the street from her at 31 Silversmith Road. She'd give anything to find out more about them, so when their reclusive landlord approaches her unexpectedly to ask for some advice, Leah is more than willing to help.
Toby is a failed poet and incurable romantic. For fifteen years he has lived happily in his rambling house filled with waifs and strays, until a quiet tragedy and unwelcome letter force him to admit that it is time to move on. But how will he persuade his tenants to move on? His house is their refuge. Are they ready to face the real world?
Together, Leah and Toby must help the misfits at number 31 to grow up and move out, but in doing so can they also make their own dreams come true?

I borrowed this book from my host family's bookshelf, I mostly chose it because it had a number in the title so that I could add it to my what's in a name challenge, and it turned out to be quite good.

There are so many different characters in the book, and it was fun to find out more about them. All the characters were so lost, and it was interesting to read how they felt, who they met, what they did with their lives and how they tried to sort it all out. I was also curious about how it would all end. And I was happy about the ending, although certain events did have me worried.

My favourite part of the book was when Daisy told Con about her condition, and the following "complications". It was just really interesting to read about how Con would react to it. My favourite character was Toby, he was just such a cute awkward person and it was fun to read about him trying to deal with his problems.

I really enjoyed this book, it'also a book I can read several times as, besides from being a good book, I think I will probably discover "hidden" gems each time.

On another note I have joined Goodreads, please be my friend there by clicking here or on the link to the right.

Norway after the bombing and shooting

Just a quick update to say please read this article from the Huffington post, it's about how Norway/Norwegians are dealing with the bombing and shooting that happened Friday (Norwegian time).

I agree with most of what the article says, but I do think Norway should get some more means of surveillance, since at the moment there isn't much.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Brisbane

First of all: thank you all for your kind comments on my I miss the hostel post. I think it's just that I want to be travelling more now that I'm in Australia, but of course I can't travel all the time since I'm working. But yesterday I went in to Brisbane for the day!

I don't really know anything about Brisbane. I know there is a botanical gardens and a big Ferris wheel thing, but I didn't know that until I looked it up or was told by the host family. So when I got off the train I just walked in a random direction. Get to see more that way. And I actually ended up in the botanical gardens after a few minutes (Score! Who needs a map, eh?). So I walked around there for a bit, then I walked over the pedestrian bridge at the end of the perk to South Bank. The first thing I saw was Griffith University! The university I would have gone to had I chosen to, although I would have gone to the one at Nathan I think it was.

Anyway, I walked along the board walk, had a look around the market and the museum. The museum had an exhibition on about the Aboriginals, it was very interesting, many pretty masks, shields etc. If you're in Brisbane you should pop in and have a look. After the museum I walked back to the north side across Victoria bridge (I think) and had a wander through Queen street and Queen street mall (Is that the same? Is the street the mall?).

I didn't really buy much, I'm too picky for my own good. Also my feet hurt so all I wanted to do was to sit down and never get up again. Maybe I'll go just for shopping another time. I found some salt liquorice (yum!) and some souvenirs that I'm going to send to  people back in Norway along with some I found in Sydney. I'm doing that instead of sending a postcard (I write too much to fit on a small postcard), so I'm going to try and find some small souvenirs at each place I go to.

There were a lot of ladies walking around Brisbane dressed in red and purple, anyone know what was going on with that?
 Some bikes outside the botanical gardens, I think it's kind of cool that you can rent bikes like this.
 Apparently that bridge in the background is on all Brisbane souvenirs.
 Anybody know what that thing halfway up the palm tree is?
 Pretty flower in the botanical gardens.
 Cute love tree

 Sad palmtree


 Pink boat!








 Wheel of Brisbane

 Just in case I didn't know where I was.

The Shooting at Utøya and the Bomb in Oslo

I went onto Facebook yesterday morning and was looking at what people had been doing lately. The suddenly I read my aunt's status updates: "I'm safe, but that was a big bang." I wondered what she was writing about and I read the various comments on it, most of those didn't really say what had happened either but one of my aunt's comments was that they had moved into a different room because the windows had been vibrating. I scrolled up to see if I could find out more. Many of my friends had put "This is horrible!" or "I can't believe it!" as their updates, but none of them had written WHAT it was about. Then the same aunt as before had written something about how people shouldn't blame Muslims and immigrants for what was going on because they didn't know anything for sure yet.


I had no idea what had happened, but I figured there had been a bomb going off, so I googled "Oslo bomb" and got loads of recent articles up. 


A bomb had gone off in Oslo's central government district, killing 7 people and wounding many more. There was also someone dressed in a police jumper killing people at a political youth camp at Utøya, which is an island near the capital. It's the biggest attack on Norway since the second World War. In the Norwegian articles they weren't directly blaming anyone, but they did write about how Norway has a lot of soldiers in Afghanistan and Libya, and how we don't have any sort of protection against these sort of assaults. Then I read an article that was slightly more updated that a blond white man had been arrested for the shootings on the island.

I rang my dad, in case he'd been anywhere near where the bomb when off. He was fine. He was at home, a fair bit outside Oslo, on holiday and even if he had been working he works in entertainment, not news. The rest of my family, except for a couple of aunts, lives a long, long way from Oslo.

The news articles were saying that since it was a white man that had been arrested it was probably political. His name is Anders Behring Breivik, he's 32. What can drive a man to kill nearly 100 people, of those SHOOT more than 80 young people (the numbers are still rising), teenagers, people that hasn't done anything wrong.

They are currently blaming him for both the bomb and the shootings. People are saying they want the death penalty to be used in Norway, I say: Why should he get the easy way out? If you kill him, he won't suffer for what he's done. One thing I don't like though is that "life" in Norway is only 21 years, people usually get out early on grounds of good behavior as well... Maybe they should leave him tied up in a room and let the parents of the people he killed have a go at him.

I'm against the death penalty and I'm against torture, but when people do things like this it could be very easy for me to change my mind. What would be a suitable punishment for him? Apparently Norwegian prisons are very "comfortable", so I don't know if staying in prison for the full 21 years he'll probably get is bad enough.

I just read that Breivik has admitted to mass-murder. In one way I'm glad it's a Norwegian, if it had been a foreigner, many Norwegians would have become more racist than they already are.

I'm just glad no one I know is killed or hurt, it would have been hard to be all the way down here in Australia if there was.

It's so strange to know that something like this has happened in Norway though. Nothing happens in Norway. Norway has been on Australian news! Hopefully Norway will get better at surveillance (like maybe CCTV type things) and other security measures now.

Here is a link to a post written by a girl who survived the shooting. It's in Norwegian, but you can probably use a translation program if you want, there are a few typos, but you'll probably be able to understand from the context: http://prableen.origo.no/-/bulletin/show/672218_helvete-paa-utoeya?ref=mst

Thursday, 21 July 2011

I miss the hostel!

Well, it's not so much the hostel I miss, but the people and atmosphere and all that.

Don't get me wrong, the family I'm staying with is great and all that, but it's harder to meet people here. In England I took the youngest girl that I was looking after to playgroups, while here there isn't any. The few that exist you have to pay for the full year, whereas the ones I went to in England was free, or I payed £1 or something each time I went. I did meet some people at the playgroups. I actually met most of the people I got to know while working as an au pair through playgroups. One of my closest friends from the U.K. didn't go to playgroup, as she didn't have any kids or looked after any, but we got introduced by a mutual friend from one of the playgroups.

Chesterfield, where I lived in England, was also a big town. Everything I needed was within walking distance. Loads of shops, pubs, gym, library etc. Whereas here there is a small shopping center type thing with just the basics... And no clothes! So even if I randomly get to know someone, maybe through the family I'm staying with, there isn't really anywhere close to meet up. It's times like this it would be nice to have a licence and a car.

At the hostel I got to meet some great people (and some not so great), there was loads to do, and yes I know it was IN Sydney, but still. The hostel arranged things and there was loads to do all the time and everything was nearby.

I've never really thought of myself as a people person. I am fine on my own, I rarely feel lonely. But after staying at the hostel in Sydney and meeting so many new people, and we all did things together. Someone would suggest something and we would do it. While when I'm on my own I am a lot lazier, I think about how I will have to check when I can go with the family, order tickets, get on the bus/train/plane, and I'm just like: "Meh..."

If I set my mind to it it's fine, I will do it, or if I only have myself to think about. Like when I came to Australia, I had no problems booking and traveling then because I didn't have to check with anyone when it was ok that I went... So I guess maybe it's not so much the hostel I miss, or the people, but the independence?

But I do miss the people a lot as well... Even though I don't mind the booking and travelling on my own, I can't always think of things to do. When there are other people involved I get to do and see a lot more because they might think of more things to do than I do.

I'm probably just being silly. I guess now after staying at a hostel and having 4 days completely packed where I have been doing things from I got up til I went to bed, it just feels weird not doing anything. I am though. I went to Redcliffe last weekend, and this Saturday I might be going into Brisbane. And I'm going away with my host family for Christmas, so I get to see more then... And If I manage to save up most of my money now that I'm working, I'm thinking maybe I'll get one of those bus passes for my next 6 months where I can just hop on and off the coaches, live at hostels (hopeful I know) and hopefully meet more people and do loads of things.

This turned into a weird post... This is pretty much how my brain works, people. I confuse myself sometimes... But I think it's safe to say that I won't mind staying at a hostel again!

To the moon and back

My first book in the What's in a name challenge (travel/movement book) and book number 11 in the 100+ reading challenge.


To the moon and back
by: Jill Mansell


Outer back cover: When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she's ready for a new start - at work, that is. She doesn't need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company...
Zack McLaren seems to have it all, but the girl he can't stop thinking about won't give him a second glance. If only she'd pay him the same attention she lavished on his dog.
Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill...


I bought this book at the airport in Brussels, but I didn't read much on the plane and it has just been lying next to my bed for the last two weeks, not because it was boring, but because I've had so much else to do. Yesterday  picked it up again and read the last 300 pages, almost in one sitting.


Not that I can even begin to imagine how it must feel like to lose a husband, but I think Ellie's emotions and thoughts are very realistic, she thinks a lot like I would in most situations. At the same time I also get very exasperated with the decisions she make.


The book is full of clichés, but personally I still found the book interesting because there were quite a few surprising things happening, and I almost said "NOOO!" out loud a couple of times. In other words: typical "chick-lit", but I like those books, obviously or I wouldn't be reading them. The book could very easily be turned into a big Hollywood chick-flick.


My favourite part of the book was when Ellie had the flu, it was both funny and charming and made me wish I had someone that would take care of me in that way, although part of it was a bit over the top. My favourite character was Roo, who undergoes a massive change during the book, but I liked her both before and after, although I think she was occasionally being a bit too difficult after.


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Eatons Hill Tavern

On Friday the parents to the kids I look after now (her: S, him: J) went to celebrate one of their friends 30th at Eatons Hill Tavern. Apparently when it's finished it will be the, or one of the, biggest pubs/nightclubs/restaurants/whatever on the southern hemisphere.

The place looks very fancy, and they're very picky on who the let in. Guys can't have mohawks, you can't wear a hoodie, you need the right shoes, etc., etc.. Luckily I bought some heels to go with my pencil skirt earlier that same day so that I wouldn't have to wear my black flat trainers again like I did at the Opera house. They also he a new, very expensive security system. You have to have photo ID, which they scan at the door and when they scan it, they also take your picture.

Mu ID is my passport. A passport is usually the best ID you can have. After S and J had been scanned and photographed I stepped forward to do the same. I handed my passport to the security guard operating the scanner.
"We don't take passports."
Wait. What?!
I was completely dumbstruck! So was S and J. When we got our ability to talk back, we asked why and if there was anything else we could do, since it was my only ID. Apparently the reason was that it wouldn't scan. He also said there was nothing he could do, so S asked him to get his manager down to talk with us.

When the guy (finally) turned up he was no help either. He told us I had to have a drivers licence or something else approved by the Australian government. At this point the mother of the guy whose 30th we were supposed to be celebrating came back out to help us. She works for the Australian Federal Government (or something) and told the guy that a passport, as soon as it's stamped on arrival in the country, is approved by the Australian government. (Duh!) He still wouldn't let me in. I asked if he would accept a Norwegian bank card, which has my date of birth on it, my picture and my signature (it's what we use as ID in Norway), but no. Not that I thought he would, but it was worth a try.

As we were talking among ourselves trying to figure out what to do, S was getting really angry and I was just sad that I would ruin their evening, a guy in a different shirt than the other two, but clearly someone that worked there, walked past. S tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he was the manager, to which he answered "one of", so S told him about our problem, mentioning that only approving Australian issued ID's was both discriminating and racist. This guy asked to see my passport and took it with him inside telling us he was just going to check something with his supervisors. Less than a minute later he came back out and said it was okay, and told me I could get inside. He told the first guy we talked to to type in Norway into his scanner thing, and would you look at that! He scanned my passport!!

We were stood outside trying to sort this out for about 30 minutes! We did have a nice time though, when we finally got inside.

I wonder if I will have to go through all that again if I ever go back there...?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Chocolate, Letters and Redcliffe

Got some KitKats that I've never seen before today, I tried the cookies and cream one the other day, very nice except for the runny one, and of the ones I bought today I've tried the caramel one... it was okay...
I've written some letters this weekend as well. I love writing proper handwritten "old-fashioned" letters. Much more personal than just an e-mail or message on FB.
My host family and I also went to Redcliffe this afternoon. We went out on the pier, or jetty or whatever you want to call it, and then we went for some food which we ate in a park while looking at the sunset. The place we got our food is actually called Scarborough, so now I've been to the English Scarborough and the Australian Scarborough!





 I can't really believe how "young" Australia is!! Although in another way it's very old... Depends how you look at it I guess.







Some random person decided to get in the picture...

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