Thursday, September 18, 2014

OMG


Drool. That is all. *dies*

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'm back!

So... I'm back from my two week vacation to the United Kingdom, and boy do I miss it. I could totally live in London. I liked that city so much!

I'll blog about my trip later on this month... for now, I'll leave my fellow readers (all three of you) with a pic of me in Wales at Conwy Castle. That's me, Princess Randi, looking down at all of my peasants from my ivory tower.

Ha ha ha!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My nervousness about my upcoming U.K. trip


So... for the first time in my life this upcoming Sunday, I will be going on my first international trip. On the one hand, I'm really excited to see places that I've never been before! I can't wait to see all of the landmarks in the United Kingdom that I've only seen on television up close and personal. It's going to be great.

On the other hand... I'm EXTREMELY nervous about my trip.

Why, might you ask? Let's see:
  • For the first time in my life, I'm going to be considered a foreigner. Not that it's bad to be a foreigner, it's just that it's going to be weird to be in a place where no one sounds like me.
  • Secondly, I'm afraid that my luggage is going to get lost!
  • Thirdly, I'm worried about not having enough money. The British pound is $1.70 for every American dollar. WTF.
  • And lastly, I guess... I'm afraid that I'm going to get lost, miss my flight and lose my passport.

So there you have it... my fears.

I shouldn't be worried, right? It's not like they don't speak English in the U.K., lol. 

Perhaps maybe my biggest fear is that after 9 months of planning out the most exciting vacation that I am about to take in my life thus far... I'm afraid that I won't have a good time.

Hmmm. How can I not have a good time? My friends will be with me. I get free room and board in Wigan when I stay there. George Clooney will be getting married in London while I'm there. And I may be able to (schedules permitting) stop off at the University of Oxford and possibly get a glimpse of Prince William and Kate Middleton. 

Yeah. That sure as hell sounds like a bunch of things to be afraid of. Perhaps I should just calm down.

I will, I guess. Perhaps when I'm finally on the plane.

I'm going to try and stay active on Twitter and Instagram, so that I can post pics whenever I can. So for all 3 of my blog followers, you will see that I probably didn't have anything to worry about in the first place.

And that I really am, having a good time overseas.

PS - My birthday is on Monday, September 1st. And I'll be in Scotland, having a pint. That doesn't sound so bad, right? Cheers!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

My trip to Seattle

So, yes... if you read my previous blog entry from last month, you know that I went to Seattle alone. I wasn't supposed to go alone, but, you know... s#$% happens. Or should I say, drunk happens.

Anyhoo... even though I went by myself, I made the most of my trip and enjoyed spending time in a city that I had always wanted to go visit. Seattle is very much a lovely city. The weather is especially nice in the summertime - it was in the 70's and 80's when I was there, and I very much enjoyed the fact that there is very little humidity out there. It was nice to get away to a place where you didn't have to take 3 showers in one day just to enjoy the day (humidity in DC sucks in the summer time).

And... it only rained once the whole time I was there. For an hour. Whoo-hoo! I couldn't have picked a better time of year to go visit. I highly recommend going to Seattle in the summer time if you ever want to go.

People wise? The crazies tend to come out in the summer time. Eerily enough, there are a lot of people roaming around in the streets randomly talking to themselves (and it's a bit scary). Also, Seattle has a very large homeless population, one that I think rivals San Francisco's. I was amazed at how many people I saw out on the street asking for change. But I guess if there is ever a place to be homeless, it's on the West Coast.

And... don't get me started on how everybody out there (white, black, you name it) still thinks we live in the 90's. Most of the people I saw on the street literally looked like they just stepped out of a Pearl Jam video. Grunge rock wear in Seattle is very much the norm. And! A lot of people out there had dreadlocks in their hair! WTF. Seriously... who knew that the 90's was still alive and well in Seattle? I was taken aback. But I can't complain or anything... some of the best music EVER and some of the coolest fashions came out of that decade (babydoll dresses with knee socks spring to mind).

I will say that even though everyone looks like a hobo out there, everyone is actually very super friendly. And polite. People will come up and talk to you just about anything. And no one honks at anyone! And! People actually stop their cars when they come to a crosswalk and wait for pedestrians to cross the street! I couldn't believe it. I mean, people will try and run you over when you are crossing the street here in DC! Hell, I might even try to run you over if you are in the street in DC! I swear, people out in Seattle are uber-friendly. Perhaps us East Coasters should take a page out of their books and be more courteous to each other.

NAH!

Back to the trip! Anyways... below, I decided to highlight the cool parts of my trip/experience in picture form. I thought that would be cooler than writing out a bunch of boring paragraphs, lol. Here we go:



Did I mention that I flew Virgin America over to Seattle? This was one of the best airplanes/flights I've ever been on. Mood lighting, leather seats, free TV, remote controls in the seats... in short - this flight was AWESOME! I highly recommend flying on this airline if you get a chance. It's well worth the money.


Top Pot Doughnuts... I was told that I had to make a stop here and pick up some for my friends back in DC. I must say, these doughnuts were very good. I think they are made fresh right in the store. 

The only downside to going here was that this shop was at the BOTTOM of a major hill. Did I also forget to mention how many HILLS there are in Seattle?!?!?!? About a thousand. That whole city is on one giant hill. Hills that are similar to the ones in San Francisco. My calves hurt so bad from walking up and down hills, it wasn't even funny. But I will say that the trek down this massive hill to get to this doughnut shop was well worth it.


This is a pic of the Great Wheel, which has only been out on the water for about two years. It was about $20 to ride it. I passed. But it was nice to look at!



I got to visit the Pike Place Market a couple of times when I was here. If you ever decide to visit here, do not go on a weekend. There were so many people there when I went on Saturday, I almost drowned in people. I did get to go really early in the morning on Thursday, the second day I was in Seattle (I went again on Saturday since I was nearby). I got to walk around the market and see the Gum Wall (it was gross), some fish get thrown (they sing songs and cheer loudly in the fish area!) and the first ever Starbucks. The line for Starbucks was wrapped around the corner. So I passed on going inside. 


I went to the Space Needle on the third day I was in Seattle. It's really nice. And I hopped into the elevator and rode to the top, and... yeah. I looked around. That was about it. Honestly, it's not much different than visiting the Empire State Building. Same view, same scary height far up from the ground... so I wasn't too enthused. But I did enjoy the fact that I got to visit it.


Did I tell you that I went on a boat cruise around Puget Sound? It was really nice. The cruise lasted about an hour, and a tour guide gave us a brief history of the area surrounding the Sound. The sun was out, there was a nice breeze, and I also made friends with a girl who just happened to be by herself on the cruise. And... she came with me to the...



... Seattle Aquarium! AND THEY HAD OTTERS! I love love love otters. They are like, one of my favorite animals. And they looked so cute floating on their backs and playing with their toys. Oh, I wanted to jump in the tank and hang out with them (one can dream). Also at the aquarium, there were seals, birds and lots of fish. And they had a tank full of sea anemones, starfish and sea cucumbers that you could touch. It was really cool. And fun. I almost didn't go with the girl that I met (b/c I was tired), but once I saw the otters, I was really happy that I changed my mind and went in. And lastly...


I found Nemo! And Dory was at the aquarium too. They had lots of tropical fish. They were all so pretty. If you are ever in Seattle, I highly recommend making a pit stop at the aquarium. Surprisingly, it's really fun for adults!

So, that's my trip. Seattle is a pretty cool place to visit, and if you've never been, I recommend that you go check it out. Next up on my travels is.... THE U.K.! God, save the queen... I can hear that anthem in my head right now. Scotland, Wigan and London are on the itinerary of places to visit. So exciting! I can't wait to go!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Book review: Gone Girl


So last night, I stayed up until 3 o'clock in the morning, furiously finishing this wonderfully written book called Gone Girl, by author Gillian Flynn. Whoa. This book was simply in one word: crazy. Even though it was crazy, I did enjoy it very much, and I am interested in reading the other two books written by her, Dark Places and Sharp Objects.

So... on to my review of the book. The synopsis of the book is that Nick Dunne, an out of work writer comes home to find that his wife of 5 years, Amy, is missing. He doesn't know what happens to her, and after information starts to show up that he might have something to do with her disappearance, he becomes the prime suspect in the police's investigation.

I can't talk too much more about the plot of the book, because there are so many twists and turns in this novel that it would give away what happens. But I can say that this book - is good. Especially the writing. Gillian Flynn has a distinct writing style that flows very well and is a plus in the slow burn of how this book unfolds. I am a big fan of not only her writing style, but also of her sharp, snarky wit that comes through in her writing. My absolute favorite line of the book is said by Margo, Nick's sister in the book, whom while sitting on her couch watching a baseball game with Nick while eating, declares "If I had a dick, I would f--- this peanut butter." You will have to read the book for more context into Margo's character... but I just had to put that line in my review. Too. Damn. Funny.

Other things I liked about the book: I did enjoy the character development. I thought that she fleshed her characters out very well. I also enjoyed the pace of the book. Usually, I don't like plots that burn slow, but it serves in making this book a page turner. Also, I enjoyed the plot twists. Just when you think you know what's going on, a surprise lurks around the corner. This kind of writing makes for a great read, and I enjoy reading books by authors who can effectively deliver on good twists and turns in their novels.

Dislikes? I have a few. While I do complement the fact that this book had a slow burn of a plot, I felt as though there wasn't much action in the first 100 or so pages of the book. I felt that although well written, the book had too many descriptions of the character's thoughts and not enough of action and things going on around them. The good thing is, if you can make it through to the second part of the book, the book really does pick up pace and pulls you into the story. I wish she could have sucked in the reader a little earlier on in the first part of the book. That would have made me more inclined to finish it a lot quicker than I did (it took me a day or so to get to the good part of the book).

Another dislike? I thought that Flynn could have delved more into the psyche of Amy's character and wrote more about her background. Without giving anything away, you come to know her a certain way in the book, but Flynn leaves out how she ended up that way. To me, if you are going to write about a character that has, let's say, "certain issues", you really need to explain how they became that way at some point in time in the narrative. Maybe I'm being a little hard on her b/c I was a Psychology major in college, but I think if you want your audience to really understand your character's motives (trying to say this without spoiling anything), you really do need to explain how they became who they are in the present day. In this specific case, Flynn really does leave that out, and I think it was a big misstep in writing about Amy and how she functioned.

My last dislike was about how the book ended. Now, I wasn't as mad about the ending as most people were. I actually welcome reading books don't have a "Hollywood" ending. I find books like that refreshing and truly reflective of human life. Not all good people win in the end, and not all bad people get what they deserve. And such is life. The problem in how she wrote the ending wasn't that it didn't have a happy ending, but was how the story came together in the end. It just didn't quite work. You could poke some serious holes in the way everything played out, and the reader ends up having some serious questions about how Nick ended up choosing the path he chose to take and how the police decided to handle the case when everything was said and done.

Plus, the ending is kind of an open ending, which pissed a lot of people off. I didn't mind the ending so much as I did Nick's frame of mind and choice in the end. That I had beef with. I could think of one or two ways Nick could have gone in the end of this book, and path he chose would have been the LAST one I would have picked. Ugh. I wanted to slap him because of it. But overall, I did enjoy the book, and I do look forward to seeing the movie in October. It will be interesting to see how Flynn unfolds the plot and the story, since the book is told from Amy's and Nick's point of view, and that way of storytelling may not be plausible on screen.

Would I recommend this book? Yes. But I guess I would tell someone to read it with an open mind and try and suspend their disbelief to a certain extent. And also I would say "Keep in mind. People are crazy. And people are unlikable. And you are reading a book about two crazy, somewhat unlikable people. Don't get too invested or attached, b/c I think it'll upset you in the long run. Just enjoy the book for what it is... a well written, page turner."

Ha ha ha. On to the next novel.