Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Trip to Sydney



Finally, I was able to take the kids to Sydney at their request last 6 January. Demi has been plaguing me to go there to get close to the harbor and water. She has that much desire with oceans and seas. Sunday is the best time to travel around here because they have the Family Fun Day here every Sunday when the fare is fixed at $2.50 per person provided that there is a 1:1 ratio of adult and child in the family. Plus, children below 4 are free so the whole trip cost us only $7.50 covering all bus, train and ferry rides.
Below is the map showing our itinerary:

1.       We took the bus to Mt. Druitt station.
2.       From Mt. Druitt station, we rode the yellow line to Town Hall station.
3.       From Town Hall, we transferred to the blue line and got off at Circular Quay.

After more than an hour travel, the kids happily arrived at Sydney! It was a very hot afternoon but the breeze was cool and they enjoyed the grass and birds and well, the harbor of course, which was what Demi wanted all this time.

After a while, we walked to the far end where the Opera House is but the kids liked the other side better where there’s shade and grass. So we just took some pictures and decided to try the ferry and so the journey continued.



4.       At Circular Quay wharf, we rode the ferry up until Meadowbank wharf. I particularly asked for the ferry which will stop near a train station but it turned out that Meadowbank station is still a few minutes walk from the wharf.

The majestic view from the ferry kept the kids awake despite that they were getting very sleepy already.


5.       From the Meadowbank station, we rode the red line and got off at Strathfield to transfer to the yellow line.
6.       From Strathfield, we got off at Blacktown.
7.       From Blacktown, we should have taken the bus but we took the train to Mt. Druitt again thinking that it would be a lot faster.
8.       As it turned out, waiting for the bus at Mt. Druitt took us some 30 minutes and it was dark when we got home at 10pm.

the look of being lost in an unfamiliar land...


The whole trip was just for half day but transferring from one ride to another was so tiring. Still, the kids enjoyed their first trip to Sydney and it was a very well spent $7.50 fare. :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Reading Adventures for 2013

I was overwhelmed by the sudden access to the most popular books which I didn’t have the liberty a few months ago. As a result, I start to regard reading books with less fervor, I think. Or maybe some books were just promoted to an exaggerated extent. I don’t know. But I do hope it’s the second reason.

So why am I telling this? Last year, I was able to read 19 books. So that’s 1.6 books in a month which is more than okay considering that year 2012 had been a busy one for me. That was the year we moved house (in February), the year I ventured with beaded watch crafts (from March to July, maybe), the year we got our visa granted (in July) so we had lots to prepare for, the year I took driving lessons (September). There’s a lot of changes if you get the point. So I managed to squeeze reading these books and that would have to be the travel time it took to go to the office and back to the house. Plus, when I arrived in Australia by myself, without the kids, I had plenty of time for leisure. And luckily, that was the time I found this liberty of access to the books I’ve always wanted to read.

As 2013 started, I had 3 books waiting to be read. Coraline and The Graveyard Book both by the author Neil Gaiman and Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. The first one was a fast read and I would like to make a separate post for its review. The story was good although I’d say now and probably reiterate in my review, that the movie was a better version.

The Graveyard Book was a little more difficult to read and it was disappointing because I have high regard of it. Maybe because the theme was a little unacceptable to me, which was ghost fantasies and adventures. I do like fantasies but only those that are science related like Madeleine L’Engle’s time quintet. The Graveyard Book is different though so I decided to move on to Fifty Shades.

Now this last book is 50-50. I have read several reviews from bloggers alike about how much they hated the novel so I didn’t bother reading it. Still, I was curious because most of my friends, and friends whom I respected too, were thrilled about it. So when I chanced upon a copy in the library, it couldn’t hurt to try.


So here goes my opinion. Sorry fans but first off, I’m really not inclined to love stories so that’s probably why I wasn’t so thrilled although the fashion in which the novel was written was not totally difficult to endure. But personally, I did not develop a liking to the heroine who was Anastasia Steele. Although she was supposed to be “beautiful” and na├»ve about it, she didn’t strike me as such especially on her first meeting with her dream guy. Falling flat on your hands and knees isn’t exactly attractive. Plus, she always flush in different shades of crimson, red, scarlet, name it. I thought the book may also be fittingly entitled “Fifty Shades of Ana’s Face”. And then she has this vice of looking at her hands and biting her lip, the latter an act which Grey (Ana’s love interest) finds very seductive. Personally, I don’t understand how.

Other things I did not like about her was her frequent reference to her inner goddess who dances the meringue, salsa, samba etc. and her subconscious who seems to hate her and always smirks or shouts at her. Both of them recurrently taps their foot on her impatiently or whatsoever. Oh, and I almost forgot. Ana’s favorite expressions were “oh my,” “crap,” “holy cow,” and “holy shit.” So brace yourself for these words and you might as well keep a paper and pen for tallying just for the fun of it and see which of these were the most used throughout the book.

I could look beyond these annoying repetitive matters but some of the things about Grey made me really feel uncomfortable. Mostly these were his reactions such as his frequent gasps on such little things. It just doesn’t match with his purportedly hard core image. Or the way his mouth hangs open a lot. It made me think he’s stupid-looking. But the most annoying of all is his cocking of head to one side. I’m not sure if the problem is with me but I just don’t feel that this act is so masculine. Reading takes one to imagine, and every time I see him cock his head to one side, I wince. I try to imagine the husband doing the same and I cringe even more at the thought, I think I might divorce him when I see him do that (hehe just kidding, but the cringe was real). This made me really restless so I asked the husband outright what he thinks about a guy who cocks his head to one side and he says that’s not straight…
"But the most annoying of all is his cocking of head to one side"

When a person’s head tilt to one side, it means that an interest has been developed. Remember how a dog tilt his head when curious? It’s the same with humans too:)
This is a common gesture for women when they are interested in an attractive male.
(Source here)

"Don't I look better than Christian Grey?" Photo Source
Well anyway, this habit of Christian Grey annoyed me ultimately that I lost appetite to finishing the book. Plus, it appears as if half of the story was a description of their love making adventures but I was thinking I could skip those and just get to the point what’s so mysterious about Grey. But the cocking of head to one side got a bit irritating so I made a pact that if he had to do it again, I’d stop reading the book. Alas! Before chapter 10 ended, he cocked his head to one side again (the part where he was having lunch with Ana in a nice restaurant) and I got so pissed I closed the book altogether.

Okay, I admit it. I’m not really harsh. I still plan to finish both books, perhaps go back to Graveyard first before Grey. But one other reason why I wasn’t so patient with Grey was because I found another book called Clockwork by Philip Pullman and guess what? It was like I’ve found oasis after walking miles in the desert! The book was a lot more interesting but it was very short so I finished it in one day and it left me feeling a little regretful because such a great read came to an end so fast. I’ll definitely write a review about it perhaps after reading it a second time.

Anyway, I’ll try to refrain from borrowing books until I’ve finished the Graveyard and Grey first, the latter with a condition that I’ll give a limit of 10 more times for the cocking of the head, 15 for saying “oh my” and 20 for the dancing inner goddess. If anything exceeded the limits, whichever comes first, then ultimately, I’d put down the book and return the same unfinished.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Sound Trip # 14: Why do all good things come to an end by Nelly Furtado

Last time I was doing the grocery at Woolworths for bread and stuff, I heard this song again and I was like taken by a time machine to the past. It was around 2005 or 2006 when I loved this song and felt connection to its meaning. Last time was the first time I heard the song again after so many years, as a matter of fact, I’ve forgotten the title or any of the lyrics.

It was like seeing again the person you really love whom you had let go in the past. That is how I compare the feeling at least. I can’t just let it go. I strained hard to pick up the words, just a few words so I could later do a research on its title that I walked along the isles trying to follow where the music was coming from. And when I found the source, I stayed there and absorbed the words as much as I could. Only when the song was over that I resumed with the groceries hehe. Back at home, I did the research and saved an mp3 in my phone.

And now, just like before, I sing the song and know its lyrics by heart… only, its meaning has lost its connection. While all good things come to an end, so does pain and hurt and all the bad things that come with it. Everything comes to an end…

Thursday, January 17, 2013

My 2012 Summary of Books Read

      1.      Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

      2.      Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

      3.      Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

      4.      Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

      5.      Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

      6.      Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins

      7.      Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

      8.      Please Look After Mother by Kyung-Sook Shin

      9.      Like The Flowing River by Paulo Coelho

 10.      Missing May by Cynthia Rylant

 11.      The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

 12.      A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

 13.      For One More Day by Mitch Albom

 14.      The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

 15.      Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

 16.      A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks

 17.      The Shack by William P. Young

 18.      Many Waters by Madeleine L’Engle

 19.      PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

Of which my favourite was Hunger Games... No book made me as hungry as this one, for the year 2012 at least... :)

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Synopsis: Playing favorites... Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are the best dancers in their ballet class. Both girls want to dance the...