Five Fandom Friday: My to-be-read pile

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One of my new years resolutions was to get my to-be-read pile under control.  The top of my bookcase in my bedroom is a dedicated space where I keep the books i have yet to read.  However, that orderly pile has begun spilling from between my bookends, and the overflow has formed two additional stacks. This simply won’t do!  I am trying to make time to read more as well as attempting to curb my urge to buy every interesting-looking book that catches my eye.  This is proving challenging, particularly as I often feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choices each time I begin a new book.

 

So I felt that this 5 Fandom Friday Prompt was timely and served two purposes.  Firstly, it will help me identify five books that I am most looking forward to reading and secondly, it will give you a glimpse at my reading material.  Let’s make a start.

 

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  1. The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I’m obsessed with Tudor history and historical fiction set in this era always piques my interest.  I am a fan of Philippa Gregory’s novels, because I think she does a brilliant job creating strong connections to her characters and it’s fun to imagine what it might have been like to live during those times.  The Lady of the Rivers focuses on Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Henry VII’s grandmother in law.  Jacquetta was a formidable woman and possibly a witch.  I have already read The Red Queen and The White Queen, and Jacquetta was a background character in each of those stories.  I’m really looking forward to reading a story with her at the forefront.

 

2. According to Yes by Dawn French

I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to sit down with this book, because each of Dawn French’s other books has barely lasted a week on my shelf before I’ve torn into it. I absolutely adore her characters and her witty yet heartfelt writing style.  From the cryptic blurb on the back, I get the impression that this is going to be a tale of self-indulgence and finally breaking free after a lifetime of denying ones own impulses.  And it sounds very juicy indeed.

 

3. The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett

There’s a reason why this book has been sitting on my shelf for such a long time.  Terry Pratchett is my favourite author, and this is the final book that was published after his death.  I have been trying to work up the courage to read it, because I know that it’s going to be emotional, almost like saying goodbye to a close friend.  The Shepherd’s Crown features one of my favourite Pratchett characters: Tiffany Aching.  Tiffany is a young witch who is steely and fierce yet still has all the vulnerability of a teenager.  I know I’m going to love this book, but it breaks my heart that once this one is done, there are no more new Pratchett books left to read.

 

4. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

Since seeing the film several years ago, I have been burning to read The Colour Purple.  The copy on my shelf is battered and dog-eared, having been purchased from a tiny book stall in Melbourne.  This story of two sisters in the Deep South, facing unimaginable oppression and fear, promises to be moving and poignant.

 

5. Aimee & Jaguar by Erica Fischer

A true story of two women who fell in love in Berlin in 1942, and the gut-wrenching realities that pulled them apart.  I have been searching for more queer fiction to add to my literary menu, and this story has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  I am truly looking forward to being transported back in time by the words and pages, and walking with the two title characters as they discover one another and develop their love.

 

What have you been reading lately?  What’s on your to-read pile?

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5 Fandom Friday: Galentines Day Gifts

I just love love.  And there are so many different types of love to celebrate. Romantic love sure is grand, but it’s not the only stripe on the rainbow of love.  There’s the love we feel for brothers and sisters, love for our community, love for our pets and love for our fandoms.  And most importantly, there’s the love we have for our friends.

I’d argue that platonic love is one of the thickest stripes on that rainbow.  Friends are like a family that we choose for ourselves.  They are the people that we select to surround ourselves with, to offer our support and to share our laughter.  I’m so chuffed that there is now a whole holiday celebrating friendship: Galentines Day.  Oh, you don’t know what Galentines Day is?  That’s ok. I’m gonna let my buddy Leslie explain…

Now, I know that Leslie likes to celebrate her lady friends on February 13th, and that’s rad.  But I like to do things a little differently. See, I have a lot of dude buddies as well as lady buddies, so I think that for me, Galentines Day is a celebration of all my friends, not just the lasses.

A huge part of Galentines Day is the gifts. You don’t have to be a Leslie-Knope-Level Gift Wizard to show your buddies you care this February 13th. Here are my top 5 picks for awesome-arse Galentines Day pressies.

Knitted socks

I enjoy making knitted goodies for the people I love the most.  And knitted socks are one of my favourite gifts.  There’s something super special about reaching into your drawer and pulling out a hand-knitted pair of sockies to warm up your chilly toes.  Knitted socks are like a hug for your feet, in a totally non-weird way.

2. Cookies

Yummy treats are the perfect way to show someone you care about them.  They’re delicious, they’re sweet and they take a bit of extra effort than a box of chocolates.  What’s even better than home-made cookies?  Making a batch and then inviting your friend over to enjoy them with a pot of tea and delightful conversation.

 

3. Comic books

Comics make a super rad gift because they’re inexpensive, they’re lightweight so they can be sent by post and they’re loads of fun.  Grab a few different titles and give them to a geeky mate to enjoy at their leisure. You might introduce them to a new favourite series and it gives them something quirky to enjoy with their morning coffee.

 

4. A massage voucher

So many of us struggle to make time to do things for ourselves.  How about giving your friend a chunk of time just for them?  Massage vouchers don’t have to be crazy expensive, many places will offer neck and shoulder massages for as little as $15.  Giving your mate that piece of paper gives them permission to take that moment for themselves and really enjoy a bit of pampering.

 

5. Your time

You don’t actually have to buy your friend anything to show them how much they mean to you.  These days I find it so difficult to make time to catch up with all my favourite people on a regular basis.  So when I do get a chance to hang out with a mate, it’s so precious.  If you want to make someone feel really special, I suggest making a date to hang out with them.  Whether you go out for a fancy meal, indulge in an activity or just have an old-fashioned gab-fest on your couch, giving them your undivided attention will show them how valuable they are to you.

 

What are your favourite Galentines Day gifts?  What would you like to receive from your besties this Galentines Day?

 

 

 

 

Five Fandom Friday: 5 more must see Christmas movies

So, this week’s FFF prompt was must-see Christmas movies.  But I remembered that I already did this prompt two  Christmases ago.  But as I’m a massive Christmas nerd with  huge collection of holiday movies, I didn’t think I’d have any difficulty thinking up a list of 5 more films to get you in the holiday spirit. So, just in case you’ve seen all the ones on my original list, here’s a few more geeky films to sink your teeth into this Christmas.

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  1. It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie

Fun fact: I don’t particularly like It’s a Wonderful Life. This Christmas Classic has never managed to warm my heart.  But the Muppet version has been a part of my Christmas festivities for about twelve years now.  After a series of devastating personal failures, Kermit the Frog starts contemplating his place in the universe, and begins to wonder if the world would be a better place if he weren’t a part of it.  Luckily, his guardian angel (played by David Arquette) swoops down from Heaven to show Kermit what the world would be like if he’d never  been born.

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2. Elf

Nothing has ever made me laugh quite as hard as watching Will Ferrell catapult himself off a couch and into a giant Christmas tree in this film.  Although it’s kinda corny, Elf is full of giggles and joy.

 

3. White Christmas

I’m a sucker for Danny Kaye, and when you pair him with Bing Crosby you just know that you’re in for an all-singing-all-dancing good time.  This film has an array of gorgeous costumes, a sweet story and features the classic song White Christmas.

More Christmas shirts. #geek #Christmas #homealone

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4. Home Alone

Nothing says Christmas quite like parental abandonment and home invasion.  Even with the unsavory subject matter, the moment I hear the opening strains of the Home Alone theme, it feels like Christmas to me.  If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favour and grab a copy, then hunker down with pizza and pepsi and check it out.

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5. The Night Before

Ok, so this one isn’t fun for the whole family.  You definitely want to clear the kids out of the room before you pop this movie in the DVD player.  But even though it’s choc-full of profanity, violence and drug abuse, The Night Before manages to be a really sweet story about friendship and holiday tradition.

 

What movies do you like to watch to get you in the holiday spirit?  Have I left any off my list that you feel should be here?

Five Fandom Friday: My favourite fictional foods.

Food, glorious food!  How I adore it.  As a big fan of both cooking and eating, food has a very warm place in my heart.  And as such, I am eager to jump in and share with you my list of favourite fictional foods.  It’s a tiny bit tricky to write such a list when you’ve never actually tasted any of the items on offer, but I’m sure I’ll manage with my imagination to assist me!  Spoons at the ready, and bon appetit!

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  1. Butterbeer from Harry Potter

I have a very clear idea in my mind of what butterbeer should taste like.  I imagine that it would be warm, creamy with a butterscotch twist topped with Irish Creme.  I have tried a number of butterbeer cocktails, but none of them have quite matched up to this fantastical idea of what a wizard’s favourite brew should be like.

 

2. Everlasting Gobstoppers from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

As a kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was my favourite book.  I used to take it home from the library to read every weekend.  The very notion of such a magical place as Willy Wonka’s factory filled me with an indescribable glee.  As a child who had very little pocket money, I adored the thought that I might be able to buy bag of sweets that never ran out, and so Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers were always a wonderful idea in my eyes.

 

3. The Flaming Homer from The Simpsons.

I love me a good cocktail, so how could I resist a drink that’s the toast of Springfield?  Made with a dash from every bottle in the liquor cabinet, a splash of Krusty brand cough syrup and then set ablaze, this drink is sure to make you lose your wits (and perhaps also your drumsticks).

 

4. Bluth’s Frozen Banana from Arrested Development

Sure, I could certainly freeze a banana, then dip it in chocolate and nuts and eat it, but it just wouldn’t be the same as a genuine Bluth’s Frozen Banana.  For one, it wouldn’t come from the Big Yellow Joint, and secondly it wouldn’t be crafted by George Michael “Mr Manager” Bluth.  If I could actually pop down to the banana stand for a treat, I’d be tempted to order the Gob, with so much extra chocolate and nuts you need two sticks to support it.

 

5. Cheesy Blasters from 30 Rock.

Although they kinda sound like a recipe for a heart-attack, Cheesy Blasters combine all of my favourite junk foods: pizza, hot dogs and copious quantities of melted cheese.  Thanks Meat Cat!

What are your favourite fictional foods?  Are there any I’ve forgotten that you think should have made this list?

 

 

5 Fandom Friday: My favourite cupcakes

I’m an unapologetic cupcake fanatic.  Tiny cakes have held my heart since I was a wee little wisp of a thing scoffing them at birthday parties.  I went through a period of cupcakey bliss around 2008 when cupcakes were the dessert du jour.  And when macaroons knocked them off the top spot, I didn’t give a toss.  There’s nothing quite like folding back the crinkly paper case and taking a scrumptious first bite of soft, sweet cake.  Or eating them from the bottom-up so that you get a lovely mouthful of frosting to finish with.  Choosing five favourites is going to be hard, but here we go.

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  1. Bacon cupcakes.

No joke, these are a real thing.  They are a super simple recipe but they always go down a treat.  I like to make them when I’m having friends stay because they make an impressive breakfast.  They’re filling, they’re tasty and they look way more complicated than they are.  Basically you use a rasher of bacon to line a cupcake tin.  Then you crack an egg into it, sprinkle the top with cheese and chives and bake.  Viola!  Delicious breakfast cupcake.

 

2. Red velvet cakes.

Red velvet is just so decadent and divine.  The rich rosy hue is utterly romantic and so sexy.  The fact that they usually come topped with rich cream cheese frosting is another reason why I can’t get enough red velvet.  The creamy-sweet-tangy flavour of cream cheese frosting is mouth-watering to say the least.  The best red velvet cakes I’ve ever had are at Little Cupcakes in Degraves Street in Melbourne.  That hidden eatery has an array of flavours, but the red velvet truly are superior.

 

3. Fairy cakes

Every year for her birthday my Nan used to make a batch of lighter-than-air sponge cakes.  She would take a sharp knife and slice a portion out of the centre of each cake, filling it with jam and cream.  The cut-out would then be fashioned into two fairy wings and perched charmingly atop the mountain of cream-cake goodness.  Fairy cakes are so pretty and fluffy and always bring a wash of delight when you glimpse a plate of them coming your way.

 

DSCF64094. Vanilla cupcakes

My vanilla cupcakes are legendary in my family.  Whenever we get together for a special event, I inevitably have somebody request that I make a batch of vanilla cakes to bring with me.  I’ve decorated them in every way imaginable: with demure pastel frosting and tiny sugar roses, with outlandish coloured sprinkles, dusted with edible glitter and done up to look like mushrooms.  But they always taste the same, sweet, simple and delightful.  So many people use the word “vanilla” as an insult, to mean “boring” or “mediocre”.  But my vanilla cupcakes are anything but.

 

5. Lumberjack cakes.

The chef at my favourite local cafe regularly churns out batches of lumberjack cakes, and they are the perfect thing to down with tea on a chilly Sunday afternoon.  Heaped with apple, coconut, dates and golden syrup, these morsels are sticky and comforting.

 

Do you have a favourite cupcake variety?  And do you believe that cupcakes are superior to macaroons?

5 Fandom Friday: My favourite Halloween episodes.

Whoops-a-daisy!  I’ve managed to get well behind with Five Fandom Friday. When I finally got my butt into gear and sat down to check out the list of prompts, I noticed that there are no new ones past the 30th of October.  So while I wait for the next lot of prompts to be released, I’m going to backtrack to last week’s prompt and talk about my favourite Halloween episodes of television shows.  Ready?  Let’s do it.

  1. Friends: The One with the Halloween Party

This Halloween special ranks at the top of my list for a single reason.  It’s not because of the guest appearance by Sean Penn (although that’s fabulous).  It’s not because it features a stand-off between Monica dressed as Catwoman and Phoebe dressed as Supergirl (although that’s amazing).  It’s because this is the episode that coined one of the most ridiculous costume ideas, which in turn inspired a post on this blog that to this day gets a crazy amount of visitors.  That costume?  Slutty Leatherface.  Thankyou, Joey Tribbiani for an apt commentary on the pressures on women to be sexy at Halloween.

 

 

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Halloween

Although Buffy had a range of fantastic Halloween specials, I enjoyed this one the most.  I adore the concept of all of the characters becoming their costumes.  Willow becomes a ghostly spectre of her former self (although dressed in a pretty provocative outfit that she covered with a sheet because she was too shy around Zander) and Zander turns into a tough-as-leather army commando (providing important training and knowledge that will stand him in good stead for the rest of the series).  The best part though is seeing the intensely capable Buffy turn into a simpering Victorian maiden for the whole episode.  It’s just such a departure from her usual character and makes for very entertaining viewing.

3. Freaks and Geeks: Tricks and Treats

The reason I adore this episode is that it’s the reason I fell head over heels for Mrs Weir from the Freaks and Geeks series.  Mrs Weir became one of my favourite characters, because I could relate to her anger at the state of the world and the way it had changed since she was a kid.  Who among us hasn’t felt a pang of sadness when we look at how things have altered since we were little?  In addition to that, this is the episode that highlights the beautiful relationship between Lindsay and her mother, which grew as the series progressed.  Also, it’s impossible to watch this episode without giggling at Bill’s Bionic Woman costume.

 

 

4.  American Horror Story (Coven): Fearful Pranks Ensue

While the whole lot of American Horror Story is blood-curdling, this episode takes the cake.  I’m a zombie fan, and Marie Laveau’s zombie minions are seriously creepy.  Rather than just a pack of mindless living corpses, Laveau’s zombies are more like undead puppets.  She owns something belonging to each of them, and can control them so that they carry out her wishes.  When she sets them upon the Miss Robichaux’s academy, it is a terrifying moment.  In addition to that, we also see the grisly background story for Spaulding, the mute butler, which I find chilling.

 

 

5. The Office: Costume Contest

As someone who adores Halloween parties and dressing in costume, I’m always a tiny bit peeved by that party pooper who tends to wear the lamest, laziest costume possible.  In The Office, that person is always Jim Halpert.  Jim seems to go to great lengths to avoid dressing up in costume, even when everyone else is done up in elaborate Halloween getups.  So it’s a great victory when his wife finally gets him to dress up in an actual costume.

 

What are your favourite Halloween TV specials?