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I’ve had this on repeat basically since I got my download code in early September.

This all kind of started a few years ago when Map of Tasmania came out. Before then I hadn’t really heard of AFP. And even after hearing it, I liked it, but wasn’t really inspired. Luckily, she came to New Zealand, and after hearing about her ninja gig (free! Who doesn’t like free stuff!), I went along. And pretty much became a fan straight off. Bought the Down Under Album and went to her gig the next night.

Since then, I’ve downloaded (legally!) everything she’s put out, went and saw the Dresden Dolls at the beginning of this year when they toured Australia/New Zealand, and have bought all of their cds as well. For the record, I’m SO glad I went and saw them live – it’s completely different to listening to their music on a cd player. Watching Brian Viglione drum is possibly one of the best things I will ever see, and somehow I have trouble hearing that energy in the cds.

So anyway, even though I’m a recent convert, I’m in love. There’s a lot to love – she has such a fantastic relationship with her fans through twitter/tumblr/blogging and to some extent facebook. I love that she’s so open, but also that she isn’t afraid to come across as human – completely flawed. But the flaws just make her seem more perfectly human. Also that she’s married to Neil Gaiman. SO JEALOUS, but holy moly they seem good together! (No offense to Sky but my happy place is here and here

And that was before I heard this album! This album makes everything up to now good, but kind of like it was leading up to something so much more. Which, luckily, this album is! I’ve basically had it on repeat for 2 months – the only time I’ve not been listening to it was because I had a long lone drive for work and really wanted to finish Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman on audio book, and a few times where I’ve been in the car with my very Christian workmate who really doesn’t approve of me listening to music about playing ukulele naked or sex or anything like that really (luckily I like him enough to not judge him for that…)

Favourite tracks: The Killing Type

I love the lyrics – “But I would kill to make you feel
I don’t mean kill someone for real
I couldn’t do that, it is wrong
but i can say it in a song a song a song”

Do it with a Rockstar

The video is epic! But seriously NSFW!

Want it Back

Again with the epicness of the (also NSFW) video – I love the stopmotion, and the lyrics are cool too:

“It doesn’t matter if you want it back
You’ve given it away
You’ve given it away
It doesn’t matter if you want it back
You’ve given it away
Away away away away away oh”

Trout Heart Replica

“…and killing things is not so hard it’s hurting that’s the hardest part”

For some reason I love this, especially in relation to Lost

“But nothing’s ever lost forever
It’s just caught inside the cushions of your couch
And when you find it
You’ll have such a nice surprise
Nothing’s ever lost forever
It’s just hiding in the recess of your mind
And when you need it
It will come to you at night

No one’s ever lost forever
When they die they go away
But they will visit you occasionally
Do not be afraid
No one’s ever lost forever
They are caught inside your heart
If you garden them and water them
They make you what you are”

Bottomfeeder

I love the music for this, it makes me feel like I’m under the water, and I can’t wait to see them live in concert. Apparently there’s a truly awesome skirt Amanda wears while crowdsurfing so the entire theatre gets covered in fabric.

The Bed Song

I’m a fan of beds in general, especially comfortable ones, but this song is SO SAD! I promise to never let this happen to me though.

Massachusetts Avenue

The music for this just rocks. I’m often drumming along as I walk down the street listening to this!

Melody Dean

This song reminds me of a friend of mine 😀 And again with the drumming!

Olly Olly Oxen Free

I like that I have no idea what the lyrics are about, but still find myself singing along.

Denial Thing

One of the things I like about AFP is her use of humour in serious topics – Gaga, Madonna, Palmer: A Polemic springs to mind, and this song kind of fits in with that category. Kind of.

From St. Kilda to Fitzroy

Clearly Amanda likes Melbourne as much as I do! And this song feels so light and airy and perfectly descriptive of the Melbourne I love.

And yes, I know I’ve basically listed the entire cd!

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I’m not sure if I’ve written about one of my favourite things to do, Markeroni. Markeroni involves going to historic places and markers, taking a photo, and then ‘snarfing’ or logging them back on the website.

I love it because it gives me something to focus on while exploring places we’re in for work. I don’t think I’ve found a town or city we’ve been to yet that doesn’t have at least one historic place! I know it’s shocking, but sometimes I really do need a reason to get out of the house/motel room; Markeroni gives me that.

Second great thing about it is getting to see some truly cool things! A couple of my favourites have been this water fountain in New Plymouth:

And this historic wharf/jetty in Tauranga:

I also love the random stories/things I find while out looking for historic places! Like this plaque commemorating a ship sinking that killed 18 people:

That last one wasn’t actually a snarf, but it’s still a story I wouldn’t have found out about had I not been looking for the wharf!

That’s what I love about Markeroni the most, finding out about stories and things I wouldn’t otherwise have known about. For instance, back when I was in New Plymouth for work, a colleague and I went up Mount Taranaki to watch the sun set. While there I saw a sign to a memorial, and so naturally wanted to check it out! We found it, and discovered that it was commemorating the “heroism of Arthur Hamilton Ambury.” I had no idea who he was, or what the actual act of heroism was, but luckily the next day did a historic tour of New Plymouth and asked. Turns out that Ambury had attempted to save another guy trapped on the mountain and died in the attempt (along with the other person on the mountain). Had it not been for my interest in history and Markeroni I would have never found out about him! Obviously being a book lover I’m a great lover of stories, and what is history really but true stories?

The other great thing about this site is that you get to meet awesome people who are equally as passionate about history, and enjoy travelling with mascots (yeah, you totally get to carry stuffed animals around with you if you choose to!)! Then we get awesome things like this:

And this:

And this:

Those first two pictures are from a ‘snarfari’ (mashup of snarf and safari) I did in Washington DC at the BookCrossing (another of my favourite things!) convention (also a favourite thing) (so many favourite things!), and the second is from when Skyring and I had dinner with the Chief Markeroon (aka the founder of Markeroni). It’s so much fun to meet like minded people.

I’m partially writing this because Markeroni is awesome, and partly for ulterior motives. You see, Markeroni is currently fundraising through Indiegogo for, among other things, some new computers. At the writing of this we’re 30% funded with 23 days to go. I’m told there’s exciting new things in store, and I really, truly believe that this website could become a much more useful tool for not only people interested in exploring and finding out stories, but people who just want to be able to find out about these things over the internet. People like teachers, tourists, historians, and people who just like to be able to find things out on the internet. So, if you’ve got a spare dollar or more and think this might be the sort of thing you want around, might be interested in doing, or have people in your life who also fit those descriptions, maybe you could flick it our way

A while back I posted a poem for a friends daughter, Becky because I wanted to post something for her, but was having trouble putting anything into words.

I met Becky, her sister Cindy, and father Andy last year while I was working in the States, and we all visited one of the Civil War Battlefields, Antietam. It was a wonderful day, beautifully sunny, and I had an awesome time.

One of the memories I have of the day is driving back to get some dinner before returning me to camp, and Becky reciting that poem over and over again. Kind of annoying at the time, but I cherish the memory now.

I had been looking for pictures of that day on my flickr account, and was surprised that I could only find one of them, and not a particularly good one at that, but yesterday evening I was looking through iPhoto for some reason and suddenly came across a whole lot more, including some of the girls. Somehow they aren’t in chronological order, and while I knew there were some of camp right at the end, I hadn’t thought to look towards the end. I thought I’d uploaded all the pics to flickr, you know.

This is one of my favourites, it made me cry, made me think about how sometimes things don’t have meaning until later:

Later in the summer, Skyring was in the area, and he picked me up from camp, and we went and had dinner at their place. Earlier in the year he had broken his wrist, tripping over backwards, and so I tried to play a joke on him, by putting a sling on. Unfortunately for me, I left it too late, and he was standing at the health centre watching me do it, without me realising. I did, however, manage to fool Andy’s whole family, which I found surprising, considering he’s an ex EMT! Up until his wife asked if she should cut up my food for me, and Pete told me I couldn’t go on, so I took it off. And gave it to Cindy and Becky.

And so, I would like to celebrate Becky’s life. It was a short one, but she touched a lot of people in her short time, me included.

I actually finished this blanket last week, but I like to wait till the person who it’s for has it already before posting pictures everywhere, so that’s why it’s taken me so long!

I learned how to knit last year when I was staying with Tzurriz, ok that’s not entirely fair, I’ve been taught a few times, but never really picked it up, but this time I had time on my side – I was spending a lot of time sitting on buses, and I can’t read on buses, but apparently I *can* knit! So I really got it this time. So after knitting several scarves, I kinda got a bit sick of them, and started a blanket, which is currently in hibernation, because I don’t really like what I’ve done so far, and will probably unravel it and use the yarn for something else.

Then I found out a friend was  pregnant, which gives me the ultimate excuse to branch out from scarves, and 9 months later we have this magnificent beast!

I just found an equivalent to the tim tam slam! The gooey stroopwafel! Just in case the stroopwafel wasn’t good enough as is – this is truly heaven on earth!

Basically what it says (for those of you who don’t want to watch the video) is that if you put the stroopwafel (pronounced strope – vaaaaa – fil) over a hot drink, it melts the syrup in the middle and makes it all gooey and smells kinda cinnamony. And tastes 1000 times better (if that’s even possible!).

I foresee lots of visits to the Dutch shop in my future!

One of the things I love about my job is that I get home and get all my mail at once. It’s so much fun – especially when I first got the job cos I’d get home and there would usually be a pile of packages on my bed – people have calmed down (ok when I say people I mean Skyring!) which is good for Mt.TBR, but I haven’t ever come home to no (interesting) mail!

Yesterday when I got home, there was a wonderful postcard from my good friend Wombles – she writes wonderful postcards, as I’ve written about before. This one is super cool though – it’s a fold down postcard, so you still get to open it, and inside are a whole lot of ‘smile’ quotes. I know they made me smile! Plus it has stickers on it (I’m a serious sucker for stickers!)

The postcard has made it’s way to my wall of postcards, just above the pillow I usually sleep on 🙂

various stuffed animals Sorry Skyring, chocolate was a good idea but I thought of a better one :p My stuffed animals.

I’ll start off with my teddy bear. I’ve had this bear for a really, really long time – in fact I can’t remember not having her! And as I’m sure you can tell from the picture, she is extremely well loved. She used to have a proper nose, and no holes, and round eyes! I have an early memory of leaving her on the train coming home, and Dad having to go off and rescue her on his bike. No idea if I’m making that up or not, but I remember lining up all my other stuffed animals along the windowsill waiting for them to return.

Next along the line is my sock monkey. This was a gift from my friend Carrie1 for my birthday last year. Who says a girl’s too old for toys right :p Anyway, I first saw these at Cracker Barrel, and REALLY wanted one, but at that point in the trip I already had too much stuff, and knew I couldn’t fit something this big into my suitcase! I guess Carrie must have noticed because when I got home and unwrapped it, there he was!

The sheep is called Molly. I don’t know where I got the name from, she just looked like a Molly to me. I bought Molly from my friend Diana’s school fair last year. She’s hand knitted (Steiner school so they had a heap of hand made things!) and is kind of my markeroni mascot, although I never seem to have her when I see historical markers.

The smaller teddy bear is called Starfish, after the Sister Hazel song, because my friend Skyring sent her to me last year at summer camp (when I was a long, long way from home, as the song goes).

I’ve also got a zebra, called Aroha (Love), and a giraffe called Rangimarie (Peace) who were sent to me by my friend WingedMan after I told him my favourite animals were a giraffe and a zebra. He apparently had a dream about me living in a house with the roof cut out to accomodate for the size of the giraffe’s neck. At the moment my friend Debs has Aroha, and CreativeMGE has Rangimarie.

CreativeMGE This is my friend CreativeMGE. She’s a BookCrosser, which pretty much automatically makes her awesome, but she’d be awesome even if she weren’t a BCer! I love her to bits because she is as crazy as I am! Plus we’re crazy in the same kind of ways! I don’t remember when I met her online, but it would have been on the fun and games forum which I like to frequent 😀

However, I do remember meeting her for the first time for real! It was the last day of camp last year (2009), and she was supposed to be picking me up from camp. Now, I was pretty sure she was going to be one of those people who were going to be late (no offense CMGE, you know I’m the same!), but I hadn’t been able to get a hold of her for a while, and I was starting to freak out that she wasn’t going to come at all. You know, I’m supposed to be being picked up by someone I’ve never met, and I only know from the internet! (No wonder my Mum worries about me!). So I was sitting on the side of the road, waiting and waiting (really, I was sitting by the side of the road!), worrying what I would do if she didn’t come!

After about half an hour (maybe 45 minutes!) I give up, and go and ring her from the pay phone. No answer at home (good!), and none on the cell phone (meep). I leave a message on her phone, and decide to join everyone else up at the pool 😀 Just as I head up to the pool with S’mores (yeah we had camp names), she pulls up. Major relief!!!

And after that it was all good! We’re both extreme night owls, so we did a whole heap of really cool stuff at night 😀 Like go on a tour of the monuments around DC at around 2am. Well we started at 2am, but it took us a while, so ended up back at home at around 4/5am 😀

And another time we decided we were really craving the beach (I live on an island and hadn’t seen the ocean in at least 2 months) and stars (we have these things here, you can see them in the sky at night!) so we drove out to the beach in the middle of the night to listen to the waves, and watch the stars. Well I listened/watched for about an hour (if we’re being optimistic!) and then woke up just as the sun was starting to rise. It was beautiful! Once the sun had risen all the way up, we drove home again. And this isn’t like driving to the beach here, we had to drive (well she did, because I didn’t drive then :p) at least 2 hours each way!

She’s one inspiring woman! She even helped to inspire my other blog, Hello It’s Me because I love sending/replying to her emails 🙂 We always seem to be talking about interesting topics, which make me think!

Plus she’s not averse to sitting and watching squirrels 😀

Lucinda the Bush Fairy Now that I’ve asked her permission to write about her, I should really do it I guess 😛 Alex and I had a pretty unique childhood, living with my Mum and her partner for one week, and then our Dad the next, and so on and so on, and I think that it’s helped make me feel closer to her than to other people in our family. Even now, there’s things I’ll tell her before I’ll tell my friends, or ask her opinion on. Not that I don’t trust or value you guys, but it’s nice to have someone there who I know has to keep loving me no matter what!

So anyway, Alex. One of the things I love most about her is her sense of humour. That picture above is of one of her alternate personalities – Lucinda the Bush Fairy, who is a real crack up. She likes to frolic and prance through the bush. As far as I know she doesn’t do any gift giving or magic stuff, but it may just be because Lucinda doesn’t deem me worthy enough (highly likely!)

Alex and her 'homeware set' This pic was taken a few summers ago, in fact it might have been our last summer together in the same country, when we were down in the Marlborough Sounds. We (Mum, Alex, and I) have an evening ritual to go for our evening wonder around the neighbourhood (I’m sure its just so we can be nosy and see what all the neighbours are doing), and this one night we decided to have a competition, and see who could find the best treasure. I think I found some shiny shells or something, and I can’t remember what Mum found, but Alex, bless her, came up with this ‘homeware set’, which consists of (from the top):

– a door wedge (to keep the door open)
– 3 coasters (to put cups on)
– 2 hot pads (to put hot dishes on so as not to ruin the table)

I think I won, but she got the humour award 😀

Alex She also has the most awesome sense of fashion, as you can see here. Which I think is hilarious, considering she continues to ban me from wearing fleece, despite my love for it, and the fact that it actually looks good on me and is warm. Very practical! This one isn’t really fair, she does actually have a really good sense of what looks good – she’s gotten me through several important events looking good, even if she does insist on poking my eyes out with mascara (I can’t help blinking, really I can’t!)

Possibly the best thing of all about her though, is that she is an AMAZING chef! She seems to have this innate ability to know what things will taste good together. When she was a kid she was always inventing recipes (that actually tasted good!) (apart from the time her and her best friend Maxine made up this concoction of stuff they found in the garden and put it on my toothbrush :p) (and also the time her and our cousin accidentally put a cup of vinegar in the pikelets!) Getting back to the point though, here’s the cake she made me for a birthday one year. What I loved most about it was that it looked amazing (like one from a shop), but unlike one from a shop it actually tasted good too 😀

Alex's cake

But she’s also amazingly beautiful, loyal, gives good advice, and is a great sister to boot.

And I love her more than words can say.

Alex and I having facials

Tonight’s post is about a few things, which are related, but it might take me a while to connect them, so bear with me!

So, firstly, I want to celebrate my new blog that I’m co-writing with (one of my) Australian friend, Skyring. It can be found here. Basically what we’re doing is writing letters to each other. I’m not sure if it’s going to have a theme or anything – it’s NOT going to be a description of what we do all day, cos we have other blogs for that, and twitter, and facebook, and so on and so on….I guess what I’m hoping to get out of it is just more writing practice (no idea what I’m practicing for, but I do enjoy it!), and I’m kinda hoping that what I write will be from the heart, what’s going through my mind (although who’ll want to read that I don’t know!), what I’m wondering about etc. I think Skyring just wants to relive all our wonderful memories together again, which I enjoy too! Anyway we’ll see how it goes 🙂

I also want to celebrate Sister Hazel – who are quite frankly my favourite band ever. Well for now anyway! I was first introduced to them by a BookCrosser called WingedMan, who is wonderful in many many ways (and I know I’m not the only one who thinks so!), not just because he got me into SH! But anyway, he’s a whole entry to himself, so I’ll leave him be for now 🙂

So, back to Sister Hazel – I’m not sure what I love about them so much, I guess part of it is that I can find a song of theirs to listen to no matter what mood I’m in – and I’m the last one to say that I don’t get moody at times, heck, thats one of the reasons I started this blog! Even when I’m feeling miserable, I can listen to their music and feel like it’s ok that I’m miserable, because at least I’m not alone in my misery. Or something like that.

So anyway, when Skyring and I were thinking about this blog, we’d decided that because we are both such huge Sister Hazel fans, we wanted to use one of their songs/lyrics as our blog name. I thought about it for about a minute and came up with “Hello It’s Me” (which is one of my current favourites of theirs) which I thought would work for letters….

But, I figure there’s got to be some sort of copyright on song lyrics, and even though we’re not actually making any money off it, it’s polite to ask permission of the band if we want to use it right? So I sent the lead singer (and the author of the song according to the all knowing Wikipedia :p) an email on facebook thinking that even if he never got back to me, at least I tried.

The greatest (or beautiful) thing? I only waited for a day and a half (or so) for a reply! And he said yes! Well he actually said it was absolutely fine as long as we don’t suck.

So here’s to Sister Hazel, Hello It’s Me, and to Not Sucking.

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