Arrived in NL

Other, Personal December 23rd, 2009

Just a quick post to let everyone know we finally managed to arrive in the Netherlands yesterday night. Our plane was 2 hours delayed! Not as disastrous as it could have been, but still very annoying.

We were at Gatwick airport pretty early, having had no problems with bus or train, and went through check-in and security much quicker than I expected (15 minutes while last time at Stansted it took us 1.5 hours). So we had about 2 hours to spare until our flight. No problem, I had my laptop, book and ipod with me, plus shopping around the tax-free shops is also always fun.

The most irritating thing was the lack of updates. Now this isn’t as a severe situation as the whole Eurostar saga of last week, but some short quick updates to the passengers could have helped a lot. What happened was that the info boards initially showed that the ‘Gate opens at 16:25′ (this for a flight leaving at 17:05) and we would see to which gate we’d had to go. 16:25 came and went and still no change. A couple minutes later it changed to ‘Please wait’, nothing else just ‘Please wait’. 16:40, 16:50, 17:00 and still no word. Finally around that time it changed to ‘Gate opens at 17:40′. No other information, just that our Gate would open then. Eventually it only actually opened at 18:00, and we rushed to the gate, only to stand in line for even more minutes until the dispatcher showed up.

I think it was somewhere after 19:00 that we finally took flight, two hours after we were supposed to go. The thing is: in the plane we were told that the reason the plane was late, was that it got held up in the snow in Manchester. They knew pretty early on that there was at least an hour delay. If we were told that we had an hours delay around the time we were looking at the boards, we could have gone on shopping around and not being in constant ‘stand-by’ mode, peeking every few seconds at the board to see if there was any change.

Anyway, we arrived at Schiphol airport around 22:00 local time. I’m at least glad we managed to get here! Bring on the Christmas!

Travel Stress

Other, Personal December 22nd, 2009

This is not the type of post you’re used to seeing from me here, but I’ve got to moan and rant a bit, just to calm down a bit more. Almost every single time I have a major trip, I become a bunch of nerves. It hits me each time again even though half the time it’s a trip I’ve done before without any trouble. In part, I guess it’s because a lot of it depends on factors I can’t control: the weather, buses riding on time (or even showing up in the first place), trains being delayed.

A part of me can’t help but wonder if it’s the geek in me that makes this all the more difficult. I have to think everything through, think of each possible outcome, no matter how bad, and make backup plans accordingly. Yeah, overloading myself with everything that *could* go wrong isn’t exactly the smartest thing to do, especially when I know how stressed out and nervous I can get.

Arrival

This time around I’ve gotten more and more nervous since the snow of last week. Flights being cancelled, the Eurostar is completely messed up, it seems an impossible task to get out of the UK. The stupid thing is that our initial plans were to leave on the 18th, but we decided to postpone it (mind you, we booked 2 months ago). Still not exactly sure why we decided to go later; up until last Thursday I’ve been moaning about how we should have booked a longer trip and should have left earlier… like around the 18th. Looking back, I’m so so glad we didn’t do it, but even now traveling out of the UK is riddled with problems. Yesterday Gatwick was closed, because of the snow, and tons of flights were cancelled and delayed. It’s open now again, and I’m hoping hoping hoping that everything goes okay.

Another thing that gets me always worried too though, is packing. Do I have everything with me? Am I forgetting anything important? Passport? Check. Keys to get back into the flat when we’re back? Check. Reservation number? Check. And yet I almost always manage to forget something. Often it’s something small, but it annoys the hell out of me that a simple object was able to elude my mind and not make it into the suitcase.

An added nuisance this time around is that we’re flying out, and are restricted to 40 kilos of luggage. That’s an awful lot, I first thought, we shouldn’t have any problem. Ehm… think again. Christmas presents alone were 20 kilos, filling practically one suitcase. Argh! I’ve had to ditch an extra pair of shoes, some clothes (which admittedly I don’t really need) and extra goodies for my parents (like Australian BBQ sauce). I *think* we’re just under the 40 kilos now, and I’m holding my breath that the airport scales say the same.

Okay, rant over. Thanks for listening, dear readers. Hopefully, you’ll hear from me tonight that we’ve safely arrived with no problems. Fingers crossed!

This was just on TV here in the UK and I’ve got this song stuck in my head:

I love the Muppet’s version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol; it always makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside :)

Episode 153: “0:59:53″

Beautiful short about a man creating a holographic world:

Regular readers here will know how much I love Joss Whedon’s work. Buffy, Angel, Firefly. The TV shows and the spinoff comic books. I love them all (although some more than others). So it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that I’m now addicted to his latest show Dollhouse.

I’m currently in the second season, and although it’s been cancelled, it keeps getting better and better. The latest ep? AWESOME. I can’t wait for the final 3 episodes, and I’m hoping we’re getting a finished story. I’m still annoyed that Fox cancelled it, but knowing Whedon I think we’ll get some closure one way or another.

Dollhouse-Groupshot

Anyhow, back to Christmas presents. In my eyes the Dollhouse Season 1 DVD set would make a great gift! If you haven’t seen the show, it’s definitely one every sci-fi geek should watch (especially the 13th episode Epitaph One). Even if you’ve seen the show already, it’s one of those series you should own (just like Buffy, Angel and Firefly).

Thanks to Zavvi.com, I’ve gotten one DVD set of Dollhouse Season 1 to giveaway! To enter the competition, leave a comment behind on this post with your favourite Joss Whedon TV show moment. This can be anything from  a funny quote from Firefly, or an amazing monster fight from Buffy.

You’ve got until Wednesday 23rd 18:00 (UK) to enter. Sorry to disappoint, but this competition is only open to those based in the UK. For those of you overseas, don’t worry I’ve got a couple of other giveaways lined up that are open to everyone!

Interesting links for December 17th through December 20th:

  • George Lucas loses court appeal over Star Wars costume copyright – Times Online – The Stormtrooper design was deemed utilitarian and made from an “industrial design” perspective, meaning it doesn’t fall under the art copyright protection from 70 years, but under the industrial design copyright protection, which only is 15 years (and has fallen by now).
  • The Death of the BBC | Mssv – Interesting blog post from Adrian Hon about the BBC.
  • Measuring Type : Matt Robinson – “A selection of the most commonly used typefaces were compared for how economical they are with the amount of ink which they use at the same point size. Large scale renditions of the typefaces were drawn out with ballpoint pens, allowing the remaining ink levels to display the ink efficiency of each typeface.”
  • Google Browser Size – Cool visualization tool that shows you the percentage of browser sizes for people who visit Google.
  • Name That Movie – Paul Rogers – I’m not linking to a specific post, but to the blog of the artist. He’s last 5 posts (and there will be more) are all about “Name That Movie”, six hand drawn pictures all taken from one movie. Guess the movie based on those 6 images. He does a lot of older movies, which I still haven’t seen, but it’s still pretty cool to play.
  • 2009 in photos (part 1 of 3) – The Big Picture – 120 photos of this year.

You all know how much I love Hugh Jackman singing, and somehow I stumbled on these videos! They’re from a Disney channel Christmas concert where Hugh presented and sang.

I can’t figure out if the following one is from that same concert or not (I don’t think it is), but it’s the best of the four videos (that high note at the end!):

And a final one with Hugh singing Hark The Herald Angels Sing:

I really liked this year’s Project Runway finalists and from all of them I found Carol Hannah’s my favourite. Via A Cup of Jo I found out she has an Etsy store!

The dresses are all outside my current budget, but surprisingly not TOO far out of my current budget, all ranging from $180-$300. Here are my two favourites:

Afternoon Cupcakes Dress – $195

“You know those go-to pieces in your closet? The ones you reach for first when you’re running late or are having a lazy day? The ones you hope to goodness aren’t in the dirty laundry hamper? File this dress under that category!

Perfect for an afternoon stroll, shopping, or meeting friends for coffee and cupcakes.

Long sleeved jersey dress with clean scoop neck and skirt featuring six cascading draped points. Tie at waist….and pockets! (Oh, how I loovvvve pockets!) Invisible zipper at side.

Wear with:
-Flats or cowboy boots!
-Something pretty in your hair.
-A smile on your face. 

Available in teal (shown), amethyst, spice, or black in XS-XL.”

Carol Hannah 1

Vanderhorst Street Dress – $275

“This dress is an alternate version of the PR dress in black with cleaner lines. It reminds me of the ironwork on Vanderhorst Street, where I used to live!

Wear with:
-architectural jewelry
-chunky shoes
-a nude glossy lip

98% cotton, 2% lycra, brushed cotton stretch sateen with a beautiful finish. Invisible zipper at center back and kick pleat at back. Fully boned inner bustier to waist.”

Carol Hannah 2

Take a look at Carol Hannah’s Etsy store to see more designs.

Thanks for all the entries to the Kushiel’s Dart giveaway. Alas, there can only be one winner though, so I’ve randomly picked one person to get the book.

And the winner is…

*drum roll, please*

Rosevibe!

With the comment:

My favourite fantasy series would have to be the Riftwar saga by Raymond E Feist.

It has everything you could wish for in a fantasy series; politics, colourful characters you can empathise with, compelling story with intertwined tales and supportive subplots, magic, time and space/ dimension travel romance and adventure and of course what saga would be complete without epic battles?

It’s the lord of the rings of my time.
..only better.

Enjoy the book, Rosevibe! As for all the other people who entered, I’ll be holding a couple more contests during the next two weeks, so keep an eye out!

Iron Man 2: Really this trailer deserves a complete post of its own, but it only came out yesterday (so perfect timing for my Trailerrific Thursday). In the sequel, Mickey Rourke plays Whiplash while Sam Rockwell is Justin Hammer, a multi-billionaire businessman and a rival of industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr). This looks awesome! Release Date: 7 May 2010 (US)

The Runaways: A coming-of-age biopic about ’70s teenage band The Runaways, with Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett and Dakota Fanning as Cherie Curie. Release Date: 2010

Alice in Wonderland: Wow, this second trailer looks even more amazing! Definitely one of my MUST-SEE movies for next year. Release Date: 5 March 2010 (US, UK)

Hot Tub Time Machine: This is one of those movies that looks funny, but yet at the same time pretty awful. It follows a group of best friends who’ve become bored with their adult lives: Adam (John Cusack) has been dumped by his girlfriend; Lou (Rob Corddry) is a party guy who can’t find the party; Nick’s (Craig Robinson) wife controls his every move; and video game-obsessed Jacob (Clark Duke) won’t leave his basement. After a crazy night of drinking in a ski resort hot tub, the men wake up, heads’ pounding, in the year 1986. Release Date: 19 March 2010 (US)

Clash of the Titans: I wasn’t that impressed by the first trailer, but this second trailer has me some what more interested. I don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to get too excited for this movie. It looks fun and I’ll most probably end up seeing it, but I can’ find that ‘ohmygodhmygodIhavetoseethatmovie’ vibe. Release Date: 26 March 2010 (US, UK)

Youth in Revolt: I had seen the normal trailer of this, but it just didn’t seem funny. This Red band trailer explains that though: most of the jokes are R-rated. While his trailer trash parents teeter on the edge of divorce, Nick Twisp sets his sights on dream girl Sheeni Saunders, hoping that she’ll be the one to take away his virginity. Release Date: 8 January 2010 (US), 5 February 2010 (UK)

Brooklyn’s Finest: Burned out veteran Eddie Dugan (Richard Gere) is just one week away from his pension and a fishing cabin in Connecticut. Narcotics officer Sal Procida (Ethan Hawke) has discovered there’s no line he won’t cross to provide a better life for his long-suffering wife and seven children. And Clarence “Tango” Butler (Don Cheadle) has been undercover so long his loyalties have started to shift from his fellow police officers to his prison buddy Caz (Wesley Snipes), one of Brooklyn’s most infamous drug dealers. Release Date: 5 March 2010 (US)

Saint John of Las Vegas: An ex-gambler (Steve Buscemi) is lured back into the game by a veteran insurance-fraud investigator. Release Date: unknown

Did You Hear About The Morgans?: I only saw the trailer for this last week, but (in the US) it’s coming out tomorrow! Is that a sign that this movie is really bad? I kind of liked the trailer, it’s not the obvious rom-com. Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are a married couple with problems on the brink of separating, until they witness a murder and have to go into witness protection. Release Date: 18 December 2009 (US), 1 January 2010 (UK)

Death at a Funeral: Okay, now this trailer isn’t completely horrible, there are some funny things in it… Only it’s an exact copy of Frank Oz’s Death at a Funeral from a couple of years ago. This film is literally an American copy of a UK film. Some funny stuff in it, but you could just as well check out the original. Release Date: 16 April 2010 (US), 4 June 2010 (UK)

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