New Year, New Projects!

So we’ve been a tad quiet, 2017 was a year best left behind us on the grand scheme of things! But never fear, we look towards 2018 with renewed determination, enthusiasm and energy! As you can see, we have a brighter, fresher look for the website, new name, logo and sections added!

It’ll be a year for new books, stories and also new projects! We have quite a few ideas brewing!! Here’s some very rough concept art on one of our new creative ventures!

Watch this space!!

It’s all about the foxes at the moment…..and a martini or two….

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Top 5 Things You Would Recommend to People

Latimer musing over her Top 5's (kawaii artwork inspired by Miss Wah)
Latimer musing over her Top 5’s (kawaii artwork inspired by Miss Wah)

Latimer: Another one of the Top 5 posts! This time, things you’d recommend to people!

This is a modified version of a series that comes from the archive of the ‘Top 5 Wednesday’ Tag. This Tag was started by Lainey on Goodreads; here’s the link if you want to check it out: Lainey!

This is a complete list of everyone partaking in the Tag if you want to check them out.

1. Adventure Time (cartoon)

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Our OC fangirls Pebble and Piccadilly are also discovering the wonders of Adventure Time!!
Our OC fangirls Pebble and Piccadilly are also discovering the wonders of Adventure Time!!

I never really understood what Adventure Time was, or why it was so popular. Now I get it. The Bravest Warriors on Cartoon Hangover was my gateway drug to Adventure Time. They were both created by Pendleton Ward (excellent name) and the guy has the most amazing, random sense of humour.

The great thing about Adventure Time is you don’t really have to understand what’s going on, you just jump in. It’s just a cartoon about a boy (Finn) and his best bud (Jake), and all the adventures they go on, filled with strange hilarious characters.

If you want to laugh, watch it!

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2. BubzBeauty (YouTube)

I like watching the beauty videos on YouTube. They give you some cool ideas for facials and make-up etc. I like Bubz videos; she’s a very cheerful person, very down to earth with some cool ideas. I particularly liked her video on simple nail art and orange facials – come on that’s excellent!

My attempt!
My attempt!

3. Smodcast (podcast/comedy)

Latimer love's Smodcast
Latimer love’s Smodcast

I got into listening to Smodcast (Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier’s podcast) via Tell Em Steve Dave, another excellent podcast run by Kevin’s childhood friends, Bryan and Walt, and recent friend Brian (also known as Q). Smodcast is such a good podcast (so is Tell Em Steve Dave) – these guys always put a smile on my face! Love them.

4. Loot Crate (loot!)

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I’ve always loved the sound of Loot Crate – monthly gift boxes filled with geek and gamer goodies – but I couldn’t get them in Ireland, so I admired them from afar for a year or so. Luckily, recently they started shipping to Ireland! So, this month I’m finally getting a Loot Crate (yeah!) – I think I’m going to love it, the past crates seem pretty amazing. 

5. Kindle (reading)

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I’m totally addicted to my Kindle now; so very addicted. It’s a fantastic way to carry all your books with you on holidays. And, in the current world of ‘I need everything now, now, now!’ – the instant delivery of a book whenever you want, well, it’s amazing.

I would have loved a Kindle when I was young – I remember how painful it was to wait for books to come into the shop – or having to search for the book, or getting it ordered in specially.

Ah, the waiting game, it’s a dying game now.

What are your top 5 recommendations at the moment?

Thinking about Who

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Latimer: I used to be a pretty big Doctor Who fan back in the David Tennant days. I really loved the show. I loved Rose and the 10th Doctor’s relationship.

I watched religiously up until Rose left; I was heartbroken, I cried (seriously cried).

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For me, for a time, Doctor Who was the best show ever. After Rose left, I hung on for a while, with Martha and Donna; then when Rose returned for a while, I was right in the thick of it again.

When David Tennant left, I bowed out of Doctor Who.

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I didn’t want you to go either!

I didn’t really understand what it meant before, but everyone has ‘their’ Doctor. When the new guy comes, you kind of get repealed, thinking ‘that’s not him, it’s not him!’, and you get annoyed when the show goes on and forgets ‘your’ doctor, and you have to leave to heal and get over the loss of a friend.

You find yourself watching the show from the side-lines and you start to get further and further away, until you’re just not watching anymore.

Then you pop back for the anniversary special. You pop back because of old friends, because of your Doctor.

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I have nothing against Matt Smith, or Amy Pond, or Clara; they just weren’t mine.

I found myself popping back out of curiosity, for the new Doctor’s appearance this weekend. And, I really felt for the 11th Doctor’s generation of Whovians.

The whole first episode was about coming to terms with the new Doctor, who is older and Scottish. I didn’t understand why they picked such an older actor, but I assumed they had their reasons. I didn’t feel strongly about the decision, just curious to why they’d shifted so much.

The first episode seemed to be all about making Clara feel bad for not liking the new Doctor because he was older. And it felt a bit like Clara was representing the audience in a sense. But last time, I couldn’t jump on board with Matt Smith, because he wasn’t my Doctor (regardless of his youth and attractiveness).

But well, Capaldi seems like he’ll be an interesting Doctor, he’s more brooding and intense than the other Doctors seemed to be. It looks like the character is potentially getting darker, which is interesting.

I do still feel sorry for the 11th Doctors followers, because it really does hurt to lose your Doctor. I’m still not back on board, and I’m not sure I ever will be. I still miss the 10th Doctor and Rose 😦

The Riptide Movement and Amy Huberman

new3_1Ridley: Found another band that I really like the sound of, yes, I’ll keep sharing these posts until you demand I stop! And even then…. 🙂

The Riptide Movement are an Irish band, so I’m pretty impressed some more fantastic music is once again coming from our own.

They really seem to be out in force this year, they played a free gig at the Bray Summerfest last weekend, and they’ve supported both the Coronas and Neil Young and Crazy Horse this summer, and I’m sure there were others, but they’re the only two concerts I know of personally, as I was at one gig and had relatives at the other (who came back raving about how great The Riptide Movement were too I might add).

I actually tweeted about how much I liked their song, “All Works Out” and they favourited the tweet, so I was well chuffed with myself for the rest of the day, and I really liked that they took the time to acknowledge a fan too! They get major brownie points for that in my book!

I also love that there’s this video of them from about four years ago busking on Grafton Street in town.

 

So here’s hoping this band continue on their upward spiral to success!

So far I like a lot of their stuff, but my favourite really is ‘All Works Out’, and another reason for it is because of Amy Huberman’s acting in it.

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As an aside, for those who don’t know who Amy is, she’s an Irish actress, who has been in many shows, but in particular she’s in the hilarious Irish film, The Stag.

She is also married to former rugby captain Brian O’Driscoll. I don’t think I’ve met anyone, man or woman, who hasn’t had a nice word to say about her, I think she’s probably a bit of a national darling to be honest. But actually I’m only after recently going on to her twitter feed after seeing her in their music video, and I found out she’s hilarious too. Some of my favourites….

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I get a similar look with Bio-oil to be fair, though it doesn’t end up smelling any way near as good, I think I’ll jump ship to coconut glazing instead.

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Confucius was a wise, wise man. Actually, I love that Toblerone ad, you know the one with the song? And yes…I know the words by heart….

 

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Sometimes I think some seagulls sound like old banger cars with bad batteries trying to start.

If you get a chance, check out their brilliant music, and her fantastic acting, I’m pretty certain neither will disappoint you!

I’ll stop now…. 😀

The Art of Terracotta

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Latimer: Overnight trains in China are an experience, let me tell you! On my tour I think I ended up taking 4 of them. I was really worried about the first one, because I like my creature comforts; I’m not proper backpacker material at all!

So, standing in an unbelievably crowded Beijing train station waiting to board the overnight train to Xi’an, my mind was racing with the thought – “I really don’t want to do this…”

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Coming from a small Island where the longest journey from one end of the country to the other is probably about 6 hours, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the fact that 14 hours on a train doesn’t even take you from one end of China to another, not by half. It reminds me how vast the country is – I thought you could go to Beijing, see the Wall, then pop off to Xian and see the Terracotta Warriors, almost in the same day – oh what a fool!

The train to Xi’an could carry up to 1,000 people, and it felt like there were 1,000 people waiting to board it. I must have looked like a caged animal – there are more people living in Beijing than there are on the whole island of Ireland, I was well out of my depth!

The train ride wasn’t so bad in the end and by getting to Xi’an I was off to see the glorious Terracotta Army!

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Pit 3 (a lot left to find eh?!)
Pit 3 (a lot left to find eh?!)
Pit 3 (broken statues!)
Pit 3 (broken statues!)

The Terracotta Army belongs to Emperor Qin Shi Huang – he of the Great Wall fame.

He became the first Emperor of China at age 13yrs and started planning his tomb straightaway. He is buried inside a man-made mound that is overlooked by Mount Li (a scared mountain), in a valley that is considered to have excellent Feng Shui. The Emperor’s body is said to rest with his feet towards the Yellow River and his head towards Mount Li, because this is Feng Shui (which means ‘wind-water’).

The Emperor’s tomb has never been opened – it’s said to be an underground palace with rivers of mercury and Terracotta concubines. The reason it hasn’t been excavated is the technology doesn’t exist to open the tomb without damaging it. And the tomb is booby-trapped.

It’s also said to be full of great treasures. In fact, the whole city of Xi’an is said to rest on top of enough treasures of jade and gold to purchase the whole of America (I might take that with a grain of salt though!). No one’s excavated so it’s hard to know, but if it’s true there could be more amazing things yet to be uncovered in China!

The Terracotta Army stand in battle formation around the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. They face outward, ready to be led into battle by the Emperor. Each of the men in the army has a different face; this was a mandate by the Emperor, each warrior had to look as unique as any person did. If the artist failed to do this, he was executed and the warrior destroyed.

They used to be brightly painted but once they were excavated the paint faded and was destroyed. They were painted green, pink, gold and blue; bright colours that were lucky and said to fend off evil spirits. The one’s uncovered in recent times are sprayed with special chemicals to keep the paint from fading.

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When the Emperor died and was entombed, the army was buried in underground pits and covered over with wooden planks and grass to hide them from the rest of the world.

But after the Emperor died, there was a rebellion in China (called the Farmer’s Rebellion) and the rebels broke into the Terracotta Army pits to steal the bronze weapons that the army held. On the way out of the pits, the rebels set fire to the wooden planks, this caused a cave-in that smashed and buried the statues, so that today they find the warriors in pieces. There are always archaeologists in the pits trying to excavate the statues and piece them back together.

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3 pits have been uncovered to date. They contain; infantry, chariots (and horses), archers, lieutenants and generals. In the first pit there are estimated to be 6,000 warriors and only 1,000 have been excavated.

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The warriors were discovered in the 1970s by farmers. They discovered the head of one of the warriors in their field. They thought it was bad-luck (evil spirits) to their families and the village, so they smashed the head and brought it to a priest. The priest sent to the cultural department in Beijing and the excavation of the field began.

Today you can meet one of the old farmer’s at the site and shake his hand if you like!

Seeing the warriors, was amazing 🙂

On my way off the site, I managed to pick up my own mini warrior – it’s the General (pronounced Jun-Jwin in Chinese)… 🙂 well I couldn’t leave China without one!

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Previous post: Walking along a Wall

Ireland Comic Con 2014

IMG_20140412_174850Ridley: The first ever MCM Ireland Comic Con came to the RDS in Dublin during the weekend and I decided to check it out! There were kids dressed up to the nines in fantastic costumes, award winning comic book artists, famous television personalities and numerous stalls selling fantastic bits and bobs, all of which were anime, comic, and game related. IMG_20140412_170236 IMG_20140412_165937Basically it was a massive amount of fun packed into one very large room. I went for the atmosphere, the excitement, to see the costumes and of course for all the fun, shiny things I could buy!

There were comics for sale, necklaces, keyrings, t-shirts, Asian food like Pocky and drinks like Pacari Sweat (great stuff if you’re ever dehydrated!!), posters, figurines and loads of plushies.IMG_20140412_174747IMG_20140412_175120

I bought a notebook.IMG_20140413_125129 I’m just a sucker for stationary.I had convinced myself I was going in to buy some original art to hang on my bedroom wall and I walked out with this instead. Not that I regret it!IMG_20140412_174649 IMG_20140412_174641

They also held a Yugi-Oh tournament, wrestling demonstrations and you got a chance to play old school Street Fighter with the joysticks. Famous people wandered in to say hello, like comic book artists Simon Bisley, Glenn Fabry. Dr Who’s Ian Mc Neice attended the event, along with Warwick Davis of Harry Potter, Star Wars and Idiot Abroad Season 3 fame (and numerous other things but I’m just going to list my favourites, of course! 😛 ) Colin Ferguson, the sheriff in the show Eureka was also at it, and the English language voice actors, Maile Flanagan who voices Naruto and Bryce Papenbrook who voices Eren Yeager in Attack on Titan were signing there as well. An impressive line up!IMG_20140412_174634

So all in all, I’m pretty certain anyone that attended will really really be hoping that MCM do another event soon! Though I will warn you for next time, make sure you show up early, the queues into the event were massive, that or make certain you bring lots of provisions like snacks, a drink and a fold up chair, then you’re sorted! Or do what I did and wait until the crowds have died down a tinsy bit to do your shopping, I’ve gotten too old for those young ‘uns and their hustle and bustling!! 😀

For more photos of costumes that were at the convention, go here!

Walking along a Wall

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Latimer: There are lots of things to be excited about when you’re going on holidays; you don’t have to worry about work, you’re going somewhere new and you can relax and do what you want – it’s a great feeling. Aside from the food, which is one of my most favourite things about being on holidays, one of the best things is getting to see famous places you’ve only seen on the TV!

In Beijing there were lots of famous places to stamp my foot on.

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You can’t go to China and not go to the Great Wall.

To me it was one of those places that I’ve known about my whole life; it’s a place of massive human achievement, but had it been overhyped in my mind – could it really be that good?

Yes, as it turns out! It was as amazing as people say.

Getting to stand on the Great Wall and stare around the valley (like a boss), as it criss-crossed the landscape, weaving up and down like a great stone snake slithering over hills through smog into the far north of China – spectacular!!

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The Great Wall started its existence as a series of small walls that were unified into one Great wall by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (namesake of the Qin Dynasty). This is the Emperor who also built the Terracotta Army – a busy man right? Up to a million people died building the ‘Great Wall’ and are actually buried within the wall itself. So there’s an eerie feeling walking along the wall and thinking about that!

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The part of the wall that I was on is called the Jiangshanling Great Wall; it’s a bit of a less touristy spot. It was great because there was hardly anyone else on the wall. It was basically empty, so it was even more incredible to be able to stand on one arching swell and look into the distance and see nothing but the wall and its watchtowers 🙂

As I walked I noticed that there was a lot of graffiti – people had carved their names into the wall. This started a conversation about how if the graffiti’s been there long enough it becomes historic (is a 400 year old piece of graffiti terrible… or historic?).

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When people used to visit Shakespeare’s home (a long time after his death), they used to write their names on the windows to say that they were there. Lots of famous writers (Dickens etc) signed the windows, and now they are a museum piece within the house.

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It’s an odd one and it happens everywhere; I’ve seen names carved into the stone at our own Newgrange (which is 5,000 years old, which makes this really bad).

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It is sad, and you do shudder at seeing it; ‘I’d never do that! That’s terrible’… but then if enough time passes… does it become alright? Do you start to think; ‘someone in the 1800s was standing where I am now, in awe of this thing I am seeing that they once saw too… (of course they were busy carving their name into it, so we aren’t really experiencing it the same way, but still!)’

People like to write their names on things because it says; ‘I was here, I existed once and I was here’. And I get that, but…

Argh, it’s a tough one; but people shouldn’t be doing it anymore – that’s what the visitor’s guestbook is for!

While on the wall I ate the bag of Hula Hoops I’d gotten in Dublin airport (and failed to eat on the plane – I told you we’d be seeing those food items again!)… That was bizarre!

Then it was on to the Forbidden City (give or take a day, ha). That place is amazing.

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It was built according to the rules and laws of Taoism – the cultural religion of China. For example, Taoism is crazy about numbers. The number 9 (and 5) is very important and lucky in the religion. The doors of the city’s gates have gold circle embossing – there are nine rows with nine circles across.

The Forbidden City is also said to contain 9999 rooms; the Emperor is the only one on earth who can have 9999 rooms. This is one less than the Jade Emperor (the King of Heaven in Taoism); only he can have 10,000 rooms. The Jade Emperor sounds cool doesn’t he?

There’s a lot to see in the Forbidden City, I found myself just wandering on my own at one point, enjoying my own novelty as a white foreigner (I’m hardly ever exotic, so that was fun!).

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It wasn’t long before my time in Beijing was at an end, but I did manage to check out the Bird’s Nest Stadium and the Cube before I was off on an overnight train (13 hours!) to Xi’an and the Terracotta Warriors, but that’s another post 🙂

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Previous post: Middle Kingdom Musings and next post: The Art of Terracotta

Catbug for President

keep-calm-and-love-catbug-11Ridley: In our most recent and important news (well for MLR anyway), book 2 has been shipped off to our editor and hopefully with lots of long nights and hard work, it’ll be battered into shape between us all! Huzzah!

So, what have I been up to? Well I’ve become addicted to television again. Well, more like box sets, and it’s not like there aren’t a hundred and one different other, far more important things, I could and should be doing. But I figure, I’m keeping up with the masses, my finger’s on the pulse of what’s rad and hip…or something. I’m not even fooling myself with that one!! Anywho, I’ve been rewatching some of Everest:Beyond the Limit (such a good series!), Archer (addictive television) and House of Cards season two is starting back tomorrow on Netflix (can we get another huzzah for that! No? Fine…*sigh*)

Some of this new watching addiction is Latimer’s fault, she turned me on to Bravest Warriors on youtube, which I adore, it has to be the most random and strange show I’ve ever watched. Of all the characters in it, Catbug is my favourite, so much so I renamed the show in my head, Catbug.

He’s voiced by a six year old child, who seems absolutely adorable. Some of the things he comes out with as Catbug would have me snorting my tea all over myself.

I’ve also found as much merchandise as I could online, I want to buy it all (well most of it, somehow I don’t think i’d be able to pull off the Catbug school bag).catbug-plush-630x630

However, I’ve stopped myself from shouting, ‘take my money’ at the online shops, though how I don’t quite know! Look at them all…download images (1) images

And there’s also a t-shirt you can get with an image that is a crossover of Gir from Invader Zim and Catbug.

Never were there two crazier or more similar characters as these! You can get this from Redbubble (best place ever for great t-shirts!).

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So all I can say, “Take ma monay!”

London Will Rock You

london_2423609bRidley: I wandered over to London for the weekend. That’s my news. You know, I love the hustle and bustle over there, the different types of people you see, the numerous niche shops that would whither and die in Dublin, the abundant restaurants to eat tasty food in (most especially the Krispy Kreme doughnut stands)krispyand of course, the tube. I keep calling it the subway, or the underground, which marks me out as an outer towner, or so I’ve been told, but I can’t help feeling a small sense of pride that I have an Oyster card (which is just a card you top up and scan at the ticket barrier. I know how to use it though)download and I am no longer completely befuddled by their map filled with colourful lines, hoops and loops.tube_map I know how to get to Victoria station (among so many other places, but I mention here as this is where I get my Krispy Kremes 😀 ), how to make my way to Oxford street for a bit of shopping, I’ve braved the tube at rush hour, I’ve caught the last train at half twelve at night and I’ve seen what it’s like when there’s a problem with one of the lines and trains aren’t running (there was just people, people, so many people everywhere!!). I loved it all!

Now apart from some mild shopping, and numerous happy tube trips (where i people watched, I just love people watching!) I went, for the second time, to a show (the first time was when Latimer and I saw Wicked during the summer in the Apollo, so so good!). This time I went to see We Will Rock You, which is the Queen musical.images

Now, you mightn’t know this, but Queen is my favourite band. Their songs and tapes were played quite often in my house when I was younger, even at eight or nine I remember singing along to Bohemian Rhapsody and knowing all of the words, so to go to this musical was the next best thing I’ll ever get to actually seeing Queen in concert (and we know this won’t ever happen. Poor Freddie)220px-WeWillRockYouDominion

Now I’ll start this off by saying the actual storyline wasn’t great, but you just have to suspend your disbelief, turn off your brain and just let the music flow. The story is basically about an universe where the only type of music that is created now is synthetic, everything is ruled by the Globalsoft corporation. Instruments are banned and have become things of legend, everyone wears the same clothes, they act the same way and they listen to the same type of music.WWRY_RadioGaga_690x345 As it’s technically a love story, you of course then have a boy and a girl who don’t conform to society’s expectations, they’re ‘different’ and they seem to have an inherent need and love for rock and roll, which they seek out.scaramouche-01 we-will-rock-you_9 I won’t go into it any more, but saying that it was all fairly predictable means you can probably guess what happens but my god were the actors absolutely fantastic singers. They managed to fit in so many of the songs, even Fat Bottom Girls! It has to be one of the best, most fun shows I’ve ever been at. Towards the end of it we were all singing along, clapping, waving our arms in the air, and not to mention there being a small bit of long hair swinging (the more female version of head banging, of course)1279-we_will_rock_you-banner We-Will-Rock-You--001

If you get a chance you should check out this show, we got cheap enough last minute evening tickets, so it was all very reasonable. The only thing that would have made it better was if I’d had a doughnut at it. 😀