One Lovely Versatile Blogger Award

We’d like to thank Livvy @ Nerdy Book ReviewsChristina and Steven Leo Campbell for nominating us for the ‘Versatile Blogger Award’ and the ‘One Lovely Blog Award’. We’ve had so much fun blogging over the last year. It’s fantastic and humbling to have been nominated for these awards! It also gives us a chance to share, ‘random facts about MLR’. 

These are the rules:

Nominees must: Tell seven things about themselves, pass the award on to 15 other blogs and thank the person who nominated them for the award. Also no one is obligated to take the award, so don’t feel you have to accept it.

And so it begins……….

Caesar Flickerman stepped up to the stage, the lights blinding him. He straightened his tie. A stage-hand appeared at his shoulder, talking into a headset; “1mins to go!” he warned, ducking away in a hurry. Flickerman shuffled the papers in his hand, he took a deep breath. The intro music started to play.

5…4… 3… 2…1…

He ran a hand through his blue hair.

“Show time!”

He stepped out to greet the crowd, “Are you all ready?” They cheered.

“Let’s introduce our guests! Latimer and Ridley!”

Two girls dressed in red, fiery dresses appeared on the stage. The crowd rose to it’s feet screaming…

Caesar guided the girls to their seats. “Ladies, congratulations on not one, but three nominations! How do you feel?”

“Thank you Caesar.” Ridley slipped into her seat and fanned her tears away. “We’re so happy. We’d like to give a shout-out to Livvy, Christina and Steven! Without them none of this could have happened.”

“Shout out!” Latimer screamed randomly. Ridley shushed her. “Shout out…” she whispered out of the corner of her mouth.

Caesar waved towards them with a flourish. “So, Latimer, Ridley, how about you tell us all some interesting facts about yourselves!”

Ridley scratched her head with a confused frown. “Oh, well I love ketchup! I put it on everything!” She gave a rapid nod and swung her arm. “Mash potato, curries, I’ve even had ketchup flavoured Pringles, they were lovely-“

“They were disgusting,” Latimer interrupted, punching the air.

“To you!” Ridley crossed her arms with a pout, then pressed on, “I wear fluffy socks in bed.”  She wiggled her feet, her sparkly high-heels caught the light and flashed out at the audience. The people in the front row covered their eyes with a grimace. Ridley shot them an apologetic shrug. “I recently found out this is actually weird as supposedly very few other people do this.”

“Sweaty feet! Stinky,” Latimer tittered.

“Quiet you!” Ridley coughed, “Don’t mind her. Another, semi-interesting thing about me is I have an obsession with stationary, I love pens, colouring pencils, highlighters, A4 pads, notebooks…” Her list petered off as a dreamy expression crossed her face. She shook herself from her stupor and frowned. “I hate to see pages torn out of a properly bound notebook (where the pages aren’t meant to be torn out, not like in a spiral one) Latimer knows of this particular OCD!”

“Don’t dog-ear my books; number one rule of borrowing from Ridley. I am always afraid when reading her paperbacks- must not break the spine, she’ll kill me,” Latimer added. Ridley nodded in agreement and slashed a finger across her neck with a wide grin.

Ridley pointed at Caesar. “I’m scared of clowns.”

He frowned at her. “I’m not a clown.”

“Hmmm…you’re very colourful.” Her pointing finger hovered in front of his face.

Latimer slapped her hand down. “Don’t mind her Caesar. She loves you really, she’s just a suspicious sort.”

“Of course! Of course…” Caesar gave a forgiving smile and smoothed back his blue hair.

Ridley rubbed her hand. “I find clowns quite creepy, with their wide smiles and abilities to squeeze into small spaces like mini cars. I also hate heights, which rules out all extreme sports to do with being up high and generally falling. Spiders make my skin crawl, this hatred of them started as a child. I read that in a year we all swallow six spiders in our sleep.” Everyone cringed. “As to mice, I have no problem with them, I think they’re cute and I often save them from my sadistic cat!”

“Imagine swallowing six mice a year…” Latimer added. Ridley shuddered.

Ridley scratched her head and then brightened. “My last interesting point or not…I’ve tried in the past to become a morning person, force the dawn cheeriness into me. I can really appreciate the beauty of a rising sun, however not matter how many times I’ve tried, I wander around like a bleary-eyed bear for the first few hours after getting up. I prefer night time! I think I’ll just have to stick to sunsets!”

“When we used to live together during college years, I was afraid of Ridley in the morning. I would be up eating my breakfast watching kids cartoons, and she would walk out of her room, like she was furious with the world,” Latimer nodded.

“And Latimer, tell us some interesting facts about yourself,” Caeser smiled.

“Righty-oh. Ahem; I love red things; given the chance at any option I will always pick the red thing- food, item etc. I love red me.”

She held out her hand counting off the various points. “Ridley says I look like a rabbit when I cross the road- darting and scuttling. She yanks me back from cars when they are about to run me over! Also, if other people around me start running I will automatically also start running (I don’t need to know the reason, I’ll just do it!).

I get obsessed very quickly with random things (face cream and body lotion, namely Burt’s Bees), countries (Japan..) and stories (eg. comic book characters backstories). I will find out everything about said obsession- I will often tell people, I am a fountain of useless information.A sponge for the unimportant.

“It’s true. A giant sponge.” Ridley held her hands out wide.

Latimer tapped her chin with a long pale finger.“My obsessions often have no rhyme or reason; currently I love Sons of Anarchy and contrasting that, I’m crazy about girly anime (shoujo) and asian dramas. 🙂 Most recently; I’m obsessed with San Diego Comic Con. We both really want to go!”

“If you win the games,” Caesar said with a grin. The crowd errupted with laughter and applause.

“Games?” Latimer glanced at Ridley. She shrugged.

“Err, okay… anyway, another random fact- I have a bamboo plant in my room… his name is Herbert.

If I lock a door, I will leave the door walk away then run back to check it’s locked, up to, but not limited to 3 times. No.. I don’t have OCD. No.. I don’t have OCD. No.. I don’t have OCD….

Once I did a tandem sky-dive and a canyon swing- I didn’t ever realise it, but I could be an adrenaline junkie if I lived in a place that had these things on the doorstep! Ridley will watch me fall from the sky with an expression on her face that says she’s going to be sick. I’ll scream ‘look at me!!!!!!’ as I plummet with a smile on my face.”

“Death wish…” Ridley muttered with a shiver.

“I often make up words; when I go to bed, I don’t say goodnight to people, I say good-noooot… and sometimes I say ‘good-noooot lemon spoot’ I don’t know why.”

“Cause you’re nuuuuts….” Ridley giggled with a hand over her mouth and then gasped as she got a sharp elbow in the stomach from Latimer. “Ooh, me intestines…”

“That’s pretty much all I can think of,” Latimer said with a thoughtful look. There was a small pause, Caesar smiled at them both. Ridley had started playing with her dress, spinning the cloth and making small fires dance up her leg.

“Pretty…”  she sighed. When she looked up and the crowd was staring, she patted the fires down with a dreamy smile, “Haha, yep, nothing more to add.”

Caesar clapped and the crowd joined in, bringing the interview to an end. Flickerman leaned forward in his chair, the leather creaked.

“One final question ladies… are you ready to play the Hunger Games?”

Ridley smiled, “Of course…” She looked confused for a moment, her expression unsure. Her eyes widened and she turned sharply. “Wait… what?”

Latimer jumped to her feet, a manic look on her face. Diving off the stage, she shoved all the strangely dressed people out of the way, screaming,  “I’m out of here! You’ll never take me alive!!”

Ridley scrambled away from Caesar. Her heels snagged on her dress and she fell face first off the stage. Leaping up, she stared round with wide eyes at the vibrant colours and weird outfits of the audience and shrieked. “Aah, clowns!”

She hitched up her dress and raced after Latimer.

“Wait for me rabbit girl!!”

TED x Dublin = Fantastic

Ridley: I was at a full day of TEDx talks on Saturday. I don’t know if anyone else ever watches the TED videos online (they can be found, funnily enough, at ted.com) These video clips are recorded at TED talks carried out all around the world, they can be inspirational, funny, sad, pack to the gills with techy/sciencey/ fun information from world renowned experts. This year, (though not for the first time ever-supposedly we’ve had small TED talks before this that I never knew about) there was a talk held in the Grand Canal theatre. (‘Twas Latimer who sent me an email to let me know they were on, I booked it immediately-she knows me well!)

I was really looking forward to it; the geek in me continued to give little shivers of excitement all week. (It was sort of creepy)

But I anticipated that I’d learn loads.

Even just from the last few Ted video clips I’ve watched on their website, I came away knowing what a snollygoster was (some words sound more exciting than their meanings) that animals can show moral behaviour like humans (very interesting, confirms my beliefs that animals are very smart. And the end bit with the monkeys, the cucumber pieces and the grapes is hilarious.) and I’ve watched Steve Job’s Stanford University commencement speech quite a few times (really really inspiring).

Considering I get such enjoyment out of seeing these clips all online, I could only imagine how great it was going to be with TED presenters in real life.I wasn’t disappointed! Even when I spent much of the few days before it daydreaming about what it was going to be like. I pictured myself at the theatre wearing round glasses, in a pin striped skirt suit thing, conversing with the informed important people on stage about their findings. In my head, I imagined I had an intelligent ‘tell me more’ frown and my nods were slow. I also often paused in thought, before I jotted down comprehensive notes for later. I dreamed the speakers’ jaws would drop at my fantastic insight into their fields of study and I’d sit back and cross my arms with a smug expression and the words, ‘oh, I know’. I had an image of a stunned audience gaping at me as I got up to leave the room. I’d marched away from the building, slipping on a pair of expensive sunglasses, shaking out my (suddenly) long blonde hair, as two helicopters battled it out overhead, while I slid into the leather front seat of a black sleek sports car with a James Bond type man waiting for me at the wheel. He’d have very white teeth…

(Ahem….yes…well being fairly quiet in large groups of more than six people, I don’t think this scenario will ever play out quite like this. It’s a pity as, in my head, that helicopter gun fight was pretty epic….and his teeth really were quite sparkly.)

So what really happened (I hear you sigh in exasperation)? I went and I frowned alright, but it was more of a grimace of confusion. The only thing I used my pen for was to scratch my head and any ‘notes’ started with ‘Whaaaaat’ and ended with a lot of question marks. Haha. Nah, this only really happened during one talk filled with statistics on urban settlements, my blonde brain followed along surprisingly well with everyone else! However, there were no smart-looking glasses or flashy suits anywhere near me! Try jeans and a t-shirt, turns out this smart casual was the dress code of everyone else too! I lucked out there! I was also seats and seats away from the stage. The only way the speakers were ever going to know I was there was if I’d been forcibly removed by security for setting off a fire cracker, or from falling down a long row of steps and landing in a heap at their feet (this is more likely than you could ever realise! My feet hate me. ‘Hello right foot, I’m bored. Want to play?’ ‘Sure, leftie, I’ll come over!’ Ridley frowns down in slow motion, “Noooo…” *thump*).

Anyway…yes, I loved all the talks! They touched on topics like genetics, civic pride, comedy, art, the environment, architecture, public transport (I’d never have believed I could find learning about bus routes entertaining, but I did! And no, I’m not insane-yet!). There was even a band, The Amazing Few, who made us all get up and do a dolphin dance. I didn’t quite resemble a dolphin, more like a flopping dying fish. It basically involved a lot of awkward wriggling, jerking and bending while you tried to stay well clear of the strangers beside you in case they got the wrong idea!

I learned there’s an important link between bats and the advancement in genetics, health and agriculture. Despite this, the only bat I like is the one who sounds like he suffers from laryngitis; Batman! (The music always plays in head when I say his name. Daah na na na na na naa…now you can hear it too, can’t you? Mwhaa.)

In another talk I found out that a chance meeting of two men over a second dinner, because the spot-on-the-plate-just-give-me-a-bag-of-chips nouvelle cuisine of the 1980s still left you hungry enough to eat your arm, could lead to the establishment of one of the most important research endeavours carried out by the genetics department in Trinity College, Dublin.

I gained insight into great minds of the world renowned architect Daniel Libeskind (the man behind the master plan at Ground Zero in New York and even the designer of the very theatre I ended up listening to his speech in) and visual artist Kevin Abosch (whose photographed some of the most famous people in the world, including Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Scarlett Johansson…)

All in all, what could have been a day of absolute hell for some people was my idea of a grand ole time! I spent hours in the same room as the movers, shakers, thinkers and leaders of different fields. (Comedian Dara O’Briain was in the audience with us too, you know. I found this out via twitter from someone else who was there, technology is amazing really. He studied mathematics and theoretical physics in University College Dublin, you know. A very funny and extremely smart man! And I quite like watching his show ‘School of Hard Sums.’)

TEDx Dublin was enlightening, fascinating and in a way made me quite jealous, the speakers were all so passionate about what they do in their day-to-day lives. They clearly loved their work.

And personally, I think we all search for that, don’t we? To be inspired and in turn inspire others?

So it was nice to be inspired for the day!

(Of course when I came out of the theatre to find my car was clamped (street clampers, me ole foes. We meet again!) because I got the free times for the on-street parking wrong, that dimmed the inspirational surges for a time.

The scene of the clamping! My traumatised car is behind me

But I just did an about-face, figured my car wasn’t going anywhere and I went for food instead. And I found out you can’t be upset when you’re chomping down on a crunchy prawn cracker! 😀 )

Tokyo Food Puzzles

What’s in it? What’s in it?”

“That’s the point of the thing, not to know!”

– Nightmare Before Christmas, Kidnap a Sandy Claws

We love trying out the different food while we’re here in Tokyo, especially if it’s something you can’t get anywhere else. So far our time here has been a real lucky mix of flavours. We’ve bought a few things where we haven’t the foggiest idea what flavour it is, or even what it is!

Giant Caplico: Not an ice cream, not really a sweet, this ice cream cone lookalike was hard, sugary and we’re still not certain what it was made from.

Ridley: “That was weird, I feel like I just ate twenty different chemicals. Giant Caplico? Giant chemical mess.”

Ketchup flavoured Pringles

Ridley:  (I love ketchup by the by-so these are not for the faint hearted. Latimer’s face of disgust was hilarious!) “After a while the kick of the ketchup is really sour…I like it, but I’d never give up my sweet and sour…no…what is it, sour onion?” Giant Caplico chemicals addle Ridley’s brain.

Peach pieces in peach jelly

Latimer: Does exactly what it says on the tin! Yums. Fruit in jelly can’t go wrong.

Unknown flavour crisps…

Latimer: “I really wish I knew what flavour they are, I can’t taste anything. I really hope it’s not frog.” (Ridley: I wish it was.)

Green tea flavour

Latimer: “It tastes like soil! Why does it taste like soil???” I promptly placed this in the bin after approximately 3 glups (it didn’t get better with time). However, the next day the maid had removed it from the bin and placed it on the floor by the table (as you do!). She seemed to want me to drink it. (Ridley: Waste not, want not! Soil will help you grow!) I poured it down the sink and back to the bin it went. Thankfully, it was gone the next day.

?????

Ridley: Latimer took this lovely close up of tiny fish in a bowl.  It’s Korean food. This was after I’d eatten two lots and thought it was seaweed, I didn’t see the eyes. (Latimer: Even though they were staring right at you.) Ridley: *silence*….I’ve nothing…no comeback to that…damn you. The tiny eyes!! Eweeee….I was chomping on it as I was telling Latimer, “My brother says I eat with my eyes, if it doesn’t look good, I’ll avoid it.” I obviously was blind this time round….

Toppo-reverse pocky, the chocolate’s on the inside! (Latimer: Reverse pocky, evil pocky!)

Ridley: *crunch crunch* “Hmm…they look like bamboo sticks with black stuff in it…I like it!” 

Banana ‘Yogurt’

Latimer: This wasn’t exactly a yogurt… it was more like a solidified, banana milk jelly. Why is nothing as it seems!?

Peach and apple drink (or so you would think)

Latimer: I bought this thinking ‘yeah, peach and apple sounds good’…. but when I took my first gulp my mouth was flooded with fruit jelly-bits. It wasn’t a nice texture. One gulp from Ridley had her face collapsing in on itself; “I don’t…. I don’t, YUCK, I don’t like it! That’s nasty… nasty…”

Mushroom shaped biscuits

Latimer: Ridley hasn’t noticed this, but around Tokyo at the moment there are these cartoon whistling mushrooms (they’ve been on the telly and in the arcades on these really annoying games that whistle the same tune over and over and over again, adding to the din). Well, these are biscuits based on the whistling mushrooms (Ridley: you think! Latimer: quiet you!). They were tasty: biscuit stalk, chocolate cap. No whistling though (I’m disappointed). (Ridley: no you’re not) 

Kirby chewing gum

Ridley: There were three little brown balls (stop sniggering Latimer) in this box, it was chewing gum, a fruity type! I liked them. It seemed appropriate, considering Kirby was kind of like a giant blown up chewing gum bubble…(Latimer: I loved Kirby’s Dream World. Ridley: Me too!)  

We don’t know what this was, we thought chocolate of some sort

Latimer: I was going under the assumption buying this was a steal at 30 Yen. Actually no, that’s 30 cent (euro speak) and that’s not cheap considering what it was. A square of ‘chocolate’… I spent 30 cent on one square of ‘chocolate’? (Ridley: fool.. wait, so did I!). It was white faux-chocolate with a sliver of yellow jelly (custard like, or something). It was tasteless and not worth 30 cent (hindsight is a great thing) (Ridley: you are harping on about the 30 cent, people are going to think you’re tight. Latimer: I am… 30 cent! Do you know what I could have done with that! Ridley: you’re an idiot. Latimer: Damn you!)

 Pocari Sweat (a God amongst the dehydrated masses)

Ridley: Lemony. Latimer: you haven’t had any this holiday. I bought one bottle and couldn’t finish it. Still, I will say it is a GOD! Ridley: you weren’t dehydrated enough… does everything I say get typed? Latimer: yes. Ridley: Pocari Sweat, a lemony rehydration drink. 

More food mysteries coming soon! (if we haven’t succumbed to gastric malfunctioning in the meantime)