Thursday, December 28, 2006

Daniel Craig & Casino Royale

Casino Royale! - Warning! SPOILER!
I finally got to see it last night. WOW! Was I ever impressed! Totally NOT what I expected in the new Bond Film. Daniel Craig was HOT. The movie, Casino Royale was more than a step away from the expected in a Bond Film. I'm not certain what I actually expected before I went, but I knew it was going to be a departure from the traditional role that Ian Fleming created...the archetypal suave and debonaire spy that all the women loved and all the villains loved to hate and could never best.

Yes, it was crude. M said that she wanted Bond to be more than a blunt instrument. One could see how he needed to have two kills to be a "Double O" and the first was harsh, gritty, and messy. The second just a simple "plop" of a pistol - Oh so easy. Or so one is lead to think. I could just see the sociopath growing stronger as he became accustomed to killing.

Then, came the scene where he followed some guy into the Ugandan Embassy. I do use the term followed loosely, as it's THE most action packed scene in the whole film. It was a WOW, OH. MY. GOD!!! Type of scene, where I was gasping for air, squeezing C~'s thigh and arm, and generally feeling like I was right there in the thick of things as the scene unfolded. The only other movie that did that to me was Saving Private Ryan.

Needless to say, I felt that it was an awesome movie. I don't often get to go to the theatre to see movies, so when I do, I want it to be spectacular. So far, I haven't been disappointed this year.

So far, I have seen, Eight Below, The Prestige, The Legend of Zorro, and perhaps one or two others that I can't pull out of my sleep deprived brain at this moment. If I do remember, I shall attempt to edit this for more info.

Enjoy the DC pic, I did, thanks to wikipedia where I took it from *grin*

What it's like to live overseas, especially during the holidays...

"This was originally posted on by Mindy and other
long-time members there. It's been changed slightly for the
Americans-in-Australia crowd. :-)

I have borrowed this from my yahoo was re-posted by the moderator and I am using it for several reasons. 1. So that my friends and family "back home" can perhaps have an inkling of what I am/have been going through over here. 2. For others that read my blog and are perhaps considering a move to another country. 3. To remind myself of these things as well, so that when I get a little down, I can remember that others all over the world are going through the same exact things, too. I have posted as is, with only a few minor alterations to protect certain people.

This is a topic that I've been thinking about for awhile now. I
haven't posted it as a response to anyone, and I don't want anyone
to think it's aimed at them. It isn't. It's just some honest
advice that I think people should take into consideration before
making the move. I think that at times people get a bit carried
away with being in love and don't think about the reality of moving
to a different country. And I also think that because our two
cultures are similar and we speak the same language they think that
it's going to be easier than it actually is.

I also don't want to be too negative or scare people off. You can
move here and make a life and be happy, but there are some things
that I think would be a good idea to ask yourself.

*Are you open minded? Moving to a new country is remarkable
experience, but you need to be able to look at things from a
different viewpoint than the one you were raised with. You're going
to meet people with different backgrounds, opinions and ways of
doing things. You need to accept that the American way is not the
only way.

*Are you set in your ways? Things are different here. Schools,
hospitals, banking and work practices are just a few of the many
things that you're going to run up against that are 'not the way we
do it'. You have to be willing to learn how things work if you are
going function in a country that is totally not like your own

*Are you diplomatic? You're going to come across people who are
critical of your country and its government. You are going to need
to keep your cool and talk yourself out of some situations where you
feel uncomfortable. You're also going to have learn when someone's
only joking and when someone's serious about this.

*Are you good at watching and listening? You need to learn
everything. The best way to do this is to watch other people, see
how they do things without telling them how you think it should be

*Are you a homebody? If you've never left the place where you were
born, if you're very close to your family, then it's going to be
difficult. Really difficult. You need to be prepared to have years
between visits home, you need to be prepared to not see parents,
siblings and nieces and nephews. The most difficult part of being
an expat is having bad things-death, illness, accidents-happen and
not being able to be there. You're going to miss good things too-
weddings, births, family parties. And not all family and friends
are good about keeping in touch. A lot of expats feel abandoned by
their families when they move.

*Do you have family support? You need your family to be behind you
in a supportive non-judgemental way. It's not impossible without
this, but it sure makes it easier.

*Are you determined? It's not easy making friends here.
Australians, especially women, relate to eachother a little bit
differently from Americans. They tend to make friends young and
hang onto them for life. You can make friends but it will take
determination and a thick skin on your part. You need to be
outgoing and proactive.

*Are you adventurous? You'll have to take buses and trains, and go
to unfamiliar places. Everyone will be a stranger to you. You have
got to be brave or you'll never leave the house.

*Is your career everything to you? Because it's not always easy to
find a job in your field and a lot of people have had to take jobs
that they were vastly overqualified for. And not all degrees and
qualifications automatically transfer. It takes a lot of
perseverance to find the right job for you.

* Can you live on a tighter budget than you're used to? Not only
may you have a lower salary than you did in the US, but you may find
that the cost of living in Australia is higher. Don't assume that
you will be able to dine out every week, or buy the latest fashions
as soon as they show up in the shops.

* Are you running away from anything? A job you hate, family
problems, a bad relationship, depression? Most people go through a
very stressful adjustment period when they get to a new country to
live - either for a set length of time or indefinitely. While it is
entirely possible to work through your issues during the process of
moving, you need to be prepared for the fact that life might not be
all smiles and roses right away.

* Do you have realistic expectations of what life in Australia may
be like? Have you visited (yes, some people plan moving here having
never visited!)? Have you spent a significant amount of time here?
If not, make sure that your perceptions of everyday life over here
are not based on books you've read, television shows, etc. Remember
that Australia is like any other country -- your way of life will
vary according to the place you live and your income, amongst many
other things. Try to not build up a vision of life here based on
stereotypes or you be disappointed.

* If you are moving over with kids, make sure you know the
differences in the educational system & if it would work for your
kids. Be prepared for some serious blowouts with them...or they may
love it while you are unhappy.

* If you are moving over with kids: Is your nuclear family secure?
While you are adjusting to a new place, the only people you will
have to rely on is each other. Your kids will need that stability.

* *Are you willing to try new things? There's no good Mexican food,
there's no Wal-Mart, there are no graham crackers or Hersheys
chocolate. You're going to have to try new food, find substitutes,
shop in unfamiliar stores. If this fills you with dread or you
can't cook without Hamburger Helper it's going to be difficult.

* If moving over to be with a spouse - are they aware of what issues
you may face? Can you speak to them openly? Are they control freaks
that insist you automatically do everything their way? Or tell you
everythign you do is wrong? Basically, do you have an open and
healthy relationship? Moving countries is hard work and if your
spouse is a horses patootee it will not help.

* For the ladies (certainly something I've had to consider) -- are
you willing to have and raise a baby without your own
mother/grandmother/family around long-term?

* If moving over to be with a spouse - what are your in-laws like?
Do they like you? Are they accepting of the fact that
you're "different"?

* If moving over to be with a spouse - are you commited? If in the
back or your mind, you're thinking that this is only temporary or
you're going to be able to change your spouse's mind about moving,
then you're probably kidding yourself. You'll find it hard to
settle if you really haven't got the mindset that this is your new
life and you've got to live it.
If your spouse has said he/she doesn't want to move to the US, he's
probably not going to change his mind, and once you have a mortgage
and babies and commitments that will get harder and harder.

*Do you think you can change people? The person you're
marrying/moving to be with is NOT American. They're not going to
become American. They aren't going suddenly start
dressing/acting/talking and beleiving like an American. If you have
kids, they are not going to be American. And you cannot recreat
the 'American Experience'. It doesn't exist and you're just going
to make everyone unhappy with all your comparing.

*Are you creative? You'll need to incorporate your own traditions
into Australian ones. You'll need to be able to find substitutions
for food items you're used to. And you'll need to look at new ways
to celebrate holidays that are important to you.

* Are you willing to seek professional help? Many expats suffer
from depression... not just sadness, but depression... they then try
to "snap out of it" or "go it alone". You need to be willing to ask
for help and then follow through with that help sometimes.

Just one more of my own to add:

* The reversal of seasons. How do you feel about celebrating
Christmas in the summertime and bundling up during June & July? I'm
not talking about once for novelty's sake, but FOREVER. I think
this affects people more than they think it will. Also, most
Australians don't celebrate Halloween and definitely not
Thanksgiving. Unless you go out of your way to celebrate and find
all the "authentic" decorations & foods, it'll be "just another day"
here. Something else to think about.

Personally, the big thing for ME has been the celebration of holidays. Especially the way I'm used to celebrating things "back home". I miss snow, I miss cold weather. I miss dressing up in velvet and long-sleeves to go out to Christmas parties and spending time with my family. I miss Thanksgiving and cooking a huge meal for everyone to enjoy, again, in the cold weather LOL. It's really weird cooking a huge holiday meal in 90 degree weather with no air conditioning.
These were just a few thoughts, and my friend and moderator of my yahoo group posted this just as I had been thinking about it, as well as getting in arguments with C~ over things just like this.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I Elf'd myself lol

I Elf'd was pretty fun...hehehhe.

Oh yeah, and Don't shoot your eye out, either!

Longing for the Genteel South

It's finally over! Boxing Day is DEAD!

Thank the good Lord! I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I agreed to go shopping this morning for leftover Christmas goodies to match our other Christmas goodies that we'd paid full price for weeks ago.

Yes, I am an American. Yes, I've been shopping on Black Friday. Yep, also on the day after Christmas. Once again, yes to having shopped on Christmas Eve.

Oh. My. GOD! I have never in my life been stepped on, shoved, pushed, and reviled to get the hell out of someone's way just so they could fight over some tacky piece of 50% off shitty, half broken ornament. What the hell is this world coming to? C~ hastened to remind me of all the horror stories that come over from the USA of shoppers experiences...such as people getting mugged whilst in line, "ladies" fighting in parking lots, full on battles over Tickle Me Elmo's and so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

Well! I have never seen it happen. Perhaps it is because I am a product of the "Genteel South"? Who knows? All I know is that now I am about to settle down at 3 pm to rest my poor widdle feetsies, have a glass of wine, turn on the Boxing Day Test, and read a little bit of a "trashy" (tongue on cheek) Catherine Coulter novel called Lord Harry.

*gif image borrowed from mooselet*

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The best thing about being a grown-up at Christmas

You know, one of the greatest things about being an adult is being able to open one's presents on Christmas Eve. The other great thing is being able to eat dessert before dinner and not giving a darn if it ruins dinner.

I love being married to C~ because he gives me silly gifts that he KNOWS I'll love. Like the ladder climbing dwarf (one of the seven dwarves) to put on one of my potted plants. Way better than a garden gnome! Don't get me wrong, I love garden gnomes, and am still searching for the best one. I mean, there are just too many to choose from!

The other wonderful thing about C~ (and yes I know I'm gushing) is that when he told me that it's a possibility that we may not be able to find a house to rent where they will allow us to have a greyhound, then we can get a cat. I couldn't believe it! This is the man that thinks all cats are evil! So, I've been looking through the RSPCA website here in Queensland to see if there are any older or possibly disabled homeless cats. Yes, I do intend to adopt an older or needy cat or dog. That is why I am looking at retired greyhounds and the RSPCA. I wouldn't mind at all caring for and giving a good home to the neediest animals I can find.

I honestly have no idea WHY I feel compelled to do this. I think it's because I know how it feels to be unloved, cast out, and even though I'm not an invalid, I do know how it feels to be disabled (even if it was only a temporary thing). I want and desperately need to do something, and now Iam going to be in a position to actually do what I've always wanted - work with a rescue organisation. Once we have moved and have our schedule in a bit of order, as if that will ever be totally done lol. Anyway, I've always wanted to be able to work with animal rescue...I have rescued and adopted out many animals on my own. But here, there are so many needy animals, not just dogs and cats....but even guinea pigs, budgies, wounded koalas, and kangaroos. SO MANY in need. I just have to do something!

Picture credits: Kangaroo Rescue, Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia