NaNoWriMo 2012 Has Arrived!

Today is the 1st of November, which means one thing – the start of NaNoWriMo! Actually, it also means another thing – I have been incredibly slack this year, and not blogged about NaNo at all yet. Crazy, I know! Thing is, this year at university, studying at postgraduate level, it’s really kicked my butt, hahaaa. And so I’ve been scrambling to get my Honours thesis written and rewritten and rewritten again and finally handed in. Hooray! But because I handed it in on 29th October, it means I’ve had little time for NaNoWriMo blogging, for which I am very sorry.

But, anyway. Here I am! And I am fizzing with excitement, ready to spontaneously combust, wheeeeeee!😀

NaNoWriMo truly is my favourite time of year. It’s pretty perfectly placed for me actually – normally, I just about finishing up my study for the year, and summer is starting to make itself at home. NaNoWriMo is like a reward for surviving uni, really. Something which I feel is especially true this year, as this year has been a bajillion times more stressful than my past three years at uni, and I seriously felt like I was losing my mind sometimes. But now, NaNoWriMo. A whole month where I get to write what I want to write, not what I have to write. A whole month of putting aside special time to do something I love. A whole month of writing.

Fittingly enough, this year I’ve decided to write something purely for fun – Star Trek XI fanfiction! As you all might know, I write quite a bit of fanfic (when I have the time!), but for NaNoWriMo I usually choose to write original fiction. But this year… I just had this idea that wouldn’t leave me alone! It’s an AU fic (Alternate Universe) which means that it’s not actually set within the Star Trek universe – instead, my fic is set in a contemporary FBI environment, but using the Star Trek XI characters. It’ll focus on Jim and Bones, two FBI agents. Actually, I might as well paste my synopsis here!

Jim Kirk has been around the block more than a few times, despite being pretty new to “all this FBI stuff”.  Jim knows he capable of being an awesome FBI agent though, and has a desperate thirst to prove himself. When his ranking officer, Christopher Pike, sends him off to the only known address of a “retired” Agent Leonard McCoy – a seedy downtown bar – Jim finds himself in a whirl of suspicion, mystery and, inexplicibly, attraction to the rugged agent. Because while Leonard might seem like just a handsome but jaded divorcee, his background at the FBI holds more questions than Jim can find answers for. Jim and Leonard are thrust into a game of cat and mouse with their supposed FBI colleagues – and the stakes are paid with lives. Jim and Leonard must learn to trust each other enough to work together, to discover exactly what the hell is going on, and to avoid getting each other killed. Although they might be more in danger of killing each other, the way they’re getting along. On top of this, Jim has to deal with his new found attachment and attraction to Leonard, which may or may not be returned. Not even love is easy for these two, though – in fact, that might be their biggest obstacle of all.

I’ve always wanted to read a fic like this, so I thought, why not write it myself?😉 I have… an outline of sorts. I’m certainly not as organised as I usually am! But I do have one thing that I don’t usually have – an epic playlist. Music has always been a great inspiration to me, and so compiling a list of songs that are relevant to my characters’ journeys has been so helpful in figuring out what they’re feeling and doing. I also have some awesome soundtrack music from The Bourne Legacy film to get me into the crime/thriller mood.

And, of course, there’s my favourite NaNoWriMo staple songs, about NaNoWriMo, which you can find here😉 AND this year, there’s a NaNoMusical! *flail* I think this is such an incredible idea – I adore musicals, and I adore NaNoWriMo, so I can’t think of anything more perfect😀 You can find the first episode here!

Now, I wish I’d had time to write a blog post with some advice for any fellow Wrimos out there. I did write a post last year which I still fully abide by, my NaNoWriMo Toolkit. As for the Desktop Calendar, the same artist has a 2012 one here – it’s amazing! I love the inspirational quotes and prompts (and occasional tough love :D). And I’m using an updated 2012 version of the NaNo Report card here!

Other than that, my best advice would be to…

If you like, you can add me as a NaNo Buddy here, or follow me on Twitter here, where I am and will be tweeting madly about #NaNoWriMo!! All that’s left to say is… let’s have some fun this month!

Word Count: 1,308 words
Write on!
Bri xx

I MET MARTIN FREEMAN AND IAN MCKELLEN!

[post includes PHOTOS and a VIDEO :D]

I literally CANNOT BREATHE FOR EXCITEMENT RIGHT NOW.

As some of you may have known, I was lucky enough to have purchased a ticket for Ian McKellen’s one man show, ‘Ian McKellen on Stage: with Shakespeare, Tolkien, and You‘. He’s been putting the show on all over New Zealand to help raise funds for Isaac Theatre Royal repairs, which was damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes. Good cause, plus the chance to see Ian McKellen in person – I couldn’t pass it up! I’d also heard whispers of maybe some of the other Hobbit cast members being in Wellington around this time, and that they might show up… but I thought about this only as a dream, not thinking for a moment that it would ACTUALLY COME TRUE.

Ian’s actual show was really fabulous. He started things off with a brilliant rendition of perhaps Gandalf’s finest and most memorable moment, from The Fellowship of the Ring when he confronts the Balrog, shouting “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” (and yes, he sounded exactly the same, squeeeee! :D) The first half was based around audience interaction, with Ian recounting stories, and inviting members of the audience to call out random questions about his fascinating life. The second half was pretty much a tribute to Shakespeare – he challenged us to name all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays, and as we did so he acted out parts from some of them – including the Balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet, where he spoke both Romeo and Juliet’s lines, pure gold hahaa! He gave us an epic version of Hamlet’s “The play’s the thing!” speech, and the emotional, moving “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun” ‘funeral’ speech from Cymbeline. As I am a massive fan of Shakespeare, as you already know (*wink*), I adored this part – Ian truly is a master of Shakespeare too, telling us all about the different roles he’s played over the years.

So that was the actual show. Which was epic!

But.

NOT AS EPIC AS WHAT CAME AFTER.

As a special treat for Wellington, and this being his second-to-last show, he called ALL THE  HOBBIT CAST MEMBERS THAT WERE PRESENT ONSTAGE WITH HIM. Obviously not all the cast was there. I eagerly scanned the growing group onstage, looking for familiar faces – I think I recognised a couple of the dwarves, but I haven’t done enough fangirl research to identify them or anything.

AND THEN.

My heart truthfullystopped when my eyes landed on… MARTIN FREEMAN.

*hyperventilates*

It was beyond exciting, you have no idea! To actually see Martin Freeman, one of my top most favourite actors of EVER, in REAL LIFE with my VERY OWN EYES. He was looking ADORABLE as usual, and gosh, I realised fully how short he really is!🙂 Ian lead them all in a tiny spot of acting from Henry V, which basically consisted of the Hobbit cast and the audience members who’d joined them onstage all falling down dead. LOL. I took a video of it, which you can watch here:

(please excuse the part where I’m moving closer, and my aim goes all wonky for a few seconds, hahaaa. Martin Freeman is off to the left, looking all cute and short :D)

So anyway, after that, Ian and the rest of the Hobbit cast went out into the foyer to collect extra donations for the Isaac Theatre, and Ian said he would be available for photos and signing etc. Now, I hardly ever carry cash anymore, so I only had my EFTPOS card on me. And, as it happens, I’m having a particularly poor week (well, I’m used to it, being a poor student and all!!) and I only had $21 on my card. I was thinking that $10 would be an alright amount to give, and if it meant I got a photo with Ian McKellen, then why not!

However, the ATM machines outside only gave out $20 notes… decisions. I thought about it for three seconds, before dashing to the nearest ATM and withdrawing $20 of my $21 in the world (well, in a dramatic manner of speaking, ROFL – and anyway, next payday is on Tuesday :P). And besides, I actually do care a lot about theatre, so it was definitely for a good cause. I ran back inside, and braved the mass of people to finally squeeze my way along to Ian McKellen, and…

Ta-dahhh!🙂

He also signed my little notebook, as it was the only thing I had on me. (KEEPING IT FOREVER.) He was honestly so lovely to all the fans, and so smiley – well, you can see for yourself! Adorable.

So now that I was happy with having met Ian McKellen, I peered around for Martin Freeman. BUT ALAS. No luck! It seemed that he wasn’t hanging out in the foyer – I overheard someone saying that he’d left already. I was a bit disappointed – but as I hadn’t really expected to see him at all, I was still stoked with just having got the video of him, and so left the theatre happy.

The story DOESN’T END THERE. *dun dun DUN* xD

As it happens, my friend was having a big gathering/party at one of the bars that very same evening, as she’s heading off to Harvard soon (just casually!!) to study, and so won’t be seeing us all for a long time! I must admit, I was feeling kind of tired, it was raining on-and-off, the bar was in the opposite direction to my home, and frequenting bars/clubs isn’t really my thing… BUT I really did want to see my friend before she left the country, and I knew that she really wanted to see me, so I made up my mind to stop by and say hi/bye! So off I went, and it really was lovely to see her again, and a couple other people I hadn’t caught up with for ages either. I didn’t stay very long, only around half an hour, so I was soon on my way home again. And, randomly, someone stopped me on the street for directions – amongst all the drunk crazy people walking around, I must have looked like one of the few sane people, hahaa (11pm Saturday night, folks!), so no wonder they asked me! Anyway, after helping them, I set off home again – BUT x2. I had to pass the theatre again on route to my house. I noticed that there were still some people milling about, and that Ian McKellen himself was still there, the trooper, giving photos and signatures.

And for SOME REASON, I went inside, just a few steps inside, forever hopeful.

AND THERE HE WAS.

Martin Freeman, looking like the most beautiful angel to walk the earth to my eyes just then, WAS STANDING THERE TAKING PHOTOS.

There were only about seven people waiting to get a photo with him, because most everyone had left the theatre already. I RAN over there, clutching my camera, and…

YEP. THAT HAPPENED.

IT IS SO SURREAL. Martin Freeman is seriously one of my MOST FAVOURITE ACTORS EVER. Like, he’s right up there with Karl Urban and Chris Pine and Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry and ALL THE BEST PEOPLE THAT I WOULD DIE TO MEET.

And here, in tiny Wellington, New Zealand… DREAM COME TRUE.

I told him that I love him in Sherlock, even though that didn’t really have anything to do with the Hobbit, to which he replied “Thank you!” And when I asked him if I might be able to get his signature in my notebook, he was like “Ohh, I see everyone’s run out of money to buy programmes to sign!” And I was like “Heh, I literally have $1 left on my EFTPOS card!” to which he kindly said “Ah, I won’t nick that from you, then.”

(nerdy fact: he sounded JUST LIKE JOHN when John says “Nicked all his smurfs?” to Mycroft. <3)

ALSO. MARTIN FREEMAN HELD MY PEN. NEVER THROWING THAT AWAY.

DAY = MADE. Actually, more like LIFE = MADE.

Bounced all the way home. Couldn’t contain my grin – poor passersby, wondering what I was smoking! – but did contain my fangirlish screams and dancing until I got home, thankfully. Ran around my room like a maniac. You know how it is😉

But more than just meeting two incredibly amazing actors, all of this showed me – reminded me – that if you love, be kind, and give, good will find you, will come back to you. I gave monetary support to the theatre funds, gave my time and love to see my friend, and gave a kind word to the lost pedestrian… and I was repaid with the PRICELESS meetings with Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman.

Life is Love.❤

LOL, so that’s kind of the “moral of the story” bit. And I feel every word as true! But. Anyway. The main point of all this really is…

I MET MARTIN FREEMAN AND IAN MCKELLEN AAAHHHHHHH *fangirls* xD

That’s my excitement for my week YEAR LIFE! Next up, the Hobbit Premiere this November at the Embassy in Wellington… BRING IT ON! (After all, still have Benedict Cumberbatch and Stephen Fry on the list! :D)

Have fun!
Bri xx

ConGRADulations!!

*waves arms around madly*

Long time, no see! And in the time I’ve been absent from my blog, I have managed to graduate from Victoria University of Wellington with a Bachelor of Arts (in English Literature and Philosophy, if anyone is curious!)

YAY I DID IT. xD

Survived all the late nights/early mornings (when things were really desperate!), the bajillion hours spent reading, the crazy first year Halls antics, the essay writing, getting involved in all the fun, extra activities that Vic runs, the even crazier things we got up to in first year (*cough*), the flatting experience, the 9am tutorials that no one ever turns up for, getting lost on campus (more than once!), the lecturers that you just can’t stand, the lecturers that you admire/fangirl over (guilty… *winks*), the awesome people I’ve met and the brilliant friends I’ve made…

The Time. Of. My. Life!

Thanks to everyone who was a part of it – you all had a special role to play, and I won’t ever forget it🙂

Now, time for some photos!

Me with my proud grandparents🙂

Mum and I (in matching pink! :D)

It’s my brother!😀 (SO MUCH TALLER. I look ridiculous. xD)

One, Two, Three!😀

And now, look what my darling mother made! Graduation Cupcakes. Wheeeeeee! With light pink icing to match my BA hood.

*drools*

They were delish. All gone now, sorry😉 My favourite was the one with the white trencher decoration!

And so, that was my graduation ceremony! It was such an exciting night, being able to celebrate with people I’d studied alongside for three years – clapping extra hard when it was their turn on the stage, of course! And thankfully, when it was my turn onstage, I managed a feat of a lifetime and didn’t do anything clumsy like trip over, or do an awkward handshake, hooray! (I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I moved with grace, because my Mum took a video of me walking across the stage, and I look like a hunchbacked troll slumping my way to my diploma, hahaaaa.) Oh, actually – I just remembered. I did the eyebrow raise greeting at the Vice Chancellor. *meep*

I shall leave you with my “Superman” photo, a pose which I simply *couldn’t* resist, what with the “cape” and everything!

Supergrad!😀

Have fun!
Bri xx

‘Frequently Asked Questions’: Some Truly Fine Theatre!

I have literally just returned home from a very enjoyable excursion to the theatre – Downstage Theatre, it’s so charming! – where I saw a stunning performance called ‘Frequently Asked Questions‘. It’s part of the New Zealand International Arts Festival that’s happening at the moment in Wellington, which is always a fantastic showcase of talent and spectacle. Anyway, out of a long list of events that I wanted to go to, I narrowed it down to this play – I *am* a poor student, after all, so could really only afford to go to one.

And man, I do not regret picking ‘Frequently Asked Questions’!🙂

Firstly, let me give you a little info as to what it’s actually about. ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ focuses on a man named Hamlet, an insomniac who is haunted by some extremely gripping questions – for example, ‘What a piece of work is a man?’, ‘Am I a coward? Who calls me villain?’, and, unsurprisingly, ‘To be, or not to be?’ Oh, and the all-important ‘Why am I wearing tights?!’ *clears throat* Mm-hmmm. Hamlet, however, is not left to his own devices – he is paid a visit by his fellow famous tragic heroes: Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello. Chaos obviously ensues. Admist all the hilarity, however, the play still manages to end on a beautifully poignant note.

What is most striking and important to know about this play is that there is only one actor – Michael Hurst. And yep, you guessed it – that means he has to play more than one character at one time. A perfect set up for comedy – and Hurst really takes every opportunity that this presents to him. The different voices for each character are just spot-on, as were the particular affectations each character has. Macbeth was my personal favourite – I mean, the Scottish accent, and the copious amount of creative swearing? Genius!😀 I made a special effort to commit my favourite line of his to memory – for future use, of course! – which was: ‘What are you doing, talking to me or chewing a brick? Because both’ll get your teeth knocked out!’ It totally sounds ten million times better if you say this with a Scottish accent, by the way. Probably the most frightfully funny element – and there were many! – was when Hurst had to stage a fight between Hamlet and Macbeth, and then between Macbeth and Othello. Frickin’ hilarious, watching someone beat himself up… teeheeee. Oh, and did I mention that Hurst fully fries an egg onstage, makes a sandwich, and eats it?! All while delivering his lines flawlessly. So yeah, I really applaud Michael Hurst for such amazing talent. *bows down* He’s a New Zealander, and I just read on his website that he has also directed several episodes of the current TV series ‘Spartacus’, which I adore!😀 So that makes him even cooler. *nods*

As for the whole Shakespeare element of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’, well… I’m sure you all know of my love affair with The Bard, and nothing pleases me more when people use Shakespeare in innovative and creative ways. Hurst drew so many clever quotes from his plays, it was a scholar’s dream. It all made me think of Tom Stoppard, and his fabulous play ‘Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead’. I’ve already shared with you my admiration for Tom Stoppard, and that particular play, which I was lucky enough to see performed in Wellington too. *sighs happily* One day, when I’ve published a novel and become wealthy, I’ll go to the theatre every week…🙂

So yeah, that was my extremely pleasant evening!😉 As this showing of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ is a ‘world’ premiere, I really hope it does well enough to take to other places around New Zealand, and then overseas too! Everyone should get to experience this awesomeness. If you’re currently in Wellington, I strongly encourage you to go along – the show is on until 11 March, and you can purchase tickets here🙂 Dooooo itttt!😀

Finally, while we’re talking about the Arts Festival… it also includes the epic ‘Writers & Readers Week‘ which starts this coming week. It’s just brilliant!! *drools* The tickets are quite a lot cheaper than the other festival tickets, so I’ve treated myself to three ‘sessions’, which means three amazing writers… Jo Nesbø (his amazing Norwegian Crime novels with his detective Harry Hole), Alan Hollinghurst (awesome writer of ‘The Line Of Beauty’, and his most recent ‘The Stranger’s Child’), and Robert Shearman (the man who brought the Daleks back to the new RTD-revamped ‘Doctor Who’!). I am so excited, I can’t wait! I am sorely disappointed to have to miss out on the Harry Ricketts talk (I have class), but then… I don’t need to be too sad, as I’ll get to see him and soak in his brilliance quite often this year… because… he’s going to be my supervisor this year for my Postgraduate English Research!!

*hyperventilates*😉

Gosh, I’m such a fangirl.

I love Wellington.

Anyway, must away to bed. Farewell, my friends – parting is always such sweet sorrow. A thousand times, good night!😀

Have fun!
Bri xx

Tinkering Away At A Few Film Reviews

In my humble opinion, it’s a pretty good time for films at the moment. Perhaps it’s just that time of year, but I found myself wanting to go to about a bajillion films in the cinemas recently – something that doesn’t happen all that often for me. I mean, I do go to the cinema quite regularly, but the majority of the films I watch are at home, on DVD. So in honour of the recently released films that I’ve gone and enjoyed on the silver screen, I thought I’d make a few comments about them here – and hopefully encourage you to see them, too.

(I apologise in advance for any spoilers for those who may not have seen the films!)

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

I was originally drawn to this film because of the massive range of absolutely stunning actors – I mean, Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy… all in one movie? Yes please! They do not disappoint, either. What immediately strikes you about this film is that there is much less dialogue than one is used to in a film – less dialogue than an actor is used to as well, I’d imagine. Here, the actors master the art of saying things without words, and I believe it is far more impacting and touching for this. This is especially true in a scene starring our own lovely Benedict Cumberbatch, in which he has to force his (male) partner to leave him. Too beautiful, and heartbreaking! And as for Gary Oldman – well! It’s all the harder for him, as an actor, because his character says even less, shows less expression and feeling, than any other. Deliberate, of course – and the fact that Gary Oldman can still portray the character’s thoughts… I mean, wow. I’d say that it’s all part of the overall slower pacing of the film, which is a refreshing change from other ‘wham-bam’ films these days. And the attention to detail – gosh, am I in awe! All the small noises, such as the scratch of a pen on paper… and then there’s the clever camera shots that show the scene from behind a window, or through a door. It just creates such a perfect atmosphere for the era, and the political climate, that the film is set in. While it is a ‘thinking’ sort of film, I’d definitely recommend it to those who might just wish to watch something with brilliant acting and flimmaking – either way, you’ll love it.

This Means War

Ahaa, Tom Hardy, we meet again… and okay, I’ll admit it – the epicness of Chris Pine and Tom Hardy was definitely the initial lure to this film for me. I just adore both of them, and so the opportunity to see a film where they star opposite each other was simply too awesome to pass up. And, you know, I was right – the chemistry between the pair is sizzling!😀 (Not to mention Tom Hardy’s English accent sticking out due to all the American-ness around him… *drools*). Reese Witherspoon was pretty charming alongside the boys – I mean, I liked her in ‘Walk The Line’, and I’m sure she’s been in something else I liked too, so she’s quite easy to enjoy. And, yeah, the plot may have been somewhat of a typical romantic-comedy – not usually my thing, although there are exceptions – but these actors definitely gave the film that extra ‘something’ which made it worth the rom-com plotline. It’s like… ‘Pretty Woman’, I never expected to like, but somehow… I can’t help loving it. Same with ‘Notting Hill’ – Hugh Grant, squeeee… but I digress. This film did have its cheesy moments, but I couldn’t have expected anything different, and they were healthily balanced out by some delicious action sequences, as well as a lot of hilarity! The only thing that I was slightly disappointed by was the ending, in the way it tried just that tiny bit too hard, in my opinion, to tie up all of the loose ends. But then again, I am particularly picky about endings, and they rarely satisfy me completely, so it’s no big deal. Definitely an entertaining watch, for both guys and gals!

Hugo

Whatever you think you know about Hugo… it is far more amazing than you could possibly expect or imagine. Before I watched this piece of art, I naively thought that it was a kids’ film, and for ‘some reason’ was a big hit at the Oscars. However, now I see why this film received the number of Oscars that it did – and it’s not even really a film for kids, despite the principle actors being children. This storyline and its characters offer something to every kind of audience – beautifully dealt with, and easily stepping away from what could have been a clichéd ‘message’. Asa Butterfield, the boy the film focuses around, is an absolutely stunning wee actor – I’m completely in love!😀 I totally would have given him the Oscar, had he been nominated. He just put the right amount of emotion into it all. Too adorable! His counterpart, Chloë Moretz, was also a joy to watch – my kind of heroine, for sure! Now, I chose to see this film in 3D, which is saying something in itself – I’m one of the unfortunate who have to wear glasses anyway, so when I go to a 3D film… I’m wearing two pairs of glasses. Terribly tedious and unattractive!😛 However, this was completely worth it – the location shots of Paris and of the clock tower were sights to behold, and actually, the cinematography as a whole was beautiful. This setting, combined with the heartfelt acting, honestly made me feel awed and marvelled by the end. Breathtaking. Unlike the theme at the heart of Hugo, Scorsese’s film needs no fixing – it’s absolutely perfect.

Seen these films too? Have I made you want to see them? Share your thoughts!

Have fun, filmgoers!
Bri xx