Welcome to my new blog!

I already run a successful blog: www.leavingcairo.blogspot.com - a blog about an English girl the wrong side of 35 who finds herself settling (for the moment) in the beautiful country of Greece.
But there's more to Bex, the author - hence "The this 'n' that blog".
Documented here will be every day ramblings and observations - enjoy!



Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Oscars - and what IS it about Angelina Jolie??

I should warn you now - if you are a fan of 'that woman,' please read no further...you won't like this post.  I shall try, I promise, to remain a little balanced (emphasis on the 'little' I'm afraid).

OK, what has prompted Bex's outpouring on this page THIS time?  Well, last night I went round to a lovely friend's house, sat down to a delicious Clean Monday meal (Clean Monday, a public holiday in Greece and a blog post of its own) and then settled in to watch The Oscars that she'd recorded the night before.

Ahhhh, Billy Crystal - don't you just love him??  Such a natural, and perfectly happy to take the p*ss out of himself (to non-native speakers of English: to 'take the piss' means to make jokes at your own expense).
But that Angelina is another personality entirely!!!  First off, I think she takes herself WAAAAAAAAAAY too seriously.  Now to be balanced: OK, no doubt she's beautiful (purely aesthetically speaking) and I remember her in films like "Girl, Interrupted" and in her earlier career, "Pushing Tin" with the very talented Billy Bob [Thornton] and my fave, John Cusack (where's he recently??).
Interestingly I note from those films (especially the latter), she has a slightly fuller figure - and looks 100 TIMES BETTER than these days!  I couldn't help it, as I watched Angelia (before her presentation of the Writer's award), I let slip a groan:
"Ohhh GOD!  That woman doesn't have a genuine bone in her body!  Everything about her is staged" and realised :
'OOps!  I'm a guest in my friend's house and she might like her, plus my friend's just fed me, so I might be considered a bit rude!'
I needn't have worried - my friend also let out a torrent of abuse, culminating in:

"She looks like a lollipop." 

OK, see what you think:
Angelina Jolie


I'm trying to get you to all see how thin her body is, compared to her head.
Thanks to my friend for the comment - it made me laugh out loud.

Oh, THEN she came up on stage to present the Best Screenwriters award.  Up she saunters, and takes about 15 seconds to 'arrange' herself.  This 'arrangement' consisted of her left hand on left hip, whilst her right leg sticks out of her dress.
Now, at first I thought she was 'taking the piss' out of herself - but no!  Apparently this woman takes herself very seriously (and takes her right knobbly leg seriously too) and was 'stricking a pose.'

With Madonna's "Vogue" going off in my head, I looked incredulously at my friend and we just watched, struck dumb as she proceeded to present the Award. 

BUT (and this is the piece de resistance):

The Screenwriters were seemingly of the same opinion  as my friend and I (and most of the world?) and "took the piss" out of her!  See this Angelina Jolie Leg clip.  At least these men have a sense of humour!

So what do you think?  Who would you rather have a conversation with?  Angelia Jolie, or Cameron Diaz?  I adore this woman personally:  genuine, a slight pose - but seems down to earth and an all round adorable person (I am turning Greek, I just want to pinch her gorgeous cheeks in between my finger and thumb and kiss her, bless!)

Pictures courtesy of Google Images.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Container ship anyone??

Those who've read earlier posts will know that I love the sea, and yes, a few years ago I travelled across the Atlantic to the Caribbean by container ship.  I will write a separate post about this soon, I promise.

But now I am considering the ultimate: from Piraeus in Greece (where I am currently) to Melbourne to visit family, but it has to be on 2 ships, via Korea.

Am I mad???  Do I have the money more like.  I will have to look into it some more.  But let's get back to the 'Are you mad??' bit:
No, I don't think I am actually.  It is clear that there is room for passengers on such a journey, and surely the journey is all part of the adventure, not just getting from A to B.

One thing my first experience of a container ship voyage taught me: it's an incredibly humbling experience, being amongst and at the mercy of the elements and Mother Nature.  And sea faring men are very gentle, if not spiritual creatures (despite their gate, build and dour expressions).
And besides, isn't it always nice to try to do something a little different?  And I'll have plenty to write about!

So!  Take a look at this route:

Piraeus                   Day 10 (journey starts in Thamesport)
Suez Canal             Day 12
Jeddah                    Day 15
Colombo                Day 23
Tanjung Pelepas    Day 28
Kaohsiung             Day 34 (24 days total to Kaohsiung)


Kaohsiung - Melbourne 11 days on HANJIN PRETORIA
No stops, so 11 days straight at sea.

I better get my world atlas out!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

An update about how we read in this digital era

Thumbnail for version as of 17:57, 16 May 2011
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amazon_Kindle_logo.svg

A while back, I wrote a post about Kindles and whether we'd see the demise of the good old fashioned bookshop.  I received numerous thoughts and comment, all very interesting points to ponder.
One person commented that he/she used it maybe once, then it got put to the side and forgotten about.
I have to say, since I've had mine (from late December 2011), I have devoured approximately 7 books so far, OK - one was a 'novella' but still.

I got to thinking: does this mean I now value quantity over quality?  Well no, I loved every single book I read, plus the Kindle price was much cheaper.  Here are a list of books I've read and would recommend:

"Are we nearly there yet?" by Ben Hatch
A family's adventure traversing the UK

"Greeks bearing gifts" and Poseidon's Trident, both by Patricia Fenn.  A humorous and ironic read and especially poignant for me as I live in Greece now.

 "Breakfast at the Hotel DeJa Vu" (sorry for the lack of accents) by the ever marvellous Paul Torday.  A Political fiction writer, he certainly makes you think.    This one was a novella/short story.  He's actual claim to fame was "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen", a book I'd highly recommend.

And one I've just finished: "The Woman Before Me" by Ruth Dugall.  Brilliantly priced at just £0.99!

OK, not all Kindle books are that cheap - and I STILL stand by my slight fear that those lovely bookshops with the coffee shops will disappear - but I still like to read paperbacks too.  Actually, think about it - do you buy paperbacks from bookshops even now, or order them on Amazon??  To me, the bookshop is a lovely quiet 'institution' that I hope will never die out - kind of like old Vinyl record stores (but one can't buy coffee there - unless anyone knows of an old LP shop which has a coffee shop out back?)

As ever, comments please.

Oh!  And enjoy this little link about the good old book: 

Long live the book!
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