Wednesday, 21 January 2015

The Year Ahead, Part Two

During my Christmas shopping, I came across a 50th anniversary box set of James Bond with all 26 movies. Regularly priced at $270, it was on sale for $150. As a fan of James Bond since I saw "For Your Eyes Only" when I was 8, how could I pass that up?

When I got home, I ripped open the packaging and flipped through the beautiful pictures. So pretty! I pulled out "Dr. No" only to realise that I had bought Blu-Ray. I don't have a Blu-Ray player.

While that's an easy and inexpensive problem to solve,  it seemed a little ridiculous to set up a Blu-Ray for my laptop monitor. I decided to forego cable 5 years ago this month, so when my 8 year old K-mart Special crapped out six months after that then I didn't both replacing it. Everything came in through my laptop anyway. Flash forward to 26 Blu-Ray James Bond movies and an aging laptop... it was time to get a new TV.

After a few weeks of doing my homework of the best bang for my buck - my friend who knows TVs gave me three recommendations - I bought a new TV this past weekend. The first thing I did was watch Skyfall and I love this new piece of technology more than I should probably admit. If we're Facebook friends or you follow me on Instagram, none of this is news to you because I was so ridiculously happy with my TV that I had to share it with the world.

But it's not just the new TV that has me excited. While contemplating the purchase, I started thinking about how much I miss cable. Specifically, I miss sports. I miss hockey games on in the background while I cook dinner and I miss soccer games on while I recover from a hangover. The reality is that there are only so many times you can go out to watch a game. I'm getting sports again! With my little brother now living in my neighbourhood, we're already talking about having a big Irish fry up for the important Liverpool games.

As for Bond? Well, that's a series that's meant to be shared, especially the older Bond movies. I could never have had Bond nights when I just had the laptop, but I fully plan on having Bond nights now that I have a snazzy new TV.

Who would have thought that purchasing a TV - a passive form of entertainment - would mean an increase in my social life?

And in case you didn't hear the rumours of who might be replacing Daniel Craig, I'll just leave this here:

Friday, 16 January 2015

The Year Ahead, Part One

It's very rare for me to find myself looking forward to an entire year. I look forward to events within a year, but I never think "this is it. This is going to be a great year and I'm looking forward to it." Yet, despite no big event to look forward to, I am ridiculously excited about 2015 and the things I think it is going to bring my way.

One of those things is Swahili. I have spent the last two weeks not-so-patiently waiting for the book I ordered to arrive.

This order apparently moves slower than a pride of lions at rest

I went to one of my favourite local stores, Munro's, to place the order because I like to support them, but it means that I ordered during the Christmas crazies and I knew it wouldn't get here right away. So I've been waiting. And by waiting, I've been walking to the store every day on my lunch break and wandering the aisles. They have my number and will phone me when the book arrives but until then, I will continue to haunt their discount book piles.

The plan once I actually get the book in my hot little hands? Half an hour a day, aiming for a chapter a week until completion. While fluency would be lovely, my end goal is to know that I speak enough to not have to use English at the markets. My pro-tip for travelling in East Africa: the more Swahili you speak, the lower the shop/stall keepers opening price will be.

Another item I'm excited about is this little guy that I received for Christmas:

I've had a bunch of projects around my apartment that I've wanted to do for a number of years but being the proud owner of a hammer and exactly two screwdrivers (a Philips and a slotted, in case anyone cares), they've been a little beyond my ability. For Christmas, I got this sexy thing along with a 11 head screwdriver. 

Along with just being able to hang a few items that require pilot holes, I can finally take apart my great-step-grandma's (follow that family connection!) 1930s-ish Singer-sewing table and refinish it. (One of these tables.) The sewing machine still works but the varnish is peeling and snags clothes. To properly refinish it, I need to take the sewing machine out and take the table top apart. I CAN FINALLY DO THAT!

My other (main, willing to talk about right now) project is trying to refinish a 1960s chair that once belonged to my old roommate. It was left behind when she moved out despite the fact that I actually hated the chair. There are a couple of things wrong with it (actually wrong, not just a "I don't like it" wrong) and I've debated trying to fix it before. I figure this is a win-win project. If it's successful, I have a new chair. If it's unsuccessful, my parents are getting firewood for Christmas next year.

One of the other things I excited for is happening this weekend, so I'll save it for an 'after' post with pictures!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A Monaghan Shout-Out

I started writing a post but it got really rambly and long and unfocused - which I think describes all my posts really - so I'm not posting it until I get a chance to rework it a bit, but I did want to share something I stumbled across online.

Many posts ago, there was a video of the Monaghan Gaelic Football team combined with a Patrick Kavanagh poem (this post) and last post I made a comment about Colin Morgan sounding like my family.

Well, if you want to hear the Monaghan accent in all it's glory...

(While the boys in white and blue will forever have my heart, the boys in green and yellow are a close 2nd.)

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

2015 and I'm Already Behind

Hard to believe we're already a week into 2015. I welcomed in the year by making boozy hot chocolate and watching way too many episodes of Merlin. I've watched parts of the series but hadn't seen it from beginning to end. I'm making up for that now! This was all brought on when I watched Series 2 of the Fall while recovering from Christmas, and saw that this guy had gone from this

to this

Why, hello! Older looks good on him. His name is Colin Morgan and he's from Armagh, so if you want to know what my Irish family sounds like then listen to an interview with him.

It's normal this time of year for one to set out some goals for the coming year but I thought before I did that, I'd review last year's resolutions/goals/what-ever-term-you-prefer.

1. Go to kickboxing/bootcamp at least 11 times a month
Prior to the craziness of work in the Fall, I actually did really well on this one. There were two months where I didn't make the goal due to illness or injury but there were very few nights were I didn't go by choice. So I'm calling this one not a total fail.

River Tam is  my kickboxing inspiration

2. Run two 10Ks
Not even close on this one. Fail.

3. Start the process of becoming certified in Instructional Design
Work craziness prevented this one from being completed, so while it's a fail, it also means that I've done all the prep work for figuring out what courses I want to do this year.

4. Improve my German
I meant to sit down and figure out what my goal would be for judging improvement on this goal... but I never did. Still, I'm a lot more confident in my use of German now than I was at this time last year so I'm calling this one a win.

To recap, a visual representation of my 2014 resolutions:

What does that mean for 2015?

Go to kickboxing/bootcamp at least 11 times a month is still on the table for this year. Except it will have a small little asterisk beside it because if I get into my desired course, then I'll have to re-evaluate this goal as I will probably just cut back to only kickboxing.

The preceding paragraph probably makes it clear that Start the process of becoming certified in Instructional Design is also still on the table.

This also doubles as a representation of me at 3D movies

Running is off the table as far as actual goals go. And German? I still fully intend to keep up with it, however, I have a new language goal for 2015. Bring my Swahili back to a conversational level. This goal is a direct result of the fact that the groundwork has already begun for a return to Tanzania in late 2016.

Go back and read that last sentence to make sure you actually go it. I'll wait.

Returning to Tanzania is something I've wanted to do since pretty much the day I got back. I've received a verbal okay from work to amass all my vacation and vacation carry-over for a prolonged visit. I've been walking around my apartment randomly spouting off Swahili words ever since.

I'll see you soon-ish, Mt. Meru!

Still, I have 2015 to get through before that happens. I'm looking forward to what this year can bring.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!

To celebrate, the multilingual Pink Martini version of Auld Lang Syne.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful 2015!