Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is - she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves ... or it might destroy her.

Mkay so another book I'm reading *after* watching the screen version ... I enjoyed this movie, and I think I probably would've even if I'd read the book first. It sticks pretty damn close to the book. I mean sure there are a few extra details that the movie tweaked, but after reading the book, I felt it was a pretty damn accurate portrayal.

I'm definitely adding the next one to my list of books to read!

* This book is part of the Divergent series: Divergent (2011), Insurgent (2012), Allegiant (2013)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years before. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424 - one of the millions of people who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system. From her first strip search to her final release, Kerman learns to navigate this strange world with its strictly enforced codes of behavior and arbitrary rules. She meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with small tokens of generosity, hard words of wisdom, and simple acts of acceptance. Heartbreaking, hilarious, and at times enraging, Kerman's story offers a rare look into the lives of women in prison - why it is we lock so many away and what happens to them when they're there.

So after watching Season 2 of this, I decided reading the book would be a cool idea :) It's fairly different, I like what they've done with the series from this. Every now and again a character pops up, but don't expect them to all be similar to how the show depicts them. It did make me wonder how any of them felt about their TV Show representation? Do you have to get permission and things like that?

Anyway, the book is still interesting to read and if you've watched the series, I would definitely recommend it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Weekend in Cape Town Celebrating!

Okay, okay I know I missed the "end of the week" post last week. But at the last minute I took a Sick Day on Thursday and I already had Friday off because we were flying down to Cape Town on Thursday evening.

Plus not much happened last week. I had Tuesday evening plans but they were postponed so I ended up at SCM. And other than that, seriously, nothing.

On Thursday tho we flew to Cape Town and got to have dinner with Mom & Dad :) Was fab seeing them again. On Friday we had big plans to make use of Mom's The Entertainer vouchers and do some wine-tasting, but she woke up feeling awful, so went back to bed while The Trucker and I took a drive to Kalk Bay for breakfast.

What a superb day. And my word, it was like a Ghost Town on a Friday morning, superb! We ate at Olympia Cafe and then strolled along the main road.

By the time we got back mom was feeling better so we picked up our plans with lunch at Eight at Spier. The setting is lovely, but I wasn't very impressed by the menu. It is fairly small and looks like it changes regularly. Mom & The Trucker both had the burger and I tried the gnocchi. I forget now the official description, but it was a very high-maintenance meal. I had barely had a bite of mine by the time the others had finished because it took so long for me to remove the fat from the meat (supposed to be ribs?). This may not bother some people, but it certainly bothered me. I ended up with a side plate full of bits I wasn't going to eat.

At least the flavour was nice once I'd dissected it ... unfortunately by then it was a bit cold. But since it was lunch on a beautiful day, I wasn't too bothered. I doubt I'd go back any time soon ... perhaps for a picnic?

We did get 2 of their desserts to taste. Mom's choice was the Summer Fruit Tartlet (poached pear), which was massive and had a lot of cream (which completely overpowered the flavour of the rest). The Trucker chose the Rooibos and Honey Creme Brulee. I really liked the flavour of this although the colour and texture were a bit odd.

After that we headed to Quoin Rock for their Chocolate & Wine Tasting. I didn't really like any of their wines, honestly. But the chocolate was quite nice. The big surprise was that the only wine I actually did like was their dessert wine ... which I NEVER like! Haha.

And then we headed home and watched The Bone Collector on tv.

We were up early-ish on Saturday to head off to my aunt's place in Riebeek West for my gran's 90th birthday. Wow, what an awesome day. We had perfect superb weather, so much good food and family :) We even got to chat to my cousins who are overseas on their gap-year.

We got home in the evening and had an early night.

On Sunday we still couldn't sleep in because we had a 10:20 flight home after a quick Wimpy breakfast at the airport with Mom. And then once we were home, it was back to normal. Pepper spent the weekend at a kennel (we told her it was holiday camp) and apparently had a wonderful time. It was awesome to be back home with all our animals :) I think Gypsy was particularly pleased to see us ... especially since she had 2 hours with us before Pepper got home. She didn't leave us alone for a second. Poor girly. How are they gonna cope for 2 weeks next month when we go to Turkey!

In the evening we watched Chef, which I completely enjoyed ... although it made me very hungry - haha!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Dead Secret by Beverly Connor

In the depths of an unmapped cave, forensic anthropologist Diane Fallon makes an astonishing discovery: the decades-old skeleton of a caving victim. Soon, the remains of two more bodies are found—one in an old car submerged in the waters of an abandoned quarry, another buried in the Georgia woods. At first, with nothing to link the dissimilar victims except desiccated bones, Diane can't fathom the connection. But someone in her shadow does. It's the key to a mystery that reaches back seventy years in a heritage of love, greed, and murder—and an unearthed family secret that still holds the power to kill.

Another one, yes (and there are more to come!). This one was back up to the first one's standard, I thought. I really enjoyed it. Although I did consider that the next one might start off immediately after this one (based on how it ended), but I skimmed a few pages and it didn't ... otherwise I would've had to move directly onto it!

I am still really enjoying the characters.

* This book is part of the Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation series: One Grave Too Many (2004), Dead Guilty (2004), Dead Secret (2005), Dead Past (2007), Dead Hunt (2008), Scattered Graves (2008), Dust to Dust (2009), The Night Killer (2010), One Grave Less (2010)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Oppikoppi 2014: Odyssey

Shewee. Second Oppi done and dusted (quite literally). I left work a little early on Thursday and we headed thru to Northam. This year we had booked in to the Kreef Hotel. That was kinda a last minute decision (a couple of weeks ago), luckily there was still space.

This year's Oppi was quite different to last year's, but also quite similar. Let me try to explain. Last year, I thought it was all "themed" for Bewilderbeast. This year I realised how little there changes. The food stalls were almost all in the exact same places, the stages were hardly different at all. In fact it would be harder to try and tell you what had actually changed ...

So I found that a little disappointing, honestly. I guess I expected the whole thing to be a lot more themed each year, for the stages to be underlying the same but done up differently.

This year's line up also didn't feel as good as last years. The things I was super looking forward to were Wonderboom (on Thursday night at midnight!), Shortstraw (last year's Oppi discovery!) and Editors (this year's big headline act, although I only know 2 of their songs). The rest was pretty much fluff.

It was different staying in Kreef vs. Mordor. We definitely didn't feel as dusty this year ... we had showers available but didn't end up using them. The serious perk was having toilets so nearby! The *serious* downside was the density of the population in Kreef. We were packed like sardines. Oppi is noisy. I get it. But usually there is still some space between you and the next campsite. In Kreef, although we were next door to our friends, we were across from quite possibly the noisiest people in the whole camp! These people literally did not leave their camp for the whole day on Friday, they sat outside their tent (so in the walkway between where our tent and their tent both opened) getting more and more drunk and louder and louder.

Not much of a problem when we weren't there, but when we headed back to our tent in the midday to get out of the heat and catch up on some sleep it was rather annoying.

At Kreef breakfast is included too. There are long queues for this (and the showers, we heard someone queued for an hour & half :/). We only ate breakfast there on Friday morning and it was pretty decent: eggs, bacon, sausages, orange juice etc.

We visited our friend's camp in Mordor on both Friday and Saturday ... they couldn't visit us in Kreef. And we pretty much bumped into people on and off in the main area, depending on who was watching who ...

We started on Thursday with a very disappointing Squeal on the James Phillips Stage (below left) and then we caught The Kiffness on the Red Bull Stage (which was our surprise band of this year) (below right). We ended the evening off with Wonderboom (
one of my favourites!) on the James Phillips stage. The Trucker reckons Cito is such a poser. I was impressed at how he was exactly as I remembered from the first time I saw him at Up The Creek in 2004! Well, minus the long hair, obvs.

I must say, I was disappointed with the sound on the James Phillips stage this year, and EVERYBODY seemed to be playing there. Literally, Editors was the only band we really went to watch on Wesley's Dome Stage properly. And they were fantastic. The sound was much better there ...

On Friday there was nothing really interesting on till late afternoon. And nothing we HAD to see at all that day :/ We did wander up and sort of watch some Gangs of  Ballet, Zebra & Giraffe and Springbok Nude Girls (who were wearing dresses and a lot less coherent than I expected).

On Saturday we had another lazy day (so glad I took my kindle!) and didn't have our eye on anything till Shortstraw on the James Phillips stage (below left) and then Editors on Wesley's Dome (below right). Editors put on a fantastic polished show. We had a great position near to the stage with plenty of space. But that lead singer is a bit odd. Very bendy, is probably the best description ... but what a great voice.

On Sunday we were up at 5am (the music was still going!) and home before 8am (with a quick Wimpy Harties stop for toasted sandwiches). We did a lot of washing, we showered, we did our grocery shopping and we took Pepper for a walk. And then we napped.

It was a good weekend :)

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