Archive for July, 2011


You know me, if I see a movie I am even remotely interested in, I’ll pick up the book. And hello, George Clooney and Jason Reitman (have actually seen all his movies and really like them a lot), how wrong can you get? So I picked up the book. I actually read something from this guy just a few weeks back and I hate it which should have been the first sign for this book. And yeah, it sort of sucked too. Lots of description that I couldn’t keep straight. Characters from one city would pop up in another. Who was who? I did like when he talked about his family as that was like another plot in this and I wish they went into it more. This book was also a little dated as it takes place in airplanes and airports and all things related and there was this one part in it that we are now allowed to do anymore, but I can’t think of it now, so that sentence was pointless. Anyway. I liked how he was trying to make it his goal of getting a million FF miles before he quits his job. Interesting. Anyway, this book did not make me want to see the movie more (duh) but it didn’t turn me off to it either. So we’ll see.

Used: 2001-2011

What a long, strange 10 years it’s been. And if you haven’t noticed, Warner Brothers puts together some pretty elaborate box sets of their movies and tv shows and if you look at the timing of this, you know they are going to release a pretty spectacular set of all 8 movies for the holiday season this year (and then continue to update them, a la Lord of the Rings every year with a new set until you’re dead).

The trailer for the first Harry Potter movie is the first time a trailer has made me want to see a movie of any genera, ever. I am not a fan of any sort of fantasy films ever. So the fact that a trailer changed my mind and made me want to see this child’s movie when I was 20 in a genera I normally don’t like, that is a huge deal. I was working at a commercial radio station back in 2001 and we “won” the rights for the sneak preview. These tickets were a hot item, of course and I asked to work the screening. I always liked huge events like this, plus I wanted to see the movie. And for free was especially good considering my track record with this genera. So if it was crap, I wouldn’t have lost anything, plus I would still get paid for my time! Win win for me!

And ohmigod, thank god I did work it! There were only random single seats in the back and I took one rather then sitting with the rest of the group up front, my seat of choice when given the option. I remember when it was over, I wanted to gobble the next story up as soon as possible. I went out immediately and bought the first three books, for fear the covers were going to change from the original art to movie poster covers, as lots of adaptations change too and I wanted the original covers. #4 was out at the time, but only in hardcover, which at the time I refused to buy. Plus, I had three books to read now! It was mid November when this happened and I still had the end of the semester and finals to deal with, so I made a deal with myself to (try to) hold off until the end of the semester. Yeah, that didn’t happen. The following weekend, when the movie opened, my sister and a bunch of her friends went to see it, so I went with them and saw it again, I loved it so much. People bag on Chris Columbus, but I love him and his work. He works well with kids and having him direct the first two films with such ammature actors, I think worked well for setting up the series as well as played a part in having the whole cast stick around the whole time.

If I was excited for the first movie, my energy for the 2nd movie in 2002 was insane. I had cable internet and cable tv 24/7 for the first time in my life at Umass that I gobbled up every morsel of information about the movie that I could get my hands on. But not so on top of it that I booked my ticket for the first weekend release at the one movie theatre in town. I was so not used to limited availability like this. The entire first weekend was sold out at the one theatre in town. UNBELIEVABLE! I finally found time in my schedule the following week after classes, but before a night meeting to take the bus into town and see the movie in an empty theatre. For $4!!!! That is the cheapest I had been to a movie in years. A few weeks later, I went into New York City and saw the movie again with my cousin and paid $12, the most expensive I had paid at that point for a movie. She had seen it already as well and we just goss’d and talked and made comments about the movie the entire time in the last row.

A year and a half later (summer 2004), the 3rd movie was released. I was spending the summer in New York City and before I left, I reread the 3rd book. HUGE MISTAKE. At the time, I liked it the least as it didn’t match the book at all, in my opinion. The little details that I loved in the book were missing or rearranged (how Harry got his new broom for instance) which annoyed the hell out of me. The movie was released one of my first weekends in New York City and I was in the process of looking for a sublet and having a very hard time. I vowed that I wouldn’t see the movie until I found a place to live. Luckily, I found one the first week of release and after I paid my deposit, immediately went to 42nd Street were the movie was pretty much starting every 20 minutes and bought a ticket. As time has gone on, #3 has become my favorite movie in the entire series. And still is to this day. I wish CuarĂ³n had directed more titles.

A year and a half later (winter 2005) I was living out in Westwood Village with my best friend from high school and asked the rest off the high school crew if they wanted to come down and watch the movie with a bunch of college kids at a late showing on opening day. A group of us went to one of the classic theatres and had a great time, hooting and hollering and whistling when Harry took his shirt off in the bath! It was great to be in an audience full of “adults”, with a group of people who loved the movies and books as much as me.

Such a nerd for international movie posters!

A year and half later AGAIN (winter (for me, NZ!) 2007) I was living in New Zealand and had been to the movies in town a few times. You can order your tickets and reserve your seat online, all included in the price of the ticket, so I checked the website every single day for about a month before #5 was released so I could reserve a good seat for opening day, knowing the shows were going to sell out. Exactly two weeks before hand, I checked and was the 2nd person to buy tickets for the show I wanted, ensuring my favorite seat. The theatre ended up being packed with kids, as I went to a 5pm show on opening day, but it was a good audience and there were no shrieking kids, so it was all good for me.

Theater in New Zealand

While the rest of the world whined when the announcement of the 6th film was being pushed 6 months to the following summer, I was thrilled and barely noticed at the same time. I was in Australia at this point, and watching my pennies like a hawk. While I probably would have seen the movie if released in December of 2008, I was so glad it was pushed until I was home the following summer. I was unemployed at the time, but I found $6 to go to a weekday morning show for a cheap show and saw the movie by myself with a bunch of kids and parents, as it was summer, a few weeks after release. And you know they pushed it, so they could release the DVD’s 10 years after the first movie.

Same thing, of sorts, happened for the 7th movie in December, 2010, a year and half later. I was working at the time, but just not in the habit of going to the movies at all. I actually kept forgetting about it, until probably about a month after the release when I had nothing to do on a Saturday morning and actually remembered to go. There was only like 5 of us in the theatre and dead quiet in the small theatre, just the way I like it!

This past weekend I saw #8. I would have waited longer, for an emptier theatre, but I have a million things coming up in the next few weeks and with the rate that movies come and go, if I had waited until September, it might not be playing anymore. And even though I have not enjoyed the movies as much since #4, I just wanted to round out the series and see them all on the big screen as my tv is kind of crappy and I have no plans on upgrading anytime soon. And for $6 again, how much am I really loosing? The theatre was kind of small and packed with all sorts but I had a generally enjoyable experience.

Moral: And seriously, how did Yates direct the most movies in the series and they were by far the crappiest?! I mean, they weren’t crappy movies per se, but they were just so undistinguishable from each other. I can’t tell you a thing that happened in each one. What I think might have happened in #5, may have happened in #7, I really couldn’t tell you the difference. Or maybe around the same time, my interest just dropped and I kind of stopped going to the movies in general. I just stopped caring. But I still went. And unlike my experience with the books, were I ended up being overseas for half of them, I actually only ended up not being in LA for 3 (out of 8) of them and only 1 actually overseas. I own the first three movies on various formats (#1-VHS; #2 and 3-DVD; #4-bootlegged DVD, half counts, but not really) and while I am sure WB are going to put out an AWESOME box set, I don’t know if I’ll buy it anytime soon. I would love to, but really, how much use am I going to get out of it? I have no attention span and the movies are on TV all the time and I watch them whenever they are on. It’s something I would love to own, but like the LOST boxset, won’t get around to it for a long long time.

Used: 2011

Man, home has really been on my mind lately. Los Angeles has finally been in the news! I know what most of you think, you are the second biggest city in America, you are always in the news! And while this is sort of true, it’s rarely for actual city reasons. I don’t count anything celeb or entertainment related. The network shows definatly give favor to New York and east coast cities on their news reports. The national weather for Los Angeles given on The Today Show is nearly always wrong. But between Will and Kate visiting Los Angeles, of all cities in our fine country and then Carmageddon last weekend, we are finally making some decent news! I don’t know what the reports were outside the city, but thankfully Carmageddon was a wash. Everyone stayed home. Everyone got stuff done! The roads in all parts of the county were empty! And the best part is, we get to do this all again in 11 months! Let the hysteria begin! I am predicting now, the same thing will happen. The news will build up something huge, in the realm of, last time was so good, are people going to ignore warnings and drive? And everyone will freak again and stay home. I predict the streets will be even emptier! I know I will be off the streets this time.

My dad and I didn’t even realize what was going on when we decided to drive to San Diego for the day to visit some old family friends. We left at 8am both days and traffic was hilarious. LA County was dead empty on both days. San Diego County was packed both days, both at 10am, when we arrived on Saturday and 8am when we left on Sunday. It was crazy. I don’t have anything touristy to relate as we really didn’t do much. The family friends had been in New York for the last 3 years and while my parents had seen them a few times, I hadn’t seen them since before 2007, so it had been awahile and we just hung around the house the whole day, which was fine by me. The weather was fantastic and I even brought out a sweater and WORE IT, which I hadn’t done in months (stupid LA summer). We had a great time doing nothing. But the amount of people on the roads in SDC is insane these days. So much more traffic then 10 years ago, that’s for sure, maybe even 5 years. It’s not an escape from LA anymore. But the weather can not be beat. Seriously, every day is 72 and sunny.

My Dad and Me, North Park, San Diego, CA

The weekend after Carmageddon, I met up with my pals, LACOT who were having their bi-monthly meet up at Hotel Angeleno, which is this super awesome hotel off the 405 freeway. It is right in the center of the Carmageddon weekend, located off Sunset Blvd, near Beverly Hills, Westwood Village and Brentwood, in between the 10 and 101 freeways. I rarely drove on the 405 when I was a kid, but one of the first times in memory was when I was about 13 and seeing this super strange building off the freeway. It was a Holiday Inn at the time and just this giant circular building in the middle of a pretty residential area. A while back, it was redone and I have been to the bar on the top floor twice in the last month for various events and it has an AWESOME view. Seriously, ocean to mountains, downtown all the way to Long Beach on a clear day. Plus, you can watch the freeway and traffic patterns, which I find oddly interesting, how and why someone would drive in all this traffic every single day with out going insane. It’s crazy. Since I live in LA, I would never stay here, but I would be interested to see what the rooms look like, just based on the buildings shape. Someone stay, so I can see!

Seriously, why would anyone choose to drive this every single day?!

WEST-SIIIDE in the distance, with 405 freeway in foreground.

Moral: I am a total sucker for huge, large, overblown-for-no-reason events. And no one does them better then Los Angeles. Unfortunatly, most of ours are based on entertainment crap, which I am so over. I miss crap like this and I can’t wait for next year! Seriously, the chances that something happens, slim to none. But feel free to freak us out! I highly reccomend the first segment from The Colbert Report, from The Colbert Report, dated 14-July-2011. One of the funniest segments I have seen in a very long time.

I don’t know why I had such a hard time with this book. It’s chick-lit! It takes place in an international setting (albit, one I haven’t been to for a change)! I think the thing I had a hard time with in this book is that that author spent way to much time with internal dialogue and description rather then actual dialogue. This book was a little bit like my last favorite chick-lit book I read a few months ago from Harmel and actual a mix of another book of hers as well. The protag looses her job and boy in one day and drastically changes her life and moves to a new country for a while. Same set up. But the protag in this book was a little more annoying because of her “The Plan”. You already know where this is going. Signals get crossed (I HATE that set up!!!) and of course the man she thinks is hot, but she thinks for some reason doesn’t like her (she has no reason to think this AT ALL) of course they end up together. Blah. And out of every travel/dating blog in the whole freakin’ world, hers is the next big thing! What are the odds?! I do like that she ended up staying in Argentina. And while the book was sort of lame, it did make me want to go and visit even more. S. America is on my list of places to visit. I’m heading to Peru in a few weeks! It’s close. It’s cheap. More and more people are speaking English every day! Why not?!

I don’t pay for internet at my apartment as most of the time there is free wireless floating around. But last weekend, when I write my posts for the week, I couldn’t seem to connect (it happens sometimes and hey, I get what I pay for) which is why I am sort of flaking this week. Obvious the 7 Links thing was a no-brainer, though it was interesting to go back and do some start research on my site, which I never do. And since my last picture post was oh-so popular (for me), why not do another one of some of my favorite pictures from Santa Monica last year? Last November, we had a major heat spell in LA, even for us for that time of year. And it was hotter at the beach then in the valley, which is super rare for us, no matter what time of year. I got down to the beach the following day for a work event and these pictures were taken from the hotel the event was being held at. These have not been enhanced in anyway and I “blame” the weather for these striking shots.

Catalina Island in the distance

Normal day, facing The 'Bu

Sunset, facing The 'Bu

Moral: Late last year, I was so ahead in posting, writing like a month ahead, but all 2011, I have nearly managed to break even. This past weekend reminded me that I really need to work ahead when I have the chance. But just a heads up, I don’t post when I travel and I’ll be traveling a lot in August, so it will be a light month for me. No pre-posting for me anytime soon.

7 Links

Since I am all about jumping on bandwagons, I was so happy to be included into the latest craze that is My 7 Links sponsored by Tripbase. And of course, thanks to my buds over at Vagabond3 for recognizing my awesomeness! (or were they just out of other bloggers to recommend? I’ll never know! Kidding guys:-))

This idea actually comes at a good time for me as well, as I just celebrated my blogs one year anniversary! I have been nearly constantly posting 2-3 posts a week for the entire time and don’t intend to stop anytime soon! My list of potential posts is still really long and I have some trips in the pipe this summer, which I will be posting about soon after, so no shortage of content anytime soon. In celebration of my one year(-ish) anniversary, I will be doing a contest soon too, probably sometime in September, when I am back from my trips, so keep a look out!

And without further adieu, here are some posts that might have gotten lost in the shuffle over the last 13 months:

MOST BEAUTIFUL
Out my window in Auckland

Picture posts are really the best. This one got a ton (for me) of comments and just goes to show that even in New Zealand’s largest town (I still can’t call it a city. A million people?! LAUGH!), The Big Smoke as the locals call Auckland, is still more beautiful then 99% of the world.

MOST POPULAR
Hawaii Activities

Up until now, I never knew what post had the most views on my website. I don’t really keep track of stuff like that. Color me surprised when I found out that this post has the most views! Guess y’all love Hawaii. For someone who is not a beach or sun person I love Hawaii too! I have been to Oahu twice and will be finally making it to The Big Island in less then 3 weeks to celebrate my (big) birthday. Keep a look out for more on that in August.

MOST HELPFUL POST
Working Holiday Visa – Americans Only!

Seriously, why do more people not know about this? Why doesn’t everyone take advantage? ‘Nuff said.

MOST CONTROVERSIAL POST
ACB Hostel

While the post is not controversial, the subject is. People freakin’ hate this place! Granted I stayed here over 4 years ago (seems like yesterday, kill me now how fast time is flying!) things might have changed. Yes, it looks like an office building and is huge, impersonal and a machine, but it has everything the backpacker who just landed needs. I just have fond memories of this place if only for when someone from customs asked me where I was staying and when I said something along the lines of Central Backpackers Auckland, he said “ACB” and I said yes. Even the locals know about this place. Can’t say locals in any American city know about their cities biggest hostel.

MOST SURPRISING SUCCESS
2008 Elecion

Car In Syndey, Australia, 2008

Like the election itself, people were passionate about this post too. Since I was overseas for the entire election, I didn’t get to experience the craziness in the US, but got a different perspective in New Zealand and Australia. Which is why this post surprised me!

DESERVED MORE ATTENTION
Off the Beaten Path – Sydney

Besides pretty much everything my first year? Kidding.
Everyone does all the basics when they come to Sydney. What they miss are the small treasures while still never leaving the CBD. Places like this are my favorite parts of the city. I don’t want to know everyone’s favorite pizza place when it’s 40 miles away. I like my tourism to be walking distance.

MOST PROUD OF
Foot Issues

Besides everything? Of course, all the posts hold special places in my heart, but oddly, this one effected me almost for a majority of my time overseas. I am proud on how well I managed a minor medical emergency while overseas and then got compensated for it after I got home.

I think everyone else I know has been tagged, except for some smaller blogs that I love that will never read this, so the chain letter will end with me. Who knows what kind of bad luck this will bring me. Oh well!

Guy travels the world trying to find out why people are happy in some countries and not in others. And not all countries are happy on the outside, but are really happy on the inside. Oddly, my favorite chapter was the one where he takes a break from the happiness and goes to a totally miserable country in eastern Europe. I actually found that chapter totally interesting. What does that say about me? Anyway, for the most part, he got off the beaten trail. Why are Icelanders so happy when it’s dark 6 months a year? The countries I could have passed on are both the UK and the US. And none of the countries he wrote about were in the S. Hemisphere (hello NZ!!! routinely rated as one of the “happiest” countries in the world! Whatever) which was kind of hemisphere-ist (I love inventing new words!). A bit too much on the “happy” part and not enough on the travelling part. Oh well.

Used: 2011

I am going to say right up front that I am like the worst blogger ever. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be taking my camera on my rafting trip, I meant to at least bring it to the check in station and take as many pictures as I could in the prep. But of course, I left it in my purse, which I did not bring. GAH!!! So once again, no pictures on my latest “I did it while I was overseas, why can’t I do it while I am at home” series. Another thing I rarely do at home, but I do tons while overseas, take pictures! Yes, I am the worst.

While in New Zealand and Australia, every time rafting was offered, I did it. The first time was in Rotorua, I rafted off the highest waterfall a commercial company can legally raft (7m, whatever that is, I have since forgotten and when I went over, I had only been in the country just over a month, so I had no idea at the time either). And on my trip to Christchurch, I specifically took a day trip out for a full day of rafting. While not as rough as Rotorua, we spent loads more time in the water, including jumping off quit high cliffs. There aren’t many places to raft in Australia, but one of the most popular places is near Mission Beach, rafting down the Tully River. It was sort of a mix of the two places, it took all day and while rougher then Christchurch, we didn’t ride down any waterfalls.

Once again, I discovered River’s End Rafting on Groupon and they offered two deals, an hour trip or a half day trip. Since the company was located near Bakersfield, about a two hour drive from where I live, I chose the half day trip as I wanted to spend more time rafting then I did in my car driving back and forth. I was really glad I chose the half day. I checked in at 9:30 and after being put in a group with a family of 3 and a group of 2 couples and being outfitted for life jackets, we loaded onto a bus for a quick 5 minute ride to the river. After an extremely brief safety instruction, we were on the river. My group seemed really low key, which was good and bad. Good, because no one annoyed the hell out of me and it was all in all, a good group. Bad, because I think our guide was kind of board with us. When asked who wanted to paddle in the front, no one volunteered, so I did. So glad I did, the rapids started immediatly and we all got soaked within 5 minutes of getting on the water, which was a welcome relief for the wicked hot day(s we’ve been having). There were some more rapids before getting to a calm area were the guide flipped the boat and we all fell into the water. After climbing back into the raft, we floated through some more rapids and checked out the scenery, which are empty, dry rolling hills. As we went through a slow patch, I noticed the side of the river. It was so disgusting, beer cans everywhere, some scattered, some in huge piles. Either way, blach. Kern County is so white trash, we saw some people floating down the river in inner tubes, beer cans in the cup holders, beer ice chests with their own inner tube, blach. We made a side stop for jumping off a very small ledge (nothing like the cliffs of New Zealand) as well as making a slip ‘n’ slide out of the bottom of the raft as we ran down the dirt hill, jumped on the raft and slide to the end into the muddy river. Unlike my whole, take advantage of every opportunity, I didn’t do either of these. The slip ‘n’ slide looked gross and I sort of regret not jumping off the ledge. Part of my package was to do the run again and I vowed when we stopped again, I would jump, but unfortunatly, during our second run, some people were fishing in that spot, so we had to go to the next inlet were they only made the slip ‘n’ slide, which I again passed on. After the spot, we got back int he raft and floated a bit farther before the end of the run. The whole thing took about an hour. There was a 15 minute ride back to base were a decent sack lunch (pretty good sandwich, chips, cookie, various sodas) was waiting for the full day people.

There were more people on deck for the second run and I was with the same guide and group. We got a better boat this time, one of the ones I have used while overseas that just allow the water to float in and out, so we weren’t weighed down with our water intake. The boat had to be patched before we left and we kept an eye on it and since we had paddled together already, we were much better matched for the second run. While we knew what was coming this time, it was still really fun. We spent more time out of the raft floating down the river. The biggest downside was not stopping at the platform, which I already mentioned, which made it even better that I signed up for the day runs. If I had just been on the second run, I would have been kind of annoyed. It definitely felt a lot shorter, maybe because I knew what was coming.

The bathrooms back at base were port-o-lets and they had a bunch of changing rooms. When everyone was milling around at the end of the day, I asked if I could fill my large water bottle up, but the base is actually off the grid (hence the porto’s) and the guy at the front desk just gave me a bottle, which was really nice. Nice and cold too!

Since I was all the way in Bakersfield, on my drive in, I saw a Sonic Drive-In. We don’t have them in Los Angeles, yet they buy national spots on cable, so we see adverts all the time for them. The closest one is actually in Anaheim (wait, I just looked it up and apparently there is one in Duarte, which is still a good 30 miles from where I live) and then next closest is Bakersfield (scratch that, Palmdale, which might as well be Bakersfield), so I wanted to try them again. I have been to them once before when I was on my Louisiana/Mississippi/Arkansas road trip a few years back, but I ordered inside. Though this time, since I was just in my bathing suit and tshirt, I called for car service. So much fun! You press to order and then scan your card right there, so easy! The server came out on roller blades too, appologized for taking so long, since I just ordered a chocolate shake, but said it was okay, since I had never been before. It tasted great too! Very chocolately, for a fastfood shake. Perfect before the 2 hour drive home.

Moral: I love rafting!! I totally forgot how much I loved it until we went over the rapids. I am really glad I went on this trip, though it was a bit small for my experience. It was perfect for first timers, which most on my raft were. I am really glad I discovered this place and am glad I did it once, but I don’t think I would do it again.

Oy, what does Prince William’s trip to Los Angeles (oh yes, and Canada) have to do with travel? Story time!

Obviously, I have known about Prince William pretty much my entire life. Future king of England, blah blah blah. Doesn’t really have much to do with me in America. BUT! Oh, how did I discover his teenage hottness (okay, because we are pretty much the same age, thus I was a teenager the same time as him. So it’s all good).

The first time I went to Europe, summer 1997. I had been obsessed with England (partly because I loved travel and failed Spanish and French many times) for a while and wanted to go there so badly. We were doing our first family trip to Italy and for some reason, when my mom originally booked the tickets, the two of us were going to fly to London and my sister and dad were going to fly seperately through NYC. Ohmigod, I was so excited, even though we didn’t plan on leaving the airport. I was so excited! Then, right before we were supposed to leave, plans changed I was going to fly with my sister and dad. Ohmigod, I nearly cried! I was so dissapointed. To make it up to me, my mom bought me magazines (of which I was obsessed with British music and movie mags at the time which of course were wickedly expensive in the US) both ways (the August and September issues, I had it timed correctly).

Anyway, during our travels around Italy, I took notice of the magazines on the newsracks there. I couldn’t read most of the headlines, but looked at the pictures. And guess what picture grazed loads of them at the time?

THIS ONE!!

My sister and I became obsessed. I mean, what teenager wouldn’t?! That shirt, those eyes, that hair (RIP)?!?!? Thus the crush of the decade was discovered. A month later, devastation hit Will’s life and the rest of the world discovered his hotness in the midst of a personal tragedy. The following summer, Chuck took Hank and Bill over to our side of the globe for a tour around Canada (not the US, of course) and the kids there went nuts, thus starting the teen throb obsession.

And of course, as any kid would like, oh how I wanted William to come to Los Angeles, my home! How much fun would that have been? You see pictures of celebrities all the time driving and walking down the street, it was my teenage dream to see William in today’s US Weekly, “Stars! They’re Just Like US!”. But since we are no longer a commonwealth country, it was very very rare that the British Royalty would come here. And really, why would they? We don’t have anything to do with them. It’s like in Los Angeles when we hear that our mayor is going to Europe or Asia for a conference (he has) and we are all like, what the fuck?! Isn’t that a job for state or national government? What does that have to do with us? NOTHING! We aren’t fancy enough for their holidays (hello skiing in the Alps or lounging in the south of Spain/Indian Ocean for holidays) and have nothing to do with “royal” government. As far as I could tell, William has only been to the US once before, when Diana took the kids to Disney World for holiday back in the early 90’s. Of course we all remember this picture:

Splash Mountain!!!

And I thought I read somewhere that William actually came to Kentucky or something to spend time on a classmates (not sure if (US) high school or college either) ranch for holiday once, but I can’t find any information on it, as it was a totally private holiday anyway.

But other then that, never been to the US! And NEVER to the west coast! Ohmigod, I nearly had 16 year old flashbacks when I heard about his latest travel plans to “California”. So vague. We are quite a large state, for all I know he could just be heading to Yosemite (so outdoorsy) or San Francisco (so European). But when the final schedule was released and he and Kate were going to spend all their time in Los Angeles, just being here, I was so happy! Unfotunatly, since this was a “state” visit, there were very few public events and the ones that were, were way way way out of my price range. It seemed like only the very rich or the very poor get an audience with the royals. But having grown up quiet a bit since I was 16, I was just so happy that they were in my hometown, in my time zone! I am quite a nerd like that, even though I was in the UK when William turned 21 (so I knew for sure we were in the same time zone:-), but it is just a different kind of nerd-out when it’s swapped and he is in MY time.

Moral: Why did he finally make it out west now? Was it Kate’s request and MAYBE they’ll holiday out here in the future? I can dream!!! I love it when travel introduces me to celebs in different parts of the world that when they finally make it back to the US, I can be all like, Yeah, I knew them when. Sort of like my old love of music.

This book is from the same author as EAT, LOVE, PREY, one of those Oprah books that everyone read and hated at the same time. This is her follow up, about what happens when you fall in love, and thanks to government regulations, you have to get married if you want to live together in the US, weather you want to or not. I can relate to this book for some reasons and know people who can relate for others. For me, it’s the force to get married when you really really don’t want to. I would HATE for the government to make me essentially have to get married when it’s something I really don’t want to do. What would I do in that situation? I really don’t know. Well, probably NOT live in the US. I like the US a lot, but I have learned to live without it for years and I think I would/could do it again, for the right person. I always said one of the reasons I didn’t stay in NZ or Australia permanently was because I didn’t really have anyone to stay for. If I fell in love with someone who wasn’t welcomed in the US for longer periods of time unless we got married but was welcomed in say, New Zealand (and maybe Australia)I think I could live there forever as a partner and not be married. Those countries are definitely more laxed in their terms of “partners” anyway, another reason I love them so much. The US forces marriage too hard on its people. (And then of course, excludes others, but that is another book for another day).

Since the author is so anti-marriage, but essentially forced into one, she travels around mainly Asia with her partner (love that term for everyone!! Definitely a NZ term) and asks people about marriage in their cultures. I thought it would be more about that, but the book was definitely more personal then I thought it would be, which was good.

I liked this book a lot. It got a crap review and grade from EW, but I think I am just interested in the topic more. Yes, it was more of a personal story that not everyone can relate to, but I think it would be a good book for people with partners from other countries to read. Not required, just interesting.