After a wee break, Sunday Smiles is back! Well, sort of – I haven’t spent much time online in the last few weeks, so there aren’t any memes or random entries this week and it’s more of a little recap of what’s been happening since my last Sunday Smiles post.
Sunday Smiles (and the blog in general) will be back properly next week, but in the meantime, let’s go on what is essentially a little trip through my Instagram feed from the last few weeks:
- So for a start, the world didn’t end (in case you hadn’t noticed). Which is hardly surprising, but jolly good news nonetheless.
- I mentioned that my mum and I went on a little jam-packed tour of NZ. It was amazing. To be honest, I’m still sort of processing everything that we saw. I’ll go into more detail about various aspects of the trip in later Toothy’s Travels posts, but in the meantime, here a few photos:
- Just in case you live in a cave (with internet access) and weren’t aware, The Hobbit was released. NZ is going all out – from banks…
- …To Auckland Airport. I’ll be honest, I love it. I also got to watch the Hobbit-themed Air New Zealand safety video on an actual aeroplane when we flew back up from Christchurch which was terribly exciting (even if it is rather silly and cringeworthy).
- Cherries are in season!! My mum and I were able to get some straight from a producer when we were down in Central Otago, and they were so tasty. Cherries are one of my favourite fruits but seem to be incredibly expensive here so I don’t think I’ll be eating very many this summer sadly.
- Unfortunately, all holidays must come to an end, and after three wonderful weeks, my mum had to go back to Edinburgh. We don’t know when we’ll next see each other, which is tough, but her departure was made a little easier by the fact that Kat arrived to visit for ten days (although sadly she leaves tomorrow) on her way to Australia, which was super exciting since I haven’t seen her since February.
- We went on a little Hogmanay wine tour around Waiheke Island which I think might well be the best thing to do on Hogmanay ever. Plus it was sunny and warm and the scenery is beautiful. Oh and the wine was good. And I got photobombed by a bumblebee, which I didn’t notice until we got home and I looked at the photos properly.
- We watched The Hobbit, which was super exciting since we were in actual NZ (as opposed to not actual NZ…). Have you seen it? What did you think? There were a few niggles and I’m not keen on the high frame rate and 3D thing – they seemed a little gimmicky to me and I’m not really sure what they actually added to the film – but overall, I loved it.
- Having watched The Hobbit and re-watched the Lord of the Rings films, we had a bit of a geek-out and went to… Hobbiton! I’ll write more about it in a future post, but suffice to say, it was a marvellous day out.
- And finally, I’d just like to share this hilarious little gecko* that was just chilling out in his display case at Auckland Museum when we visited. I think it sums up the wonderful NZ attitude pretty well.
What made you smile this week?
*So… I got so distracted by the actual gecko and its little pose that I forgot to note the actual species… I think it might be a Northland green gecko (Naultinus grayii), but I’m not 100% sure about that.
I feel the news this week has almost entirely been dominated by Hurricane Sandy – I hope that if any of you or your families live in affected areas, you made it through alright. Then as Sandy blew itself out, there was the news that CCAMLR has failed to come to a consensus about protecting parts of the Ross Sea. I haven’t read the full details yet, but I doubt they’ll reveal anything particularly positive about the situation. Not a particularly uplifting week in the news department, really (but then when is it ever?).
Hopefully to cheer us all up, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:
- The week started off with a Baking Competition within the School of Biology. The theme was ‘Health & Safety’ and they managed to ambush us with a H&S lecture after having lured most of the school up to the tea room with the promise of baked goods – I can’t believe that none of us saw that coming. We had to sit through the lecture to find out who the winners were. The Marine Lab cleaned up two of the three available prizes: one of the technicians won “Best Looking” for her amazing marine-themed cake and I won “Best Tasting” with my ‘radioactive’ lemon macarons (I’ll post the recipe soon). If I’m honest, we didn’t have much competition, but still, yay! The title of this blog post comes courtesy of my fellow Marine Lab winner.
- I randomly came across the blog Things I Want To Punch In The Face which basically consists of little rants but written amusingly. It includes an amusing (and very valid) rant about hurricane names – I couldn’t agree more that Rizzo would be a rather more appropriate name for a destructive hurricane.
- Last week we had a groan-worthy biology joke, this week we have a punny biology meme featuring… heterozygoats. Geddit? (Image source)
- Speaking of goats, our Spanish labmate told this week that the Spanish Special Forces have a goat as a mascot. No really, I’m not kidding, and it even has a special little coat. They’re also clearly in a hurry to get places and march funny (the soldiers, not the goat).
- This week I ate my first strawberries of the season. I was too busy savouring them to take a photo – I love strawberries and these were full of flavour. I’m looking forward to eating many, many more over the next couple of months…
- I came across this time lapse taken over a three-month holiday in Europe. It’s incredible and rather enthralling to watch, and quite fun to see if you can recognise where the different places are.
- I mentioned last week that Wellington airport have put up a giant Gollum in preparation for the release of The Hobbit, Part 1 soon. Well this week, Air New Zealand has released a new Hobbit-themed safety video on their planes. It’s totally amazing, but equally rather on the cringe-worthy side. I can’t actually decide whether amazement or embarrassment wins out.
- There was a Rose Festival in the Parnell Rose Gardens this weekend. I’ve mentioned my love of roses on this blog several times, so you won’t be too surprised to hear that I’m totally keen on anything that involves looking at lots of pretty roses (unless it rains, obviously), which is precisely what we did. I loved it, despite the odd shower.
- And finally, I’ve also previously mentioned my love of watching fireworks, and it turns out that, although I’m not entirely sure why, Guy Fawkes is a huge deal here. The whole bonfire thing doesn’t seem to happen and it’s all about fireworks. From what I understand, it’s the only time of the year that fireworks can be legally sold, so this weekend has been a bit of a firework extravaganza. In fact, as I’m typing this I can see fireworks being set off from the roof of a nearby apartment block. Yesterday evening we went to a firework display in Papatoetoe, which was good fun to watch, although it got a little cold waiting around for 3h before they started.
What made you smile this week?
Monday was a day off for us, which was marvellous (though sadly the weather didn’t play ball) but I spent the rest of the week totally out of kilter and confused about what day it was (and nearly forgot that today is Sunday). Luckily I wasn’t the only bewildered one, so that was rather reassuring. I’m all up for three-day weekends, but I’d like to request that we get the Friday off rather than the Monday. Glad we’ve got that straight.
Now, on to this week’s Sunday Smiles:
- Long story short, I’ve spent a fair bit of time on the Go Pro website this week looking things up, and came across this lovely soothing video of beautiful autumnal foliage and mist in… uhm… somewhere (it doesn’t specify). It’s shot from a remote control plane thingy.
- Have you seen The Intouchables? I saw it when it was released in France last Christmas, but it’s only just been released here (not sure why), so I went to see it again with some of my labmates. It was just as fantastic as I remembered, and they loved it, too. If you get the chance, I definitely recommend it – a film about a tetraplegic and his carer who come from totally different walks of life might not sound like a barrel of laughs, but it’s excellent, I promise.
- I don’t think we’ve had a dreadful biology joke in a while, so here’s one for you: Why had the two algae never had sex? …Because they had a planktonic relationship. Badum-tschhhh! It comes courtesy of a labmate.
- So The Hobbit (part 1…) is having its premiere here in NZ some time soon (possibly next week?), though it’s not out in cinemas until mid-December. Apparently there’s a whole bunch of stuff going on in Wellington in honour of this. I read somewhere that they’re temporarily changing Wellington’s name to “The Middle of Middle Earth” or something and possibly even bringing out special stamps for the airport (I heard it on the radio, so this may or may not actually be true). Speaking of Wellington airport… A giant Gollum is now currently gracing the arrivals hall – amazing or what?!
- I’ve previously mentioned my love for Downton Abbey, so I was in utter awe when I came across this video of Downton Abbey character impressions, all done by the same guy. Just a warning: it contains spoilers of Season 3, so you might not want to watch it just yet if you’re not watching the series on the UK schedule. Anyway, the sound quality is slightly off, but I’m in awe of this guy’s imitation abilities. Just wow.
- There was a random BMX showcase thing going on in Aotea Square this weekend, with a bunch of performance artists also doing stuff. I’m not really sure why, but I stumbled across these goings on yesterday and since it was sunny and warm, I hung around to watch. It was a little bit like being in Edinburgh during the Fringe, but less crowded and without the rain. Anyway, the BMX part was utterly amazing. I’ve no idea why you’d want to launch yourself up a ramp on a teeny little bike and do flips and shit when your only landing options are a wooden ramp or concrete, but it’s pretty impressive to watch.
What made you smile this week?