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October 30, 2014

For the dead travel fast

Thought I'd do a Halloween-related post! I have always had a thing for vampire books - and before you jump to conclusions, this started before the Twilight era. Anyway, since I have a vampire section on my bookshelf, I figured this would be a good time of year to talk about it!

  • Dracula by Bram Stoker. Not pictured here as I've lent it to a friend, but this is one of my favourite books. It's full of cliches, but that's because it started all those cliches. It has such a good atmosphere and it's not hard to read.
  • Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu (part of In A Glass Darkly). This is the short story which actually influenced Dracula, and doesn't get enough credit. It's just so gothic and fun to read, and has a lady vampire as its focus.
  • The Vampire Chronicles books by Anne Rice. For some reason I used to really like her books, I guess they were the most famous series of vampire books for a while. Looking back, I don't know how I made it through them - they get really long-winded. My favourite is Queen of the Damned, which is the most readable one in my opinion.
  • The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein. I enjoyed this one, the main character is a 16 year old in an all-girl's boarding school, and the way it's written makes it quite relatable. I liked all the references to Dracula and Carmilla too.
  • Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. I bought this without ever having heard of it before because the premise was too good to pass up - a retelling of the Jack the Ripper murders, based on characters from Dracula and a whole load of other vampire novels. It's really fun if you've read a lot of the stories that are referenced.
  • Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula by Loren D. Estleman. Yeah... don't read this. It's terrible. No regrets buying it though - Sherlock Holmes and Dracula? I felt like it belonged on my shelf.
  • Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. Ending the list with some teen fiction. This series has a snarky, kick-ass heroine (I want Rose's ability for lightning-quick comebacks) and it's not an overly sappy or cheesy read (it got a bit too romantic for me at the end). It's better than it sounds, and much better than the covers make it look.
Anyone else into vampire books? Or just books on a particular topic?

October 28, 2014

Burger date

Yesterday I ended up at Chur Burger in Surry Hills for a spontaneous lunch date with my friend Deb (Hi Deb, if you're reading!). I'd only been here once before, when I did something out of the norm for me and got the fish burger - which was good, but I usually use the beef burger as a yardstick for how good a burger place is. I made up for it yesterday and gosh it was a good burger. I literally had sauce all over my face (I'm such an embarrassing dining companion). Deb got the chicken and said it was nice as well. Probably my new favourite burger in Sydney. The proximity of this place to Central Station is dangerous for my health, as is the fact that Gelato Messina (which we promptly went to afterwards) is in reasonable strolling distance (up a hill, which made us feel slightly better).

October 27, 2014

Blue Mountains

Last week, I went out to the countryside with a couple of friends. On the way, we drove through the Blue Mountains, and made a couple of scenic stops. I hadn't been here in years!

Wentworth Falls.

The Three Sisters, a famous rock formation.

Hassans Walls lookout in Lithgow, the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains.

According to my friend, the countryside here was unusually green after all the rainfall. Australian countryside is usually more of a yellowy, dried out green.

October 23, 2014

Sydney Tower

Or, the Sydney Tower Eye, as it was rebranded a few years ago, presumably along the lines of the London Eye (so unoriginal). Last weekend I went up to the viewing deck, which I haven't done since I was little - it's not really a thing locals do (I've never done Bridge Climb either). But I actually got a free ticket playing McDonald's Monopoly (don't judge me), so I thought I may as well cash it in.

The QVB from above.

You can see the Here, Now mural I posted about a few entries back.

I'd forgotten that the city centre and Eastern Suburbs is practically surrounded by water on three sides.

The shadow of the tower over Hyde Park and St Mary's Cathedral.

There weren't direct good views of the Harbour Bridge or Opera House because there are too many buildings in the way.

Never noticed the colour of this turquoise building before!

All in all I had so much fun taking photos! It's a little difficult because it's all enclosed by glass, so you get some reflections here and there. Seeing the view of a place from a high point is one of my favourite things to do when I visit a new place, and it was nice to see a different perspective of my own city. Sydney city is actually a lot smaller than what I always imagine in my mind - probably because I spend a lot of time on ineffective public transport, ha.

What's the best vantage point of where you live?