I admit that since ‘Twilight’, I have developed a fascination with Vampire stories. And not just any type of Vampire stories but rather, the ‘girly’ kind – you know, the ones that somehow revolve around a love story? And both of the above mentioned book series’ by LJ Smith are those kind of stories.

Let’s start with ‘Vampire Diaries’ – if you have watched any episodes of the TV Series, don’t be fooled. It is nothing like it. The entire story, and even some characters, are completely different. When you read the books you’ll realize just how much they’ve changed it to make the series fit into the ‘Twilight’ phenomenon. Although, I will not at all complain about this because without it, there would be no Ian Somerhalder to picture as Damon.

Do you see why this would be a tragedy?

Anyway, this series is different in that, instead of focusing on the average girl (or the really pretty yet geeky girl) in high school, the story focuses on the most popular girl in high school, Elena. She has her usual group of friends (Caroline, Bonnie & Meredith) and their lives consist of boys, school and shopping – yes, they are the incredibly shallow type. That is, until Stephan moves to Fell’s Church.

Elena sees Stephan in the halls and immediately makes it her mission to have him. Stephan, on the other hand, only wants to avoid her because she looks so much like Katherine, his former love and the girl who changed him into , yip,  you guessed it – a Vampire!

The story goes on and eventually we are introduced to Damon (Now, I do suggest watching the TV series first so that you can have the pleasure of Ian Somerhalder as Damon throughout all 7 books!).

Just incase you need another reason ;)

The series is intricate and full of surprises – some weird, some terrible and some pleasant. I won’t give anything away, but I will say that these vampires (and other supernatural creatures) are not ‘fluffy’ (like those of the Twilight world) and the story does have it’s fair share of thriller and horror, but all-in-all, it is still a love story :)

Okay, *sniff* I shall move away from Damon/Ian, and all his deliciousness, and move on to the second series of books by LJ Smith – “Night World”.

“Night Word” is another series that focuses on the supernatural but it is entirely different to what we are expecting. Each book contains 3 stories which all intertwine, but are very different. The stories are all centralized around ‘The Soulmate Principle’ and although that may sound cheesy, there is a bigger picture.

These books are about ‘The Night World’ which is a world amoung our own, in which only ‘Night People’ (Vampires -made & born, witches, werewolves, shapeshifters, etc.) know about. There are two basic rules that each Night Person must follow – they cannot tell any humans about the Night World and they cannot fall in love with a human. Breaking any of these rules is a death sentence.

But there is a new generation of ‘Night People’ emerging and they no longer want to be entrapped by these rules… they do not agree with the predjudices of their world.

I have only read the first 3 books and I am hooked. LJ Smith definitely has a talent of completely engulfing you into any supernatural world she sees fit.

I definitely recommend both of these series’ to anyone who has a soft spot for love stories of the supernatural variety!

If you want to find out more about LJ Smith, you can visit her website here.

PS:

This is helping me beat the Monday Blues :mrgreen:

On my way to work today I made a mental promise to myself that I would not allow the traffic to make me angry or irritated or anything. I can’t say that it worked, but it did let me think a little bit more about things. I am curious as to what everyone thinks.  Can we judge people by their driving? Or do the South African roads just bring out the worst in all of us?

I know that I personally get a lot more aggravated and impatient on the roads than I do in any other area of my life. I know that my tolerance of people on our roads is incredibly low when compared with my tolerance of people in other areas of life. I think that that may have to do with my patience having run out somewhere along the line, though. I think that the road works have created a kind of monster in all of us.

I was thinking about all of this as I was sitting dead still on the highway, while car after car sped past me in the construction lane. It really made me wonder about the type of people in those cars. Are they that inconsiderate off the roads? Are they that arrogant outside of their car? Do they think they are somehow more important than other people? Or do they just think they are somehow the smart ones of all of us? Or do they even think about the consequences at all? Do they realize that they are contributing to the traffic that the rest of us are stuck in? Or are they just so ‘gatvol’ with traffic and roadworks that they just don’t care anymore?

I really want to believe that they are ignorant rather than arrogant, but I really don’t know anymore! I am just glad that the majority of people are still considerate and patient enough to wait there turn and take the traffic in stride!

One thing I am convinced of, though,  is that once these road works are finished we are all going to advanced drivers, impatient or not :)

I haven’t done a book review in a while but these books definitely deserve one. If you haven’t read them yet, I suggest you get to your nearest bookstore (they are actually cheapest at CNA) and get reading.

“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” is the first book in the series and you may find that when you start the book that it is a bit difficult to read, or even a bit boring, but give it a few chapters. Once you meet Lisbeth Salander you will realize why it is a best seller.

The first book introduces you to Salander. She is by far the most unique heroine I have ever come across. Not only is she utterly fascinating, but she is funny, insane and completely lovable. She is a complete mystery and she’ll hook you from the moment you meet her.

“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” follows the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who has been persecuted for Libel, who finds himself in the middle of a crazy family mystery. Blomkvist is ‘hired’ by Mr Vanger to solve the mystery of his missing niece, with the promise of the truth to help Blomkvist clear his name. In comes mastermind and super hacker, Lisbeth Salander. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot here, but trust me. The book is absolutely enthralling.

The second book of the series, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, was definitely my favourite of the series. In this book you learn more about who Salander is and why she is the way she is. The story only becomes more intriguing and it completely sucks you into a whirlwind of mystery.

The third and final book, “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest”, is a much more complex book. It definitely pulls everything we know together and gives you all the answers you have been dying to know since the beginning, but the amount of detail can leave you feeling completely overwhelmed. It is definitely a book that requires your full attention when reading.

All-in-all, “The Millennium Trilogy” is a brilliantly written tale with tremendous detail that will leave you feeling as though you are a part of the story – helping each character solve the case.

For more info about Stieg Larsson (the man behind Lisbeth Salander), visit his website – http://www.stieglarsson.com

This Lolly Jackson case reminds me so much of a crime fiction novel. I can’t wait until they find the killer and we can actually understand what has happened. I mean, it’s such a strange case – celebrity business man, 15 shots and the killer calls the cops before fleeing the scene in Jackson’s Jeep? Why? What could the motive be? And why was the house locked?

I may sound a bit creepy, but to be honest this doesn’t feel very real and I didn’t know Jackson, so to me it’s just a really interesting story. He was quite the controversial man, with some people saying he was great and others saying he was terrible. I suppose it’s all about who you ask. Maybe he was both and maybe he was neither… right now that feels a bit irrelevant. I just want to know what the hell happened!

We are so used to crime in this country. Most of our headlines consist of people being killed left right and centre – it’s been a while since it’s been an “actual” murder, as such, and not just a robbery or some kind of crazy prejudice. Eugene Terreblanche’s murder was a big one, but that didn’t feel so ‘crime fictiony’.  It was almost expected and all it did was create drama between racial, or should I say cultural, groups. This is different – this is really interesting.

Okay, I need to stop sounding somewhat excited by the drama.

I do feel terrible about the reality of it and my condolences do go out to those who loved him.

Okay, so I know I moan about this a lot, but I cannot help it. It has been almost 3 weeks and SANRAL hasn’t done anything about it!

The traffic between Diepkloof Interchange and Maraisburg, on the N1 North, has become a nightmare and it’s not the traffic that grates me, nearly as much, as the fact that it’s for NO GOOD REASON!

I already hate the fact that they take away lanes for no apparent reason but when they take away lanes and then give them back, only to take them away again, it is just ridiculous!

Here is a silly diagram I made to explain this concept to SANRAL: (Note: This is not in any way ‘to scale’… it is just for descriptive purposes!)

Now you’ll see that in the first picture the lanes merge (this happens twice just after the Soweto Highway off ramp) and then after about 1km, the third lane reappears. This would be grand… if they didn’t take the right lane away after about another km! (Just before the bridge at Maraisburg.)

Now, if you take a look at the second picture you’ll see that there is a better option – an option that will actually decrease the traffic! Wait for it….. Wait for it….. Don’t open the third lane again – just keep it at two and then we won’t have the traffic of merging again!! (OMG! What a revelation!)

No seriously, it’s very frustrating having to leave before 6 in the morning so that I don’t have to get stuck in this traffic for over an hour every morning. Especially considering that the only reason it merges into 2 lanes in the first place is because they have gouged out the tar from the second lane on the left (tar that they put there not so long ago, might I add). Does it seriously take 3 weeks to re-tar a strip of road??

Okay, sorry about the ranting again, but it really is hard to write about other, more pleasant things, when you have to drive in that rubbish every morning!

Anyhoo… I hope that my silly diagram at least got a laugh out of someone :)

HaPpY ThUrSdAy EvErYoNe!

*Whoohoo for 4 day weeks!!*

So last night a colleague of Mr Perfect gave us some tickets to watch STOMP! (which is currently showing at the Montecasino Teatro Theatre).

Now, at first I was reluctant to go (having no idea what it actually was and being that I would have to drive to Monte twice in one day!) but man, am I glad that I decided to go anyway!

In case you, like me, have no idea what it is is here is a clip of the DVD Stomp Out Loud. It will give you a much better explanation than I would be able to!

Amazing right? Now imagine watching it live on stage, with a bit of humor thrown in. Are you imagining it? Well there is no need, just go here and book – then you can see it for yourself!
 

Because I am one of the many people who are tired of all the ANC Youth League’s antics, I want to voice my support of the initiative, started by Sipho Hlongwane, called ‘Speak ZA’. ‘Speak ZA’ is a social media protest against the ANC Youth League’s tactics against the media and journalists of our country.

Speak ZA

Bloggers for a free press

Last week, shocking revelations concerning the activities of ANC Youth League Spokesperson Nyiko Floyd Shivambu came to the fore. According to a letter published in various news outlets, a complaint was laid by 19 political journalists with the secretary-general of the ANC, against Shivambu. This complaint letter detailed attempts by Shivambu to leak a dossier to certain journalists, purporting to expose the money-laundering practices of Dumisane Lubisi, a journalist at City Press. The letter also detailed the intimidation that followed when these journalists refused to publish these revelations.

We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprisals against journalists by Shivambu. His actions constitute a blatant attack on media freedom and a grave infringement on constitutional rights. It is a disturbing step towards dictatorial rule in South Africa.

We call on the ANC and the ANC Youth League to distance themselves from the actions of Shivambu. The media have, time and again, been a vital democratic safeguard by exposing the actions of individuals who have abused their positions of power for personal and political gain.

The press have played a vital role in the liberation struggle, operating under difficult and often dangerous conditions to document some of the most crucial moments in the struggle against apartheid. It is therefore distressing to note that certain people within the ruling party are willing to maliciously target journalists by invading their privacy and threatening their colleagues in a bid to silence them in their legitimate work.

We also note the breathtaking hubris displayed by Shivambu and ANC Youth League President Julius Malema in their response to the letter of complaint. Shivambu and Malema clearly have no respect for the media and the rights afforded to the media by the Constitution of South Africa. Such a response serves only to reinforce the position that the motive for leaking the so-called dossier was not a legitimate concern, but an insolent effort to intimidate and bully a journalist who had exposed embarrassing information about the youth league president.

We urge the ANC as a whole to reaffirm its commitment to media freedom and other constitutional rights we enjoy as a country.

Check out all the details here and lend your support :D

I had to share this – you have gotta love Kulula!

So this was the initial ad that they published:

It’s cute, right? But nothing really great. Well that is until they got into trouble with FIFA for using the term “South Africa”, a stadium, soccer and our national flag. This was their response:

OMG! It’s brilliant really. All FIFA did was create more publicity for the campaign! I love it when stupidity comes back and bites people in the ass! :mrgreen:

I don’t know about everyone else but I have just had enough of the utter lawlessness and inconsideration that clouds this country!

I just got home after spending 2 hours in traffic (Yes – in the middle of the afternoon, for no reason other than because SANRAL felt like taking away 3 lanes of the 4 lane highway – they weren’t even doing anything!!) and during this time, all I could think about was how ‘we’ (the people of this country) just let it happen. We let the powers that be (whether it’s the government, big corporations, or the arrogant, self centered idiots all around us) have the control!

You know, in any other country, the people would be up in arms if they had to spend any amount of time stuck in traffic for roadworks. In any other country, if they take away more than one lane at a time the people are up in arms! The typical defensive question here would be: “But how would it get done then?” Well…. how about planning ahead? Or is that  too much of a foreign concept for people to understand? It is supposed to take long to change a highway infrastructure!!! We’ve had approx. 8 years (I stand to be corrected) to get ready for the FIFA World Cup – yet they only started with the highways a year ago.

If you can remember, it actually started off pretty well. I even used to commend SANRAL for the great work they were doing. They seemed to never take away more than one lane and they never worked in peak time. Now, as the clock ticks down to the World Cup, they don’t seem to care.

Now, I know this may seem like a small problem in a big pool (or should I say ocean) of problems in this country, but that is the biggest problem. We (as the people) except all of these ‘small’ things because there is always some ‘bigger’ problem. We say, “What’s some traffic when our Youth Leader is visiting criminals in jail, or when people are dying everyday because our health care system is pathetic?!” But the thing is – we should not except any of it! We should all be up in arms! And when I say up in arms, I do NOT mean, toy-toying, throwing rocks at people, burning things down or causing HAVOC!!! What I do mean, is that we should all band together (and when I say all, I mean all! I don’t care what your social standing or race is!) and say ENOUGH! We should have groups, organizations, that stand up for us. Organizations that are not run by, or in cahoots with, the government.

Take this Eskom fiasco as an example. If we want to be heard we should organize a strike – a ‘stay-away’ if you will. What would Eskom do if we all just didn’t use electricity for 3/4 days? Or if we all just didn’t pay our bill? How much money would they loose? Wouldn’t they then be forced to listen to us?

Yes, It’ll be inconvenient and even unpleasant but it will get our point across. I think it’s time that the people take the power back. I think it’s time that we remind all the ‘powers that be’ that the only reason they are where they are is because of us. The only reason Eskom can pay their CEO’s millions, is because we pay for electricity. The only reason Jacob Zuma is in power is because we voted for him. The only reason these road works are happening is because we pay taxes. I am so tired of these ‘powerful’ people or corporations thinking that they can get away with anything!

And you know what the worst part is – if we don’t do something soon, we are going to end up just like Zim. And it’ll be our fault, because we let it happen. Because , instead of us all standing up for what is right, we are all just saying “well if they can do it, I can do it too!” And if we are all corrupt and doing illegal things (yes, this includes the simple things like driving in the yellow lane) then where does that leave us? How would you come back from that?

This is not a free for all!!!