Hope you are all well.
I am finally coming back to my blog after some time away. New things to say, but maybe not quite as often.
Let’s start with a message of goodwill at Christmas to you all though! Hope you have a good one!
This year will be more of an eco-friendly time for me…very few Christmas cards are winging their way around the world (email and FaceTime works well), I’m not buying plastic toys for kids any more (this year’s fad=next year’s landfill) and am thinking far more about what items I buy as regards packaging and ethics around issues such as farming and palm oil. It’s quite a complex business!
On the subject of eco-friendly, if you have a Kindle reader or app and still haven’t read my first novel, “Baabaric”, it’s currently going FREE on the Kindle Store until Christmas Day so click here for details! A small Christmas gift from me to you…enjoy!
Anyway, I digress…It wouldn’t be Christmas without the Christmas Kiwi making an appearance on here…enjoy! 😊
A long time ago…well about 15 years…a friend of mine whom I met while backpacking in Canada gave me a great gift…it was a book called “The Four Agreements”. This book has a great, yet simple, guide to help you be happy (however you define that of course)…because it clearly lays out that happiness can be a choice, and so can suffering.
It is by Don Miguel Ruiz and is a Toltec Wisdom book.
The four agreements (which you make with yourself and require work to make them habitual) are shown in the picture below. I have encountered a number of people during my life so far who have a tendency towards negativity – maybe through putting too much pressure on themselves at work or school, saying bad things about others, assuming something instead of finding out (it makes an ASS out of U and ME remember) or just feeling that things are personal when they really aren’t. Once you start on these paths of focussing on the bad side it can be tough to get off them.
While we all have our down-times, it can be a real challenge if someone is dragging you into a negative reality on an ongoing basis, especially if it goes against these “rules” because they often won’t realise they are doing it and would rather try to bring you into their reality than try and see the good in their life or situation. Seeing the good side can sometimes be tough…
There is a lot to be said about speaking with integrity (including not spreading gossip), not taking things personally, not making assumptions (i.e. communicate!) and always doing your best. While I certainly can’t profess to always doing all of these, it certainly helps to try. And if you have a tendency towards being unhappy, maybe it is worth looking at how you respond to and interact with the world around you because the chances are that just maybe, with a little work and time, you could choose to react differently and reap the rewards. Choose happiness.
I was wondering recently when the last time was that I bought a physical CD for myself. I think it was well over a year ago. I don’t generally download music either but I do use free music streaming which I think is a fabulous idea.
I then went on to think that I cannot recall buying a paperback book for a number of years now. I do rent them from the library occasionally. The Kindle is a great device at what it does.
I do occasionally buy films on Blu-Ray or DVD and do rent them from a video store (yes, they still have those in NZ). I have yet to use something like Netflix.
In some ways I think it is great that less non-renewable raw materials are used in manufacturing of such things because they now exist as files on a computer but in other ways it perhaps cheapens the experience of “owning” something or in the way we interact with various forms of art as you become detached from it in many ways due to the ease of which you can delete a file as if it never really existed…would you ever throw out a physical book? I suspect not…unless you are giving it to charity of course which would be recycling.
Anyone got any interesting perspectives here?
I have made mention previously about visiting various filming locations used in “The Lord of the Rings” films. The films have spawned a tourism industry in New Zealand which, with the release of the inferior “The Hobbit” series, shows no sign of ending. I wanted to talk about the fact that I recently re-read the novel for the first time in almost 20 years. During the intervening period I have watched the films so many times that they have become the story. So…what of the book?
I was very surprised by just how much was changed for the cinema. Not only were a number of sections missing, new storylines were added, some storylines were changed for no obvious reason, some characters (notably female ones) were given larger roles and it is curious, when you consider the rather graphic violence that is present at times in the films, how little of this Tolkien actually describes. Tolkien almost gave freedom of imagination to the movie-folk so it is a credit to them in what they achieved. But it almost feels that in many ways the films are a dumbed down version of the book…but then when has a film ever been anything else?
It is rare to love a book and a film to be able to compare the two, and to still love them both afterwards. Actors are seldom good enough to truly represent a book on film without narration and you lose so much of what made the book so great…but what you get instead is an amazing visualisation of one of the greatest books of our time.
So, for anyone who may be interested, yes, the book is better, but I must also say that I think Peter Jackson did an incredible job of turning 1000+ pages of literature into an accessible movie masterpiece.
Hello, dear Reader.
I am someone who always has a book on the go. Over the years my taste has broadened dramatically to a wide variety of genres. I love to read.
If, like me, you love reading books and you might be interested in what I am reading and whether it is worth your valuable time in doing likewise (assuming that you trust my judgment!), do please have take a look at my alternative blog which is dedicated to this love of books alone…and I ask if you feel the same way by all means follow this one too and contribute therein.
My new blog is called The Lord of the Reads.
If you would rather have an address to paste into your browser, the full address is http://www.thelordofthereads.wordpress.com
I imagine if you like to read about what I have been up to in New Zealand, you may like to read books too (a bit of a leap there). I would love your company and comment, as I do in 42 World.
Perhaps even start your own blog or I am more than happy to do guest reviews also!
Thank you for indulging me there and, if you go along, I hope you like it.
“Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt.” J.R.R. Tolkien – The Lord of the Rings
Not far from Matamata in New Zealand’s north island lies the Alexander Family sheep farm – home to Hobbiton from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films. It is a large working sheep farm of some 1,200 acres which was spotted from the air as an ideal place to set The Shire in the film series’. It is some distance from the road and has a rolling landscape complete with a natural party tree which featured so prominently in “The Fellowship of the Ring”.
I love The Lord of the Rings books and films (less so The Hobbit which is more of a fairy tale in my eyes) and so for my 38th birthday, off we went. I was expecting to be slightly underwhelmed ahead of time…thankfully my expectations were well-surpassed – it really is stunning how well it is merged into the landscape.
The set was originally due to be dismantled after “The Lord of the Rings” was completed but freak weather delayed this and led to a rethink which ultimately led to the farm owners becoming tour operators. Aspects of the set was falling into disrepair and has thankfully been re-built to last as a result of The Hobbit films being made and as such we encountered a delightful view and insight into film-making, glorious countryside and perhaps just a small wish that life was actually just like that envisioned by Tolkien and latterly by Peter Jackson on the big screen. Maybe that is a part of why the books are so loved by millions.
Who would believe that the tree atop Bag End is now made of silicon and steel and has 200,000 leaves individually wired to it? How about making a distant barn look like a tree just for filming? Having the whole area as a government-enforced no-fly zone during filming? Bringing in a handful of black-faced sheep because they looked more Hobbit-related rather than the NZ Romney? How they aged wood using vinegar? Created their own lichen using (in part) yoghurt? The list is pretty long and is just a taste of things we learned. I can recommend this as a tour for any enthusiast…and perhaps just for those who love a view of what life could look like in a distant Middle Earth.
A 2-hour tour included a free drink in the Green Dragon pub and overall (complete with additional purchased ale in hand), a very satisfied customer. Enjoy some photographs of New Zealand/Middle Earth below…I will aim to bring you some more views from the films in the future!
One final word, my favourite quote from any book…
“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.” Bilbo Baggins – The Lord of the Rings