Australia’s Election Madness

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As the election booths close, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief.

As you probably know (who couldn’t, with election posters plastered on every stoby pole from here to Woop Woop), Australia is in the throes of voting for a party to run the country for the next four years. For the last six weeks, the election has been the topic on everybody’s lips. Perhaps it has something to do with the ridiculous game of switcheroo that has been played on the front bench over the last few years, but people are getting very heated about which of the two daggy dad’s should lead Australia.

My Facebook feed has been filled with people angrily telling people why they should vote for one party or another. Gone are the days where it was polite to keep your voting preferences to yourself. Apparently the trend now is to shame people for voting differently to you, or aggressively tell people how wrong they are. For example:

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Another popular Facebook theme today is encouraging people to vote. An admirable sentiment in theory. However, the preferred method of persuasion is posting a picture of a dog wearing an “I Voted” sticker. I voted of my own accord this morning, but had I not, I doubt a picture of a dog would’ve changed my mind. But good on people for trying…
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I plan to steer clear of Facebook for the rest of the weekend – because I’m sure that tomorrow it will be filled with rants and personal attacks on whomever wins – and instead wait until my parents return from their ‘voting party’ (yes, they are attending a voting party – though I suspect they are going for the party, not the voting) to find out who has come out on top in this dogfight. Hopefully by Monday, things will have calmed down, and it will once again be acceptable to hold a different opinion to other people!

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Starting a Blog

why am i here?
Hello Blogosphere!

Seeing as I am just starting out here at Annabel & Alice, and we’re just getting to know each other, I wanted to tell you a little more about why I blog. No, it’s not just a narcissistic desire to have people know what’s going on in my life, I promise!

I first started blogging in 2006, and blogged regularly for about four years over at My Life in the Hovel – and I loved it. It was a great outlet for my thoughts and feelings, and I wasn’t too bothered by whether or not people read it. However, all of a sudden a bunch of people from my ‘real life’ discovered my blog, and they all wanted to put their two cents in about what I was writing, and whether they liked it or not. Everything got a little too much, and the fun left it.

Since then, I’ve really missed the blog world! Now, after finishing university, developing a love of creating things, and re-discovering my passion for writing, I think the time is right to make a comeback. Because I’m a ‘grown-up’ now, I wanted my blog to be a little more professional, so I bought my own domain and have spent the last several weeks dealing with the back end of my blog (doing all the things that make it look like it does!), and have been somewhat drowned by google hints, plugins, and code. Finally, I’m starting to make some progress. Things might not be perfect yet, but I’m getting there!

I have no desire to spend the rest of my life sitting behind a desk and staring at corporate documents. I want to do something more meaningful and passion-filled (though I don’t know exactly what that is at the moment). Hopefully, I can share some things with you that pique your interest. In a dream world, I’d even manage to have my blog take off, and be a popular little corner of the internet. Pipedream.

I’ve got some book reviews on their way, and will also be sharing a little more about myself, while I get into the swing of taking photos and creating tutorials and all sorts of other bloggy things. So, bear with me! I already appreciate it.

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The Litigators – John Grisham

books - book club
The Litigators - John Grisham
A little behind the eight ball, I’ve never read a John Grisham novel. So, I had high expectations when I picked up The Litigators – and I wasn’t disappointed. Grisham has made what could be considered a very dry topic into a page-turner, with some humour thrown in for good measure. Not an easy task, when your subject matter includes in-depth research, client interviewing, and filing numerous court documents.

The novel centres around the ‘boutique’ (re: dodgy) law firm of Finley & Figg. Oscar Finley and Wally Figg essentially spend their time chasing ambulances, and waiting for their ‘big break’, while bickering like school children over client fees, ethics, and whether or not advertising on bingo cards is a good idea. They look set to spend another decade scraping through, until David Zinc waltzes through their door, blind drunk. David was, until ten hours earlier, a lawyer at one of the top firms in the city. However, that morning, he’d had an epiphany and realised that being on the fast (and exhausting) track was killing him – so he’d walked out and spent the rest of the day at a bar. When a drunk David sees Oscar and Wally in action, he knows where he wants to start his legal career over again.

Not long after David arrives, Wally stumbles upon what he believes is the big break they’ve all been looking for. Popular drug ‘Krayoxx’ is suspected of causing heart attacks in its patients, and suing the pharmaceutical company could mean millions for Finley & Figg. All Wally needs to do is find a few clients who are willing to sue, and then he can ride the coat tails of the national class action all the way to fame and fortune. But, of course, nothing is ever that simple, and the trio of lawyers are soon in way over their heads.

Grisham managed to make this novel a page-turner, predominantly because of the interesting, though not always likeable, characters. Where David is a straight-laced family man, with an idealistic view of life outside of a giant corporate law firm, Wally is a schemer always looking to make money, and Oscar is like a strict father figure who is constantly exasperated about Wally’s antics. The storyline was good, but it was somewhat predictable that Wally’s plan wouldn’t go off without a hitch, so I wouldn’t really consider it a legal thriller, as the cover said it would be. That said, I couldn’t put the book down because I really wanted to know whether they’d manage to wriggle out of all their troubles.

As a lawyer-to-be, I was particularly interested in this storyline. With no real idea of what being an actual lawyer in a class action is like, I enjoyed reading about life in the ‘real’ legal world. Yes, it was a fiction novel, and Australian law isn’t exactly like what we see on American TV, or in American books, but it still makes the profession look exciting and worthwhile. After five years of writing essays and attending lectures, it’s reassuring to think that our careers may be something like those of the lawyers at Finley & Figg… though hopefully less chaotic.

If this book piques your interest, you can get it cheaply (and with free postage!) here.

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books - book club
I have hundreds of books lining the walls of my room – as well as numerous piles that are overflowing onto the floor. There is something about print, and the smell of new books, not to mention their portability… Mmmmmm, I love books.

I’ll have to admit, I don’t know everything about myself yet. I’m not quite sure where my place in the world is… but I definitely know that the world that I feel most comfortable in is totally unreal. Literally. As in, the fantasy world of fiction novels, the fairytale world of commercial television where everything ends happily, a person blogging about their own life, or even the real world expressed in a biography belonging to someone else.

In a world created by someone else, you know that there will be no difficult decisions to be made (other than deciding whether or not to continue reading), there will usually be some kind of happy or uplifting ending and you receive a complete escape from reality.

Why do I need to blog about these alternate realities? Well, I’m sure that, somewhere, there are other people who prefer a fictional world to their reality. Hopefully, there will be something here for everyone; a guide of sorts to an alternate reality to escape to. While every stop of my map may not be for you, hopefully one or two destinations will prove worthwhile (or not, depending on the review).

Welcome to the Annabel & Alice Book Club! Happy reading!Blog Sign-off

Welcome to Annabel & Alice

Welcome to Annabel & Alice!

I’m Annabel. You can find out more about me (and Alice) HERE – but right now I’m going to tell you more about what you are likely to find on “Annabel & Alice”.

When I started this blog, the internet instructed me to find a ‘niche’ to blog in. I thought about that for awhile, but I couldn’t decide on just one! Then I thought – stuff that! I’m passionate about more than one thing, and I’m sure I can’t be the only one. So, Annabel & Alice will have a little bit more variety, just like life. Travel, book reviews, DIY inspiration, and cupcakery – not to mention some strong opinions on what’s happening in the world, from time to time.

I’m an avid traveller, who dreams – literally, on a regular basis – of uncovering new and exciting places. I’m lucky to have traveled widely since I left school, and am keen to share some tips and tricks on getting the most out of  a trip, be it an hour away or on the other side of the world. With so much to see, I’m not sure I’ll ever manage to cure myself of my travel bug! But I’m damned well going to try.

An equal passion, though thankfully a much less expensive one, is reading (I’m a nerd, I know). My bedroom looks less like a place to sleep, and more like a wing of the local library – which isn’t something I really have a problem with! If it looks like a book and smells like a book *mmm, new book smell*, I’ll read it. I’ll keep you posted on what is sitting on my bedside table, hopefully managing to inspire you to pick up a book and be a part of my little virtual book club.

Recently, I’ve discovered the art of DIY, and become a little bit crafty. Be it decoupaging a plate with old stamps, or sewing felt owls to make a mobile, I’ve amassed a large stash of crafty goodness to experiment with. I love turning something old or something about to be thrown away into something exiting and new! I’ve even got my own little Etsy store (more on that later) where I’ll soon be selling a few of my creations.

My obsession with markets, where I eagerly look for what nifty things other crafters have come up with, led to an equally obsessive love of cupcake stalls. Always the go-to baker for any bake sale, I’ve started fancy-ing up my cupcakes, and even had my own cupcake stall at a market recently. I love experimenting with flavours and decorating; the foodie in me is pretty excited to share some yummy recipes with you. First up will be my latest favourite: margarita cupcakes!

Finally, I doubt my opinions on the goings on of the world will escape my blogging. Opinions are the food of the internet, and my mother taught me to always contribute something to the party. I’m nothing if not polite!

So, check back in with me soon, as I find my feet on my new blog.

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