I love anything LEGO but when I saw the announcement for this set, I knew I had to get it ASAP. Luckily, VIP card holders could order it a week early (it’s coming out on March 1st) and I received it yesterday – I got interrupted by the postman as I was building Shanghai Architecture set. That was a nice surprise!
I really enjoyed building this set: the colors are great (the separator tool comes in teal), the details are cool, the car comes with a large order of ribs, etc. The only thing missing is Dino, the Flintstones pet.
I was very excited to get the Shanghai Architecture set, as I’ve been there a couple of years ago. Interestingly, though, one of the buildings wasn’t there yet when I went: the Shanghai Tower was only completed in 2015.
Overall, it was a nice build but I have to admit I was a little disappointed by the Shanghai World Financial Center – the one that looks like a bottle opener. All Architecture sets I built so far look nice both from the front and back. With the Shanghai set though, if you look at it from the back, you’ll see the “bottle opener” building doesn’t look complete.
Among this year’s seasonal sets, LEGO released a gift box that opens up to reveal a Christmas scene. The set includes building instructions, two plates and four bags of bricks, including two Minifigures.
Both Minifigures (a child and an adult) come with a choice of haircuts and facial expressions so you can customize them and get creative. I love the t-shirt the kid is wearing, which sports the classic spaceman – known as Benny in the LEGO movie.
You’ll need to remove the top plate to open the box and reveal the Christmas scene. On one side there’s a table, a chimney with Christmas ornaments, windows and, a toy train. On the other side, there’s a decorated tree surrounded by gifts, a clock, and a chair.
Last year, we got the Nutcracker. I prefer this one. 🙂 Thank you LEGO for keeping me balanced. 🎄
The MINI Cooper set came out in 2014 and is somehow a set I was never interested in getting, even though my dream as a teenage girl was to own one and live in Notting Hill – . Go figure.
I got this set during the Black Friday promotion – along with a bunch of Architecture sets. It comes with 2 instruction booklets, 3 sets of bricks and over 1,000 pieces. I love how compact it is, even with so many pieces: a great nod to the original MINI Cooper Mark VII model, the last of its kind (it was produced from 1996 to 2000).
To list a few of the cool features and details:
the doors open,
the hood opens to reveal the engine,
the trunk opens so you can store stuff,
there’s a hidden trap in the trunk to store the spare wheel,
the steering wheel and the dashboard are located on the right-hand side of the car,
the set comes with a picnic basket (water, glasses, cheese, bread, and a checkered blanket),
it comes in a traditional dark green with a white roof and stripes,
the roof can be removed easily to access the inside of the car,
you can fold the seats to let passengers get to the back of the car,
and you get a choice of registration plates: UK, Germany, Denmark, Australia, and the US.
I went with the UK plates of course. 🙂 Overall it’s a great build. The only element that bothers me is the roof, which they weren’t able to nail: the angles are too sharp in my opinion, but then again, it’s made of bricks so what can you do?
I really like LEGO’s Architecture series – I already had Buckingham Palace, London and the Arc de Triomphe which are places I visited. I thought it’d be nice to get NYC and Shanghai, since I’ve been there, too but I ended up getting Chigago and Las Vegas as well.
I guess I’ll have to visit these places (). Like Hard Rock Cafe tees, it doesn’t feel right to own these sets when I haven’t been there. 😅
. It’s a movie that’s been in the works since forever and I’m glad it finally came out.
Putting aside the typical Hollywood biopic storyline (fake drama, twisting facts to fit the story, etc.), I loved it.
But for the life of me, how hard was it to copy Roger’s hair through the years? They nailed Brian’s hairstyle, John’s haircuts, Freddie’s haircuts (well, apart from the WWRY recording scene). Roger has ~1 hairstyle throughout the movie. That’s 15 years with the long/stort(ish) version of a same haircut.
Have a look. Here is Roger Taylor (left picture) chatting with the Princess of Wales at the opening ceremony of Live Aid, and here’s Ben Hardy (the actor) on stage at Live Aid (pictures on the right).
Anyway, despite seeing the movie 3 times, I apparently I managed to miss Bono who appears in one of the very first scenes at a photo shoot with David Bowie. Hat tip to the husband for pointing him out. I guess I was too focused on Bowie whom I adore about as much as I adore Queen. U2 delivered an incredible performance that day by the way. I mentioned Bad a couple of times before, but here it is again if you haven’t watched it ():
I’m very excited about the soundtrack being released on tape. It’s too bad Virgin did such a poor job with the tape’s booklet (the quality is like homemade printing), I actually questioned its legitimacy when I first saw it at the store. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Many of my friends and people from my family have seen the movie and texted me afterwards saying they loved did.
Have you seen it? What did you think? Do you want to learn more about Queen? I can recommend songs and albums to introduce you to their music.
Following my previous post on songs I could have on repeat all day long, there are songs I have to play together to satisfy my insatiable love for music. Like Meat Loaf’s I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), I’d Lie For You (And That’s the Truth) and Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are for example.
I love music. Anyone who knows me knows I absolutely adore music. I have favorites in every decade from the 50s to up to now, and my dream as a kid was to get enough money to get a kickass sound system and a room full of records.
Now, there are songs I just can’t get enough of. I could literally keep the repeat button activated all day and be fine with listening to the same song over and over again.
Reasons vary: the words, the music, the people a song reminds me of, a guitar riff, etc. My favorite band is Queen, everyone knows that, but in this list I’m choosing to exclude them, so don’t be surprised if they’re missing. 🙂 I selected a few of these songs I could have on repeat forever, there are many more of course, but this is a good sample.
Elton John – Tiny Dancer
Elton John is one of my favorite musicians. I started listening to his music at an early age thanks to my parents. I remember borrowing (understand “stealing”) a very cool trifold greatest hits CD from my dad. I still have it; the corners are all worn off. I have lots of favorite songs from him of course, but Tiny Dancer is #1 in my heart.
Elvis Presley – An American Trilogy
Another favorite tune from my childhood, this time discovered thanks to my mom. This song is just so powerful. I especially like the last part of the song after the flute (?) solo, when the all the wind instruments and drums come in and Elvis’s incredible voice takes over.
Eric Carmen – Hungry Eyes
I know – cheesy, right? I don’t know what it is about this song, but I just can’t get it out of my head. It was playing in a shop in Spain when I was there recently, and I started slow dancing by myself, making my husband laugh. Good memories. 🙂
Kari Parker – Bette Davis Eyes
This cover is amazing. I love covers, and discovered this one following a recommendation on Spotify, I think. I’m not sure how. But just listen.
Kate Bush – Wuthering Heights
Such a weird song. The chorus speaks for itself. I don’t think there’s anything else to add.
Paul Simon – Graceland
How many time have I come up to my husband and asked him very seriously if he knew ? 😂I know this song by heart, it’s one of my favorite song of all time.
Adele – When We Were Young
OK, now it’s a sad one.
I’m not big on “today’s music.” I mean, there are a lot of non-mainstream bands I like, but no-one I’ll go crazy for. Except for Adele. She is honestly the best musician of our generation. It’s not just her golden voice; she’s a true artist.
My list of favorite songs from Adele is long, and When We Were Young is definitely a special one. It’s now forever tied to the memory of a deceased family member who loved Adele, too. I can’t stop myself from shedding a tear when this song is playing, and that’s OK.
If you haven’t listened to the version displayed above, I strongly recommend you do. It’s beautiful.
U2 – I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. But not the regular version. The version where they get together with New Voices of Freedom, a gospel choir from Harlem (I believe). It’s taken from the Rattle and Hum documentary, which I recommend if you haven’t seen it.
A side note on U2: I’m also a massive, massive fan of Bad played at Live Aid in 1985. I’m choosing not to include it here because I already did a piece on it on Instagram stories. You can learn more here (watch it all!) and here and you’ll know why I love it so much.
New Order – Temptation
Up down, turn around, please don’t let me hit the ground! How many time have I tweeted New Order lyrics? I love the rhythm of this song (new wave for the win!), the words, and the way it makes me want to dance. You can’t be in a bad mood if this song is playing.
Fleetwood Mac – Bleed to Love Her
Another mesmerizing song. Don’t get me started on Fleetwood Mac though, or this post will take forever to be written. It’s such a fantastic song. Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks and, Christine McVie’s voices go so well together. The live version from The Dance is the one I listen to the most.
Ingrid Michaelson – Can’t Help Falling In Love
Another cover from a great artist by a great artist. It’s simple: voice + piano. It’s full of emotions and it’s really beautiful.
Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
An absolute classic. It’s simple, I’ve always been obsessed with this song. Whenever the first note hits my speakers, I know I’ll have to play it over and over again.
Toto – Africa
I don’t think this needs explaining. Everyone loves this song. Apart from Queen songs, Africa (tied with 74-75 by The Connells) is my #1 favorite. The music video is also one of the first I recall watching as a kid, with the library catching fire and the band playing on a giant stack of books. Fascinating.
Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer
By now, I’ve probably used the words beautiful, favorite, amazing and the fact that I know the lyrics by heart a hundred times. But it’s such a beautiful song! My favorite part is when they revive the song to give it even more power with the following lyrics: “And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out.”
Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
I didn’t give any order to this list, but if I had, let’s say from favorite to least favorite, Romeo and Juliet would most likely be first. What’s not to love about this song? The guitar (obviously) is fantastic, the piano too, and the words I know by heart. No doubt this one is on repeat whenever it plays.
Sixpence None The Richer – Don’t Dream It’s Over
Another cover. 🙂 The guitar solo is to die for, and I feel sorry for my neighbors whenever I yell the words after the bridge is over. Hey now, hey now!
Alphaville – Forever Young
Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of this song, I’m just obsessed.
David Bowie – Life On Mars?
This list is starting to get long, so I’ll stop with the one and only David Bowie. No words can do justice to the genius of David Bowie, so I’ll stop there. Make sure it’s on repeat, turn off the lights, press play, and close your eyes.
Liked this list? If you’re on Spotify, you can follow it here:
I left home hoping I would “disconnect” as much as possible on this vacation. Anything from a computer to a tablet (I didn’t bring any) to work (I deleted Slack, my work-related WordPress app, and my emails last Friday after calling it a day). I bought a thousand-page book (Paul Auster’s 4321) and haven’t watched much TV (a 20 minute documentary on the consequences of overfishing in Senegal). I still have my phone, of course, for directions, taking pictures and, the occasional Instagram scroll (so that means I haven’t fully disconnected, have I?)
As we are speeding through Catalunya, I wanted to take a moment to remind anyone reading this blog of the importance of giving to those in need. Not everyone is born lucky and I believe we should help those who aren’t.
In 1987, Freddie Mercury met with Montserrat Caballé whom he admired. Their friendship developed quickly and the opera singer, a native of Barcelona, who was asked to create an anthem for the upcoming Olympic games, asked her new friend for help. Out of this collaboration came out a wonderful 8-track album (both the album and the song are called Barcelona), a perfect mix of Freddie’s sound and opera.
If you’re interested in learning more about their story, I really recommend watching the documentary on Freddie’s life called The Great Pretender. There’s a full section on their work and relationship, genuinely told by Mrs. Caballé herself.
So why am I telling you all this, you ask? Barcelona (the song) came out in 1987 and Freddie Mercury sadly passed away in 1991, about 10 months before the opening ceremony of the 1992 Olympics held in Barcelona (the city). This morning we went to Montjuïc (where the Olympics were held) and walked up from the Plaça Espanya to the castle of Monjuïc, avoiding buses, escalators, and cable cars. As we walked up I thought to myself (I’m assuming most people hike and think up existential questions) that it’s a shame AIDS is still a thing and that people keep dying for no reason (whether it’s war or illnesses) when we’re lucky to be alive, (mostly) healthy, and have more than decent living conditions. I carry a lot of guilt, if you hadn’t noticed by now. I certainly can’t fix all of this but I can give to those best placed to help fix some of the problems. So as I while climbing the stairs up to Montjuïc, I set a goal: I’d give 10€ per kilometer to the Mercury Phoenix Trust.
I track my hikes and rides on a very useful app called Strava so figuring out how many kilometers I walked wasn’t an issue:
5 kilometers. That’s how long it takes to complete the route, starting at the massive Venetian towers on Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina up to through the laces of the Montjuïc hill. I went through with my idea and donated 50€ to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, to help them with their fight against AIDS.
As always, ending blog posts with a well written closing paragaph is not my forte, so instead here are a couple of ideas:
Give, if you can, to a charity. It doesn’t have to be AIDS-related, it can be anything close to your heart (girls education, fighting hunger, poverty, etc.). Every penny counts!
Listen to Barcelona (the album) and improve your musical knowledge. I recommend Barcelona (the song), Guide Me Home, How Can I Go On:
Some days, we're talked to like we're the scum of the earth. You won't believe how nasty some customers can get. On those days, like today, I remember smart words by my good friend and colleague @macpil85:
PSA: There's no need to copy/paste your question multiple times when chatting with a support agent. We can read perfectly fine. Also, I don't recall having Flash Gordon powers, so give me time to type my reply. Thank you. #customersupport
One of the things that get to me very easily in customer support is when customers send a single question mark when you haven't replied in 2 minutes (after you've told them you'd need time to investigate their issue). #customersupport
The world is already a shitty place, so do us a favor and don’t make it worse. If you need help, we’ll gladly help you. Just don’t be that person.
My philosophy is basically this. And this is something that I live by. And I always have. And I always will. Don’t, ever, for any reason, do anything, to anyone, for any reason, ever, no matter what, no matter where, or who or who you are with, or where you are going, or where you’ve been. Ever. For any reason. Whatsoever. Just don’t be that person, OK? Here goes:
The not so humble one:
Give me a break, I’m not an idiot. And, I can’t believe I’m debating with a WordPress employee about social media.
Had you researched me first, then you would not be attempting your smart ass comebacks. GOOGLE MY NAME and then get to know me… and I’m being incredibly POLITE to you!
The not so polite one:
What is this shit?
Stop being a bureaucratic twit.
The racist one:
The not so nice one:
Improve your scummy business practices.
You are not very lucid right now…..
This site is awful.
Stop smiling. It’s just annoying.
The threatening one:
The one that thinks shouting will make it better:
Don’t be any of these people. Also don’t assume we’re all males. My colleagues and I thank you.
Yesterday was my first time watching Dennis The Menace since I was a kid. Did you ever pick up the adult jokes?
There’s one where Dennis explains to his neighbor, Mrs. Wilson, that his dad is mostly happy. Except on Sunday mornings when his dad and his mom “wrestle” in their bedroom:
* Dennis:[in an attempt to give Mr. Wilson his ‘I’m Sorry’ card] I’m kind of busy today, so I won’t have a chance to give it to him. I have to go to Margaret’s house, because we’re getting poor and my mom’s got a job now. So could I just leave it up by his whisker-cutter? That’s where I leave all my dad’s ‘Sorry’ cards, and it’s a good time to say you’re sorry. ‘Cause grownup guys are happy in the morning when they wake up. My dad’s so happy, he whistles when he goes to the bathroom. The only time he isn’t happy is on Sunday morning when he and my mom wrestle. They kind of like to be alone when they do that. I think it’s ’cause they take off their shirts and then they start to make funny noises.
* Mrs. Martha Wilson:[uncomfortable about what Dennis is saying] Uh, you can go up, as long as you promise not to disturb Mr. Wilson.
My work at Automattic requires me to get out of my comfort zone from time to time and interact with other human beings at in-person meetups. This week, I am in Glasgow.
If you came to this blog before, you probably already know that I struggle with anxiety a lot. I’m not ashamed of it, though there was a time when I would not talk about it because it made me feel like I looked weak to others.
Now I don’t care, it’s part of who I am and I’m OK with sharing that this week so far has been difficult. I love the people on my team, but the noise, pushing myself through uncomfortable situations, the fear of missing out, flying, making decisions, keeping in touch with the rest of my work duties, etc. has been really tough on me.
A couple of clicks away though, I know there’s my fiancé, always there ready to listen. Dylan loves running, and lately, he’s been out chasing kilometers in preparation for his next challenge at the Lake Geneva. This week though, he also took a few minutes to organize a surprise that meant the world to me and got flowers delivered to my hotel room along with a “knock-off” quote from The Office.
“Sometimes I’ll start a gift card, and I don’t even know where it’s going. I just hope I find it along the way.”
There it is, finally. We have our copies of Charlie Hebdo.
I don’t know how this makes me feel though. I’ve been dreaming about it for days, my head has been heavy for a week now, with the thought of the attacks constantly in the back of my mind. I need to rest. We say life goes on but things will never be the same again in France. People are actually nicer to each other on the bus when I go to work in the morning.