Z – Zacker, Not Slacker

I finished that!

I found myself perusing the Urban Dictionary (Webster’s is where squares go to find words) looking for a Z word and came across the word “zacker”.

Definition of “zacker” – a real bad ass.  I love that.

“A real bad ass” is what I am feeling like right now because I finished the A to Z Challenge.

Zacker. Yep, that’s me. A real bad ass.

I finished and I am so proud of myself. I did it and I think I did it pretty good.

I tend to be one of those type of people who don’t all the time finish what I start.   Or, I start something with enthusiasm and determination and then finish it at what I can only describe as “half assed”.  *My blog isn’t typically filled with suck explicative. Sorry!

When I graduated from high school, I couldn’t wait to go away to college. I was super excited go to a school out-of-state that none of my other high school friends were going to. I was going to have the perfect college life.  Life was full of promise and possibilities.

First semester, I had a 3.7 grade point average. Second semester, 1.7 and academic probation. I gave up and moved back home.

After my first year of law school I was in the top 1/3 of my class at Georgetown. I really wish someone had not told me that 3rd year students just need to show up for the exam to graduate.  That is pretty much what I did.  And, graduated in the bottom half.  My rationalization:  “Someone has to be in the bottom half.”  I missed out on so much.

Let me pause here for clarification:  I did go back to school.  Florida States University – Go Noles!  Georgetown doesn’t usually accept college drop outs.

I did have the opportunity to actually enjoyed the fact that I graduate and still no one has called me to ask for my diploma back.  The celebration was short lived because then I had to get back in study mode for the bar exam.  Need I remind you that I haven’t really been in a class all year.  Long story short (to late – Clue Movie reference) I didn’t study like I should have and failed it. I haven’t try it again.

I have been writing all my life, but am reluctant to call myself a writer.  All stories must have endings and I am too afraid to start writing my novel and not finish. It can’t be another thing that I give up on or don’t finish. I am not ready to fail at this yet.

But, finishing the A to Z Challenge has given me confidence, motivation and a little swagger as well. I am a bad ass. I can do this. I can finish something.

Hell, I am so bad ass I can finish anything I put my mind to.

In May,  I will be outlining my novel  and starting in June I will tackle another challenge. I have joined JuNoWriMo and have challenged myself to write 50,000 words in the month of June.

I am really excited to get this challenge underway and like the Zacker (not slacker) that I am, I have not doubt I will knock this challenge out the park.

Congratulation to all of you out there who finished the A to Z challenge. Thank so much to the organizers and for all those who stopped by and commented on my blog.  I found some great blogs to follow during this challenge as well.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

Y – Yilpi Marks

Art work by Yilpi Marks

A trip to Australia would not be complete without learning about the aboriginal people and aboriginal art.  You can find examples of the art on every cup, bag, pencil, and t-shirt in every souvenir shop in Sydney.

I knew very little of the culture and the struggles of the aboriginal people before I went to Sydney. To be honest, the reason I even paid attention while there was because I was looking for some inspiration for my next tattoo and the designs and colors of aboriginal art is amazing.

But, I decided once I returned I would read about why their art is so prevalent in the modern society of Australia.

How cute is she?

I came across Yilpi Marks and her art while doing some research.  I saw her art and was instantly hypnotizing by the color and movement.

Like most aboriginal artist, Yilpi learned about the Aboriginal Dreamtime Stories which is reflected in her art by her parents and grandparents. Dreamtime Stories is a creation mythology reflecting the Aboriginal hunter-gather lifestyle. It tells the stories of their ancestors.

It is inspiring how this art has giving the aboriginal people the opportunity to preserve their heritage and cement their legacy as a significant part of Australian Culture.

Thanks to www.aboriginalartstore.com.au for the great information. 

X – X Factor Australia

The X Factor is one of many reality television franchises that are highly popular in the United States and have a version in Australia.  Truth be told, this show originated in the UK and was in Australia before it hit US markets.

There is also an Australian version of The Voice, Next Top Model, Project Runway, Master Chef (actually created in Australia) and Celebrity Apprentice (David Hasselhoff is on this season. What in the world?!?!?!).

I have seen and have a strong opinion of the American version of each of these shows except The X Factor.  I figured that I could stack the two versions of this show side by side and see who comes out on top on paper.  I promise to be fair and impartial.  Really.   So, here goes.

The X Factor America vs. The X Factor Australia

Number of Seasons:  1 season vs. 3 seasons – Australia has this one

Host:  Steve Jones vs. Luke Jacobz – push; I have no clue who either of these people are.

Notable Judges:  Simon Cowell, L.A. Reid, Paula Abdul vs. Danni Minogue, Mel B  and Natalie Imbruglia – Considering the Creator is a judge on the American version, US clearly wins this one, but I will give some props to Kylie’s sister and a spice girl.

Notable Winners:  Melanie Amaro ( to soon to tell) vs. Reece Mastin (double platunim debut album) – I will give this one to Australia, although I haven’t heard anything from either of them. But, you can’ t argue with double platinum.

*The most famous winner of the franchise is Leona Lewis, Great Britain Season 3.  Bleeding Love is one of my favorite songs.


Prize:  5 million dollar cash and a recording contract with Syco Music a division of Sony Music vs. 5 hundred thousand aussie dollars cash and a recording contract with Sony Music Australia – no brainer. US has this one

Viewship:  Debut episode 12.5 million vs. being cancelled after the first season because of poor ratings, it was brought back by another network and has a steady viewship of about 1.3 million.  – I would give the advantage to the US, but only slightly.  You have to figure that with only 20 million people in Australia, that is a higher percentage of people watching the show then in the US, but the cancellation gives the US the nod.

So, there you have it.  X-Factor Australia pales in comparison to X-Factor USA at least on paper, but they both miss out because even after learning all that I have about these two shows, I still have no interest in watching them.

Thanks Wikipedia for all the fascinating fun X Factor facts.  

V – Virgin Atlantic Upperclass

Are we boarding yet? No. Man, I can’t wait to get on this plane.  Look at it. This plane is huge. I bet it could fit about 300 people in it.  300 people like sardines.  But, not me. No, not this time. I get to sit in first class.

Oh, I ‘m sorry, here at Virgin Atlantic it is referred to as Upperclass.  Mr. Branson, the owner of Virgin Airlines is a little different.  He is British after all.  “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass.”  What are the other passengers called Middleclass and Lowclass.  Yeah, that’s it.  Just this morning, I was Lowclass and now I am Upperclass.  Who says money can’t buy you class?

Great. She is about to make an announcement.  Here it is. “In a few minutes we will begin boarding flight V200 to Sydney Australia.  We will start with Upperclass passengers first.”  Yes, that’s me.  Upperclass gets to board first.  Yes.  Wait, she is still talking.  “At this time, we would like to welcome those passengers with young children or those who may need a little more time to board.”  What?  I though upperclass boarded first.  You mean children and old people have more rights then “Upperclass.”  Wait a minute, Syd, don’t let this go to your head.  It is just a seat on a plane.  Yep, a seat in “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass”.

“Now welcoming Upperclass passengers.”  Yippee.  I get to board upperclass, thank you very much.  Why has my brain turned my inner voice into an elitist British aristocrat?  I seem to be walking a little taller down the jet way as well.  Some might say I am even strutting.  I kind of feel like a runway model on a catwalk. Perhaps a model for a DVF show (Diane VonFurstenburg for those not in the know). I bet she rides in “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass” when she crosses the pond.

Is my imagination getting away from me a little?

“Good afternoon, welcome to Virgin Atlantic, may I see your ticket?”  Reality.  Why does she need to see my ticket? I bet she thinks I couldn’t possibly be sitting in Upperclass.  Well, I am Missy.

Oh, wait, the stewardess asks to see everyone’s ticket.  Oh, and she is escorting me to my seat.  My full on lounge seat with foot rest.  My seat which fully reclines into a bed.  My seat that has more buttons then a panel in a cockpit.  This is awesome.  Oh, and she is asking me if I would like a drink before the plane takes off.  “Would you like some champagne?”  Hell yeah!

God, I love Upperclass.  Nice touch, Mr. Branson.

These seats are so comfortable and the champagne. So, good!  I feel like I have this goofy grin on my face.  But, so does everyone else. Must be how we are supposed to look sitting in “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass”.  Or I could be drunk.

Wait, I need to pay attention to the safety features.  Maybe there are different rules for the passengers in “Virgin Atlantic Upper Class”.  Um, no not really.  “In the event of a crash, blah blah blah.”   It is all the same.  I guess if the plane where to crash, classes wouldn’t matter.  But, when they announced my death it would say, “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass passenger, – – – died in a plane crash.”  Ok, that is a bit morbid.

The plane is taking off.  I think the take off is smoother in “Virgin Atlantic Upper Class”.  Definitely smoother.  No really, it is.

The stewardess hands me a menu.  Not your typical beef or chicken choices.  It is a full menu.  The type of menu that top chefs would envy.  There are entrees, not an entree, entrees and a choice of appetizers and desserts as well.  I choose the salad.  Then the ravioli.  And a cheese course for dessert.  But, of course, a cheese course.  There’s that British dudes voice again.

Oh, and did I mention the selection of wines. Yes, they have a selection of wine.  “A nice German reisling would go great with the seafood salad.”  The waitress/stewardess actually said that.  And, German reisling is my favorite wine.  Wow. “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass”.  It’s like you knew I was coming.

Now that dinner is over, I think I will get a little sleep. But, wait they have movies.  Tons of movies.  I haven’t seen that or that or that. Damn. I need to get some sleep, but I could also catch up on all the movies I have missed in the last 5 years.  Ok, one movie, then I will see how I feel.

Ok, now time for bed. How do I work this think again?  Damn.  Didn’t know I needed my pilots license in order to work the bed.  Oh, yeah, I have to actually get up.  Well, not everything is done for you in “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass”.  So, I hit the button.  That is so cool.  For some reason, the movie Transformers pops in my head.

And, it is comfortable, too.  If I was over 6 foot, might be a tad tight.  Perfect for my 5’7″ frame.  Not much elbow room and it will take some effort to flip over, but what am I complaining about, I am in “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass”.

 9 hours later

Who turned on the lights?  Are we in Sydney already?  She is handing me another menu. Oh, it is time for breakfast.  Omelet or pancakes? Coffee, tea or a mimosa? Mimosa, please.

Mr. Branson, again, nice touch.

The descent and touch down again, so smooth.

“Thank you for flying Virgin Atlantic,we hope you will join us again.”

In “Virgin Atlantic Upperclass”, anytime.

U – Underground Railway

My all time favorite thing about traveling is finding my way around new cities.  I prefer to walk around and get lost and then find my way back again.  It is the best way to get to know a city.  Another great way to see the city and to cover more ground is by utilizing the public transportation system.

All of my favorite cities have great PTS. The street car in New Orleans, the subway in New York, the tube in London, the metro in Tokyo and Hong Kong and now the Underground Railway in Sydney.

We had one day with nothing planned so we decided to jump on the train and see where it took us. We got on at Central and took the train 4 stops to Bondi Junction.

Bondi Junction is a great shopping area of Sydney.  It has several stores that line the streets and then a huge mall.  I have to give you a little back story so you understand why this was such an exciting site for me.

In China, there are a lot of high end malls.  Lots of name brands.  You can find any and everything you need in China.  Except for a shoe in a size 9.5.  In the six years I have lived here, I have never been able to purchase a pair of shoes.  It is really sad because, I love shoes.  I mean, I really love shoes.

I have been wearing the same 3 freakin pairs of shoes for 18 months now (last time I was in USA). I needed new shoes.

In Sydney Australia, I found shoes.  In fact, I found several shoes stores in Bondi Junction and every single store I went to and every shoe I asked to see had a size 9.5.  I was in 9.5 shoe heaven.  I was such a great feeling.  I brought 4 pairs.

So, I send thanks out to you all.  To Sydney for loving big feet people, to Bondi Junction for housing some great shoes stores and especially to the Underground Railway.  If it was not for you and your easy access all over Sydney, I might still be wearing the same 3 freakin pairs of shoes.