Friday, September 02, 2016

Stretching that Comfort Zone: Reading Aloud


I recently filmed and uploaded a new video that I actually felt quite nervous about doing, but something that I thought would be a fun idea. That is, reading aloud from some of the books I plan on reading.

How is this stretching my comfort zone? Because I'm very uncomfortable reading aloud. Talking in front of people, or vlogging, or talking to people are all generally things I'm pretty good at. I'm pretty good when unscripted, although I'm aware my mind can wander and I can often jump a few tangents without filling in the blanks. Yet, somehow when that happens in conversation it's not to hard to get back on track.

But reading from a book? All in order? All in one take? Jeepers. That felt horribly intimidating. I was right back in grade school feeling paralyzed waiting for my turn to read aloud and so paranoid I would miss it that I in fact retained nothing that other people said, nor what I said. But this is today, and I'm not waiting my turn, I'm not even recording live, so that felt a bit more doable.

I did a fair amount of prep work to help (or hope) to make the process go smoothly. I read the passages aloud several times to get comfortable with the what I was saying and to get a bit of an understanding of the story. I also looked for what would be the best place to stop, and timed how long it took me to get to that point. And I noted any words I wasn't sure about how to pronounce (and some of them really aren't real words!), and for those challenging ones I made index cards to show to the camera for clarity. After I did all that, I read through them all again.

One unexpected side effect to all this prep, is that I really know in my bones the beginnings of all these books. I remember recently seeing a tag video where people shared their favourite first lines in books, and I was like "who remembers that????". Now, I couldn't pull out the first line of any of these three books, but I certainly remember the tone, setting, story and characters that they begin with.

I have a hard time even figuring out if it even turned out okay. I do stumble a few times, but always get back on track and try to give some life to the words and characters. It was a big challenge, but it was so worth it. I know it isn't a masterpiece, but I really feel proud that I did it at all. It would be a lot of fun to keep it up, and I know that actively working on this can only improve my speech/speaking skills which is a great bonus. The only kicker is... I feel like I should read the books before I to another video! Ha!

So if you'd like to have a listen feel free, and I hope you enjoy it. I read from these three books:
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davids
  • The Last Wish (Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Decision Fatigue Strikes



OH the search for a keyboard. It's a challenging thing. For so many things you can simply research and then order online (is there anything Amazon doesn't sell?). But for keyboards, you gotta get hands one. It's all about the feel. I need a new one, or technically I need one with a softer touch, so I went out to Best Buy to have a look. After much hmm-ing and haw-ing I decided I wanted the one above. Soft touch, but still had number pad (that's a must for me), came with a mouse and it was on sale. Woot! Except... Sold out :(



The helpful guy at the store recommending gaming keyboards, because they are very sensitive and showed me the one above. SO PRETTY! But, they didn't have a display one and for that price I wanted to get hands on before committing. They did have the arrow keys out of the box, but as a touch typist I need to really feel it. I really like this one though so I'll keep an eye on it to see if it goes on sale.



On to a third option, also a gaming one but it was pretty big in all directions. And the keyboard was way up high and I could barely get the sense of typing but it felt pretty good from what I could tell. Although the price was a bit high, it did have a mouse and enough bells and whistles to make it worth it. Did I buy it? In all honestly, I probably should have gone for this one. But I didn't.

Decision fatigue totally had hit me by this point, and I was feeling like I needed to leave with something but I didn't want to pay higher price from a gamble. So I ended up going for a cheaper one that I didn't even take a pic of, and told myself I'll keep an eye out of the nice ones. I also felt like I was worried about the larger one taking up too much space on my desk and couldn't visualize what my desk even looked like. Clearly, at this point I beyond making good decisions and fell back to old habits: buy the cheapest you think will work. Sigh. That said, i did *leave* with one, which was a priority. I haven't opened it yet. It looks so small, and now I'm worried I should have gone with an more ergonomics one with a wrist pad area. Gah. Why are decisions so tough?

And before I was lost in all the keyboards, I took a goofy picture with the awesome statue type thing of a game I've not played. I really love it. I think I take a pic of it everyt time I'm there! I was happy when I went in. But I was outta steam when I left. I wonder if I'll go for the one I bought or try something else. We'll see!


Friday, August 26, 2016

It's Finally Friday



Today I remembered to take of picture of my POV when posting, or doing any computer stuff for that matter. Had a fair amount of that this week, and I'm so happy I've been able to post through the entire week. It's been fun to get back to blogging.

On of my regs for Friday is to do a Friday Reads vlog, sharing any books I've finished, or continuing, or starting new from the past week and onto the next. I've had a lot of fun doing the Friday Reads vlogs, which over the years has been one of my most regular vlogs. This week I had a bit of a reading slump, and in the video I chatted about how I was able to find my way through it. As we near the end of the month, I always try to push through my currently reading list to finishing up and start afresh in the new month. We'll see if happens next week.



Later in the day I hung out with my sister Jamie and we had a great time. I have to start remembering to take pics we we are together! We get to chatting and I don't think about anything else other than that. Next time I'll remember, I hope! She also brought some treats with her including these paints (thank you Jamie!) that I have totally be wanting, and also brought over my new big purchase of an Android TV Box. I know what I'll be doing this weekend, the dream of which is watching lots of TV and the reality of which is figuring out the tech. It will totally be worth it. I can't wait to get started.




Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Long Day Post



Today was an out day for me, with an appointment to go to. I remember when that could have been one of many things I did in a day, but not anymore. It was quite a trek, but a very familiar trek up to the area I grew up in. So many changes up there, and I notice more with each time I go. What used to be "new" houses now feel indistinguishable from the rest, the gas station I used to wait for the bus in front of is gone, and new construction is happening all of the time.



One thing that was nice though, was that it was a sunny day. It was just on the edge of too hot for me (which is really hot.. I don't mind the heat too much), and thankfully it wasn't too humid. The sky was gorgeous and the sun shone in all it's glory. So much so that not all the pictures I took turned out how I expected. That's okay, I don't mind the odd pic here and there. It was so bright out I couldn't see what I was taking anyway, which makes it a fun suprize to look at later, as long as there are at least some I like. It's amazing how many more pictures we take now that we can take them digital, just click, click, click away and later delete, delete, delete those that don't make the cut. If you end up editing down, which I haven't in a long while. That will be a later project for sure. Sort and label pictures goes on the later list.

Although it was long trek both ways, I was lucky enough to be able to read a lot of that way there and back, and while I was waiting. I read even more than expected because the subway got stalled between stations at one point for about 10 minutes. I barely noticed, nose in my book smiling to myself. Overall, I read about 10% more of The Diviners by Margaret Laurence. This book is just slaying me. It's so good. It feels so honest, and heartbreaking, and real. I feel for Morag. And like many Canadian books, saying "what it's about" feels completely irrelevant to the experience of reading it. So much is in the pacing, the rhythm of the writing and the moments in time that are created. I'm so glad I've made an active effort to read Canadian fiction. When I look back at what I've read this year, all of the Canadian books pop out to me as favourites (or at least important, in the case of Roughing it in the Bush!).



After a long day like that, I know that I'm out for the count for the rest of the day. I had some lunch/brunch/snack/dinner and watched Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It's wild, because I'm quite confident I've seen the first few seasons of DS9 but every once in a while I come across one that I don't recognize at all. Even the ones I do recognize, there is often so much more in there that I missed from previous viewings. I am absolutely loving watching the show, for both the comfort of the familiar and the new gems along the way. It was a great way to rest after a long day.



Wednesday, August 24, 2016

An Unusually Early Start


My day started early. I'm not a morning person, but today I was up pretty early and I was really ready for some coffee. After morning pages, I dove right into doing some behind the scenes stuff for my sister Jamie. I have looked at a lot of HTML today, funny how it starts to read as normal after a while.



One thing that was on my mind today was reading. Over the past few years I've actively worked on reading, both challenging myself and also remembering to enjoy what I read. It's been quite a dance between priorities, and I often go down the rabbit hole of researching and compiling lists, most recently with the SciFi Fantasy and Weird Adventure. But over the past few days, I've felt a bit slumpy.

I'm in the middle of about 8 books right now, and normally that doesn't phase me but I ended up just not reading for the past few days. I was starting to feel overwhelmed so I had a little sit down with the list of the books I was reading. As with any list I make, I grouped like items and looked at them by priority. Do any have deadlines? What's due back at the library or being read for a book club/monthly challenge? What would be easier to buy than read for the library? What's coming up next in the queue that I need to make space for?

Once I sorted that all out, I realized that I have two romance novels on the go that I want to finish by next week, and if I can work on them, plus read a chapter of The Odyssey and a book by Pema Chödrön, I'll be in good shape. There is lots more on my currently reading list, but this feels like what I need to get the motor running again. Time to get that inertia going!


Lunch Break! This is another one of my random-yet-now-often-shared pics, my lunch. I don't quite know why I do it, and I eat almost the same thing for lunch every day, but I still often end up sharing it on Instagram and Facebook. Today was hummus on crispbreads, plus carrots and blueberries. The blueberries were so tiny and quite tart, but I really enjoyed them

No pics of me at the computer, even though there was a lot of that today. It's been a long day, but it's been nice to have romance novel reading breaks. Here is me with my Kindle in all it's bright green cover glory. Good thing I figured out what I wanted to focus with reading, as this gave me a good thing to do while taking rest breaks. A little re-jigging got me back on course there, and now I can't wait to find out what happens next in my book. Who will she choose? And will he return her affections? Will the war be avoided, or is their a battle on the horizon? Good stuff.



Tuesday, August 23, 2016

When Days Go Differently Than Planned



Today ended up being a bit of an odd one. I had some errands and such to do, but the subway was down for a bit and and I wasn't to get to where I was going. After a rushed phone call to sort logistics out, I was left with having to re-gig my plans and oddly being calm about it. I don't usually do well with plans changing on the fly, but this time I decided to just meander a bit and see what happened. It was nice to feel pretty calm about it all, although I hope that doesn't mean I'll be freaking out later.

I still ended up getting some erranding done, and was having that dreaded lots-of-stuff-I-like-is-on-sale-but-the-kind-I-like-is-out-of-stock. It was three things in a row, my favourite tea was on sale but they only had decaf, peanut butter was on sale but smooth was sold out, and so on. Kind of funny. I'm a little more lax on not having the perfect choice, but I still was rolling my eyes a bit. Good thing I like Irish Breakfast tea almost as much as English Breakfast.



Also on the theme of trying new things, it was time to pick my next journal. I generally go with lined but this time I decided to pick this unlined Moleskin that I bought ages ago. I love the idea of keeping a visual journal, and was recently inspired when I read Danny Gregory's book Everyday Matters, which sparked the idea having a page with a drawing as well as writing something about what I drew. I don't usually pair words and images, so this might be a challenge.



I certainly have something to draw today! I picked up this flower (or plant?) at a store I always admire when I walk by it. The woman who sold it to me was suprized I was only buying one, and I thought that meant that they go in the garden, but she said it just needs a bigger pot, more soil and a lot of sun. The sun I can do, the rest I'll have to work on as I'm not a bit plant person. But this one was so pretty I couldn't resist. I hope I can keep it alive.


So I didn't end up doing what I expected, I've not yet journaled, but I have Irish Breakfast tea, low fat peanut butter and a cute plant. I'd say things didn't go to badly, even if they went a differently than planned.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Regular Post


I'm trying to think of a crafty way to say I would like to get back to regularly posting on my blog, but all I can come up with is that I want to get back to posting on my blog.

As of late (long late, like months or years), I tend to have big epic posts one new projects or updates or time capsules. I love them. I love the moment-in-time they provide, sharing the big ideas on my mind, and having a touchstone to how things are going. But the catch is, they take so long to make! And I want to get it just so, have lots of links, the right pictures, etc. And I love that too. But I don't love how long it takes.

So, I think I'm going to go a little old school. A pic, some works, and be here more often. So that's what this is. So far today, these are the only two pictures I've taken. The above one is my traditional "Good Morning!" picture that I post on Instagram, it's my morning coffee and the dated blank page before I start writing my morning pages. I don't remember consciously making the decision to take this pictures, but I think it aligned to when I finally got a phone I could Instagram with. Ironically today I ended up using a different mug than my regularly morning mug. But I really like this IMAX mug that I picked up on the weekend for 49cents at Value Village. It's not the thickest mug though, so I have to drink my coffee faster than normal if I want to have it while it's still warm.

The second picture I took today was of myself (below), as a way to say HI! to everyone this morning. I try to actively remember to take pictures of myself, mostly because I like seeing pictures of other people on Instagram and Facebook. We can often get so focused on what we are showing and sharing, that we don't share us in pictures! I really do think of it as a /wave to everyone. Although today I didn't even think of what I looked like before sharing, and how I can tell is because I'm wearing my glasses and I rarely share pics of that. But I guess I wanted to say Hi! more than than anything else.

I love Instagram, so you can always find me there. I also am trying to get back into Twitter. And back to being here. I guess I'm feeling like sharing and connecting these days. I wonder where this adventure will go!


Thursday, July 21, 2016

The SciFi Fantasy and Weird Fiction Extravaganza


Time for a new adventure!

I am embarking on a new exploration, into the world of scifi, fantasy and weird fiction. I've always loved science fiction and fantasy (and who doesn't love all things weird?), whether it's been in books or film or TV. They are my go to genres. The odd thing is, I haven't been reading a lot of books from these genres, but when I do I really love them! So I'm taking a direct approach and will be actively working my way through some of the classic, notable, oft-listed, iconic, newly-acclaimed, and other such titles in the world of science fiction, fantasy and weird fiction.

As a starting point, I've cobbled together a list from a variety of other lists. Who doesn't love lists? I decided to go with this list NPR's Readers Top 100 Picks, Io9's 21 Books that Changed Science Fiction Forever, Flavorwire's 50 SciFi/Fantasy Novels That Everyone Should Read, Syllabus for Coursera / U of Michigan course Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World (link already outdated), Amazon's Picks of 100 Science Fiction and Fantasy Books to Read in a Lifetime from their Editors and from their Readers. Plus, I added a few essential titles that I felt had to be included, even if they weren't on any list. I'm open to adding more titles as the journey goes on, either from recommendations of if I chance across something that's super awesome and needs to be included.

A note about the formatting of the list, as I brought together different lists with different structures, some books were noted by a book title whereas others were included by an entire series. Therefore, the title I've listed below is the title given on their home list. If a series is noted, I've added the first book in brackets, and if it's the first book series I've added the series title in brackets. It's imperfect, but merging lists can always be a bit of a challenge to wrangle.

As I'm not a total newb to these genres, I'm happy to share that I've already read some of the books, 37 of the 191 titles listed (and I'm partially through 4 series noted). So that's a pretty awesome start. Books that I've already read are notated as read, and the books I'll read through this journey will have links to reviews. I plan on sharing reviews of the books I read over at my YouTube channel, where you can also find my announcement video where I get all super excited about this exploration. I've also created a Good Reads List.

Number of Titles to Start: 191
Titles Read to start: 37 Read (plus 4 Partially Read)
Current Number of titles read: 40

Titles Added to List: 2

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Odyssey) by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (already read)
  • Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
  • The Amber Chronicles (Nine Princes in Amber) by Roger Zelazny
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • Among Others by Jo Walton
  • Anathem by Neal Stephenson
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  • The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton (already read)
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell (already read)
  • Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
  • Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress (already read)
  • The Belgariad (Pawn of Prophecy) by David Eddings (already read)
  • The Blade Itself (The First Law Series) by Joe Abercrombie
  • Blood Music by Greg Bear
  • The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr
  • Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov
  • Changes (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher
  • Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke (already read)
  • Children's and Household Tales by The Brothers Grimm (Jacob and Wilhelm)
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant The Unbeliever (Lord Foul's Bane) by Stephen R. Donaldson
  • The City and The City by China Miéville
  • A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • The Codex Alera Series (Furies of Calderon) by Jim Butcher
  • The Colour of Magic (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
  • Conan the Barbarian Series by Robert E Howard and Mark Schultz
  • Contact by Carl Sagan (already read)
  • Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
  • The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
  • Culture Series (Consider Phlebas) by Iain M Banks
  • The Curse of Chalion by Lori McMaster Bujold
  • Dangerous Visions (anthology series); Edited by Harlan Ellison
  • The Dark is Rising (series) by Susan Cooper (Book One: Over Sea, Under Stone, read)
  • The Dark Tower Series (The Gunslinger) by Stephen King (already read first book)
  • Daughter of the Blood (Black Jewels) by Anne Bishop
  • Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany
  • The Diamond Age (sequel to Snow Crash) by Neal Stephenson
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K Le Guin
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • The Dragonbone Chair (Book One of the Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series) Tad Williams
  • Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
  • The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard
  • Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert
  • Elric Saga by Michael Moorcock
  • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles (Dealing with Dragons) by Patricia C Wrede
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (already read)
  • The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (already read)
  • The Farseer Trilogy (Assassins Apprentice) by Robin Hobb
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • Fionavar Tapestry (The Summer Tree) by Guy Gavriel Kay (partially read)
  • A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
  • The Forever War by Joe Halderman
  • The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (already read)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (already read)
  • Going Postal (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
  • The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
  • Gormenghast by Mervyn Peake
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Grass by Sheri S. Tepper
  • Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton
  • H.P. Lovecraft Tales by H.P. Lovecraft
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (already read)
  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (already read)
  • Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass) by Philip Pullman (partially read)
  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (already read)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (already read)
  • How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
  • Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (already read)
  • The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons (already read first book)
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (already read)
  • I, Robot by Isaac Asimov (already read)
  • The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice (already read)
  • The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells
  • It by Stephen King (already read)
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • The Kingkiller Chronicles (The Name of the Wind) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Kushiel's Legacy Series (Kushiel's Dart) by Jacqueline Carey
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K Le Guin
  • Legend of Drizzt Series by R.A. Salvatore
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia) by C.S. Lewis (already read)
  • Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  • The Little Prince / Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (already read)
  • Little, Big by John Crowley
  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (already read)
  • Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  • The Magicians Nephew (Narnia) by C.S. Lewis
  • The Magicians by Lev Grossman
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series (Gardens of the Moon) by Steven Erikson
  • Mars Trilogy (Red Mars) by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  • The Martian by Andy Weir (already read)
  • Mistborn Trilogy (Mistborn: The Final Empire) by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (partial read)
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein
  • The Mortal Instruments (City of Bones) by Cassandra Clare (partially read)
  • Mosses from and Old Manse and Other Stories by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Mote in God's Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
  • Neuromancer by William Gibson (already read)
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (already read)
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (already read)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (already read)
  • Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter
  • Old Man's War by John Scalzi
  • The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  • Outlander (Series) by Diana Gabaldon
  • Percy Jackson and The Olympians (The Lightning Thief) by Rick Riordan (already read)
  • Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
  • The Portable Poe by Edgar Allen Poe
  • The Princess Bride by William Goldman
  • A Princess of Mars (Barsoom) by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  • Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Riddle-Master by Patricia A McKillip
  • The Riftwar Saga (The Magician) by Raymond E. Feist
  • Ringworld by Larry Niven
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy (already read)
  • The Rook by Daniel O'Malley
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix
  • The Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman
  • Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
  • The Shining by Stephen King
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Small Gods (Discworld) by Terry Pratchett
  • Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
  • Solaris by Stanislaw Lem
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  • A Song of Ice and Fire Series (A Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin
  • Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet) by C.S. Lewis
  • The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
  • Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card (already read)
  • Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A Heinlein
  • Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang (partial read)
  • The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (already read)
  • Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A Heinlein
  • Sunshine by Robin McKinley
  • The Sword of Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks
  • Sword of Truth Series (Wizards First Rule) by Terry Goodkind
  • The Thrawn Trilogy (Star Wars: Heir to the Empire) by Timothy Zahn
  • Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells (read)
  • Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
  • The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Ubik by Philip K. Dick
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (already read)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (already read)
  • The Vorkosigan Saga (Shards of Honour) by Lori McMaster Bujold
  • War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (read)
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore (already read)
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Wheel of Time Series (The Eye of the World) by Robert Jordan
  • Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  • The Wind-Up Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Witch World by Andre Norton
  • Witches Abroad (Discworld Sieres) by Terry Pratchett
  • A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • Wool by Hugh Howey
  • World War Z by Max Brooks
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (already read)
  • Xanth Series (A Spell for Chameleon) by Piers Anthony
  • Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Love books? See more reading goodness on my YouTube Channel or friend me on GoodReads!



Thursday, June 09, 2016

Summer Adventures 2016




Now that it's June it officially feels like summer, and that means I think we can be confident there will be NO SNOW for a few months. I love the prettiness of winter, but it does make it hard to get around. That's why now that it's nice out, I'm really too look ahead to Summer Adventures! It's a place where I can share plans for the summer months, be they big or small or somewhere in between. I hope this will also help me back to a blogging rhythm, and free up the question of what to blog about because I can always share updates on any of these adventures!

Neighbourhood Adventures
When I moved, I didn’t move that far but the neighbourhood still feels pretty new to me. Now that it’s nice outside, I want to start checking out different places to explore from coffee shops to parks to restaurants. There is even a Little Free Library to check out!


Celebrate my Birthday.
It’s a big one this year. Haven’t quite decided what I’m up to, but I know I want to do something special. Maybe a party. Who knows?


Science Fiction/Fantasy/Weird Fiction Exploration
I know that I love science fiction and fantasy, and that they are my favourite genres regardless of format, but it feels like I'm not reading a lot of books or stories that are science fiction, fantasy or weird. I added weird because I'm sure that anything classified as "weird" is something I want to check out.

Anyway, given I’ve already created a few other reading explorations and follow an online book club, I feel like it’s creating another list-of-books-to-follow-and-check-off doesn't feel quite right. That said, I keep coming back to this idea. I have too many ideas on how to structure it (chronologically? By awards/nominations? Short stories? Alternate genres? Alternate author genders?), and have combed through many, many, many, many lists to pull titles together, but when it gets down to deciding or structuring or committing, I'm flounder.

In an odd turn of how-Shannon-normally-does-things, I may just start reading and see where it takes me instead of laying out it all out first. We'll see what happens!


Eat Seasonally
Recently when I was sorting through some paper stuff I ran across my Good Things Grow in Ontario calendar, and I was so thrilled! I didn’t even remember I had one this year! One of the best things about it is that it has a monthly chart which fruits and vegetables are in season. I’ve already written out all the June fruits and veg and have put it on the fridge.

I hope this will serve as some inspiration to try out some new recipes too. But I’m just as happy to simply wash-n-eat stuff that doesn’t need to be cooked. Hopefully this will be super fun, and healthy, way to enjoy the summer.


Tea Exploration
Keeping the food theme going, I now turn to tea. For years, I’ve used sweetener in my tea but I kind of passively stumbled into not having it. Thing is, tea does not taste the same. And I'm not loving it. And I drink a lot of tea. But, I realized that might just be the tea I have right now. What about other teas? Maybe there is one out there that I like without it. I still plan on having milk with caffeinated teas, I can shift so far at one time!

I'm trying to think of this as fun as opposed to a problem to solve, turning it into an exploration seemed the natural thing to do. I could be fun to try different kinds of teas and see if any holds up just with milk. Who knows, I might just be fine one I really like.


Gaming Exploration
It feels like it's time to put my PS4 to use other than simply streaming movies, TV and YouTube videos. While all of those are great, it’s also a gaming console. I might as well use it as one! Although I’ve never been a console gamer, I have always enjoyed games, and given that I can’t play them at the computer anymore I might as well use my PS4 to get back to something I enjoy.

I know this is a bit of a weird one to do in the summer with it being nice outside, but I realized that the competition for game-time wasn’t the weather... it was TV. I have lots of TV shows I watch, but now that we’re into the slimmer pickings of summer I have more time to game.

I think I’ll go a little less structured on this exploration and simply try stuff out and see what it’s like. I do want to get a handle on different game genres and styles though, to figure out what kinds I like. I’ve already started this exploration, and you can see my Tea and Tomb Raider streams.


The Summer Supernatural Re-Watch
Okay, I have to have at least one TV venture on this list! And my Summer Supernatural Re-Watch was a tradition for several summers, but the past few years I haven't been able to make it happen. Now that they are 11 seasons and heading into their 12th, I feel like it's a CRAZY amount of episodes to watch. Which, of course, means I want to try it out.

From THEN to NOW, it's always interesting to see THE ROAD SO FAR from the beginning, One More Time.


Be Involved in SOMETHING. Or start SOMETHING.
I am feeling the pull to be move involved in something. I don’t know what, or if the what matters, but I just know I keep feeling the drive to be involved. I don’t quite know what shape this will take form, but there is something trying to happen here and I really hope I can get it moving.

Fairy Tale Summer
I’m signed up for Carla Sonheim’s Fairy Tale Summer class, which I am so excited about. It’s 8 weeks long and we create stuff based on 8 Fairy Tales. I can't wait!!! This along with Y is for Yellow year long class will definitely keep my artistic muscles going.

En Masse Journal
Okay, this one is a bonus one that I thought of while I writing this post up. It’s a relatively new idea to me, but Jamie mentioned it a few weeks ago and I’ve been devouring YouTube videos on it, including the originator Shannon Green’s videos. The basic idea is that you create a journal that has a page per item/theme/etc, where you glue corresponding images. You can have a Blue page or a Flowers page, or one for Animals or Go Karts. It’s part scavenger hunt part collage madness. Often people start with the base of a magazine, which is what I'm doing. I’ve already started mine, and I love it every time I work on it. I hope to do figure out how to do video flip throughs so I can share the process.

Wow. That's a lot! I had no idea how many things I wanted to give a go this summer. Amazing what happens when you start writing stuff down.

I would love to hear what your Summer Adventures will be.



Monday, June 06, 2016

May 2016 Reading Wrap Up


May was another mammoth reading month for me, and a bit of a heavier one especially given I made it though the audiobook of The Iliad. That's an epic book! I actually really want to read The Odyssey and I have a paper copy of it so reading The Iliad was a bit of a precursor to that. However, I think I need a break from the epic. My brain hurts.

I did have some lighter reads, including the awesome scifi/fantasy book Clean Sweep that had almost every fantastical element I like but in a current day setting. Love that! I also read a few short stories, including keeping up with more HP Lovecraft (I don't know if I'll ever finish the 1000+ page anthology I'm reading). Overall, I thought it was a pretty good reading month even if I didn't get to a Canadian title or a Shakespeare play, but there is always next month!

Books Mentioned:

  • Those Books: The Iliad by Homer
  • Non-Fiction: Paranormal State by Ryan Buell
  • Book Club *: Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman
  • Book Club Alternate: Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
  • Short Story: Wendigo by K.T. Bryski, Toronto Star Short Story Contest Winner
  • HP Lovecraft story: The Music of Erich Zahn by HP Lovecraft
  • Fantasy/Science Fiction and Book to Film Adaptation-ish: Day of the Dragon by Richard A Knack (WarCraft Series)

The Book Club I follow if the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club, and their hangout to discuss the May selection of Silver on the Road will be tomorrow, June 7, 2016. I enjoyed the book, even with the slow burn pace but the forums were pretty split on how they felt about the book, I wonder how the ladies will feel about it. I can't wait to find out.

Given it was a heavier ready month, I am curious about this whole "Summer Reads" thing. I have never done it, and don't quite know where to start. Do you switch to summer reads in the warm months? I would love to hear your take on summer reads, and any book or author suggestions.

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