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September 22, 2021

Fiction: Quin and the Girl in the Orange Coat

 This month's Words for Wednesday is hosted by Cindi at her blog, Of Dandelions and Sunshine. For more takes on this week's prompt, visit Cindi's blog here.
    This week's challenge: They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Write at least 100 words about the image below.

Ken & Cindi in Holland 1972ish
Fiction: Quin and the Girl in the Orange Coat

He was the quiet one. The one who was like the calm before the storm until he released his lop-sided smile. It was not often that Quin smiled. When he did, it was as if he was laughing at some joke only he knew. Most people thought he was mute as he had never spoken nor made any sound. Other times, they thought he was blind as his grey eyes would dart here and there and never land on any particular thing. Sometimes he would tousle his short black hair and make it even more of a mess.
    Then there was the girl. She was slightly taller than the boy. Often, her steady gaze would look straight at you. Like Quin, she had grey eyes but they were darker and wider. When she grinned, a dimple would appeared on each corners of her pale cheeks. The girl did not speak much but she often sang, loud and clear, a song about dreaming in a boat. Her voice would scatter like the wind and echo into houses and people would stop to listen even though they have heard it many times before.
    No one knew who Quin and the girl were nor where they came from. The two of them appeared holding hands one late summer afternoon in our neighborhood while the light was dimming and a cool breeze was gliding through the streets. The girl wore an worn orange coat with the hood pulled over her head covering most of her blonde, curly hair. In her hand, she held the strap attached to a small camera though no one saw her took any pictures. From time to time, Quin would turn to look at her and smiled. It was the only time he kept his eyes steady.
    We only knew Quin's name because it was stitched in navy blue threads across the front on the right side of his faint red coat. The girl did not have a name or perhaps since she spoke so little and had a habit of not answering questions, we never heard her said anything resembling a name.
    As the summer turned into autumn, Quin and the girl continued to walk around our neighborhood. Just before winter ended, we stopped seeing them. Many of us wondered if they had gone home or perhaps they were just a dream we all had dreamt up.
    A year later, on an late summer afternoon, as the light dimmed and a gentle breeze began to wind its way around the neighborhood, Quin appeared. He wore the same faded red coat with his name though it was much too short for his tall frame. There was the same calm look on his face. His eyes still never settled on anything but there was a sadness in his gaze. In his right hand, he clutched the strap attached to a small camera.
    Quin, with his camera in his right hand, continued to appear in the neighborhood on late afternoons, just as the light was dimming and a cool breeze started. He would always walk close to the right of the sidewalk with his left hand held slightly at an angle as it he was still holding the girl's hand. Every now and then, he would turn to his left and released his lop-sided smile.

September 21, 2021

Reasons why I would not make a good book blogger

girl reading in the clouds

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Books on My Fall 2021 To-read List since I've never made reading lists. I decided to list some reasons why I would not make a good book blogger. Please note, I have no idea what makes a good book blogger because I'm not one but I do read a lot of book blogs so I can judge by them, right?

01 | I don't really write reviews — I write rants in which I complain or praise books with any or every thought I have after reading them. Often, I had a lot to say when I don't like a book but I have very little to say when I do like a book. So it means I can't write reviews consistently.

02 | I don't know any of the book lingoes —  Well, I know some lingoes when I read book blogs and watched video book blogs but the info doesn't stick in my head. The one thing I kept hearing and remember all too vividly, is the phrase chef's kiss which is used whenever someone loved a book or when they think the book is great. I just really hate that phrase (for reasons even I can't say) and wish book bloggers would stop using it.

03 | I can't stick to a reading or review schedule — Maybe you don't have to have a strict schedule to finish a book or post your reviews but I imagine a lot of chaos if I don't have a schedule for reading/writing the review/posting the review. But I don't seem able to stick to a schedule very well. If it's not in my face, I won't even remember to do them.

04 | I'm not a wide range reader — I'm very hesitant to try new genres because I'm a creature of habit and I like to stick to what I like. But I don't always know what a book is in what category as I always just check out books that sounds interesting to me and then decide if I want to read them without caring what category they fall under unless its horror, then I really wouldn't read it because I like to be able to sleep at night. Whatever I read sticks in my head for days if it's especially scary or memorable so I try to read books that does not have imaginary I can't handle.
    
05 | I don't do social media — I'm pretty sure it's hard to promote books if you are not on social media, at least these days. A blog is like social media to me but most people don't think that way.
    To me, book bloggers are promoters of books. I often do not like to promote anything. If I like a book, I'll blog about it and that's it. I guess since I don't do social media, it would be kind of hard to promote anything. And I'm too lazy to post my reviews at Goodreads or Amazon or any book-related places. I honestly don't like to duplicate my reviews to other places since it's already on my blog. I suppose a good book blogger would post their reviews at least in two places.
    
06 | I don't follow book trends — I don't know anything about trends only that I don't like them but maybe I just don't understand them? Let's just say I don't read what's popular and I'll never read a book because everyone says it's great or it had a hundred awards. I often like books that are not popular and I rarely read recent releases.

07 | I can't promote a book if the cover is horrible — Okay, not completely true but if I have to promote a book with a bad cover, I might not be at all that enthusiastic about it. And I might even criticize how badly it was designed. (I'm a graphic designer so some book covers annoys me even if I try find reasons why they shouldn't.) Maybe I'm a bit judgmental about book covers but honestly, if I have to look at a cover for a long period (which I always ended up doing because I read reviews and check out book infos which will always display the cover), I would like it to be something nice.

08 | I'm more likely to quit reading a book than finishing it — In the past, I would never not finish a book but now I quit reading a book without any regret. There are far too many books out there and new ones are released every day, so why would I finish reading a book that bores that heck out of me? So maybe some books takes a while to get going and maybe one has to read the boring stuff to get to the good stuff but what is the point in that?

09 | I'm a moody reader — I only read books when I feel like it so there are a lot of pauses in between finishing a book if I especially find it daunting or boring or for some other silly reasons so often, this results in #10.

10 | I'm a slow reader — Sometimes it takes me a month to read a book even if they might be just 300 pages. In #9, I said I can quit reading books just like that but sometimes I just kind of want to finish a certain book for reasons even I can't say.
    But these days, the books I read are from the library and they have a 21 day limits which sometimes propel me to read faster and not have any long pauses in between reading - definitely a great motivator. But then again, there is also such thing as renewing the load so it's not always just 21 days to read a book.

What do you think makes a good book blogger or do you think anyone can be a book blogger?

For more Top Ten Tuesdays, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

September 18, 2021

Some stuff & maybe a few cohensive thoughts

girl with umbrella in the rain with ducks
'Follow the rain home'
Just some stuff that may or may not be worrying me. The above art had nothing to do with anything I said below. I just happened to redo it and I thought I share it.

01 | Email subscriptions for this blog is... still unknown.
I still can't decide which service to use so I decided to not decide, at least for now.
    I was going to go with mailchimp but they needed a mailing/physical address for reasons I can't understand. I'm not comfortable sharing my address with a company or any company that I might not like it enough to keep using it. It's always a pain to have your account deleted and I had a lot frustrated experiences with that.
    If you have email subscription for your blog, which service did you use? Do share.

02 | One of these days, I might switch to Wordpress or some other blogging format because these days  I find Blogger to be less friendly, less likable and more likely to frustrate me. Here are things that are currently on my 'stop annoying me' list:
    (a) Why did they removed the edit tools for the gadgets on a blog's front end? I don't know but I'm certain it's a dumb move. Now whenever I want to edit one of the gadgets I have to go to the Dashboard and under Layout. It's not a terribly hard thing to do but why did this change this at all? What was the point?
    (b) Don't know if it's just some glitch or the fact that google had updated FeedBurner and shut down email subscriptions for all blogs that makes some blog link list on people's sidebar not updating or not showing the recent post. I have noticed a few blogs where they have my blog on their link list and it's not showing any updates. Technically, I started this blog after July so it may had an effect, I don't know. I just thought I bring it up to see if anyone's else blog is like that.
    (c) Why aren't we allow to turn off autosave? Technically, autosave is good because it saves the post we are working on but sometimes it's bad. Last week, I lost an entire post because autosave saved a blank post before I could close the post. This rarely happened to me but when it does, it usually happened when I have time constrain or when I'm at the most annoyed.

03 | Finally Strand Books "announced" the winner to the tote bag design which I had entered in July. I put quotes on the word announced because as much as I tried to find out who the winner was after the contest is over, there wasn't any type of notice on any of their social media. Only this month, I found out who the winner is in an subscription email (I subscribe to their newsletter or whatever they are called these days.)
    The winning illustration is by Luke Wohlgemuth. (I thought one of the rules was to use four Pantone colors but clearly this seems like they had used full colors which is a completely different process but whatever, I guess they can just change the rules.) Wohlgemuth's art does have charm but it's not what I would have chosen. I guess I have different taste than most people or maybe I have no clue what people likes. So what do you think of this art? Worthy of being printed on a tote bag that one carries around?
illustration of girl reading book with eyes
Photo source: Luke Wohlgemuth

04 | Passwords are annoying sometimes. One week, (I forgot which week but I'm pretty sure it wasn't yesterday), I forgot my computer's password and I sort of freaked out. I had set my computer to start without having to sign in so I never had to use my password. So one day, when I needed to use it, I completely blanked out.
    I searched for ways to recover the password and there are ways but they all seemed a bit complicated. Then I look through my various accounts and one of them reminded me of the password. So I suppose I should set my computer so that I have to sign in so that I can use the password every day so that I can remember it, right? Did I do that? No. Because it's a hassle to sign in and because I shut my computer down every time I used it and not because I want to save energy (which it kind of does), I just know if my computer is on all the time, I would be using it all the time.
    I really wish there are no such thing as passwords for gadgets - every single gadget you own (computers, phones, etc.) has password protection - yes, it's good that it has it but it's bad for those of us who doesn't even use it. Plus, if someone stole your phone, for example, I'm pretty certain they can get pass the password without any problems. So what these passwords protection is mostly used for is against their users.

The Cursed Princess and the Land of Happiness
05 | I'm hoping to finish The Cursed Princess and the Land of Happiness before the end of the year.
I still would like readers to choose one of the options or give their opinion/feedback to continue the story. I've already completed the second part which means you now have the choice to choose what happens in the third part. It really is more fun if more people are participating. Here's the link to the two parts so far.

How is your September going?

September 16, 2021

Daughter Earth

woman holding globe inside train with sunlight on her
Daughter Earth

I was going to share a bunch of thoughts with this new art I've finished but decided I prefer to just show this piece alone. I've worked on this for almost a month because I can't get the sunlight to my liking but I think it turned out well.

closeups
closeups

I call this piece Daughter Earth, like perhap she's a child of earth or something like that. I don't know. Perhaps she's an ordinary human or an angel. Not sure if you can make the wings since they are like her shadows. I've looked at this piece a long time so I can see them very well but those seeing this for the first might not.
    This is hand drawn and digitally colored in Adobe Photoshop. The background is a train and its design is based on new and old NYC subway train interiors. I was going to add more things like poles and advertistments but I like how spare this looks. Click on the images for a larger view.

September 15, 2021

Fiction: The Midnight Bridge Club

This month's Words for Wednesday is hosted by Cindi at her blog, Of Dandelions and Sunshine. For more takes on this week's prompt, visit Cindi's blog here.
    This week's challenge: They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Write at least 100 words about the image below.

Mackinac Bridge
Fiction: The Midnight Bridge Club

In the semi-darkness, a man on a motorcycle slowly drove toward the entrance of the Mackinac Bridge. The wind blew a few strands of his black hair and caused them to flap against the scar down the side of his forehead. After a few minutes, he got off and steered his motorcycle pass the toll booth and onto the bridge deck. In a white button shirt tucked into black khaki under a black denim jacket, some might mistook him of heading toward an office meeting even with the pointed leather boots.
    The time was a little after midnight. A low fog hovered around the bridge.
    A few distances away, an old gentleman was making his way toward the deck. Underneath a dark jacket that was much too large for his frame, he wore a blue pineapple pattern shirt and gray shorts that ended at the knees revealing skinny, hairy legs and feet covered in white, slip-on sneakers. He carried a large brown box on his left arm and a blue and white cooler on his right. A faint scent of smoke followed him.
    The two men paused at the center of the bridge. The younger man, a head taller than the older one, nodded and the old man mirrored his gesture along with a wide grin.
    "Hey you two!"
    The men turned their heads.
    A woman was half running, half walking toward them. The hem of her long skirt flipped up and down. She was dragging a suitcase with a a baby blue Remington typewriter tied at the top. They had heard she had lost the cover to her typewriter years ago on a trip. It fell into a river while she was typing.
    "I don't like this fog," she said with hurried breaths. "But it is a good time to write."
    The men nodded having heard the woman repeated the same phrases every time they met. There was always a fog no matter the season and she was always in the mood to write unless it was daytime.
    She was the youngest of the three, perhaps by a decade or less. With her semi-gray and brown hair in a bun and large black-trimmed eyeglasses, she appeared much aged. Once, out of the blue, she had explained her premature grays were from years of raising a child, going to law school and holding a waitressing job while still in her early twenties. This year, she turned thirty. The men merely smiled. Many a time, she had offered details of her life that was either amusing or pitiful but the men never laughed at her. Their lives, if they were honest, were just as messed up.
    Yellow lights from the lamps on either side of the bridge created three dimmed shadows across the floor of the bridge. The three had met when they had all wandered onto the bridge during a sleepless night. They did not questioned why the toll booth was not manned nor why they were the only three individuals there nor why there were no cars either. They, however, had all agreed, it didn't matter. They had some place to go during their insomnia.
    The woman set her typewriter on the ground. Then she slipped off her low-heeled shoes, sat down beside the typewriter, crossed-legged and spread out her skirt. She unzipped her suitcase revealing a tall stack of paper. Taking a sheet, she inserted it into the typewriter and her fingers began flying among the keys.
    The old gentleman was already taking out firecrackers and matches from the brown box. He set a couple of firecrackers down on the ground in the center of the bridge, lit the wicks and ran back to the two. A flame shot up into the air and exploded. The bright patterns broke up the dark sky. This was repeated a few more times.
    The younger man was leaning against the guard rail with his arms crossed beside his motorcycle. His head was tilted up toward the sky. A faint smile crossed his lips.
    In a slow manner, the old gentleman passed around bottles of beer from the cooler.
    The woman kept typing and taking a sip from her beer now and then while the men, with their bottles in their hands, watched as more light erupted and painted the darkness all shades of hues.
    A cool wind glided back and forth over them. The bridge swayed lightly but the three had been used to this gentle movement and none of them were concerned by this. They were silent while the fireworks whistled, clapped, and fizzed in the sky with a light sound of tapping from the typewriter. During this brief time, they were at peace, not the peace from being contented or the peace from enlightenment but the peace that settled in their heads and bodies and made them think, at that moment, their lives were not so bad.
    Just before dawn, the three packed up, gave each other a smile and a nod before they parted ways. They knew they were going to see each again. There was no need for long goodbyes.