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December 30, 2022

December 2022 Books & Shows

It was a lazy December (yes, there is still one day left) and I think that will continue into next year. I don't know why but I can't make myself finish anything. Would that be called the year-end fatigue? It seems like that more and more. Anyway, here are the books I read and one show I sort of finished.

Books I Read:

My Rock and My Refuge (Once Upon a Western Book 4) by Rachel Kovaciny
01 - My Rock and My Refuge (Once Upon a Western Book 4) by Rachel Kovaciny > link > author's website (Cover illustration by Erika Ohlendorf)
What's it about: family, faith, love, sibling-ship, immigrants, baking
This is a Christian, western, romance that is also a Beauty and the Beast retelling and with what some reviewers called Jane Eyre vibes. I don't get the Jane Eyre vibes aside from similar story structure with a woman (and her brother) going to work for a rich man with side characters of a housekeeper, a child and the mystery of the rich man's past but no crazy wife in the attic but there is a tower room that people are not allowed to go in. This does have roses, a beautiful lady and a kind of a beast-like character but I wouldn't call this a Beauty and the Beast retelling.
    Marta (the main character and narrator) did most of the preaching and her faith is defined. The constant reminder of Charlie O'Shea, Marta's old flame, is annoying. Yes, he's an asshat but did Marta need the reminder to torture herself to be more aware of men who only wants her for her beauty? Was it necessary to mention him 30 times when he was never around nor did he had anything to do with the overall story? The time she spent talking/thinking about Charlie O'Shea, she could have baked more bread instead. I'm not sure if I like Marta but at least I don't hate her but perhaps I hate how she thinks her beauty is a burden. I do like the relationship Marta has with her brother Jakob and with Mrs. Craig.
    The beast character, Arthur Wendell, is somewhat mysterious but when we learned his back story, it somehow deflated his character in a way. I guess I was hoping for something more tragic than what it was. And making his character handsome before he was scarred reminded me that romance is again between two good looking people. Why couldn't he had been average looking instead of handsome? I'm not sure I believe the romance between Wendell and Marta but that's perhaps Marta somehow made me think that way. I would have preferred we get Wendell's point of view here to make it a more complete story because Marta can only tell the readers what she knew and what she knew wasn't always enough.
    There are no love triangles, no amnesia, no misunderstandings, no one scheming or doing any harm aside from speaking ill of other characters and the adults are mature and they actually talks to each other and make good decisions, well, the main characters anyway. There was no point at any time did I want to slap any character, well, except maybe whatshisname, Alex McLeod. I couldn't stand Alex. Nothing he did was likable or even considered nice because I somehow had such a bad opinion of him that when they mentioned how he made his mother happy by coming home, I thought, he didn't come home for his mother, he came back to get rich. He didn't sound like someone with any good intentions but then we only see him through Marta's point of view so that might somehow clouded my judgement of him.
    The bits with the Chinese immigrants was intriguing and I like having them there so that immigrants aren't just Americans or Germans, it's nice to have a mixture of different people but still, we see little of them as Marta didn't seem to have much interactions with them.
    Summary: This is a somehow slow book and kind of subtle in plot, that is, everything moves in a quiet kind of way. I'm not sure how to describe it but nothing moves too fast (expect perhaps the romance) and no excessive actions. The conflict is mostly internal and since we only get Marta's point of view, it's mostly her conflicts. Everyone's basically good here. I kind of like it but at the same time, it's rather too subdued for me. This is a clean, family friendly, love story with bits of religious tones and main adult characters at its most mature. And baking, lots of baking and there are recipes at the end of the book. I would say this is a cozy book that one can enjoy on a weekend but perhaps it might be too tame or too cozy for those looking for more conflicts and actions in their books. I enjoyed this but probably not as much as I would like.

December 29, 2022

Fiction: Not the end of the world

sky with double rainbow
This month's Words for Wednesday's is provided by Elephant's Child over here. This week's prompts are: wonderful, resilient, worse, pain, valid And/or this image:

Fiction: Not the end of the world

Henry woke up to find the world had changed. Pulling the curtains apart, he looked up at the sky through the windows. The double rainbow was something he had only seen once with his wife Patty. He rubbed his eyes and looked again. If Patty were here, she would say how wonderful and then she would make a wish and made him do the same thing. Then he would wish for all his wishes to come true and she would tell him that's selfish. He would just chuckle and say a wish is a wish.
    Rain started beating against the glass. He knew Patty would again have something good to say even if a tornado came around. She was a resilient optimist up until the end. Compared to her, he was the worse kind of pessimist. The kind who found pain a valid truth to life. Or else he would find an excuse to be grumpy.

December 27, 2022

Book Awards: Best & Worst Books of 2022

girl reading book
This list is completely biased because these are opinions and not facts. I cannot not write in lengthy explanations when I dislike a book but don't worry, you don't have to read what I wrote, just know I didn't like those books. The more I like a book, however, the less I seem to have to say so at least, I can be brief sometimes.

Worst books I read in 2022:

December 22, 2022

Thursday Thirteen: Some favorite quotes

Thursday Thirteen
Here are some of my favorite amusing, serious, dumb, smart, honest and intriguing quotes/passages from books I read, shows and movies I watched and anywhere else I read from. Visit other people's list at Thursday Thirteen here.

01 - "Truth, however bitter, can be accepted, and woven into a design for living."
-  The Hollow by Agatha Christie

02 - "Which comes first yesterday or tomorrow? All we know is that what we think of as past, present and future is nothing more than a story stitched together in our basal ganglia. Our entire concept of time is an artificial construct."
- from the tv show Perception

03 - “I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.”
- The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe by Jane Wagner
04 - Two Girls: "How do you call yourself?"
Poirot: "Hercule Poirot."
Two Girls: "That's not a name, that's a noise."

- from the tv show Agatha Christie's Poirot

05 - "I don't obsess. I think, intensely."
- from the tv show Charmed, original version

06 - "I win not because I am a woman, because I am the boss."
- from the tv show The Six Million Dollar Man

07 - "For future reference: When I say I agree with you, it means I'm not listening."
- from the tv show Elementary

08 - “I wasn’t meant for reality, but life came and found me.”
- The Book of Disquiet by Fernando Pessoa

09 - "When did we became adults? Even though we age, we still get flustered. We are still immature, we don't know much and we make a lot of mistakes. There are no adults in the world. Just children with wrinkles."
- from the Korean tv series, I do, I do

10 - “We had our breakfasts — whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.”
- The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

11 - "I have no idea what I'm doing, but I know I'm doing it really well."

- from the tv show Parks and Recreation

12 - "When you're young you got time
When you're old, you've built a life
In between you're just along for the ride
Nothing's in a straight line
Like the wrinkles on your eyes
Try to take it one candle at a time
When we turn 96
With a smile on our lips
I'll have nothing left to wish"

- lyrics from Pictures by Matt Nathanson from the album Boston Accent

13 - "Everything ends, and it's always sad. But everything begins again too, and that's... always happy. Be happy."
- from the tv show Doctor Who

December 13, 2022

Book Wish List

top ten tuesday

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Books on my winter to-read list but I won't be doing that since I don't make to-read lists. Instead, here's a list of things I would like for books, a book wish list in a way. Everything I listed here is a preference because reading is a preference but I may change my mind on some of these. For more Top Ten Tuesday, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

01 - More friendship, less romance
— I like to know why romance is necessary because I haven't read a single book without romance in it unless it's a middle grade book and even then, there seems to be hints of it. I prefer a friendship story over a romance story any day but that isn't due to me hating romance or anything, I just prefer friends fighting over who gets the last pie over men/women fighting over each other.

02 - Less opened-ended endings  — Most books now seems to have more open-ended endings as if they are being prepared for a sequel which irks me. Even in a series, there should be closure. I think what annoys me more is when they introduce a new problem to interrupt the ending when it's clear it should have ended.

03 - Less vampires (and zombies) —  This is more of a personal preference but darn it, vampires annoy me. I find every paranormal or fantasy book are full of them, like authors must have vampires in their books or they can't call their book a fantasy. Considering there are books specifically about vampires, why they need to add this creature to books that really don't need them, I don't know.
    And zombies — seriously, I don't like to read them at all. But what I hate is when an author uses it to compare things. For example, "She longed for a donut like a zombie long for youknowhat" - do I need such an image especially since it's not even a horror book?

04 - Less pop culture references —  I'm not much into knowing all the trends and happenings and who's famous and all that so whenever there is a pop culture reference, most of the time, I don't know who or what they are referring. Maybe if a book takes place in a very specific time period I can understand the need to mention pop culture references, otherwise I see no reason to use them.

05 - Less future scenes to start a book — This is like flipping to the back of the book, read a bit, go back to the front of the book and then start reading. So I only read a few books with this kind of beginning but I really just don't like them. The future scene lures me to read the book because that's what I read when reading a sample of the book but it's such a letdown to find out I have to read 300 or more pages to get back to that scene and usually, I get never there because I lose interest and mostly because it seems like it's a whole different book.

06 - More back covers for ebooks — With an ebook, there is usually no back cover. When you've reached the very last page, a page pops up and asks you to rate the book but once in a while, it also asks you to rate a book even if it's not the last page of the book. If you use the content list and go to the chapter marked 'End', it will go to the end of the story, not the last page of the book.
    Maybe you can ignore the last few pages of a book because it's usually just the author's bio (which I actually like to read), a list of books the author has written, publisher's info/credits, advertisements or a list of content (this is rather strange but some ebooks have their content list at the end of the book). To me, a book does not end until I see the back cover. (I assume all ebooks of the same book would have the same amount of pages and the same no back covers but if I'm wrong, let me know). (Note: I read ebooks on a kindle. And I had only came across two or maybe three books with back covers and that's a couple of years of reading ebooks.)

07 - More books with good guys who are generally nice  — Good guys who are generally nice is probably boring to people and it might be a bit old fashioned as well but I like them. I don't think you have to be an asshole to be a badass and this goes for males and females. I prefer good guys who are actually good, not good guys who are considered good just because he/she does the right moral thing but still teeters on the edge of darkness. I call them assholes because most of the time, they behave like one. There seems to be a lot of series where the main lead is a general asshole but people still like those books and I don't understand it but then again, people also like serial killers as main characters so what do I know?

08 - Make book series shorter — Perhaps book series should be shorter as they seem to be getting way too long. I think a series should be three books or less with some exceptions. I see series that are 40 books long and I'm not going to read 40 books, I don't care how short they are. And the longer a series is, the more the reader have to spend but it's not the money, it's more like, who has time to read a long series? Or why do we need more than three books to tell a complete story?

09 - Make the first book in a series free  — Since most books are series, it makes sense to allow the reader to get the first book free. I always know if I want to read a series by reading the first book. Frankly, I don't go by the 'it gets better in book two' reading method because if I didn't care one bits about the first book, why would I read the second one?

10 - More standalones — Unless I count reading the first book in a series and quitting, I pretty much haven't read that many genuine standalones. I'm not saying there aren't a lot of standalones but in the types of books I read, there just aren't that many. Or maybe I just haven't found them? (I read a lot of fantasy, paranormal murder mysteries, regular murder mysteries, adventures, middle grade and once in a moon blue science fiction books.)

What bookish things do you wish for?

December 10, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 12 & 13

tree with light snow
For December 7 -December 13, the suggested prompts are Dare and Chance. To me being daring means doing something that you're afraid to do. Well, I'm afraid of a lot of things so it pretty much means everything I do is sort of daring. I've been kindly and sometimes rudely, pushed to do daring things. For a couple of things, I have yet to decide if I would thank them but for most things, I am grateful. Introvert that I am, it's unlikely I would have done many things if not for others. Being daring is sort of hard for me but at least, I came out okay at the end.
    Is chance means luck? People think they have bad luck when bad things happen and maybe that's a way of seeing things and not necessarily true unless we believe them. I believe in luck but at the same time, I believe that I shouldn't believe it. What's that saying about you making your own luck? Well, maybe it's true in some situations because if you do nothing, then there's no good or bad luck. It's a belief, right?

For December 14 -December 20, the suggested prompts are Balance and Achievements in 2022. I don't have balance, certainly trying to put on pants is a challenge because I can never stand on one leg too long. I joke but there's so many saying about how to live a well balanced life but really, do we need to try for such thing? Focusing on what we do instead of how to keep balance is better.
    I can't think of any achievements I had in 2022 but then again, I forget a lot so maybe I did do something worth mentioning but I just can't remember it. But I do remember reading a lot of books (good and bad), made a few art pieces (with many still unfinished), wrote a lot of stories, did a lot of blogging, did a lot of thinking, and working - can those be called achievements? I like to think whatever you do is an achievement because you did it. Do we need to pat ourselves on the back for that? Do we need to highlight the great and not the bad? I think it's better not to think about what you have achieved, rather whether you had enjoyed in doing them.

This is the last of the
Zip Thru Autumn posts. I had enjoyed a few of the topics but mostly, I find, I have nothing much to say about them. This was a good challenge. Thanks to the people at the AtoZ blog for thinking this up and hosting it.

December 03, 2022

Books I Read in November 2022

I didn't do a lot of reading in November because I was again stressed out by work but mostly I just wasn't in the mood for reading or much of anything. Cold weather always make me not want to do things that are too active. Maybe I'm like bears, sleep through winter and then become active again when the weather gets warmer. Anyway, here are the books I read in November.

Cat Among the Pigeons (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1959) by Agatha Christie
01 - Cat Among the Pigeons (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1959) by Agatha Christie > link
This started out a little bland and you can't even begin to think where Poirot would show up or if at all. As these books aren't about the detective, one really shouldn't expect too much appearances from the detective but having the detective showing up at the end like he's a side character of sorts wasn't that great an idea. The mystery was okay but seemed a bit slow somehow.

Peril at End House (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1932) by Agatha Christie
02 - Peril at End House (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1932) by Agatha Christie
I read this same storyline in another Hercule Poirot book (though I can't remmeber which) where Poirot tried to prevent a murder but he didn't succeed and then he solved the murder. I suppose if I haven't been reading Hercule Poirot books I might find this more enjoyable to read.

Dead Man's Folly (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1956) by Agatha Christie
03 - Dead Man's Folly (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1956) by Agatha Christie
This was okay though I find the solution a bit farfetched but there were clues given that said otherwise but it was a bit harder to believe though at first but as with most mysteries, you don't really understand the whole of the story until you got to the solution.

The Big Four (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1927) by Agatha Christie
04 - The Big Four (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1927) by Agatha Christie
Poirot seemed more like a cop here. I really like this one it did see rather repetitious. [Spoiler: We get to know Poirot has a scar on his upper lips. For a few moments I did believe Poirot had a twin brother but then then I didn't. Though I really did like the idea. End Spoiler].

Dead Wrong (Agatha's Amish B&B Book 1) by Vannetta Chapman
05 - Dead Wrong (Agatha's Amish B&B Book 1) by Vannetta Chapman > link
The not using electricity and electronics like phones and computers would definitely make me not want to be Amish but here, the Amish character (the main character Agatha) uses just about anything as long as the Bishop approves - it really seems being Amish here is not really a big deal, perhaps a little meaningless at times but nevertheless, this was a decent read but perhaps it needs a little more editing.

Did you read any good books in November? How's your December going?

December 01, 2022

Thursday Thirteen: Meandering Thoughts

woman holding two cups of tea
The Tea Witch, 2022
I find a new meme that seems pretty easy. It's called Thursday Thirteen and all you do is just list 13 things on your choice of topics on Thursdays. Here are some meandering thoughts that I tried to be as brief as possible just to add a challenge. (The art above, The Tea Witch, was going to be used in a new about page but I haven't gotten around to it so I'm using it here.)  Visit other people's list at Thursday Thirteen here.

01 - I'm a comment slacker but I didn't mean to be. I try all the time to leave comments but I just seem unable to think of anything to say.

02 - Now and then google likes to test my patience by marking my comments on my blog as spam even though I'm signed in and it's my damm blog.

03 - This not being signed into Blogger blogs when you are signed into google's Blogger is annoying. I have to sign in every time I want to leave a comment on a blog.

04 - I saw a commercial for a phone that has the ability to erase with the swipe of our fingers whatever you don't want from the photo you take. This makes me wonder maybe soon there will not be an original photo posted on the web, at least, not one that wasn't altered in some way. Is this progress?

05 - Now that there's such things as Canva (a free-to-use online graphic design tool), I find being a graphic designer kind of not that great. They made it sound so easy to design everything with "no design experience required." If everyone just go get themselves a Canva account or something similar, then would people still need graphic designers? Of course those templates they offered were probably designed by graphic designers. (Canva link)

06 - "Grow a pair of ovaries" - is this good pep talk to a grown woman? It was in a certain book I've read this year. Does any female say this to themselves?

07 - These days, I have low expectations for books but still, it would be nice if writers stop writing about characters who does dumb things that makes readers think they are too stupid to live.

08 - Apparently, I've been lying to readers for years for saying I read science fiction books but it seemed I've only read maybe one or two science fiction a year. I do like a good science fiction now and then but somehow I never find any to read.

09 - One shouldn't wish for time to go faster because it solves nothing and yet, when one is so stressed out of their mind, a quicker passing of time might be a welcome thing.

10 - Do you know what makes work more stressful when you're on a deadline? When a giant fly keeps bugging you every time you try to do something.

11 - Blogs have long memory, that is, if you don't delete them.

12 - Don't you hate it when you look up a word in the dictionary, it defines it with the short version of that word?

13 - It just seem kind of suddenly very cold one day and that's when it really hit me that it's winter. I don't recall the transition this brutal last year or perhaps I have forgotten it?

Have you anything you want to share today?

November 23, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 10 & 11

tree with a few leaves
For November 23- November 29, the suggested prompts are Happy Habits, Goal of your blog for remaining 2022. Happy habits? I don't know. I think what makes you happy don't necessarily becomes habits but it might and you don't know it.
    The remaining blog goal I have for 2022, well, I guess I should say, the only goal I ever have for my blog these days, is to just post at least once a week. That's the only goal I can achieve. I'm not very enthusiastic about blogging these days. I see my blog archive how little I have posted and I know that's due to my lack of enthusiasm for blogging though I keep writing posts and saving them.
    I find time just speed by while I get nothing done. Do people make goals so late in the year? Don't most people think the year is pretty much over and all that's left is celebrating the holidays and hoping nothing bad happens while you try to keep up with whatever you have to do? That pretty much describes my last two months of the year.

For November 30- December 6, the suggested prompts are Fortitude, Easy tips. Fortitude sounds like an odd word to me. I've never used in my writing or anything. I have gone through hard times like everyone else and come out pretty much in decent shape but when I thought about some of the things I had gone through, I have no idea how I managed to get through them. I guess that's fortitude? We don't know what we can do until we're tested.
    Easy tips? I often try to find easy ways to do things so it's probably why I don't know how to do anything. I guess my brain is a bit like a basket with holes because I cannot always retain the things I have read or learned. This might mean I don't have the fortitude to do many things but I certainly try often enough. I am willing to do the work if necessary but sometimes I simply want the easy way.

How about you? Got any happy habits or goals (life or blogging) for the remaining 2022? If you have any easy tips (for life or anything), please share them.

November 15, 2022

What the heck reading moments

Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is Favorite “Aww” Moments In Books (those sweet/cute moments in books that give you warm fuzzies) but I'm going to list something that is slightly the opposite — what the heck moments. Some of these things are really preferences as a reader and nothing more. For more Top Ten Tuesday, visit That Artsy Reader Girl here.

01 - When you realized you're reading a really bad book but you continue to read it anyway because for some strange reason, you thought it might still get better — I've done this a lot because if you're 50% in, it seem a shame to not finish it. Though it rarely gets better.

02 - When the character you thought was the most interesting one in the entire book gets kill off — I have read a couple of books where the one character that I thought was the most interesting of all the characters but then they get killed leaving behind the boring characters to carry on the story. Of course if you start with a boring character, I suppose one should expect that boring character not to die but they didn't get less boring so...

03 - When you're reading a final book in a series and the moment you thought was going to end the series didn't come — I think it's ridiculous to continue a series when it was clearly written (at least to me) that that series was meant to end right there in that book. It annoys me more when the reason for the delay is something utterly stupid or simply a delay or when they just repeat what had happened previously just so the characters are back where they started.

04 - When the truth of something that is so damm important to a character should be coming out but it didn't — So we live in an age of people wanting instant gratification but book readers would still plow through a 1,000 pages to get to the good stuff, it definitely would cause a lot of annoyance if they delay something that we are promised.

05 - When you're reading a murder mystery and they finally reveal the reason behind the murder and it turns out to be something lame — Let's just say disappointment is not the quite the word for that feeling. Maybe the incredulous reason is just too incredulous that I rather not know why they did it.

06 - When you read a 1,000 page book and nothing happened — So maybe things do happen but they are not important or significant enough unless you think such things as a character making coffee and drinking it as important, than sure, things happen. I think some of the books I read really didn't need to be so long. You can tell some things are fluff or fillers just to make a book or even a book series longer.

07 - When a villain that is supposed to be dead comes back not dead — Maybe this would be a welcome thing when it's the good guy but somehow when it is a villain, it's not at all good and fuzzy, it's more like: What the hell? Wasn't he killed? Who resurrected the jackass?

08 - When you read a book and you thought you understood what you read but then realized you didn't understand anything at all — A reader interprets books so maybe what makes sense to others will not make sense to me and verse versa but I just think some books simply do not make sense to me at least.

09 - When you read a book that you thought was a standalone but it turned out it was part of a series — I'm not saying I get that annoyed by this but if a book is part of a series and there are no indication anywhere, one just would get annoy if they don't get a complete story unless they read five or six more books.

10 - When you read the last page of a book series and realized it was the worst book to end a series — I love/hate book series mostly because of this. I read a lot of great first or second, middle books but the last book always seems to suffer from something. It's hard to end a series but sometimes I think authors or publishers just don't seem to be trying all that hard.

What dumb or incredulous moment have you had in your reading experience?

November 07, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 8 & 9

tree with falling leaves
For November 9- November 15, the suggested prompts are Lesson and Know where I've been. I guess like most of us, I do learn my lessons but mostly I find not really. I can't always remember the mistakes I made so I make them again and then correct it.
    Know where I've been? I've haven't been anywhere or if I did, I don't remember so does this means I don't know where I've been?

For November 16 - November 22, the suggested prompts are Joy, Job in blogging and Ideas. I find joy just thinking up things to post on my blog. I don't think of blogging as a job although if someone wants to pay me to blog about whatever I want, then I'll accept. Blogging is not easy and yet, if you enjoy it, it's sort of easy, that is, if you're not pulling your hair out because your blog or something related to your blog is suddenly not working.
    I don't have any ideas today but yesterday, I did wonder why every good idea I have for a post just zoomed out of my head. I write tons of drafts but most of them remain as drafts because I don't really want to use them or I just forget about them.
Where do you find joy? If you can blog for a living, would you?

November 01, 2022

October 2022 Books

October was stressful, work-wise, but other than that, nothing much happened aside from completing a few artwork pieces and reading more Agatha Christie books and a few none-Christie ones. Here are the books I read in October 2022.

Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories
01 - Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories > link
These stories were quick but satisfying.

October 31, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 7

Zip Thru Autumn
For November 2 - November 7, the suggested prompts are Never blog this and Motivating. I've never blogged about what I wear or eat or if I get hurt, I've never shown my injuries, nor any politics or news events unless I like to or maybe I should say I never blogged about anything too personal that people would know where my scars are nor anything too depressing. Like I said in the previous Zip Thru Autumn 6, I will share only things I'm comfortable with, which, are mostly mundane things.
    As for motivations, it comes and goes. But the number one motivation for me are blog readers, they keep me blogging, mostly. Let's be honest, nobody blogs so they can talk to themselves, at least, I do not. I've seen a few blogs where they turn off comments and I thought of them as websites or records, not a place for people to interact with each other. Anyway, motivations come and go but it's good to have a few readers to stop by to remind me I'm not blogging into the void or I'm not out here talking to myself although sometimes it kind of feels like it.

What have you never blogged about? What motivates you to continue blogging?

October 29, 2022

Draw or Nap #3: Postcards from the sky

typewriter with paper of a city skyline and a plant crawling all
Postcards from the sky
I didn't post as many drawings as I would like this month but mostly because it took me too long to finish a single piece. But here's one that I just finished. I call this Postcards from the sky but mostly because I can't think of anything to call it. I was going to have some text on the typewriter paper at the front, something like, 'On a clear and moonlit night..." but I decided no on that. The typewriter keys are askew but everything is sort of not straight anyway so I just decided to leave it. I really like how this turned out though. (click on the images for a larger view)

closeup- typewriter with paper of a city skyline and a plant crawling all

draw or nap

October 24, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 6

Zip Thru Autumn
For October 26 - November 1, the suggested prompts are Priorities, Open. I never thought of blogging as a priority but it's something that I care about. It's not necessary for me to blog at all but sometimes it's something that I kind of automatically think of to do like any other every day task. I've been blogging for a long while so perhaps I got into the habit and not think too much on it.
    I think I'm very open with my blog but at the same time, I don't share many personal things but mostly because I'm just not comfortable doing it. I do wonder why some people are easy-going when it comes to sharing and why others aren't as good at it. I am certainly not good at it. I see many bloggers confessing their inner most thoughts and struggles and I appreciate their openness and I can understand there is a certain comfort in sharing them but I doubt I can do the same thing.

If you have a blog, do you prioritize it or is it just like any other tasks you do each day? Are you open with your blog readers and do you like sharing your inner most thoughts?

October 20, 2022

Fiction: Deaths and Desserts

This October's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by River at Drifting Through Life over here. This week's prompts are donkey, battleground, spatula, outside, bridge, stars, rescue, scorching and this image:

I had manged to use all the words although battleground might perhaps not quite fit here. Not sure why I wrote this story but I have been reading murder mysteries.

Fiction: Deaths and Desserts
Mrs. Avalon Bridge's dessert party was one of the neighborhood's favorites every year on Halloween but only a chosen few were invited. Pia Brown, who lived next door to Mrs. Bridge, was delighted to receive her invitation this year but she had to take along her elderly father-in-law, Bob. Most people hated Bob. He was a loud, obnoxious fellow with a bad temper and was always rising a fuss about some small thing. At 87, he was obese and had a rather unhealthy obsession with sweets. His doctors told him to stay away from desserts or else prepare for a heart attack but he refused to listen. He said he was too old to follow rules. There was a rumor that Pia's husband, Bob the second, had died to get away from his father. Pia, on the other hand, was not so lucky. Bob the second, rather stupidly or perhaps cunningly, placed in his will that Pia must take care of his father until his death or else she will not get the money he had left her.
    On the night of the party, a light rain was falling. Pia and Bob, carrying umbrellas, walked over to Mrs. Bridge's house. Pia politely smiled and gave a quiet greeting while Bob grunted a hello. Mrs. Bridge, dressed in a long black gown with kimono sleeves and her long, black hair divided in the middle, gave them a kind welcome. No one was certain of her age but she might be in her late thirties. She gathered their outerwears and umbrellas and threw them in the closet.
    Inside, the 15 guests were already seated at the large dinning table. Every space was decorated with orange, red and black decors shaped like skulls, witches and pumpkins along with a gray stuffed donkey as the center piece on the table. Pia thought that was strange but then again, Mrs. Bridge was strange. Some had speculated Mr. Bridge might had been murdered by Mrs. Bridge but Mrs. Bridge acted as if Mr. Bridge never existed. All the photographs in her house were of her and no one else.
    Mrs. Bridge stood at the head of the table. "Ladies and gentlemen, I am delighted you all came tonight. Dessert as you all know, came from the French word—"
    Bob interrupted, "Get on with it, lady. No one's here to hear you babble."
    Mrs. Bridge pursed her lips and then smiled. "Yes, of course, Mr. Brown. We might as well start right away. Slay, please serve the first dish."

October 18, 2022

Draw or Nap #2: The modern witch

cat-witch with ipad and puppies
The modern witch
Debra at She Who Seeks
suggested drawing a modern witch so this piece came about. (Thanks Debra.) The only thing I can think of to modernize a witch would be technology so she uses an ipad or whatever you like to think as modern. I certainly don't know as I'm quite un-modern.

the modern witch closeups
I titled this The modern witch but I'm thinking maybe change to The tea witch as she's a tea maker or so I believe. I wanted her to be a cat-witch so it's why she has such ears but she doesn't really look like a cat. The animals in her arm and on the floor are puppies or cats or some weird cat-puppies or something. I decided pink is her favorite so that's why there are so much pink. For a larger view, click on the images.
draw or nap

October 10, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 4 & 5

Zip Thru Autumn
For October 12 - October 18, the suggested prompts are Ten-year plan, SMART goals. I don't much care for these prompts so I'm skipping them both.

For October 19 - October 25, the suggested prompts are Recommend, Questions for visitors. I prefer other people recommend things to me and not the other way around. I still give recommendations if people ask me but really, it's better people don't.
    What questions would I have for you, dear readers? I can suggest plenty but for today, I'll ask just a few questions for fun (answer one or a few as you like):
01 - Socks are better than shoes, agree or disagree?
02 - Do books fly if you throw them at the wall?
03 - What Disney character vex you?
04 - Are you willing to help your best friend bury a (presumably dead) body?
05 - Which do you prefer to use: PC, Mac or whatever device you can get your hands on?

October 06, 2022

Draw or Nap #1

girl reading sitting on a swing with a cat
nap paradise, 2022
I started this piece a while and only finished it now. I suppose I can add more things, do more with the shading but for now it seems pretty finished to me.


draw or nap

October 04, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 3

Zip Thru Autumn
For October 5 - October 11, the suggested prompt is Variety, Unique to my blog. I must admit, there is no variety to my blog. I only blog about books, my fiction writing and something that is neither of those two. And occasionly, I'll post my art if I have a new piece to share which is not often. Do people expect variety with anyone's blog? I don't but mostly because I read so many blogs that I don't need variety from just one blog.
    I cannot say there is anything unique to my blog aside that it is mine and no one else's. Everybody's unique but at the same time, everyone's sort of the same. We only think we're unique because there's not another one of us so, just like our blog, there is no other blog like ours unless there is someone copying you and in that case, you're still unique because you're not that person copying you unless you're weird and you like to copy your old blog for some reason.

As a blogger, do you think you need to offer variety to your readers? And do you think bloggers need to be particularly unique with their contents or themselves?

October 03, 2022

September 2022 Books

September went rather too quick. I think I did do things but at the same time, I remember not doing a lot. I'm not quite ready for sweater weather though but who can stop time or the weather?
    I read more Agatha Christie books without reading the synopsis which I think makes these mysteries more enjoyable. I think I'll be reading Christie books through the end of the year. There are so many of them.
    As you may have noticed I have changed my blog's header again. Maybe it's a bad habit to change headers because readers might not recognize your blog but I think it's always nice to see a change every now and then. It really sort of make things seems new even though I haven't changed anything else. Can one enjoy change even if just the little things? I know I do sometimes. Here are the books I read in September 2022.

The Hollow (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1946) by Agatha Christie
01 - The Hollow (A Hercule Poirot Mystery, 1946) by Agatha Christie
> link
I thought this was a bit boring in the beginning but then I couldn't stand any of the characters. I think we spent too much time in all the involved characters' head and there are all these stupid love triangles between distant cousins. Frankly, I can never understand why women worship selfish, lying, cheating asshats which is what the victim is. I'm not sorry I cannot understand him. And Poirot is hardly in the story and I think if you replace him with someone else, it didn't make much of a difference.

October 01, 2022

Draw or Nap October 2022

desk with drawing pad, paper, devil & angel figurines
draw or nap, 2022
Last October, I did a challenge I titled Draw Something October 2021 where I draw almost every day and show some of the results so I'm doing the same thing this year. This time, I'm doing it slightly different. I will take suggestions on what to draw. I will not promise to draw every suggestion but I will think about it. I call this Draw or Nap just for fun or it may be what I'll do this month.
    So make your suggestions — be as descriptive (example: a house on a hill on a mountain with steps leading up to it) or as simple as you like (a chair with a book on it) but please keep them family-friendly. So if you're incline, leave your suggestions of what I might draw in the comments.

September 30, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 2

Zip Thru Autumn
For September 28- October 4, the suggested prompt is Xenodochy in blogging, Why blog. I had to look up xenodochy and it means, according to most online dictionary, the reception of or extending of hospitality to strangers or foreigners. I guess xenodochy in blogging might mean strangers accepting our blogs with hospitality or we accept strangers to our blog with hospitality. Let's just use those meanings.
    When I thinks of blog readers, I don't exactly think of the readers as strangers. Somehow, I just accept them as friends even if I've never met them because if I think of them as strangers than I can't quite accept any interaction with them. I suppose if you think of your blog like a booth on a sidewalk or street where strangers can come and talk to you about their day or what they prefer on their hot dogs, you would be weary of them but on the web, you don't see their faces, you see the words they say or will say and that's quite easy to accept. I'm not saying I would blindly accept strangers just because they happen to visit my blog, I'm just saying it's easier to accept strangers if I don't see their faces.  I try not to think too much on this because if I did, it would stress me out.
    The second prompt, why blog, does suggest a lot of things to me but after blogging for so long, I no longer know why I blog, I just know I want to.

If you're a blogger, do you accept readers into your blog just like that or do you have to think about it? And do you need a reason to blog?

September 29, 2022

Thursday Art & Dinner Date With Rain: Hair

drawing of gilr with colorful hair
I'm joining in Rain's Art & Dinner Date with this week's theme, hair, so naturally I draw hair. It's not quite finish but it's close to it. Click on the images for a larger view. For more art and dinner, visit Rain's blog here.
drawing girl with hair
windswept closeup

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Update: Here's the finished piece. Not really all that difference but I really do like the result. Click on the images for a larger views.

drawing of girl with colorful hair
windswept, final version

closeup of girl with colorful hair
windswept, final version, closeup

September 26, 2022

Zip Thru Autumn 1

Zip thru Autumn - an AtoZ Challenge Event
Over at Blogging from A to Z blog, they are holding a Zip thru Autumn event. The idea is to post (in reverse from Z to A) on a bi-weekly schedule with whatever topic you want or you can use their prompts. I thought this is a good way to sort of prepare you for the A-Z challenge next year or just something to keep you blogging. For this, I'll probably just write random stuff that get unstuck from my head or whatever I thought to write at the moment and I'll use the prompts because I'm too lazy to think up new ones. More about the event here.
For September 21- 27, the suggested prompt is Zero excuses, Yearn to. It's rather lazy of me but I don't do a lot of blogging and have zero excuses for it other I didn't want to. I think it's sufficient to post twice or once a week. Every now and then, I had some yearnings to post more but the idea just went out of my head every time I think about it. Yes, it's nice to post more but I don't like to blog just so I can blog.
    I had posted (on this blog anyway) over 150 posts which I thought is pretty decent for almost two years. But I have noticed the amount each month are barely over seven posts which I suppose if I'm to calculate it, it's four posts per month which is still decent I think. But that's something I doubt I will ever change. If you're a blogger, are you posting more or less or the numbers doesn't matter?

September 23, 2022

Fiction: A Simple Quest

Tolkien Blog Party
For Rachel's Tolkien Blog Party, she devised a Roll Your Own Middle-Earth Adventure Party Game where you use a six-sided dice or an online number generator to get numbers that corresponds to a statement and then you put together a tale. If you like to play go here.
    I had put together the results but I decided to write a long version using Words for Wednesday's prompts which for this month are provided by David M. Gascoigne and hosted at Elephant's Child's blog over here. This week's words are illustrator, judgement, insignificant, friend, creative, married and/or, myriad, quilt, product, lip-service, assemble, bask.  I didn't use illustrator, product, lip-service or creative.

I used random generator and the results are these:
You - #4 - Men
Your Quest - #3 - To find your family's lost heirlooms
Your Companions -  #1 - Aragorn, Legolas and Gimili
Your Adversary -  #6 - Shelob
The Outcome - #5 - You succeed, but just barely, and spend the trip home debating whether it was all worthwhile.

Fiction: A Simple Quest

"Bask, I am a simple man but sometimes I wish I could go on an adventure or two," said my friend Myriad but those might also be my thoughts exactly with one word different. Assembled there like a group of tired wanderers, Myriad, myself, Chase, Ranger and Nippip, sat around the table at the local pub after a long day of work.
    Never did I think I would have an adventure of my own but last week changed that. Last week, my father left this world. But he also left a bequest to find our family's lost heirloom but he did not specify what that was, only that we would know it when we see it. This bequest would have fallen to my elder brother but he had a limp and could not travel far and aside from that, there were his six young children, his wife, and an elderly mother-in-law to think of while I was untethered. At twenty, I was still considered a young lad with my round and youthful face.
     I was ecstatic about going on an adventure and yet, I did not know if I want to go alone or with others. I told my friends of my quest. They placed no judgement on me. They too, were insignificant, mild folks, who never never took journeys nor did anything dangerous. We lived each day as ordinarily as possible though why we thought ordinariness was a good thing, we did not know. Our imaginations rarely led us astray. Of the five of us, only Nippip had any type of adventure three years ago. A carriage ran over him while he tried to escape bandits as he was traveling with his family to visit his grandmother. But he complained it was not worth losing a leg for which he said marred him for life for no woman wanted to be married to a one-legged fool. He kept complaining about it every time he got some drink in him.
    After awhile, having drank enough and having no luck of what to do about the quest, I shuffled out of the bar and started home. My mind was not quite sober but I could still think almost clear enough to make my way home. Then I collided with someone.
    The man had pointed ears. He simply smiled and bowed. But this somehow caused anger in me and I insulted the man but then I apologized for being rude and began to move away. Why an elf would wonder through our little village at night, I did not care to wonder. He stopped me before I took another step. Perhaps I might liked a small talk with him about my troubles?
    Having no good sense, I agreed and we sat down on a little bench in front of the bakery. It was closed for the night as was every place. He was a good listener, this elf. At the end of our conversation, he advised me to get the help of Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli. Before he left me, he added, "None of us are perfect but we can be perfectly honest with ourselves." I was confounded by those words but I brushed them off and continued homeward.

September 19, 2022

The Tenth Annual Tolkien Blog Party Tag

This week (Sept. 18-24) is the Tenth Annual Tolkien Blog Party hosted by Rachel at The Edge of the Precipice. This is in celebration of all things related to J.R.R. Tolkien - the books, the movies, the world of Middle-earth. I'm not a big fan but I am somewhat a small fan ever since I saw the movies. I only read The Lord of the Rings this year. Today, I decided to answer the tag. For more about the party, go here.

1. Who first introduced you to Middle Earth? 
I have no idea but I probably saw a commercial for one of the movies. The Lord of The Rings movies were my first time that had anything to do with Tolkien.

2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?
Not that I can say but I do appreciate the idea of such a place in existence even as a fictional place.

3. Have you ever dressed up like a Tolkien character?
No, but if I were to dress as one, I would prefer dressing as Lady Éowyn in armor.

4. What people in your real life would you want in your company if you had to take the ring to Mordor?
None I can think of as I do prefer to have people who knows magic and someone knows how to use a sword and can fight really well. I don't know anyone who could do those things.

5. What Middle-earth location would you most like to visit?
Rivendell? But only because it's the one I can remember aside from the Shire. The Shire sounds like a good place for a quiet visit. I think any place but Mordor, even if the evil people are gone from there, I doubt it would be a pleasant place for a visit.

6. Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention?
Treebeard, I really like his people's way of not rushing through things, never hasty in making decisions.

7. Would you rather attend Faramir's wedding or Samwise's wedding?
Sam (I always call him Sam) because there would be lots of food and one would not feel like they have to be too careful about what they touch or say. Let's just say Faramir's wedding would be a far too serious affair for one to truly enjoy.

8. How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?
If you count The Lord of the Rings as three books, then three, if not, then one.

9. Are there any books about Middle-earth or Professor Tolkien (but not written by him) that you recommend?
None that I can say.

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the Middle-earth books and/or movies.
There are many but I'll just list two from the books:

"I almost feel that I dislike you both, but do not let us be hasty." - Treebeard to Merry and Pippin, The Two Towers

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark." - Aragorn, The Two Towers

"There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark." - from The Two Towers book


Here are the questions if you want to answer the Tag:
1. Who first introduced you to Middle Earth? 
2. Has your love of Middle-earth affected your life?
3. Have you ever dressed up like a Tolkien character?
4. What people in your real life would you want in your company if you had to take the ring to Mordor?
5. What Middle-earth location would you most like to visit?
6. Are there any secondary characters you think deserve more attention?
7. Would you rather attend Faramir's wedding or Samwise's wedding?
8. How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?
9. Are there any books about Middle-earth or Professor Tolkien (but not written by him) that you recommend?
10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotations from the Middle-earth books and/or movies.

September 16, 2022

Fiction: The Queen's Hot Air Balloon

typewriter, cup, short fiction text

This September's Words for Wednesday prompts are provided by David M. Gascoigne and is hosted at Elephant's Child over here. This week's prompts are laboratory, devoted, ridiculous, happy, tenderly, sick and/or encouragement, diseases, formidable, unruly, vaccine, cricket. I used all the words but vaccine, just couldn't fit it.

Fiction: The Queen's Hot Air Balloon

Cricket, as she was known by her dearest families and friends, led a life devoted to her people, her family, her pets and her many varieties of interest. It was a life of ordinary but happy days.
    As the queen of Glanden, Cricket did not accept ridiculous or unruly behaviors. For her fur children, she gave some allowances but as for her family and everyone else, she demanded a serious demeanor.
    One day, the queen's family heard through their servants who heard it from other servants of grand people, the queen had purchased a hot air balloon. This, of course, roused Cricket's children and various relations. They gathered together and held a meeting in one of their houses. During the talk, they had hot pot and beer though they weren't dared if the queen had been present.
    By the end of the evening, the family had all voted in the negative. The queen must not be allowed to own a hot air balloon. She would be ridicule and perhaps even had her title taken away. Unsurprisingly, they were quite shocked by the price of the balloon. It was almost enough to buy a house. They could not bare having their inheritance spent in that way or so they all said but if they were being honest, they liked the idea and would have loved a ride in the balloon if allowed. They ended the meeting having selected the queen's favorite granddaughter, Queenie, to go and talk her out of it and perhaps return it and get the money back.
    Meanwhile, in her tea room, Cricket was pondering over the purchase. It had been an impulse, a sudden attack of want instead of need was what her grandmother would have put it. But it wasn't quite impulsive. They took a week to build to it and in that time, Cricket could have changed her mind several times.
    She took a sip of her mid-morning tea and sighed. Bright sunlight from the skylight filled the spacious room. There was a table, a few chairs, a large bookshelf with her favorite books, some portraits of her ancestors and a large comfortable couch. It was all hers. No one was allowed in the room without her permission aside from Gideon, her butler/man of all duties and her bodyguard, Stillman, a quiet woman in her late twenties. 
    Cricket put down the cup and looked up. From the skylight, she could see bits of gold. Yesterday morning, Master Jack, the owner of the balloon making shop, had personally shipped the hot air balloon to her roof and now it was guarded by two servants. The envelope was of a bright, golden color with random red birds - gold and red were two of her favorite colors. The basket was of similar gold and large enough for ten to twelve people. Cricket was not certain why she chose such a large balloon except that she wanted it be grand. No respectable queen would have a tiny balloon.
    Looking out the windows at her garden she tenderly caressed the British Shorthair on her lap. For a moment, she was distracted by Ginger's soft purrs but there was no forgetting the hot air balloon on her roof. She could pretend she was sick or caught some rare disease that caused her to purchase the balloon. No, she could not make such false claims. It was exactly the kind of behavior she was against. Then what good reason had she to purchase something so expensive, so unnecessary and so damm impractical? Sometimes she thought of herself as a rat in a laboratory being studied for whether she will misbehave or not. But of course if a rat was restrained one too many times, she would, of course, want to rebel.
    But the image she projected was a formidable, headstrong, respectable and calm individual. Not this indecisive person. She shook her head. It was impossible to pretend she had not done a foolish thing. If she was just another person without a title, if she was not a queen, she wouldn't regret it though her regret, if such thing was to be measured, it would be at 0.01%. So yes, it was a slightly mad thing that she had done.
    Standing quietly in a corner, Gideon stood with his eyes downward. He had always knew when to wait and when to leave.
    "Gideon, get my coat. And my goggles!" Cricket said and smiled.