"My life is spent in one long effort to escape from the commonplaces of existence." ― Sir Arthur Conan Doylen, Sherlock Holmes
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May 31, 2017

The Beast's Library

'the beast's library'
This week's Scribble Picnic is books so naturally I created a library. This library was first drawn for a particular piece that wasn't used and so I turned it into a library the Beast (as in Beauty and the Beast), would be proud to have or perhaps my own wish for a particular pretty mini library. Can you guess 4 of the book titles I snuck in there? Click on the images for a larger view.

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May 27, 2017

Mini Book Reviews

mini reviews
Here are some books I've read lately and as always, I only talk about books I recommend reading.

01/ Hunted by Meagan Spooner
01/ Hunted by Meagan Spooner
''Hunted' is a bit one-sided with most of the story centering on Yeva though we do get glances of the Beast's thoughts. Yeva sounds like a person who makes reasonable choices when it's necessarily but she seems more certain when she is hunting, while everything else in her life, she's a bit indecisive. The Beast, well, I really don't know much about him except that on occasions, being a beast makes him behave like an angry animal who doesn't quite know what he is about. At first, I sort of fear these two don't quite belong together but toward the end, the book changed my mind.

The ending is a bit quick but there were moments of being dragged out just before the final scene. Once Yeva made the decision to return to the Beast, she still lingered about for reasons I can't even understand. Is the reason so that we can have a dramatic end? Because the end isn't dramatic at all. It came quick and rather brief on how it all happened. Overall, 'Hunted' is a good retelling of 'Beauty and the Beast' and it would have been great if we have gotten a longer, detailed explantation about the ending and perhaps more of the Beast's backstory because quite frankly, I thought there is simply not much about him, not even his name which is hinted at but no definite idea whether it is true or not.

Favorite Quote: "The merchant's youngest daughter was renamed Yeva, after the temptress in the garden. She would preferred Beauty, for at least there is beauty in all things, not only temptation, but Yeva she was to be."

02/ Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
02/ Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
'Furthermore' is a topsy-turvy adventure book like 'Alice in wonderland' but with lots more twists and turns and very strange places and ideas and all written in a wonderful style. In a way 'Furthermore' is almost like a movie because there are so many imagery that if you can imagine it, it really is a colorful kaleidoscope of events. I love Alice's can-do attitude and her somewhat good opinion of herself. She is just perfect as a heroine with imperfect flaws like the rest of us but unlike the rest of us, we are not in a magical land. She has a magical ability relating to color which I thought is perfect for her. I won't say what that is but the book cover sure tells a lot.

I have to point out the narrator who we are not given any info about but I like his/her narration. If I can compare it to something it would to an announcer of a television show and someone who has a bit too much personality and likes to add their input on the story but somehow it not deterred the story. I thought it is rather fun to have such a narrator telling the story instead of Alice.

Favorite quote: "Alice was an odd girl, even for Ferenwood, where the sun occasionally rained and the colors were brighter than usual and magic was as common as a frowning parent. Her oddness was evident even in the simplest things she did, though most especially in her inability to walk home in a straight line. She stopped too many times, wandering off the main path, catching deep breathes and holding them, too selfish to let them go."

03/ Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett with Illustrations by Helen Stone
03/ Little Witch by Anna Elizabeth Bennett with Illustrations by Helen Stone
The writing feels a little dated like reading those old Nancy Drew mysteries but it was first published in 1953. 'Little Witch' is a pleasant and quick read at 128 pages. Minikin or rather Minx is quite ordinary in that she wants to go to school and learn though her witch mother would not allow such thing. I like Minx's sometimes spunkiness and her determination to go to school is something to be admired. And also, there are some magic involved so that adds to the fun.

Favorite quote: "Pray tell what did you do with your time last night?" (from Minx's mother)

"I slept," said Minx.

"Slept! Well, if you're going to be a proper witch you'll have to learn to do your sleeping in the daytime like other respectable witches. You're just not cut out to be a witch, I guess! But I'll see to it that you mend your ways or I'll change you into a flowerpot, or maybe something much less pretty!"

Read any good books lately? Tell me about it.

May 25, 2017

Top ten thursday: foreign languages

 image from donnapie.tumblr.com/ from the show 'Rooftop Prince'
This week's Top Ten Thursday is 'words or phrases we know in one or several foreign language(s)' or what I learned from watching all those tv dramas (with English subtitles of course). The list are all phrases that is used constantly in tv dramas, at least, the ones I've watched and I've watched a whole bunch. I'm really bad at spelling even phonetically so if you really want to learn any of these phrases, do some research. 

~ Mandarin ~

01/ wo shi wan ni — I like you 

02/ wo ai ni — I love you

03/ bu shi — no

04/ duay boo chee — I'm sorry

05/ boo drew doubt — I don't know

~ Korean ~

06/ ande or anya or ani — no

07/ gwen cha na — it's okay

08/ sa rang hae or sa rang hae yo — I love you
09/ bienn or bienae — sorry

10/ kalm some mee da — thank you

Know any phrases in a foreign language? Do share in the comments.

May 18, 2017

Top ten items on my bucket list

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck on the Spanish Steps in Rome in the film 'Roman Holiday'
I did write a bucket list of sorts a while back but somehow I lost it so here's some random things that I want to do:

01/ Write/finish those novels/illustrated books — I've been putting them off for a long while now and I doubt I'll ever finish so it's pretty much on all of my lists

02/ Visit the places Audrey Hepburn had been in her films — I don't like to travel but if I do happen to want to travel one day, I would go somewhere where Audrey Hepburn had been especially the places in the movie 'Roman Holiday' like the Spanish Steps in Rome (see above photo) or even ride a motor bike

03/ Create my own art studio — not just for art but blogging and writing but anything that is classified as not sleeping; the studio would have two doors that will open toward the outside so I can enjoy being outside without going outside

04/ Ride a bicycle — I love them but I don't know how to ride them, okay, maybe this is a bit lame and frankly, it doesn't bother me much that I can't ride

05/ Run a tea cake cafe — where people can relax and sip tea and enjoy some quiet time with a dessert or two

06/ Walk all the NYC parks — I've walked a couple of them but I guess this is the kind of goals that you can't finish no matter how much time you have

07/ Own my own book store/library — part book store, part library where you either sign up to rent books for free or buy new editions

08/ Go on a book tour — no chance of a book of mine would be published considering I can't even finish a first draft & I'm not quite into meeting strangers who lines up just to get a book signed but I kind of like the idea of promoting something I've done

09/ Climb a fake wall — fear of heights makes me avoid a lot of things so I think climbing a fake wall sounds like an accomplishment

10/ Get a hair cut at a salon — I never had my hair cut in a salon before so this is on the list, not really something I would put on a bucket list but I guess doing anything that I've not done before might be considered something for a bucket list

What's on your bucket list?

May 16, 2017

Honest Taglines For My Blog

Every April I celebrate the month that I started blogging by making one or two lists. This year I made two list. The first one is here. Below is the other one.

Here are some honest taglines for my blog:

newly redesigned to be 87% less productive than ever before

blogging for chocolate
talking to myself since 2006
honestly talking about nothing and being honest about it
 have blog, will only semi-work
procrastinating silently & sometimes with bits of noise
blogging without coffee since 2006
daily somethings + other tiny joys
posting things that I am not ashamed to share, at least not right away
blogging ridiculously slow since 2006

What's your honest tagline for your blog?

Note: 2006 is the year I started blogging.

May 10, 2017

'cloud planting' finished

'cloud planting'
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Now that I looked at this piece again, it didn't look as crowded as I thought. I trend to fill up spaces for no reason. I sort of wanted a mountain view in the back but decided it might take away the floating feeling. Also, the trees at the bottom appear so much smaller than the girl which I didn't realize until now. Let's pretend all the trees around her are still growing and that's why she is almost the same size as them except for the smaller little trees. Are the colorful clouds a bit much?

This week's Scribble Picnic with the theme "Potted Plant." I know there are no pots in this piece but there are plants or plant-ish trees so I sort of fulfilled the theme, right?

Visit Scribble Picnic here for more potted plants.

May 5, 2017

April A-Z Challenge Reflections

I wasn't going to do this reflection post but since I've already written down some of it during the challenge, it shouldn't go to waste, right? So here they are.

Some thoughts on the A-Z Challenge:
01/ No link list this year so now instead of browsing/reading hundreds of blog links, we are browsing/reading hundreds of comments which is basically about the same thing except you get more info of what the participants are posting which helps to decide whether to visit but of course broken links usually deters people from visiting but I'm a determined person so I usually can get to the right link. I honestly wanted to go and fix all the links or even make it for them.

02/ Am I the only one who made a list of blogs to visit? Well, I make my list and visited those folks first and then go through the comments to check out any other interesting post to read. But of course, there is a down side to this - you sort of get disappointed when they don't post or when they pretty much gave up on the challenge which there were a few.

03/ I actually like the random/no theme posts the most. I suppose having to come up with ideas associating with a certain letter gets people to be a little more creative. I know I was scrambling for ideas but I came up with pretty good ones even when they were thought up the day before. Seriously, I only had a few scheduled post which I ended up editing after it was posted. Did anyone successfully scheduled and thought out all of their posts and did it on time and with no problems? Anyone? I like to know what the secret is, you know, other than thinking ahead and writing ahead and doing everything ahead because I can't seem to think ahead.

04/ I like that some participants have themes which is helpful to decide whether I want to read that blog or not. So maybe I avoided visiting those people with particular themes but I don't want to force myself to read something I know I have no interest in.

05/ I really like that some bloggers tells you exactly what their post is about because there are certain things I like to avoid like zombies and vampires and butt cracks. And yes, I avoided long posts too — I read them if they interest me but mostly, I kind of ignore them. I'm sure a few of you avoided reading them as well. Don't say you didn't.

06/ I really don't like that I'm a day behind most people because of time zones and the A-Z people always post the letter post early. I thought about posting one Sunday just so I would be more up to date but then I think that defeats the purpose of the whole challenge. But it still seems kind of weird because while I was still on a certain letter, I saw the next letter post already there and I thought I should visit those people even though I'm a letter behind but no.

Some suggestions for the next A-Z challenge because apparently I'm nosy:
07/ Some division between comments such as a line or a border around individual comments would be helpful. I honestly couldn't tell one comment from the next as some participants space out their text. Also a number next to each comment would also be helpful.

08/ Someone should remove all those 'This comment has been removed by the author' comments because they really add to the length of comments  — those and repeat comments which probably came about because of errors and other glitches. All that strolling really makes me not want to keep strolling.

09/ Copy and paste your post link because typing it out is a pain and also too many errors that you sort of didn't mean to make but it happens. I know I can never get my link right if I have to type it out. Also, if you're signed in to Blogger, you can use the preview feature to check your link. If you're on a Mac, you can just click on the link while holding the command button to open the link to a new page/tab. I don't know about PC's but I think they basically work the same way.

10/ I think everyone should just use Zero or Zilch as their Z post and then rant about how they got nothing for Z. As far as I can tell, no one's really trying too hard after W anyway. I know I was going to just post whatever for xyz if I haven't come up with anything. I guess that's my lazy self talking but it makes sense doesn't it?

So how did you do on your A-Z challenge? Did you learn anything?

Go here for more A-Z reflections.

May 4, 2017

Top Ten Thursday : Habits to learn or unlearn

'hello, I'm an alien'
The topic for Top Ten Thursday is "Skills we wished today's young people would learn" but I decide it's better to make a list of habits. Let's not call them bad or good habits but just habits that a person does because their mind doesn't know any other way to do them or maybe it's a quirk.

Habits to unlearn:

01/ Doing things other than work when I'm at work — so, everyone probably does this sometimes, I mean, there are times when working is just something you do not want to do. The whole I-got-to-do-it-or-else-I-won't-get-paid bit is what makes me return to work but really, who wants to be working every hour of the day?

02/ Correcting myself — not just words or writings or blog posts but everything, I just hate making mistakes

03/ Watching tv shows and forgetting there are other things in the world — I sort of banned myself from watching tv shows since January but I guess it's not working, it's almost like a new habit that somehow disguised itself as an old habit

04/ Putting things off — procrastinating apparently is a hobby of mine, I really haven't finished much this year, aside from the A-Z challenge, I suppose my constant inability to concentrate on one thing at a time contributes to it

05/ Not Exercising — I actively avoid exercising, I know it's not a good idea but I just don't like working out

& Habits to learn:

06/ Drive a car — it really would be convenient if I know how to drive but just the idea of being behind the wheels freaks me out a bit

07/ Keep a plant alive — I'm not talking about gardening but just to keep plants alive after I brought them home from the store

08/ Answer questions at job interviews —  I pretty much suck at answering questions thrown at me during an interview because of my nervousness and the constant way my mind keeps blanking out even when I know what to say

09/ Make introductions — talking to strangers makes me feel like an alien, like someone not quite right, like being back in  school and waiting for your turn to speak and you're wondering what the heck you're doing there and if running is a good idea, this is probaby why I'm so bad at #8

10/ Stop correcting myself — it's not a bad thing to make corrections when you make a mistake but to do it constantly even when unnecessarily is sometimes a problem, right? does anyone else have to this problem?

May 2, 2017

Book Geek : Recent Reads

Book Geek is my way of being a book blogger without being a book blogger. Here are some books I've recently read and as always, I would only talk about books I recommend reading.
The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe
01/ The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe
Mabel is very likable. She is an inventor, a very modern person with many mad but great ideas just like any inventor or perhaps a scientist and she is also a witch - something that really adds to the fun. Mabel can be compared to Harry Potter but I think she stands on her own. I enjoy her creative side and her courageous side. Many people oppose her but she carries on and she is very determined. There aren't that many middle-grade heroine out there (that I like anyway) but Mabel have become one of my favorite so far. And I love the cover art by Seb Mesnard and there are also recipes in the back which I haven't try but they certainly look tempting.

Favorite Quote: "...don't you get the shivers just looking at all that space, wondering what's up there? I want to invent a broomstick to fly to the moon."

02/ North Child (formly East) by Edith Pattou
At first, I thought the multiple points of views is too much but I sort of like it because we get into the heads of the characters even though some of them really didn't need to be heard like the troll queen - I didn't care for her no matter much sympathy I felt for her because she basically force someone into a situation that they really could not get out of it. The story runs along smoothly from one character to the next with no problem. Rose is the dominate voice here and we get to hear from her a lot but I kind of wish there are more of the bear's story. I had previously read another retelling of 'East of the sun and west of the moon' and I had expected Rose to journey alone but here Rose gets help and some guidance which I like and it's nice to meet new characters as Rose goes along. I did find the beginning sort of slow but this has been a much more enjoyable read than expected.

Favorite Quote: "...The steps of things are where life is truly found, in doing the day-to-day tasks. Caught up in the world of enchantment as I had been at the castle, it had been the routine things I had missed most, which was why I had set up that laundry room and insisted on doing my own washing. But I had missed so much. Sitting at the table back home and peeling potatoes with my mother and sisters in companionable silence. Feeding the chickens, their urgent feathery bodies crowding my legs, and looking up to see Neddy coming back from the fields. Going on one of my long exploring walks, having a blister come up on my heel but at the same time stumbling upon a fox den and catching a brief glimpse of a mother fox nursing a brand-new litter of kits. And though I might have wished away the blister, slowing down to favour the pain in my heel was part of how I came to see the kits."

Fairy Godmothers, Inc. by Jenniffer Wardell
03/ Fairy Godmothers, Inc. by Jenniffer Wardell
This is a retelling of Cinderella so I sort of know what's involved. Rellie is a bit of a bland Cinderella here so I didn't have any interest her but that's okay because Kate, the fairy godmother, is the real star here, at least until Jon shows up. Jon is the one that I think to be the most interesting. Being the responsible one is usually a bore but Jon is charming and I guess it didn't hurt he's good looking, kind and a prince and his odd royal family makes it everything more interesting and funny. This is more of a happy romance type of books so no surprises who ends up with who. My favorite scene is where Jon and Rellie tried to resist adoring each other when they are both under a love spell - extremely funny and makes one wonder if spells could somehow make people fall in love or perhaps it's just our own desire to fall in love that makes it so. One thing about the cover - I assumed the lady here is Kate but she has no wings. I guess that shouldn't matter but I sort would like her to have wings.

Favorite Quote: "You know, if you had used the word 'scheming' from the beginning you could have saved us both a terrible headache."

Read any good books lately?

May 1, 2017

Scribble Picnic: Door

Art by Tammie Lee ©beautyflows.com, color by me
This week's Scribble Picnic is 'door.'  For a change, I colored an art of Tammie Lee's. You can see the uncolored version at her blog here. It was a good experience coloring someone else's artwork. Of course there is one downside which is that I cannot change the drawing because it's not mine and I wouldn't want to ruin an artist's work. But it was fun to choose colors though I keep adding and removing colors because I have a habit of using too many. The colors are added digitally using Adobe Photoshop. 

~ Check out Tammie's colored version over here ~ 
~ Go here for the uncolored version ~

I just saw Tammie's version today after I finished my coloring. What do you think? Which version do you like better? I'm thinking Tammie's version is better because it has more textures when compare to mine and I like textures plus she used real paint while mine is digital.

Visit Michael's blog for more Scribble Picnics over here.
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