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Archive for the ‘50 Book Challenge’ Category

Cherry_blossom_by_VforVieslav (1)IMAGE: Taken from VforVieslav at Deviant Art

First of all, you are probably wondering what on earth the title of my blog today actually means. Well, Grasshopper you seem to have found me on a generous information sharing day. Whilst reading one of the many Japanese history books I have assigned myself lately I came across this beautiful sentiment.

Mono no aware

It is a Japanese expression which is usually expressed through symbolism of nature (like a haiku), it represents a view that life is beautiful but ephemeral. It translates literally as ‘the sadness of things’1

I don’t know about you, but I rather like a perpetual state of melancholia, so that screamed out to me.

I’ve noticed that I am a really slack blogger.  Especially when I said to myself this time last year ‘ooo I should do BEDA’ which as you can notice I haven’t.  I apologise.

I have been reading an awful lot this last couple of weeks.    See below.

The Secret Garden

One of my favourite parts from The Secret Garden, this excerpt just paints a vivid image of my Secret Garden.  It’s divine.  This excerpt gives me hope.  I think it also fits with my ‘Mono no aware’ theme.

I think It has been left alone so long – that it has grown all into a lovely tangle.  I think the roses have climbed and climbed until they hang from the branches and walls and creep over the ground – almost like a strange grey mist.  Some of them have died, but many – are alive, and when the summer comes there will be curtains and fountains of roses.  I think the ground is full of daffodils and snowdrops and lilies and iris working their way out of the dark.  Now the spring has begun – perhaps – perhaps – perhaps –‘

‘Perhaps they are coming up through the grass – perhaps there are clusters of purple crocuses and gold ones – even now.  Perhaps the leaves are beginning to break out and uncurl – and perhaps – the greay is changing and a green gauze veil is creeping – and creeping over – everything.  And the birds are coming to look at it – because it is – so safe and still.  And perhaps – perhaps – perhaps –‘ … ‘the robin has found a mate – and is building a nest.’2

I’d never read The Secret Garden before, but I had watched this version of the film at least a million times in my life and absolutely adored the story.  So it was funny reading it thinking Dickon was going to die.  Every page I was thinking ‘Oh no, it must be soon’, because Dickon was my favourite.  (In the movie he died and Mary and Colin fell in love.)  So much to my happiness, Dickon does not die.  Mary and Colin do not make out when the ending credits begin to roll.  Talk about a much more satisfying ending.

All in all it was rather nostalgic and inspiring and filled with joy and sentiment and overcoming issues, which I did adore.

The Lightning Thief The Sea of Monsters The Titan's Curse

The Battle of the LabyrinthPercy Jackson and the Last Olympian

Now This series (pictured above) was also extremely satisfying.  I’ve always loved and been fascinated by Greek Mythology.  Way back in the day, I think my primary school days to be precise, my mother gave me a book.  A book that she bought from the school book club when she was a child.  It was an Encyclopaedia of Greek Gods, Demigods and Demons.  I used to flip through it all the time reading about all the different heroes and Gods.

I thought the idea of having more than one god was awesome.  I thought it was Christianity was rather boring with just the ONE god and then Satan.  But Greek Mythology was so much cooler because there was a trillion Gods to choose from.  I remember pretending the Greek Gods were real and praying to Athena to help me pass a maths test.

So for this series of books to exist – blows my inner-child’s mind.  For an adventure series written in a post Harry Potter world this book is all kinds of awesome (once I got past the whole eww as if Olympus is at the top of the Empire State building and my aversion to all things where Americans always saving the day and being the hero i.e. Independence Day, Deep Impact, Armageddon, the list just goes on and on).

I always loved the story of Hades and Persephone. I like Rick Riordan’s spin on it.  I always imagined it differently.  Maybe I’ll write it down in length one day (taking consideration of ‘Mono no aware’).

If you have a little boy, who can not bring himself to read anything who wont read Harry Potter, get him this series.  It’s got swords and monsters and battles and puzzles and and and… everything a little boy could ever want to imagine.

The writing is sometimes very clunky but it works because you have to remind yourself that it’s Percy’s point of view and he is 13 and his descriptions of things will be very 13 year old boy-like, so it works.  And fabulously.

There is a movie adaptation of the first book, but I do not recommend seeing it ever.  Talk about TERRIBLE.  I liked it for the first 20mins and then it was just spoiled.  Destroyed.  Crap.

Across the Nightingale Floor 'The Sword of The Warrior'
Episode One of the Tales of the Otori: Across the Nightingale Floor. This was really interesting, but there isn’t much I can say about how it goes.  But I promise when I finish the series I’ll fill in all the gaps.  I can say this though, after reading this I was inspired to make my main historical study this year on Japanese history, well and because I have a massive crush on everything Japanese at the moment it would seem.  I’m even considering a Haiku challenge.  Maybe a Haiku every day type thing.  I’ll keep you posted.  Or not, we’ll see how my work load increases.

Shiver

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, what can I even say.  I cried. Profusely.  I tweeted her and she offered me a tissue.  See. (Below)  I have just started reading Linger and I really don’t know if I have to gumption just now to persist.  I feel like it’s doomed.  I’m thinking Shakespearian tragedy type damnation.  Which also fits nicely with my ‘Mono no aware’ theme.  Sometimes it’s all just too much, especially when it mirrors your view on the real world.

Maggie Stiefvater

Some questions I put forth to you, the reader.

1. What gives you hope?

2. What inspires you?

3. What makes you think of ‘Mono no aware’?


I’m hungry now.

Until next time lovelies.

Live Long and Prosper.

1. Henshall, Kenneth 2004, A History Of Japan From Stone Age to Superpower, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

2. Hodgson Burnett, Frances, 1911 (this edition 2008), The Secret Garden, Puffin, UK

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First of all if you haven’t watched this yet.  Do it.  I was so excited I cried a little. 

 

I only read two books in June.  I don’t know about you but this literally devastates me.  Although this despicable effort does have a great reason behind it,  I banned myself from any leisurely reading until all my final essays and assignments had been written and handed in.  I did cut it quite close, my final essay was finished around lunch time on the first marking day and luckily my teacher let me email it to her.  That could have been a disaster.  I did get reasonably good marks for it too, so I can’t complain there.

Admin at the campus said all of our results would be mailed to us during student vacation.  It is now week two and I have not received anything yet… I am waiting very patiently.  Maybe I should check online…

Ok I did.  Results aren’t bad either.  Even the subjects that I didn’t really apply myself are reasonably scored, both are over 70% so that my dear = CREDIT!.  I am really impressed with my statistics score – 93%, people.  That is pretty darn schweet considering I practically failed maths in high-school.  90% in literature (I promise I will pick up my game next semester, field of choice) and I am a smidge disappointed in my LALS score, as I really worked my butt off – 87% so I’m really going to have to impress that teacher next term.  But I suppose 87% is a good mark because she marks REALLY REALLY HARD! I need other peoples scores to compare myself.  I need a RANK!

My Eclipse Review

So one of my first things to do these holidays was to see Eclipse.  Don’t you dare judge me.  It was reasonable except for every scene being an EXTREME CLOSE UP!!  It almost made me puke.  Oh and the corny factor, cliché to the MAX! While watching, it brought up those intense feelings of wanting to smack down with Stephenie Meyer.  Ok so it’s a well known fact that the Twilight Saga is horrendous literature, poorly written and so on and so forth, right? Yes. Then later on while watching this… picture below (don’t judge me here either) 

Anyway I give 15 points to Taylor Lautner for stating the obvious ‘I’m hotter than you’ HA F*@#ing HA.  Other than that it was as cheesy and terrible as you’d expect, there were some fun action scenes, nothing amazing.  The wolves were hot, Emmet was hot and Edward was moody not worth drooling over.

It occurred to me, the literary injustice of it all.  Stephenie Meyer, instead of going down the path to greatness she stumbled on the sugar-coated, gooey caramel stuff, where everyone lives happily ever after.  As it is so wonderfully pointed out in Dawson’s Creek, the purpose of a love triangle is, that for every amount of happiness there are equal amounts of pain.  In my opinion Twilight could have been more ‘epic’ had she not taken the weak road. 
Instead of inventing some bogus character for Jacob to imprint on, she should have killed him or left him wallowing for all eternity or something remotely interesting . 

Good stories don’t have happily pukefest ever afters (except Harry Potter, but there was lots of pain and death so it deserved a light at the end of the tunnel) Scarlett does not live happily ever after with Rhett = great fiction, Heathcliff doesn’t really get Cathy = great fiction, Romeo and Juliet do not live happily ever after, Jack and Rose do not survive Titanic together, Gilbert Grapes mum dies! Dumbledore dies!, Dawson and Joey do not end up together (thank god).  You get the point right?  Jacob is the pain – he shouldn’t get such a cop out weakly written crap ending.  Did she run out of ideas or something?  Garrrrrr, I cannot keep going, I will get punchy!

Anyway so I’ve been working on my top secret crochet project which is a present for a baby that isn’t born (jess if you read this DON’T TELL ANYONE!!)
For people interested in crocheting the colours I’ve chosen (pictured below) are Panda Magnum Soft 8 Ply (they feel luscious to touch), colour numbers are blue-4603, green–1385, red–9275, orange-4422 and white-4600.

So far I’ve only completed two sets of squares and have started the third.  See.

If you want to make a blankie of your own Pip from Meet Me At Mikes has some pretty good tutorials.

Or you could check out these super colourful ones from Lucy at Attic24

I love these ladies.

 

 

Last night I picked this back up. 

I don’t really know if I like it, but it’s quite interesting.  Good arguments too.  Tell you when I’m finished. 

 

Pieces of today…

Gnarly Clouds of Doom!

Poisonous Delights

Charlie McDonnell has a new song about Monkeys

Finn wanted to be included, whilst I was outside taking pictures.  Yay, heart him everyone.  We love him.  Well I do.

 

June Book Wrap Up (late much and pathetic)

Radiant ShadowsDead in the Family
 

Books Read in June: 2
Authors Read in May: 2
Radiant Shadows – Melissa Marr
Dead In The Family – Charlaine Harris
Total Number of Pages in May: 651

Now I am going to go do stuff. 

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Another weekend gone and now it’s Tuesday.  Already.  As far as mine went, the weekend was quite uneventful especially if we are going to discuss social interaction, which I can tell you we aren’t.

So for all the nerds and crafters out there (maybe even Nerd-Crafters), I want you to know – I’ve done it!  Something in my brain has finally clicked in to the right place and I can follow an Amigurumi pattern. 

Below is a picture of my very first Amigurumi creation.  Don’t be to harsh with your judgment – he is my first.  I’m sure you’ve all made terrible firsts before.  So be nice, you don’t want to hurt his little mushroom feelings now do you?

As you can see it is a Super Mushroom from Super Mario Bros.  If you like him you can get the pattern from this website HERE! 

Not only does this ladies site have easy beginner patterns like this one, she has full patterns to make an actual Mario and a Luigi and heaps more fun things.  She even has 10 or more Pokemon for you to choose from.

As a first timer there were parts of this pattern that didn’t make sense but if you look up what all the abbreviations mean in a how to crochet book or online you should be able to work it out.  Also there are plenty of crochet tutorials and blogs out there that a very helpful to beginners like myself.

The red mushroom above was unfortunately stuffed with old plastic bags because I was too excited to wait to go to the shop and get some stuffing, but this green one is properly stuffed and looks a lot nicer because I looked at some tutorials and learned how to do decreases properly.  This easy tutorial is quite helpful.

So after a day or so, I went and got some stuffing.

And this began.

Which eventually became this…

He’s not entirely finished because he needs his spots.  But that doesn’t mean they can’t be friends.  He’s not really the right shade of green either, but it’s all I had.

As you can see the properly stuffed one looks HUGE, compared to the poorly stuffed with plastic bags one. 

Enough of those. Some books from this week.

Coonardoo         Scarlett Fever

As far as reading goes this month it has been very tough indeed.  I literally trudged my way through the first 5 chapters of a novel named Coonardoo for TAFE.  It was so excruciatingly slow.  I had to read the first 5 chapters twice because my brain just kept dying and not retaining anything.  I finally got past them and the ‘crappest*’ book ever turned into a half decent read.  Pretty tragic story actually.

Within two days of reading that and I decided I was ready to choose something I actually wanted to read.  It was Scarlett Fever, Maureen Johnson’s sequel to Suite Scarlett.  It was a fun quick read, too bad it ended so soon.  Damned Johnson and her cliff-hanger ending!  I anticipate the third.

Now I really should do my homework. 

*This is a direct quote from another student in my class. Not my opinion.

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I think it is time for a new blog, I’ve been pretty inactive all week on this thing they call the internet.  I contemplated what to blog about on the bus trip home this afternoon whilst doing so I also checked what was happening on Twitter.  It seems I have been tagged in a blog game.  My first tag for anything ever.  I got a little bit excited.

I was tagged by Alaena Helt, you can see her lovely blog if you click right here.

The Tag game goes as follows:  Go to the 8th folder in which you store your photo’s (I know 8 sucks, it should have been 7) and then select the 8th photo (even if it’s a photo of you that is thoroughly FOUL and you’d rather kill yourself than post it) then with said photo post it to your blog and tell the story behind it. [Disclaimer: (AKA THE FINE PRINT) after following the above instructions, you are ‘supposed’ to tag 8 other bloggers.  MUAHAHAHA evil isn’t it?]

So the story goes… After New Years my boyfriend and I went on a road-trip to visit family and friends at numerous stops along the way round.  After a few nights at my Aunt and Uncles in Sawtell NSW, we decided to drive out to Tamworth NSW where they hold the Australian Country Music Awards to visit my Grandfather and my other Aunt and Uncle.  The above photo was taken at Captain Thunderbolts lookout just outside a little town called Uralla (he was an Australian Bushranger, if you want to know more I’m sure you can Google it).  As you can see, I’m the tiny little person sitting in front of the MASSIVE cluster of MASSIVE rocks.

The people I tagged are:

The Mermaid

Meet Me At Mikes

Interference In Private Matters

Weddings By Brooklyn

A Nerdfighter’s Blog from the Ning

Nerdfighters Blogstyle – A Collaborative blog by Nerdfighters

Books and Quills

John Green – Hahaha, like he even has the time to play.

Apart from that, this week has been pretty epic on the study scale.  Assignments and testing all over the place.  Statistics things here there and everywhere – Major Reports Due and not so major in class assessments.  I just got given my major assignment for Human Rights, this one I’m a awfully excited about – I think I could even get really passionately enthusiastic about my topic.  I’m choosing to do human rights abuses resulting directly from conflict diamonds.  Yeah, that’s what I said.

The May reading is coming along nicely.  So far I have read:

Suite Scarlett Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson was an absolutely lovely book to read about a young girl and her family who live in an old hotel in New York.  The characters were realistic and witty and the book was thoroughly enjoyable.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a collaborative effort by John Green and David Levithan.  Each author writing from the perspective of a different character.  I think this book was brilliant, especially the way it explored both platonic and romantic relationships among young males.

Seven Awesome Things

1. While on the bus, noticing the way the suns hides behind the mountain giving everything an ethereal golden kissed edge in the afternoon.

2. My art is going on the front cover of a publication.

3. This one is not necessarily awesome but it made me laugh and think about the poor little girl.  A not so ladylike lady yelling ‘if you keeping stomping like that I’m gonna flogyourarse’ at her child whilst exiting MacDonald’s. Poor child will probably have an alcohol dependency and be a chronic smoker by 12.

4. Escaping in fiction.

5. Donating money every month to Amnesty International.  It makes you feel all good.

6. Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Harry Potter lyrics from a terribly AWESOME song from Wizard rockers (WROCKERS) Harry and The Potters. (you can Google them too, lazy)

7. Having a hot shower when it’s freezing cold.

So people – I’ll write when I write.

Ciao!

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I’ve been going to post all week and haven’t.  Finally I am , simply because my teacher unlike myself couldn’t be bothered coming today.  Lucky I was on time today.  Lucky I got here at 9am for my first class, which was as usual a total waste of time.

Thursday and Friday mornings consist of A subject called Contemporary Australian Society.  A subject that very much wastes a lot of my valuable time.  For this subject we sit in the library and work on our assignments.  I don’t know about you, but I can not work seriously when there are a thousand people traipsing around in front of me.  It is very distracting.

So after C.A.S ended my next scheduled class Human Rights which is supposed to start at 11am and finish at 1pm – has no teacher.  So another two hours wasted by waiting around.

When it reaches 1pm – I’m supposed to have lunch for half an hour.  Then from 1.30pm-3.30pm I sit around and wait until 3.30pm for my computing class to start.

Today is a waste of time.  Friday I hate you.

I especially hate you when I worked hard on an essay for Human Rights today, only to find the teacher not here.

I hate you when I can only use the TAFE computers and every single web page of interest is BLOCKED.  I can not access anything.

Home and Finn-Cat makes me happy.  Also helps that I got noodle box for dinner.

Ok, so now that I am home and over my hate filled day.  I have just realised today is the last day of April.  I’m going to do a little wrap up every month I’ve the books I’ve read from now on.  This month was not very good for reading, mainly because of the hospital thing and the being epically lazy thing.

Books read in April : 3
Authors Read : 3
The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Paper Towns – John Green
The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society – Mary Ann Shaffer
Number of Pages : 1166
Tears : Quite a few, definitely more than 9

Now for some Connections. (What a Pun!)

I am a little bit addicted right now to Dailybooth, you can follow me there if you like @RadioDarkness.  You might as well stalk me on Twitter if your that keen, which I doubt anyone is.  Here is a link anyway @RadioDarkness

Seven Awesome Things About This Week (excluding today)

1. I finished reading The Time Traveller’s Wife and I cried.

2. I then decided to watch the movie, I loathed Eric Bana’s accent in the beginning.  Then I forgot about it.  Then I cried again.

3. I did my Human Rights speech, it wasn’t amazing.  But at least I don’t have to do it again.

4. My friend from work had her baby.  Her and her fiancé named their little girl Maisie.

5. My new green cardigan.

6. Next week the new Sookie Stackhouse book ‘Death in The Family’ will be released.  It’s getting closer and closer until Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green arrives.  Yay, excitement for reading!

7. I got  a purple Hole Punch.  It is freakin’ awesome!

Well this doesn’t seem to be going anywhere else right now.

I’ll leave it here, and get back to it another day.

DFTBA peoples!

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I have been a busy little rabbit this month.  In between assignments for TAFE and going to work, I have managed to squeeze in a smidgen of woolly goodness.

I have been fantasising deeply about one day having a little online Made It store or a little Etsy store of my very own – to sell scarves and other bits of woolly goodness. 

So I have been knitting away making these fabulous looking scarves, hoping to create a stockpile for selling.  Problem is, I fall in love with the awesome colours and the feel of them and want to keep them for my selfish little self.

Maybe I will have to make two of each of the ones I have particular crushes on.  For example the one located in the fourth picture down on the left hand side of the mosaic.  It is totally fabulous – I want to get married in a blizzard wearing it that is how much I love it.

I’ve also been learning some new granny squares from this fabulous book.

Seven Awesome Things – This Week

1. I didn’t have to to my speech on a contemporary Australian Human Rights issue this week.  However, I have to go first on Tuesday.  I am completely unprepared.

2. I think yesterdays blog post was pretty awesome.  I also created a forum at Nerdfighters to see what other people had to say about it.  Thank you Frankie for the awesome questions.

3. I made the most delicious roast chicken on Wednesday night.  The recipe can be found in Jamie Oliver’s cook book – The Ministry of Food.  While it was cooking the house smelled amazingly edible.

4. I watched one of my all time favourite movies – Dirty Dancing.  I completely  and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

5. My cat Finn and I took a lovely nap on the couch together after working our little butts off doing the laundry and weeding the garden.

6. I’m still reading The Time Traveller’s Wife (slowly, because I’ve got to squeeze study and homework in somewhere), I think I am a little bit in love with Henry.

7. I got a package in the mail from my awesome friend.  It has Star Wars Pez.  I promptly wrote her a reply on cute stationery and skipped like a doofus to the post box and sent it on it’s happy little way.  Mail is fun.  More fun than e-mails.

TTFN – (Ta Ta For Now)

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I find myself a little disheartened.  My favourite piece of graffiti is gone.

I shall tell you of this piece of loveliness that made my mornings special.  Every morning after getting off the bus at the university, I trek across the highway overpass – a pedestrian bridge.  On the bridge there was a lovely little stencil graffiti of John Lennon and the quote Let It Be.

So on my pathway to ‘higher learning’ it was nice and inspiring to walk across the bridge and ‘Let It Be’ every morning.  I’m disappointed with the people who re-surfaced the bridge.  You have successfully killed a little piece of my mornings.

Easter was eventful.

On Good Friday (we will call it Hell Friday from now on), I went to hospital with an aching guts at around 11.30pm.  I sat in the emergency ward until 4am – then finally I got to see a doctor, by this stage the ache in my guts had turned to vomit inducing pain.  A pain that would make Satan cry.

Not long after speaking with the doctor and vomiting profusely into a little bag whilst sitting on the bed – I ended up having all kinds of things stuck into me.  By far the greatest thing stuck into me was the morphine.  It did not make the pain stop, but it sure as hell took the edge off enough so I could sleep.

By 8am there was talk of surgery.  Here I was out of my head, thinking I’d just get a tablet to make the pain stop and be on m way home.  Man was I epicly wrong.

Just after what would have been lunch time, I was anaesthetised and had my Appendix removed from my aching pain filled guts.

After this surgery the next 3-4 days are a bit of a haze, as the hospital people had me hooked up to some amazing intravenous morphine dispensing machine.

I was released from the hospital at about 2pm on the Tuesday following the Easter long weekend.  For the time between then and now, I have been a huge aching, bruised, lounging, lolling lizard.

All the plans I made for the two week student vacation have been unfortunately thrown out the proverbial window.  I did get to finish reading Paper Towns by John Green, which was awesome.  Not as awesome as his previous book Looking For Alaska though.

I also got to read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  I didn’t think I would like that book at all, as it totally isn’t something I’d usually consider.  I absolutely adored it, I’m glad I picked it up and read it.  It really is as good as everyone says.  The only major fault I can find is that the American author used the spelling Lieutenant instead of Leftenant which I think ruined the authenticity of it being set in England.  But that is just being persnickety.

I have also been working on some new granny squares during my recovery.
This one I learned from a book called 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets Throws and Afghans by Jan Eaton.

We’ll end with my man crush of the moment.  Takeshi Kaneshiro, from The House Of Flying Daggers.

Sayonara people.

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