Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big Fat Books

I have a mental category of books that I dub BFBs or "Big Fat Books". (A subset of this is BFFBs which are "Big Fat Fantasy Books", of which there seem to be many.)

In the last few years, I've found myself scared of Big Fat Books. So today, after giving up on one, I've gone and started another. I don't know if I'm silly or wisely facing my fear head on.

I've been a reader all my life. My mother claims that I was a terrible child to keep happy until I learned to read. Then you just had to give me a book and everything was okay. It has always been a great relief to me that when I developed CFS I maintained my ability to read. I don't know what I would have done or how I would have coped if I hadn't.

But CFS is a funny beast that keeps changing as the months and years go by (and I've had it for just over 17 and a half years now). I've found in the last four or five years that I don't read as easily as I used to do. It drives me batty as there are as many books I want to read now as ever - more in fact because I read book blogs and find all sorts of things I want to read that I never would have known about otherwise.

I think this is were the fear of BFBs has come from as it now feels like a huge undertaking to start a big book, where once it was just a new adventure and the fatter the book the better. But the combination on a huge list of books I want to read and the larger energy requirement to read anything can be overwhelming.

But I still have big fat books I want to read. So I've just started Judas Unchained by Peter F. Hamilton. This is the second book of a duology, both of which clock in at about 1000 pages. I read the first one back in December 2005 (ah, the joys of Library Thing) and started this one in February of 2006. But the big-fatness of it put me off and I returned it after a couple of chapters. Now it is two and a half years since I read the first one and since that's a long time anyway and memory problems are another part of CFS I have an added worry - that I'm not going to remember enough of the first book to make sense of the second.

Oh well, I'm going to give it my best shot. I hope this won't be another DNF.

Admitting Defeat

I have admitted defeat and decided that Patrick Rothfuss's The Name of the Wind is a "did not finish" book.

I'm really very sad about this, because I really, really, really wanted to love this book. I don't hate it. But after a little over 300 pages (out of 700) I just don't find myself inspired to keep reading.

I love Pat Rothfuss's blog and he sounds like a cool guy. He also clearly has a great passion for his books. I wanted to share that passion and love his book too, so I find myself very sad that that didn't happen.

It's the second time I've tried to read the book and the second time I've crashed out. All the same, I don't think it is a bad book, but it just isn't working for me.

I kind of like Kvothe - I think I could like him a lot - but he just keeps ticking off petty and mean-spirited people and so while reading I spend my time constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop and not enjoying that.

Also, I think the short chapters are working against me as I keep having places to stop. And since it is easier to stop than keep reading at the moment, that's what I'm doing. I haven't touched the book for a few days and I'm not fussed to get back to it, which I'm going to take as an indication it is time to give up.

This is definitely one of those breakups where it's a case of "it's me, not you" and I'm sorry about it. But we're just not working out together, The Name of the Wind and I.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekly Geeks

Once again, the health problems have hit and I'm behind. I'm trying to accept calmly that this is the way it is for me. All the same, I'm frustrated. My book posts are so far behind it isn't fun, I'm struggling to read and stitch, but I have been doing a bit of scrapping in the meantime, so there may be some more layouts soon.

Over at The Hidden Side of the Leaf, a meme called Weekly Geeks has been started. I'm always nervous of trying such things as I often manage to do it once and then fail to keep it up. But this sounds like fun, and the very important phrase - they DO NOT have to participate each week, only when they feel like it - was what decided me to try.

The first challenge is to explore new blogs from a list on the blog (see it here) and share five that are new to you.

Since my blog list in Google Reader is already way too long, what's a few more? I actually added more than five to Reader, but these are the ones I decided to share.

  • book-a-rama
    I like the bright, crisp look to this blog. Also, as much as I like the idea of long, expansive posts, there are times when bullet points about interesting things is about the limit of my understanding, so a blog that accomodates this with things that are indeed interesting is a must-read.
  • Rhinoa's Ramblings
    My first reactions on seeing this blog were "oooh, pretty covers" quickly followed by "oooh, my kinds of books" which made it a shoe-in. A bit further down was a pile of books (always something that will catch my eye) with books in it that are on my "long term maybe one day if I have time" wishlist with Amazon. I'll be looking forward to reviews on some of them. And maybe they'll move up to a more immediate wishlist.
  • Books and Other Games
    Sally (who I know from some mailing lists which tempted me to choose her blog to showcase) uses this blog of memes and other games and the ones she had chosen to do interested me. I loved the list of quotes and will keep an eye out of what other games she chooses to play.
  • Page After Page
    It was the lists of books for challenges (along with covers - I love covers) that caught my eye here, especially when Robin McKinley was at the top of one list and Briar Rose by Jane Yolen at the end of another, with a beautiful cover I've never seen before.
  • She Reads Books
    Just the whole look of this blog caught my eye, even if I'm not sure why. I liked the content - I love small paragraphs (CFS means I struggle with really solid, long ones) and the whole blog is neatly and easily presented so that I find it a pleasure to read rather than having to work at it.
I honestly don't know if I'll be able to keep this up or not, but I'm going to give it a go as it sounds like it should be fun. As always, I'm also vowing to keep up with my blog better, but I know from experience that I'm not completely in control of that. I'll do what I can.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Signal Man

A group of young guys from Works were staying in the unit next to us, working on the road resealing that was being done in Flaxmill Bay. One evening they left their traffic signs outside and Marcus thought they were the most wonderful toy ever. Just look at that grin!
- Flaxmill Bay Bay Motel
6th February, 2008

Paper from "Rock Star" by Dani Mogstad; alpha from "Crazy Little Thing" by Dani Mogstad; doodles from "Vehicle Doodles Extras" by Kate Hadfield; font is Kaela.


Last night I did some tidying up of my scrapping software - followed by a major issue with the programme I use to preview my components that I only fixed by a total fluke this morning - which inspired me to get back to some scrapping.

Paper and overlay from "Something Green" by Tracy Ann Robinson; frame from "Variation Elements" by Natali Designs; wildflowers from "Natural Wonders Collection Pulling Weeds" by Jen Ulasiewicz; bow from "Signature Collection" by Christina Renee; font is Jaena.

I only had a few further problems, like finding I hadn't remembered to back up all my fonts when Dave rebuilt this computer for me. Fortunately, they were all on one of the other computers in the house so I managed to import them all back to this one. I also thought I'd lost a couple of wonderful Photoshop actions (for over- and underexposed photos) but I tracked them down on one of my many CDs of archived scrapbooking downloads. I guess it's a good thing I backup sometimes (like, when I remember rather than when I should).

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Today is a bad day

Today is not a good day.

I don't know if this is in response to travelling out of town and back again in three days, but I am totally shattered.

Exhausted. Steamrollered. Trashed.

I'm physically exhausted and just want to sleep - something I can't do because Marcus is home today. My arms and legs ache, I'm all uncoordinated and my when I'm upright I'd just like to fall down.

My brain is all fogged up too. I'm struggling to think straight and my thought processes have slowed down to the speed of treacle.

As a result, I'm feeling emotionally miserable as well. There's a blog I want to read and a book I want to finish and I can't make either make sense. It drives me crazy sometimes.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Book of Ink Circles #005

Book of Ink Circles #005
Originally uploaded by rocalisa.

A little bit more progress.

As I said last time, it's a very obsessive design and I can't stop working on it. I want to have all the border done when the next part comes out about 15th April. Then all I have to do is keep up with the inside motifs as they come out.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ladybird, Ladybird

Marcus' daycare had a "dress as a bug" day on Friday and he wanted to be a ladybug. I didn't complain as that was a costume I felt was within my capabilities to make. I'm really pleased with how it turned out (simple as it was) and he looked really cute.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Progress on Book of Ink Circles

I've been working away on Book of Ink Circles. It's a terribly addictive pattern - I just can't stop. I keep having to do a bit more and a bit more and a bit more. So here's a series of pictures of my progress (and one of a "helper"). I've been taking the photos, but not stopping long enough to get them off the camera and post them.

The yellow (in the last photo) has softened to a gentle gold due to my bright fabric, but in real life it looks really nice and isn't as washed out as it looks in the photo.