UPDATE – SEMI HIATUS

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I’m sorry for the delayed wishes for the new year (and I mean both Jan 1st New Year and Chinese New Year 🙂 ).  It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, and as the owner of this blog I’m absolutely horrified with myself!  I miss this blog almost everyday, the feeling of thinking up materials for posting, and then posting them.

Hopefully soon, I’ll be back to my usual posting.

Until then, Words That Flow Like Water is on a semi hiatus.  I’ll post from time to time, but it seems I don’t have enough inspiration and my life has become a bit cluttered.

I will update you all as soon as I can and get back soon :).  For now, though, if you want to follow what I’m doing or reading you can find me here:

Wordsthatflowlikewater @ Instagram

Nina {ᴡᴏʀᴅs ᴀɴᴅ ᴡᴀᴛᴇʀ} on Goodreads

I’m so sorry! I’ll be back soon!

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Top 5 Favourite Book Covers

Another totally random post!  I love the Top 5 theme, but as for the topics, I suppose I’m still figuring out whether I want to stay Books Only, or branch out to other favourites – so we’ll see!

Today’s topic is favourite book covers – this is so hard!!  I don’t even know where to start, but I suppose this top 5 will be my favourite standout book covers ever (and I think I’ll avoid repeating any covers noted in the other top 5 post for now!)

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Undoubtedly one of my absolute favourite book covers is A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.  I also love the other covers in the series – they’re just as gorgeous.  I actually bought this book based on the cover, and also based on Sam’s (over at A History of Books) recommendation.  I’m really looking forward to reading this when I get round to it, which will probably be around the time when the third and final book comes out.  What I love about this cover is the blend of colours.  I really love the colour scheme here.  I love the watercolour texture – particular the way it makes the images of the two cities (the bottom more than the top) look as if they’ve been painted.  And I really love the simplicity of the font.

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Omg, yes.  The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is beautiful.  It truly is a very beautiful cover.  And I love it a WHOLE lot more than the new covers -> HERE.  I am a bit biased though because I read the books with the original (above) covers.  And when I think of Kestrel, I see a girl like the one in the cover.  The new covers ARE truly pretty and I think they’re awesome BUT I don’t think it represents the story.  In fact, I feel like they misrepresents the Winner’s Trilogy.  Kestrel is kickass, but it’s with her mind.  She just isn’t like the girl on the new covers.  The new covers make her look like an assassin, but the old ones give a sense of gentle distress, of silent conflict, and of a world of power and politics – the dress seems to represent to me a world of fashion, polite society.  I absolutely cannot wait until I read The Winner’s Kiss! 

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Alienated by Melissa Landers is a cover that really attracted me.  I think what I like about it most is the composition.  Then the sky in the centre, and then lastly the position of the people.  I think the name of this book also captures my attention. And there’s a sense of alienation between both the people on the cover.  This was a cover that made me really want to buy it, and I have plenty of plans to do so soon!

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Undeniably one of my favourite covers for the dress.  Look at that dress!  I love they way it just billows about, green amongst the sea of stars.  It’s really pretty!  I really love the blue of the starry sky.  The cover too really matches the story even though most of the story is actually situated on a deserted planet.  What I loved most about this story was the way both Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner approached the possibility of life beyond Earth.  And not just your usual humanoid life, but something that well, gave me a bit of the creeps.  The cover though, doesn’t quite translate that part into it, but on the whole symbolises the need that both the main characters had and needed from each other.

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And lastly, for now, is this beautiful cover.  I bought this book in part because of the cover, and on the other part, because of the story.  I’ve heard only good things about this story!  And it’s like a scientific approach to reincarnation.  From the premise on Goodreads, I also get the sense  of All Our Yesterdays (time travel).  I can really see the whole time after time thing in the cover, and I’m really excited to read this.  I think whoever designed it was and is a genius.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book covers?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

  • Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1) by Lauren DeStefano Fever (The Chemical Garden, #2) by Lauren DeStefano Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3) by Lauren DeStefano – The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass The Elite (The Selection, #2) by Kiera Cass The One (The Selection, #3) by Kiera Cass The Heir (The Selection, #4) by Kiera Cass The Selection Stories The Prince & The Guard (The Selection, #0.5, 2.5) by Kiera Cass The Crown (The Selection, #5) by Kiera Cass – The Selection Series by Kiera Cass (though I dislike the Crown cover, because the dress looks way too big! The colour is nice though)
  • Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie Crossed (Matched, #2) by Ally Condie Reached (Matched, #3) by Ally Condie – Matched Trilogy by Ally Condie
  • Eon (Eon, #1) by Alison Goodman Eona The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2) by Alison Goodman – Eon Duology by Allison Goodman
  • Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1) by Sarah J. Maas Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass, #2) by Sarah J. Maas Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) by Sarah J. Maas – Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas
  • Incarnate (Newsoul, #1) by Jodi Meadows Asunder (Newsoul, #2) by Jodi Meadows Infinite (Newsoul, #3) by Jodi Meadows – Newsoul Trilogy by Jodi Meadows
  • The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen, #1) by Jodi Meadows The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen, #2) by Jodi Meadows – Orphan Queen duology by Jodi Meadows
  • And more!

Top 5 Favourite Book Series.

Totally random post (and I have no idea what day I’m scheduling this for!), but I felt like sharing 5 of my favourite book series.  Since I’m only going for 5, they’re probably all going to be YA.  But I do have some favourite adult books and of other genres!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter! Of course, I LOVE this series. It takes an undebateable top spot on this list simply because this was the first series I ever read and loved to bits. Even though when I first came in contact with this series, I was around 7 or 8?  I had it read to me, because I was at a point where I couldn’t read it for myself yet. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I was reading the books on my own, over and over again.  So of course, this series takes the number one spot on my top five favourite series.  How can it not?  😛

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2.  A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

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Next on the list would have to be the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This is on here because it was the first YA series I read during highschool. I’d love to say I read books every single day since I first encountered HP but truthfully, I stopped for a while for a variety of reasons. And because I stopped, I wanted to get back into the swing of things. And doing that, I started with standalones like Just Listen (Sarah Dessen), The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen) and Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher). But the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was my first series. And I LOVED it for the historical setting. LOVED it for its gothic story. LOVED the ending even though it was somewhat heartshattering.  But it was also the first time I had ever encountered a story that did not end in happy ever after (if you’ve read this series, then you’ll understand what I mean!)

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3. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Night Study (Study, #5) by Maria V. Snyder Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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Next would have to be the Study Series. This holds a special place in my heart for being so awesome.  I think what I loved about this series was that Yelena is the main character.  Despite her hard history, she is able to stand on her feet and keep trying.  Although she falls in love, their romance is not the sole focus of the whole story.  I love how it’s there, and yet, doesn’t take over the whole show!  Not to mention that this was perhaps one of the first series where I decided to read it again right after I had just finished it.  How did I come across it?  I think I was looking for stories that involved assassins – in particular female, since I really was in the mood.  This wasn’t it, but it came up in the search, and I figured I’d give it a try.  It was also one of the first few books in which I actually did not mind the larger age gap between the main protagonist and her love interest.

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4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

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Even though I’ve only read this series recently, it definitely deserves a place on my list of favourite series for simply being amazing.  I think it’s one of the most creative retellings I’ve ever come across in a long time.   l love the mesh of science fiction, fairy tales, and imperfect characters.  The romances are also very adorable.  But what holds this series together, is the well planned out plot.  Some of it was very predictable, but there was enough emotion to keep the roller coaster going.  I had to consume each book as quick as possible, and I think, asides from the other books on this list, this is something I haven’t done for a long time (or so it feels like!)

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5. Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2) by Isobelle Carmody Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3) by Isobelle Carmody The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4) by Isobelle Carmody The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5) by Isobelle Carmody The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6) by Isobelle Carmody The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7) by Isobelle Carmody

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I include the Obernewtyn series here as well because I feel I need to add at least one Australian author on my list.  And there aren’t many Australian authors with series I wanted to list that I’ve finished.  But Obernewtyn, though I started it late, is definitely a long time favourite of mine.  I forgive the somewhat slow ending because I love, love love what Carmody does with her story here.  Not only is it a great story that features heavy themes about Being Kind to Animals and whatnot, Carmody does something really special with the language.  As a linguist, I don’t see this kind of creativity very often.  Most other authors who’ve written books set in the future and are considered YA don’t really give much attention to the language. But language, people! is tied with our existence, and it does not truly remain the same.  It evolves!  It would definitely look different in the near and distant future.  Carmody knows language.  It’s beautiful.  I think this was probably one of the reasons why I was really attracted to her story (that and all my favourite characters!)  She even gives the animals a really believable language system too!  And this is why I also love the Obernewtyn series (not just the story!), it’s because of her approach to the language.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book series?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

Blog Tour: Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

24035804Title: Storm and Silence

Author: Robert Thier

Publication Date: March 19th 2016

Add on Goodreads.

Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!
But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever…Enter the world of Mr Rikkard Ambrose, where the only rule is: Knowledge is power is time is money!

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R E V I E W

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Storm and Silence.  Robert Thier

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An unpolished version of this book is posted on Wattpad. You can check that out before making up your mind about purchasing the book, but know that the published version has extra material that you want to read. Trust me. 😉

Make sure to check out the other posts in this blog tour!

Name Date Blog Link
Jinan 19th of March LINK
Henz 20th of March LINK
Aira 21st of March LINK
Raven 22nd of March LINK
Nina 23rd of March LINK
Eti 24th of March LINK

About Robert Thier

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Robert Thier is a German Historian and writer of Historical Fiction. His particular mix of history, romance and adventure, always with a good deal of humor thrown in, has gained him a diverse readership ranging from teenagers to retired grandmothers. For the way he manages to make history come alive, as if he himself had lived as a medieval knight, his fans all over the world have given him the nickname “Sir Rob”.

For him, Robert says, becoming a writer has followed naturally from his interest in history. “In Germany,” he says, “we use the same word for story and history. And I’ve always loved the one as much as the other. Becoming a storyteller, a writer, is what I’ve always wanted.”

Besides writing and researching in dusty old archives, on the lookout for a mystery to put into his next story, Robert enjoys classical music and long walks in the country. The helmet you see on the picture he does not wear because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing from birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor’s Mountains.

Here Come The Habibs – My Thoughts.

OKAY here’s the cracker.  YES.  Take the damn cracker and sit down.  (Okay so you don’t really have to sit down and read this, but I’d love you to. Because I’m so nice, and I gave you a cracker.)

Now that the cracker is out of the way.  (If you don’t like crackers, I have cookies.)  I’m sorry guys for disappearing again!  I got a little bit busy (still busy, got a personal deadline coming up) but I wanted to spend some time to write this post, in all hopes that it comes out sounding somewhat rational.  I did after all begin writing this in the spur of the moment.

Here’s what I want to talk about.  HERE COME THE HABIBS.  A new Australian sitcom featuring a Lebanese-Australian family who’ve one the lottery – 22 million – and moved into an upper class typically ‘white’ suburb.  It runs for 30 minutes every Tuesday night at 8:30pm.  If someone hadn’t switched the channel to Channel 9, I wouldn’t have bothered watching it – but this is only because I didn’t know what to think about the show – but someone did, and yes, I spent last Tuesday night and last night sitting for 30 minutes and watching this new multicultural sitcom on Channel 9.

 

Controversial?  Hell yes.

Take a look:

Now why is this controversial?  In Australia, we call ourselves multicultural, and indeed, on tv, you will have a multicultural character every so often.  On SBS, pretty much all the time, it’s the channel for multiculturalism, that’s why it was created in the first place, and why if you want your cultural fix, flick over to that channel.  Now, if we look at Australian commercial TV however – by all means, I’m not an expert, but I have spent copious amounts of time searching for interesting shows on TV, and without Foxtel or the like, it’s usually very hard, because everything is nearly always so typically white – no offense, as much as I love that stuff, it’s tiring and boring to watch all the time, and so here I am, deciding to write up my own opinion based on everything I keep hearing, and since NO ONE has yet written a detailed blog post as to why or why not one should watch HERE COME THE HABIBS, I figured I might as well.  I’m tired of reading summaries of the show and questioning pieces on the net by media outlets that REALLY don’t say anything at all about the show and FAIL to give it justice.

So here it is.  Your Blogger Nina, writer of Words That Flow Like Water, a ridiculously long name for a blog that I should probably think about changing sometime in the future, will now tell you my thoughts about the first two episodes of HERE COME THE HABIBS.

Let me set the scene.

Last Tuesday night, like always, I sit down in front of the TV pull my laptop onto my little lap desk, and fire it up.  I plug in my usb and flex my fingers ready to continue working on my writing project.  It’s night time after all, personal writing time.  Unfortunately, I’m one of those nutty writers who have the tv on in the background – but hey, why not? I live in a working middle class estate an hour away from the city, it gets quite eerie at night, and a little too quiet for my liking.  If it weren’t for the train passing by the back of my house every half hour or so, I would have moved a long time ago.  I’m not a rural girl. I like the city.

And there I was already to work – well semiwork – all that was left to do was find something decent for background noise.  Since I had no control over the remote for once, I just had to cross my fingers and pray that something good would pop up in the flick-a-channel marathon.

Final button press – Channel 9, running overtime (like always), with Here Come the Habibs scheduled on next.  At first, I’m conflicted.  I distinctly remember when the promo was blaring in my face every day, every hour since 2015, and I distinctly remember dismissing it, with the single thought – crap, they’re going to eff it up real bad, there’s no way I’m going to watch this s***.  Yep.  That’s how I thought.  I mean, why not?  It’s a multicultural show on a commercial channel?  When was the last time that happened?  Don’t make me laugh!  Oh yes, I can be quite harsh, and certainly, I was quite so during the lead up to the show, but the only difference is, as the time came closer for its premiere (it was vaguely in the back of my mind somewhere), I never said I wouldn’t watch it.  Sure, I might have disliked the thought of it for months before, dismissed it harshly, and didn’t think much of it thinking it was just a horrible joke gone wrong, but I like giving people the benefit of the doubt.  And with THE FAMILY LAW on SBS fully receiving my utmost attention (when I manage to catch it, but hey, I’ve read the book and currently using it as a source of data for my research), my head was already spinning towards thinking, maybe it might not be so bad.

But of course, since I’m a busy person, and TV schedules don’t really interest me all too often, I forgot about when HERE COME THE HABIBS was supposed to be premiering.  It was just a coincidence that it and I were in the right place at the right time.

Just so you know what kind of a person I am – if you haven’t read my suggestive reads posts that is – I’m the kind of person who’ll think of the pros and cons and will probably like something if it has merits worth praising.  I also, like to make up my own mind about something, I may also try and push my opinion on you, but hey! You don’t have to take it, since really, it’s just my opinion.  So, from here on out, I’ll be briefly summarising the episode plots, then I’ll go through the pros and cons of the show, and then, well, it’s up to you if you want to go watch the show. 

Episode One:  Essentially the Lebanese-Australian, Fou Fou, brings his family to their new home, a mansion in Vaucluse.  Pretty much a rich white upper class suburb.  They meet the neighbours – the O’Neills – and it’s clear right from the get-go that Oliva O’Neill doesn’t like them.  But this dislike probably stems more from her desire to get the house back – something to do with her family and family history and how her house and Fou Fou’s used to be connected.  (I will definitely comment on the O’Neill’s later.)  Fou Fou arrives in a little wooden dinghy –‘boat people’ imagery inspired here – he steps out and he kneels on the sandy forefront, bobs down and kisses it.  He’s then in the fountain playing, to some extent, with the water, pretending to be a human sprinkler, while his family enter the house.  The kids aren’t happy with the decisions being made for them, but they don’t mind checking out how big the house is.  Fou Fou meets the neighbour, who is well affronted by the sudden ‘invasion’.   They also have a little disagreement about a fence, so Fou Fou moves it for her, so that he can access the boat ramp.  Elias (youngest son of Fou Fou who is in his first year of uni) stacks it when he’s on his way back from buying food, and he meets the neighbours daughter.  Throughout the episode, Miriam meets the neighbour as well, offering baklava, and Olivia later organises a welcome party for Madison.  Olivia also spies Fou Fou looking a bit shifty, crossing the lawn with a suitcase that accidentally opens to reveal stacks of money.  Meanwhile, Layla goes to visit a friend/boyfriend, and her older Toufic finds out, so Toufic and Elias go to well, beat the guy up (friend of Toufic’s or something), in the process they get Madison to drive them to Bankstown.  There, they hang out a bit, showing Madison where they used to live, and well, Layla finds the guy she wanted to me, scratches his car as payback, before they all head back home where the party is in full swing.  Fou Fou’s family have a typical kebab bbq, while their neighbours are having a fancy bbq welcome party.  Olivia has found out that Fou Fou got his money from the lottery, and that no one in his family except his wife knows.  At some point of course, embers from the O’Neill’s bbq spark a fire on the newly varnished (a peace offering by Olivia’s husband – the varnishing) wooden dinghy of Fou Fou’s, and it bursts into flames…the episode ends with Olivia vowing to get rid of them.

 

Episode Two:  The secret is out.  Thanks to Olivia who tipped off the press, Fou Fou has to explain everything to his kids.  Layla is ecstatic while Toufic is a bit disappointed.  But that isn’t all.  It’s the rest of the family and friends that matter.  Phones start ringing, and Layla is on the phone to the radio.  Fou Fou organises for Elias to take the suitcase filled with money to the bank, away from the house before the relos sniff it out.  Elias once again recruits Madison to help him out.  On the way to the bank, they stop so that she can go to see someone about a tattoo while Elias is left in the car.  His brothers sneak up and fake rob him with masks and all, but they’re caught by the police, and have to explain everything.  Madison comes back, the whole problem is sorted but then she’s arrested for unpaid parking fines.  She works her way out of that one, and then they find out the case of money has been stolen.  Meanwhile, Miriam, wants to join the club – Olivia’s club – and after meeting the Commodore, Olivia’s friend sponsors her in.  Unfortunately, Olivia makes mischief and tricks Miriam into fishing off the pier for the mascot (Miriam didn’t know).  Elias returns and tells his dad what happens – turns out Mustapha  (sidekick uncle?) had been following them as a precaution because of Elias’ older brothers.  While his kids had been away, Fou Fou had been meeting with all the relos to find out what they want (outrageous and expensive of course), and recruits Olivia’s husband to help him out (with the silent threat to sue for putting Fou Fou into the paper).  For Miriam, it turns out the Commodore was happy that the mascot had been caught, cooked, and served, and welcomed her and her family to the club, to Olivia’s horror.  And it turns out Olivia’s husband had also nominated all of Fou Fou’s relos to the club too…paid for by Fou Fou.

 

And Now…what to think?

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  • I love that this is a multicultural cast.  Not just one character is a non-white person, but a family.  Since this is a story about Lebanese-Australians.  Granted it’s only restricted to either Lebanese-Australian or white-caucasian-anglo-saxon.   But that’s the most multicultural I’ve seen on commercial TV for a long time.  THIS IS MY NUMBER ONE PRO.  WE don’t have enough of this kind of sitcom on Australian commercial TV that’s not sourced from overseas.  It’s local as well, which is a big bonus.  SBS is multicultural too, and The Family Law is another current show at the moment that is comparable.  And I do actually like the Family Law better because the script and production is done so much better, but I can’t just dismiss HERE COME THE HABIBS. 

 

  • Commercial TV. To  my friends and family, they know how much I abhor watching soap operas, comedies, and dramas on Australian commercial TV that’s specifically sourced locally.  I know.  As an Australian, I’m such a terrible one.  But hey!  I’m an ABC.  And you know what?  I’m REALLY sick and tired of the same old plotlines, same old white cast, same old boring repetitive stories.  This is why I didn’t watch Packed to the Rafters.  This is why I dislike Winners & Losers.  Good luck to anyone who watches and loves those shows, but you can count on me to not watch it – I just don’t get what’s so “Australian” about those stories when, when I look at myself in the mirror, I’m just not like that.  My family is mixed, and though there’s no way I would ever say that I’m not Australian, I do sometimes wonder, or at least, feel my mind straining against the stereotypical labels of what it means to be Australian.  Commercial TV has not been a good indicator of ‘what Australian is’.  Sure, shows set a few decades back, include a non-white character, however, it’s never more than one or two, it’s never a whole big fat family.  Everyone has their own bone to pick – the need for more diversity and representation in body types, gender diversity, LGBTQ diversity, etc., but for me, it’s multiculturalism.  Especially on the commercial channels – yes, I am not including SBS because SBS is made to be multicultural.   SO YES, this is a big pro for the show!

 

  • This is a controversial point.  And I don’t fully agree with it, because the source of humour is the main source of controversy.  But firstly, the style of humour we see in HERE COME THE HABIBS is a self-deprecating, making jokes of ourselves for laughs kind of humour.  It’s in many ways what I think and feel is typical Australian humour.  At the beginning, I didn’t want to laugh AT ALL.  Because I was worried about the jokes.  But – sigh – I ended up laughing partway through.  So, to some degree this show is funny, particularly for the caricature image it creatures of the Lebanese-australians, and also of the upper class snob next door.

 

  • Discourses of race and class can be read from this show. What I like about this show is that it really hones on these discourses, and gives you something to think about.  It’s another reason why this show is so controversial.  Since the jokes can be considered incredibly racist.  But in my opinion, I don’t think they’re supposed to be like that at all.  They’re just jokes.

 

  • HERE COME THE HABIBS so far as they (producers, creators, directors, scriptwriters) don’t mess it up big time with some bullshit storyline, is much better than the other crap (yes, I’m sorry, but I disliked it, found it offensive, and hated it to pieces) such as Fat Pizza and Housos absolutely rubbish. At least HERE COME THE HABIBS doesn’t make me throw up every five minutes in disgust.  HERE COME THE HABIBS so far, is pretty family friendly.  There’s no vulgar sexual or drug references at all, and THIS guys, is a DEFINITE pro.  We don’t need those other negative influences on the young audience.  I don’t know why they put it on at 8:30pm, but I swear, I hope it’s not because we’re going to get some nasty surprise later on.

 

  • AS a linguist, I’ve VERY curious in how they’re portraying accent.  Will it be fully Australian (within the broad-general-rp continuum) or would they give the Lebanese-Australians their own flair (which from my experience they do have their own flavour) — this though, I’m still observing.

 

  • Omg, yes, I will include this as a pro – but I am shipping Elias and Madison. It’s a bit of a strange pro, but they’re pretty cool together.  I don’t know if I want to see them together, or just see them as friends for a long time, but I think they’re pretty cute to watch haha.

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  • Oh yes, there are cons! And this one has plenty of them!  The first major con I want to point out is the production and scripting – mostly, it’s fine, but seriously, it could be so much better.  Perhaps the only reason why it’s like this is because this is just the beginning of the show.  But I would love to see stronger relationships being built between the characters.  Then again I can also understand why this isn’t a strong element, since this is a light sitcom in its initial stages.

 

  • Hate to say this, but which genius thought it would be a good idea to tag Kyle Sandilands opinion of the show at the end of the promo videos? Sure he says it’s funny, but um….since when was his opinion trustworthy?  I still remember when he was on Australian Idol and had a thing for complimenting a singer’s looks over their vocal talents.   Not to mention he’s white and somewhat typically Australian.  Wouldn’t it have been a good idea to tag on opinion tweets from other people?  I didn’t even recognise the names of the other people either, which is why I didn’t trust what they said.  Why should I trust what these people say?  I don’t even know them, or care about them.  Keep it multicultural!

 

  • Gawdbloodyblimey, there are so many stereotypes in this series.  So long as the series doesn’t overdo it, it could still work.  But HERE COME THE HABIBS walks a fine line between what’s okay, and what’s terrible.

 

  • Bad jokes. Oh yes.  The jokes border on really bad.  Since they’re jokes orientated at a particular set of discourses, not everyone will accept them.  Like in the most recent episode (2), when the Habibs’ family and friends are admitted to the sailing club, they arrive in boats, reminiscent of the image of refugees arriving by boat, hence why Olivia cries out ‘boat people!’  Funny, but can be read as insensitive to a critical issue at the same time.

 

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Look, in the future for this show, I’m expecting a lot.  I want more.  I want more cultural situations.  More Habib family moments.  What is lacking in this show is strong relational ties.  Everything at the moment is sitting on a 5 rating. It’s good, but not great.  It’s fun, but not funny.  It’s different, but bordering on absolute rubbish.  Where the Family Law really hits it off strongly with strong themes and great relationships between Ben and the other characters, HERE COME THE HABIBS doesn’t quite have that yet.  HERE COME THE HABIBS is like it’s still within that creative process, one that’s not yet finished.  Needs a bit more tweaking for perfection.

In saying that though, I should probably say that The Family Law is really different in terms of production and humour, and production.  The Family Law is bit more well rounded.  But HERE COME THE HABIBS shouldn’t be crossed off the list yet.  I think it has plenty of promise.   And comparatively quite decent compared to Fat Pizza  and Housos.  Yes, I will keep bringing those up, even though I know a couple of the actors and creators from there are also a part of HERE COME THE HABIBS, but I can’t help it, the former two just ruined my appetite for anything remotely ethnically related Australian-produced.  But maybe, just maybe, I’m regaining my faith with HERE COME THE HABIBS.  If it’s cultivated and nurtured well, HERE COME THE HABIBS might actually make it as a memorable Australian TV show.

Btw, for other countries, this might not seem unusual, but yes, I feel in Australia, we just don’t get enough of these kinds of TV shows and multicultural casts.

Have I missed anything?

Have you watched Here Come the Habibs, what do you think?

What about opinions on multicultural sitcoms?  Or simply, diverse sitcoms?

Where’s The Key Alice? Work in Progress!

Today, I want to talk about my latest photomanipulation.  This post, of course, comes later than the creation I uploaded on DeviantART, simply because I haven’t had the time to write it up.  Life, as always, has been busy.  But lately, it’s been so much busier because asides from researching, I’ve been writing.  Oh yes.  I’ve been writing, and it’s taking such an immense amount of my concentration, I can’t even think beyond my day life (researching), and for the moment, night life (writing project: Golden Phoenix).  But sometime over the last month, I’d managed to find the time to do this:

Where's the Key Alice by N-arteest

My second greatest feat since I returned back to doing what a hobby artist does in her spare time: create, is Where’s the Key Alice?  

Creating something big, wonderful, and beautiful, takes a painstaking amount of time out of one’s day.  While I won’t say that what I make is beautiful, but I do feel extremely proud of my accomplishments.  Until, of course the next one, which makes the previous one seem like it needs a lot of work! Haha.

Every time I come back to creating something new, I find myself improved over time.  This is probably very normal, and is, like with most things, writing, reading, singing, dancing, probably influenced by the changes that have occurred in our lives, that gives us a new perspective on the world.  For me, I just got a little bit older, and hopefully, a little bit wiser.  Every day, though, I still fear the thought of losing yesterday (like the poem I wrote: Voices of Yesterday), of having my world become clear and focussed, rather than that beautiful rosy tint. I don’t, obviously, want to go back to being a child.  I like growing up.  But I don’t want to lose the endless daydreams of childhood, or the boundless abundance of hope that filled them.

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Time is such a precious commodity. I know I spend a lot of time thinking, I’m wasting time sitting here!  Eating is a waste of time!  Why am I wasting my time right now?  Every moment counts.

But some days.  We just need to sit back.  Relax.  It might be hard.  But there is a whole world in front of you.  And just maybe something will inspire you.  If you push yourself to the limit, you will go mad!  Or become so overstressed by the problems that are attacking you from left to right.  I would say get organised!  But maybe what you need is a little disorganisation?  Something to break up the chock-a-block routine you have going, and to completely disrupt your system until it’s in complete smithereens, and all you can do is think…I’ve had.  I’m going to take that damn break.  And maybe, like Forest Gump, you might want to run back and forth across the country, think things through, until sudden you stop, and realise.  That’s it.  I don’t need to think anymore.

Working on Where’s the Key Alice? became my spontaneous inspirational-drop-everything-else break.  Sure I had my research up in the day and I was researching and thinking and reading.  But I also had a jpg of my project up so I could stare at it and analyse what could be eliminated and what could be added.  At some points, I put it away and turned to my research, and found myself thinking…oh…now I didn’t think about that before.  And at night, I spent most of my time piecing and unpiecing, editing, and blending my gigantic mess, all the while, my writing project is open in the background, to glance at every so often, but with no pressure for me to really think about it.  Since there was no need.  Writing comes when it comes.  You don’t force it.  Otherwise you might want to get a pair of scissors and stab the screen for its corniness, or lameness.

So I focussed, with no real solid idea in mind, except that I was inspired while randomly looking for garden pics.  I came across this picture with a fairy girl hunched over a book, and beside her was a great sleeping dragon of some sort.  Overall the composition was very simple.  But I liked this idea of a secret garden.  A second scene to the first Which Way Alice which I really didn’t plan to make a sequel of.

Which Way Alice by N-arteest

Unfortunately, the hair on the two ‘Alices’ look different, because I was trying a different technique.  The feel between them is different too.  However, if I were to ever make it into a series (depending on whether I’m inspired or not), there’d definitely be an explanation! But now that they’re both done and next to each other, I feel like the second one, is the first scene, and the first is the second!

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And now, for the works in progress!  I think I should counted how many layers I used, but in the end, I lost track.  I do know there is at least 100!

So.  Part 1: The Background.  The background in my works is usually just piecing stock photos together, blending it into a much bigger scenery, one that’ll match my imagination.  Unlike with Which Way Alice? I didn’t change my design after I began it.  Right from the beginning, I was pretty set on my idea.  The question was, how do I do it?  when it comes to photomanipulation, the best thing is to have good stock.   It doesn’t have to have the best lighting, or even the best angle, so long as it fits your idea and you can manipulate it realistically.  Lighting you can edit later.

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Above, is the first part, and which I called ‘background’ when I was layering my image.  Since I use many pictures to create a bigger picture, many little elements blended to be one, there are alot of layers.  Coupled with the fact that I use clipped layers for each one to adjust the Colour Balance, it can get a little messy.  So I divide my picture into sections. For Where’s the Key Alice, I went from left to right, and grouped the sections according to an approximate third of the pic.  At the moment, there’s only the colour change applied.  2

The next part of the background, was the middle ground and I wanted waterfalls. I’ve always wanted to manipulate a photo to have an amazing waterfall!  But as you can see, I’m getting there!  Colour Balance again.  You want to have a nice even colour scheme overall.  Mine was aiming for a vivia entrancing, luxurious green for the flora, and a mysterious magical blue-green for the waterfall.

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And of course, a stone mini castle there at the edge of the waterfall.  I wanted to add as many pathways as possible too, since to me, mostly, I love pathways.  I love lots of meandering paths, and misleading doors, that bring up the questions of which way?  4

The Foreground.  Above, we have the last part of the picture.  Originally, I’d enlarged the floating island so that it was at the very forefront of the picture, however, since I wanted to show it floating, I had to shrink it.  Which may have been for the better, but I feel, here, I might have erred, since you can’t see the writing on the lamp post as clearly.  And most of that is important.  Important to the floating island, is the doorway seemingly to another world. This, I definitely, absolutely wanted to add, because the calm of the scenery inside the archway was to contrast against the beauty outside.

5Lighting!  And adding in all the details.  Like the lights, the glow of the lamps.  The faeries.  I brightened up the image using the burn and dodge tool, adding in shadows in some places, and then dodging others to be brighter.

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Stone angels were inserted for their significance.  Just like the other image (Which way Alice) there are exactly 3.  Death is also present.

And now, below, for the Close Ups! The first is of the left side of the picture, by the crystal fountain.  I did blend in sun rays, because I wanted the light shining through, blindingly and brilliantly.  Here as you can see, in the light of the crystal fountain, the shadow of death is waiting along the path.  Just another obstacle along the way.  I still think I probably overdid it with the crystal fountain, and also think I tried something too early too soon.  But hey, when you’re constantly honing your skills, it’s all about the trial and error!  The faeries are all different sizes though,I deliberately did like that because well, they’re magical beings, no need to be rational there!

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Sorry, my WIP kind of went astray and I didn’t talk about the techniques I used as much, but I’ve never really been very good at describing them.  After all, I’ve only just learnt half of the techniques I used for Where’s the Key Alice and Which Way Alice recently myself!  Plus, my method is really very simple, and learnt from tutorials online.  But if you want to know more, let me know!  I will try and whip one up!  Since I know, sometimes tutorials aren’t all that useful, because they’re bam, bam, bam, and unless you’re trialling and errorring, you don’t really know what they’re talking about.

Main Tools of Use:

  • Photoshop (I use C2 since that was the one version of photoshop I first fell in love with!  But I do want to upgrade to the latest since the newer update has a tool I really want to use!)
  • DeviantART stocks and resources (absolutely fabulous)
  • My brain (yes, I did use this, and though it’s obvious, I figure I’d add it in ;P)

I had a lot of fun making this.  And it’s now my laptop wallpaper.  It’s a completed thing, but my skills, like always, are a work in progress.  Everything in life is a work in progress. Nothing is ever truly finished!  When you put your mind to it, you can create something amazing that you didn’t think you could, and when you get older, you can look back and think, wow, I can’t believe I did that then, look what I can do now?  For me, that’s how I hope I’ll see the things I did this year, last year, back when I was 15, in 20 or 30 years time.

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**NOTE: All stocks used for “Where’s The Key Alice” are listed on DeviantART (Another link for you: HERE.  And wow.  I’m amazed.  It’s taken me a few hours to write this all up, and WordPress has autosaved it for me 84 times!  I don’t know why, but I find it quite impressive!

Instagram!

Guys, guys, guyyyysssss, I have some news for you!  I have INSTAGRAM.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Lol.  Well, truthfully, I’ve never really considered getting an Instagram, mainly because I heard someone say in some media, onscreen, mini conference/discussion thing that it’s better than Facebook.  Better because it’s not that invasive. I’m not sure if I agree with that.  Sure, Facebook is like the World’s Largest Archive of Living People (let’s not go into the details about this right now, since I’m sure there are more than humans using profiles on facebook…even if the one controlling the profile behind the screen is human lol), it’s a social network that allows you to put all the details about yourself out there.  Well, you don’t have to do that!  I for one have a very private facebook account that only has the names of friends I know, and not randoms.  And after that little discussion on channel 10?  (Or maybe it was 9) The first thought in my head was, but Instagram is….pictures.  You’re taking pictures of yourself….or of other things….isn’t that a bit invasive too???  But I also knew that the lady was probably right, since Facebook is a profile system social network, but Instagram doesn’t really use that.  You can write whatever you like about yourself and hide all the important private details.

So, I have come a long way.  And even though I’m using a variety of other social media, I spontaneously made an Instagram.  Im still trying to figure out the little things, linking, authorising, etc, it’s very confusing and makes me feel like an old person.  Even though, an old person is probably more adept than I am right now, and there aren’t even that many things to get confused over!!  Thankfully, the app is easy 😀

Here is the link:

https://www.instagram.com/wordsthatflowlikewater/

Follow me!  And I’ll follow you!  Hopefully I’ll actually have something interesting to instagram lol.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

So this is a little early, but I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone who follows my blog, who has come past my blog and liked a post, who are friends of mine, and to everyone!

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With the new year almost upon me again, I’ve been looking back over my blog.  This year, I’ve noticed I haven’t been around much, and for that, I’m sorry!  If you follow my blog, then you know I love being around!  This blog is my baby. Just like my laptop, anything I write, and the book club I host with Sam!

 

And Now Some Quotes!  

For the New Year, I will be keeping these quotes in mind, for this year has turned out so much harder than I expected, for a variety of reasons.

From Alfred Tennyson….. 

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

From Oprah Winfrey…

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

From Edith Lovejoy Pierce…

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

And One From Me:

Never Give Up.  

Every year is hard.  The new year is the one time of the year when you can give yourself that resolution to either chug along, or change something.  I can’t say it’ll be successful, I’m not a motivator.  I’m just a girl going about life.  And this past year, hasn’t been the best.  But there’s no point thinking that next year will be worse.  I’m going to think positive, and believe, really believe, deep down inside of me, where my optimism meter is at its lowest already, and I’m going to drag it out.  I’m going to believe with all I have left, that next year will be better.  Because tomorrow will be the first day of the new year, the doorway to change.  If change is what we want.  Me:  I need a bit more courage, a bit more confidence, and plenty of determination.

Growing up.  Getting older.  No matter how old you are.  Gets harder every year.  But I always want to remember the Voices of Yesterday.

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Resolutions

This year, I wrote a post about my New Years Resolutions.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to completely stick with my resolutions!  Let’s dissect my resolutions from last year:

[1] I will read at least 3 debut novels this year (having failed to do so in the previous years, I’m adamant about it this year).  This will probably be one of my personal reading challenges for The Quarterly Book Club.

I did it!  Omg, I’m surprised with myself!  I’ve read a total of 108 books this year, but I didn’t know how many debut novels I read.  But, checking over my challenge shelf in QBC over on Goodreads, I have indeed read 3 2015 debut novels.  I read Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, and Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff.  All of them were very interesting, entertaining, and great debut novels!

[2] I’m going to read at least 3 classics (I think I only read one last year).  This one too.

This one, I absolutely and utterly failed.  I honestly am ashamed of myself for not spending at least five days reading a great classic!  I can’t believe it!  I didn’t read one single classic this year! Granted, I did start Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  But that itself is not finished.  Which brings me to–

[3] I’m going to read Lord of the Rings (I read the first line of the Two Towers earlier after seeing the Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies and realised, I might actually really want to read it – for those who read the Grinch Book Tag it’s a book that’s been on my shelf for years).  And this one as well!

-______- I failed.  Epically.  However, I am still reading it, and about halfway through!

[4] I plan to post stories this year.  I have a story I’ve been working on, and to face my fear of sharing lengthier works, I’m going to definitely post it this time.

I did this!  A bit, but waned towards the second half of the year.  However, this I still intend to continue, since The Curse Mark still has a few more chapters before it reaches the part where I stopped writing (putting it on hiatus).

[5] Even if postgrad takes my time, I do not plan to go on such a long hiatus in 2015 like I did in 2014, I missed this blog too much.

I started my postgrad about six months ago now, and for the past year, according to my stats–and thankfully I have my annual report to look at!  This year I posted 130 times.  Whereas in 2014, I posted only 102 times.  So better!  And also, I was only more consistently this year compared to last year.  In 2014, I disappeared for 3 months.  But this year, I didn’t disappear for more than three weeks or so!

I think, for 2015 New Years resolutions, I did a good job.  What are my resolutions for Next Year?  Truthfully I haven’t decided yet, but I will within the next week! What are some of your New Years Resolutions? 

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And that’s it!  I leave you with:

And I still like Lea Michele’s rendition of Auld Lang Syne.

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Oh!  And of course, again, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Goodbye 2015!  I hope you all have a great one, and that your new year’s eve shall be full of fun, celebration and champagne!

Signing off for the rest of today and year,

Your Always Here, Waterblogging wordy blogger,

   Nina   

Pledge. Thesis Diaries part 6?

So.  Another ‘p’ word for you.  Just now, I was thinking about commitment.  More specifically about commitment to big projects, making goals for oneself, etc.  Even love can be a goal to commit to.  For me, though, I’ve found that this year I’ve had too many things to commit to, yet because all of them are self-orientated tasks, it’s easier for me to give up on some.  Like my tarot card project over on DA.  While I haven’t given up on it, I’ve temporarily put it aside, leaving it half finished, and leaving me feeling disappointed in myself.  My writing project: the Curse Mark, is also on hiatus, only because I find myself unable to continue where I’d stopped.  I think my issue there though is that there were too many plots going on in my head and I didn’t think to draw out a picture to make it clearer.  I’ve started countless projects this year–some I have indeed completed and to which I felt much better doing so after, and others, of course, are still unfinished.

Completed

  • Major Arcana of the Tarot Card Project
  • Digital Manips of the Western Zodiac
  • And Which Way Alice (I consider it a small term goal that required a lot of effort)
  • Series Ender Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Series Starters Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Standalone Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • TBR Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Colours Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Contemporary Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club

Incomplete

  • Minor Arcana of the Tarot Project
  • My steampunk Airballons Digital Manip (still have to upload it)
  • 2 requested/for fun wallpaper ideas for digital manips that I haven’t had the energy or inspiration to do yet
  • The Curse Mark Project
  • A number of short stories
  • A number of poems
  • ABC Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Classics Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • 2015 Debut Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Mythology Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Graphics novel Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club
  • Months Challenge for the Quarterly Book Club

Long Term Goals

  • PhD thesis
  • Writing Project: Golden Phoenix

Of everything, I feel like I did accomplish a few things this year, but at the same time, I don’t feel all round accomplished.  I had things I committed to, but didn’t and couldn’t complete (though for the reading, I still have a month to go!  But still, I know I overcommitted.  But how can you help it?  There are so many things you want to do and just can’t say no to.

 

My point is this.  Your thesis, as I’m already thinking about how it’d be like, and if I was to give it a metaphor, it’d be like a Marriage or a Relationship.  It’s a commitment.  It’s not something small or temporary like all the little commitments I’ve listed above.  You’re going to be in this relationship with your thesis for three years (full timers, longer for part timers).  You’re going to definitely hate it at one point.  Love it at other times.  Hopefully you’ll love it more than you hate it.  I’ve already talked about needing to have passion.  Well you need a lot of it.  You wouldn’t get into a relationship halfheartedly would you?  Or maybe you would, but you’d have to have some reason for doing so, right?  I decided to undertake my PhD because I want to teach at Uni.  I want to lecture on a topic I really love, and teaching in primary or high school just doesn’t really appeal to me.  There are other reasons why.  For one, my topic that I’ve chosen is something really close to my heart.  Hopefully, it’s not so close that I won’t be able to dissect it.  But it’ll be close enough that regardless of the arguments we’ll have together, the reluctance on my part to pull  my weight, and the ability of my thesis’ part to be less of a puzzle and more straightforward, I won’t stop moving forward.  I’m only 4 months in.  It hasn’t felt very long, yet my first milestone is coming up.

 

And sometimes, I’m afraid of the commitment.  If my goals listed above is anything to go by, I am both capable of being committed, yet liable to give up if overcommitted.  But I won’t break my pledge.  My pledge that I will see this all the way through even if all that’s left of me is a sack of bones.  Well hopefully there’ll still be flesh.  I’m hoping it’ll be flesh and a number of accomplishments I can be proud of (even though right now, my heart is already palpitating in fear of what I might not end up achieving.  I have so many goals lined up for the next three years, it’s like the lists above multiplied by three.)  If you’re like me, just a little bit of an overachiever, aiming too much for too many things, then maybe it’s time for us to stop.  Take a break.  Think.  Not give up, but just relax a bit!

 

In order to make this marriage work, I’ll need to plan better.   I can’t always study.  But I can’t always slack either.  I can’t make a big list of goals and expect to complete them without a clear plan.  I want to treat this relationship properly and give it all the attention it deserves after all.

 

That’s just it though.  How am I going to plan a writing schedule I can keep?  I don’t know.  It’ll be hard to plan three years ahead, but if I have a rough idea of what will happen when, I think I’ll be more reassured.  At the same time, it’s best if I don’t give myself a really tight schedule, because then stress will be cranked to the max and I will be exhausted.  I’ll also want to enjoy myself, attend conferences, work, have a social life. So, I have to figure it out and think carefully about my schedule.  But dayummmm it’s daunting!

 

And knowing myself, I know my reading and writing schedule will look a little crazy (the deadlines will be a little close and a little impossible but that’s why I make leeway time for myself so that I know I have this much more time to perfect it), but hey, I know I’ll be motivated by the pressure to at least turn out a rough, albeit terrible draft, and then take a break for a bit, because I’ll feel happier that I did something.   And something, is better than nothing!

 

P.s.  Sometimes I why I write these particular posts about my phd journey. But I suppose in my long winded messy way, I’m trying to express what I want to accomplish and do and advise on while on this journey as I’m going a long, but sometimes, I think I should just take my own advice lol!  Rather than spouting it out all on you guys!

Which Way Alice?

As promised!  Here is the final result of my procrastination, as mentioned here weeks back–> Procrastination, Thesis Diaries Part 4? I had to wait a while to upload it for two reasons: 1) I’ve been busy.  Busy, it seems to be the common denominator for every fraction of each day that comes.  So while I schedule well, some things just take time!  And making sure I credit every person whose stock resources made it possible, required ALOT of time.  I’ve always found linking to be such a pain, but well, they all deserve credit!  2) I had to wait because I had three other works to upload first.  And it seems I’m a bit of a sucker for doing things in a particular order.  My water photomanipulation series needed uploading before I could upload Which Way Alice?  since after all, I did create them first: Sweet Surrender, Euphoria, and Emancipation.

Here it is:  Which Way Alice?  The completed version!

And also, to go with it, a micro poem I wrote on Twitter:

She stared at the pathways

Running away from her

Stretching terrifyingly into the unknown…

Which Way Alice?

The above is a photomanipulation, which, were I much better at painting with a brush and a canvas, I would have love to do by hand (but alas, I am not good at all with a brush, lack the patience and skill to do it by hand, and do not think a finelined version would be worthy, thus, I went to my trusty laptop, opened up photoshop and decided to go from there).  Although I called this ‘Which Way Alice’ this one isn’t really an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ scene.  But rather, it’s based on the idea of Alice in Wonderland, and grew to be something else entirely (as one has probably gathered if you’ve read my Procrastination post).

When I started out with this, I began with two thoughts:
1) An Alice image, a girl in wonderland.
2) An image about a girl who has a number of choices in front of her, all looking decidedly positive and good..  But which one is the right one?

I had a thought of making this available as a print on DA, but as I’ve never before wanted something printed, I don’t know.  But maybe, if I get enough views, I will seek out the necessary permissions and make this available as a print.  As for now!  This has been made as a 1366×768 sized wallpaper (and of which is currently set as my laptop wallpaper, as I’ve mentioned previously, I love being able to make my own wallpapers and really loving them too).  Hmm I’d actually love to have this as a jigsaw puzzle lol.  Maybe one day, for my kids if I ever have any! Haha.

Of course, I could still improve on this!  But this is the first time I’ve done something so detailed in terms of photomanipulation.  I never thought I could, but well!

Credits: Please go through to my DA page for the credits: Which Way Alice?

Sleep. Thesis Diaries part 5?

Sorry again for disappearing!! I will never stop being endlessly sorry because I like posting at least once a day, but the last week or so, I’ve just been too busy!  And tired not to mention….for a variety of reasons.  And then, also, a little lazy, in a need of a little indulgence.  Today’s post will definitely be short! (since I have a headache!)

A good piece of advice for those studying postgrad (and one I have often failed to take under my wing, the sole reason predominantly being:  I can’t help myself, but I do try every now and the.) is:  Get Plenty Of Sleep.  It always sucks not being able to focus from lack of sleep; sucks feeling distracted by the blurring eyesight because you spent the night staying up to mid morning reading a book because the book was soooooo good you just couldn’t stop; sucks because you know the consequences but you do it anyway.

Like me.  I stayed up to 2am this morning finishing off Code Name: Verity  by Elizabeth Wein.  It’s one of the Your Choice books for the Quarterly Book Club, and it’s also a book I became really absorbed in.  And so I stayed up.  This time planned (recently I stayed up unplanned, reading Dark Triumph another Your Choice Read for the Quarterly Book Club).  I knew the consequences and had intended to sleep really well and sleep in, but I ended up waking up early and not being able to get back to sleep again….and just now tried to use the Art of Common Talk as a pillow instead of studying it.

So, fellow researchers, postgrads, and people in general who love reading and can’t help it–get some decent nights rest, you’ll feel better in the morning.  Which.  Is definitely advice I plan to take and make use of this weekend :).  It’ll be hard to concentrate on the tasks at hand otherwise!  And it’s been so long since I stayed up to read a good book, I decided to indulge….I think I indulged a little too much though because now I have a headache and feel hungover without the alcohol part…..

Oh!  I want to make a note here, a personal goal, Next Month, I shall start writing my thesis.  It’ll be the worst draft ever.  But I shall start.  Because it’s better to start early, hate it, get over it, and do something decent before the end of my first year mark.

Procrastination. Thesis Diaries part 4?

Oh dear…this topic…I bring it up, sadly, because over the last few days, despite the scholarly book in front of me, and the articles up in various tabs on my computer, I haven’t felt like I’ve read much.  Instead, I horrify myself by spending hours and hours on something else….namely, a little project in photoshop.  I don’t know what possessed me to do so, but the other day, sometime either Thursday or Friday last week, I became obsessed with the idea of REALLY trying to create an indepth, detailed wallpaper.  Though, this time, not for my own computer.  I just used the 1366 x 768 dimensions as a foundation.  I really don’t know what possessed me.  It was spontaneous, nutty, and obsessive.  And at the same time, it wasn’t like I wasn’t studying.  I was.  But that’s the problem you see, since although I did do reading, and I did scan through texts, I didn’t do half as much as I probably could if I spent the whole day focussed.

But well.  From Bachelors to Honours to now, PhD, procrastination has become a bigger and bigger problem for me.  And I know why.  It’s because unlike my mum, I don’t believe in having to study all day.  I believe in taking breaks.  Spend an hour reading to a certain page of my book, then take an hour break.  Or depending on the mood.  If stressed, restrict my break time to lunch time, and spend the morning accomplishing a number of goals.  More than anything, I hate feeling like I’ve done nothing!  And so, for many years now, I’ve learnt that it’s important to have these mini goals.  Today, I haven’t really done much.  But yesterday, I made it a goal to finish off the last 30 odd pages of a book I was reading that had been suggested by my associate supervisor (down under, we have two supervisors, one is Main, and the other is the associate), and read one article, as well as go through a few pages of a text I’m looking at.  I did that, and I also got a little further on something else.

Remember I said something came over me?  Well this is what I was working on for many hours–thankfully I don’t study after dinner.  I only study during the day when my head is screwed on tightest, unlike at night, where friends are prone to receiving, odd, nonsensical text messages from me–clearly, I can’t think half as well.  The good thing about not being able to study in the evenings is that I can take on private tutoring and other night shifts for the moment.  And on days with nothing like that of the sort, and since at current, my social life is nil since all my friends are busy with their own careers (there’s just something about this time of the year that has everyone in a frenzy), it’s a perfect time for working on other things.   Such as digital art in Photoshop.  I’ve always been interested in it, but never really had the courage or time to explore various techniques in the past.  In the past, it was always much easier to just get out the sketchbook and draw with pencil and fineliner.  These days I don’t have as much time (and apparently I stress less if I have the laptop in front of me….maybe it’s because everything is digitally stored in soft copy everywhere), and yet have more time to explore and experiment with photoshop.

And so when the desire hit, I just went with it.  My nights over the last few days have been dedicated to this project, which!  I will we be uploading onto my DeviantART Profile here: N-arteest with a full description and list of credits for the stock used.  But for now, because I’m writing this here in a very brief procrastination post about procrastination, lord knows why I’m doing such a thing, I’ll post a few of the Work In Progress images ;).  My dear readers, this is my little gift to you, and well, I’m just really glad it’s mostly finished now.  I can’t believe it took around 12 – 14hrs approx to complete (mostly because I only worked on it at night, and I changed my mind several times, particularly about how it would look.)

The Original Concept

Work in progress 1

This is the original concept I had.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, since I had all these beautiful stock images, some of which I blended together (Like on the right) yet, left me with no wiggle space as to what to do next.  I was so frustrated by this, I didn’t know what to do, so I spent the next day…while reading, and trying to draw lines with all the dots of information I had for my PhD research, thinking about what I wanted to conceptualise in my wallpaper digital thingy!

Work in progress 2

I changed my concept to this.  With a giant stone plinth covered in moss.  And I started thinking of a ‘Which Way Alice’.  Something that was also sparking in my head the day before, with all the paths I had laid out for the female.  So what if I made a concept based on someone given a variety of choices?  And then I started thinking about myself, and about the future, and about the choices we can all potentially make that might seem good, but aren’t.  I mean, even in the original concept I was already considering the idea of making all the various paths seem innocent, yet really, in the depths, it’d show some silent warnings.  The hidden dangers.

Work in progress 3

I’ve added the Archways here, and there, you can see the original concepts there too ^^.   With ‘Alice’ looking on, perhaps wondering which way is the right way to go.

Work in progress 4

And the Last Screenshot here, the last sneak peak before the whole thing goes up on my DA, I’ve gone in for a close up.  The lamp post.  I didn’t know how I would do this part, but when I saw the stock, I knew I wanted a lamp post.  I originally had a vague image in my head of signs surrounding Alice, each one saying something seductive about the various entrances.  But in the end, this is what was conceived.  A sign.  And signs, with a few little touches.  There’s what seems like blood, red paint of some such covering over the part of the signs that says ‘warning’, ‘danger’, and ‘the Future’.  On the other side, there’s the sign labelling the Way Back.  But of course, there’s a chicken standing on it.

In a way, this was kind of related to my PhD, not that I’m doing something based on Alice in Wonderland or anything.  Nor is my research an art project.  But there are similar themes between this and that that seem familiar to me, and in a way, for me to feel less guilty about spending so many hours procrastinating–which I still did because during the day, during breaks, I sometimes scrolled through a whole bunch of stock images when I should have been reading.

And well, yes, I should add here, to sign off for today, that it’s bad to procrastinate!  But we all know that’s a lie.  WE can’t help procrastinating.  Rather, it’s how you manage it, how you tone down the stress and guilt, and do enough research, as well as take enough breaks that’s important.  Burning out early on, with Passion turning into a Passionate Hate, isn’t how you want to spend the three-four years of your PhD.

Passion. Thesis Diaries part 3?

This time will DEFINITELY be short!

I have really only one thing to say.  Being around 3 months into my PhD, I have learnt (though I already knew, seeing as I can’t help but think about things in the long term) that when it comes to your Doctor of Philosophy, and to all the years you’ll spend doing it, the most important thing is this:  Passion.  You have to love what you want to do, have to want to study it immensely, have to have the desire to make a change about something (even if it’s really small, that’s fine! Just don’t think about a Nobel Prize just yet–you’re not ready, or that might be too big a goal if you’re just starting out), and most of all, you absolutely cannot think ‘This sucks. This is boring.  It’s so bloody dry.  I hate this.’

There are a lot of pressures of life, I’m beginning to notice that will make one think about the ‘job opportunities’ that lay at the other end of the continuum–things like financial situation, peer and parental pressure, reality.  Those sorts of things.  But while, I can’t really say so myself, not really, since I haven’t yet passed all my lifetime milestones, I do want to say this.  I want to be able to say next year, or the year after, or the year after that, that I love what I’m doing.  I want to be able to light up, have sparkles in my eyes, and good hair, when I say ‘I have no regrets’ with the choice I made–one that, in the beginning, may not have been very  practical at all.  Yet it’s the fact that there was Passion that makes me light up like that.

Even though it’s hard, and sometimes inconceivable, I want to be able to make choices in the future that aren’t half-heartedly, that are full of careful thought and reckless yet passionate choices.  It’ll be hard.  But before I even began my PhD, I never wanted to not do it.  Even if I faltered half a dozen times and had to endure a long and agonising wait for my application to be processed.

In the end though–particularly today as I sat with my Supervisors in our almost monthly meetings, I could feel it in the air.  I just couldn’t shut up about what I felt and thought even though my brain kept telling my mouth ‘you’re boring people!’  It just kept flowing out of me, what I loved and what I found so far.  And I knew in that moment, I didn’t want to be studying any other topic.  This topic is mine.  I thought it up.  I picked the area.  And though it might seem like an English Literature research, I will definitely make it Linguistics.  This topic is mine.  And I will make it significant in the future, even though I am soooooooo daunted right now, I’m a bit scared I might wet my pants, and I have never done that ever.

So.  (And crap, because bloody hell, this was longer than I had planned!)  Passion.  Find a topic you’re really passionate about when it comes to postgraduate studies, don’t just pick from a list–unless you’re someone who grows into the topic and becomes passionate later on–it’ll just kill you over the two (masters/depends on the masters course) or three (or four or more depending on the PhD course).  Pick something you’ll love–it’ll define you later.  And you don’t want to hate it, right?

Thank you.

It would be nice if I added pictures and gifs in this post, but I don’t want to overshadow the words I want to say.  It’s been three years since I had first made my blog (not exactly 3 years, but approx is close enough), and I have done a lot on here, and also, not enough.  Lately, I have been feeling low, down, and conflicted about various things, but like always, I’m taking it like a champ and going to surge through this to find the bright happy spot on the other side.

In truth, I’ve been meaning to say this for a long time.  Since sometimes I feel like I haven’t said it enough, shown it enough, or even reflected on it enough.  So today’s brief and very somewhat uncharacteristic post of mine, is this:

I want to say Thank You to all my friends, my family, for being there,

for giving me support and advice whenever I untangle my voice from the monster in my throat.

I want to say Thank You to all fellow bloggers for popping in,

and seeing what rubbish I write,

and what pops out of my head at random moments

of a supposedly busy day.

Most of all, I want to say

Thank You 

to everyone who likes my posts,

who comment

who reads

and who have stuck with me

for so long…you have become old friends.

And this,

is my appreciation,

for how much I appreciate you.

I am so grateful,

a feeling so ineffable,

that makes me want to reach through

this virtual world and hug you.

So Thank You.

Thank You All.

❤ ❤ ❤

Paralysis. Thesis Diaries part 2?

This’ll be short.  But on Friday (11th Sep), I went to a Postgraduate Researcher Development seminar about ‘defeating self sabotage’.  Admittedly, I was one of few who were in the early stages of their project–at one month to one and a half months old, I was surprisingly not the freshest PhD student in the room.  There were a couple of two monthers, and there was a guy who was only two weeks in!  This surprised the speaker at the front of the room, because she had expected a lot of six monthers or older students.  But to me, I have barely even started and yet I can definitely fear everything they spoke about on Friday.  It’s not hard.  I wasn’t extremely confident when I did my Honours, and right before I finished my third year, I was already shaky, constantly thinking, what the hell am I doing?  Can I really do this?  Who’s going to think I’m capable?  My work is absolutely shit.

Yeah.  Not hard at all for me to think any and nearly all of these things.  Of course when it comes to writing academically, I got through a myriad of issues–Perfectionism, Procrastination, Imposter Syndrome…you name it, and I’ve probably experienced it already!  And that’s mostly because I myself am someone who has a lot of positivity, but sometimes not enough confidence.  Confidence fluctuates.  It will no matter how confident you are as a person, if enough bad things happen, or not enough good things happen, then it’s easy to feel lacking in confidence (I almost used the word ‘unconfident’ which I don’t think it’s a real word, yet I’m sure it’s been used and as a linguist, I am disinclined to think that it would be wrong for me to say that it’s not a real word.)

And indeed, it hits when you least expect it.  After the big confidence boost I got on Friday (I have a supervisor meeting with both my supervisors, and then the seminar in the afternoon, which while interesting, I actually zoned out at some point by accident–lack of sleep, so bad of me!) yesterday, I did nothing.  I had actually intended to further develop the ideas from the supervisory meeting on Friday, however, when I woke up, I had no desire to get up, and stayed in bed for an hour longer than usual.  Then I did get up, but had no intention of really doing anything work related because for three weeks straight, I had been working non-stop and never really feeling I was going anywhere.  So instead, I planned to go out.  With my mum.  So much fun (slightly sarcastic tone since I’m highly aware of how tedious shopping can become with my mum, since it tends to take longer than planned, and then it usually never goes the way I want it to!) which, at the end of the day, didn’t turn out so bad.  In planning such, I didn’t really expect to be lumped with a whole bunch of spring cleaning chores.  And for the these last few days to have been full of absolutely beautiful weather, sure didn’t dissuade my mother from assigning me to the washing and then after that–cleaning up the yard.

I surprisingly managed to take it all with ease, and not mind at all.  Then again, yesterday I was half asleep and it didn’t help that I wasn’t in much of a mood to argue.  I just wanted to go out, and subconsciously, I was probably also thinking I don’t want to do my thesis stuff.  I’m pretty motivated for my project.  I really want to do it, and have invested a lot of my feelings.  But, it’s also kind of really scary.  I can see my deadlines ahead of me.  I’m really aware of the fact that in just under 11 months I’ll have reached the first year of my phd and be required to do a presentation for the confirmation about where I’m up to.  And then, after that, I have another twelve months.  And then the home stretch in 2017-2018.  Three years seems like such a long time, but right now, it seems like it’s also not enough time.  Particularly, and it kind of makes me glad I decided to write something RIGHT NOW about thesis stuff, I didn’t realise that the Confirmation stage is in about 11 months and not 6 months.

You see, this morning, I woke up, got up almost immediately (around 8.30am because hey today’s a beautiful day and I couldn’t resist the vision of sunlight pouring through the curtain slits), showered, then spent over an hour preparing breakfast (wouldn’t let anyone else help me, plus their breakfast was on me for once), and only a while ago sat down.  It was when I sat down did I feel it.  Paralysis.  A mental paralysis.  Just yesterday and Friday I had motivation and an inkling of an idea of what I wanted to do next.  But the moment I sat down, I realised, a wave of panic came over me, and I didn’t know what I should be doing.  I just had this sudden mental blank.  And it abhors me to know that I could suddenly think ‘what am I supposed to be looking at?’  It makes me wonder if this is happening now, why? And then, what about when it happens next?

I think what terrified me most when I sat down, was the fact that on Friday, I went through so much with my supervisors, and this morning, I was thinking about how long until Confirmation.  And I think, for those of us who are so fresh to the course, to the exciting possibility of being someone great in three years time (well not mindblowingly great, but yet, in three years, you’ll have a title, and also, a field of expertise which one will further build on in the future), and if you’re like me, who tends to freak out excessively at the introduction of new things before calming down for the duration, before freaking out at the end again, then it would still be pretty overwhelming.   Maybe for me right now, I’m still overwhelmed by the future, by my project, and that, in order to feel less overwhelmed, I overwork and research and try to fill the hole even though it’s only been one and a half months into the PhD program.  I think, what I really need is to sit back, take a deep breath and remember, I am not alone, I am only just beginning, and I can do this.  I also think, that I am trying too hard to think that ‘I am not good enough’ right now and trying to accommodate that by working ahead, but for this course, I don’t think there’s such things as being able to work ahead.  Research is constantly evolving and developing, and at best, I can only keep up.  What I shouldn’t do right now though, is lose focus.   If I concentrate on my topic, read about more literature and take deep breaths (aka, also known as taking a break), then the next three years will be both the most stressful thing in my life, but also, most likely, and hopefully, three years in which I can say I was really proud of myself.  And hopefully, remembering these things will help me defeat my temporary mental paralysis (which I’m hoping was only a one of thing, because even for me, I’ve never really had such a mental blank/fear before–exams, while always scary and tense, were things I was always prepared for.)

On another note, here’s the beautiful book I bought when I went out shopping yesterday:

I finally got my hands on the new Throne of Glass novel and I’m excited! Can’t wait to get the chance to read it!!!  (But it’s big, bigger than Heir of Fire, though not by much.)  Whoops, not exactly the best picture, but love the cover!

Whooops this wasn’t as short as I planned.  And also, next time I’ll add some more pictures! >.< so it isn’t a whole chunk of writing.

Random Post. Thesis Diaries part 1?

To be honest, I’m not sure why I’m writing this post today.  I woke up this morning, later than usual.  Rather than some good pre-spring sunlight shining through the curtains of my room, it’s dark.  For a moment, I thought it was still night time.  Still some whacky incomprehensible hour before 7am where most rational (if they aren’t working at job that requires being awake at that hour) people are still sleeping, dreaming of muffins and ugly shoes.  I dreamed ugly shoes onto my friend’s feet once, it was totally random, yet when I woke up the next morning that was the only part of the dream I could remember!  It was odd too, since my friend doesn’t even wear ugly shoes!  She has such great taste, maybe I was jealous? Though I like my shoes too, I suppose having small feet makes it a very limited choice when it comes to buying shoes.  But well, the mind works in mysterious ways.  And I’ve ever dreamed of muffins–dreaming of food is a big no-no, I greatly dislike waking up starved!  So I’ve somehow engineered my brain to think of other things.  Such as my dream last night.  I actually really enjoyed that dream, only, like always…those dreams have a knack of running away from me as soon as I open my eyes.

Nonetheless, after a week of sunshine last week and early wake ups in which I actually wanted to wake up and go and make my work station in the kitchen, sit down with oats for breakfast and start reading the academic literature I’ve got piled up, printed and stapled, I found myself wanting to lie in bed a little longer.  It was pouring was absolutely pouring outside, and the sky was white and grey with clouds, and even though I wasn’t tired, the bed was just too comfortable.

But I have work to do.

My life is pretty simple right now, the most dominant factor is that recently I began my postgraduate studies.  I am nutty enough to take on the P. H. D.  Three of the most daunting letters I’ve ever encountered in my life.  If you asked me four years ago when I started my undergraduate if I would ever think of doing my doctorate once I finished honours, I would have looked at you as though you have three eyes, tail feathers, and holding a chihuahua, and said, “Come again?”  It just wasn’t comprehensible.  I mean, I don’t mind studying, have always had an interest in knowing me, but asking me if I ever wanted to be an expert in the field….honestly, I don’t think and have never thought I’d have the balls for it.   Well, I don’t have balls actually, but you get the expression.

And this morning, while I lay there in bed, I found myself thinking back–you’re never too young to reflect on your life, but it sure as hell made me feel old!  I feel like I’m walking into the beginning of a crucible that will last three years.  And I thought, Omg what have you got yourself into?  The inner dialogue in my head this morning:

Brain:  Get up.

Me:  It’s warm.

Brain:  The shower has warm water.

Me:  The walk between here and there is too cold.

Brain:  But you’ll be cleannnnnn (so the brain entices)

Me:  Bed.  Warm.  I have everything I need.  Even reading materials here….(looks to the books on the bookshelf, looks to her phone).

Brain:  …..

Me:  (grins stupidly)

Brain:  Do you know what they call lying in bed for no reason other than to avoid getting up and doing some work?

Me:  A BREAK?!

Brain:  PROCRASTINATINGOMGWHENDIDMYHOSTBECOMEANIDIOT

Me: Geez no need to overact, clearly if we’re having this conversation, my brain is in the right place.  At least it functions effectively unlike some defective….

Brain: get up get up get up (wails)

Me: No.

Brain: yes.

Me: No.

Brain:  yes.  There’s hot chocolate if you get up.

Me: (Contemplates this, considers the time it takes to make hot chocolate, how warm the shower is….) Okay.

Brain:  SUCCESS.  Self sabotage averted, the host is finally moving, may her research grow in peace…

As you can see from the above, by the time I arrived here in my kitchen–for my room is a terrible study space, though I don’t think I will camp out at my kitchen table for the next three years to study since it would be impossible to concentrate for three days straight if I tried.  But for now it’s okay.  It’s a nicer, open space, more air that’s not as stale as that in my room (even when I open my window, my room is just so blah), and even if I look out the window–this is surprising so depressing to note–all I see are backyard fences, and dead trees (well sort of dead, the fig tree I can see out of the windows on my left has been planted in the garden for two years now, but due to some defect–haunted or otherwise though we suspect that it’s just bad soil–in the land, anything on that side of the house never grows.  Or at least, they live for a period of time, before after struggling for years, they give in and dry up.  Surprisingly though, the plum tree that has been trying to grow for eight years, has actually still kept marching on, even managing to give us a very sour, unripened (cut early by accident), plum last year.  We were so proud we cut it into three pieces and shared it among the three of us, shoving it in one shot.  I think one of us consumers actually spat it back out.  But well, at least we tried it.  And we’re still proud, hopefully this year will actually give us some sweet plums.)

Procrastination.  My biggest enemy.  And I have procrastinated again by writing this, flexing those writing muscles, glancing over at the academic literature, reading one page before coming back.  Nervously excited for the research, BUT HECK IT’S DAUNTING, and already, I see it becoming a huge mess.  However, my goal, for eternity, is to defeat procrastination and also, since I am always, and forever in a civil war with my stress, I plan to figure out a way push it off a cliff sometime.  Both procrastination and stress are big hurdles to jump over, but I figure, if you plan well, you’ll manage both well.  I don’t believe in stressing only.  I believe if you’re stressing or hating or angry at something, isn’t it better to deal with it first?  Even if it’s only for an hour, spend it reading a book, sitting where you’re comfortable, will make you feel better afterwards.  When I first started a month or so back, I stressed real bad (and still stressing) because it felt like I should know everything and already have a clear idea of how to do my project.  No one knows anything when they start their postgrad projects.  You are nothing, you are the ant walking across the football oval, you are a bee in a hive of others, you are one tea leaf in a teacup.  But the prospect that you’ll become an expert by the end, is daunting, and for someone like me, starting such a big project is stressful because my foresight in the future doesn’t extend further than a month.  For a while, I had some how managed to project my entire three years into a week, and of course, such a thing sent my stress skyrocketing, since it was all so overwhelming.  But once I started settling in at uni, meeting supervisors and hearing them tell me what I should do to really begin my research, and as I did start reading the literature, the schedule in my head started to de-warp and stretch, slowly flexing back to its natural shape–three years.  It’s both a long time, and also, not that long.  If you plan properly, you will pass in a breeze.  And since I am clearly only just beginning, I plan to plan well.

Of course, once I defeat procrastination and keep myself happy along with everything else that could upset the balance of ‘successfully completing this’ and ‘being a failure’.  

Things to do in the next week:

  1. Read.  I have to read the literature.  Figure out the holes that I need to fill.
  2. Write.  Academic writing is the bane of my writing existence.  I feel like I try to hard to sound sophisticated.  Academic Language is sadly not an inborn talent, but a time consuming, arduous task that makes me feel like an idiot and not worthy of writing!
    1. I wonder, major I should start a Dictionary section?
  3. Map. First time in a long time I’ll be mapping out my academics before writing.

For no.4 I have discovered I really don’t know how to make nice charts.  I don’t suppose anyone knows how to make an inverted smartart object/relationship hierarchy chart thing?  Actually, does anyone know a good program? I have Free Mind Mapping, and I’ve used smart art in Word.  But it’s just not the same, doesn’t really cover what I want.  

And that, dear readers is the end of a random rant/journal entry of my beginning experiences of my journey.  There’s actually a lot more to tell, and the above hasn’t done a very good job of telling, but I had to get it out.  I don’t know how many of these I’ll do over the next three years, but in a way, I think it’ll be important for me to document my journey.  And I guess I want to be truthful to myself, to express all the things that’ll pee me off, and at the same time, please me.

Hopefully if I do write Part 2, it’ll be more coherent and meaningful than this one.  This one, admittedly is a rant, and not a very good one either.

The Ultimate Book Tag

SO.  Lately I’ve had an influx of postgrad academic work, and while it’s probably the usual amount you’d expect at the beginning of one’s PhD, it’s still so very overwhelming!  And yet, all I want to do right now, is spend a little while procrastinating.  Procrastination via blogging, and because I’ve been somewhat dying to do a book tag lately, I figured I’d go out and find one to do!  And apparently this book tag was everywhere back in April  this year (where the heck was I?  How could I miss out on doing it?) so now I’m going to do it — yehehe I knew late I’m doing this, but who cares, it’s a book tag!

Questions:


1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

It varies.  I don’t vomit or anything, but I get severely queasy and have a major headache if I sit in a car for too long.  Sometimes even when it’s a short car ride.  Sometimes if I have a full stomach, I don’t feel sick at all.  But sometimes I do.  That’s in general.  READING is a whole other matter.  Sometimes reading actually stops me from feeling sick because it’s completely distracting me from the movement of the car and the outside.  But other times, I can’t even focus on the page.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Jim Butcher.  There’s no one who can replace his style of writing, all that wit and humour and complex plot twists, it’s simply amazing.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

Harry Potter!  Always!  And if I have to give three points, well:

  1. Awesome
  2. Awesome
  3. Awesome

I think that answers it, don’t you?

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?
No I don’t, unless you want to call my handbag, stuffed to the brim my book bag?  It might as well be since really….I can’t ever leave the house without at least one book on me!  Other than the book, I usually have my laptop, usual handbag accessories, water, earphones, boring stuff…

5. Do you smell your books?

YES.  Well new books definitely.  Old books, well depends where they’re from.  But definitely, what kind of book nerd would I be if I didn’t smell my new books?

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

How about both?  A book without little illustrations is fine, I mean that’s normal.  A book with little illustrations though gives the reader something to look at and engage in the story even more!  (it’s even more lovely when the story itself is a little bit boring, and the illustrations are the only things worth looking forward to.)

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing? (I.e Realising the writing in Twilight isn’t really that good at all)

*facepalm*  truly, other than Twilight, I can’t think of any other book.  And while admittedly, I did quite enjoy Twilight when I read it–a guilty pleasure to love something so straightforwardly written, and mostly aimed at fulfilling a whole bunch of impossible fantasies–I didn’t love it.  The instalove, I hated it.  But yes, compared to other books which I love a lot, Twilight falls into this category.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

I think a book fell on my head once, and that’s how I became friends with this girl in my primary school.

Oh wait, never mind, I think that was a lunchbox that fell on my head!

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

I think it’s a Beatrix Potter Book with only 50 pages or something (I’d have to double check later, but it’s hardcover, green, and really tiny!  I also think, if memory serves me right, it’s Peter Rabbit).

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!  Nothing beats that and it’s massive. 

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

Yeessssss I do.  Been writing and reading for years.  And well *looks distantly forward into a hopefully near future* I hope I become an author one day!

12. When did you get into reading?

Seriously, you’re asking me this question?!  If I could remember, I would tell you.  But unfortunately, my memory extends so far, and the best I can say is that in my twenty-two years, I definitely was reading from the moment I could properly read from the front cover of a book to the back cover without throwing the book down,  frustrated by not being able to decipher unknown words without help. Of course, I, like all children, began with picture books.  I remember that much–but still!  A book is a book!
13. What is your favorite classic book?

My favourite classic?  When it comes to classics, I won’t lie, the density of the books give me headaches.  However, I still read them for my own enjoyment (well they do take longer than usual books but still!) But there are some books that I do actually love and read them because I was genuinely interested in the story (well almost), and they are (asides from the expected Pride and Prejudice!!!) : Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (I lovvvveeeeee this book), Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (Gave it a try and loveddddd it), House of Mirth by Edith Warton, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

RebeccaNorthanger Abbey

The House of MirthI Capture the Castle

Little Women (Little Women, #1)

14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?

Art was actually my best subject, then Linguistics, then English (Lit).  Though on the whole, I did well in all those subjects with only a few points separating one subject from another.  Though admittedly, art (photography) was my absolute best subject (a surprise even to me!)
15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated…what would you do?

I would use it to layer the back half of my bookshelf, along with all the other books I don’t like yet I own, and then line all my favourite books on top it.  A very useful book even if I didn’t like it lol.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?

Harry Potter is difficult.  I can’t really think of a book similar to it.  Sure there are plenty of books set in schools and based around magic.  But like that?  WELL I guess something similar, tv show wise, and also a show I loved as a kid (watched it around the same time when Harry Potter was coming out), is the Worst Witch.   I never got round to reading the books!  (But I think they’re aimed at Children.)

AS for books like Hunger Games.  Structurally, world-like, Divergent or the Selection series would be similar.  Lesser known books, probably:

Girl in the Arena by Lisa Haines

Girl in the Arena

I did and didn’t like the above book.  Still it’s got that reality-tv-reluctant-and-rebellious-teen at the centre of the story.  It lacks the strong themes of Hunger Games though lol, and in comparison, doesn’t match up at all.

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while blogging?

I was going to say rambling……..

But okay.  Messages from me after or around midnight, when I’m incredibly tired, never make any sense!  Okay well, maybe they make some sense, but I write too much, and end up rambling about stupid things.  Then again, I never know my limits…..I wonder what my texts would be like if I was completely and  utterly drunk!

18. What is your favorite word?

“Oxymoron”.  But I think it’s one of my favourite words because of what it is rather than the actual word itself.  Truthfully, I love all words.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Nerd.  Dork.  More nerd than dork.  But definitely nerdy, I love my books too much.  If I could eat my books I would.  Since I already breath them, feel them, listen to them, see them.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Fairies.  I never liked vampires.  Plus fairies are pretty to look at.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

If I had to really pick, I would pick angel, because hey, I like to know who I’m talking to–I don’t like being tricked (sometimes I talk too much lol) and Angels are just naturally more truthful.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Maybe a spirit?  Depending on what kind of spirit we’re talking about here.  If it’s the asian kind, I’d love one of the good ones.

23. Zombies or Vampires?

How about neither?  I like things alive!  (But then again, if I was reading about something either I would prefer zombies! )

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Actually, either is fine in a book. AS LONG AS THEY’RE DONE WELL.  But still, I prefer forbidden love over a love triangle since love triangles are so overdone and annoying in a  lot of YA fiction.

25. AND FINALLY: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Depends on my mood!  I don’t mind full on romance books every once in a while!  But on the whole, I do love action a lot more than romance.


Guys are you bored/procrastinating/wanting to do something?  I TAG you to do this tag.  Even more so if you’re a lover of books and by some chance HAVE NOT done this tag yet.

Whoo and I am done!

Enjoy!

Inspiration & New Things

So just the other day I was quite bored and tired of the picture I have on my phone’s lockscreen–not because I don’t love that picture, but rather, because I’ve used that one for so long and it was time for a change.  Here is what it used to be:

Although I still like my picture (granted there are so many aspects which I could have done better such as the hands etc, but you can see my gripe and self criticise if you click through the link), I needed the change, and it was while I was fiddling around on photoshop with my new decided design, did I do something I didn’t intend to do.  So here is the drawing I was going to use next (I still haven’t fully completed the series, but originally this pic was drawn for the Snake of my future Chinese zodiac series)–

Luna Zodiac001 copy

And though I did start working on my Chinese zodiac series, like a number of other things in my life, it’s currently on hold for the moment.  However, since I wanted to use a recent drawing of my as my lockscreen image, there were only so many I’ve drawn within the last twelve months that were already scanned into my computer (I haven’t been drawing all that much, and I have many half finished sketches waiting for some attention!) So I picked this one, and fiddled around in Photoshop, eventually coming up with this–

Brushes used are from deviantART: Scattering Roses, Starwalt Design Brushes, and Euphoria brushes

Which I’m pretty in love with, and pretty satisfied with how it looks on my lock screen!  I hadn’t planned to go with pastel colours (actually the above was the final image.  Prior to I had one more finalised version which was paler, but because it was a bit hard to see, since the lockscreen is kind of darkened, the above became the finalised version), but it seems pastel is becoming a thing for me this year.

But that wasn’t the Inspirational New Thing I did!  Oh no, it was this other part.  You see, I didn’t expect for it happen, yet when I was messing around with the colour balance for the background colour scheme, I saw myself making a gif–you know how you get those sudden bursts of inspiration, just because suddenly something you’re doing unlocks something in you mind?  Well that’s what happened to me and look what I did–

Snake Gif

I made a gif!  Comprised of the various times colour balance edits I made when I was playing around with the colour balance.  I don’t know why I’m so proud of this, but I guess it’s because I don’t make/have never made a gif properly before.  So I was ecstatically happy and amused with myself, and therefore pat  myself on the back for being inspired and trying something new.

It’s Out!!! — Lazy Day Writing, the Literary Journal

AHHHHHHH IT’S OUT!  A new Literary Journal that accepts writers of all ages, background and experience and gives them a chance to share their work with other readers and writers.  And guess who submitted one of their short stories to this Journal? Me!!!  I’m published!  Guys I’m published!  This feels amazing!  And I was so excited!  So of course, I want to share this all with you :). (Even if it’s one short story in a new journal, it still counts, plus I love the feeling I get from this journal–you know how you can get a ‘feeling’ about a good journal and a bad one?  Well I had a good one here!)

Now, the story I published, called A Story in Time: New Years Wishes is actually not a new story for you, my lovely followers.  You may have remembered me publishing here for the New Year of 2014:

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part One.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Two.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Three.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Four.

A Story in Time, New Year’s Wishes.  Part Five.

However, the story I submitted to Lazy Day Writing has been edited a little and expanding 😉 .  So feel free to take a look!  It’s free to download (though only PDF for now) and it’s full of some of the most interesting stories :).  I’m hoping the journal continues running, because it’s a great idea!  Furthermore, the Editor has done a great job with the whole journal.

Redecorating!

It seems like a week for redecorating, changing things around and trying something new.  It has also been a very odd week for me too.  Earlier this week for example, I was having lunch with a friend, and silly me, I’m not sure how it happened, but I almost walked out without paying!  Thankfully my friend (most gorgeous and adorable best friend of mine!) was there to pull me in the right direction, that is: the cashiers.  The desk where I hastily pulled out my share of lunch and laughed off my dd spate of forgetfulness.

As for redecorating.  I’ve been in a mood to redesign my Words That Flow Like Water Logo.  And not just that, I made it my business to also make time to make a new header!  In the beginning, when I first started this blog, I was admittedly quite shy about putting my own works up.  I didn’t really want to put my own sketches where it seemed like I was boasting, and being overly proud of artwork which while not brilliant, are things I just so happen to like sketching.  So I kept it pretty minimal.  But lately, over the last year or so, I’ve been feeling a little bit more confident.  I just love how you can see the personal development in skill whenever I look through my old sketches or read over old work–it’s a wonderful feeling to feel like I’ve accomplished something!

For example, my original Blog logo:

I remember drawing that in 2011, as I was attempting to hone my skills.  I was getting there slowly with different body positions and things I hadn’t really explored previously.  Now, the new and improved drawing, updated as a my Blog’s logo:

Avatar copy 2

Creative tools: – hand sketch and ink – Photoshop – Starwalt Brushes from DeviantARTRedheadstock rose brushes from DeviantART

I was surprised at how much my sketch style changed when I sketched out the new logo.  Not only that, I was pleased to find how much easier it was to draw such a body position for my main figure!  Not only that, I’ve clearly become much more skilled at drawing hands–this was one of my worst skills before, one I didn’t think I’d ever improve on.

Guess it goes to show how much one can achieve given time and hard work honing existing skills!  I always believe in bettering oneself, and that there is always room for improvement.  This goes for writing as much as it does for art.  Same with attitudes to life :).  If it’s looking down, then surely, it’ll look up at one stage!

Lastly, as for redecorating, I finally got round to making a Header for WTFLW.  I didn’t know how it would look, and I always wanted to stay away from using brushes from DeviantART, thus the result is quite different to my logo.  I’m not sure if I’m too happy with it, but I like for now.

What do you think?

Undoubtedly it has a similar feel to the masthead I made for The Quarterly Book Club but this is primarily because WTFLW is mainly water and blue orientated.  The writing (written in my own hand!) in the background are actually taken from here: The Dream Weaver in which I used Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Dreams as part of the background (not brilliantly thought out, but that’s where the writing comes from!)  I shall perhaps redo the banner, make it simpler or perhaps even scrap it and start again because of course! although I like it, my need to make it perfect has struck!

My dear followers, fellow bloggers, friends and random visitors!  I hope you are all well, and that life is going well for you.  If not, I hope it gets better, just like I hope mine is going where I want it to :).

I will be posting a poem next!  (Well I hope.  I’ve been getting bursts of inspiration, but nothing has been fully formed yet!