Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sick

Yes, I am sick.

Currently missing my favorite holiday due to a cold that has struck me voiceless and my foot with a newly added rash (due to allergies) on top of the still swollen ankle.  

Was planning to do NaNoWriMo as well, but not sure if I'm physically up to it. 

Ah, Universe 0 so very fun.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sold to the Enemy by Sarah Morgan

 

I have no problems with category romances, I actaully quite enjoy them except the crazy titles. Seriously, this title does nothing to describe the book at all. Nothing. Its actually more confusing. Maybe something like 'Into the Billionaire (cuz millionaires don't cut it) Enemy's Embrace' would work more. Or even, 'Bargain with the Billionaire' but these titles would be considered too short. Doesn't really matter though, since the story was fun.

Sold to the Enemy by Sarah Morgan

This author was just always good at writing these stories. Once again, she writes great female protagonists. I really liked Selene Antaxos. She was smart, sweet, strong and independent. These should be the type characteristics that should be used as models out there. Her inexperience was understandable because it was based on her upbringing thus made her more realistic. At the same time, Selene was intelligent and strong enough to take care of herself (and her mother).

My favorite aspect about this character was the fact Selene confronted her problems instead of resorting to any tstl actions. Selene did not change due to the overwhelming and overbearing male protagonist. She often outsmarted him, or at least was one step ahead of him (in terms of feelings and reading his feelingsO, ergo no tstl situations. Lol. Selene was realistic and she was very true to herself. Ok, enough of my gushing.

Stefan Ziakas, our other protagonist, was a good character too. Ms. Morgan always wrote a human male character, with just the right amount of alpha ego and attitude without being the typical abusive sociopaths out there. He wasn't those broken types that lashed out every chance he was vulnerable, although he would go cold every so often. He actually behaved like a mature adult for the most part even as Selene challenged and stood up to him against what she saw was inappropriate behavior.


Overall, the story was simple and very enjoyable. It focused on the story of two people and how they each overcame the trauma of the hurt caused by their families. Well, in this case it was more blamed upon Selene's abusive father. All in all, Ms. Morgan's books tends to be auto buy these days when I want some nice character (where I would actually offered to be friends with if they were real period) driven romance.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A little happiness called

Rusty!
 
I can't seem to help myself. Why is my nephew so cute?
All dogs are cute, yes. Seeing dogs makes me happy, even other people's dogs. Then I see my nephew. Even just pictures of him are so adorable.
 
It just brightens my day looking at him. He is such a sweet dog. If course, that happens when at Lol at my old doggy photos so am probably just bias.
 
Well, maybe not since I just love dogs in general. 
 
So enjoy!
 
Nothing like a little doggy happiness to make the day just slightly better.
Rusty saying bye bye every morning when you go off to work...
His eyes says "don't leave me!" though. 
Rusty love!
 
Mmmmm...cookie. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Second Sight: An Editor's Talks on Writing... by Cheryl B. Klein

 
 
This will be a quickie observation since I'm not going to do much of a review on an editor.  Even as a student, I was not crazy enough to correct my teachers.  They have the teacher copies of books. Lol.
 
Joking aside, I fount many of the content very engaging and very funny at times.  Cheryl B. Klein used a lot of examples that really helped.  I enjoyed reading it much as a book rather than a guide, although it contained a lot of good information.  It ranged from some basic information, or how not to write a query letter to very detailed step by step with pictures as examples. Usually Klein was pointing out all the problems and mistakes she had encountered while editing. Editors have it tough.
 
One thing I do want to point out despite my better judgment...  As much as I enjoyed the book and the guides, I really didn't need a chapter dedicated on how wonderful Harry Potter was to the world of writing.  It's literally chaptered 'A Few Things Writers Can Learn from Harry Potter'.  While I appreciated the use of an actual book/series being used to exemplify how certain skills and techniques can be helpful to writers, it really ended up feeling like a love letter to HP.  Don't get me wrong, it was informative and gave me a better understanding as to why so many people loved HP.  I quite enjoyed the series myself, but it was a little over the top.  Unintentionally so.  Still fun to read how an editor likes to dissect a book.  It almost feels like a lot of name dropping, but in a good way since Klein does back up a lot of what she's trying to point out with quoted examples.
 
Overall, I found the book fun to read even as entertainment, while packed with a lot of useful information for writers of all fields and genres.  I will definitely be referencing this book in the future as I write.  It's has a lot of good tips and new perspectives.
 
If you have time, and spare dough on books, definitely give this book a try.  Or even better yet, borrow it from your local library. ;)
 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Still in the mend

Ok, it has been over 4 weeks. What the heck is wrong with this foot?

Already went to like 3 doctors, 4 if we count the urgent care doctor. According to the old man, the specialist we finally went to see didn't even think this was worth his attention. In the last doc's defense, it really wasn't his attention. The guy's an ortho surgeon for goodness sake, no need to bug him with a sprain (even if he gets paid). Sadly, his advice that using my foot more would help reduce the swelling due to blood circulation seemed to have the opposite effect at the moment.


The boot, although immensely helpful in assisting me to finally be able to move around on my own, also has the unfortunate side effect of covering the entire foot up to my shins. Thus, I had no idea how badly the ankle and foot has swelled up until I was no longer able to bend to any amount of angle.  It's literally unbendable due to swelling.  Gah....

Still, I really appreciated my general doctor for recommending just to be safe. I liked her suggestion for more elevation so I shall.  She's so nice.  Lucky me, I had been following up with my acupuncture doctor (also had MD you nonbelievers) and he has also been wonderful with food suggestions as well as dealing with my back.  Yes, on top of the foot, my arms, shoulders and hands have all been having some problems due to the crutches.  Now with the boot, I have been unable to find any other shoe (aside from heels - which would be a very BAD idea) for my right foot to balance.  So my back has been having problems.   Thank goodness for health insurance right? All these doctors would've wiped me out completely by now, well, maybe sometime soon. I will see how bad the damage once the bills all come in. Sometimes this was way we stuck to horrible dead end life sucking jobs; good health insurance.  Or, just health insurance.  God, US healthcare company and system sucks ass.

 
The downside if my recent injury,  besides the obvious lack of independence, limited mobility, financial burden and general brain atrophy - I mean mental stimulation,  I really miss going to volunteer. 

I was going to adopt this baby girl but I was happy to hear she has been adopted in my absence.
I love dogs, I really do.  Sadly, this foot also revealed how much we shouldn't have a dog right now.

We can barely take care of this family of two when one was down for the count, the poor doggy would've been suffering in silence.  I still want a dog though.

In the meantime, I want to get some books and get this blog up and going again.  It's just really hard to type and my phone keeps giving me weird typos.  Yes, I do realize a lot of the wrong usage of words after posting, but it's so hard to edit on a cellphone.  I just tell myself to be happy I'm posting anything.

Oh oh, plus NaNoWriMo will be just around the corner.  I'm getting ready. :D

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Super Clyde - pilot

This of this as a mini TV movie.  Originally filmed as a pilot, it was a pity this wasn't picked up. I would've totally watched this.

Go here.


Super Clyde

SUPER CLYDE is a comedy starring Rupert Grint about a shy comic book fanatic who discovers his calling after he inherits millions of dollars from his eccentric uncle. Clyde, a mild mannered fast food worker, is bequeathed $100,000 per month for the rest of his life and with the help of his butler, Randolph (Stephen Fry), Clyde begins his thrilling new life as a Super Hero, secretly helping strangers in need.


It's short and sweet. I loved it.

While watching it, I kept thinking to myself "this could totally be like another Big Bang Theory," that's how much I liked it.

Too bad though. Thank goodness we were at least able to watch this single pilot. :)

My review/summary:

Aside from the awesome cast, because every single one was awesome (including a few mini cameos, plus diversity), the storyline was actually very sweet. I think it's something that should be on television more. It's full of comedy with a touch of love, but at the same time, a lot of depths and teachings underneath. That might be why it didn't get picked up. It was too nice overall.

Clyde was the youngest out of three siblings. All orphaned at an early age, Clyde, his older brother and older sister were taken in by their super rich and very odd Great Uncle Bill. Uncle Bill, although super rich in a huge mansion, drove a old beat up car, lost his wallet all the time and took weird photos of himself. In Clyde's words, "he [Uncle Bill] was an odd bird." These all come back later. ;)

Unexpectedly, Uncle Bill passed away and instead of inheriting his fortune as Clyde's brother and sister had hoped, they were only given the mansion to live in and a food allowance. As you can imagine, Clyde's brother and sister didn't end up doing much. Even Clyde didn't do much other than get a job at a fast food restaurant. Then 15 years after Uncle Bill passed away, their lawyer came back to tell them it was a trick. Uncle Bill wanted the three of them to take 15 years to have a chance to "be who they are meant to be" before giving them the money.

Clyde's brother went nuts and became the typical rich kid, throwing money away on any and everything.
Clyde's sister went to get liposuction and have started a list to take revenge on all the people that tortured and made fun of her growing up.
Clyde...well, he wasn't sure. It wasn't until Uncle Bill's old butler came back (at his brother's request of course) that Uncle Bill's eccentric actions were revealed.

Uncle Bill intentionally lost his wallet, always full of money. Whenever someone returned it with all the money, Uncle Bill would secretly find a way to pay them back. Buying lawn mowers, fixings things, etc.

Clyde felt that Uncle Bill was like a super hero...and decided to follow suit.

Again, how great was this story? Awesome. Using money for good, can you imagine? What a mind blowing idea on television...that money actually matters. It's also quite nice how the three siblings remained close (in their own way). People helping each other.
At the same time, it was about personal growth (Clyde finding himself and a purpose)... or even the lack of (Clyde's brother).


I've already watched it several times. Too bad it's not longer, or has more episodes. Even one season would be nice. *sigh* Oh well, we can always hope that because it's so popular, they might consider picking it back up. Although I doubt it since part of the reason would be the cast. They're probably too pricey in the long run, even though I think it'll be worth it. Enjoy chatting, seriously, go watch it now!

Cast:
Rupert Grint - Clyde

Stephen Fry - Randolph (the butler)

Tyler Labine - Duke (older brother)

Justine Lupe - Faith (older sister)

Carla Jimenez - Adriana

Monday, October 7, 2013

So yeah...

My awesomeness of increased post only lasted for a month.  This foot injury has really been putting a damper on things.  I know, I know. Need to keep off of it should allow me plenty of time to write, but honestly, I can't even type correctly.  When I type, my body has to be at such an odd angle that everything ends up hurting after a while.  I'd go into details, but let's just say I tried several different situations and I might as well just stare at the wall or ceiling and hope everything heals fast.
 
As for my foot - prepare for grossness!  No really, just kind of creepy.
 
 
It has been three weeks and thank goodness it was not swelling that much.  The ankle still has some minor bump (swelling) and I keep off of it  as much as I can.  Gotta work though, so the progress has been slower than desired.
 
It still remained rather bruised up and very tender. At least they are mostly green, not purple like before.  I can't move it too much though or else the sharp stabbing pain comes back.
 
I also think all the stress of having to go into work helped reinjury it a little.  See that tiny little red spot?  Yeah, that's new.
 
Oh well, what can I do.  Life goes on, or it tries to.
 
I wanted to write another Lil Alys' mini adventure, but I'm too tired.  Sorry.  All that hobbling around. Hahaha.  And work.
 
Doctors say another few weeks on crutches, so I'm hoping to be back by November for Nanowrimo (maybe?). ;)
 
How's everyone doing?  Any fun plans for October?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Heartbeat Love (再一次心跳)

Heartbeat Love (再一次心跳) 2012
Rainie Yang and Show Luo

Ah, nothing like a little traveling romance, mystery and angst all mixed together. I always liked Rainie ever since Meteor Garden from back in the day.

It's a short 45 minute movie with only our main leads, the story was simple enough and yet contained so much more.

We being with a flashback to a year ago with the random and accidental (maybe fated?) meeting between Lee Wei Chen and Yang Xiao Yu. Lee Wei Chen was supposed to go with friends, but he kind of got abandoned(since his friends all have family to take care of). His friends did have everything else arranged and encouraged him to go ahead and take the trip. At the same time, Yang Xiao Yu was going on this trip against the advise and requests of someone (hinted at family). After a mix up (probably intentional on Wei Chen's friend's part thinking the other person was of the same gender (they sent Xiao Yu a picture of Wei Chen in makeup), they decided to room together with Xiao Yu thinking he's gay (another mix up).



 The story was of the two of them, slowly falling in love as they travel around.  It's fun, simple and the location was very nicely filmed.  Really gets me in the traveling mood. :D  Although, I do know the Australia tour commission sponsored/invested in the film to showcase Australia more.

Ho ho, by the way, you can watch the whole thing online.

Here's the original without translations.



It's a nice happy romance for the most part. The mystery part wasn't that mysterious, but they do try to throw you for a loop.

Spoiler Alert.

A few things were slowly revealed to be part mystery and partially to drive the story.  Xiao Yu escaped from her family because she has a heart condition and will be going for surgery.  Before that happened, given that there's a risk she might not wake up from the surgery, Xiao Yu wanted to see the world a little, especially Tasmania.  The country had the shape (somewhat) of a heart and therefore more meaningful to Xiao Yu.

The mix up of sexual orientation was pretty early in the story so that was nice.

The whole story was a flashback when Xiao Yu's brother (whom she claimed was her fiancé) went to contact Wei Chen per Xiao Yu's request.  Trying to make us think she died. Hahaha, she didn't.  It's a nice happy and clean ending. 

Spoiler End.



I every much enjoyed it.  Short, simple and very sweet. 

I've always like these two singers/actors.  If you haven't heard the background stories and rumors, the skinny was they once hated each other.  It was due to a mutual friend that both had trusted basically manipulating the two saying the other person spoke ill of them.  Took them a long time (7 years?), but once they realized the situation (after a lot of misunderstanding), Rainie Yang and Show Luo have become really close friends.  They went on tour together and help each other a lot. 

It's nice to see. :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

I actually read this book a long time ago and thought about reviewing it for quite some time. Sadly every time I tried form coherent words of praise it always end up sounding like some five year old on a candy high raging about how awesome said candy was and that everyone must have a taste of such sweet forbidden drug. 
Well let us try again...
 

Animals, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

When I first encountered this book, I was at a very sad time I'm my life. More than a slump, the joys in life has faded into nothing more than the barren whiteness of the ever coming ice age.  No creature or power could deny the unyielding forces of the chaotic universe.
 
But as with all weeds that found a way to survive, this book was much a force in planning that seed to resist the forces of nature to silence and bury its existence.  Much like the ever evolving environment, at that time it was the perfect distraction. Sort of...

When my dogs were around, they had been my main priority and focus. Well aside from survival and whatnot.  As much as I enjoyed flowers and plants as a little kid, taking care of the dogs and watching what they can or cannot eat overtook any desire for planting things.  Plus, much of the things I wanted to plant would've needed to be referenced with what are dangerous to dogs.  Hint: a lot.

I always enjoyed Barbara Kingsolver ever since reading Animal Dreams in High School.  Although I continued to follow her books every now and then, it was often just for pleasure and most of the plot forgotten soon after.  This was where this book made the departure.  It very much effectively stuck itself into my brain and I couldn't get rid of it.  I carried the book around where ever I went for like a year. 

Part of it was the honest way everything was written and part of it was just something I had always been interested in.  Barbara Kingsolver and her family spent a year pretty much "practicing what they preach" so to speak.  For a year, they would only eat locally grown food and those that they can grow themselves - meat included.  It sounded like such a challenge, but the way it was written showed how simple it can be sometimes.  Something as simple of going to the local's farmers market, or eating seasonally (buying only the food that's in season).  This book was very good at simplifying and demystifying a lot of experiences that now seemed completely foreign when it was something everyone did less than a few decades ago. 

It got me started on gardening, like actual gardening instead of just buying already grown pots and watering them.  I fell in love with seed catalogues and growing everything from seeds.  Everyday was fun and it helped me get out of the house more.  This renewal of gardening activity also helped give my family and I something to talk about.  Even living in the city for the past few decades, my parents and grandparents always continued to grow things.  Whether fruit trees, vegetables or sunflowers (I got everyone addicted to that), it was family-filled fun.  We gave each other seeds and food, or swapped stories about how to plant things.  I am now sometimes the seed provider. :D 

I have a great love of organic, heirloom, or even simply unique plants.  It's very relaxing.  I need relaxing.  I'm getting my family into that too, although they're more happy to just plant what they like.  A quickie about sunflowers - they are my favorite flowers and one of the easiest to grow.  That's where I started and that's how I got addicted.  Now my whole family grows them every year. :)

Another aspect I really like about the book was the breakdown of eating whatever we want whenever we want.  I was very lucky to grow up in a family where food was a major source of importance (as with all Asians, hahaha).  We like to eat good food, the best if we can afford it.  At the same time, expensive doesn't mean good.  Quality was what mattered, so eating seasonally was something of a norm for me.  Eating things out of season, everyone in the family could easily taste the blandness or if something was off.  Thus, fruits and veggies were a complete norm.  I never understood my friend that only ate meat and professed to puke and bodily reject and veggies.  My responses was they haven't tasted real good food.

The same goes for meat.  A lot of my friends laugh and sometimes look down upon the fact I'm willing to spend more on stuff like "free-range," "wild," or "sustainable."  All of it goes down to the animals.  I personally believe ever animal deserves dignity, thus, I want the animals to live happy and healthy lives before I eat them.  I appreciate and respect their sacrifice so that I may survive.  It's only normal for me to also make sure they lived a good life prior.  Ethics and legalities aside, my reasoning was simple:  if the chicken I eat has been pumped full of medicine, lived in horrible conditions and had a stressful like, I am consuming everything and more, instead, the healthier the chicken, the healthier I will be by eating it.  It's a simple cycle. 

And yes, I can taste the difference.  I really can.  I wish I didn't since it'll make buying food a lot easier, but a lot of times, I can taste when a piece of chicken or beef (no matter how well cooked) tastes off.  It's terrible.  One thing the book helped me become aware was a lot of these very issues, as well as a fun new one - local food.  I am trying to eat more food that's grown and raised locally.  It'll help the environment. :)  I know, treehugger that I am.  Although truthfully, I rarely hugged trees.  I like to climb them. ;)

One very important thing I just have to point out though, against what this book said: milk.  I love milk as much as the next person, but one aspect of the book bothered me.  Kingsolver reasoned that if we don't milk the cows, then the cows will suffer and even die from the bad milk in their body.  Let me say something and get it off my chest: COWS ONLY PRODUCE MILK BECAUSE THEY GAVE BIRTH.  If we don't steal and kill the calves that need the milk, then we won't have problems with cows crying when their udder hurts from bad milk.  Stop stealing another mammals milk, weirdo.  That aside, I know there are small farms that don't steal the calves and instead, rotate out the milk so that there's enough milk to be sold and enough for the babies.

Barbara Kingsolver is a great storyteller.  You don't be bored reading this for sure.  It also was fascinating to see the different perspectives of her daughters and well as husband.  Plus, after this book, I love turkeys.  They're adorable.  I grew up with chickens so I always loved them, but after this...I love turkeys.  And bees.  

Other than that, I'm good.  Lol.  Please read this book if you're even slightly curious about growing food for self consumption.  Or if you're bored and want a gardening book.  You can even borrow it at your local library. ;)