"For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream." ― Vincent van Gogh
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August 29, 2018

Seven things: personal blogs, perfection, re-reading

'thumblina reading'
Just some thoughts summed up in list form.

01/ I seem to be re-reading a lot lately as the new books I set out to read don't seem to interest me. I don't know why as I really want to read them. Upon re-reading some of the books, I realize how much I haven't really read them. There seems to be things I have either missed or completely forgotten. And it's interesting to note that books I thought was just so-so before, I now find them completely absorbing and so much more to my liking.

02/ Did you notice that Google/Blogger have removed some of the comment options? There are only three choices now: Google Account, Name/URL and Anonymous. I have noticed the other two options (Name/URL and Anonymous) aren't being used at all. I wonder if it's because readers have to do verification? I have tried commenting without being signed into Google but I have to go through verification such as picking pictures with which one has cars or road signs and I ended up not using it as I somehow keep getting it wrong. I think maybe readers who doesn't have a Google account would have a hard time leaving comments on blogspot blogs. I have noticed that some Wordpress users now have blogger profiles when they leave comments but they don't blog at Blogger. I guess if someone really wants to leave a comment on your blog, they will find a way. But I am beginning to think Blogger is becoming too exclusive and it almost makes me want to switch to Wordpress.

03/ Why is it that you only think of good ideas in the middle of the night and when you scribble the idea down on a notepad and can't read your writing when you wake up in the morning? It happens to me a few times but most of the time, I'm just too lazy to even write them down. I try repeating it to myself to remember but sadly, I can never remember it.

04/ Am I the only one that sometimes don't know or forgets what day of the week it is? I guess the days just seem to be too much the same to distinguish or I'm simply lazy.

05/ I don't use feeders or a reader to read blogs. I go directly to the blog and is why I still have a blogroll page. I like the surprise of seeing a new post or see a post I have missed. I think it's kind of sad that people aren't reading blogs as they are meant to. People work hard to get their blog to look a certain way so it's only right to read them as they are presented. I just think there is something lost by reading feeds or an email or through a second-hand source. But then again, I suppose I might be deceiving you as I do have bloglovin for this blog you're reading but I don't use it to read blogs.

06/ I'm redoing or I will be redoing most of my artwork before I post them for sell at society6 because I see them now as completely different from when I made them. They just seems to have little faults that I haven't seen before which is being very picky but I can't seem to stop myself trying to perfect them. I do think some of my earlier pieces does need certain improvement though I don't think I'll ever perfect any actual pieces as there's no such thing as perfection when it comes to art, at least, I have never thought so. You can check out my society6 shop here.

07/ Does it seems like I'm an impersonal person and that this blog seems to lack a personal touch? 
I do consider my blog, this blog you're reading, as a personal blog but there's not much personal stuff here. I remember I have talked about this before and still, I don't see it as an issue as I think if you voice your opinion, that's something personal. You don't have to share every detail of your life, every little thing that have happened to you. At least, I have never felt the need to share every little details. Besides, I find the more details you tell, the longer your post, the harder it is to get to the point.

What's on your mind today?

August 26, 2018

New art at society6 shop

'zephyr' - buy a print here
I just added another piece to my society6 shop - this one's titled 'zephyr' - it's an abstract piece. This is one of my favorite piece that I have made though I really can't explain what it means but I hope when you see this, you'll smile or feel a certain joy. Purchase a print or a framed art of 'zephyr' here.

line drawing without the colors

Today, August 26 through Monday August 27, get 30% off everything with the code S6FAM.

August 26 through Monday August 27, get 30% off everything with the code S6FAM

August 25, 2018

The Blog Header Redesign #4

The Blog Header Redesign
This week's focus is on Small Review. I think I found this blog through a blogger's reading list a few years ago. I have actually almost read all the post, okay, I have browsed until the very first post as some of the books mentioned I have no interest in. I think Small Review is a pretty fun blog and I'm always a fan of book blogs so this one is on my reading this.
screen shot of Small Reviews
I have chosen to redesign instead of create new headers because I think the image is fun and it works well with the writing and the contents. I did redrew the lady because the original image seems to be cropped somehow to remove the background, I guess. I don't know the original source so I can't say.

design #1
Design #1
I don't know about those circles there - I wanted to make it seems fun like bath bubbles. I thought it would be a nice change to have horizontal stripes instead of the vertical ones.

design #2
Design #2
I like this with a wider header and it would go well with a wider blog width plus adding another color so it's not all pink and red.

design #3
Design #3
This one's my favorite. It is like the original header but slightly different. I prefer a light color when it comes to the vertical stripes and less of it as the lady do get a bit lost in front of the stripes.

The blogger had the header as a transparent image so that the background with the stripes can run across the blog which I think works well and these new designs can do the same thing. So basically, all three is almost the same but with slight differences. I went a bit nuts and re-do the entire blog.

August 24, 2018

The blog header redesign project

~ This is a combined post from my previous blog. I have edited a little bit. ~

The blog header redesign project
I have seen tons of blogs that have generic headers that could use something slightly better so I came up with the blog header redesign project. I will randomly choose a blog and redesign the header with no suggestions from the blogger. If they like it, they can use the header I design and if not, then that's that. I'm not going to charge anything for this. This is more to beautify the web and also, it would be a nice challenge for me as a graphic designer. Also, my style is not for everyone — I lean toward spacious, straight forward designs, sometimes using symmetry, sometimes very simple design and I trend to use the color blue a lot. So leave a link to your blog if you're interested.

August 21, 2018

Books to re-read or more accurately, favorite books

Top Ten Tuesday
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is 'Books to pull you out of a reading slump.' I'm changing it slightly to 'Books I will re-read if and when I think the books I have already set out to read somehow doesn't interest me.' So yes, these are books that will get me out of any reading slump but it's mostly a list of old and new favorite books that I can re-read without getting bored.  (I may have listed these books a few times before especially #1, 2 & 7 if you have read my previous blogs.)


01/ Gathering the Water by Robert Edric  > link
now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I love this book as the story is kind of bleak and it's not one of those 'people gets happy at the end' sort of books but I guess I like the way it's written and it just has a certain mood, like a sad song that makes you happy

Favorite Quote: "Starting anew, I began to discern the light and the landmarks of the possible future. There was a time in between, of course — a period of confusion in which life went on and I acted out my part within it — but it was never starting anew, never a rebirth, merely a succession of lesser endings, during which I severed my ties one after another — my family, my work, my connection to Helen's family, to her sister, to my colleagues, and finally upon reaching the shapeless centre of that darkness, my hopes and expectations for the future."


02/ Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte  > link
or any Bronte books although Agnes Grey has become my favorite of all of them, I like that Agnes Grey is a quiet story, one that you can enjoy without too much complicated plots

Favorite Quote: "All true histories contain instruction; though, in some, the treasure may be hard to find, and when found, so trivial in quantity that the dry, shrivelled kernel scarcely compensates for the trouble of cracking the nut. Whether this be the case with my history or not, I am hardly competent to judge; I sometimes think it might prove useful to some, and entertaining to others, but the world may judge for itself; shielded by my own obscurity, and by the lapse of years, and a few fictitious names, I do not fear to venture, and will candidly lay before the public what I would not disclose to the most intimate friend."


03/ Poison by Bridget Zinn  > link
I love this book even if it's imperfect and it makes me laugh and sadly the author, Bridget Zinn, has passed away and will not be writing any more delightful gems like this

Favorite Quote: "How you look isn't about the face you were born with, it's what you do with it."


04/ To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee  > link
I don't remember when I first read this book but I did loved it the moment I read it

Favorite Quote: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."


05/ The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman  > link
I really love the writing in this book

Favorite Quote: “How could I tell the doctor what was wrong with me? I didn't understand it myself. I couldn't articulate the pain; it was the pain of nothingness. My fear was of the weather, the atmosphere, the very air. What good did safety tips do me now? 'Avoid water, metal objects, rooftops; stay off the telephone in a storm, don't think glass can protect you; even if a storm was 8 miles away, you're still not safe from a strike. Avoid life perhaps that was the answer. The number one safety tip, stay away from it all.”


06/ Emily's Ghost: a novel of the Bronte sisters by Denise Giardina  > link
I think I re-read this tons of times and I still think it's one of the best Bronte sisters retelling there is although I still think there is too much Charlotte and not enough Emily

Favorite Quote: "Emily possessed an undercurrent of passion he found unsettling. He doubted her reserve grew from shyness. Emily was feline in her watchfulness, and perhaps as dangerous. Like Anne, she was at first quiet in his presence. That changed, and she entered into seemingly reluctant conversation. He took it for a compliment. Emily weighed him in some personal balance, and then decided he was somewhat worthy of her notice."


07/ Postcards from a Dead Girl by Kirk Farber  > link
very funny, totally love this book, I've always associated this book with Gathering the Water by Robert Edric because I read them at the same time - though they are vastly different books, I find they seems like companions to each other, I can't mention one without the other

Favorite Quote:  "Because the happy moment was lasting all day long. It was an endless happy moment, an inexplicable thing I didn't trust – something so extraordinary and awesome that only a complicated, paranoid evil plot could balance out the universe."

08/ The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede  > link
especially books 1 & 2: Dealing with dragons and Searching for dragons, there is so much fun in this series but I was a bit disappointed that the 3rd and 4th book aren't told in the perspective of Cimorene or Mendanbar

Favorite Quote: "Kazul's not my dragon," Cimorene said sharply. "I'm her princess. You'll never have any luck dealing with dragons if you don't get these things straight."
- from Searching for dragons


09/ Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver  > link
not sure I have the exact words to describe this book but I know I love reading and re-reading it

Favorite Quote: "I don't have to be anything," the ghost replied, sounding irritated. "I am what I am and that's all. Things are different on the Other Side, you know. Things are... blurrier."


10/ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen  > link
actually any one of Austen's book would do except Mansfield Park - I can't seem to get into that book but I do find Pride and Prejudice to be the most enjoyable

Favorite Quote: "You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged, but one word from you will silence me on this subject for ever."


What are some of your favorite re-reads?

More Top Ten Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl here.

August 16, 2018

Bookish Confessions

an edited version of 'how to train your magical horse'
I read a couple of these lists lately so I thought I make my own list. These are my opinions or perhaps my snobbish opinions as I'm very picky. These aren't necessarily pet peeves, more like thoughts about books.

01/ Prologues — Why does every book have prologues now? So maybe this isn't true but the books I have browsed seemed to have them. When I read a sample of a book, they always show the prologue which I don't read anymore because what I really want to know if I will continue reading the book, not the prologue. Often, prologues are written in a different style than the entire book which is why I don't like them. They give you the wrong impression of how the rest of the book will be. I have read prologues that are really good but then the rest of the book is just so-so. I have no problems with prologues, I just would like it that book samples should not be prologues.

02/ Character deaths — I know sometimes it's necessary and it is part of every mortal's life and even in a fake, fantasy world, there is death but I just think character deaths have to have meanings and not just to move the plot along. It sometimes seems to me that the more I like a character, the more interesting they are, the more likely they are destined for a certain death. I have read several books where the better or the more interesting character gets killed off and I just don't know why.  So maybe there are times in real life death happens without any reason but in a book, why can't deaths be justifiable?

03/ Likable characters — If there is not a single likable character, if I can't relate to a character even just a little, than, what is the point of continuing reading especially when that character is the lead and a total jerk with no redeeming quality? I have found I cannot really enjoy a book if I don't at least like something of a character.

04/ Humor, snarkiness and sarcasm — Just add more of any of these please. Not to say I won't read serious books but all that seriousness sometimes needs to be broken up with some humor or snarkiness or sarcasm and also, I like a good laugh now and then.

05/ Book endings — If it's the journey that matters most and not the destination, then why do we keep complaining about endings? Okay, it may just be me that's complaining. I read a lot of books that might have become a favorite but then I read the ending and it sort of bums me out how bad the end is. I know it's very hard to write a satisfying ending because each one of us have our own idea of how a story should end but please keep the disappointments at a low number. A good ending should be justifiable or at least, make us think we have not wasted our time reading.

06/ Abrupt endings — there are books that just ends abruptly as if someone just ripped the last few pages out and we are left to think up of an explanation of our own. (I'm not talking about book series here.) A stand alone book should have some type of completion at the end. I know these days, book series are unavoidable but come on, don't write a book and hope it will become a series and leave us with an open-ended ending.

07/ Short endings — I don't mind long endings as long as they give enough details. To me, most book beginnings are way too long while the endings are way too short. I know there are storylines that just don't need long explanations but it doesn't hurt to add a little more details, does it?

08/ Happy endings — I'm a sucker for happy endings so I'm mostly happy with the end if the characters gets to be happy.  It doesn't have to be completely happy but it shouldn't be completely bleak either.

09/ Epilogues — I think of epilogues as second endings, like a peek into the characters' future which is sometimes good and sometimes bad. I suppose it's easy enough to ignore them if you don't like them but harder to ignore if you really, really hate them like a certain book series that I will refuse to re-read the epilogue because I hate how a certain lead character ended up married to a character that I thought is rather a wrong match.

10/ Book Translations — I actually like that books gets translated so the whole world can read them but you have to wonder if the translation to English from another language makes the book better or worst. I occasionally read translated books and I judge them by how they are written and not how they are translated because I don't know the original language. But the ones I really dislike is when they write like they are trying to be American when the characters are clearly not Americans. Of course, this doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with the translation but I just think they should not Americanized the writing.

Also, something like the Harry Potter series I really don't like that they made the U.S. versions into American English instead of keeping the British English and that's not even a translation. I don't want to speculate why they did this in the first place.

11/ Book to movie/tv show — I'm usually for watching movies/tv shows made from books but sometimes I just don't want to see them if I don't like the casting or if they deviate from the book way too much. I know adaptation is someone's idea of what they think the book should be but sometimes I just disagree with them. A show or movie adapted from books does sometimes make me want to check out a book so it's not all bad.

12/ Book cover stickers — I love beautiful book covers but what I hate are those stickers or printed on round notices which I call stickers because that was how they used to be until publishers started printing them directly on the covers which is really the worst idea they ever have. Even in sticker form, it's not any better because when I try to remove them, the cover gets ruined. Those stickers announce a book has been made into a movie/tv show or that there is a bonus/supplement/short story/q&a with the author/reader's discussion or that the book has won this award or that award — I really don't care and also because I don't know what those awards mean and some of these things you can find out about just by opening the book. So what good is a great cover design if you're going to cover it with stickers and advertisements?

13/ Book editions — I do sort of like that there are different editions to a book especially when you can choose a cover that you like but I also hate that books have so many editions that one is forced to choose especially when all the covers are horrible. How many versions of a book can there be? (I'm only talking about the English editions only.) Let's list them:
(1) Hardcover – sure
(2) Softcover/Paperback my favorite format
(3) Collector's Edition/Special Edition/Anniversary Edition not really a fan
(4) Signed Edition I'm not sure what is the point of having a signed book
(5) ARC Edition not a fan since they are essentially a draft of a book
(6) Movie/TV Show Tie-in Edition the cover image is always just a little too ugly for my taste
(7) First Edition what I would call the 'expensive edition' because they are expensive and only worth something to a book collector but not a reader like me
(8) Redesigned cover edition – will only like it if the redesign is for the better

I'm sure there are other editions that I don't know about. And let's not talk about audio booksthey are an entirely different species.

14/ Book series —  I really hate book series. No, I love them. No, I hate them. Okay, I love/hate book series because they can be a little disappointing and because not all the books in the series will be good, at least, I find most book series to be that way. I think the more books in the series, the more disappointment there will be. Since almost all the books these days are now part of a series, they are unavoidable. I don't mind so much as long as each book can be a standalone or that the cliff hangers aren't so cliff-like, which is probably asking too much because if there are no cliff hangers than why would people continue reading the series? I know I read the next book in a series for the continue storyline and getting to know the characters more and to see them grow and change and maybe have a more detailed, satisfying end to the story but yeah, I do want to know if that certain person jumps off a cliff or not. I just think it's a bit ridiculous how some book series are being stretch out into more books with sequels and prequels that I simply don't want to read. When a series is completed, it should stay completed.

........................................................................................................................

But it's really all about preferences, isn't it? Everything about reading is about preferences. I know there are certain books that people love that I hate. There are many things I do not want to read about that people love reading about. I think preferences should surpass other people's opinions so don't bother with my thoughts and just read what you like.

What do you like or don't like about books?

August 15, 2018

the memory of rain

a rainy day on 08.01.13
I woke up one day (actually, it was yesterday) with an impulse to change something and my blog became the change. Maybe you can understand it — sometimes you just get an impulse to do something and if you don't do it, you just sort of feel kind of off all day. Maybe it's not like that for you but it is for me.

What is it about little changes like these that stirs the heart and head? It certainly makes things seem new and bright and refreshing so perhaps that is the reason I'm here or perhaps it's just an excuse for a change.

So, here I am back at this url but I am returning to a blog that I have always seems to go back to — the memory of rain. The name came from a poem I have written years ago. It is also a name that I have always loved and still do.  (There is even a blogger that changed her Tumblr to this name but I can't remember the url.)

So why did I leave the memory of rain in the first place? I don't remember exactly the reason but it might have been I thought I was moving forward by starting a new blog which at the time was probably what I wanted to do. I don't remember so I can't really say what was the cause for the change but I had changed and now I'm returning to this previous blog (I won't use the word 'old').

It's not that rainswept have not served me well, it's just that I don't seem to like it now. The name just seems too complete for me, maybe because it seems to say something has already ended. I don't know. I'm really not that deep of a thinker.

I'm not on any social media right now (I'm still deciding on joining Instagram). So having a blog is really my only social media, my only place on the web that I am at, perhaps the only place on the web where you'll find me. So it's kind of important that I like where I am and right now, I like to be here at the memory of rain.

I was going to move the previous posts to this blog but decided it's best not to.  So I'm starting fresh and in a way, this is like a new blog except, I have been here before.

If you're here from rainswept, I want to thank you for your continued support. If you're new here, I would like to welcome you and thank you for stopping by. Have a lovely, lovely day.