Friday, April 14, 2017

Spring into Horror Readathon 2017

I've very excited to participate in the Spring into Horror Readathon hosted by Seasons of Reading. The Readathon takes place from April 17 - April 30, 2017. I'm being pretty ambitious with my reading list, but this is a genre I don't read that often so I have no idea if I will take to every choice. I also managed to sneak in two book to film adaptations (woohoo!).

Readation info:
Spring into Horror Readathon:
Twitter Hashtag: #SpringHorror

Books Mentioned:
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Fisherman by John Langan
Meg by Steve Alten
Kane by Michael Prescott under the name Douglas Borton
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni #1)
The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter (Lords of the Underworld #1)
Thinner by Stephen King
Creepy Archives Vol. 1 by Dark Horse Comics
The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (Penguin Classics)

Games Mentioned:
Murdered: Soul Suspect
Dark Echo

Other Stuff Mentioned:
Barnes & Noble Best Horror 2016 List
Meg (Film)
Mark of Kane (Film)
Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell (Public Domain)

What kind of scary books do you like to read?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Music Mondays

Watching The Grammy's for the first time in years got me thinking about music. So here is what's been playing at my place recently, and a little bit of what's been on my mind.

I've always loved music. But I've noticed that I haven't really seeking out new music, but rather listening to the same albums I have over and over again. My first step to try and get back into music was to scour sales and even free music on Google Play (great resource here), but then I realized I was making choices based on accessibility, not based on what I enjoyed. Often I liked what was available or on sale, but it limited my thinking. Which made me wonder, what do I want to listen to?

Starting with what you want is always a good place to start, no matter what you are working on. So I really thought about it, and I realized I wanted to add new music to my library on a regular basis. To go one step further, I wanted to have both a regular album plus an instrumental album for when I prefer to listen to music without words.

Notice how those choices were about format? How odd that it wasn't about a kind of music. It might not have been a perfect place to start, or even answer to my question, but it did get the ball rolling.

I have started picking up albums, and most recently I got The Sheepdogs - Future Nostaglia for my regular album and the Pacific Rim soundtrack for my instrumental pick. The main them of Pacific Rim just makes me so happy, I loved that movie in all it's over the top-ness, that ever time I hear the music it makes me smile. I have lots of new faves on from The Sheepdogs on the Future Nostalgia album including: Back Down, I Really Wanna Be Your Man, Plastic Man and The Bridge City Turnaround. BUT, since there are no videos for them... here I will share the album trailer:

I also picked up Ingrid Michaelson - It Doesn’t Have to Makes Sense which is amazing and I don't even really know how to describe it other than emotionally compelling and open. I also have devoured two albums by the Norwegian music group Wardruna, whose planned trilogy of albums has the goal to "musically interpret the runes of the elder futhark." How extraordinary is that? The music is very cool, extremely earthy and magical. I've enjoyed the two albums they've released so far: Gap Var Ginnunga and Runaljod Ragnarok. Here is the video for Wardruna's song Raido.

Pretty amazing, eh?

I have not yet picked my February albums yet. Currently in the running is The Strumbellas - Hope and Music from Penny Dreadful by Abel Korzeniowski. I heard The Strumbellas at the New Years Eve celebration on CBC and had a listen to Penny Dreadful (Season 2 and 3) via Hoopla. Both are really good.

What have you been listening to lately?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

stART: Episode 73

It's time for the first episode of stART for the year! On this episode of stART: Creating As We Go, Jamie, Suzie and I share a look ahead into our creative year including our word of the year. I share about some of my recent videos over at my YouTube channel and I'm sure there will be many more projects, videos and art makes throughout the year.

See more at stART: Creating As We Go blog and YouTube Channel.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New Year, New Coffee Maker!

My first outing this year was to get a replacement coffee maker. I was so excited about lounging around during the holidays that one day I didn't leave enough time for an empty pot to chill before adding water to it to make more coffee and the carafe cracked. It was a sad moment.

I'm glad I had my back up of Nescafe on hand, which is what I had for for about a week. I was a bit zingier that week as I drank the same amount of coffee, not remembering initially taht I brew coffee at half caf/half decaf strength. No wonder I was awake later than normal each night!

So now my new carafe is all clean and drying in the drying rack. I hope it lasts longer than a few months. Last year I ended up buying at least one replacement coffee maker during the year, alternating which part I broke or just stopped working. One time the maker part stopped working and another time the carafe busted from me forgetting to turn it off in time. Feels like a high mortality rate.

I know this isn't a terribly interesting post, or story, but I wanted to share it and also be able to remember when I got my latest coffee maker. I hope this one lasts at least the year because I think there will be a lot of coffee in 2017!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: My Year in Books

2016 was a pretty amazing reading year for me. I read the most books (ever) in a year, I enjoyed oodles of the titles, moved into my new place and was reunited with my books that were in storage, got back into Shakespeare and really put a priority of Canadian books. I also moved into my new place and was reunited with books that were in storage for quite some time (16 boxes of books!). I got to enjoy both physical books and ebooks, enjoyed books that I own and many from the library. So much bookish goodness. As an overview of the year, I have down two vlogs below tha wrapping up the year. I have one where I share a wrap up and reflection of the year an another where I share my top ten books of the year. Fun times.

The numbers: 158 titles read *

18 short stories
2 Fairy Tales
8 Graphic Novels
6 Audiobooks
5 re-reads
2 DNF's
117 books

The 117 includes everything from racy novellas to War and Peace. I didn't break it down by page count as 30 pages of Shakespeare felt more challenging than a 600 page book that was mostly images. I can only drill it down so much before the data loses some meaning and this felt like the right level. I am thrilled to have read this much this year, it's the most read year and I don't think I'll try and surpass it. I might even actively try to go less crazy next year, but who knows what 2017 will bring?

* I know that doesn't match GoodReads (they don't count re-reads), there was 1 story I read that wasn't listed and the rest of the numbers off is books that were DNF'd (Did Not Finish).

Overall, I'm very happy with how my reading turned out. I started fine turning the things I want to focus on, created new challenges, tried a bunch of new things (not all worked - but that's learning too!). I'm really happy that I've come up with a system that works for me, and having priority categories for the types of books that I want to read from Canadian titles, to non-fiction, to Shakespeare, to challenges and lists, to romance novel and book club titles. I've also recently realized I enjoy the reflecting part of the reading process after finishing a book, and I think I will work that more into my reading process year next year. But for 2016, I think I'm good where I am.

I hope you had an amazing year for reading!

Love to read? Friend me on GoodReads here!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

stART: The Sister Summit 2016

It was so awesome to record stART: Creating As We Go with a special LIVE edition while my sister Suzie was in town.

In this episode, my sisters Suzie, Jamie and I answer live viewing questions as well as ask ourselves questions all about our creativity, art, blogging, processes and practices. I had a great time! I hope you enjoy seeing us chat about everything and anything under the sun.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

stART: Creating As We Go - LIVE! Tuesday October 4, 2016

Photo Credit: Jamie Ridler

Want to see stART: Creating As We Go as we do our first ever live broadcast? You can! It will be this Tuesday at 2pm EST and you can register for it here.

This week, Jamie, Suzie and I will be doing our first ever live broadcast for stART: Creating As We Go! So exciting! It is so exciting for use to be together in the same place at the same time, so we can recorded in the same room yet again! Years ago we did a Sister Summit, and morphed into the podcast and video show stART: Creating As We Go where we talk about our creative projects, challenges, triumphs and ponderings.

It's a joy to be a part of as I love talking to my sisters about creativity. I never quite know exactly what we'll get up to, but in each episode at some point there will be giggles.

The Details:
Tuesday Oct 4, 2016 2:00 PM EST
To watch live, register here.

See more about stART at our website and watch past episodes on your YouTube channel.

September Reading Wrap Ups!

This is what I've been reading during September! Above for "regular" books, and below for romance books. Enjoy!

Regular Books Mentioned:
The Odyssey by Homer
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Start Here Now An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation by Susan Piver
King Lear by William Shakespeare
John Winchester's Journal (Supernatural Tie In) by Alex Irvine
The Last Wish (The Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski
and I also mention A Game of Thrones, because I started it too!

Romance Books Mentioned:

In the Black (Tales from the Edge #1) by Sheryl Nantus
Romancing the Duke (Castles Ever After #1) by Tessa Dare
Vision in Silver (The Others #3) by Anne Bishop
Betrayed by a Kiss (An Unlikely Hero #1) by Kris Rafferty
Her Halloween Treat (Men at Work #1) by Tiffany Reisz

I mention that I am doing a Harlequin Exploration, by trying out a book from each in the Harlequin series lines. I think I will start by reading from titles that come with the Harlequin News Sign Up, which gets you 17 free eBooks to download. I used a randomized and pulled Harlequin's Romantic Suspense, so the first book I will be reading Confessing to the Cowboy (#4 of Cowboy Café) by Carla Cassidy.

Love Reading? See more reading goodness on my YouTube Channel or friend me on GoodReads!

Friday, September 02, 2016

Stretching that Comfort Zone: Reading Aloud

I recently filmed and uploaded a new video that I actually felt quite nervous about doing, but something that I thought would be a fun idea. That is, reading aloud from some of the books I plan on reading.

How is this stretching my comfort zone? Because I'm very uncomfortable reading aloud. Talking in front of people, or vlogging, or talking to people are all generally things I'm pretty good at. I'm pretty good when unscripted, although I'm aware my mind can wander and I can often jump a few tangents without filling in the blanks. Yet, somehow when that happens in conversation it's not to hard to get back on track.

But reading from a book? All in order? All in one take? Jeepers. That felt horribly intimidating. I was right back in grade school feeling paralyzed waiting for my turn to read aloud and so paranoid I would miss it that I in fact retained nothing that other people said, nor what I said. But this is today, and I'm not waiting my turn, I'm not even recording live, so that felt a bit more doable.

I did a fair amount of prep work to help (or hope) to make the process go smoothly. I read the passages aloud several times to get comfortable with the what I was saying and to get a bit of an understanding of the story. I also looked for what would be the best place to stop, and timed how long it took me to get to that point. And I noted any words I wasn't sure about how to pronounce (and some of them really aren't real words!), and for those challenging ones I made index cards to show to the camera for clarity. After I did all that, I read through them all again.

One unexpected side effect to all this prep, is that I really know in my bones the beginnings of all these books. I remember recently seeing a tag video where people shared their favourite first lines in books, and I was like "who remembers that????". Now, I couldn't pull out the first line of any of these three books, but I certainly remember the tone, setting, story and characters that they begin with.

I have a hard time even figuring out if it even turned out okay. I do stumble a few times, but always get back on track and try to give some life to the words and characters. It was a big challenge, but it was so worth it. I know it isn't a masterpiece, but I really feel proud that I did it at all. It would be a lot of fun to keep it up, and I know that actively working on this can only improve my speech/speaking skills which is a great bonus. The only kicker is... I feel like I should read the books before I to another video! Ha!

So if you'd like to have a listen feel free, and I hope you enjoy it. I read from these three books:
  • The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A Heinlein
  • Fifth Business by Robertson Davids
  • The Last Wish (Witcher #1) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Decision Fatigue Strikes

OH the search for a keyboard. It's a challenging thing. For so many things you can simply research and then order online (is there anything Amazon doesn't sell?). But for keyboards, you gotta get hands one. It's all about the feel. I need a new one, or technically I need one with a softer touch, so I went out to Best Buy to have a look. After much hmm-ing and haw-ing I decided I wanted the one above. Soft touch, but still had number pad (that's a must for me), came with a mouse and it was on sale. Woot! Except... Sold out :(

The helpful guy at the store recommending gaming keyboards, because they are very sensitive and showed me the one above. SO PRETTY! But, they didn't have a display one and for that price I wanted to get hands on before committing. They did have the arrow keys out of the box, but as a touch typist I need to really feel it. I really like this one though so I'll keep an eye on it to see if it goes on sale.

On to a third option, also a gaming one but it was pretty big in all directions. And the keyboard was way up high and I could barely get the sense of typing but it felt pretty good from what I could tell. Although the price was a bit high, it did have a mouse and enough bells and whistles to make it worth it. Did I buy it? In all honestly, I probably should have gone for this one. But I didn't.

Decision fatigue totally had hit me by this point, and I was feeling like I needed to leave with something but I didn't want to pay higher price from a gamble. So I ended up going for a cheaper one that I didn't even take a pic of, and told myself I'll keep an eye out of the nice ones. I also felt like I was worried about the larger one taking up too much space on my desk and couldn't visualize what my desk even looked like. Clearly, at this point I beyond making good decisions and fell back to old habits: buy the cheapest you think will work. Sigh. That said, i did *leave* with one, which was a priority. I haven't opened it yet. It looks so small, and now I'm worried I should have gone with an more ergonomics one with a wrist pad area. Gah. Why are decisions so tough?

And before I was lost in all the keyboards, I took a goofy picture with the awesome statue type thing of a game I've not played. I really love it. I think I take a pic of it everyt time I'm there! I was happy when I went in. But I was outta steam when I left. I wonder if I'll go for the one I bought or try something else. We'll see!

Friday, August 26, 2016

It's Finally Friday

Today I remembered to take of picture of my POV when posting, or doing any computer stuff for that matter. Had a fair amount of that this week, and I'm so happy I've been able to post through the entire week. It's been fun to get back to blogging.

On of my regs for Friday is to do a Friday Reads vlog, sharing any books I've finished, or continuing, or starting new from the past week and onto the next. I've had a lot of fun doing the Friday Reads vlogs, which over the years has been one of my most regular vlogs. This week I had a bit of a reading slump, and in the video I chatted about how I was able to find my way through it. As we near the end of the month, I always try to push through my currently reading list to finishing up and start afresh in the new month. We'll see if happens next week.

Later in the day I hung out with my sister Jamie and we had a great time. I have to start remembering to take pics we we are together! We get to chatting and I don't think about anything else other than that. Next time I'll remember, I hope! She also brought some treats with her including these paints (thank you Jamie!) that I have totally be wanting, and also brought over my new big purchase of an Android TV Box. I know what I'll be doing this weekend, the dream of which is watching lots of TV and the reality of which is figuring out the tech. It will totally be worth it. I can't wait to get started.