Life out of Sync

I’m a bit out of sync with blogging these days. I seem to say that a lot…both the act of not blogging and saying that I’m not. I wish I had the focus that I did at one point because back then I had that passion. What I’m trying to say is that I don’t know what my niche is right now.

I don’t want to spend my blogging posts ruminating on why one doesn’t write but it’s hard when there’s nothing much to write about. Sometimes I wonder if I just need a new space and start over.

Right now I’m reading The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse and so far it’s been a good read. There’s been enough suspense to want me to keep coming back. I’m not sure if I am as riveted as some others have said they were but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

The book is also Reese’s book club pick from March. The few choices that I’ve read have been good so far. I’m glad she decided to start the book club. I didn’t realize that she’s had the book club for 4 years now, thought it’d only been a couple years: shows what I know.

What have you been up to? I need inspiration.

The Rapid Fire Book Tag

Lately I’ve been browsing Pinterest and found this little book tag. It sounded interesting so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

(On a side note, how often do you use Pinterest? I can forget about it for months then get in daily finding good stuff.)

1. Ebook or physical book?

Physical. I can concentrate better than on my phone or iPad. I’d like to get a simple ereader one day, you know like a paperwhite or a simple touch that looks like a page instead of a computer screen. That’d be awesome.

2. Paperback or hardback?

Both. Paperback for reading/carrying around. Hardback for collection (preferably.)

3. Online or in-store shopping?

In-store, because I like to browse. Online you kinda have to know what you’re shopping for.

4. Trilogies or series?

Trilogy, because they’re shorter and I don’t have the patience for long series anymore.

5. Heroes or villains?

Heroes.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Never Let Me Go, because I still think about it sometimes.

7. Recommend an underrated book.

The Serafina series. It gets a high rating on Goodreads but it seems few people know absolutely it. Go read them, awesome new-ish children’s series.

8. The last baby you finished?

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn.

9. The last baby you bought?

Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day

10. Weirdest thing you used as a bookmark?

Piece of paper…usually have a bookmark around.

11. Used books: yes or no?

Yes as long as they’re gently used.

12. Top 3 favorite genres?

Realistic, historical, fantasy. Young adult isn’t a genre people, it’s a target audience (annoys me when they say YA is a genre), but I do read some books intended for young adults.

13. Borrow or buy?

Both.

14. Characters or plot?

Both depends on what I can focus on. Preferably both in one book.

15. Long or short books?

Short-ish.

16. Long or short chapters?

Short usually

17. Name the first 3 books you can think of.

Harry Potter, American Dirt, My Dark Vanessa

18. Books that make you laugh or cry?

Don’t do either much but Beyond the Point made me want to cry so much. A remarkable book.

19. Our world or fictional world?

Ours.

20. Audiobooks: yes or no?

I want to say yes but I never finished one all the way through.

21. Ever judge a book by its cover?

Well yeah, it happens even though you’re not supposed to.

22. Book to movie or book to tv adaptations?

Tv has been popular but it depends on how long the book is.

23. Movie or tv show you preferred to the book?

Jurassic Park and The Book Thief.

24. Stand alone or series?

Stand alone these days.

Winter Wonderland

snow, walk, woods
A snowy walk in the woods.
Image by Ashley M. Eveland

Snow didn’t come as often in the town I grew up in. Of course, when I was a child, there seemed to be snow (and snow days) all the time. One memorable year, we left school for Christmas break in December and didn’t come back to school until February because of all the snow. My dad and I would go outside and build snowmen and snow angels; then, he’d either take me sledding or pull me around the block in my sled while wearing horse bells. You can imagine how crazy it made the dogs during that time.

As the years went by, snow came by less and if it did, it didn’t stick or stay for very long. Our winters became very mild. Even though I’m not a fan of the cold or being out on icy roads, I missed seeing the snow during the holidays. It made it so much happier and joyful.

And then I moved further north in my state. What a difference a couple of hours makes! It seems we had snow every other week. Our snow had finally melted last week and over the last few of days our snow has arrived again. It’s kind of nice being out in the snow sometimes. On Saturday, my husband and I went to the park with the dog. It was so peaceful to walk through the snowy woods and watch the dog leap and bound over snowy logs. I was so surprised to see him do this as he doesn’t like to be out in the snow for very long any other time. His senses must have kicked in overtime.

I enjoy watching the snow fall through my many windows. Occasionally a squirrel or two will bound across the yard and it’s so cute to see.

It doesn’t make me want to move up to Alaska, but at least it makes me appreciate the beauty of a season I don’t stop to enjoy very often.

Ex Machina

  • Title: Ex Machina
  • Director: Alex Garland
  • Cast: Domhnall Gleason, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac

Summary:

Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) a programmer at a huge Internet company, wins a contest that enables him to spend a week at the private estate of Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), his firm’s brilliant CEO. When he arrives, Caleb learns that he has been chosen to be the human component in a Turing test to determine the capabilities and consciousness of Ava (Alicia Vikander), a beautiful robot. However, it soon becomes evident that Ava is far more self-aware and deceptive than either man imagined.

(from Google)

Thoughts:

I wouldn’t consider myself to be a heavy fan of science fiction; too often, it’s films rely too heavily on the spectacle of its technology and machinery and less on the character development to propel and balance its ideas. Ex Machina, however is a masterful look at artificial intelligence and man’s attempts to control it to devastating effects.

I can’t say that I truly understand the movie; after all, I’ve seen it but once and am still awake trying to process its ideas.

Caleb and Nathan are at the central characters of this story, along with Ava, the A.I. robot. Each man seeks to prove whether or not Ava can embody human awareness and consciousness. However, this is where their similarities end. Nathan seems to believe that Ava is only acting upon what she has been programmed to do, a talking robot to do his bidding and nothing more. Caleb understands her hardware but seems to lean into the nurture believe; that with training Ava can think and act for herself.

Little do they know that they are both right and wrong with devastating consequences. Nathan realizes that what he has created is autonomous and will use her programming to get what she wants: freedom. Caleb realizes to his loss that technology can be used against him if he forgets that it really is just technology that needs to be reigned in. If that makes sense.

It kind of makes me think of our relationship with technology. It’s fast paced and more advanced than some of us can ever truly grasp and if we start dappling in it without understanding or appreciating it for what it is, then the technology will take the upper hand and defeat us.

I don’t know if I’ve truly understood what I watched; it’s beautiful and disturbing all at once. I was impressed with Ava and was initially charmed by her, almost sorry for her. But something didn’t feel right as it went in until it was revealed as to why I was so disturbed. Ava has been learning from her humans and manipulating them until she was able to get who she wanted and that to be is scary. Can our technology become this advanced in real life so that we don’t know the difference between humans and A.I.? It’s disturbing to think about and I’m not sure I want to long enough to find out.

New Books.

One thing that I’ve always found interesting about book blogs and BookTube and even bookstagram is the people always seem to know what books are getting published in the next year. In the very least, they know what books are coming out in the next month.

I don’t have that kind of mentality.

Sometimes, if I’m interested in a series or author, I’ll look up when the next book will come out. Other than that, I don’t have a clue what is coming out until I see a bunch of people talk about it or it’s in the news. It’s just weird to me that people know what’s being published in the upcoming year.

Sure, I can probably google it or get on Goodreads and look up newly published books in the Lists section but I don’t. I must sound like a terrible reader for admitting that but there it is. If I was a serious book blogger, I’d probably have to force myself to actually do some research to find the latest books, purchase the books at full price, read them, and THEN review them. But I don’t do that.

Because I can’t afford to purchase brand new books all the time. Plus there’s a trillion other books that I need to catch up on, which probably doesn’t bode well for me as a potential book reviewer, but at least I’m enjoying myself for what it is.

I should also mention that I like to browse the new/bestselling books at stores to get a feel for what’s popular. It’s not as easy to do these days for obvious (and not so obvious) reasons. It was already hard to keep up with books and now it’s even harder.

I feel like I’m complaining now, but it’s been on my mind and I wanted to make a post of it.

What’s new in your world?

Sporadic

Sometimes I wonder why I keep writing blog posts. My inspiration is sporadic and unfair. The platform changes and it takes some time getting used to. By the time I get the hang of it they change it to something that much more challenging and mind boggling. It’s a wonder I hung around at all. Maybe when my domain expires I’ll find a new place to house my creativity. Perhaps I’ll go back to blog spot or maybe I’ll give Squarespace a try. We’ll see. Sometimes I’m a slow on change. Sometimes that’s good, other times not so much.

For now I’ll still be here and I’ll try to write more frequently like I used to.

Things I’ve Got Going On.

Question of the Day:
What is the best thing you’ve got going on in your life at the moment?

I have a nice little house.
I’ve got my loving husband with whom I can talk to and have companionship with.
I have my dog, rooster, and chicken who keep me laughing with their silly little antics.
My husband has a good job that keeps us going through all the life’s bills we’ve got to pay.
I have a little job that pays me to supplement.
Everyone I care about has their health.
I am happy that our kitchen is fully furnished.
I’m happy for our comfortable bed. Sometimes I wish we had a king bed, but a queen is the next best thing.
I still have days off to relax and take care of the house.

Work at home.

Yesterday was a lazy day for me. I was able to get some house chores done including getting the kitchen straightened out. It looks so open and nice now that we don’t have a countertop microwave anymore and I can move some bulky items into the corner where it used to be. I even swept the floors and washed a couple blankets that somehow got covered in dog hair. Dog hair seems to permeate every corner of my house no matter how hard I try. I love my dog with the depths of my soul but I’m just not used to a dog who sheds constantly. It’s worth it in the end as he’s so loving and protective. I can’t be upset with him for long.

I got some downtime in the afternoon so I got onto Hulu and watched The Fellowship of the Ring from start to finish. It’s been years since I watched it and I love it just as much as the first time and all the times before. It’s just so masterfully done, a perfect adaptation from book to screen. In interviews, actors and production crew all talk about the amazing experience they had, how close they became with each other, and wishing it would go on forever; you can tell in the movies as there’s just a close bond there. It makes me wish for such an experience myself. It’s a rare, once in a lifetime experience.

Christmas is in just a few days as of this writing. I’m excited for it, as it’s our first Christmas together as a married couple. I want it to be special, you know? I think it will be. I feel like we’ve always been together and that’s a good thing. It means we’re perfect together.

Some people are happy for the year to be over. I had a good year in spite of everything. Experience is relative and mine has been a good one. Of course the outside influences hindered some of our plans but it couldn’t change everything.

Outlandish

I’ve been (re) reading Outlander by Diana Gabalson lately. It’s slow going since it’s such a long book and I’ve been reading other books as well.

I first read it about 5 or 6 years ago and I wasn’t impressed with it then. I blame it on not knowing that it was more romance than historical fiction and that colored my whole viewpoint on it. I want to read the rest of the series but because I can’t remember the first book I’m reading it again. Now that I know what I’m getting into, things are going more smoothly.

I still don’t know about the romance part but it’s easier to sit back and enjoy the story and see everything else being written.

Halloween Shenanigans

How was everyone’s Halloween?

Mine was decent, we finally carved a couple of pumpkins that we grew ourselves. We then got some lights to put in it. Then we put some spooky music on and watched The Village, which isn’t all that scary but had some interesting concepts to think about. My love didn’t think it was scary, considering he gets scared easily. I guess I do too, but I seem to willingly put myself there in those situations for some reason. We didn’t get trick or treaters but that was okay, I liked cuddling on the couch with my little family.

Anyway. It’s NanoWriMo starting today. I’m not a fan of the concept so I always agonize over whether to participate or not. I tried blogging every day one year but that got tiring after a while. We’ll see how it goes this year.

What have you been up to?