Things I have been up to lately, hm, hmm. Thinking about it I have quite a lot to say, but I have no idea in what order so this may be a little bit disjointed… think I will just write and then perhaps tidy it up afterwards!
At the end of my last post I mentioned my sockmonkey-making plans – well here he is! He’s kind of wonky and has some pretty shoddy stitching/frayed edges in some places. I feel that he is an unfortunate victim of being my first attempt. He was originally planned to be for my mum, but Joel has taken a liking to him. We’ve called him Monkey Wonkyface and I’m going to do another one for my mum this weekend. I feel like the practise can only improve the quality. But it’s a lot of fun to do and I enjoy having a hobby that doesn’t involve staring at a monitor/tv screen. Not that tiny fiddly handstitching is easier on the eyes, but it certainly seems a lot more productive at least! I am planning on making my friend Liz a sock elephant – she likes elephants and I have been meaning to get her a present for aaages (a backlog of birthdays/Christmases oops) and she is also really crafty so I think she will like it a lot. Which is nice. And Joel’s parents came up the other weekend and his mum was happy to feed my hobby. She bought me tin of pearl-head pins (‘cause the set I bought myself on ebay I promptly lost; I think it was an accidental victim of a mass tidy-out) and a lovely pincushion with embroidery scissors. She was even looking at cheapy sewing machines, but really I prefer doing them by hand – seems a bit more accomplished!
So anyways, now I have all these socks and buttons and needles and felt samples and things – I really need some kind of cute tin or box to keep all my sewing stuff in – oh thought! Liz has been pestering me for ideas of what to get me for my birthday! I shall let her know.
So, that’s that.
What else what else. OH YES. OMG. I accidentally bought a new tv a couple of weeks ago, which is getting delivered TOMORROW so exciting. A couple of months ago Joel and I were looking at TVs and even though we wanted a shiny 42” LED one that was about £750, we decided it was too expensive and opted for an LCD one that was around £550 instead. So we tried to buy this on credit but I failed the credit check. D’oh.
(I think it was due to several factors – like my not being registered on the electoral register at my current address; and my bank account details being registered to my parents’ house… yeah. So anyway, I’ve fixed all that now so hopefully if I leave it a couple months I’ll be eligible for some kind of credit. Which would be nice – how else am I going to get a huge-ass loan to pay for my dream wedding?)
Anyway, so our new tv dreams were scuppered, because we just couldn’t afford to buy one on the spot. Roll on to Easter sale time – Joel is about to start working full time so we’re (going to be) a little more affluent anyway. And I happened to walk past curry’s and notice all the sale posters so I thought – hmm, I’ll have a little look. And the shiny shiny 42” LED tv is now on sale at £399! I very sensibly decided that really we still couldn’t afford it, though, and the posters said the sale ended the next day – so I went home heavy of heart but very financially sensible. Hurray!
Except when we went into town a couple of days later the sale had not ended, our tv was still on offer, and I accidentally flexed my overdraft. :| Sadly – mostly likely due to the ridiculous ridiculous cheapness of it – it was out of stock, both at the store and at the warehouse, so we had to wait for delivery and the guy couldn’t tell us how long it would be. We went in on Tuesday this week, just really looking to see if they could give us an eta yet – and they told us it had been booked for delivery on the 14th and we’d probably be getting a call any time now to confirm. Which we did, shortly after leaving the store. Hurrah!
Delightfully, Joel isn’t working tomorrow, which is ace, so NEW TV OMG YAY. Shiny shiny giant hdtv of slim slim slimness. Have you ever looked at an LED tv? Have you seen how THIN they are? Our tv at the moment is a 30” flat screen CRT one. CRT means – well it means something something tubes – but it is FREAKING MASSIVE. It weighs a million tons and I hate it and I cannot WAIT to get rid of it. So I am pleased as punch (though skint. Oops).
So that’s cool. Maybe this weekend I will, instead of making sock creatures, play on the xbox on my new GIANT TV. :D :D :D What else what else. Oh yes, I have been reading a lot lately! Mostly YA stuff, I think. Let’s see:
First, I bought cassandraclare’s City of Fallen Angels and Clockwork Prince. I have had the first three Mortal Instruments’ books for ages, and I really liked them, so I’m not sure how I managed to miss the release of two more until now. Well, I didn’t miss them per se – I knew about Clockwork Prince ‘cause I bought it for my little sister for Christmas, I just never got round to borrowing it from her. I didn’t know about COFA but upon further research I realised it has only been released fairly recently. So anyway, I bought them both and while waiting for the nice postman to deliver them I re-read through the first three – turns out, still good. Something I didn’t notice so much with books 1-3, but felt really strongly with CP and especially COFA was how much they reminded me of the DT! I’m sure Cassie doesn’t like to hear that, but I guess it was inevitable really. It was such a weird feeling – I finished COFA and closed it and groaned at the cruel (awesome) cliffhanger, and then got this massive sense of déjà vu, throwing me back to being 16 and railing at the cruelty of fanfiction writers and their love of cliffhanger endings. I really enjoyed Clockwork Prince. I can see how the characters are glaringly similar, but I loved Jem and Jessamine and Tess and Will and I loved the creepy steampunk monsters and ooh all of it. I was always a fan of the DT, and I would say that the writing is better now. I mean, they’re not works of high literature or anything (but then – I never read those!), but they’re fun and enjoyable to read and have interesting plots and
Anyway, so I read those. And I finally got around to reading the second of Sarah Rees Brennan’s demon’s lexicon books, which again I enjoyed wholeheartedly. Apparently a lot of people were baffled by the change in narrator, but I thought it worked really well from Mae’s POV. Saying that, though, I’m not sure I enjoyed it quite as much as I did the first one, but then I think that’s because I seem to prefer male characters in books, generally… I guess that’s a remnant from my slashy teen years. And also from Robin Hobb’s trying to make me love Molly, the bitch. Well and also in this case I think it’s because the awesomeness of Nick and Alan and Jamie kind of overshadows Mae and Sin a little bit… sure, they’re both really awesome and all, but Nick’s so broody! Alan’s so cool! Jamie’s so damaged! Love love love. Man… I wish I was better at explaining why I like stuff in books, but the Demon’s Lexicon books are witty and angsty and dramatic and full of really great family relationships, and obviously the supernatural stuff is a big kick, it’s just great. Even better is the fact that she’s always posting related stories of awesome on her journal. If you ever loved her fanfiction (and… if you’re on my flist chances are you read Maya’s stuff) then you should definitely check out her books. I am VERY EXCITED for both the final book in the trilogy, and then for her new series! Hurrah.
So, I read all that stuff, and then basically I trawled through all of sarahtales’ book recommendations, because she has never steered me wrong before (Robin Hobb, anyone? Howl’s Moving Castle, anyone?) and bought a bunch of books!
First up was Holly Black… I have been meaning to look into Holly Black for a while, so I started with the Modern Faery books which I didn’t love but which I definitely enjoyed. I really like Roiben of the shiny hair (…I guess another echo of the draco/harry stuff; shiny white hair does it for me, what) and morals I like him such a lot. I also liked Val although – I am shallow and vain and found it hard to love a character with head shaveyness. Girls should have lovely hair, that’s what makes them pretty. :| I did like Ravus a lot. And the swordfighting. And the mystery/crime stuff! And in general it was very good, A+, would definitely recommend. But I was definitely pleased to get back to Kaye and Roibus in the third book – and then disappointed by the lack of Roibus in it! But it all ended very well and over all they were enjoyable and I am glad I read them.
After the Modern Faery books I moved on to the Curse Worker series. I’ve only read the first so far, as the second one has only just been released (I think) and I’m waiting for paperback. Not patiently waiting though, because I thought that White Cat was brilliant. Definitely preferred it to the Modern Faery books, it was just so interesting. I loved the idea of all these really debilitating magical powers. Suuure, I can make people remember whatever I want them to, but I can’t remember my own name anymore! Yes, I can kill someone with a touch but it really plays havoc with my glove-wearing abilities! I can make people fall in love with me but then I turn into a raging manic-depressive! Hooray! Excellent. And Cassel, lovely Cassel. I am getting better at these crime book things ‘cause I figured out what was going on fairly early on. I was still thrilled though! *SPOILER*Cassel is a worker! A super worker – the superest of them all! He thinks he’s a minor conman and he’s accidentally a major murderer. WHO KNEW?! /*SPOILER* I just loved how he is all bitter about his twisty family and how he pretends he’s acting normal but is running this illegal betting ring and can pull of these cool grifts and how he’s so snarky and broken! And his death worker granddad! Lovely. I can’t wait for the next one please can I have it now please?
Hmmmm then what did I read next? Oh I know. The Forest of Hands and Teeth! That was a laugh riot, let me tell you. It was a strange book, pretty scary – particularly considering my debilitating fear of zombies – but really gorgeously written, kind of haunting. I don’t really have much squeeing for it because I don’t think it’s the kind of book you can squee over? But it was very very good. The Dead Tossed Waves is currently on my to-read pile, so I’ll probably get around to it next week sometime.
Then… I ran out of books for a week or so, which was pretty depressing. :| So then I went to amazon and did this. Oops. :|
I have been meaning to read Dorothy L Sayers’ books for a while. copperbadge mentions them quite a lot and I have always felt they might interest me. And then when I was trawling through Sarah RB’s book recs there Dorothy was, so I figured I’d go for it. Very glad I did! I started with Whose Body?, as that is the first and I like to start at the beginning. Loved Peter & Bunter! Loved the interesting mystery (definitely getting better at this! I knew who it was by the second time his name was mentioned! Why can I never figure out CSI then?!). I love how Wimsey is so foppish and arch and clever and damaged, and how Bunter is all there for him and really quite thrilled to be his manservant and terribly clever, and how the Dowager Duchess is awesome! Brilliant all round I say. Only one problem, dammit… now I’m going to have to get more of them and I just bought a tv. Why am I not rich?
Then after Whose Body? I started Feed by Mira Grant, which I just finished on my lunch break today. Another zombie book, what? Um, I think this one is my favourite of all the books I’ve mentioned so so far. Unless the rest of my pile of books pulls off something awesome (Shadowed Summer has the potential, but it’s too slim a book to be a real contender; Cotillion certainly looks like it will be good but a bit too lacking in supernatural stuff; Raised By Wolves is about werewolves so I can’t see that doing it for me…) I think it will be hands down my favourite of everything I’ve read this year. It was just SO GOOD. I can’t even. Just read it. Oh and also prepare to cry a bit. Can’t wait for Deadline next month cannot WAIT *grabby hands*
So that’s what I’ve been doing with my life. :|
Ooh, also worth mentioning: so, my boss has a weekly business column in the Liverpool Daily Post, which is ghostwritten for him by this guy Tony. So every week by Tuesday lunchtime Tony sends the column over, and then I send it to the Daily Post on Tuesday afternoon, and then it’s published on Wednesday. Only this Monday morning Tony emailed to say that due to a family emergency he wasn’t going to be able to do it this week, so Matt asked me if I fancied having a go. DID I EVER.
It was really strange. I enjoyed writing it but it was such a different kind of writing than I’ve ever done before. As you may have noticed, I am not really sparse with words (um), but the columns are always really succinct and they have these one or two sentence paragaphs and things. But I gave it a good go and Matt said it was really good, so that was nice. :D
And then he asked me to write one for next week, to give Tony some time with his family. D: I am struggling with it this week – I’m doing it on the new series of the apprentice, but I’ve never watched it before so I’m a bit lost. I’ve written half of it though and I know I’ll be able to finish it over the weekend, so I’m sure it’ll be fine. I am really thrilled he asked, it’s very exciting for me. :D Here is this week’s, if you’re interested in seeing me in print!
And now I think that’s me out. Finally.
I think maybe I should cut this whole post...? According to word it’s over 2700 words long. :| Oops. :|
And yeah... sorry, I definitely didn't follow through on that 'tidy up after' thing. :|