palindrome day and random realisations

Can you believe it? The end of July already… The year will be gone before we know it.

Since today is one of a handful of palindrome days this year, I thought I’d write a post of random realisations to go with the realisation that it’s a palindrome day. (Yes, maybe too much work and not enough sleep have drowned my blogging creativity, so I’ve resorted to random post topics.)

Firstly, I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t get enough sleep, and should probably sleep earlier than I do, considering what times I get up in the morning for work. In fact, I should probably already be in bed and asleep right now, except that I also seem to have developed some sort of blogger paranoia whereby I’m worried about breaking this post-per-week thing even after maintaining it for so long (or especially because I’ve maintained it for so long).

I’ve also randomly realised that I’ve never bought food from a vending machine before. Not such a major thing, but I had this realisation when I walked past the vending machine at the train station – the same machine I must’ve walked past hundreds of times (not to mention the vending machines at countless other places that I’ve walked past). Such commonplace things don’t even get a first thought, let alone a second thought.

Lastly, I have realised that, while the taste is ok, I really don’t like the smell of coconut. Recently, when I was waiting for my bus (or perhaps I was waiting for my train – can’t quite remember which), a girl walked past me, smelling of coconut (probably her shampoo or something) and I almost gagged. (That might be exaggerating a little bit, but it certainly wasn’t pleasant at any rate.)

Anyway, happy palindrome day!


what a change

Well, what a change this has been… Yesterday I was out enjoying the beautiful sunshine and unseasonably warm weather at the Regional Flavours Festival, feeling like it was Spring time already, and today the weather has completely turned around so that it’s back to being freezing cold and wet and bleary.

I’m certainly not complaining, though. It seems to be far too often that there’s miserable weather over the week-end, which only clears up with Monday morning sun. It’s kind of nice to have perfect Sunday weather that only turns sour after the week-end has been thoroughly enjoyed.

However, to be fair, although rainy days can sometimes make me quite restless, I do like to use them as an excuse to stay at home, curled up with a good book.

The book I’m reading now is ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ (Patrick Rothfuss), the sequel to ‘The Name of the Wind’. Actually, I’m kind of reading two books at the same time because ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’ is way too big to be taking to and from work every day, so I’ve been reading ‘Great Expectations’ (Charles Dickens) on my commutes and lunch breaks instead.

I have read ‘Great Expectations’ before but it was such a long time ago that I can hardly remember anything about the novel other than the fact that I really, really liked it. And so, I decided it was about time I re-read it.

I think I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I don’t usually read more than one book at a time, but I’ve found that it’s been ok reading these two together. I assume it’s because they are so different that it’s easier for me to switch my mind between the two. I really want to finish reading ‘The Wise Man’s Fear’, though – not only because it’s due back at the library soon, but also because it’s such a good read. Sometimes I find myself marvelling at how much clever detail is in the characters, the places and the story itself.

answer me this

Just a few more random questions to add since my previous post of random questions

Braille on signs
Who decided that it was a good idea to put braille on signs? I once saw a sign in the middle of a garden bed with braille on it, and it just left me wondering how a blind or vision-impaired person was expected to not only know there’s a sign with braille on it in the middle of a garden bed, but to also then proceed to walk over all the plants to get to the sign and read it… It just doesn’t make sense!

Motion sickness in animals
Do animals experience motion sickness? More specifically, can cattle experience motion sickness? The other day, while I was waiting for my train, a very long cattle train went past the station. I noticed that all the cows were standing sideways and quite close together. I bet it would’ve been a long journey, too. Anyway, it made me wonder if they ever get motion sickness and, like, throw up or something.

Evolutionary oversight
If insects or, more specifically, cockroaches have been on Earth for millions of years, why haven’t they evolved to be able to roll off their backs? I have seen those annoying little beetle-type things that sort of snap/pop into the air to try to flip themselves the right way up again (no idea what they’re called, but they’re super annoying and weird) but other than that, no bug seems to have developed a sure-fire way of making sure they don’t die after being flipped upside-down.

happy coincidence

I’ve noticed that people seem to think that I’m a very calm person. Well, I’ve noticed because people have told me so and asked how I can be so calm all the time. Of course, I reassure people that I do actually get stressed out and frustrated at times, even if I appear to be cool, calm and collected.

This got me thinking about the things that make me irrationally angry, and I was thinking of doing a blog post about that, but it seems counter-productive and much too negative – especially after this morning.

This morning was Monday morning – first day of the work-week. I really struggled to get out of bed (about 20 minutes of trying to muster up enough energy to drag myself out of bed compared to my usual five minutes or so post-alarm-clock). Even so, I still managed to leave the house more or less on schedule, but still missed my usual bus, which decided to be slightly early today.

“Not to worry,” I thought. “I can catch a different bus to the train station, and then get the train in to work.” My usual bus route is being scrapped in a couple of weeks, anyway (because, even though the route is clearly very popular amongst the many people who live on the southside and work in the inner-western suburbs, the City Council reckons it’s unnecessary and not sustainable), so I figured I may as well get used to that bus route not existing anymore.

Anyway, this is actually going somewhere. Did you notice the bitterness seeping out in that last paragraph? I don’t know where people get this “calm” impression from..!

Well, anyway, after I got off the bus and was walking through the transit centre to my train platform, I bumped into a friend and former work colleague. This meeting is significant mostly for two reasons: (1) I don’t usually get the train to work in the morning and (2) she usually walks rather than catch public transport. But, as luck would have it, I missed my usual bus, and she was running a bit late and didn’t have time for her usual walk.

This chance meeting, however brief it was (maybe half a minute?), was a happy coincidence, and it was enough to buoy my spirits for the rest of the day (and banish thoughts of publishing negative blog posts). And all that from a smile, a hug and a few kind words.

Sure, there are plenty of things that really piss me off (‘scuse the language) but perhaps my salvation is that I’m pretty good at appreciating even the smallest gestures and happy coincidences.

caught up

People talk about having “book hangovers” where you can’t start reading another book because your mind is still caught up in the world of the book you just finished. I can totally relate to this feeling.

I’ve just finished reading ‘Catch 22’ (Joseph Heller) a few days ago, but I haven’t been able to really start reading anything else. However, aside from the “book hangover” effect, I’d say my mind is also kind of tired in a way. It’s like how you should have rest days between days of intense exercise.

‘Catch 22’ is definitely a “thinking” sort of book. As such, I kind of feel like I need a bit of down time before I start reading another novel. That’s not to say that it was hard to read, but rather that the plot and character development was complex. I think the way it was written was very unique, too (based on my reading history, anyway).

I found the segues from one scene to another were quite smooth (not sure of a better way to describe it, but the transitions were good even if they were sometimes quite abrupt and, in a few instances, I was kind of caught off guard by scene changes). The other thing that really stood out, for me, was the use of irony and contradictions and, in some cases, just plain nonsense (in a good/funny way).

Overall, I think ‘Catch 22’ has a good balance of seriousness and humour. It is a war novel, and there are solemn moments, but you really don’t have to be into war stories to like ‘Catch 22’ (although it might help a bit to have some basic military knowledge, such as the difference between a colonel, captain, general, etc).

I wouldn’t say it’s laugh-out-loud-funny, but it’s hard not to crack a smile in some parts. Some of the characters are just so bizarre – I don’t think there’s a sane one in the lot (maybe Yossarian?). I found Doc Daneeka and Orr quite amusing. Even Milo Minderbinder, who was hate-able and frustrating at times, is also memorable character (in a good way).

I enjoyed reading ‘Catch 22’ so much that I wish I could recommend it to everyone, but I know that it isn’t a book that everyone will like (which is a shame, if you ask me).