rainy days

Last day of Spring today, which means first day of Summer tomorrow, which means more and more rain. I think it rained all morning today. It’s stopped now, though.

I pretty much only like rain if I’m indoors while it’s raining or if I don’t have anywhere urgent to be (and provided that I’m not wearing good shoes that could be potentially ruined by rain/mud). Sometimes I’ll go for a walk in the rain for the sole purpose of walking in the rain (with an umbrella, of course).

Was talking to a friend the other day about how rain can be quite calming and soothing. And, yes, I agree with that. As I watched the rain this morning, I had a thought that it would be quite relaxing to go for a drive in the rain – not to anywhere in particular but just around.

What I don’t like about rainy days is that I find them kind of de-motivating. I just don’t feel like doing anything. Can’t go for a run (well, I could if I really wanted to and didn’t mind getting my shoes/socks wet), can’t go cycling, can’t do the laundry (I refuse to use a dryer – not that we have one, anyway). Everything is darker and gloomier.

Well, I suppose it’s not that bad. I still kind of got stuff done today, despite sleeping in late-ish (I was still up by 9am but that’s late for my standards).

I do like how green everything is after a good bit of rain, though. Plants just look more alive. And there’s nothing like rain with a cool breeze to, well, cool everything down. Can’t believe it was 36 degrees yesterday. Well, actually I can because I had an early finish at work yesterday and went outside in the early afternoon.

Rainy days make me feel like wearing bright colours. I like wearing bright colours anyway, but even more so on rainy days. It’s like I feel obliged to help balance out the gloominess.

I suppose that even though I tend to tell people that I don’t like rain – that I may even hate rain – I really don’t mind the odd rainy day.

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last minute post

Almost forgot to write a post this week. So close to having my first post-less week in years… Of course, not going to be caught out that easily.

It’s been pretty hectic this last week. Definitely feels that way, anway. Mostly due to preparing for an audit that ended up getting post-poned on the final work day before the intended audit week. Plus, the manager is on holidays (conveniently), and Mum is still on holidays, so more work/chores for me…

Not that I’m complaining.

There’s nothing like a bit of exhaustion to stir up that satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

Speaking of exhaustion, I reckon I’m well overdue for a long distance run. Would like to go running this afternoon, but it’s kind of been pouring rain on and off today. Fortunately, I was still at work when it was really starting to come down, and I’d brought lunch, so I could wait it out without starving. And then it didn’t start raining again until I got home.

This last week, I’ve had 7am starts at work Monday to Friday. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been that bad. I get up a bit after 5am, and the sun’s already up, and everything pretty much looks the same as 6am in wintertime, which was my usual wake-up time. It’s quite nice going in to work early, and I feel very productive in that hour before everyone else starts arriving.

The main downside is that I feel dead tired after work. I pretty much have to go to bed by 10pm, preferably 9:30pm, which is quite early for me. That’s probably why I’ve barely had the chance to even think about writing a post this week.

Might have written one yesterday, but I spent the afternoon helping a friend move house. Well, not so much move house, as take junk from the old house to the tip. I’ve never had to move house before, so I actually don’t know too much about the process, apart from what I’ve seen in the neighbourhood and stuff on TV and whatever. I think it’ll be interesting, the first time I have to move house…

and… I’m back!

Home, sweet home.

There’s not really much to say about my trip to Melbourne, but I’ll go over a few things. I reckon every time I go back there, I notice something different, or I see things in a different way.

On this trip, it rained every single day. It didn’t rain all of the time, nor was it pouring rain (mostly), but it did rain at least a little bit every day that I was there. This is mainly significant because I can’t remember the last time I saw rain in Melbourne. It usually never rains when I’m there. Just all of my bad weather-associated luck coming out at once, or so it would seem.

Not that that mattered a great deal, since I was indoors most of the time – relatives’ houses, shopping centres, restaurants, function venues… Plus, we drove everywhere. I didn’t get the chance to hop on a tram or catch a train (not that those are particularly exciting if you’ve done them before many times). From what I’ve seen of Melbourne, I think it’d be quite hard to live there without a car, unless you’re really lucky and your home and work were both situated on convenient public transport lines.

I reckon it’s mostly that Melbourne’s so big – everything’s so far away from everything else. There were some days when it felt like we spent half the day just driving. Don’t even want to consider how long it would’ve taken by public transport. I probably did more driving in that one week than I’ve done all year in Brisbane.

As usual, it was cold in Melbourne, even though it’s almost summertime. I think the weather reports kept saying it was colder than usual for this time of the year (?). Still a bearable cold, though. I’ve just come to expect Melbourne to be at least a little bit cold regardless of what time of the year it is. I was quite amused at all of the beach/swimwear shops around the shopping centres. Don’t suppose locals have much use of their wares. Although, I suppose most of their holiday destinations would include beaches and warmer days…

So, the big question: which book did I take? [drum-roll…] “The Book Thief” (Markus Zusak)

I was already about halfway into the book, so it just seemed to make sense to take it. I still haven’t finished it, though – didn’t get that much time for reading. I am thoroughly enjoying it. I even had a dream one night that a friend was telling me what a great book it is, and I told them that I knew because I was reading it.

come fly with me

So after a year (give or take a week or two) without taking any annual leave, I’m finally on holidays again. It’s a bit of a weird feeling, the prospect of not having to go to work tomorrow, or any day for the next week and a half. Yeah, I could take a longer holiday, but didn’t really feel like it. Besides, didn’t want to overwhelm myself with time off – I might never manage to bring myself back to work. (Who am I kidding! It wouldn’t be that hard for me.)

Well, anyway, it’ll be nice to not have to think about work and related issues (granted, I’ll probably end up thinking about work anyway – for the first few days at least). Just going to be visiting relatives and catching up on reading and stuff like that. Nothing too exciting, so don’t expect a special holiday post or something. Having said that, I’m doubting that I’ll have time for another post until late next week (although I don’t think anyone is really keeping track).

I have yet to pack, but I already know the hardest decision I’ll face will be which book to take with me. Do I take the novel I’m currently reading (or one of the books I’m currently reading, to be precise) and am about halfway through, or do I take the new one that I just borrowed from the library a few days ago, which is significantly smaller and hence easier to take with me?

At first, I thought it was simple – take the smaller book for practical reasons. But I don’t want to leave the first book untouched for a whole week, so now I’m thinking I might actually take that one instead and just make sure I have room for it. (NB: I’m only taking carry-on baggage, so space is kind of at a premium.)

Either way, I’m sure I’ll figure something out. Who knows, maybe I’ll sacrifice something else so that I can take both books.

The Angel’s Game

I finished reading “The Angel’s Game” (by Carlos Ruiz Zafon) a couple of days ago, and have been pondering about the ending and the way that the story played out … and I’m still kind of confused. I tried to Google reviews and summaries and stuff, but to no avail – everyone seems just as bewildered. Although, to be fair, I didn’t really try very hard to find deconstructions, etc. I finished the book at night and was kind of tired.

But all that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the novel. I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive about reading a translated text (the original is in Spanish), as I thought it might lose some of the deeper meaning, magic and emotion. But it was fine. The edition I read (which was translated by Lucia Graves – not sure if there are other translations out there? probably not…?) was so well written. I wouldn’t go as far as one reviewer and say that it read as if it was originally in English, but it was pretty good, and exceeded my expectations.

For a novel that I didn’t find mindblowing or life-changing, I feel like I could write a lot about it – mostly positive, too. It was really different to anything I’ve ever read before (or remember reading, anyway). While there are certain genres and authors I’d probably never tire of, it’s always refreshing to read something that’s just different – the storyline, the characters, the setting, the language. It was all kind of inspiring in a way.

I liked that the novel was about an author. Can’t say that I’ve read many novels about authors, although I’m sure there must be a fair number of them out there. Amongst all the rhetoric and fanciful speeches and whatnot, one of my favourite quotes from “The Angel’s Game” was from Andreas Corelli – something along the lines of “You may think that you understand the lyrics to a song, but it’s the music that makes you believe it.”

Despite how well the novel was written/translated (I still reckon it probably sounds/reads better in Spanish – but that’s beside the point), I did feel like the story was a bit slow at parts – mostly around the middle. And there were a lot of random side characters. Well, ok, all of the characters played some part, but it was a bit hard to keep track of them all. (Not sure if that was affected by how I read it in between/amongst other books and whatnot… Might have been better if I’d managed to read it in a more consistent fashion over a shorter space of time, but it’s too late for that.)

The story did start to pick up some serious pace in the third and final act, though. I’d say it was actually quite thrilling. The ending was still a bit bizarre. I’m not sure that I fully understand it, but it’s not something that I’m losing sleep over either.

All in all, I did enjoy reading “The Angel’s Game”. I probably wouldn’t widely recommend it, but I reckon that if you’ve got a passion for reading and/or writing, it’ll most likely be a worthwhile read.