home time

I was going to write a post to round up the year, and lead into the next one, but it feels like there has already been so much contemplating, reflecting and philosophising throughout this entire year, that maybe one more is superfluous. I think it is normal to see a surge in these reflective posts on the blogosphere around this time of the year, which is completely fine, but I think I’ll leave it to other bloggers.

As I started writing the previous draft of this post, I realised that there were only a few things I wanted to mention.

First, that it would be wonderful if I could just stay at home all day, like I have been over this long week-end, and just learn things (piano and Russian being the main subjects of study at the moment, along with the Napoleonic wars, which I’m inadvertently learning about from reading War and Peace). But, alas, one must have an income to support these hobbies (not to mention sustain life), so I’ll be back at work tomorrow.

Second, is that my partner has got me back into computer games. I haven’t played — as in, properly played — a video game of any sort for a very, very long time. Those little mini games or apps don’t count, and I don’t play those anyway (there are no games on my phone). I think good games need good storylines with interesting characters in order to captivate me, and make me feel like I’m not wasting time. The ones I’ve been started on — Dragon Age: Origins; and Spec Ops: The Line — certainly deliver on intriguing stories.

Initially I felt incredibly uncoordinated with the controls, having become unaccustomed to the movements of gameplay, but I’d like to think I’ve gradually gotten better. Yes, I’m playing on the easiest settings, but it’s challenging enough for me. Besides, if it was too hard, I wouldn’t have energy to appreciate the stories.

And so, as we approach the end of a year that most would probably rather forget (or bury as far down in the depths of memory as possible), I think ending on a quiet note is not a bad idea.

sunsets

Lately I’ve been getting Sunsets by Powderfinger stuck in my head. I don’t think I’ve heard it anywhere anytime recently, so I’m not sure how it randomly got in my head, but there it is.

This song was released back in 2003, and I do remember liking the song back then, but I think part of that was the music video, which was an animation rather than actual people. It was really cool, and I liked watching cartoons a lot back then (still do, really). Many years later, as it turns out, I still really like the song itself.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the MV on Youtube, but here is the original audio:

I found the MV on Vimeo, but the audio quality doesn’t seem as good (?) The little description thing says the video is based on a Chinese myth about a warrior named Hou Yi, and ten suns.

Anyway, perhaps it’s just a fitting song for the end of the year, and that’s why it has resurfaced from the depths of my memory. Or maybe I heard it somewhere recently but didn’t consciously register it at the time. Either way, I’m glad this song has revisited me, and I’m happy to be sharing some Australian music on my blog.

W&P progress report

I’ve been reading War and Peace for about two months now, so I thought it would be a good time to do a progress post.

About a month ago, I estimated how long it would take me to finish reading this epic tome, and based on my previous reading rate, it was somewhere close to two years. I’ve never taken more than a year to finish reading a book, let alone two years, so the prospect was quite terrifying to me. As such, I made an effort to read more, and have trimmed back the timeline to less than one and a half years. I’m hoping with all the public holidays coming up, I might get a bit of a boost to my reading, and cut this back further.

I’m currently somewhere in the middle of Part Two, which is all about military stuff — something about the campaign against Napoleon. However, knowing nothing about Napoleon (except that he is a significant historical figure, who was allegedly quite short), I’m not sure I’m following everything that’s happening. I kind of feel like I need a quick history lesson before I proceed, but, the weather being humid and lethargy-inducing, I don’t really feel like learning.

Hopefully the weather will mellow out soon, and I’ll consider it. Until then, I will just half-guess based on the notes at the back of the book. 

For some reason I expected this to be similar to Anna Karenina in the sense that I didn’t need to know historical facts to really grasp what’s going on. I suppose I really should have known better based on the title and the blurb.

I’m still enjoying it, though. Tolstoy’s writing is as excellent as I remember (although I do think Anna Karenina was much easier to read, but that’s probably because the concepts themselves were easier to understand than in War and Peace).

I think I’m also finally getting a grasp of who’s who, which is no easy task considering how many characters there are, multiplied by all the different names with which each character is referred to. It probably helps that I’m reading more than I was before. I suppose it’s all about keeping it in working memory (and keeping my memory working).

Well, on that note, I think I’ll go laze around somewhere cool, and do some more reading!

ask vs guess

I read something a long time ago about how most people are either “askers” or “guessers”. I’m pretty sure it was an article online, but I can’t remember how I stumbled upon it, or where the original article was from. Possibly it was shared by a fellow blogger or perhaps it was someone on some other social media.

Anyway, when I read it, I realised that it explains why certain people frustrate me, and I was reminded of it again recently, so I thought I should share this in case other people find it useful. (I thought I might’ve already blogged about this, but I can’t find anything on my blog about askers and guessers. And I guess if I have already written about this, it’s been long enough that I’m allowed to write about it again.)

Continue reading

Jupiter

I think it’s too hot this week to even think about writing, so instead I’m just going to share this:

It’s Jupiter, composed by Gustav Holst. It’s part of an entire suite titled The Planets, which is amazingly magical, but I think many people consider this the highlight.

I never get sick of hearing this on the radio (and they do seem to play it a lot, and for good reason).

Enjoy, relax, stay cool.