The Blog in 2014

I’ve already posted about my year ahead, but I wasn’t very specific about what’s going to happen with my blogging.

My daily posting is expected to continue, unless I have a busy day or two here or there, or I’m away on vacation.  When I’m blogging as I like on a daily basis, I feel pretty good.  I enjoy the interaction with my readers, and I find I always have something to write about.

There’s something I want to do for 2014, and that’s start a roughly weekly fact series of posts.  The title of this blog is related to encyclopedias, and I always loved reading about various topics when I was a kid.  I’d like to bring back that feeling by reading a bit about different topics (mainly science and geography related), and sharing some interesting facts about them.  I might tell you about the cerebelum one week, then talk about Mt. Etna the next, and then about gypsum.  Who knows?  But I think I’ll keep them mostly related to events going on in the world, so it’s more relevant.

Another thing I’ll be doing is using paint.net to experiment with graphics editing.  I’d like to redo the site’s design, as well.  The header could use some freshening up and a bit more relevant to the topic (it’s currently a picture of Enoshima in the city I live in).  I will also be using it to work on maps.  That’s right, I’ll be posting maps of Ariadne, mainly on my official site, but I’ll also discuss it here.  And if I become proficient enough with it, I may even work on my own cover art.  I’m pretty decent at drawing and have done graphics art before, but I’m pretty rusty.

As always, I’ll be bringing more reviews and interviews.  I hope to increase my reading pace to 30 books in the coming year.

I’ll be a bit quiet over the next few days, unfortunately.  When I return later in the week, expect some great things to come!

50 Books to Read Before You Die

I joined a group on Goodreads called 50 books to read before you die. There are a lot of classic books on the list, as well as some more modern ones.  I wouldn’t say it’s 50 books, though.  There are 2 trilogies and a series of 7 books included.  They are done by 50 different authors, though.  I’ve decided to include it as one of my reading challenges.  Here are some of the books I’ve read:

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien – I read this before the movies came out.  Excellent classic novels.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – I read this one in high school.  I’d like to read it again.

The Lord of the Flies by William Golding – I read this one in junior high school.  Pretty brutal, but I’d read again.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare – I read this in high school, and I also own a copy of it.  It’s on my to read list.

Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling – I’ve read all of these while living in Japan.

That’s all I’ve read, so I have a lot to do.  Some of these are massive books, though.  And then there’s this one:

The Bible by Various – I’m not a religious person, but I’ll approach this from a literary angle rather than as a study of the religion.  However, it’s so long that it’ll take a very long time to read.

None of the listed books have been reviewed, but as many of them are in public domain, they’re available as free eBooks.

Any comments about the list of books?

I Am Taking a Break

That’s right, I’m eating a Kit-Kat.  No, that’s not right.  Actually, I’m taking a break from writing my book.  Don’t worry, it’s not a long break.  I’m going on holiday next week, so there won’t be any chance to write.  I’ll also be busy with my family.  Once the holidays are over, I’ll be back at it.

But that’s all I’m taking a break from.  I’m still blogging here, unless I’m unable to make a post while I’m on vacation (you know, eating and drinking with the in-laws makes it a bit difficult).  For part of today and tomorrow, I’ll still be pretty free, though I do work tomorrow.  I’m going to be reading a lot, and I’ll also be trying out paint.net, which is a free paint program with lots of features.  It’s been a few years since I’ve done some serious graphics work, so I’ll be trying to get the hang of it again.

So, I have a quick question.  Anyone have experience with paint.net?  How is it?

I Have a Problem With ‘Overrated’

I hear this a lot in comment sections of websites or on forums.  That book/movie is overrated.  I personally have a bit of a problem with that statement.

Something is overrated when it gets more attention or praise than it deserves.  I can see how this can be an issue if an indie author’s friends are all rating their book a 5.  Then it’s a valid argument.  But if it’s a very popular book or movie that is almost universally liked, how is it overrated?

If a book or movie has a high overall rating, it’s because most people liked or loved it.  The people who don’t like it say it’s overrated, as if they believe that the rating is far too high than it deserves to be.  Well, I don’t agree.  If most people love it, then it’s only fair to say that it should be rated highly.  It’s rated fairly.  Urban Dictionary says that people who say it’s overrated are resentful of people who love it.  I’d mostly agree.  Those people seem to be quite aggressive in their comments online, and love to argue with and insult those who love what they hate.  They seem obsessed with their dislike.

If you dislike something so much, why do you go out of your way to throw insults at people?  I’d like to hear from people who do that.  If you’re like that, can you explain why you do it?  I’m really curious about it.

I’ll Say “Merry Christmas” if I Want To

I keep hearing about the so-called “War on Christmas” happening in several English-speaking countries, particularly the United States.  Here in Japan, most people aren’t religious and don’t celebrate Christmas (other than presents for kids and eating fried chicken), but they still decorate and say “Merry Christmas.”

But in the United States, saying “Merry Christmas” is no longer politically correct.  They say you can’t say that anymore.  You might offend non-Christians.  I really don’t care.  I’ll say it if I want to.  I’m not Christian, but I’ll still say it.  Why? Because that’s the name of the holiday.  My family celebrates Christmas, not as a religious holiday, but as a day to be with family.  I’m an atheist, but I’m not one of those overly sensitive people who take offense to pretty much anything.

So I will say this to you:  Merry Christmas.  Happy Hannukah (although it’s over).  Joyous Kwanzaa.  Even Happy Festivus if you celebrate this Seinfeld-created holiday.  And soon, Happy New Year!  If you don’t celebrate anything, then I say, “Have a good day.”

So to everyone, enjoy your day whatever you are doing!

Merry Christmas!

In a few hours, it’ll be Christmas Day here in Japan, and despite it being a major holiday in my home country of Canada, it’s just another regular day here.  I’ll be working.  However, it is my second last day working this year (my last being this Saturday), and then I’m on holidays.

My Christmas is like this.  I came home from work tonight and got to see my daughter Tomoe open her presents (the ones that have arrived so far).  She got some purple pants and shirt, a book, and a toy rabbit from my aunt.  She loved the rabbit and jumped around holding it.  She also got an Anpanman book from my wife and I.  There’s a pen that will speak when it touches any of the pictures in Japanese and English.  There are a lot of pages, so she can learn a lot of words with it.  And then she went to bed.

Unfortunately, our daughter is sick, and will be unable to go to her regular nursery tomorrow.  So, I’ll be taking her to a clinic with our secondary nursery, and she’ll spend the day there.

But you know, I got a great Christmas present from Tomoe.  This morning, just before I left, I said to her, “Bye bye. Love you.” She waved back at me and said, “Bye bye. Lub you.  Bye bye.”  When I got home, my wife told me that my daughter said today, “Daddy, lub you.”  I got lots of warm fuzzy feelings from that.

For the next couple of weeks, things will be pretty hectic.  On Thursday, we’ll all be home and won’t really be able to go out.  Probably doing some cleaning.  It’ll be raining out, unfortunately.  Friday, my wife is working and I stay home with our daughter.  I may get some writing done that day.  Saturday, I’m off to work for my last day of the year, and when I get home, my wife is off to her company year end party.  Then on Sunday, we’re home, and until we go to her hometown for New Year, we’ll be doing our year end cleaning.  Our holiday in her hometown will be spent with her parents, sister, and grandmother.  It’ll be our daughter’s first time to see everyone since she started talking.  That’ll be fun!

Unfortunately, I may not be able to finish my yearly reading challenge.  There’s less than a week and a lack of time.  But I’ll keep trying!

I hope everyone has a great Christmas!

Christmas Blog Present 13: Dab of Darkness

Now that it’s Christmas Eve, here is the 13th and final Christmas blog present.  A little darkness…and a cat.

dabofdarkness

#13 Dab of Darkness

Run by Susan J. Voss, Dab of Darkness is a book blog that focuses mostly on fantasy reviews, but also read alongs and interviews.  Looking at the tag cloud, it appears there’s a lot about Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.  But there is some science fiction, as well.

The reviews are pretty interesting.  She states what she likes, what she doesn’t like, where she got it, and more.  The reviews are easy to read.  You’ll also notice that for each review, a picture of the book has been taken with a cat.  Great theme!

The latest review is for The Human Blend.