Lucky number seven

OK. Let me just start with: I don’t DO new year’s resolutions. I mean, really.

They’re doomed to fail.

January is month of extremely high hopes, whereas the ensuing months are… not energetic enough to keep up. Setting up goals in January is like asking a tiny kid what he wants to be when he grows up, after he’s rocked at kart racing for the first time. Of course he’s going to be a Formula 1 winner.

HOWEVER, after reading Ms Inkeri’s post I’ve decided to write Things I Aspire To For 2014. But I’ll call it LN7 and copy her number seven. But in my defense: I was born on the 7th, the week has 7 days,  7 is a prime number (and I like prime numbers), and according to Chinese medicine, life is divided in 7 year chunks. Tadaaa!

In 2014 it would be very nice to:

1 – Exercise regularly

Which I have. At least for every weekday since January 2nd. I’m the opposite of fit and my classes are all the way up 4 flights of stairs. Gasping for air ain’t attractive.

Also, found peace with dance classes. More specifically, zumba. I hate running around like a hamster and Zumba actually feels more demanding than running track — and it’s loads more fun.

2 – Keeping up with uni

It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s not that I’m not organized. I’m just… poorly motivated to fully dedicate myself to uni. I’ve got two years left, hopefully including an exchange program, and I am going to do my best, and show people what I’m capable of.

And, you know, not drive myself insane when things begin sounding cryptic.

3 – Not feel guilty about which books I’m reading

Ever since I entered college, I’ve been reading very dense books. I mean, seriously. They are from the 1970s. They’ve got loads of equations. They’ve got examples. Usually not fun examples. And even if I didn’t tire my brain out with those stuff, why should anyone feel guilty going to the bookstore and picking up a Sophie Kinsella book, or whatever chick lit I’ve found? It’s still one book more than the average person in my country reads. Per year.

Entertainment is a valid choice. Ignore the judgemental eyes of the hipster salesperson.

4 –  Stay calm. There’s plenty of time.

Well, there might not be. But the things I usually stress about are things not worth stressing about. It’s done. Things will fall where they may. Be zen about it. Try learning to french braid your own hair. Maybe Inkeri can help.

Just don’t fret about all that planning and all that nothingness. About your age. About the years going by. About people. About liiife… just HUSH.

Also, this was the item I’d saved for my reading goals this year. But it’s not worth it. I don’t want to start demanding myself to read. I like reading. Let’s keep it that way. I read about ten books this year, but I also found three new favorite authors (Danny, Jenny, John) – actually, four, if I was entirely honest. I read books that enticed me, that made me laugh, that made me cry, that made me think, but most importantly: that kept me in cozy company. I really loved some of the books I read this year, even found a top favorite. And I’m pretty sure my being extremely picky had something to do with it, so I’ll trust my gut.

Though I probably should consider taking a closer look at the books I currently own, as my bookshelf situation is a growing nightmare. No. More. Bookstores.

5 – Improve my French to B2 level

And I mean B2. I have studied it on and off for 2,5 years, but I feel in no way confident about it. This holiday I have been on Duolingo quite often (you can even check that here). Duolingo is a really, really great memorizing tool for learning new languages. If you are looking into German, French, Spanish or Portuguese I invite you to take a look.

But I still need to do some deeper reading/writing. For that, of course, I’ve bought some books (Le Petit Nicolas, and a book by G. Musso) I’m too scared to read yet, and I’m trying to find a penpal (email or otherwise). Suggestions on either?

6 – Go and get that exchange program

I want to study abroad. I want to learn how other people live. I want to go somewhere cold! And I won’t rest until I do! Hehe. Seriously. On-going procedures. Fingers crossed.

I just need to work on not sabotaging myself.

But I think first and foremost, after this year that’s gone by, I’d like to be able to say that I’ve managed this:

7 – Stay true to myself

I know it’s corny. I really do. But I honestly feel I wasn’t true to myself this year. And that caused me a lot of unnecessary pain. Not to get too dramatic here, but to put it simply: I let people treat me poorly and didn’t stand up for myself. I let myself be carried away and forgot that the one person who knows what makes me happy or not is really me. I thought my sense of self-worth and my values were bigger than whatever petty remark could turn me into, and I was disappointed in myself.

But this year being happy will be a goal, not pleasing others. I am important. What I feel matters.

And that will be my motto for this year. Life’s too short to spend it dreading mornings. And I think that’s the first thing I’ll do: start sleeping early and waking up well rested and looking forward to a brand new day.

Have I mentioned it’s 2h25 in the morning here?

I’ll start tomorrow :P

Otherwise, I pl— No, I won’t plan, I’ll intend to write a little bit. Either here, either privately, try to keep my head in order. But most definitely share fantastic books I’ve come across (maybe even the embarrassing ones), including some from last year which I shamefully neglected to review, and anything nice that comes my way — and hopefully I’ll read about your’s too :)

Happy New Year!

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Why my girly fase is most definitely over

I was updating my (sad) book list and I HAD to include “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” by Jennifer E. Smith. Eventhough I didn’t really finish it. I’m like 40 pages to go. So it’s not like I’m… like… trying to cover up having read one book in six months. Noo. None of that. It’s just that I find it relevant to my reading history. And it’s nearly done! And okay, I didn’t want to add just the one book…

But hear me out. This is a book I’d marked in my Goodreads Wishlist several years ago, but never got round to it, because… well, bookstores in my city suck. And then, earlier this year, I was browsing through the “Popular” section and *poof* there it was. And I remembered the cover from Goodreads. So I got it.

And it sucked.

It sucked big time.

the deceitful cover

The cute cover.

As the cover indicates, this is a chick flick. A teen chick flick. Like the ones I used to loooove, and would read in one night and would fall in love with all the characters and gush about to my friends, and lend it to them so we could gush about it unison. So I thought it was a sure thing.

The story is quite simple, actually. Girl gets to airport 4 minutes late and misses her plane, Cute British Guy waits with her and they end up sitting next to each other on the plane and talking and faaaalling in loooove.

Ok. I can handle that. Cute British Guy is in fact adorable, and I had no trouble picturing him next to me on any flight he wanted. But the girl? What was her name? Hadley. GOD, she’s annoying. Think Bella annoying. Plus some, because she is the center of the bloody universe and everything that could possibly happen to her is bad and she hates it. She gets some sense in after a twist in the plot, but just some. Everything is still SO terrible.

Allow me to explain. Her parents got divorced, because her dad went to teach in England and met an assistant (?) and now he’s getting married with her, in London, and she’s going to be a bride’s maid, understandably against her wishes. So she’s kind of going to England forced. And that’s when I start to get annoyed. Ok, the wedding will suck, her dad is asshole (seriously, there’s piling evidence), she has to play nice and show up in photos. So what? She’s in London. Take the damn pictures and go see the city!

I also couldn’t quite relate to her mother, because Hadley keeps trying to talk to her on the phone and she never picks up, attributed to the time difference and that her mom never wakes up early. Her daughter just got on a plane and crossed the Atlantic, she doesn’t care if she got there okay? Or maybe my mom is just overprotective.

Hadley finds out some THINGS that her father and new stepmom are keeping from her (take one guess), and naturally gets upset. She gets upset a LOT. She hasn’t seen her father in like… a year? And she was distracted by her mother (they went on a trip?) for a weekend, so her dad could come to their house and pick up everything he wanted. And then go back to England without saying hi. So let’s say she DOES have reason to be upset. A lot.

But she doesn’t DO anything about it, just pouts and acts like the teenager people always ignore. You’re angry? BE ANGRY! Let it out! Tell your dad what a crappy dad he’s been! Tell your new stepmom you’re not supposed to sleep with married men! Heck, tell her the mistress doesn’t get to wear a white dress to her wedding! Just DO something! Then maybe you’d see the good parts too? Don’t just stand there complaining about everything — in your HEAD. Makes for a very uninteresting read.

And I genuinely thought this was obvious. Everyone must have been annoyed, right? Everyone must have wanted to throw this book out and never see it again. But nooo. According to Goodreads, it’s a 3.79 stars read. I managed to find these two reviews that sort of agree with me. And now that I’ve read them, I see it — it IS dull. All that time in the plane? As slow as if I’d been there, trying to read “On Flight Magazine”, while I had expected… well, love at first sight.

But the thing is— I used to be a veery girly girl. I read a k-zillion chick flicks and I genuinely enjoyed them, no matter how iffy their characters were. And this book? I didn’t even write my name on it. I’m thinking of donating it to the local library. (Which is extreemely difficult, btw, because I’m ubber jealous of my books and only lend them to my trust-worthy, most loved friends. But this one? Not worth standing next to my “Abundance of Katherines”.)

To sum it up — BLEH.

 

Writers’ Block & Writers’ Bloc

Have you not yet heard about Writers’ Bloc? Go take a look. They can explain it a lot better than me, in my current state. No even Plinky could get me a subject (just joined and totally have a story about being completely lost in past couple of days, but it just sounds baaad everytime I try to tell it).

Can I blame it on all the phagocytes trying to eat whatever it is I seem to have contracted?

But where was I? Writers’ Bloc, the awesome Goodreads group. They are gathering ideas for the first book to be discussed. First four books, actually. Doesn´t it sound like fun? Haven´t you always wanted to be in a book club? Come oon, go take a look already.

I´m looking forward to it. Especially since it seems one of the first books will be Harry Potter, and I´ve never really got a chance to discuss it properly. You know, with people who were also gasping at Quidditch matches and marvelling at the explanation for having the Whomping Willow at Hogwarts, conveniently guarding a secret passage into the Shrieking Shack (for more of my Hogwarts nostalgia, click here). And the focus of the group is, obviously, writing. It´d be nice to dissect some of the styles… That sounds bad. Is there a less destructive equivalent of dissecting? Meeh.

But anyways, the group has some great badges and by joining them you get to display one at your blog, should you have one.

I´m not really much of a writer. I tend to write a lot. In this blog, in my journal, in long emails to some friends, wherever. But it´s not really writing, it´s babbling. Sometimes I have a point, most times I don´t – it´s just that insane need to verbalize what´s on your mind. (I had a language teacher who made that sound really good. Gotta find that notebook.) I used to write short stories and chronicles at school, but somehow it just went away, and I guess I´m kind of hoping Writers’ Bloc would give me the push I need to get back to it (and perhaps the tools to make it half decent?).

I´ve always wanted to be able to use Gimp (that awesome opensource image manipulation program that´s supposed to be better than Photoshop and annoyingly noone I know in the field seems to care about it) but I´ve never done anything because I had no ideas I could actually implement with the little knowledge I have – then this guy comes along and, well, I don´t wanna be addicted to brain crack. Here´s my first ever animated image on Gimp:

As stated, Writers’ Bloc has some great badges with witty catch phrases, but should you want to use that one, go ahead :)

That´s it. Got a driving lesson to get to!

Oh, the temptation…

People are mean.

I know I´ve said this a bit too often, but I really am busy. I´ve spent my Saturday trying to find out why rubeanic acid reacts with acetone to develop chromatograms of Ni, Cu and Co solutions. And I´ve only found answers in a freaky German book from 1859. I think I found it, since I speak zero German and Google translater doesn´t want to help me.

But anyway, I´m busy.

And yet, people keep on throwing books at me.

Okay, maybe sometimes they only show their books and comment on the amazing time they had with them and I do my Best-book-carrier look and they end up lending them to me. But still….

The pile gets bigger!

I´ve given up on “Sushi” for the moment, cheated on “Artemis Fowl” with “Specials“, felt too guilty about it after reading this, got back to Artemis, and then yesterday, waiting on my desk, was the most delightful of surprises:

It got here! It got here!

I ordered this over a month ago on Better World Books and just when I´d given up, and was beginning to think Dad was right, saying they were too good to be true, it arrived! And it´s a bit worn and seemingly read. If it had the previous owner´s notes/name it would be perfection.

(Can´t say “perfection” without thinking about Chandler in that bank during the blackout, being offered gum by that famous girl. I miss Friends.)

Anyhow, today mom and I visited one of mom´s friends – book lovers beware, she used to run a library at her house, now she settles for giving select people handfuls of books to “pass around to people we like”. Mom got some 9 thrillers, I got “Committed“, by the same author of “Eat, Pray, Love“, and  “The Girls from Ames“, which I´d never heard about — it looks like a terrific read.

Not that I´ll give in to temptation and take a peak. I cannot. I will not. Rubeanic acid, Laplacian transforms and capacitors await me this week. No time for books.

Eventhough “Artemis Fowl” is getting pretty good.

 

 

“Artemis Fowl” was recommended to me by Aylee at Recovering Potter Addict, I think (though I can´t for the life of me find her comment). Thanks!!

“Secret Society Girl” was recommended to me Kay from The Infinite Shelf, thanks in advance :D

Spreading the Meg Cabot fever

I’ve started what? 3 or 4 books over this last month and completed zero. Which means not only moping for me, but no reviews for a blog that was supposed to be all review-y and push me to read more. Fail.

But this weekend I went out with my little cousin, which is a rare feat, I’m saddened to say, and we wound up in the bookshop. I asked her what she liked to read and she pointed me to some cutesy graphic novels, which I’m found of too, but what about non-picture books? Any favourites? Apparently not.

So I pick up “All American Girl”, by Meg Cabot, and ask her to read the first chapter – a countdown of all 10 reasons why the main character, Samantha, hates her sister. There are several countdowns throughout the book and they all start at 10 and culminate in the first, main reason. I don’t know why, but I remember I thought that was so awesome – and tried repeating that in my journals, but always failed. Planning was not my thing. Ironically, that’s what my cousin first commented, with a glowing look. The I’ve Discovered Meg Cabot look.

I’ve converted another one.

When I was about 10 or 11, I found one of the Princess Diaries books at my school’s library, and proceeded to read it. I read several of them, all out of order because the library didn’t have them all and the missing ones weren’t always readily available at the bookshop. I devoured them. When I found out about the other Meg Cabot books, I devoured them too.

It was a quick, funny read. I had a great time with them.

And when the time came that I’d read all of the translated ones (it took forever for them to translate, at the time), I started reading the originals. That’s how I found out I could read in English. Meg Cabot was really good for that, because it’s mostly diary style, with very colloquial language so you feel like the characters are talking to you, which is very very good if your English isn’t all that grand (I was 13), but they aren’t kids books, so you get to improve quite a bit. I always thought I owed to Meg Cabot most of my English abilities.

When she finally came to Brazil, I was 16 going on 17 – my Meg Cabot-loving friends and I went to see her at a book signing/talk. We had no tickets because it was in another town, the line was huge, everything was a mess, but we somehow managed to get in, listen to her speak, with gleaming little girls eyes, and then got 6 books signed through nice people on the queue and a lot of persistence to get a photo. We talked to equally enthusiastic people. We laughed hysterically. We stared in disbelief whenever something worked. It was a magic day.

And now, maybe, my little cousin will get that too, with her friends.

My edition, gift from mom, 2004. ;)

Reading Goals

Every January I do pretty much the same thing – make a list of the books I read the year before, make up my reading goals for the current year, start a blog and join several reading challenges that I’d really like to accomplish but deep down know my study routine when school/college starts will make it nigh impossible to conclude without becoming sleep deprived. And though every year I hope that I may develop more will power and stop sleeping so many hours on the weekends, or just not join the challenges altogether, it’s the New Year! I need goals. I need something to make me happy about achieving, something that’ll make me crave these brand new days of possibilities. Cheesy, very cheesy. That’s what too many girl movies can do to you, be warned.

So this year I started at WordPress and I really would like to keep it up (even if I can’t figure out how on earth to fix that top half there ^, no matter how many tutorials I read), and I’d like to start this year by being organised (like usual [cof] [cof]), by making a list of what I wanna do and what I’m reading and something cool that happened. I know my diary is filled with this stuff, but this last year I was a bit negligent and didn’t highlight the book titles and I reeeally don’t want to read the full, university-sized notebook and the old, tiny, Barbie one I wrote about random stuff in 2011. So I’ll just say I read less than I wanted. A lot less.

With that being said, I really like Goodreads.com – I just do. Love finding nice reviews that make me want to run to the bookstore and get the book (only to find out they’re not currently available). If anyone ever accidentally bumps into this post and manages to read through these pointless and slightly sleep-deprived lines (and has a Goodreads account), this is me. As you may notice, I only put stuff up during December/January, my long boring holidays. I always give up on the books I say I’ll be reading and start slacking the minute I start counting how many I’ve read so far, so I’m not even going there this year.

Maybe just a tiny tab with the books I’ve read this year. Just to keep a record.

I’m so totally slacking this year.