Friday, 13 November 2015

Looking Ahead to 2016

Our first book read for
the Fuller's Group
Feb 2016
I am looking ahead to 2016 because I am trying to ignore Christmas. I am wondering if it can sneak past me and not be noticed. Wish me luck.

I have been thinking a lot about  next year's reading goals. Since I seem to finally be  succeeding at some of my goals after 6 decades no sense in stopping now.

I have some TBR books on the shelves and of course all of my Penguin books stare at me.  I am in a book club at Fuller's book shop so that will keep me up on some of the modern literature going around.

I also have not done any Read-Alongs before.  So I am not putting up any lists yet for the coming year but I am going to dig deeper into the ideas.  I am starting with a trial run with Jane Austen's Emma in December this  year. I am looking forward to it.

Lots of penguins
marching around my house.
Some of the ideas floating around my head are.   * Read the Penguins.  Especially the ones from the 50's and 60's.  I need to fill in my Century of Books challenge more. This will be a good way to do it.

*Read the books for the book group and enjoy the discussions. This always ensures I read books I normally wouldn't choose which is always interesting.

*Join in some of the Read-A-Longs.  There are many of these that happen throughout the year from people on my Blogroll.  I have subscribed to all those listed on my blogroll so I get the emails immediately telling me when a post has come. I am finding it easier to keep up with people, allowing me to make more comments on their blog. That in turn increases visitors and conversation and that is fun.

Then I think there will be a category called Accidental Finds. These are the books you read about in someone else's blog, a review in a book, some book that flies down from the clouds and hits you in the face. The books that are "accidentally in your life".  That will offer spontaneity. 
Cousin Eddie is having his
second birthday on Sunday.
He will be 2 years old.

I think these three areas are a good starting point.

I will also continue to post up any posts re: Penguin Hunting excursions and finds.  

Of course I will keep people up on my cats and dogs as that seems to be a drawing card of interest. We all love each other's pets. 

I might put up the odd photo-art I am working on developing skills in this new found interest.  I think that sums it.

I'll include book happenings and miscellaneous events happening around me in Tasmania as I love people to learn about this state and my life here. Maybe you'll visit and allow me to show you parts of it.
Always finding something to do.

So here's for fine tuning these goals as we get closer to that magical date of 1 January, 2016.


* Book Club Books
* Accidental Books

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Springtime in Tasmania

All ready to ride off into summer
It is springtime in Tasmania and  lots of things are going on.  My reading has picked up even though I said it probably wouldn't until after Christmas. The reading mood has finally hit after being pretty dormant for awhile.

I am looking ahead to 2016 to reading and blogging much more than I did this year.  This year has been the Year of the Student and the decluttered house.  The student being ME.

I am more than halfway through the Photoshop course I am taking and seem to be picking it up quite easily with only a couple of real stumbling blocks to pick through. Our Photographic Society has challenges each month that I have completed and also several training sessions.  I want to get this photography skill level well and truly under my belt by Christmas so it has been a priority over everything else.

Our last play of the year for
Play Reading class in U3A
I am still doing the Play Reading sessions and we have had great fun with Electra by Sophocles and The Wasps by Aristophanes.  When I learned this is what we would be reading I had a bit of a panic thinking I would be completely bored as I know nothing of these early classics.  But it was so much fun. Our class divided up into the choruses and adapted our voices to fit the characters. I found both of these plays really entertaining, not to mention how relevant they remain to today's society.

We are still working on Electra and will finish up the term with it in another couple of weeks. Then summer holidays kick in and we will pick up the class again in March next year.

I have a 6 week photography class beginning next Tuesday evening to really understand all the little buttons on  my DSLR Canon 600D.  I have been enjoying learning about the different lenses available on eBay. I do wish I was wealthy at times. Camera equipment is like anything else......expensive!

On Wednesday afternoon I am spending my time with a small writer's group and we are busily compiling a publication to feature the member's writing.  I will only put one or two pieces in as I have not been writing all year like the others.

A remarkable journey.
Books read:  I finished up Walking the Nile by Levison Wood. I understand the BBC or someone made a TV series of it. I would really like to watch it.  I loved the book as I learned a tremendous amount of history of the countries that border the Nile River.  I thought at times the author was rather careless with his life especially when traipsing into a desert without enough water. He did experience very high and low points including a tragedy that probably could most likely have been avoided.  He certainly had a Guardian Angel sitting on his shoulder at times. The characters that accompanied him were fun and interesting. I liked the camels. They had their own personalities also.

A lightweight Australian
whaling tale.
I read Rush Oh by Australian writer, Shirley Barrett  for our Fuller's Book Group read. Half of the group enjoyed it and the other half didn't. The reviews on Good Reads seems to reflect this as well.  It was a first time novel for the author after winning awards for her previous screenwriting.  It was based on the history of whaling at the beginning of the 20th century in Eden, New South Wales.  The only thing I knew about Eden previously is it is the location where sailors in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race every Boxing Day pull into before crossing Bass Strait if something goes wrong.

The information of how the Orcas helped the whalers round up the whales they were hunting was quite fascinating.  The writing was irritating to begin (in my humble opinion) as I thought there were too many brackets, where the author talks to the reader. She also used very lengthy sentences with a million commas which also bothered me a bit. That had settled though by the halfway mark. I enjoyed the characters and the story though it is a bit light weight.  I found it kept my interest and the family in the book.  The father was based on a real man who lived in Eden during that time.

Tom, the orca whale who featured in the book was also based on a real whale and his story can be seen in the whale museum in Eden.  The information about the skill of the Aboriginal whalers was also interesting.  I would recommend this book if you want something light and a little different.
Reading my new Penguin
in the December readalong.

I have a couple of credits waiting for me on for audio books. I think I will use them for classic books.  I enjoy listening to a classic book while following along the pages at the same time. I can see the writing but I get to hear the voices which I enjoy. I did this with Moby Dick and Middlemarch and enjoyed both experiences very much. I find I also remembered the stories much more with both visual and auditory input. After all you know what they say about the short term memory of older people.  

I haven't worked out plans for 2016 yet though I did volunteer to participate in a group reading with Dolce Bellaza in December of Emma.  I have a nice Penguin cloth bound copy of the book on my shelf and I think I will enjoy the commentary from others as we progress through the book. 
Our dog Odie is still goofy
 and we love him.

That pretty much sums up what is happening in my small part of the world.  I mention I did follow the Marie Kondo decluttering book chapter by chapter and got rid of many clothes, 1000 books, kitchen paraphernalia in the backs of closets, paper work I thought I needed but didn't and my husband got into the spirit of things and had one of his mates come with a trailer and cleaned out the garage.  It all seems to be happening this year.

I look forward to reading, blogging, scooter riding, photography, writing and play reading and Penguin hunting in 2016 and I hope you enjoy coming along on the journey with the Penguin (who might have a fancier wardrobe next year due to my new photoshop skills.)
Mr Travellin' Penguin
is feeling quite casual these

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A Slow Month Blogging-wise.

I realise it has been almost a month since my last blog post.  I reread it to see where I was then and I noticed that I did say I might be slowing down until Christmas. I hope to get back to it before then.

I had that silly virus that has been going around Australia where you cough and cough, every time you talk too much or get too much activity going. I thought it was gone, did a lot yesterday and back it has come. Sleeping a lot trying to get rid of that. It also presents with a good dose of fatigue.

Then there is the spring activity where a beautiful day comes up, you race to the garden store, buy lots of potting mix and plants and haul large planted pots around the yard. I woke up the next day and couldn't walk due to the strained back.  I seem to do this every year, you'd think I'd learn.

I have been reading though. A lot. Every book, magazine article and blog post about Photoshop and Photography. Our Photographic Society has these wonderful challenges each month. I have the creative ideas in my head but don't have the skills to implement them.

The six month photoshop course I signed up for is going well and I am learning but my goodness, that program has so many complex variations to it.  I promised myself I would prioritise all things photography until Christmas. I did manage to finish the de-cluttering of the house project in July and August and the tip and op shops benefitted hugely. My husband also completely de-cluttered the garage too. This really has been a year of down sizing possessions and study. But it feels great to clean up the rubbish, make so much of it disappear and learn new skills that take us into new directions.

I am also in a writing group that is new to me. That has been great fun and it also comes with its own challenges. Next week a 200 word (exactly) piece is due that has a sting in the tail.  I have a few ideas but have not put it on paper yet.

Really enjoying this book. One
gutsy lady.

The book I am reading is All the Gear, No Idea by Michele Harrison. I love travel writing and this one is a really interesting one.   Michele is a 31 year old English woman who has worked in banking for 10 years and is now tired of it. She is in a relationship that she doesn't know where it is going.

She decides to take a course in riding a geared bike as to date she rode a Vespa scooter. She goes to India for one year. She buys a 500 cc Enfield motorcycle and spends the time dodging trucks, animals in the road and the heat.  It is a wonderfully gutsy story told by an interesting young woman. I am enjoying it very much.

If only I was 40 years younger.

I have also discovered Zinio for Libraries app on my Samsung tablet and that allows me to download quite a few different magazines from the library.  I have been reading up on photography and have a course scheduled to begin in November for 6 weeks that is supposed to teach me how to use all the buttons on my Canon 700D.

I am trying to get things organised in the yard and I am really loving being able to play frisbee in the front yard with my dog Odie and watch the plants I have planted in the last few years begin to bloom. I am looking forward to getting a good knowledge of Photoshop and camera usage under my belt and get the garden organised a bit. Then Christmas will be here that for us is quite low-key.

Our beautiful Odie with his beloved frisbee.  
I am thinking ahead to 2016 already where my reading plan is to get stuck into some Penguin books on my shelf that I really want to read. I also want to read some good classics with books paired up for the narration and follow along in the book. I find when I read a harder book, having the sound with it as I follow on the page really brings the characters to life. I did that with Moby Dick and Middlemarch and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Summer will be here at Christmas time and the bike riding season should also be in full swing. I want to pack up some camera equipment and head to the countryside for some photos and maybe a bit of camping on my big scooter. I would like to learn the new 600mm lens I have which ways a ton and is on a tripod, to look up into the air without falling backwards out of the chair I am in.

Lots of plans. Bear with me while I take a bit of a break from recording everything in my blog. I will leave you with some photos while I continue to be in study mode at the moment.

I hope you enjoy them.
One of the natives I planted last year to encourage
bees, butterflies and birds. I only plant
animal/insect friendly plants
I forget the name of this plant in my front yard but it
is now full of flowers. The colours are beautiful.
The bees seem to fly around it a bit too. We need
more bees.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Walking The Nile and Some "New" Penguins

This month is pretty busy. There is the Tasmanian Reader's and Writer's festival starting on Thursday. I am signed up for 6 sessions. There are interviews to watch, a master class to participate in, an opening with champers and some books to hear about.  I am looking forward to it.  I will try to put up some posts and maybe a couple of photos over the weekend or the following week. I will certainly be taking notes.
Happy Spring Australia

My blogging is slowing down a bit until probably Christmas. I have signed up for a Hobart Photography society membership.  Now I need to catch up to the skills of the other people in the class. One woman recently won top first place prize in an international competition of several thousand people. You can see what I'm up against.

I have signed up for a photography class that goes six weeks beginning in November. I will learn how to use all the manual settings on my Canon 700D.  Last time I took a photography class was in the early 1970's and digital DSLR cameras had not been heard of. Had I only known.

I am also taking a six month online Photoshop course from America. There are 13 sessions, they tell you you'll learn everything (EVERYTHING!!) about photoshop in the six months you have to finish the course.  So far I have learned how to make a preset template under File : New:  Select a template: Save it. Moving right along as you can tell. I am trying to devote four days a week to the study of all that.

I have a MOOT mindfulness class starting on Monday through Future Learn website. They have heaps if free classes.
Hopefully that will teach me how to settle down and concentrate on everything else. It's hard not to be scattered when the flowers are blooming and spring is in the air.

My current book is Walking the Nile by Levison Wood. I love travel and adventure books and walking is one of my favourite methods of travel (in other people that is.)  This is a remarkable tale. The man begins in Rwanda walking north along the 4000+ mile Nile River to Egypt.  The history of the countries he travels through is very interesting although so violent. The guide who goes with him is an interesting man and certainly has his own opinions about the trip in general and the tribes he talks about.
No one has ever completed the entire journey before.  The swamp lands are enormous. The heat, the insects, the animals, the jungle, the terrain are all extremely difficult to deal with. The writing is good and as the story is true it is most interesting.

He writes so well I feel like I am travelling along beside him as I sip a cappuccino, curled up in my warm bathrobe in a comfortable chair. I love to endure arduous adventures with other people.

I was not familiar with this series. Need to research it a bit.
There has been quite a bit of Penguin hunting. I was driving home a couple of weeks ago and something inside said,  "Turn here", "Turn here". It was the road to the tip shop. I had been there the previous week and knew I wouldn't find a thing. Well I turned. I like to think I listen to my inner voice. Sure enough I walked back to the bookshelves and everything looked the same. Until the attendant walked up, pushing a trolley and it was (YES!) full of Penguin books. I could not believe it.

Is there a God? and does he help one look for Penguins? The thought did cross my mind. He won't stop the Syrian war but helps me find Penguins? I don't think so.

A couple of PG Woodhouse books I did not have.
So I will share some of them here and also I found two hardcover Penguins in a series I had not seen before in a second hand book store I go to regularly.  I need to find out more about them before I write more but I have included their photo.

Also there is a new book out about the Lane brothers I just wrote and turns out Allen Lane was not the kind man I believed him to be.  Also the story about Allen Lane getting his inspiration from standing on a train station platform and thinking small, cheap paperback books is a lot of bunk too. That made me sad.

The book is scathing of the man and the ABC radio ran an interview I accidentally heard late one night with the author. The author was hired by the daughter of the other Lane brother who Allen allegedly ripped off big time.

If you click on these I think you get a larger photo. A PL series
with the plays and the L series with the old classic.
I  walked into my local, Fuller's book shop and the owner, Clive put the book into my hand. Had to laugh. I am in that bookshop so much they call out "See you tomorrow" when I leave.  I will have to write another feature on Fuller's  in future as they have new front renovations and it looks lovely.

That's me for today. Moving along quietly. There is a virus that has been going around here that is a nasty cough and fatigue and you cannot shake it before a 3 week period of time has gone by. I am speaking from personal experience.  So no big time scootering going on here but the other interests have been fun.

Lots to look forward to and I will try to keep everyone updated. Happy Springtime Australia.

I have most of the King Penguins but was delighted to find the
Crown Jewels that is this one. Two Penguin classics that are
not vintage but I collect them because they are such fine books.