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Little Thing 256 : Mini socializing & Early Year Book Update

January 30, 2023


I spent 2 hours with Ms Chin last weekend. 


After our last meet up last month & the movie, I thought she would not agree to meet up again (or perhaps find reasons not to). Meeting up just to spend time with me and talk, about random things in life. Socializing is a rare occasion for me and most of my life I hardly have any close friends that I meet up occasionally with. So this is rare, thankfully I really enjoyed the time. We meet throughout the years but not as often as this past few years. 


I wish we started sooner, and I hope she enjoyed her time too.

Ps - Ms Chin is my former English teacher when I was 15. 


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2 weekends ago we did a potluck CNY party at my brother's house - with my siblings + mom. I made pumpkin soup and chicken curry (because my sister made roti jala). It was a good potluck party, because everyone participated and home-cooked. Then this weekend we did another potluck party and this time with my dad, but I just bought some sushi because I didn't feel like cooking anything. 


I think getting older teaches me to appreciate real connection with people, or at least I promise myself to make bigger effort in maintaining social relationship. I realized that special relationship is a rare thing in life; having someone to talk to, to fully be yourself with, to have engaging conversations, or to just be. Friendship is a rare commodity. 


The older I get, the clearer I see, that we are all strangers.   


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Here are the books I read and listened to in January :

  • Matilda by Mary Shelley. I read this book in 2018 and I don't have any recollection about the book. How odd, it was that plain. 
  • I realized that I don't enjoy reading Dostoyevsky's classics at this moment, perhaps I can't appreciate his pessimistic views on life, most of his characters seem a bit too depressed for me. I might try again next year, after I try Tolstoy?
  • I also don't really like Mieko Kawakami's style of writing - I already listened to 3 of her books and I can't really appreciate it.
  • I love Noor Naga's If An Egyption Can't Speak English, so I'm trying to get her other early book - Washes, Prays about a young woman's romantic relationship with a married man and her crisis of faith as a Muslim. 
  • Mona Awad's All is Well was a bit odd, experimental maybe ? A nice twist in the end, I don't think I will reread this one.  
  • Frank Bruni's The Beauty of Dusk is written by a journalist, so I appreciate his direct tone, it reminds me of Joan Didion.
  • I decided to love Yiyun Li. In the past few months, I listened to The Book of Goose, Gilgamesh and A Sheltered Woman, all I enjoyed and want to reread. 
  • Simple Passion by Annie Ernaux, is an eye-opening realization of how humbling falling in love with a married man can be. It is a pain that we can't really share with the world because of how scandalous it is but Annie Ernaux wrote it from her heart and she shared it with the world. Not for the man that she loved, but for herself and I salute her for that. I needed that.
  • I'm making a promise to read Herman Hesse's books this year. I just finished The Journey to the East, and I'm reading Narcissus & Goldmund at this moment. I forgot Steppenwolf because I read it in 2016 and gave it 2 stars on Goodreads, so I might listen to it to refresh my memory this year. 
  • The End of Getting Lost by Robin Kirman - Did I enjoyed it ? I'm not sure. It's a meh story, just to fill my time while working. Nothing really profound from this. 


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Untitled Post : 10 years later

January 27, 2023

I've been a bit sentimental lately. 

Is this an age thing ? Is it because I just starting to leave my mid-30s ? Is it because of the work-stress I've been facing ? Is it because of just pure pain of missing something? A lot of mixed emotions that I'm trying to understand. Bitter and confused. 


I tried finding books that can put my feelings into words but I haven't found it yet. Been living in my subconscious a lot lately and it is not a good sign.


I need a good distraction for now, like perhaps a Herman Hesse's book, or maybe Elif Shafak. Honestly I think Fyodor Dostoyevsky is a depressed pessimist that I can't handle this year. 

I got no title for this. Let me just post this to the maya world and I'll get back to it in another 10 years time. Here is my post exactly 10 years ago. 

And those people you'd thought about, call them, text them, meet them. 
Tell them that they matters to you, and having them is the best thing that happened in your life. Be thankful for having those people in your little circle. 

Live like it's your last day, and you will never see people in the same way again.

Nope, apparently I don't want to listen to my own writing. This is not applicable to every situation.  

Movie : Andor (2022)

January 03, 2023

I finished it !

I finished Andor. I waited for a year for the release and subscribed to Hotstar just to watch the whole series - love it. Although I'm not into sci-fiction that much, I was intrigued by Rogue One from the start (it is the only movie in Star Wars franchise that I watched more than once). Well, I am probably biased because I love Diego Luna. Finding out that he got his own back story was an excitement that I can't hide, and this whole writing is probably biased towards him playing Andor.


But, hear me out. 




Warning - Spoilers ahead **


1. Andor and Rogue One weren't a stories about super heroes/super power, this is a story of normal flawed people (and I really don't like super heroes story). These normal people that are trying to make a change. This is a story of Andor, a thief, a refugee, an outcast, an accidental murderer (?) - that decides to become a revolutionary and joins the Rebellion. 


The Star Wars franchise itself based on a political theme about resistance and oppression. About fighting the big battle, the rakyat vs the oppressed totalitarianism, about making sacrifices and believing in a cause. At this age, Andor is relatable. A lone survivalist that decides to become an activist. If we scratch the Star Wars layer aside, you can see a normal battle we see in our own country. Also, it shows the consequences of inaction when dealing with a regime. Do you choose not to participate ? Do you choose not to pick a side ?


Even though it is one of a Star Wars movie, there's hardly any mention about Jedi (which I appreciate). I can't connect well with special people (with super power, with connection, with evil money), Andor feels more relatable,  just mere human being. It felt fresh compared to all other Star Wars movies. 

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2. The script for Andor (the series) is amazing, you can get a lot of strong beautiful quotes from the series. You need to watch it to understand what I mean by this. At times it might feel a bit too scripted but the characters did them so well, it was just nice.

Have you read/heard Nemik's manifesto ?
Nemik is a rebel and he wrote his thoughts on the Imperial oppression and the need of rebellion, this was his manifesto

There will be times when the struggle seems impossible. I know this already. Alone, unsure, dwarfed by the scale of the enemy. Remember this. Freedom is a pure idea. It occurs spontaneously and without instruction. Random acts of insurrection are occurring constantly throughout the galaxy. There are whole armies, battalions that have no idea that they've already enlisted in the cause. Remember that the frontier of the Rebellion is everywhere. And even the smallest act of insurrection pushes our lines forward. And then remember this. The Imperial need for control is so desperate because it is so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear. Remember that. And know this, the day will come when all these skirmishes and battles, these moments of defiance will have flooded the banks of the Empire's authority and then there will be one too many. 
One single thing will break the siege. Remember this. Try."

I mean, this is a manifesto for us, for the ordinary people. 

Not like the one that Yoda passed to Luke :


Can you see the difference ? Luke gets the burden of his responsibility on his shoulder alone, he can't 'try', he is special, it is expected for him to 'do'. But in Nemik's manifesto, it's for the normal people, for us, the small beings, for each individual that can make a difference, make a change. We need to 'try'. Andor came out right before the 2022 election, and it correlates well. We are still not over the GE 14 political fiasco and I know almost everyone remembers that well. If we want to make a change, try, even how small. 



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And how about Luthen's words when asked about sacrifice ? 

"I'm condemned to use the tools of my enemy to defeat them. I burn my decency for someone else's future. I burn my life to make a sunrise that I know I'll never see. And the ego that started this fight will never have a mirror or an audience or the light of gratitude. So what do I sacrifice? Everything!"


"And the ego that started this fight will never have a mirror or an audience or the light of gratitude". Oh my, this is an explosion to the ears. Will never have a mirror because he is too ashamed to look at what he has done, or an audience or light of gratitude, because everything he does, he does it in secret. He is the two-faced spy. 


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This is like reading a passage from a book, words by Kleya Marki: 

I don't have lately. I have always. I have a constant blur of plates spinning and knives on the floor, and needy, panicked faces at the window, of which you are but one of many.

A constant blur of plates spinning and knives on the floor, and needy, panicked faces at the window, of which you are but one of many? 

"Constant blur of plates" - like juggling balls, spinning plates needs constant movement and precision to avoid them crashing own, "knives on the floor" - the need to be careful, to constantly watch your step, "panicked faces at the window, of which you are but one of many" - there are many things on her min to worry about. This is a gem !


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This Kino Loy's words of strength :

.."There is one way out. Right now, the building is ours. You need to run, climb, kill! You need to help each other. You see someone who's confused, someone who is lost, you get them moving and you keep them moving until we put this place behind us. There are 5,000 of us. If we can fight half as hard as we've been working, we will be home in no time. One way out! One way out! One way out!"


And Maarva's final speech ? :

.."There is a wound that won't heal at the center of the galaxy. There is a darkness reaching like rust into everything around us. We let it grow, and now it's here. It's here, and it's not visiting anymore. It wants to stay. The Empire is a disease that thrives in darkness, it is never more alive than when we sleep. It's easy for the dead to tell you to fight, and maybe it's true, maybe fighting is useless. Perhaps it's too late. But I'll tell you this... If I could do it again, I'd wake up early and be fighting these b*stards from the start. Fight the Empire!

 

This is top-notch script writing. 

I'm in awe with proses mostly because I love how beautiful spoken/written languages can be in conveying a message. In this case, this might relate to my own personal love to words as a reader/listener of a story. If I noticed such things in a movie, that probably mean they put extra effort in the script-writing to make someone like me notice this (because I usually do multiple things when I watch something, not 100% commit to only watching it). 


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3. Complex and growing characters. 

The characters are complex, they have multiple facet of personalities, morally grey, and their development slowly grows with the story.


Cassian Andor starts off the series as a thief and he accidentally murders 2 guards, then becomes a fugitive. He doesn't care about anything bigger than his life and his close circle. As the series progress we can see his personal development. There were incident upon incident to make him realize the need to step up and be reborn. Even after the robbery in Aldhani takes place, even after he is stuck in the prison in Narkina 5, he then decides to change in the end. After a defeat. A death. A reminder.


Syril Karn is an odd character worth mention as well. An ambitious inspector with a strong need to accomplish something, his needs to impress, his obsession with trying to do something right (right in his case doesn't always mean right to everyone else). He takes his duty very seriously, he loves order, disciplin and justice. Remember the one mention about his tailored uniform to fit his body right and added pockets ? Who would put such detail into creating a character ? I laughed at this scene when I saw it, because we can see how anal he is about everything (anal retentive person is a person who pays such attention to detail that it becomes an obsession and may be an annoyance to others). Aside from that, we can see why he is like that after the Ferrix incidence, when he is fired from his job and he returns home. A nice side story to see when he is home with his mother (it all makes sense !).


Almost every characters in this series are morally grey characters : Andor, Syril, Dedra, Luthen, Maarva, Mon Mothma. We can't decide whether they are purely evil or purely good. The heroes that would cross the line for a greater good (even by deciding to sacrifice 50 people in order to send a bigger message), or seemingly villain of the story but with a strong point that they are holding on to (like Syril and Dedra - I think they really believe in being in the right place, just doing their job, a bit too obsessively), are they in the evil side? Andor himself is a thief and fugitive, when he decides to pick a side, does this means he is now in the good side ? Luthen sacrifices people for a greater message, does this mean he is in a good side ?


These are all moral questions worth debating. 

Who decides what is good and what is evil when we are fighting the big battle? Isn't both sides will do something that crosses the line ? In Andor, we don't only see the bigger  evil power lurking at every side controlling the lives of the universe, we also see the people trapped in the situation - the political side (Mon Mothma), in their job (Dedra and Syril). These people in the seemingly evil side that believes they are in the right side. Is Dedra truly evil because of her dedication towards her work ?


I appreciate them making each character with their own little story to make sense of everything, to humanize them. Nicely progressed character development. What makes a good character development good? They have backstory, goals, flaws, personalities, world view, personal traits, values, and beliefs. I think Andor hits that part well. 

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It's a bit weird for me to post this on my 36th birthday, but here it is, finally finished this post after 2 weeks of drafting it. A short review on 3 things that I want to mention about Andor : the relatable political wars between the rakyat and the oppressed government, the beautiful script-writing, and the fictional morally grey characters with complex & growing development. I'm not a Star Wars fan, but I'm glad I ended my 2022 with a great story.


Here is the official trailer :




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And the small downside :

Half of the early part of the series is slow, the characters are slowly developed and it was a bit boring. Nothing much really happen. The next half is good and strong. I didn't know it was separated into 3 chapters (1-3, 4-6, 7-9) when I first watched it, if I'd known from the start, maybe I expect the pace better. I think I was bored for the first 5 episodes. 


Books - It's the end of 2022 and I consumed 100 books this year

December 13, 2022


2022 is my good 'book-consumption' year.

I read & listened to 100 books. Before you start judging whether my ‘greedy’ consumption this year is good or not (as people looove to mention quality over quantity every time I mentioned about how many books I finished each year). 


In 2022 :

  1. I didn’t socialize, so I had extra time (same like all the years before, lol)
  2. I didn’t binge-watch movies & series as much this year, so I had the extra time
  3. I borrowed a lot of books from my friends, so I had the pressure to read instead of keeping other people’s book for long
  4. I tried to make it as my habit to read every night (I’ll be sitting on my bed by 8 pm, trying to read, no longer in front of my computer after a long day of work)
  5. I listen to an audio book during cooking and sometimes while working
  6. 1 year = 365 days, so roughly 1 book around every 3 days, which is fairly manageable.

If you are an avid reader, you will understand how hard it is to find a ‘GREAT’ fiction that you will want to reread over and over again, if you are lucky you might find 1 in every 30 books, so in order to find more great books that suit your exact taste, you had to read a lot, there is no other way. People can recommend you books, but good for them don’t usually be good for you. Was it a high-quality reading/listening experience? - Not all, of course. But among those 100 books, I found at least 15 books that I might reread for slower reading experience, but many of them that I won’t want to reread - ever.


Back in 2018, I read 114 books, so this isn't my first time. But in 2018, I consumed a lot of non-fiction books and I didn't write down about each book. So I tend to forget which book is which. I wanted to make a change from that past experience, and I wanted to remember the things that I learned from each book. That's why I created the Notion book club :

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What do I do to read better ?

  1. I have my Notion book club to write my thoughts, ideas, personal arguments, analysis, and yes, perhaps reviews (for me, I feel like reviews are very subjective so I usually don’t focus on that).
  2. By having to keep track of my reading/listening experience, I have to stop and put myself into a thinking mode, then I have to sit to do some light research and then write about it. It’s like a personal practice to learn how to think and hone my writing skill.
  3. I also have a commonplace book where I write things that capture my interest, or words that I don’t understand, or lovely quotes that I want to reread later


My good book list this year :

  1. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  2. Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens
  3. The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves
  4. I Remain in Darkness by Annie Ernaux
  5. Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
  6. The Invisible Life by Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
  7. The Song of Achilles by Madelline Miller
  8. The Unseen Body by Jonathan Reisman
  9. How to Make Disease Dissappear by Dr Rangan Chatterjee
  10. Non-fiction books by Ann Patchett & Rachel Cusk


Books that make me stop & think :

  • Huge-gap relationship, the age of consent, abusive relationship - Consent by Vanessa Springora, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth, The Enchanter by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Mental health - Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Vladimir Nabokov, The Upstair House by Julia Fine
  • New ideas - The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister - the idea to store memories in smell, Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens - POV of a ghost falling in love with a writer, Meet me in another Life by Catriona Silvey - dejavu, stuck in unconscious mind
  • Why did I cry ? - The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Good entertaining story-telling : The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, The Story of Achilles by Madelline Miller, Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman, The Story of Gilgamesh by Yiyun Li, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab
  • On long marriage, separation - The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greves, Aftermath by Rachel Cusk, The Good Mother by Sue Miller, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett
  • The Life in the 1900s - Anne of the Green Gable series
  • Losing & grief - I Remain in Darkness by Annie Ernaux, Farewell Ghost by Nadia Terranova
  • Motherhood, post-partum depression, parenting - Black Milk by Elif Shafak, I’ll Show Myself Out by Jessi Klein, The Highly Sensitive Parent by Elaine N Aron, The Good Mother by Sue Miller, The Upstair House by Julia Fine
  • Friendship - Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett, The Book of Goose by Yiyun Li, A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • On health - The Unseen body by Jonathan Reisman & How to Make Disease Disappear by Dr Rangan Chatterjee
  • What gives a bad taste ? - The Maidens by Alex Michaelides, A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
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All the page covers in my Book Club Notion were done by me, each and every one of it (look at the whole year dedication !), I am so proud for reaching the end of 2022 with one thing that I promised I do throughout the year. The writing was a pain - I DIDN'T KNOW WRITING MY OWN OPINION IS A SET OF SKILL ONE NEEDS TO LEARN :F There are books that I didn't write anything in - those are the books that didn't leave any thoughts that I want to remember or it was so dull I just don't want to write anything about.


Anyhow, the one book that gave me an experience to remember in 2022 was A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. It took me 1.5 months to finish it - a book that make me feel so much. Thank you Hanya for writing such a masterpiece. One day I will want to reread it again, in the meantime, I'm waiting for my preorder copy of To Paradise early next year.

Thank you 2022, to finding more good books next year ! ⚘

Check out my Year in Books compilation (Goodreads). If I were at school and there's another reading competition, I would probably win this again ❤




Work Related : Back Working Full-time Again

November 18, 2022


After 5 years of working full-time as a freelance independent designer/illustrator, I decided to find a full-time permanent job under a company. This decision was made after almost a year of struggling trying to take care of the whole family, wanting a proper plan to send Sofi to kindergarden and saving enough money to build a house in rural area. 


I am actually disappointed, because it leads me to this. I loved my flexible time, the fun time I had creating art and working with client projects. But we were in a desperate phase, and I needed to sacrifice my freedom to have a better living. I know with my experience and skills, my salary can reach to a 'comfortable' level. But the catch is, I had to let my freedom go. 


I applied to many jobs in October, by the end of October I received a job offer from a Singapore-based agency which I accepted. Since then, I've been working with them, at home, but full-time. Even with all the perks, benefits and high-salary, nothing can be compared to the joy I had with having freedom to do anything I want. And I miss that, so much.


I am still adapting I know.

But I tried the taste of freedom and I'm still remembering the after-taste.


What changed since then ? :

  • we sent Sofi for a trial week at a chosen kindergarden to prepare her for next year
  • I've been working at home 8 hours a day, 5 days a week
  • we expended our working setup, now I got 2 work desks : 1 for office's iMac (which took the whole table) and another one my old original setup
  • I turned off the Patreon monetization, so I just update free contents when I have the time
  • I've been having a mild vertigo again, due to the long hours sitting/drawing and I'm trying to use a pomodoro method to remind myself to move every once in a while
  • my mind is always at work because I have so much to do, but now, I have money and security
  • I started reading less, and perhaps taking a slower time to finish a book because I already reached 95 books and I'm not competing with anyone (but I miss reading)
  • I started to have a proper better skin-care routine because I am now 35 (hahahaha), honestly for almost my whole existence, I only use face wash, perhaps toner (when I remember). Now I'm in my mid 30s, and I noticed that I'm beginning to show a sign of aging: my skin is no longer supple (like in my 20s), maybe wrinkles will start showing (it might take few more years if my skin is this oily for long), maybe hair will start turning grey. I don't know, I don't really mind much. But this year I added spf, serum and eye-cream. Still can't convince myself to use moisturiser because my skin is so oily :F  
  • Oh, I found this drip coffee that is 'just enough' to start the day. I stopped drinking coffee since I had Sofi, and after the anxiety, it somehow triggers the coffee-jitters. But I needed stronger caffeine than matcha, but not too strong until I got the jitters or palpitation, so I tried this and it works for now ! I drink it early when I started working at 9 am.
Note : Also, it is so cool to be working with a full-remote Singaporean agency kan, I was curious at first too. But since then we had so many online meetings, briefing, discussion, also once-every-month online makan2 and seminar as well. Plus, I am the only Malay for now (it's hard not to notice this). 

Little Thing 255 : The Maya Channel and Random Babbles

October 11, 2022
Okay. Let me let it out in the maya (because I need to let this out to free up the burden of talking alone in my head, did I forget how I manage the last 15 years - I've been writing to the invisible people in the internet as a coping mechanism kan). Plus, lately it's been mentally hard to survive one more waking day. I'm not depressed yet, just really stressed out, surviving. And I don't have friends, so I need a channel to express. 

Anyway, random sharing session.

Last week I went out twice to focus on work. I've never left Sofi for work in the past 3 years+ so this is a start. I searched for any coworking space in the area but couldn't find one suitable for me so I spent 4 hours sitting in my brother's cafe, finishing up my first draft for the Noko project I'm currently working on. I even brought my own matcha powder and soy milk (so my brother can make it for me - I'm lactose intolerant and I can't drink coffee anymore). Oh, I also already cooked foods in advance for the 2 days I'm away for work.

4 hours of uninterrupted working hour is a bliss. I forgot what it feels like, to focus solely on your task alone (I've been working while trying to take care of a toddler, so you can imagine if you tried doing that, not impossible - just chaotic). 

Then after the 2 days of working, I went out to socialize (for the first time in a loooooong time). I went out with Ms Chin, we watched Where the Crawdads Sing, we walked, we ate ramen, we chatted, after Ms Chin went back, I sat at a cafe for another 1 hour to continue on another client project. It's like, I actually have a life outside being a mother to a toddler. I forgot what it felt like.


The two things I bought when I went out that day were Muji's open-flat notebook for me to start writing a proper journal to manage my stress + anxiety, and also a croissant.

Next : one more thing I want to do is spent few hours at Kinokuniya. My current physical book wishlist : Hanya Yanagihara's To Paradise and Nell Stevens' Briefly, A Delicious Life in small paperback version. The 2 times we went to Kino, Sofi didn't even give me a chance to browse through and decided to play run and tag in the maze of books. 

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Well, it is then decided that I'm going to send Sofi to a play-school next year and I'm going to start working full-time again (because I'm getting ready for the recession). She's finally potty-trained (except at night when sleeping and for poopoo - still refuses to take it out in the loo). And she can't wait to make friends and have a teacher, so I guess she's ready to socialize. She's a total opposite of us, so we had to provide what we can't offer ourselves. 

Okay I just put Sofi to nap and reread the draft for the final time before clicking on publish

Little Thing 254 : Solving my First 1,000 pcs Puzzle

October 10, 2022

 


I finally finished my 1000 pieces Intergalactic Flora puzzle by a local illustrator and an online friend, @eurekartstudio

The gold hot stamp on the black background, the various colours from the amazing floral on galaxy illustration, it is beautiful ! I took probably around 2 weeks (on and off) to finish up the puzzle. I took my sweet sweet time. There was a time when I spent 3 hours at night straight while listening to an audio book (I remember it was 'My Dark Vanessa'), then I had neck and shoulder pain the next few days later. 

It is my first 1000 pieces puzzle and surprisingly I learned a lot from this experience. 
  • The first few hours were overwhelming. I felt like it is impossible to finish such a huge puzzle. 1000 pieces puzzle is crazy, whose idea was it to start a puzzle this big ? I didn't think I can do it. I even felt anxious on the first week. 
  • Then slowly, I took the smallest step : separate the puzzle into different colours. Different coloured flowers, the leaves, the gold stars, the black background. 
  • I chose the smallest flower and tried to do that, slowly. Step by step, it started to become a bigger piece. I felt less overwhelm and became excited. The endorphins started kicking in every time a flower is formed. 
  • Sometimes you can just put a random piece next to another random piece and it is somehow the right piece. Sometimes you have to come back to the same piece over and over again because it is not the time yet. 

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It felt like a metaphor to life. 
The 1000 pieces puzzle is connected but we need to find a way to connect each piece with one another. It feels overwhelming and impossible at first, but you need to take the smallest step and keep on moving forward. You'll feel like you won't make it and at times, you'll even stop and ignore it for awhile. But sometimes, you can just sit and try again, ever so slowly, piece by piece, and it will form a bigger piece. Then you'll see the puzzle more clearly and everything will make sense. It gets easy when you know how to play the game. 

I'm happy I tried my first 1000 pieces puzzle. I'm off to find other next challenge for me to try next. 

Here are other great illustration puzzle pieces that you can buy online my personal favorite from Mideer
I'm teaching Sofi to play puzzle (since she turned 1.5 yr old), now she's 3 and she's currently up to 48 pcs puzzle. I'm surprised that she still gets excited for puzzle, and she plays puzzle daily. I usually buy puzzles from Mideer, Mr Diy, or Shopee (anything with good illustrations). She calls it "pazo".


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Here I compiled some takes :





Books - Finishing Good Books Lately

September 22, 2022

I've been reading/listening to good books lately. The best thing is, I picked them knowing near-to-nothing about these books, so it was a nice surprise. I gave 4 stars on Goodreads for books listed here :

  • Briefly, A Delicious Life by Nell Stevens
  • The Good Mother by Sue Miller
  • Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
  • The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves
So I decided to go to Goodreads to read some of the comments but I was left disappointed by the never-ending detailed complains (or 'critiques') from other fellow readers. I'm sitting here in front of my monitor, imagining the lives of people who hated something and chose to make an effort to write something so detailed about the hundred reasons why they don't like it. If they like it, I understand the strong urge to share with others about the excitement, but imagine when it is the opposite feeling. 

For example, among the books that I consumed this 2 months, I also finished Lady Sunshine by Amy Mason Doan and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, but I don't feel the urge to share my thoughts on why I didn't like the books. I can't even write the reviews on my Notion bookclub because the books weren't that good for me. It didn't leave any marks except for 'don't feel like rereading these books'.

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Anyway, I'm currently listening to more books by Nell Stevens. I would love to buy a physical copy of Briefly, A Delicious Life - it is a combination of Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman, Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman and The Invisible Life by Addie LaRue. First person view, silent love story, and giving a mellow vibe. 

Other than that, I wrote some of the reviews on my Notion Book Club (that I can't catch up to write in). 

Extra note : I just finished My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell (book 77). It was another good read, but uncomfortable to listen to (Exploring a relationship of a young naive 15-year old Vanessa and a manipulative 42 year old teacher). It reminds me of The Enchanter / Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Perhaps it is fair to say that it is a modern take of Lolita from the girl's point-of-view. It was not an easy read, quite uncomfortable and dark, but an interesting story nonetheless. 

Little Thing 253 : Drawing/Journaling Playlist

September 20, 2022

I made a 15 minutes drawing/writing playlist, or less. Well, at this moment I have 2 videos that I use when I wake up early in the morning and try to write/draw something before Sofi wakes up. I created my own calm playlists and I hope it is somewhat useful to some of you. 




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Or you can play it on background here :



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Little Stories 245 : Cleaning up My Childhood Room, Recycling Old Books & Magazines

September 19, 2022

We've been spending a lot of time at my dad's to clean up our old stuffs (I left the house when I was 18 and the room kinda stuck in time). There are so many stuffs to do.


The Early Story : Basically what happened was the water tank beneath the ceiling in our old room was leaking badly, so it needed a change + the old roof was in bad shape. Our room was flooded by it so we had to do massive clean up and renovation. I think we already spent around a month on and off at the house since August. 


The Renovation : Repaired the old roof, cleaned up the ceiling, changed new water tank, hacked broken tiles in the kitchen and filled it up with new concrete, filled up cement in the toilet's drain, repaired broken door, rented trash tank and all those stuffs. We called 'tukang rumah' for all those stuffs that we can't do - we spent around RM 4,700 for all those renovation.


While we (mostly Af and I), we organized the stuffs, threw things that can't be used, recycled things that can be recycle, cleaned up the room and a lot of other small stuffs. My brother and sister came twice to help with the heavy stuffs especially the dismantling and lifting. 


The recycling part : The first time we send all our plastic stuffs to the recycling center, we only got RM 1 (it was in 3 huge plastics). We gave away 1 bag of tins & aluminium to the DBKL guy because he wanted it - he also requested to take the metal springs in 2 of the old mattresses that we put in the trash tank in front of the house. 


Here are all the books, magazines, old documents (paper/board related) that we sold, including 2 old bulky monitors, 3 old keyboards, 2 old radios, and a fax machine. We got RM 81 for all those. It's at the nearest recycling center to our house :



Some recycling centers won't take badly damaged books by termite, some just take them, so you need to ask ahead. This is only books and magazines from 2 rooms, we still have 2 rooms to go through :



Note : Most of the magazines were from my sister because she's the one that spent the most on magazines, and already I brought all my books when I left the house (so I don't have this problem).

Moving forward :
  • we have around 15 huge bags of old clothes, bags and fabrics but we don't know where/how to send. Maybe to the Recycling Center in Precinct 9 Putrajaya because they take old clothes (I'm not sure about this yet). 
  • we need to clean up the kitchen after the renovation
  • we need to find a way to clean up the garden
  • more magazines and termite-destroyed books in the library room :F




Anyway, it is a long process and I will maybe update again when I have the time.