Friday, December 24, 2010

Goodreads: Jane Eyre

Jane EyreJane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn't actually expect to like this book. I'd tried reading some "classics" in my younger years and found them boring, so, always the hedonist, I avoided them. But when I got my new eReader that came preloaded with a bunch of classic stories, I decided to give them a try.

Most already know the story of Jane Eyre: young girl goes to the home of an older man to be governess to his young ward, falls in love with him, finds out about his secret, etc. etc. I won't give the secret just in case there is someone out there who hasn't read it.

What the story comes down to is love, certainly, but also a quest for womanly independence. The writing style is loftier than anything we have now, but the story is good and I found that now that I'm older, I followed it easily as compared to when I was a pre-teen. There were some moments that seemed to drag on, and dialogue tended to be overdramatic, but it was a sign of the times for writing.

Recommended read, definitely!

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Successful Date Night

J and I had a rare date night last night. We don't usually go out and do things in a "date" way, mostly because we're happy just hanging out at home. But we'd been talking about going to see "Tangled" for a couple weeks, so instead of coming home after work and getting lazy, we went out and just DID stuff. Together. Which isn't to say we never do stuff together, but we made last night "official."

So how did it go? Pretty well. We went to Panera Bread, which was a little bit of a disappointment. They didn't have bread bowls for soup and they wouldn't take the gift card I'd gotten from work. The portions were alot smaller than I remembered too. We laughed about how small J's sandwich was, but the truth is, I don't even think you could call it a half sandwich. Maybe more like a quarter sandwich.

We killed time by going to Target to check out their eReader selection. It was nonexistent.

The movie, however, was great. I don't think I've ever been to the movie theater to see a Disney movie. We only watched it in 2D but that was just fine. Most 3D movies anymore say they're 3D, but there are only a handful that are really worth the 3D experience. For once, there were no obnoxious people in the theater, and everyone else seemed to be enjoying the movie as much as we were. After we got home, J read some reviews that seemed to indicate that this movie wasn't as well received as some of them. Which is okay...everyone is entitled to their opinion. My opinion is that some people have really dumb opinions, and not because they did or didn't like it. Some of the reasoning behind why they didn't like it was just idiotic.

But I won't be negative. I loved the movie and will probably buy it on DVD unless it comes on Netflix and then I'll just watch the heck out of it.

Date night: success. Who knows when we'll actually do it again, though.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

On the Subject of Happiness

In the formative years, I wanted to be happy. Whenever I had to blow candles out on a cake or make a wish for any other reason, it was to just "to be happy." This makes me sound like a miserable child, and I did have a few rough patches, especially in elementary and junior high. I actually look back on high school with fond memories and I consider my college years to have been an amazing time in my life. Happiness always came and went, sometimes quickly, sometimes staying for awhile. There were times when I thought I was happy and I wasn't. There was also times when I thought I was miserable and was actually fairly content, at least relative to what else was going on around me. 

The focus on happiness in the latest issue of Real Simple got me thinking about it. A few years ago, the subject of making a wish came up and I didn't know what to wish for because truthfully, I was happy. And still am. That's not to say I don't have horribly bad days. I can be angry and hateful. There are a few areas of my life that I'm not particularly happy with. I still tend to be moody, and I take my Happy Pills religiously to keep myself from freaking out. 

The article talked about how happiness comes in small doses, not just huge ones, and instant gratification happiness doesn't always last long. Getting married? Huge shot of happiness, and one that keeps on making me happy. That's because I have an amazing husband who actually gives me little moments of happiness. Going to GenCon this past year? Again, big dose of happy made up of all sorts of little ones. Seeing my family? This is always a mixed bag depending on what's going on, but it's generally little momentary doses during the time we spend together. 

Growing up, I somehow got to this point of realizing that I don't need to have a huge helping of 'yay' delivered to me on a platter, I just need to learn to savor the small bites and enjoy them while they last. I think alot of people know this, but as someone who used to think I couldn't be happy until I lost all the weight or had all the things I wanted or had the perfect job, it really hits home for me. I don't have, or haven't done, any of that. But even on my worse days, I can find something that brings me joy. 

In preparing for the New Year and the resolutions that come with it, I'm thinking of starting a daily happiness blog, just to find one thing in my day that makes me happy. Once it's up, I'll link it if anyone wants to follow. 


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Social Networking for All Corners of Life

In a conversation with co-workers the other day that started with some talk about Tumblr, I ended up facing the fact that I have a little bit of a social network addiction.

To be fair, not all of the sites I do stuff on are social network sites. Some are blog sites, but I tend to think of blogging as just another way of social networking (even though none of my blogs extend far enough to be considered as such). Two of them are actually article writing sites that could be considered as ‘work’ sites other than social sites. To some extent though, even those are social, considering you can comment and be commented on.

When my mind is organized, I feel the need to compartmentalize my life, even if I overlap at all corners. I like to have my site to log what I’m reading, watching, listening to, or eating ( I like writing reviews/opinions/rants about books and finding new books and authors to read ( I like sharing my knitting projects and collecting knitting patterns ( Then I like exhibiting it for others to see on a bunch of other sites, most that link into each other so my poor friends are spammed with my life.

I suppose it’s good that I go through phases where I do very little online, or I might have a lot fewer friends.

Here is the full list of my current (semi) active accounts and my name on each. Feel free to friend, add, follow, etc. me.



Facebook: Amanda Lynne Felber (if you add me here, shoot me and email or message or comment to let me know you’re doing it. If I don’t know you, I won’t add).


Ravelry: felbersgirl

LiveJournal: message me for details. I consider this my private journal, so for personal and professional reasons, I might not add everyone. Don’t take it personally. It’s just my thing.


All Consuming: I don't think I have a link for this, but if you're on there, I'm felbersgirl.

Triond: No page yet, but I'll continue to post articles.

Associated Content:

I suppose as far as addictions go, this is a pretty minor one, but it does mean spamming everyone. So while I'd love to have more friends and followers, I can also respect that a few of you might want to go ahead and defriend me.


Goodreads: Shades of Green

Shades of GreenShades of Green by Ian Woodhead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Shades of Green" is a horror novel that gave me bits and pieces of Lovecraft nostalgia while drawing me in and giving me a real story I could sink my teeth in. I'm not comparing Woodhead to Lovecraft, however, because Woodhead has carved himself a definite niche in the horror genre that's a little unlike anyone else out there.

From the first scene, the story takes on a detached, dreamlike quality. Brothers Alan and Damien stumble across strange happenings in the forest, only to wake up to the possibility that it might have been a dream. Damien's girlfriend Jennifer is seeing signs of a strange transformation in her brother Tony. Some of the older citizens of the town of Holburn are visited by their past sins, and the town becomes infested with a sinister plant invasion that turns people into hideous creatures. It's up to Jennifer and Damien to figure out what's going on and to survive with the help of Alan, the obsessive compulsive brother who gains the ability to invade their minds and see and feel through them. Does he hold the secret to the plant infestation?

No spoilers here, as I think my fellow horror fans should give this one a read. Ian Woodhead takes several mysterious scenes and weaves them together to tell a full story. Don't let any initial confusion deter you from finishing. The journey is worth it. The horror scenes are great, relying on disturbing imagery rather than outright gore to entertain, and there's definitely a "can't put it down" factor to the book.

The only criticism I can give is that some of the punctuation and grammar seemed to be a little off, though I realized in some places this was a matter of dialect and regional writing that I wasn't used to. The issues didn't take away from the enjoyability of the story. This one is recommended and I definitely want to read more by this author.

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Sixth Day of the Work Week

I decided to approach today a little bit differently than I do most Saturdays. Instead of wandering around, not sure of what to do, going from one thing to another and never actually getting anything accomplished, I treated today like another work day. I did this in part because I'm taking on new ventures, many revolving around writing and work from home ventures, and I wanted to see how it would work to schedule everything into a day in-house.

I started out by checking email and responding to Facebook (didn't get around to Twitter, though). From there, I looked online to find some new ventures and applied to a freelance proofreading website to start a profile. This took a couple hours, so I took a break when that was done, and the break consisted of doing some dishes and stretching my legs. Then it was back for some ChaCha guiding, which I was actually able to focus on for awhile (getting closer to my eReader). Took a lunch break a little after noon, then went back to do some more ChaCha and finish and article. It was here that I started getting sidetracked by internet curiosities and Lego Harry Potter. But I reined it in and finished the day off with some extra ChaCha. To make up for the lost time, I did some content promotion tonight.

For the first time in awhile, I actually feel like I got something accomplished, so tonight we're going to watch a movie and I'm going to kick back and enjoy some knitting and crocheting. Maybe treating weekends like a schedule workday will make me feel better and more productive. I'm not sure how to approach Sundays, but maybe I'll try it the same way, or at least for half a day.

Now onto some yarn and Scott Pilgrim!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Alternative Entertainment

Once in awhile, J and I have to tighten the purse strings, and the tightening isn't conducive to certain frou frou things. Like Netflix. Until my payday next week, or until some magic money falls into our laps and bank account, we will be without Netflix.

This doesn't really bug me. Netflix is our main source of TV, but I've gone through long periods of time without television. We have our DVD collection, Hulu, and other websites that stream television shows. Netflix just makes it easier to pick and organize.

This will be a short break, since payday is only a few days away, but it will take us over the long hump of the weekend. So I'm thinking of alternative forms of entertainment in lieu of Instant View.  I'm going to revisit some old favorites from our DVD stash, including "Secretary," which is one of my all time favorite movies. I'm also going to catch up on my podcast collection, which will actually take awhile since I have alot of back episodes of several shows to catch up on. This will also be a good time to do some more song sorting and rating in iTunes.

Those are back up things for when I'm ChaCha-ing or knitting. I can also finish the two books I've started reading and start playing Harry Potter on the XBox, which I should probably do anyway since we got it from Gamefly a few weeks ago and I've yet to even take it out of the envelope. This might also be a good time to go ahead and clean. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Xmas decorating is going to happen this year, but maybe I can start the New Year by decluttering and organizing.

Good intentions, like always.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Time Management

I have weak time management skills. Forget about the fact that I did a seminar on time management in college, or the fact that I have no excuse not to get things done. I might be learning to keep my finances in order, but my time usage is still all over the place.

Today at work, I lost 8 hours. I got things done, but part of me thinks I could have gotten more done if I'd planned better. Tonight at home, I managed to write and ChaCha, but I didn't get any knitting done nor did I finish the book I was reading like I was thinking about doing this afternoon. Some nights I can cram all kinds of things into a few hours. Other nights, the clock hits 11:00, I'm sleepy, and I realize that there was all kinds of things I'd meant to do, but just didn't.

If I'd have just answered a few more questions, I'd be that much closer to my eReader.

If I'd have just stopped to knit a little more, I could have my current knitting project done.

If I'd just get my camera out and take the pictures I want to, I'd actually have interesting things to blog about.

And so on and so forth. Procrastination kicks my butt every time, and somewhere in my mental makeup, I'm constantly kicking myself for what I don't get done. But tomorrow is a new day with more chances to put stuff off until the last minute. It's another chance to let the internet suck my time, to think about all the things I should be doing, and to create a pile of chaos around me in the things not getting done.

So yay for tomorrow!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Secondary Jobs

Considering I slept in until 2 today and suffered with some bad back pain, I still managed to get some things accomplished in the realm of what I'm starting to think of as my secondary jobs. Doing these jobs makes me wonder if I would ever have the motivation to actually try working from home. I know a few people who do it, and I'm envious that they find the self drive to get anything done.

I like my little secondary jobs, but I don't think they'd ever pay the rent, at least not with what I'm doing right now. The first of my secondary jobs, and one that I've been doing for several years, is as a content writer. I started with Associated Content shortly after I moved from Sault Ste. Marie as a way to bring in a little extra income. It wasn't alot of income by any means. I think the most I ever got for an upfront payment was ten dollars. But over time, I've built up a nice little portfolio of articles, and the page view payments have been nice, bringing me an extra thirty to forty dollars a month. More recently, I've started writing content for Triond. When I first started at that site, I gave up after a few articles, realizing that I was only pulling in about 3 cents per month. Recently, I revisited and realized that I needed to change my outlook a little bit. When you find what people are searching for, you can get alot of page views by tweaking your topics. I can still write about what I want and get a few cents per article if I promote what I'm writing (thank you Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr). In a couple weeks, I've gone from 3 cents a month to 54 cents a month. It's not alot, but it's proof that my articles are being read and that the more I write, the better chances I have of bringing in money.

The second "secondary" job is as a ChaCha expeditor. I gave this a try after hearing some people talk about it. Again, this isn't a job that's going to make you rich, and it can be tedious. But it can also be addictive if you're in the right frame of mind. For anyone who's ever lost two or three hours on Yahoo! Answers, it's the same idea, only you're making a couple cents for every question you answer. There are other jobs at ChaCha, including generalists/specialists and voice expeditors, and the different jobs pay at different rates. A couple friends of mine are generalists/specialists (a job I don't envy because I've seen some of the questions we expeditors send them...). ChaCha only pays at $150 which seems like a bum deal, but if it's not money you're counting on as part of your budget, then the pay cycle doesn't matter so much. I have yet to receive a payment from them, but I'm getting there. In fact, I've already decided that this "unbudgeted" money is going towards the eReader I want (as long as everything else is paid up at the time).

I have this fantasy of working from home in my pajamas, but realistically, I'm not sure if I could give up my 8 to 5. Besides the stability of having a steady paycheck, I need an outside source of motivation. While I can self motivate for a short time, I tend to lose interest in things really fast. Those of you who've known me for awhile know that I've gone through other writing phases only to drop off after a few months and remain silent for as long as a couple years. While ChaCha is great while I'm working toward a goal, if I don't keep that in mind, I won't commit any time to answering questions.

It may be possible in the future to try to work from home, but right now I'm going to continue working by day, writing and ChaCha-ing by night. Also...and I'm not going to say much about it at this point...after the New Year I'm going to be trying out another business venture with a friend of mine. It's not something I ever thought I'd do, nor am I sure I'm going to last long term, but I'm willing to take the risk for it. Trust me...once it happens, everyone will know about it.

On that note, it's time to go get some sleep in prep for my day job. Everyone have a happy Monday and a great week!