Sunday, 31 May 2015

Weekly Rundown: New Laptop

I actually wrote this post back when I first got my laptop, almost a month ago. It was the first one I wrote on my shiny new toy. And then it kept on getting bumped back and back and back. Until now, because I want to show off and share it, because I love it.

Also, I've been made aware of a Photography Scavenger Hunt @ Gallo Organico hich runs from June to September. The new laptop is going to come in handy for that, as will the new camera lens. I am clearly a spoilt girl at the moment.
from Gallo Organico
For months and months I’ve been bemoaning the state of my laptop. I’ll admit, I’ve been half hoping that some laptop company might stumble onto my blog, see how in need of a new laptop I am and offer to send me one to try for free. Obviously none of my readers work for a big laptop company so I’ve been forced to get one myself.

Basically my family took pity on me, and decided that my whining about how slow and difficult to use the poor old thing was. Suddenly a new laptop went from ‘probably a Christmas present’ to ‘an absolute necessity which is needed immediately’.

And so that’s how, just over two weeks ago, I ended up staying for several hours at my in-laws’ house getting my shiny blue laptop set up. It’s a bit of a learning curve, since I’m now on Windows 8.1 after roughly four years of Windows 7. I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get the programmes I use working since I remember the hassle of Vista and getting things to work with it. I needn’t have worried, so far everything’s gone on without any trouble (including my ancient copies of Photoshop and Microsoft Office).

I went with an Acer since every laptop I’ve ever owned (or part-owned in the case of my Grampy’s which I adopted and kind of killed). I did play around with the idea of an HP or or Toshiba, until I found a decent offer on an Acer which ticked all the boxes for what I wanted. And it’s blue. I’ve never had a laptop be anything other than black (with silver) before.

Blue isn’t actually my favourite colour (you may have noticed from things around here that I’m partial to the colour green) but it seems that not many companies give you a green option. My phone is blue (albeit in a purple case) and my camera is blue (also in a purple case) so it stands to reason that my laptop should be blue (and I have it on good authority that Father Christmas is going to see what he can do about replacing the black and orange case with something more appropriate).

The one issue with having a blue laptop is that certain desktops seem to clash slightly. Normally I go for a nice greenish theme. It doesn’t look so good against the bright blue colour. I’ve gone with shades of pink and purple at the moment.

I’m slowly getting used to the keyboard. Whereas in the past I’ve had no need for a numeric keypad, I find myself using one at work and so when I’m without one I feel like I’m looking for it all the time. The keys are different to the old laptop, more spaced out, so I’m needing to change the way I type slightly. I’m adaptable. I’m getting the hang of it.

And what about Windows 8.1?

Well, I’d read all about it and had determined that I would wait to replace my poor old laptop until Windows 10 came out and proved its mettle. But it’s a lot better than I was expecting. I actually quite like the big blocky apps screen and I like that I still have the option for a desktop view as well.

It’s really designed for best use when it’s connected to the internet, lots of the tiles don’t do anything when I’m at home because they’re linked to things like the news and weather which need to be online to display correctly. It was rather frustrating to see Nigel Farage’s ugly mug on that tile until I figured out that clicking on it made it attempt to load the news, realise there was no connection and so return to the logo instead of his face.

I’m sure I’ll find more little bits and pieces to share in the future, as I get to grips with my new toy. Suffice to say that I’m going to have a lot more time to visit blogs and respond to comments from now on, because this thing is so, SO much faster!

I've pretty much got all of my software installed on it now, which is a good thing because I've needed put together a presentation this weekend. I spent all of my normal blogging time working on, got to 6:30pm and realised that I still had to actually write some blog posts. On my old laptop this would've been a problem. Not so much on the new one.

In other news, I started my Metformin on Friday and so far, no problems. I did feel a bit funny on Friday but I think a lot of that was just me thinking I might be having side effects rather than actually having any. I'm sure that might change on Friday coming when my dose is doubled.

I'll let you know how it all goes.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Film Review: The Fellowship of the Ring, Part 1

Way back when I first started doing these not-quite-a-live-blog film review posts I thought 'at some point, once I'm finished with the Harry Potter films, I'd really like to do the Lord of the Rings ones'. And then I finished the Harry Potter films and got hung up on whether I should do the Hobbit films first and then the Lord of the Rings ones, or vice versa.

So I stalled. Until now, when I finally decided to do them this way round, mainly because the length of these films means that I'll probably have enough material to keep me going until the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies comes out. The plan for now is to review all the Lord of the Rings films (Extended Editions, of course), then do the Hobbit films straight afterwards.
I'll warn you now. These films are long, so the reviews will be long as well. Right now I'm anticipating this film coming in at somewhere in the region of six parts, definitely five. Just so you're prepared.

The Lord of the Rings films are kind of one of my first loves, so I'm really looking forward to having yet another excuse to watch them. Let me know what you think in the comments. :-)

In this part: We get a brief history of Middle-earth, are introduced to the Ring and Bilbo only to have the latter leave in the middle of his birthday celebrations, and discover that there's something after Frodo's new Ring.

1. I used to know most of this film off by heart, including what Galadriel says in Elvish. I was such a dork as a teenager.

2. Isn't this music wonderful?

3. I love looking out for the people who worked behind the scenes; there's one of the art guys as one of the nine men who was given a ring.

4. "One Ring to rule them all!"

5. Ooh look, sneak peek at The Two Towers.

6. There's an awful lot of information to get across in this opening, isn't there? Peter Jackson does a pretty good job of it.

7. I like that the gold really stands out in this battle scene. I'm sure that's deliberate.

8. Ew, fingers everywhere!

9. I always wonder if that Elf getting his hair blown everywhere is Legolas. Was he at the battle?

10. Isildur had this one chance to destroy the Ring forever. But if he had this film would be over by now.

11. "History became legend, legend became myth..." Love that line.

12. First of many moments which just show off New Zealand's gorgeous scenery.

13. We'll revisit Gollum's cave in a future film. ;-)

14. I wonder if they'll ever go back and re-edit this film to take out Ian Holm in this scene and replace him with Martin Freeman. I hope not. I don't want Peter Jackson to get all George Lucas on these films.

15. I love that map. I actually have a beautiful version of it in the cupboard which has never been taken out of the cellophane.

16. I wonder if you compare this scene with the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey all the books and things are in the same places.

17. Peter Jackson did a really good job of tying this in to the book with 'Concerning Hobbits'. Also, one of my favourite pieces of music here.

18. Hobbits don't just like eating, they get drunk and stoned too!

19. Aww, Sam. :-)

20. "A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins, nor is he early; he arrives precisely when he means to." I love Gandalf.

21. Ironic that Bilbo says that things are made to endure in the Shire, when the original Hobbiton set was all dismantled and until The Hobbit films it wasn't built to endure at all.

22. Uh oh Bilbo! Where's the Ring?

23. Oh, there it is.

24. He's a bit like an addict with the Ring. It's very well played.

25. "The incident with the dragon" - Gandalf claims he just gave him a nudge out the door. He didn't really nudge him, he forced him to have a tea party with a host of Dwarves.

26. I always think that the 'p' in 'Party' on the sign looked like an 'f'. Considering Gandalf's reaction to his fireworks going off, he could be visiting on 'farty business'.

27. I remember reading that when Gandalf bangs into the chandelier it was an accident but they liked it so much it stayed in the film.

28. That map looks familiar now.

29. It's interesting to think that they used forced perspective in this film and then an entirely different technique in the Hobbit films. I can't help but watch looking out for those bits.

30. It always makes me happy when I hear characters speak lines direct from the book.

31. Bilbo blows smoke rings. Gandalf can't help but show off with his smoke ships!

32. Love this song! I think it's called Flaming Red Hair.

33. And who can miss Frodo's chicken dance!

34. Those would be the fireworks like silver arrows.

35. Aw, baby Jacksons!

36. I love that we've gotten to see what actually happened in Bilbo's stories now.

37. "Gracious you have been productive!" Hehe.

38. I wish they'd done more with Bilbo's ear twitching when the Sackville-Bagginses are around.

39. Hehe, Bilbo's trying to have a heart to heart with Frodo, but Frodo thinks he's drunk.

40. Watch how not only does the firework blow the top off the tent, but also all the things in tent disappear! Magic.

41. This whole scene is like a carbon copy of the cartoon version of the film, right down to the 'Proudfeet' character.

42. Watch the smoke that drifts past behind Bilbo during his speech. Apparently the cake caught fire and they just kept filming.

43. That guy is a really big Hobbit.

44. How did Gandalf get back to Bag End so quickly?

45. Did you know the pictures of Bilbo's parents above the mantelpiece are actually Peter Jackson (sans beard) and Fran Walsh?

46. Bilbo's having second thoughts about giving up the Ring. "It's mine, my own, my precious."

47. I love scary Gandalf. They did a brilliant job of capturing that scene from the book.

48. The Ring hits the ground so hard. It's like it's really heavy.

49. I wish there could have been a Dwarf or two waiting to walk out with Bilbo like in the book.

50. With the Hobbit films, the flash of fiery eye that Gandalf sees kind of takes on a new dimension.

51. Gandalf's just hanging out by the fireplace, muttering chapters from The Hobbit to himself.

52. Is it just me or does 'he's gone to stay with the Elves' like the sort of thing parents tell their children when they say the dog's 'gone to live on a farm'?

53. And just like that, Gandalf has to leave.

54. This bit is so dark that I can't really see what's on the screen, I bet it's impressive though because Gollum's just give up the location of the Ring.

55. I love how quickly it seems like Gandalf gets to Minas Tirith compared to the rest of the company in the later films.

56. Also, does anyone else think Minas Tirith looks like something from Star Wars? I keep expecting to see pod racers or something zipping round the turrets.

57. It's cool how the Ring seems to shrink while Isildur holds it.

Next week Gandalf will confirm that Frodo's Ring spells the end of his peaceful life in the Shire and before long a motley band of Hobbits is on the road, where they meet a mysterious man named Strider. Meanwhile Gandalf spends some time visiting his old friend, Saruman.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 6

Since it's Friday, it's a double-post day here. And unfortunately that means it's time for another chapter of Twilight but don't be too worried. This is actually one of my favourite chapters so far!

In the last chapter we saw Bella nearly fainting at the sight of some blood (not a good thing when you're hoping to start dating a vampire) and being taken care of by Edward. There was also a hell of a lot of talking, along with Bella constantly mentioning how Edward makes her feel scared and anxious and the like, which is doing nothing to endear them to me as a couple.

So on with Chapter 6: Scary Stories.

What Happens:

Bella goes to the beach with a bunch of kids from school and they hang out all day. Bella meets Jacob, a local teen from the reservation there, who tells her some local legends about how his family are descended from wolves and the Cullens are vampires. Bella then promises to share this with no one.

Thoughts as I read:

This title is Scary Stories and I can't help but think scarier than this story? Considering how literal all of these chapter titles seem to be, I doubt whether there is any hidden meaning here. My guess is that they'll go to the beach party and tell vampire stories.

After my wondering what Bella was studying in English in the last chapter, we find out here. It's Macbeth. She's reading it while she waits for her truck to be returned and then suddenly it is. And that's that.

At school the next day I learn that I'm not the only one who can't figure out what Edward is on about most of the time. Jessica asks Bella what Edward wanted her for at lunchtime and Bella replies:

"I don't know," I answered truthfully. "He never really got to the point."

Bella is also still obsessing over Edward, despite his creepy weird behaviour and the knowledge that he won't be in school. I really don't get what she sees in him. Apparently she's not the only one who's interested in him though, someone's being kind of bitchy and wondering why Bella doesn't just sit with Edward and the gang all the time now, because she, like, totally, like, talked to him, like, yesterday. I was definitely not one of those teenagers at school so I cannot relate to this scenario at all.

Back home Bella chats to her father about the place where Edward said he was going camping. It's known for its bears and for not being somewhere you want to go camping. Perhaps he's planning to wrestle them or something.

I meant to sleep in, but an unusual brightness woke me. I opened my eyes to see a clear yellow light streaming through my window. I couldn't believe it. I hurried to the window to check, and sure enough, there was the sun. It was in the wrong place in the sky, too low, and it didn't seem to be as close as it should be, but it was definitely the sun. Clouds ringed the horizon, but a large patch of blue was visible in the middle. I lingered by the window as long as I could, afraid that if I left the blue would disappear again.

This whole paragraph needed to be shared here. It's all about her shock at seeing the sun. Oh honey, I live in Scotland. It's the end of May and we're still putting the heating on and wearing our winter woollies. I still don't experience this sensation when I look out the window of a morning!

I guess Bella didn't moan as much as usual in the last chapter because it seems to be sticking out at me a lot more in this one. She's having 'one of those days' because a couple of the girls going on the beach party trip are being a bit catty. This isn't helped by the fact that Mike is still after her, so Jessica's not impressed either. Luckily Bella's got the problem solved by squeezing her friend into the front seat of the car beside her for the journey, this puts Jessica next to Mike. I think Mike's somewhat disappointed by this.

I think that this next bit is part of the reason why I've enjoyed this chapter so much more than any of the others so far. There's more description of the scenery at the beach than anywhere else in the book. It's also not a bad bit of writing and I can really picture the place. Up until this point I've just been picturing Forks as being sort of grey and rain-soaked.

This chapter is educational as well. Apparently driftwood burns blue because of the salt content. I did not know this! This is also how Mike flirts with Bella, which if I was Bella would totally sell me on him over Edward.

A bunch of the teens decide to go visit the tidal pools on the beach, which is obviously pretty dangerous for Bella:

It was a dilemma. On the one hand, I loved the tide pools. They had fascinated me since I was a child; they were one of the only things I ever looked forward to when I had to come to Forks. On the other hand, I'd also fallen into them a lot.


She goes anyway.

I get the impression that this place must be based on somewhere that Stephenie Meyer actually knows and really likes because it's getting loads of description of the scenery. It's setting up the atmosphere well; I wish there was this much attention given to other bits of the story.

Of course, despite all the lavish description of the surroundings, Bella's way more interested in what Edward is up to right now. Girl's got her priorities straight.

Despite not falling in the ocean or any tidal pools, Bella's non-clumsy streak does not last long at all:

I tried to keep up better this time through the woods, so naturally I fell a few times. I got some shallow scrapes on my palms, and the knees of my jeans were stained green, but it could have been worse.

This is then not mentioned at all in the rest of the chapter.

Back at the party there are some new faces though we only learn the names of two of them; another Jessica and a Jacob.

Oh hang on a minute. Is this Jacob as in Team Jacob?

Meyer's really getting into the swing of describing things because soon we're getting a full on description of what Jacob looks like. I'm surprised we've not got a headshot thrown in here as well. The short version would be, he's good looking.

Bella and Jacob get some time alone together giving them a chance to catch up because it turns out they kind of know each other from way back. Jacob's dad was the former owner of Bella's truck, and as children she hung around with Jacob's older twin sisters, Rachel and Rebecca. This gives them the opportunity to bond over old trucks; Jacob likes to build cars.

One of the new guys in the group tells Lauren, who's being bitchy about the Cullens not being invited to the gathering:

"The Cullens don't come here," he said in a tone that closed the subject, ignoring her question.

Bella picks up on the fact that they seem to be not allowed at this place. I'd remember this if I were you Bella, you might be safe from Edward here!

It's at this point that Bella decides she's going to take advantage of Jacob to try and get some information from him. She attempts a bit of flirting to get him on his own and they go for a stroll along the beach. During this conversation we learn a couple of things; Jacob is fifteen and the boy who says the Cullens aren't allowed here is Sam. Bella's side of the conversation is basically just her pumping him for information, though Jacob doesn't seem to have noticed this.

Jacob asks Bella if she likes scary stories and there we have the chapter title. I knew it was going to be that obvious. I pretty much called this chapter exactly!

Basically Jacob's stories are about the Quileutes and how legend says they're descended from wolves. This'll make Jacob of werewolf/shapeshifter then, won't it? He also talks about 'the cold ones' who are not allowed on this land. I realise that he's obviously talking about the vampires right now, but 'the cold ones' just makes me think of A Song of Ice and Fire's White Walkers. I can imagine why you wouldn't want them on your land!

Jacob pretty much clarifies that his people are werewolves and the vampires are their enemies (even if he is calling them 'cold ones' still). And then we get a bit of a bombshell; the Cullens are the same cold ones who were banned from the land back in his great-grandfather's time. We also finally get the word 'vampires' one hundred and nine pages into the book. Just in case you're keeping track of these things. That's roughly a quarter of the way through the story, I'm guessing it becomes a bigger deal in the later books.

It's not really clear how much of this Bella believes, but she's promising not to tell anyone so I guess she believes it a little bit. And then Mike comes looking for Bella so they rejoin the group and everything starts winding down before the rain starts. I kind of wish these chapters would end on a cliffhanger instead of just tailing off like this.

This has probably been my favourite chapter so far. I had no expectations for it and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm curious abut whether Bella believed Jacob's stories and how long it will be before she (and we) learn the truth.

And now for all the things I'm wondering about this book, I'm going to have to cut this down soon because I have a feeling some of these questions just won't be answered:

  • Just why is she in Forks anyway?
  • What's Edward Cullen's problem?
  • Will Bella ever be able to get through a day without whinging about something?
  • Why the hell did she have to get all of her teachers to sign a slip?
  • Why is Bella so interested in someone who has such crazy mood swings?
  • What's the deal with Edward and how did he move so quickly?
  • Who are Mr Varner and Coach Clapp? Why do they get named and not the six EMTs?
  • Do X-rays show concussions?
  • Do people actually find Mood Swing Boy attractive?
  • Has Edward seen someone about his sudden rages?
  • Do Edwards colour change eyes relate to blood lust or some other vampirey instinct?
  • Are Bella and Edward capable of having a straight conversation?
  • Does Edward have a multiple personality disorder?
  • Who would willingly get in a car with Mood Swing Boy?
  • Will he switch to hating Bella halfway to Seattle and kick her out of the car/leave her behind?
  • Will Edward have to be invited into Bella's house in order to enter it? What about her truck? What about shops?
  • Will this be the chapter where Edward 'comes out' as a vampire?
  • Are blood groups in Twilight like those in the Tru Blood books and TV series, where different blood groups taste different?
  • How long will Edward continue to be friendly towards Bella before switching back to hating on her?
  • Why is Bella not picking up on all of the big red flags that there is something not quite right with Edward?
  • Can Edward glamour people?
  • Can Edward read minds?
  • Is stabbing yourself to draw blood actually on the curriculum in some schools?
  • Am I the only one who thinks Edward is being really controlling?
  • Is the Jacob at the beach party 'Team Jacob' Jacob?
  • Is Jacob a werewolf/shapeshifter?
  • Does Bella believe Jacob's stories?
  • When will we learn the truth about Jacob and Edward?

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 5

We're getting through Twilight at a fair pace now and this week brings us to Chapter 5 'Blood Type'. A comment on one of last week's reviews made me think about whether I am enjoying this book. The correct response is 'sort of'. I feel like this could have been a really good book if it had been written a little differently. My main issue is that neither of the main characters feels particularly likeable and at times the writing is somewhat clunky and heavy-handed (I realise I can hardly comment, I've never had a story published). It has fantastic potential, but I can't help but feel that it often misses the mark.
But I am trying to remain open-minded.

Last week we saw Bella randomly plan a road trip with Edward, who after avoiding her (and being absent from school) for a while is suddenly back and wanting to talk to her again. This week we pick up right where the last chapter ended, I think this means that we're getting into the real meat of the story now.

What Happens:

Bella and Edward spend their whole lunch break chatting. He skips Biology, she goes, sees blood and nearly faints. Excused from class to go to the nurse, Bella meets Edward again who managed to get her out of Gym and takes her home, being creepy and controlling about it.

Thoughts as I read:

This chapter is called 'Blood Type' which makes me wonder if this is where Edward Cullen will come out as a vampire. Ooh, and I wonder if it will be like Tru Blood where it's revealed that different blood groups taste different. I've always thought that was a neat idea. I have so many questions!

As we're picking up where we left off, Bella's still on her way to English class and hanging out with Edward has made her late. I'm kind of disappointed that we don't get to see any of the English lesson. I want to know what Bella thinks of Wuthering Heights or whatever they're studying now.

Mike seems to have gone off Bella now that she's made it clear she's not interested in him. I'm kind of glad because I was struggling to understand why three different guys might be that interested in her. Then again, to an outsider who doesn't have to listen to her whinging all the time she might seem exotic and different.

Bella does seem to be aware that she might be slightly delusional:

The rest of the morning passed in a blur. It was difficult to believe that I hadn't just imagined what Edward had said, and the way his eyes had looked. Maybe it was just a very convincing dream that I'd confused with reality. That seemed more probable than that I really appealed to him on any level.

Come lunch time, not only is Edward eating alone, he's actually summoning Bella over to him. I wonder how long this mood swing in Bella's favour will last. Not only is Edward being friendly towards her, he's smiling. I think I would be getting ready to run, it's only a matter of time before he snaps and starts yelling at her or something!

Quick tip, Bella. If you feel the need to watch your crush 'with caution', he's probably not worth it. Just saying.

"I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly."

Huh? Half the time I have no idea what Edward is on about! So far from this conversation I think that Edward is perfectly happy to accept Mike and Eric giving him evils since he's just going to go on flirting with Bella. At least I think that's what's going on. I'm obviously totally out of touch with the American teenager because I don't really know what these two are saying.

I also still can't understand why Bella doesn't run a mile, since all the things she seems to notice about Edward raise big warning flags with me. Like when she asks if they're friends and he says:

"But I'm warning you now that I'm not a good friend for you." Behind his smile, the warning was real.

So apparently she is aware of the weirdness on some level, she's just choosing to ignore it. This doesn't seem like a smart move.

I definitely think Edwards putting a glamour on Bella. At one point she looks into his eyes and gets 'befuddled'. Also kudos to Stephenie Meyer since 'befuddled' is a great word.

Bella's been trying to work out if Edward Cullen is more like Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker. I think that the subtext of this is clearly that Bella is a geek. I don't know much about Bruce Wayne, but I think he's definitely not a Peter Parker; perhaps more of a Wolverine considering the silent and dangerous thing he has going on… Oops, is my geek showing?

At one point in the conversation Bella seems to be chiding Edward for not telling her stuff. Considering what a big deal she's making out of 'double standards' she should really speak more clearly so I actually know what's going on! I think that Edward might be dropping a clue that he can read people's minds. He says something about her being easy to read (unlike bits of this book, ahem). I'm about ninety percent sure he's reading Bella's mind, she might want to watch that.

By this point I'm begging to get a little bit bored with all the talking. The conversation has been going on for four solid pages by this point. Just shut up and do something already!

Although they do seem to be getting somewhere with this conversation. Edward's agreeing to warn Bella next time he's going to start to ignore her. I guess talking is good then, they're making some progress.

Conversation progresses onto Edward wanting to know what Bella's 'theory' about him is. We then establish that he's not been bitten by a radioactive spider, nor is he worried about kryptonite. Newsflash: He's a geek too! This obviously means that they're destined to be together forever. Except he then hints that he's actually the bad guy. I could believe that.

I stared at him, wondering why I didn't feel afraid. He meant what he was saying – that was obvious. But I just felt anxious, on edge… and, more than anything fascinated. The same way I always felt when I was near him.

Feeling 'anxious' and 'on edge' around your crush = foundations of any good relationship, obviously.

Thankfully, after six pages of near constant talking, lunch is over and Bella and Edward must hurry off to Biology. Except Edward's going to be a rebel and skip class. Perhaps he's had enough of her now.

Today's Biology class seems to involve the students stabbing themselves to draw blood. I'm slightly concerned by this. Is this an actual lesson in some schools? I can't imagine that an adequate risk assessment has been carried out on this lesson plan. Bella is also not enthused by this lesson. It's pretty obvious that she's not a fan of blood; she may wish to reconsider dating a vampire!

And this is why the the chapter title is 'Blood Type'. It's a lesson in learning your blood type. I can't help but be a bit disappointed that the chapters never play out the way I'm expecting. I like titles which are a play on words so I keep on expecting these to have a double meaning. They never have a double meaning.

Bella's not going to learn her blood type though. She's going to faint. She doesn't actually seem too embarrassed about Mike having to escort her to the office, considering a month ago she was mortified at the school seeing her with a neck brace on. Of course this is the perfect moment for Edward to show up. Mike had better watch out, his finger is bleeding and I don't think Edward had much lunch!

Edward's still in 'I like Bella' mode since he takes over the care of Bella, dismissing Mike and carrying Bella to the nurse's office! He starts talking about avenging Bella's murder and stuff here, he's weird. Whatever Edward.

It doesn't take long for another student to come in from Mr Banner's class. This was clearly not a good lesson! The students are dropping like flies! Edward seems kind of freaked out and Bella can smell the blood or something, so they leave, despite the daggers Mike is shooting at Edward. I have to admit, I kind of like the whole Mike hates Edward thing going on here. It's funny.

"I hadn't noticed Edward moving to my side, but he spoke now in my ear. "Go sit down and look pale," he muttered.
That wasn't a challenge; I was always pale, and my recent swoon had left a light sheen of sweat on my face.

Hehe, that is quite funny.

And Edward finally proves that he can be useful (at times other than when there are runaway trucks) by getting Bella out of Gym. This might be the nicest thing he's done so far! He's quite normal for a while and they chat about Mike's beach party, until Bella attempts to get in her truck:

"Where do you think you're going? he asked, outraged. He was gripping a fistful of my jacket in one hand.

Uh, he's really weird and kind of coming across as a bit controlling, no? She's trying to go home and he's suddenly 'outraged' and getting physical with her. Run Bella! While you still have a chance!

I definitely would not get in a car with someone who was behaving the way he was. He's basically dragging her to his car because he doesn't think she's up to driving herself home. Bella's either completely taken over by him, or she's not as concerned as I am because she willingly gets into the car for a ride home.

We finally learn how old Bella is now as well. Edward doesn't think she's seventeen, I don't either. The way she speaks and acts I thought she was about fifteen. They also talk about Bella's mother and step-father, and whether Bella thinks Edward is scary. Uh, yeah!

At least the family talk offers us a little bit of insight into Edwards family situation. It's not really anything new. I'm not sure if it's been mentioned before or if I didn't notice it but his adoptive father is called 'Carlisle'. That's not a name, it's a place!

We also learn that Edward's not going to be around for the weekend since he's off camping. He has Bella make him a promise:

"Don't be offended, but you seem like one of those people who just attract accidents like a magnet. So… try not to fall into the ocean or get run over or anything, all right?"

Perhaps going out with someone as clumsy as Bella appeals to Edward because he can get a bit physical with her and no one will question the bruises, he seriously reads as an abusive boyfriend and they're not even going out!

At least they're at her house now so she heads indoors and he leaves, thus ending the chapter. Phew! It's been a long one!

This chapter's seen a lot of talking and a lot of the time I feel as though I don't know what's going on. I'm also feeling more and more creeped out by Edward Cullen. I can't get over the number of times Bella mentions being scared (or feeling similar emotions) about Edward and yet still gets in a car with him.

As usual, here's our running list of questions raised through the book:

  • Just why is she in Forks anyway?
  • What's Edward Cullen's problem?
  • Will Bella ever be able to get through a day without whinging about something?
  • Why the hell did she have to get all of her teachers to sign a slip?
  • Why is Bella so interested in someone who has such crazy mood swings?
  • What's the deal with Edward and how did he move so quickly?
  • Who are Mr Varner and Coach Clapp? Why do they get named and not the six EMTs?
  • Do X-rays show concussions?
  • Do people actually find Mood Swing Boy attractive?
  • Has Edward seen someone about his sudden rages?
  • Do Edwards colour change eyes relate to blood lust or some other vampirey instinct?
  • Are Bella and Edward capable of having a straight conversation?
  • Does Edward have a multiple personality disorder?
  • Who would willingly get in a car with Mood Swing Boy?
  • Will he switch to hating Bella halfway to Seattle and kick her out of the car/leave her behind?
  • Will Edward have to be invited into Bella's house in order to enter it? What about her truck? What about shops?
  • Will this be the chapter where Edward 'comes out' as a vampire?
  • Are blood groups in Twilight like those in the Tru Blood books and TV series, where different blood groups taste different?
  • How long will Edward continue to be friendly towards Bella before switching back to hating on her?
  • Why is Bella not picking up on all of the big red flags that there is something not quite right with Edward?
  • Can Edward glamour people?
  • Can Edward read minds?
  • Is stabbing yourself to draw blood actually on the curriculum in some schools?
  • Am I the only one who thinks Edward is being really controlling?

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Wreck This Journal: Page of Good Thoughts

I'd originally planned to share a different page this week, one which is slightly harder to get a good photo of, but while I was flicked through the pages trying to find the one I wanted, I happened to stop on this one, the PAGE OF GOOD THOUGHTS.

This is one of those pages which I quite often forget about because I don't add to it as regularly as I do with some of the pages (like my Ws and Circles pages). But I love the idea of this page and someday, if I find a nice sturdy notebook, I think I might expand this page out into a whole book, because it's nice to have somewhere to collect things that make you smile.

For the longest time this page just had that Amazon note on it. It was from a spur of the moment gift that Mr Click decided to treat me to from Amazon. He had it packaged up as a gift and when it arrived I decided to make this my first 'good though'. Looking at it always makes me smile because you can really feel his enthusiasm for his gift in the comment.

The love heart beneath it is one of the table decorations from my cousin's wedding. I grabbed a couple of them with the intention of sticking them in here. I also have a picture of Bagpuss, I have no idea where that came from, but I love Bagpuss. I've got a cuddly one of my own who says 'It's rather nice to have a cuddle' which is a very good thought as far as I'm concerned.

All of the other little bits I've stuck in here came from my birthday, because that was just a whole day of good thoughts. I've got the tag from my in-laws' gift to me, some wrapping paper from my Mum's gift and a selection of the little flowers she drew on the envelope for my card. I stuck one of those on the front cover of the journal as well. Actually, I should share my front cover again soon since I've added to it in the last few weeks.

I should really just write some things that make me happy in here as well, perhaps make a note of nice things people say. I've actually thought of printing out some of the nice comments from my blog and sticking them in here too. Though on second thoughts, I get so many nice comments on here that I might need to save that one for when I expand into my Good Thoughts Notebook!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Book 52 of 2014: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I read quite a few books last year and thanks to the Popsugar Reading Challenge which I'm taking part in on Goodreads I look set to read even more this year. My habit of writing a book review post each week has meant that I'm a little way behind in my posts, hence the reason I'm talking about A Christmas Carol in the middle of the summer!

Considering I've reviewed this book before, I'll keep this one short.

You should probably be familiar with the story of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol even if you've never read the book. You'll probably have seen at least one adaptation, if not more, and even if it's the one which is full of Muppets, you'll have a really good idea of what it's about. Basically, Ebenezer Scrooge is a bad man until three ghosts visit him one night and force him to view the world in a different way, thereby changing his outlook on life.

It's a tradition for me to read A Christmas Carol in the run up to Christmas Day. In the past it was the book I read on Christmas Eve but since I got married on Christmas Eve a few years back, my December 24ths are somewhat busier now. These days I have to read it a little earlier in the month. Last year I decided that it had to be the first book I read in December; started it one day and finished the next.

It's a lovely little quick read and if you've not tried it before, get it now ready for Christmas this year. It's the perfect book to read to get you into the spirit of things. I like to try and read a different edition of it each year. This last read was The Original Manuscript version of the free Kindle book. It's an ideal book to read on the Kindle, or some other eReader, because it's nice and short and very seasonal so you might not want a book-book version taking up room on your shelves.

The edition I read this time was a little bit odd. It had weird breaks in the text showing the pages as they were in the original manuscript. It was something that I got used to but which was a bit weird and distracting in the beginning. Unless you're into that kind of thing you might want to look at a different version for your first read.

A side effect of the numerous versions of A Christmas Carol I've watched in the run up to Christmas each year (we've got quite a few now) is that as you read the book you can't help but be reminded of them. You know how when you read a book like The Lord of the Rings you can't help but picture Elijah Wood as Frodo, well I imagine a strange mishmash of all those versions I've seen. I can almost hear Gonzo narrating the book, picture Michael Caine as Scrooge, expect to come across songs from the musical versions and see scenes that don't actually happen in the book.

I'm never sure if the vivid Victorian imagery that I get when I read is from the book or from the fact that the settings in all the film versions are so similar. Whatever it is, it's a book that plays out very clearly in my mind as I read.

For the last few years I've been reading electronic versions of A Christmas Carol and I can't help but feel like the time has come to get a book-book edition. Perhaps something with a pretty cover and lots of nice illustrations inside, an early Christmas present to myself.

If you know of any nice editions, let me know in the comments.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Another Hospital Appointment

If you found this blog during the A to Z Challenge you might have noticed that my theme was about IVF/ICSI treatment. It's something that we've had a false start on before and have been waiting to start again this year. The A to Z Challenge helped to kill some time between our initial appointment to start treatment (in March) and treatment actually beginning (now). It was quite useful seeing as it was the main thing I was thinking about, so I was able to share what I was thinking with everyone who reads the blog.

Kind of like therapy but less expensive. ;-)

At our last appointment we were given our provisional dates to start treatment with the first instruction being to call the hospital when I got my May period so I could go and collect my first lot of drugs. I should add here that I'm beginning to feel slightly alarmed by the casual way that I refer to 'picking up my drugs', 'taking my drugs' and generally 'being drugged up'. I suspect I should rephrase this slightly because people might start to worry about me.

Anyway, because life just works that way, it took ages for the May period to actually arrive. When it did I made the call (and couldn't get through, left a message, tried again and again and again) and booked an appointment, which we went to last Wednesday.

We met a lovely nurse, S., who knows the little island where we live so we spent about half the appointment talking about people and places we knew. During the appointment the nurse we saw last time, C. stopped in for something and said hi. I love it when things like that happen, it makes you feel less like a patient and more like part of a team (which let's face it, when you're doing fertility treatment you're just a cog in a machine, a pretty important cog if you've got a uterus, but still just a small part of a whole all the same).

I was a little bit shocked to learn that while we were there I was to have more blood taken. I thought it was just Mr Click's turn on this particular trip. Apparently my face was a picture when I discovered I got to have some taken as well.

The main point of the trip to the hospital was to pick up the Metformin which I will be taking from Friday. As with last time, it's a single tablet in the morning for a week and then an extra one in the evening every day from the following week until you're told to stop. I didn't have too much trouble with it last time, the main side effect can be an upset stomach (which I'm hoping I continue to avoid) though I did get the decreased appetite and nausea which some people warn of. I got a bit headachy too (which I'm expecting again). I'll keep you updated on those.

We were in and out fairly quickly with instructions to call when I get my next period. That'll be for my first of many encounters with the dildo cam. As you can imagine, I'm really looking forward to that. Plus we'll get our crash course on the other medications I'll be on along with the injections. That'll be a fun one, I'm sure. ;-)

And then, as we were in Glasgow, I went clothes shopping.

It was technically IVF-related, since last time, once we started on the injections, my belly got a bit swollen from all the follicles I was developing and I couldn't do my jeans up. At the time I got by with unbuttoned jeans and long tops, this time I decided I needed something different so it was off to Matalan to stock up on leggings and jeggings. I feel the need to pause here to just question who came up with the word jeggings? You cannot say it and sound remotely grown up.

This means that I am actually venturing into the world of skirts and dresses as well. It's a whole new look for me.

Just don't expect to see any photos of that here any time soon. I might be feeling more confident in my wardrobe, but I'm not planning on making too many personal appearances on the blog!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Weekly Rundown: Loch Fyne Food Festival

It's been a busy week for us this week. I'm so glad that I've got a bank holiday tomorrow because I need some time to recover from all the crazy early starts I've been having; not only did we have an early start to go to Loch Fyne last Sunday, we had a hospital appointment on Wednesday plus another early start on Thursday.

More about the hospital appointment, today we're talking about our trip to Loch Fyne.

I've been to the Loch Fyne garden centre before when we've been passing through but I was unaware of the Food Festival until the local community band that my husband is involved with headed up there to perform. I was invited along to take photos for the band (and to go admire the fancy food).

Now I have to admit, all of the fancy food was kind of wasted on me. I like food. I like food quite a lot. But I'm happiest when it's just plain food, not fancy stuff with added herbs and spices and other random things. Plus I'd been up really early, had spent an hour travelling to get there and we parked in a field that I wasn't sure we would get out of; I may have been a little cranky from the early start.

The mince and tatties smelled brilliant though and I did sample a slice of Rocky Road cake and a chocolate brownie, both very nice. I did not eat any oysters because I'm not sure that anything could induce me to try those things. I ended up next to a bin where people were dumping the oyster shells and that really didn't help endear them towards me as a foodstuff.

I wasn't really there for the food there, I was there for the photo opportunities. And I completely neglected to take any photos of the food on offer. I was with the band and they were my sole focus for the day. Oops.

I did get some really good shots though. The whole thing was taking place in a big marquee so even though it was grey and rainy out, the light was filtered through the white canvas so I didn't have any problems with getting some nice sharp photos. It would have been perfect for trying out some portrait photography, but maybe we'll try that if they go back next year.

You can see some more of the photos I took of the band on the Bute Community Band Facebook Page.

We also got to take Bluebell off road on the day. Parking was in a field which sort of had a pond right inside the gate. It wasn't really a permanent pond, but the amount of rainfall we've had recently meant that it couldn't really be classified as a puddle anymore. The field had evidently been home to some sheep fairly recently as well. Needless to say, I did a big load of laundry when we got home!

I don't mind a bit of mud (and other questionable substances) though and it was a really good day out. We took a trip up to Inveraray afterwards to visit Mr Pia's fish and chip shop (I know, I know, all that fantastic food and we went out for takeaway) before heading back.

Despite the wind, and the rain, and the mud, it was a brilliant day out. Next year if we head up there I will definitely make more of an effort to take photos of the food on offer though, not just shiny instruments.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to take a nap!

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Film Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events, Part 3

This is the final instalment of a three-part series of reviews of the film of A Series of Unfortunate Events. If you’ve missed the first two parts you can see them here; Part 1 & Part 2.

These first two parts have seen the Baudelaires become orphans 2.5 times (the last half being because although Josephine appears to be dead, but there’s no body and the children suspect that her suicide note is directing them to her current location), they’ve also done battle with Olaf twice and are about to face him for a third time.

Let’s see how that goes for them.

84. Somehow Captain Sham knows what Josephine has written in her suicide note/will. So it’s time to head off across Lachrymose Lake.

85. Why is Sunny the only one wearing a lifejacket?

86. It’s a bit like the cave in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I keep expecting them to have to make a blood sacrifice or Inferi to start popping up!

87. And the plan is now to live in the cave. Good plan, Jo!

88. I love how Klaus plays on Josephine’s fears to get her out of the cave. You have to leave or the realtors will get you!

89. How awesome is the sky in this scene? It’s very stormy looking.

90. We get to learn a little bit more about the fires and the Baudelaire parents and the weird eye window drawing. Except Josephine cocks things up again by eating a banana, causing the small boat to be attached by the psycho leeches.

91. At least there’s a boat coming to save them. Oh, it’s Olaf. That’s not going to work out so well for them, is it?

92. I’m fairly certain that the baby Josephine was waving around was an animatronic-child.

93. Josephine you were so close to surviving. You have to pick the time and place to correct a person’s grammar.

94. And that makes the fourth death in this film.

95. Here comes Mr Poe, just in time to screw things up for the children again. Why not just hand the kids back to him, considering he clearly only wants them for their fortune? He’s such a caring guardian.

96. I forgot Dustin Hoffman was in this film.

97. There’s the Inheritance Law and You book again. And Justice Strauss is going to play the Justice of the Peace. Olaf’s really thought this out, hasn’t he?

98. Eww! Thick yellow toenails. Yuk!

99. How would Olaf explain the death of one of his wards? Then again, how will he explain his sudden marriage to his fourteen-year-old charge?

100. Klaus’s turn to try and save the day. He’s quite good at inventing stuff as well. And he doesn’t even need a hair ribbon!

101. Ooh look, the tree painting on the backdrop has a whole bunch of eyes in its branches. I never noticed that before.

102. Yay! Klaus has saved Sunny. But Sunny’s spotted the eye from the drawing at Josephine’s. So with Violet’s freedom at stake, he goes off for a look-see.

103. I like the little nod to the book as Violet tries to sign with her left hand. Nice try, Vi.

104. Oh look, the eye is pointing at the Baudelaire ruins. Perhaps this is how the fire started?

105. I’m not sure that Olaf’s decision to confess to his crime of marrying Violet for her fortune in front of a whole audience of people is really wise.

106. Then again, he’s not wrong when he tells Mr Poe that he’s the monster. Mr Poe should really have made more of an effort.

107. Nothing anyone can do about the marriage certificate. Except Klaus, of course, who’s just set fire to it.

108. And now the audience is looking more like a lynch mob!

109. I do like that we get a little montage of Olaf suffering his punishments. Even if that didn’t actually happen.

110. So we watch the Baudelaires heading off in Mr Poe’s car. Off to learn who their next, hopeless, guardian will be.

111. Actually, Mr Poe has improved slightly. He offers to take them by the old house once again. Just to well and truly cement the destruction in their minds, oh, and to pick up the mail. It’s quite nice how we get a little glimpse of how the house once looked.

112. Doesn’t the artwork on the walls look rather Helquistish?

113. Post’s here! Why would the postman deliver a letter to a burnt out shell of a house? Bet that’s Lemony Snicket disguised as a postman.

114. It’s the missing letter from when the Baudelaire parents went to Europe, like a letter from beyond the grave. I suppose they can just kind of pretend that their parents will be back from Europe in the future.

115. And there’s something else in there as well. It’s a spyglass all of their very own.

116. I like that we get to see Snicket hiding the book manuscript, like we know he does from the letters at the end of each book.

So it’s not a happy ending, but at least the children are together. So they have their family. And they have their home.

And now let’s just marvel at how cool the end credits of this film are. They’re like a whole extra film all of their own!

Check back next week for another film review post. :-)

Friday, 22 May 2015

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 4

As promised, here’s my review of the next chapter of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. Earlier today we saw Tyler unsuccessfully kill Bella, but only because Edward appeared out of nowhere to save her life. This has just given her something else to moan about.

Chapter Four is called Invitations and we jump ahead in the aftermath of the truck crash.

What Happens?

We time skip ahead and Edward is back to hating on Bella again. Everyone, except Bella, is excited for a spring dance; she’s so clumsy that she won’t go, despite having three guys hoping for an invite. Instead, in a shock move, Edward starts talking to her again when he invites her to join him on a road trip.

Thoughts as I read:

We start off the chapter, one again, with Bella in bed. This time she’s sleeping and dreaming of Edward. Apparently Dream!Edward glows in the dark. He would, wouldn’t he?

We’re informed that this is a month on from the accident, but obviously this means we need to go back a little way to recap what’s happened in that time. Basically Bella’s been getting some attention because of it. We all know how much she enjoys that. Oh, and Tyler (the kid who nearly killed her) has joined Mike and Eric in following her around. This appears to be because he’s feeling bad for nearly killing her (perhaps he’s sorry he didn’t finish the job).

And no one saw Edward rescue Bella. It appears that no one knew where he was until he just happened to be there afterwards. It is kind of funny how Bella realises that no one watches the guy as obsessively as she does:

I wondered to myself why no one else had seen him standing so far away, before he was suddenly, impossibly saving my life. With chagrin, I realized the probable cause – no one else was as aware of Edward as I always was. No one else watched him the way I did. How pitiful.

Yes, Bella. Very pitiful. At least recognising that you have a problem is the first step in solving it.

The fact the Edward is back to hating on Bella again. He ignores her in Biology, which personally I think I would prefer. Edward is such a weird guy, I’d rather not having any attention from him. Especially as his eyes are getting darker again, that can’t be a good sign.

Despite this, Bella is still dreaming about him and hoping for attention from him. Sheesh, obsessed much?

And now we’ve got a bit of teenage drama. Jessica wants to go out with Mike, who is lusting after Bella, who couldn’t care less because the only guy she’s interested in hates her guts. Or something. I can’t feel too concerned about Jessica, Mike, Eric, Tyler and any of the others because I feel like they’re just names. They don’t have faces or personalities as far as I’m concerned.

The whole drama thing is a bit of a non-event, since Bella’s got no intention of going to the dance since she can’t dance. Jessica’s free to go where she likes with Mike. I bet Bella would change her tune if Edward was going! The only hitch is the fact that Mike wants to go with Bella, so Jessica’s been put on hold until he can find out where Bella stands in the whole triangle/quadrangle/whatever.

At least Bella feels much the same as I do about this conversation because she starts massaging her temples. Her reaction annoys Edward all the more. Or something. Whatever. He’s staring at her.

And then class finishes and he apologises to her for his weirdness. Or something. I have no love for this guy so it’s hard to summon up emotion during this chapter.

Whatever’s going on, it doesn’t last long, because within about twenty words Edward is mad at Bella again. Does no one else find it alarming how quickly he flies into rages? He should really see a professional about that.

I turned my head sharply away from him, clenching my jaw against all the wild accusations I wanted to hurl at him. I gathered my books together, then stood and walked to the door. I meant to sweep dramatically out of the room, but of course I caught the toe of my boot on the doorjamb and dropped my books.

Hehe, okay, that’s the sort of thing I would do. I am also pretty clumsy, but unlike Bella, it’s not my defining characteristic.

Bella heads off to Gym and I’m sad to see that we’re done with volleyball for the time being. It’s onto basketball and Bella doesn’t disappoint:

Gym was brutal. We’d moved on to basketball. My team never passed me the ball, so that was good, but I fell down a lot. Sometimes I took people with me.

I’m so glad that Gym is mandatory at Bella’s school. It’s one of the main things keeping me reading!

After school we learn that Mike’s not the only one angling after an invitation to a dance. Now Eric is after her. She really needs to make it clearer that she’s not interested in them. Perhaps she should try going a bit Edward on them. Actually, that’s not worked out so well for him considering how obsessed Bella’s become. Better not try that then.

Edward appears to be stalking Bella though; he’s right there at her car now. He’s still being a jerk though. I do not see the attraction here.

Once he buggers off it’s time for Tyler to come and try his luck with Bella. What do these guys see in her?! Actually, on second thoughts, Edward and Bella are made for each other; as everyone leaves the school car park, Edward is randomly laughing at Bella while she’s fantasising about bumping his car!

Back at home Bella’s cooking chicken enchiladas. Mmm… chicken enchiladas. That’s one of my favourites.

I’d rather read about the food than the fact that Bella’s mind has wandered back around to Edward Cullen again:

My stomach twisted as I realized what he must have meant. He must see how absorbed I was by him; he must not want to lead me on… so we couldn’t even be friends… because he wasn’t interested in me at all.

Ooh. I wonder if he’s going to show up at her door now. The title ‘Invitations’ could be a play on the fact that vampires aren’t allowed into a building unless they’re invited. That would be clever.

Charlie gets home and so Bella makes her excuses for not going to the dance; she needs to go to Seattle and buy clothes. Charlie seems to accept this excuse, despite not wanting her to go to the big city alone.

Back at school, Edward appears out of nowhere again. At some point I’m going to watch the films and I’m really hoping that these moments play out as hilariously on screen as it does in my head. I also love that he criticises her lack of observation skills.

I’m wondering if perhaps Edward’s eyes correspond to his blood lust or something? Will we get an explanation for the random colour changingness?

I have to admit that I don’t understand half of what Bella and Edward say to each other. Can they not just have a straight conversation? At least by this point even Bella is wondering if Edward has some sort of multiple personality disorder, hehe.

“I heard you say you were going to Seattle that day, and I was wondering if you wanted a ride.”

You bet she wants a ride!

Sorry… that was juvenile…

Who would want to go on a road trip with Mood Swing Boy? Bella apparently, seeing as she seems all set to go to Seattle with him. She’s such an idiot. What if he suddenly decides he hates her halfway there and ditches her at the roadside?

Edward, please decide you hate her again and ditch her at the roadside!

And so ends the chapter, leaving me feeling that Stephenie Meyer kind of missed an opportunity with a title like this. I would have enjoyed reading about the awkward weirdness of Edward showing up on Bella’s doorstep and not being able to come inside until she invites him in. That would be hilarious and might put him in his place.

Let’s see how the list of questions is looking now:

  • Just why is she in Forks anyway?
  • What’s Edward Cullen’s problem?
  • Will Bella ever be able to get through a day without whinging about something?
  • Why the hell did she have to get all of her teachers to sign a slip?
  • What’s the deal with Edward’s eyes?
  • Just where was Edward for all that time?
  • Why is Bella so interested in someone who has such crazy mood swings?
  • What’s the deal with Edward and how did he move so quickly?
  • Who are Mr Varner and Coach Clapp? Why do they get named and not the six EMTs?
  • Do X-rays show concussions?
  • Do people actually find Mood Swing Boy attractive?
  • Has Edward seen someone about his sudden rages?
  • Do Edward’s colour change eyes relate to blood lust or some other vampirey instinct?
  • Are Bella and Edward capable of having a straight conversation?
  • Does Edward have a multiple personality disorder?
  • Who would willingly get in a car with Mood Swing Boy?
  • Will he switch to hating Bella halfway to Seattle and kick her out the car/leave her behind?
  • Will Edward have to be invited into Bella’s house in order to enter it? What about her truck? What about shops?

Chapter-by-Chapter: Twilight, Chapter 3

Last week we started reading Twilight and seemed to end up with lots of questions and not many answers. We finally learned just why Bella had moved to Forks and also witnessed Edward Cullen undergo a complete personality transplant when he sort of flirted with Bella. Also he is cold and has magical colour change eyes.

This morning we’ve got the first of two chapters that we’ll be looking at today; first it’s Chapter 3: Phenomenon.

What Happens?

Bella is nearly killed by a runaway truck but Edward saves her even though he’s nowhere near her seconds beforehand. This still necessitates a trip to the hospital where she is checked out and pronounced fine but when she asks Edward what happened he won’t tell her. Then he gets mad at her again so we don’t get any more answers. Apparently men who have crazy mood swings are really attractive because now Bella has a crush.

Thoughts as I read:

Thought only tangentially related to the chapter: Phenomenon is a really hard word to spell, I never know exactly when to stop with it… phenomenonemonemonemon…

Just in case you’re wondering how Bella’s sleeping patterns are adjusting, we get an update right at the start of the chapter. Once again, I’m kind of reminded of the stories we used to write at school where all the action started when your character woke up in the morning and the story would end when they went to sleep at night.

And Yay! It’s snowed in Forks! Guess what? Bella’s not happy about it. No surprise there then.

In a lot of ways, living with Charlie was like having my own place, and I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being lonely.

This line raises two thoughts for me, the first is that we spent a whole unit of my Children’s Literature course studying books where children are away from adult influence for various reasons and the effects that this has on the story. You see it in loads of books; Harry Potter, Swallows and Amazons, Northern Lights, etc. and it gives the children the chance to act in adult ways as well as make mistakes they might not have made had there been an adult around. It’s very interesting and seeing it happening to Bella makes me suspect that sooner or later she will get in over her head.

The second thought that occurred to me is that wouldn’t ‘solitude’ have been a better word than ‘aloneness’? I didn’t even know ‘aloneness’ was a word until my spellcheck didn’t put a red wiggly line under it!

Despite the snow and lack of adult supervision, Bella’s got to go to school and she’s actually now looking forward to it. After all, school is where Edward is. Perhaps Bella’s been bopped on the head by one too many volleyballs and has forgotten how much he hated her before.

Maybe not, because she does admit to feeling frightened of him. Because who doesn’t want to get to know a guy who randomly radiates hostility towards you?

Bella’s dad has left her to get to school in icy weather. And she used to live somewhere incredibly hot. And probably has no experience driving in this kind of weather. And is a teenager. Smart move, Bella’s Dad!

It took every ounce of my concentration to make it down the icy brick driveway alive. I almost lost my balance when I finally got to the truck, but I managed to cling to the side mirror and save myself. Clearly, today was going to be nightmarish.

Isn’t every day, Bella?

Whilst driving on unfamiliar roads in inclement weather, Bella decides a sensible course of action is to distract herself by thinking about boys. She considers Mike and Eric and how she was undesirable in Phoenix but is apparently hot stuff in Forks. Of course being Bella, this is actually somewhat annoying for her and she laments the fact that she is getting attention.

It’s only when she gets to school that she discovers that her dad put snow chains on her wheels in order to make sure she made it there safely. That’s quite sweet of him, though it might have been sweeter to double check she was actually okay driving in that weather. Bella is clearly confused by the alien emotion that this compassionate act has stirred in her.

And then she almost dies.


By a runaway truck being driven by a fellow student.

Except she survives because either Edward Cullen’s got moves like Quicksilver or something funny’s going down in Forks. One minute he was across the road from her and the next he’s pulling her out of the way of certain death. It’s kind of nice but also really, really odd.

I get the distinct impression the Edward is trying to glamour Bella. Can sparkly vampires do that?

Is is significant that the two teachers who help move the truck away from Bella and Edward are named? We’re told that it took six EMTs plus Mr. Varner and Coach Clapp to move it. Why are they named and not the EMTs? Have we met these characters before? Should I be paying more attention when I’m reading?

In true Bella style, she survives almost being squished between two trucks and yet almost dies of embarrassment when she has to wear a neck brace after whacking her head. I’m not sure a neck brace is really that embarrassing, generally at my school people with unusual injuries were kind of cool.

Besides I don’t think that Bella’s got much to be embarrassed about when the guy who saved her life is apparently made out of marble. Despite being concussed, Bella is able to recognise that the dent in the truck was made by Edward’s shoulders. She’s quite with it for someone with a head injury, or perhaps completely delusional…

I tried to think of a logical solution that could explain what I had just seen – a solution that excluded the assumption that I was insane.

Well… if the neck brace fits…

Once at the hospital Bella decides that she can dispense with the neck brace. She is, after all, a teenager and therefore knows everything. All the same, this has me feeling really annoyed with her. You whacked your head, girl, you should keep the neck brace on until you’re cleared to take it off, no matter how embarrassing it is. She assumes that since they haven’t given her privacy by pulling the curtain round her, she doesn’t need the brace (which makes no logical sense); perhaps it was so they could keep an eye on you in case you passed out or decided to take off your neck support?

Tyler is very apologetic for his almost running Bella over. I’m not sure I’d be anywhere near as apologetic about that. Then again, if it gives her something else to moan about then we’ll all be very, very sorry.

I’m curious about whether or not X-rays actually show concussion. My google-fu shows me not, but hey, at least Bella doesn’t have a fractured skull. That’s one less thing for her to complain about.

Edward was standing at the foot of my bed, smirking. I glared at him. It wasn’t easy – it would have been more natural to ogle.

This is another of those bits that I’m not sure if it’s intentionally funny or not. Reading it doesn’t make me think Edward is sexy, it just makes me think that Bella is kind of hilarious.

With all the business at the hospital taken care of and Bella completely non-concussed, Dr Cullen (Edward’s dad) shows up to discharge our heroine. I’m surprised at how desperate Bella is to get back to school. Considering how mortified she is by her peers being in the waiting room and anything which draws attention to her, I was expecting her to be desperate to avoid school, after all, virtually the whole student body saw her with that neck brace on!

Dr. Cullen raised his eyebrows. “Do you want to stay?”
“No, no!” I insisted, throwing my legs over the side of the bed and hopping down quickly. Too quickly – I staggered, and Dr. Cullen caught me. He looked concerned.
“I’m fine,” I assured him again. No need to tell him my balance problems had nothing to do with hitting my head.

Just in case you’re keeping track of these things, Character Flaw: Bella is clumsy. Got it?

Away from the adults, Bella takes an opportunity to ask Edward just what went on when he was saving her life. And I can’t keep up with Edwards mood swings because apparently this is the wrong thing to ask:

His unfriendliness intimidated me. My words came out with less severity than I’d intended. “You owe me an explanation,” I reminded me.
“I saved your life – I don’t owe you anything.”

A few minutes ago he was smiling at her and being all friendly. He’s a bit of a jerk Bella, I’d just walk away and forget about him. But Bella isn’t me and she can’t let it go. Instead she points out all the crazy facts, like how he wasn’t there and then he was, just in the nick of time and how he left a dent in the body of the truck. And Edward points out that no one will believe this story. He makes a very valid point, I mean, I read it and I find it all very hard to believe.

We scowled at each other in silence. I was the first to speak, trying to keep myself focused. I was in danger of being distracted by his livid, glorious fact. It was like trying to stare down a destroying angel.


I have no idea what that means.

Bella once more demands and answer and we get a wonderfully disappointing response from our hero. He doesn’t know. I don’t know why you did it either mate. I get the impression that perhaps he’s regretting it now. Edward’s now had enough of being bugged by Little Miss Negative, so he walks away, leaving Bella to be reunited by her father, because, y’know, when a minor is in hospital with a suspected head injury it’s not like they need a parent or guardian with them.

Bella’s new friends are waiting to see that she’s okay but she doesn’t want to see them. I can understand wanting some privacy, but considering she was desperate to get back to school earlier this comes across as weird. Did she think they wouldn’t want to spend time with her and check she was okay in between classes? And also, if none of these kids are injured, why aren’t they at school?

When Bella and her dad get home, he tells her to call her mom to let her know she’s okay and Bella is mad about this. I do not get this girl at all. She’s now annoyed that her dad told her mom about the near fatal accident she was involved in. The horror!

At least the accident has had one positive effect on Bella; she doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave Forks now. Of course her reason for wanting to stay is all kinds of stupid, it’s all about Edward, but we can’t have everything, can we?

And so the chapter ends, with Bella heading to bed where she is all drugged up on Tylenol and dreaming of Edward Cullen. See, just like those stories we used to write in school

So let’s just recap on our questions for the book (and add some more):
  • Just why is she in Forks anyway?
  • What’s Edward Cullen’s problem?
  • Will Bella ever be able to get through a day without whinging about something?
  • Why the hell did she have to get all of her teachers to sign a slip?
  • What’s the deal with Edward’s eyes?
  • Just where was Edward for all that time?
  • Why is Bella so interested in someone who has such crazy mood swings?
  • What’s the deal with Edward and how did he move so quickly?
  • Who are Mr Varner and Coach Clapp? Why do they get named and not the six EMTs?
  • Do X-rays show concussions?
  • Do people actually find Mood Swing Boy attractive?

Stop by this afternoon for Chapter 4, which is called ‘Invitations’. I hope there’s a party.