“Stationary Bike” by Stephen King

Lately my eyes get tired fairly easily and I can’t focus so well on the printed word (normal size) so I’ve been relying on audiobooks for my literary needs. As my Goodreads list will tell anyone, I’ve been working on Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin for what seems like years but which is more like months. Maybe 2 months. I’m on disc 22 or 23 of 30. The total audio time is 37 hours.

Oh. My. Goodness.

My ears want to bleed. The only reason I know what page I’m on is that I own the book so I’m able to find my spot. It’s easy to keep track because I mark my spot every couple chapters.

And now we’re getting Season 4 of Game of Thrones on Netflix. My brain is about ready to explode from the evil that is The Song of Ice and Fire.

There are times when, in an attempt to stay sane, I’ll break up my ear bleeding with another book. The latest book is actually another audiobook but it was a nice break for my brain all the same even if my ears didn’t get a break. It was short though, the very reason I got it.

51TFvlpsjiL__SL500_AA300_PIaudible,BottomRight,13,73_AA300_Stationary Bike by Stephen King is a novella from around 2003. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward book and it only took 1.5 hours on audiobook. Yay! Love the short ones. They make me feel productive. And I’m already having a time trekking through a behemoth; I don’t need another to wade through.

I guess you could call Stationary Bike a horror story but there’s no real “horror” in it. But it is strange and the atmosphere it creates gives the reader a disturbed feeling. As the story progresses you know something bad is going to happen. The main character knows it and you know it.

It starts off with the main character going to the doctor to talk over the results of his recent health exam. As we all know, doctors don’t talk to their patients about those results unless something is wrong. In this case, the guy’s cholesterol is high. He’s in his late 30s, overweight, and a serious junk food eater. His bad eating habits probably started when his wife died years before but the story doesn’t really go into that. The book is about his attempt to get healthy once more.

He buys a stationary bike but instead of pointing it at a TV or reading a book or whatever, he points it at a blank wall and paints a picture on it (he’s an artist). Every day he uses the bike and, instead of getting bored, loves it so much that he has to set an alarm to remind himself to stop after 2 hours.

Then the weird, disturbing things start happening. I won’t tell you what they are because it would, I believe ruin things, but I will tell you that his reality warps.

The symbolism is pretty obvious, even for someone as obtuse as I am. I am the worst person to see symbolism and meaning behind the written word but even I could see the message in the story was “moderation in all things.”

If you like simple stories with a hint of the weird and creepy in them, I’d recommend this novella. It’s a quick read and entertaining.

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Unexpected Hiatus and Being Verbally Stupid

I had my post all ready to be posted last week but never got around to it because my son got sick. I’m talking vomiting and fever. Granted, the vomiting wasn’t all that bad and didn’t last long but that is hardly the point. They happened mainly at night after everyone had fallen asleep so we lived in fear for 3 days that he might have another episode. 2 of those nights had me washing bedding at midnight while hopped up on Benedryl.

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Fun times.

But now my son is cool and, while not healthy because he now has a runny nose and a cough, healthy enough to get out again so I’m able to take him to internet places to get my blogging done.

Here’s what I had intended to post last week…

Why is it whenever I have the opportunity to speak with people about the intelligent things I like, I become a verbal moron. My thoughts scatter like dandelion seeds blowing in the wind and I can’t get an intelligent thought out. Then when I’m alone my thoughts coalesce back into coherency and I hold conversations with myself that are both well thought out and insightful. At least, I think they’re insightful. For the truly intelligent person, I have no doubt that I fall decidedly short of the mark, but that’s neither here nor there.

What’s important is that I went to a dinner last night and, for the first time, met someone who was interested in mythology. I had the opportunity to talk about my Greek and Norse work with someone who was genuinely interested and I blew it. I stuttered and couldn’t get my thoughts straight and was, in general, a lame conversant. Then this morning when I thought about it again, I flew into a huge monologue about what I should have said.

Verbally, I am stupid. If you come up to talk to me, you’ll find me very quiet and lacking most conversational topics. Generally speaking I mean. There are some people I click with and our conversations can be long and easy but those connections are rare. I’m not including family in this – they’re different and I have very little reservation in talking their ears off.

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My main problem is that I don’t want to bore people. Someone asks me how my writing’s going and I want to launch into every detail about Norse culture and mythology because I think it’s fascinating and I want to share it with them, but I don’t think they want to hear it so I don’t.

Or they ask me a question that requires thought and consideration and I need time to formulate my answer, but I don’t have that time with them staring me in the face. My brain goes blank then and I can think of nothing.

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It’s a problem that has hounded me ever since childhood much to the annoyance of every single one of my teachers. Leave me to think for a while and I can give a well-planned written response, but ask me to my face and expect a verbal answer right then and there and you’ll get rubbish.

Even a timed essay would result in a better answer than my verbal ones. And, yes, I failed debate in high school. My grade was good only due to the rest of the speeches I had to give.

Here’s something completely off-topic…Since I’ve been surfing the internet looking at funny pics way too much lately, I’ve decided to occasionally add one that I’ve found that’s super cute or funny or whatever. Enjoy!

This is how I was feeling the last couple weeks…

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“Fairest” by Marissa Meyer

22489107Oh. My. Goodness! I love my library. Once more they’ve come through for me and I got Fairest by Marissa Meyer almost as soon as the book was released. Unbeknownst to me, I put the audiobook on hold instead of the actual book. Or maybe I knew it when I did it but I forgot by the time it came. I listened to Cress (3rd book of her Lunar Chronicles series) on audiobook and was blown away. My ears were probably just this side of bleeding but I seriously didn’t want to stop.

Luckily Fairest can’t hold a candle to Cress page-wise so I didn’t get close to the bleeding point this time, but I did lose some sleep because, like the rest of Meyer’s books, I didn’t want to stop.

Fairest tells evil Queen Levana’s story. How does she become so evil? Why is she the way she is?

Oh yes, and if you aren’t familiar with The Lunar Chronicles, they’re a series of fairytale retellings by Marissa Meyer. Very original and VERY good. Cinder is Cinderella; Scarlet is Little Red Riding Hood; Cress is Rapunzel; Fairest is about the evil queen/stepmother in Snow White; Winter is Snow White.

Meyer’s explanation isn’t the most original idea she’s ever had – Levana was tormented her whole life – but the details of the torment are ingenuous! Really, I’d say “torture” comes closer than “torment” sometimes but it’s a bit melodramatic and it doesn’t cover all the details so we’ll stick with the less theatrical.

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Poor Levana. I feel bad for her, I really do. Except I think she would’ve grown up to be a b*tch anyway because that seems to be the general Lunar culture – psychos. Not all of them, of course, but morality seems to be a bit low on their radar in general. But I still feel bad for what she went through. Perhaps if she had been raised in a more loving or normal environment, she wouldn’t have turned out as bad as she did.

But then we wouldn’t have had 5 books and some short stories to go along with them so I guess it’s all right that Levana’s an insane psycho.

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Maybe the original Lunar colony was populated by the criminals of the world like Australia was in the beginning with Britain’s criminals. Or perhaps the colony started off as an asylum for the dangerously insane. Instead of keeping the insane psychos in wards here on Earth, they were sent to the moon because it was a safe distance away.

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Anyway, it was an AWESOME book and Rebecca Soler who reads the series is beyond belief good. She poured so much emotion into what she read that it was as if I was watching a play or a movie going on in my head. It was a gripping performance.

Lack of Balance

Oops! I was trying so hard for balance in my life this new year but my scales are already tilting in favor of fitness. Always. Never fails.

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Not that I’m not getting my writing done. As you can see, I’m still posting on a weekly basis and I’m not stressed about getting it done anymore. If you’re keeping track of my word bar for my Norse story (located way down on the side bar to the right), the word total is moving. Its progress is slow but it is moving. My parents can also attest to that as they read the new stuff when I get it written.

This last week was slow-going with my writing though. I was much more interested in my exercise and surfing the internet.

Oops…

too_much_internet_mouse_mat-r48efa08acf3c4eadb6cf98b5a510059a_x74vi_8byvr_512Youtube was my downfall. So was the free month of Starbucks coffee. But now that that’s over, I won’t have any excuse to go to Starbucks and use their internet first thing in the morning. Which means it’ll be an easy thing to go back home and start working first thing after taking my son to school. Yay!

So, really, I guess I could say it was a joint effort between Starbucks and their free wi-fi that caused me to lose focus. So…Starbucks is evil? Or is it the internet that’s evil?

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Naaaah! Blasphemy. If it weren’t for Starbucks, I wouldn’t be nearly as happy and energetic in the morning. And, yes, I know I’m a consumer (and an addict) and I’m totally fine with that.

I think I wouldn’t be far off thinking the internet is evil though. It really can be soul-sucking a lot of the time. Much like video games (which I LOVE SO MUCH that I stay away from almost entirely because they really do suck my life away).

By the way, you should see the line forming behind me here at Starbucks. Wha?? And they’re all wearing blue and green…Super Bowl anyone? People here are insane when it comes to the Seahawks. I don’t own those colors but I’ll be painting my nails later on to show my support.

The team with the prettiest colors EVER!

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I’m laughing at my girliness.