Unthinkable: What The World’s Most Extraordinary Brains Can Teach Us About Our Own

A science journalist’s interest in rare brain disorders takes her around the world as she meets people with lycanthropy, audio hallucinations, Cotard delusion or Walking Corpse Syndrome (ie thinking you’re dead). I listened to the audiobook, read by Thomson herself, & I felt all the earnestness and hard work that she poured into her research as well as her fascination for the subject.

Advertisements

It’s Monday and it’s been ages since an It’s Monday post

Hello hello!

It’s been a long time since I’ve gone and done one of these posts. Why? Utter laziness perhaps.

What’s been happening lately? School is back in full swing. The kids go at different times (kindergarten is half-day and my younger boy is in the afternoon class) so it means a lot of driving to and from school. Luckily we don’t live too far. We had Back to School night last Tuesday where things like homework and all the online apps were discussed. And homework begins again this week!

Some stuff we did last week…

Tin Pot Creamery

Gott’s Roadside fish tacos and fries

And a wander around Books Inc

The kids have been taking tennis lessons for a while now but we have only just started playing tennis together as a family. And the kids are having fun.

We were heading to lunch in Los Altos on Sunday and they happened to have a Corvette car show on! The boys were pleased.

What The Duck Pizza at State of Mind Pub House

A mango coconut cake from Satura Bakery

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

The Great British Bake Off – not the latest latest version that’s currently being shown in the UK but instead I’m rewatching the latest version that’s on Netflix

Listening:

Unthinkable

Eating:

No-knead baguette that the 5yo and I made

Drinking:

Water at the moment but I’m thinking of having a Nespresso

Cooking:

Thinking of making gyudon- a Japanese-style beef rice bowl

I’ve still got a Romanesco broccoli to cook up, maybe just oven-roasted with some pork chops

Last week:

I read:

I posted:

#ripxiii – Unbury Carol

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

#ripxiii – Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

It must be hard when a writer’s debut is such a success. A success in print then adapted into a film starring Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich. I’m talking here about Bird Box which I read just a little before RIP season started so it’s not going to count as one of my RIPXIII reads. But if you’re looking for a creepy read definitely read Bird Box. It was deliciously creepy.

Unbury Carol though wasn’t quite so creepy. A sort of twisted Sleeping Beauty western that I had too-high expectations for, after reading Bird Box.

It was an interesting tale about a woman who falls into such deep comas it’s like she’s dead – and her husband who wants to be rid of her. What I wasn’t really convinced of was his failure to kill her – I mean, if he really wanted her gone, why didn’t he just make sure?

I quite enjoyed the cast of strange outlaws and evil beings. And unlike the title of the book, the burying part of it comes quite late.

It’s hard to say really where this book would be shelved – western? Horror? Weird western? Books that read like a Tarantino film? 3.5 ⭐️

#RIPXIII – Graveyard Apartment by Mariko Koike

Graveyard Apartment doesn’t bring on the creep factor early on. Instead it opens very much like a typical domestic story. A family moves into a new apartment. But this apartment so happens to be located next to a graveyard. Which is of course the main reason why it’s so affordable – and thus attractive to this young family buying their first home.

And it does seem pleasant enough at first, with some beautiful daphne flowers blooming, and even cherry blossoms bordering the graveyard. The family sets about getting routines down, like getting kindergarten uniforms for their daughter and meeting the neighbors. A couple of unusual things does happen, like their pet bird dies and there seems to be a strange image on the TV but nothing to ruffle feathers. That is, until their daughter gets injured while playing in the basement, and things start getting weird from then on.

Graveyard Apartment is rather slow-moving as horror fiction goes. It was originally published in 1986 and perhaps the pacing of the storyline reflects that.

But when it got going, it did get pretty creepy for me – but then I am a big chicken when it comes to horror fiction – and found myself wishing I weren’t alone at home (and I live in a very quiet neighborhood).

Would you live near a cemetery? I wouldn’t.

RIP XIII

As we near the end of August, it’s time to start thinking about autumn leaves and spooky reads!

The Readers Imbibing in Peril Challenge is in its 13th year!

If you’re new to RIP, this is what it’s all about:

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:

Mystery.

Suspense.

Thriller.

Dark Fantasy.

Gothic.

Horror.

Supernatural.

The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

The goals are simple. 

1. Have fun reading.

2. Share that fun with others.

You can find more details here

I’m joining in for

Peril the First:

Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature.

And here are some books I hope to read!

I always try to go for a pool centered around POC writers and female writers.

Death Notice – Zhou Haohui, translated from the Chinese by Zac Haluza

A police thriller set in Chengdu, China. A new-to-me writer

Last Winter We Parted – Fuminori Nakamura

I’ve read a couple of Nakamura’s books, The Boy in the Earth, and The Thief, and they’re always kinda weird and dark.

In the miso soup – Ryu Murakami, translated from the Japanese by Ralph McCarthy

Something about a possible serial killer in Tokyo and sleazy nightlife. I figure I might just give it a try.

The Graveyard Apartment – Mariko Koike, translated from the Japanese by Deborah Boliver Boehm

This was on some list of horror books online. It was originally published in 1984 and sure sounds creepy.

The Between– Tananarive Due

I loved Due’s The Good House and always say I should read more of her books.

The City of Brass – S A Chakraborty

I like the idea of fantasy set in the Middle East and don’t read enough of it. This goes for the next book too.

Throne of the Crescent Moon – Saladin Ahmed

Want more suggestions?

Here’s my RIP XII pool (lots of women writers)

Here’s my list of POC authors that I posted for RIP XI

Seafood high tea at The Westin Singapore

My mum was the one who suggested this high tea at the lobby lounge of the Westin hotel in Singapore’s financial district. I hadn’t even known that the Westin had a new hotel and that it was located in the CBD! There was quite a bit of construction around the hotel and to be honest walking around the financial district is always confusing for me – the tall buildings all kind of look the same and the GPS doesn’t work accurately because of said tall buildings.

But I finally found it.

The lobby lounge is on the 32nd floor and has a view of the port and part of Sentosa.

This is the first course. Each person gets a plate of assorted seafood bites including mussels, prawns, seared tuna and more. I quite liked the lobster and mushroom torchon, the addition of the chili on the seared tuna, and that poached prawn open-faced sandwich. The mussels, with the fruity dressing, was a bit sweet for me.

The top tier held crab sandwiches on pumpernickel bread – we got two each.

A closer look at the plate.

I loved how the soy sauce was in a pipette

Second course was lobster thermidor and an oyster each. The oysters came with three dressings – champagne, lychee bourbon and lime, shallot vinaigrette. To be honest, I prefer eating my oysters as is, with just a squeeze of lemon, but I tasted each dressing and though that the lychee one was quite fun.

And finally dessert.

There was pistachio and cherry cheesecake (I’m not a fan of cheesecake and this one didn’t change my mind about that).

There was a yummy mango and lime tart

From a different angle. The whipped cream was meant to be eaten with the chocolate chip cookies and I must say that those cookies were divine!

The little cups hold tiramisu which were really delicious and full of coffee flavour.

I’m not usually a fan of chocolate-dipped strawberries (or white chocolate) but I must say that these strawberries dipped in white chocolate and lemon were quite refreshing because of that very zesty lemon dip!

For all three of us, we barely touched the Truffle Cupcake. It was a very strange taste. Every part of the cupcake, from white chocolate shard, to the frosting, to the cupcake batter itself was infused with truffle. I believe this is the first time I’ve had a truffle-flavored dessert. I’ve had truffles on pasta, truffle fries etc, but definitely nothing sweet. And truffle is such an overpowering taste that even the fork I used had a faint truffle-y taste afterwards. Maybe if they had just put truffle in the frosting, it would have been better? I don’t know. I’m not quite sure I would eat a truffle dessert ever again.

Truffle cupcakes aside, this was a lovely high tea at The Westin Singapore. Attentive and pleasant service, a very nice and quiet lobby lounge (sometimes lobby lounges can be very noisy but this whole hotel was quite pleasant and calm), some very delicious savoury moments and nice sweet flavours, this seafood high tea gets the thumbs up from me.

 

My crochet journey (August 2018)

Yep this is yet another non-books post. Been quite a bit of those lately!

It’s been over a year now that I’ve been crocheting and I want to start keeping a record of the various projects I’ve made. This post will hopefully by the first of monthly posts chronicling my crochet projects.

I’m not a crafty or even an artsy person so it never occurred to me to try something like crochet. I picked it up after I asked a friend how she learnt and she said simply, “Youtube videos”.

And that’s where I began. I discovered YouTubers like Bella Coco and The Crochet Crowd and learnt so much from them. It’s also really cheap to pick up one hook and a ball of yarn to try. I figured I’d give it a go, if not I’m just out a few dollars (who would have thought I’d go on to spend lots of $$ on yarn and now have different sizes of hooks from small to large!).

I learnt the hard way that there are UK and US terms when it comes to crochet – it’s so confusing as the US single crochet is what is known in the UK as a double crochet, whereas the US double crochet is the UK treble crochet. What is up with that???

Anyway, important point to note, if you are a beginner, always find out if the pattern is in US or UK terms. You can read more about the different terms here.

My crochet journey has gone from making ridiculously tight and uneven granny squares to simple scarves and hats, to a very wonky bag that was far smaller than it should have been, to a granny square afghan and more. I’ve even dabbled in amigurumi – but the tiny stitches are so much work!

I started off crocheting just way too tight for most of the patterns and have since learnt to hold my yarn differently, and also use larger hook sizes than the patterns call for. I still have not really gotten into making swatches yet, I should really learn to do that.

One good way to practice your crochet stitches is making granny squares. It’s also a great way to use up your stash of yarn. This is the first big project I made and I now see very many issues with it especially with how I seamed it together, but it’s still very special to me.

My younger boy outgrew his mittens so I thought I’d try making some. I was pretty shocked when I was following the pattern that I was actually MAKING MITTENS, as in, something that someone could wear. I’m quite proud of this project.

And somehow from there I started trying out other things like this dinosaur hat I made for the boys for Christmas.

A cocoon cardigan I made for myself. First time using bulky yarn.

A vest for each boy’s birthday.

Crochet afghan

This is a crochet-along project I did this spring, a new pattern came out every week and it was fun to learn lots of new stitches like the Popcorn stitch (bottom right) and cables (top right).

You can find the pattern from The Crochet Crowd

Shawl

https://olduvaireads.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/img_7902-1.jpg?w=730″ alt=”” width=”730″ height=”730″ /> Crochet beret and scarf

[/caption]

Pikachu pattern from The Bunny Studio

Recently, I’ve been working on crocheting bags, as I thought they’d make great presents for people in Singapore, where it is far too hot for scarves and hats.

This was the Capri Circle Bag I made for my sister. It was a first for me in several ways – the first time I used tape yarn (this is Lion Brand Rewind Yarn), the first time I made a crochet project holding two strands of yarn together, the first time I spent quite a bit on the yarn and bought online as it’s not sold in stores here.

You can find the pattern here.

Another project I made for gifting was the French Market Tote, a much easier and more repetitive pattern, making it a great one for car rides – I made part of one while on a road trip to Gold Beach, Oregon.

French Market Tote pattern from Two of Wands

Works-in-Progress

My current projects include ripple blankets for each of my boys. I’m using the Caron One Pound yarns.

Ripple Blanket pattern from Attic 24

And this Lacey Arches Stole I’m making for myself, using Lion Brand Ombre Life yarn.

Lacey Arches Stole pattern from Cascade Yarns (pdf)