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Dictionaries and books

October 17, 2009 Leave a comment

I finally got a roll of scotch tape to repair my very much battered dictionary.

I usually use surgical tape for it nowadays. I used to use the actual Scotch Tape, or the Magic Tape by 3M previously, but since it is an imported product, my mother thought the price charged were obscene.

I preferred using Magic Tape; you could write over it. Especially when you were younger and accidentally tore parts of your homework. Rather than rewriting it all over again.

Regardless what brand of tape we use, I would still call the tape used to repair torn books or paper “scotch tape”.

Even the surgical tape. Which caused confusion when I asked my cousin to buy me a roll when she went to the pharmacy.

“Shouldn’t you get it from a stationary instead?” she asked.

I actually only started using surgical tape to repair torn paper when I was in uni. I couldn’t find any scotch tape, and had too many things to do to rewrite the notes, so I searched into my “first aid kit” (which was actually a drug store, to be honest) for the tape.

Since then, I associate that tape with paper instead of gauze.

It’s just the perfect tape. If you make mistakes, you could take it off easily without tearing the paper. And once you seal it properly, it is so strong, it wouldn’t come off.

AND you could write over it!!

However, the price rivals Scotch Tape, though I’m not going to convert back to 3M’s product. However, for “normal” day to day repairs, it is alright, since I don’t deal with paper that much anymore, and I am not as I was before.

Oh yes, I do wrap my presents with surgical tape quite often. Hahaha. So, if you’re a friend and you see surgical tape being used to wrap your presents, you know it’s from me. 😉 My personal card. Haha.

So, I decided, fine, I’ll buy a roll of scotch tape to repair my dictionary. Not that I would need to write over the tape anyway.

I finished the whole damn roll!!

It was so battered… It is about 10 years old; bought it in 2000. I wanted an Advance Learner’s Dictionary, so it is paperback, which might explain the battered state more.

The last time I repaired it was before I left for England for the first time. I actually wanted to bring that copy, but my mother said I was being ridiculous and told me to get a copy there.

I can’t imagine not having a hard copy of a dictionary and a thesaurus with me, ever. So, it scares and boggles my mind that I know people who’ve never opened a dictionary ever in their 20+ years living.

And, my mother has her own copy and I have mine. We just can’t share the dictionary. I use it while I’m reading–which is all the time–and she uses it while she’s writing her papers–which is also all the time. We do share a thesaurus; I don’t really write as often as she does. And she has a tendency to depend on Words’s thesaurus; faster, she claims.

It is funny that people that love–or even feel that they need to write–don’t really use a dictionary or a thesaurus. It’s just really sad. And even more people don’t know the existence of a thesaurus and what it is for.

Oh, and that project of reading 5 new words from the dictionary every day? Failed. Urgh!! I can’t remember where I stopped. Sigh.

Anyway, so, I went about repairing my pathetic excuse of a dictionary. I am quite reluctant to purchase a new copy because I grew fond of this copy. Sometimes I get intimidated of using a new copy of a dictionary. Part of the reason why I don’t really use my mother’s; she buys a new copy almost every other year. Her many research assistants “borrow” them till they can’t find it anymore. My copy’s an antique compared to hers. Hahaha.

It’s funny that my dictionary tend to need repairs towards the end. Most notoriously the letters R and S. I’ve absolutely no idea why.

And, this time, I went about repairing the cover; not just the pages that are hanging by just an mm of glue.

It looks much better, I have to say, but still quite pathetic. The roll of scotch tape doesn’t resemble the thing I bought 2 days ago; there’s no cellophane left. Only paper.

So, I asked my friends, what do they think I should get. My mother told me why don’t I get a pocket electronic dictionary; that way, I can bring it everywhere I go, since I bring a book with me every where I go (which is affecting the way I pick my handbags now. Oh why did I use to pick tiny handbags? Oh yeah; to prevent my bringing a lot of things. Wooppsss!!), but I am not so keen on it. I still feel like dictionaries should be books; a thick bunch of paper that one could flip through and make a lot of noise with. I’ve asked quite a number of my friends, and all of them voted for getting a hard covered copy to replace my current one. Admittedly, it’ll be quite some time before I get a new one, I’m thinking.

I may prefer paperbacks in general, but there are some books that I would want hard copies of. Books that I will be using or looking at often. A good example is Bulfinch’s Mythology; when it entered my “must buy book” list, it has always been the hard cover one. Now I want hard cover copies of the Odyssey and the Iliad. I got a hard copy version of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Oh, yeah! In general, I prefer hard covers for poetry. Not so much for prose. And if my mother didn’t have a hard copy version of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales, I would have gotten one myself.

I hate thin books that are hard covers. There’s nothing sillier to me.

Hard cover dictionary, of course, has always been the preferred one.

However, due to the Advance Learner’s not having a hard cover version, I got a paperback. But yeah, now that I am beyond that, I will get a hard cover one.

Our thesaurus is hard covered. Mainly because it was paid by a research grant. Haha. And it is wrapped in plastic. Mainly because I have a tendency to throw away the paper that covers the hard cover.

Ahhh!!!! My list of books I wanna own is getting longer.

Nowadays, I find, to appreciate contemporary art–the wider sense of the word; I can’t stop saying enough how much I dislike modern art, as in drawings and such–especially books, you need to have to know and appreciate the classics. I see a lot of mention of the classics, or poking fun of the classic ideas… Retellings (though they’re common in any era)… There are also mentions of it in songs (though the songs I listen to tend to be more political than a retelling of stories. I think liking both Muse and Franz Ferdinand gives me a balanced political view. HAHAHA. Like they’re my politics teacher. 😛 I imagine my actual tutors slapping me for making them equivalent to a bunch of artists. Kekeke).

All in the name of recycling and not wasting.

Hahahaha.

Are we at the end of creativity?

Unlikely, since there are still quite a lot of new ideas coming out, but they do seem recycled a tad bit.

Though one would only realize if one is very very well read anyway.

Sadly, I’m not one of them 😦

Oh, not only am I a prose person, I also prefer fiction. I don’t really fancy reading non-fiction, though nowadays I sometimes do read memoirs. I don’t know; I find lessons from fiction are better learnt than from non-fiction books. You can see how the lessons are applied in life, rather than in hypothetical situations like non-fictions are. Of course, not all non-fictions are like this. But, oh, I don’t know. Not much facts, I suppose. And the presentation… Ah well.

On e-books… Regardless how extreme my “enviro-Nazism” becomes, I doubt I’ll ever get an e-book. There is no way I will stop buying hard copies of books. They can always plant more trees to replenish them. I guess I’ll just have to be more alert on choosing the books I buy; making sure that they use sustainable paper instead of the likes of Ramses Paper Company.

Musical taste and Twilight saga

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The most amazing band ever (God, I couldn’t resist adding that. Hahaha), Muse, just posted on their official website the announcement of one of their songs will be appearing on the New Moon soundtrack, albeit a remix version. Yes, the remix version is inferior to the original one; I can’t help but notice it. I wouldn’t go far down as to say it sucks; nothing that comes from Muse could suck.

The comments of the Muse fans… Even though understandable, is so silly and ridiculous. That Muse has sunk so low because they’re in such a crappy movie’s OST… Yes, it is annoying when you hear people only knowing Muse because of Twilight, and saying you’re just like them, but really, shouldn’t it be up to them to decide?

Wouldn’t true fans support their decision instead of bashing it, even if it was extremely horrid?

Okay, that would be friends. Strike that.

Shouldn’t you just keep quiet and let Muse decide how they want to go about with their careers?

Most of the time, the most difficult thing for a musician to do is to reach an audience. And the Twilight phenomenon (it is a phenomenon; the saga, not the ones that happens twice a day 😛 ), I think, is a good platform to use. Oh, I know, the Twilight fans are insane, but their insanity has triggered quite a lot of attention and people–including me–got curious and went and checked it out. Although I do know Muse before the Twilight hoo haa. But really, being in a highly advertised, high anticipated, highly blablabla movie is like free publicity; it is not just the target audience that would be going to the movie; busy bodies would, too. And the curious. Basic economics; increase advertising equals to increase in demand.

Admittedly, I got curious over the hype over the book. I didn’t know anything about the movie before I decided to buy the book, even though I only got around buying the book after I knew the movie was coming out. I like rushing that way. And after I finished the book, I wondered how bad the movie would be, since the book was so bleh. However, if I had to pick one of the books in the series, I think the first book might be the best. Bella’s not too annoying yet. In New Moon, she’s so pathetic!!! As it is, she’s so weak, but New Moon… OMG!! And I so can’t stand Jacob Black.

What made me continue buying all 4 books–apart from reading the reviews of Breaking Dawn and getting horrified over the anti-abortion agenda put forward by the book there–was the fact that Meyer writes quite a long acknowledgement page. In comparison to the other fiction books I’ve read so far, then. Now I’m getting more and more. Oh, I’m the type of person who judges a textbook according to the preface included. Yeah; crazy, I know. It works, though. Haha.

The Twilight saga is not the only series or book (those I have tonnes) that I’ve purchased the book solely for the reason of the hype it generated and not because I’m a fan; Harry Potter is another. Oh yes; I find Harry Potter overrated. Oh, her imagination is amazing, bladiblabla, but, as a piece of literature? Nahh… Doubt it. I would be quite horrified if they start building something like the Scott Monument for JK Rowling. I like hating something I know about. It’s so stupid to hate something because of what you’ve heard about it; go to the original source and hate the original source!! Probably the only thing I hate passionately that I don’t really know about it Doctor Who. Though, to be honest with myself, I hate the branding/ advertising/ marketing team of Doctor Who more than anything else about the franchise. Imagine arriving to the UK for the first time ever, and having the 10th Doctor’s posters plastered everywhere, like Big Brother from 1984. Was torn between hating David Tennant or the whole Doctor Who thingy. Took a while to realize that those two are not the ones to blame but actually those who project the image; the marketing team. The show doesn’t really bother me; heck, I’m actually indifferent to it; not me genre (I do hate the genre though; can’t stand sci-fi).  Though, having lived in the UK for 3 years, I know bits and pieces of it. Like that girl I met in Glasgow said, you must be rather ignorant and live in your own hole to not know about it after a month of being in the UK. Admittedly, I know someone who didn’t know anything about it even after 2 years of living in the UK.

Hate the hype given to the Twilight thingy (can’t really call it phenomenon, because the phenomenon happens because of the hype), hate the fans’ reaction… but really, don’t hate the book if you haven’t read it. Reading the plot and summary of wikipedia is not enough to give you the whole picture. Maybe hate Meyer’s brand of vampires, but really, do not hate something you don’t know. It is stupid and you’re just showing how ignorant and lazy you are. Ironically, ignorant hate is the most powerful hate of all. You would think that the saying “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” is true. I mean, really, how are you going to convince people that you’re right–that people should hate/like what you hate/like–if you don’t know anything about it? “Because the fans are insane” is just so stupid; look at the fans of Twilight; they’re mostly female teenagers. I think you’re the craziest and most unreasonable when you’re a teenager And not forgetting, peer pressure and influences affects you most then.

I very much doubt these “true” Muse fans know much about the storyline in the Twilight saga. Some of them point out that Meyer writes about a vampire love story instead of some conspiratorial theory or some political thingy or whatever else that Muse’s lyrics is all about. Yes, it is not the main topic, but if you do listen to the words of the lyrics carefully, and read the book, you will see, scattered here and there are ideas or stories of some songs. And it’s not just Muse that inspired or helped with her writing the series. On her website, Meyer provides a playlist–a soundtrack of sorts–that, I suppose, inspired her to write the way she did. Muse may appear on every list (I think; I’m too lazy to check), but it does not dominate the whole playlist. And c’mon!! Wouldn’t it be boring if someone just decided to write a book/ story based on the songs that a band has written? Remember Mamma Mia? It might be a hit, but plot wise… What the hell?

Not to say that Twilight‘s plot is so great. It’s okay, but it is a lot like a work of fanfiction, and the characters are heavily idealized (no surprise why teenagers are crazy over it; we’re often most unsatisfied with ourselves then), and Bella is such a Mary Sue (super obvious in Breaking Dawn). To get everything she wants is just ridiculous. People might say you’re just jealous, but really, it is just unrealistic!! And to suddenly change 180 degrees (I don’t get the changing 360 degrees thing; don’t you realize if you turn 360 degrees, you get back to square one?) when she turns into a vampire?

And I can’t quite shed the feeling that Edward is into Bella because of her looks, and the mystery and allure due to not being able to read her mind (on that note, I realize that quite a number of other vampire themed stories seem to have mind readers, whether it is the vampire or not. What’s up with that?). Reading the partial draft of Midnight Sun (oh yeah, I went all out; I want to know how far should I take this hatred of mine. Haha), it is a lot to do with the mystery, I think. Since Bella is actually just as bad and smitten over Edward as the rest of her high school is, and Edward doesn’t seem to fancy anyone because he knows they’re crazy over him, ladida. And the obsession over looks!! And how Bella thinks that if she turns into a vampire, she’ll be prettier and Edward would like him even more.

What the hell? What a wonderful thing to be telling your teenage audience. Oh, Bella’s just a horny virgin wanting to pop a cherry, in my opinion; never having a boyfriend and all.

Anyway!!! Stop criticizing Twilight now. This bashings seem to be rather seasonal. When the movie’s around the corner or in theaters… Hahaha. Oh well.

Fans would always be the same, just the different things they would go crazy over. You’re just as unreasonable/crazy as the fans of something you dislike. Those people would think you’re the crazy ones for liking what you like.

The “side effects” of being in the Twilight saga’s OSTs might be that those crazy Twitards go crazy over them for all the wrong reason, but it has helped them break into the US market. KT Tunstall broke into the US market through American Idol, and she hates those kind of reality TV. Like she said, it is crazy to turn down such an offer, especially if you don’t have the exposure there. You shouldn’t cut your nose just to spite your face just because the target audience of a movie is a bunch of crazy and horny girls.

When you see the Twilight OSTs songs, I don’t really imagine Twitards would listen to those songs if it wasn’t for the fact that it was in the OST; you’re reaching a new audience. Maybe they’re not as “true” as you are, and they’re pretentious (though you are that as well), but with an amazing band like Muse, they’re just too dumb to realize Muse’s awesomeness. But in that bunch, it is very possible that they would be interested and fascinated by them and get their album, and probably make it possible for Muse to come to your place to perform, since they would have a wide enough audience to make it worth performing there. All is not baaaddd, though it will be bad if the actual fans don’t actually get the ticket. But would you bother going to a band’s concert if you only knew two of their songs? Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to get their albums first before deciding to go to their concert?

And also, most of the times, those crazy girls drag their boyfriends to watch the movie. I don’t know why the boyfriends would subject themselves to seeing their girlfriends ogling someone else. Those boyfriends would probably like Supermassive Black Hole, try finding out which band that performed it, and tada!! New fan!! Just because you were there from the start doesn’t make you a better or more superior fan!! Yes, Johnny-come-latelies are annoying, but better late than never?

Shouldn’t you be supportive of your favorite band having reached a wider audience? Or do you think that Muse should be kept a secret that only a selected few with “superior” musical taste would listen to? Sheesh!!

And did you read the NME article on why they’re letting “I Belong to You” appear on the soundtrack? The frontman, Matt Bellamy, says “[It’s] one of the ‘can’t believe we got away with it’ kind of tracks. I think it might be worth giving it a go because it’s a track that might not get played live very often… one of the obscure tracks off the album so it might give that track some life that it wouldn’t have otherwise.” Full article could be found here.

Though, reading through all the comments, one of them said that the fact that Bellamy thought that Twilight was going to be an indie film makes him/her feel better… White person!!

Maybe explains why they’re so pissed off that Muse is using some “big corporation” to break into a market.

On a somewhat related note… On the topic of Muse and Twilight as well…

On Sept 11th, I tweeted “How DARE you say that I only liked Muse after Twilight. Excuse me; I only bothered downloading the OST BECAUSE OF THEM!!! Will bitch on blog” but I didn’t due to time constrains (the cookies to bake and the things to shop for Eid) and the insinuation that I would do it once I get back from my kampungSyawal is almost over and I still have yet to bitch over it. Hahaha. And since I am talking about those topics already… what the hell. I am still pissed off about it.

I am quite sensitive when people accuse me of liking Muse only because of Twilight. I don’t mind people liking them because of the movie, but to accuse me of doing the same? Urgh!!!

I don’t really announce to the whole world that I like Muse before that. I tell the whole world about new discoveries, not so much the old stuff. I don’t go around telling the whole world about Travis, or Taylor Swift, or Rascal Flatts, or Lucie Silvas, or just whoever, after some time I’ve discovered them, until there’s something else to trigger it. A new album, maybe.

Like, for me to mention and go about Muse was because of the Twilight OST. When I discovered that Muse was going to be in the OST, I knew I just have to get the OST!! I even went as far as saying that I love the OST just because there’s one Muse song. And after listening to it, I didn’t bother gushing over Muse’s song–I knew the song already, so rather gone case that I would like it. Still, I like all the songs in the OST; well picked. Oh, wait, I’m ambivalent over both Rob Pattinson’s songs.

I “discovered” Muse while I was doing my A-levels; 2004. I went to college with these guys… Went as in literally get from my house to college. Fine fine; hitched a ride with these guys; sons of my mother’s friends. They played Absolution, the album, over and over and over again. It remains my favorite album from the band.

Initially, I hated them. I hated them with a passion. But typical me, I wondered why the heck do I hate them; I haven’t been listening to their lyrics, or their songs, properly. I was just refusing to listen to it. I was always sitting at the back seat, and they blasted the songs sooooo loud!! Truth be told, I basically hated the fact that those boys didn’t bother being considerate in playing less loudly. Maybe they wanted to turn me deaf. They always said that I can never go to a gig. Hrmph. So it remains my dearest ambition to actually attend a Muse gig, just to shock the hell out of them.

After about 2 months of constantly playing that album (like it’s the only album they have), I decided, fine, if you can’t beat them, join them. I might as well try to enjoy the music… and the end result? I love them. Hahaha. That was also about the time when I started sometimes sitting in the front seat and realized, and didn’t have the heart to tell them, that the front speakers were not doing too well. Explains why they play the song so loudly and not realize it was hurting my eardrums.

I tried to download as many of their songs as possible, but it was not easy; the internet connection was shite (still is, actually. Hahaha). Only when I went to England did I manage to get all of their songs. Yes, all. And I love them all. 😀 Though, admittedly, sometimes I keep it quiet that I like certain bands, because it used to be that I listen to mostly country and pop music, with the exception of Travis and sometimes U2. And I became a closeted (now out of it) T in the Park watcher; TV of course. I still can’t imagine subjecting myself to 3 days of not showering and be surrounded by those who might have came without showering for more than a day. In the summer at that!! I was starting to dabble with indie and the various rock genres. Hahaha. I don’t really like Glastonbury; too diverse for me. Hahaha.

So I would consider myself a Muse fan about 2005? End of 2005 though.

Funny, the same year Twilight was published. However, I was still blissfully unaware about it. Hahaha.

By the end of my degree, I was firmly a rock music fan. Hahaha. Though, of course, to like every single rock band is crazy. Could you keep track, anyway?

Anyway, so, when the Twilight OST came out, I was raving over it. When I watched the movie, I loved the score, and raved about it when I finally got it. You have to give credit when credit is due. Kinda dumb to be enjoying something secretly but publicly hate that thing. So hypocritical.

Muse performed during the VMAs. And the next day, their latest album, The Resistance came out. Went a wee bit crazy over trying to get the album and the performance at the VMA. And this idiot just started blabbing as if I’m such a Johnny-come-lately who only liked Muse because of Twilight but pretends to like them before.

Excuse me!!!

I almost lost my hearing senses because of them!!! It was worth it, to drum into me that they are the best band ever.

And to be arguing with me why is it so… God!!

And to think that you are a Johnny-come-lately yourself!! Not over Muse, obviously, but to a lot of things.

The list is just too bloody long to list out.

With you, it is either you discover the band/singer/actor/show/musical/etc or like it. If not, you’ll use that ridiculously condescending tone, asking, oh, you like that band/singer/actor/show/musical/etc eh? How could you like it? I don’t, or I have never heard of it. Are you sure you’ve heard of that band? Maybe you’re imagining things.

God!!

Seriously, if everyone would have the same taste as you, life would be extremely boring and dull and we would never advance because we’re so content with what we like, because that is what people will produce.

Initially, after reading the book, I wasn’t going to go watch the movie; it’ll be horrid, I thought. However, I found out about Muse being in the OST so I downloaded it. I listened to the OST and thought, I can see how the songs would fall into place, though it turned out quite different from how I imagined it, but it was good nonetheless, except for some spaces where it was so silent, you could hear a pin drop.

Basically, it was more because of Muse I watched Twilight, not the other way round!!

Stupid git!! Urgh!!

PS: Hahahaha. I’m browsing through my old entries, and I said that I wanna watch New Moon to see how the actor playing Aro laughs the comma-ed laugh. Hahahahahaha. Maybe I will go watch it. Hahahahahaha.

Crying while reading

October 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Because I am not really writing a review of the Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

I shut down my computer a few minutes ago, promising myself I would go to sleep after I finish reading the book, but on the last page, I cried and felt the need to blog.

A rather crazy thing to want to do considering my laptop’s been refusing to let me upload anything. So this post might just be typed out but not posted up, ever. Who knows?

To be honest, I’ve no idea what to write. After finishing the book, I cried for some time. I still find it funny that I get so emotional when I read books nowadays. I didn’t before I started reading Nicholas Sparks’s works.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is a beautiful book. Pushing some of the logic and the ideas about fate aside, it is an enjoyable read. It is a story to get lost into; it has its own world and ideas. Might differ from yours (it did with mine), but what the hey; if everyone thinks like the same as the next person… Life would be boring and static, don’t you think?

Like I said, I don’t really know what to say; I just felt like blogging. I don’t feel like summarizing the book; you can get it from wikipedia or whatever else anyway. Not that I usually summarize the books I’ve read anyway.

Apparently, some of my mother’s friends are saying that I sound more and more well read. Funny, considering that I haven’t been reading any classics lately; most are contemporary fiction, which are not always read by people in my mother’s circle.

However, I do realize that quite a number of the novels I’m currently reading have political and historical undertones in it, even though they’re not exactly historical fiction novels. A number of them have time frames during the Second World War, though I haven’t actually stumbled upon anything from the First (probably explains why the only thing I know about the WWI is the death of Archduke Ferdinand was what started it… Why, the time frame, aftermath, etc etc; absolutely no idea. Of course, this coming from someone whose only memory of what came out from her history teacher’s mouth was that she liked Pierce Brosnan. How very historical). Maybe the Second was more interesting? The aftermath had more impact, since it didn’t cause a Third?

And I do feel like I want to read books that would make me cry to the point I would fall sick like I did when I was 15. Okay, so I was already ill then, and also it’s really not the time to be falling sick right now. Maybe I should stop reading books that are heavy. Hmmm…

I wonder where’s my copy of Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Ah… the book’s really the kind of book that you’ll either love or hate, for the same reason. For me, I have moods for it… There are times I hate it… and some that I quite like it (love might be too strong since there are times that I hate it). I need to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy the humor of the book; it is kind of annoying. And the main character sounds just so bloody paranoid, though with very good reasons. However, it does feel like he doesn’t want to admit that he is in a war. I don’t really know how to explain it… Oh well.

The book does feel a bit like the Catcher in the Rye, but not in the I-want-to-be-like-it as I felt in Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke. I could read it, but I do get bored of it quite easily. Yes, it is a book that I would read a lot of other books in between. I’m just not sure what right now. Currently, I’m reading the Book Thief by Markus Zusak and Catch-22(since I now “officially” have finished reading the Time Traveler’s Wife). I wanted to read My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk or one of Khaled Hosseini’s book, but it might be a wee bit too heavy. Maybe I should read a fantasy book instead of a general fiction. And to be reading several books at one time with similar thickness (I thought of starting again A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving; read a bit and forgot about it) would be a bit too frustrating; I don’t quite like finishing books at the same time.

Or maybe I should start reading classics again.

Or poetry. Dante’s Divine Comedy is looking at me. Though it takes me forever to read poetry. I would need to scribble and make notes to fully understand it. I don’t know why. Explains why my copy of The Odyssey and The Iliad is in prose form. Or maybe it is actually poem just laid out it prose form. Still, it did help me read it faster. Oh, wait, no–I did read the poem version; I just own a prose version. Oh yeah; I practically knew the story anyway, so that’s why it was easy. Hahaha.

Maybe I should read Milton’s Paradise Lost instead. Looks less intimidating that Divine Comedy.

Maybe I should read Shakespeare!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

hate that guy!!

Categories: Ever ever after

Err… but it is not in English…

September 28, 2009 Leave a comment

My mother decided that I should read more poems.

Regardless my saying “but Maaa!!! I’m a prose person!!”

And I’ve read Iliad and Odyssey doesn’t change her opinion either.

So what did she decide to give me?

A book of selected poems by Robert Burns.

Majority of it in Scots, by the way.

I looked at her and asked “how the heck will I understand it, anyway?”

She just said “you’ll figure it out. It’s close enough to English anyway.”

Hmph. But Scots to English is like Indonesian to Malay!! Though I admit I have better luck figuring out the meaning of a sentence in Scots than I do a sentence in Indonesian. Their use of the words… I don’t know. It’s easier to try fill in the blanks than trying to figure out the other meaning of a word.

Now, Rabbie Burns’s work is next to Dante’s Divine Comedy, which is in English. Translated, of course. Looks so tiny next to that book.

I also decided to put John Milton’s Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained on the other side of it.

Mocking it, in a way.

Maybe it’s because it is the 250th anniversary of his birth this year, but I had a bit too many people quoting him when I was in Scotland that I doubt I’ll bother reading it.

Oh, the actual actual reason why it was Burns’s poems that I got?

Because it is just lying around in her room; her friend who owned it didn’t want it anymore.

So now, it is for show.

Pity that it is a paperback; not a grand hardcover copy. Sigh…

Categories: Ever ever after

Middlesex

September 8, 2009 Leave a comment

Oh, it’s not a book review. Pfft. I’m not even halfway done!! At least it is several times thicker than the Catcher in the Rye, and I did consciously made a decision to stop reading it.

However, it is not just this book that I’m having problems finishing.

My standard of speed  in reading has gone down the drain the last month, I find. I don’t know why. Is it because I read more newspaper articles now? I don’t know…

The last book I finished reading was the Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller.  Tried to search for an entry on it; apparently I didn’t write about it. It’s been quite some time…

I haven’t got a clue where in the world I put my copy of the Prestige, so you know that I haven’t been reading it.

Ash Wednesday is probably going down the same line as Catcher did… However, I feel less guilty because much much much less people like that book.

Oh!! I did finish Neverland by Neil Gaiman yesterday though. Oh, thank God I did!! Yeay!!!

I am tempted to start the  Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It was the trio of books I wanted desperately to read before I left for the UK; Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper (bleh; no like. Another comment on Anna: Andromeda’s parents were willing to sacrifice their child to a bloody beast because Cassiopeia boasted about her daughter’s beauty [i.e. the mother’s fault!!]; not really the best set of parents, are they? True, ancient Greeks had a weird sense of morality… but to wish your precious daughter to have the life of Andromeda??? I hate the Fitzgeralds the more I accidentally think about it!!), Kim Edwards the Memory Keeper’s Daughter (love love love it!!), and this.

And a movie’s coming out based on the book. I want to read the book to gage if it is worth watching.

I suppose it does seem sci-fi-ish, but I don’t know… I might like it!!

Still, I don’t think I can take reading too many books at one time and not finishing any of them.

Current books that I have started but have yet to finish are as below:

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
The Prestige by Christopher Nolan
Ash Wednesday by Ethan Hawke
Dear Fatty by Dawn French (omg I soooooo love this book!!)
Evening is the Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan (a Malaysian author who moved to the US as a teen and now lives in France but writes like a Malaysian. I somehow find the style in the language she writes in is too Malaysian-English for me to read; I can barely take Malaysian English when spoken… and this is in written form??? I doubt I would continue reading this for a long time. Maybe I should just strike this out…)
Beyond Words by John Humphrys
French for Dummies, which I am taking my own sweet time reading anyway.

Yes, it is insane to be reading so many books at one time, but somehow, I manage. Sometimes I wonder how I don’t get the plots confused, especially when it is a book with too many subplots and plots that you need your full concentration to understand. Actually, when the book is like that do I have the tendency to read even more books to “confuse” myself with. Weird…

However, things have to change. To only finish one book in one month is a horrible standard for me, and especially so since I am still unemployed. I might as well be reading James Joyce’s Ulysses if that is the case. Sigh.

Actually, I find that I haven’t been doing anything creative these past few weeks. Heck, maybe anything that resembles art that I’ve been doing is listening to music. Not creating, but listening. How insane and pathetic is that?

Maybe I should blame twitter for it. Somehow it is easier to just say a one liner and try to cram as much story in the 140 characters and choose your words carefully (yeah, like I do that anyway) than to blog, where I feel the need to write 140 lines every time.

Or maybe because the shortness of tweets make it easy to just update what is in my mind and be done with it; there’s not much space to elaborate, so I don’t bother. Yes, this past week I think I have been tweeting a wee bit too much (see the contradiction there? I’m in denial). A lot of things going on in my head but I don’t really have the time…

Oh yes! I said that I was going to write/ writing the oh-so-bloody-rare political entry which I’m sure if anyone follows my blog would realize is missing… I only got to the introduction when my mother came in and gave me a week’s worth of work. Questionnaire after questionnaire to be keyed in, which made me hate numbers even more and why I am now trying to drown myself in words and lead a number-free life (which means accounting is out of the window, thank you very much) as much as I could. Maybe the only numbers I would allow into my life would be dates, times, and the weight of the stuff I’ll be weighing when I bake the Eid cookies (which I have absolutely no mood for; I cannot stand baking already!! More on that later).

Even though I believe that everyone is political, and find it fascinating, I don’t really enjoy writing about it. I rather debate on the topic. To write, I find that I need a lot of free time and the mind frame for it. I need to be in the mood for it, which was robbed by a pile of work which is making me hate my laptop even more and has made me able to rival Katy Perry’s tweet diarrheas or Amy Macdonald’s tweet commentary when she’s watching footie (for the intensity of the amount of tweets for a period) and has made it important for me to check into a flash-games-addict rehab centre for the flash games I’ve started playing. I can’t write a political entry when I decide to procrastinate or when I have a “deadline” (well, more like my mother had one). I need to be free to google up things to make sure what I say is right, and to be citing things.

That is one thing I feel that Law School robbed me off; the ability to do things spontaneously, especially with my writing. Maybe twitter has allowed me to do that, but still it is a far cry from what I could do when I was in school. Even though I was doing pure science, I was an artsy fartsy person, minus the actual making of it if it involves musical instrument or drawing. On musical instruments: my mother wanted me to play the piano, I wanted the violin or guitar. Both of us lost and she made sure I would play no other musical instrument if I don’t play the piano she got me. So, yeah.

Though I suppose my artsy fartsy weapon was more words than colors. I sketch; I don’t really do colors. When I was at the Verdant Works in Dundee which had paper everywhere (I would highly recommend going there if you’re in Dundee. The place is amazing!! Thoroughly enjoyed myself!!), I sketched the figures… the… erm… thingies… What is it… The displays? Yeah; I sketched the displays and left it everywhere in the museum. Litter, maybe, but it was nice, if I say so myself. I don’t know why but I don’t like keeping sketches I do. Embarrassing, probably.

If I ever finished a paper early in school, you would see me sketching the back of the person in front of me. And the person at the side…

Oh well. Maybe what I need is practice. Just like maths. Oh well. *shrugs* But I can’t sketch things that I haven’t seen. Heck, I usually need the object to be in front of me.

I feel like, somehow, my degree education made it harder for me to think outside of the box, would you believe it? Like, I feel the need to cite things, to prove what I say is right; to be a citer, not someone who creates the idea. Like, I’m afraid to create something, in fear that it might have been someone else’s point, and maybe could lead to plagiarism.

Maybe my actual enemy is fear of plagiarism than my degree education. Or maybe it is because in second year I knew how unfair the system in our school works; we have a human rights law centre, yet they breach the students’ right to appeal every single examination just because they have a system of “external examiners”, who, by the way, worsens your marks. We’re, like, worse than criminals, whose sentence, when appealed, could not be increased but only reduced. Ours, we can’t even present our case!! It is equivalent to a death sentence, I find, because you’ll forever be stuck with your university degree. You could say that you should have studied harder, yes. But just imagine how much more frustrating it would be, when you’ve given your best, and you could see that the external examiner has reduced your marks, giving you a 2.2 instead of the 2.1 your internal examiner thought you truly deserved.

Can you see why I can’t bring myself to be proud of my alma mater? I feel like it killed so many parts of me.

Looking back, I think the reason why I was harping so much over the 43.125–my absolute refusal to let that incident go–was more because I can’t face the other, worse things that happened that hurt. The 43.125 was trivial, and, seriously, once I left uni, it was so bloody easy to forget it. It was such a joke, that. It is not bothering me one bit, but the others… It has shaped my life.

I remember when I was reading Karim Raslan’s books, when I was reading his biographies, everytime how he would say he is a Cambridge educated lawyer, I told myself, I would be like that; I would tell everyone who would listen where I was educated. Of course, this happened before I knew those things I don’t really wanna recall I know.

Oh, I am damn proud of the tutors that taught me. If it wasn’t for the fact that they’re unique and would give away the university I was in, I would list them out; the electives I took, at least. They definitely shaped me.

Yes, I dislike it so much I don’t want to give it away. How sad is that?

I find that it is difficult for me to create my own fantasy world to live in and get away; I need to depend on others to do it, which is why books are so important to me. Why there is such a surge in the amount of fantasy books that I’m reading. However, at the same time, I have brought myself more and more into this world, with the choices of mind-boggling fiction books I’ve been buying myself.

I find I learn much more from a fiction book than a non-fiction book. Give me a book on modern Turkish history… Do you think I would read it? Thanks to Middlesex, I have voluntarily read about it. Curiosity kills, with me. Like, I can’t resist opening every single link posted by the people I follow on twitter. Maybe I should unfollow the Times… Especially since it is mostly British news. But it is fascinating!! Oh well, at least I am not following NYT anymore, I guess…

Oh well. I should go read Middlesex. I was quite surprised that, actually, the title refers to their home rather than the fact that the protagonist is intersexed.

Edit: pfft!! When I started the post, I was going to rant on why the heck am I taking so feckin long to finish this book when it is a topic that I am fascinated about. Oh, not because it is an intersexed person; it deals with race quite a bit. After all, it is set in the 70s in the US. Not a Southern State, I admit, but fascinating nonetheless.

Actually, maybe because it is not in a Southern State is why I am even more fascinated.

Part of me feels like Middlesex might be an autobiogbraphy, and when Callie says she wants to add another Greek name into the list of authors of the Great Books series, I see instead Eugenides’s surname instead of Stephanides. And look!! The surname ends similarly. He could have ended it with -ou or -os or -is or whatever else that makes a surname Greek, but he picked one that is similar to his.

Makes me wonder if he had an Irish surname instead (Eugenides is of Greek and Irish descent). Probably it’ll be about Irish immigrants? Though somehow it wouldn’t be as fascinating, would it?

Sometimes I still find myself thinking Greeks are not “white people”.

Well, halfway through this book, somehow they suddenly aren’t.

They’re definitely not WASP… Oh well. *shrugs*

Still, will… finish… this… soon!!!!!

Must must must!!

Robin Hood

August 16, 2009 Leave a comment

I was arranging my many many books and I came across this book on Robin Hood.

Of course, studying in that city where he supposedly committed his crime but never actually knowing the actual facts apart from where is Maid Marian Way and Friar Lane, I was intrigued. I never knew that there was a book on Robin Hood. I do have a retelling of the story by Theresa Tomlinson; the Forest Wife trilogy, but I haven’t finished reading it.

Bought the book early of the year and forgot about it till today.

And remembered about this story one of the tour guides told when I was in Scotland.

About William Wallace and how similar his life story was with Robin Hood.

He wears green… He was supposed to marry a lady called Marion… Bladiblabla. I can’t remember. That particular guy was a bit too optimistic for me. The only reason I didn’t feel like bashing him up was that he played three of Amy Macdonald’s songs, and a song from KT Tunstall that I liked. And that he has a “wee lad” that he has to support.

Got me thinking though…

How did a Lowlander’s life story became an East Midlander folklore?

Rather far, don’t you think?

Categories: Ever ever after

My Sister’s Keeper

August 8, 2009 Leave a comment

This might not be a review of the book that I picked as the title to this post; I would be bringing in several books and some situations that people might think is not related to the story at all, but what the heck.

First of all, I hate Sara Fitzgerald. I was alright with her initially; I didn’t hate her passionately like I did David Henry in the Memory Keeper’s Daughter.

I can totally understand a parent wanting to save their child’s life, but I truly believe that they do really need to let go and be less selfish. I just can’t bring myself to see any other emotion but selfishness when someone tries to keep someone alive when they’re suffering so much. And especially how she keeps reminding Anna that she should always want to save her sister; it’s like she’s been brainwashing the girl. She says that she loves both her daughters, but she sure doesn’t seem like it. The flashbacks when Anna wasn’t around yet showed that she would do absolutely anything to save Kate. And she has consistently showed that Kate takes priority over everyone else. Look how she gave up totally on Jesse. Just because one kid has a terminal disease, it doesn’t discount the other “healthy” kid’s problem. Yes, it is not easy, but to give up totally like that?

And to always assume and not even bother asking; and when you even pretend on asking, you also coerce the child.

And to force such an invasive surgery on your perfectly healthy child to save one that is so sick that even the doctors don’t think it is sane to do so…

Like I said, sometimes you just have to know when to let go.

And I hate how fast she killed Anna; after she has signed the papers. I don’t know; like so… blah. Oh well.

The book is alright; I cried buckets though I doubt I would buy another of Jodi Picoult books.

I used to not be the type that cries when I watch movies or read books. After all, it is not real, is it? They’re just words or just people acting the part.

It all changed when I got a fever when I was 15 and read A Walk to Remember and the Notebook by Nicholas Sparks in one day. I has high temperature with bad cough and flu… I was already recovering that day; the next day I would have to go back to school. However, I started reading A Walk to Remember first, and I just started crying. By the time I finished with the Notebook (really, there was absolutely nothing to do when you’re in bed, nursing a cold. And since I don’t watch telly…), the inside of the tissue box was in the form of balls all around my room and I was coughing badly and my temperature soared…

And when I recovered I got almost all Sparks’s books, and my mother kept it when I was in form5 so that I wouldn’t fall sick again because of all the crying.

Gosh, she was royally pissed when she came back and I was worse instead of better.

And apart from those two, the only book Sparks wrote that I manage to finish till the end is Message in a Bottle. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish the others (though I haven’t started the Rescue at all); I would be crying quite a lot. I’ve absolutely no idea why.

Since then,  I cry when I read books and watch movies.

And my mother bans me from reading any books written by a Nicholas. Wonder if she would let me buy the two Nick Hornby books I want (High Fidelity and About A Boy). Happened because a friend lent me a Nicholas Evans book. I can’t remember the topic and I didn’t finish reading because when I came down to dinner, my eyes were red. My mother asked me to show me the book I was reading, and told me to return it the next day.

She looked so angry, and even though I was already 17, I was shit scared, so I followed what she told me to, and returned the book the next day.

However, one thing good about My Sister’s Keeper is that somehow, it makes me feel like, alright, I’ll read Middlesex again.

I made a vow that I would take about 2 month break from that insane Greek American family and to stop reading a book if there’s anything remotely Greek about it.

Apparently, the Fitzgerald family find Greek to be the most complicated language in the world.

Also, the character Anna’s actual name is Andromeda. Named after the constellation. In the book, it is claimed that she is in between her parents (Cassiopeia and Cepheus. How do I remember these weird names?); don’t remember it that way. And I did try get a constelation map. You just don’t forget how to do the things you used to enjoy when you were young… Anyway, she’s next to the mother; the mother is in between her and the father.

Not a good thing, to me anyway, since I dislike Sara Fitzgerald loads.

The book reminds me of myself when I was about 10; or maybe younger. I’m not sure. I wanted to be an astronomer. I loved looking at the night sky, but alas, it is quite an expensive hobby for a 10 year old. My mother allowed me to get books and charts, but drew the line on getting a telescope, even if it was a toy one. Also, she didn’t have time to do the finding of it.

And then I found out the amount of maths involved. I thought, forget it. I can’t make a career out of something that requires so much maths!! Wouldn’t survive the first day in college!! And true enough, I barely survived my additional mathematics classes. Didn’t help that early of the year when I was in both form4 and 5, something happens; form4 I cut my hand and form5 I got chicken pox. So I missed about two weeks of lessons, and it was not easy to catch up even when you’re someone who’s good with maths. My algebra sucked, even though my calculus and statistics usually saved me from getting zero. And the others; I don’t know their topics. Haha. Calculus is probably why delta’s the only letter of the Greek alphabet I can write and remember the shape till now; both upper and lower cases, though I only use the former nowadays.

I was already hooked with astronomy and stuff; I read up why they named constellation what they named it. Which was how I got into the myths. It was more fascinating and easier to see the constellations when you know about the characters they named the stars with. It also requires a very vivid imagination to impose pictures of people and animal and mythical creatures into the dotted sky.

I tried reading about them from reference books, never managing to discover the actual book that told the story first hand instead of the retellings by academics and what not. It was frustrating. Then, my friend borrowed me one of his books that was a compilation of the heroes’ stories… and the typical bookworm I was, I brought it to one of the many dinners my mother used to drag me since no one was at home to take care of me and she didn’t have time to cook for me. I suppose my table manners was really crap, and instead of making small talk with the others, I opened my book and started reading. I was about 12 at that time; I remember I was in secondary school already.

One of the guys were so impressed; a 12 year old reading about Greek myth!! And asked me if I read Odyssey and Illiad. Somehow, I suspected that those were the actual books that I’ve been looking for. I said no, but I would love to, and he lent me his copy!! Yeay!! Which probably explains why my copy doesn’t looked touched. 😛 Because I’ve read it but I wanted to own it. Though I’m thinking of giving it away and getting new ones that actually match. Nonetheless, most of my books don’t match anyway. Haha. Somehow I think that MPH no longer stock Penguin Popular Classics series anymore. Sigh. They’re cheap and they used recycled paper. How cool is that?

It must be amazing that a 12 year old voluntarily read such difficult book, in the eyes of those academics, that they didn’t bother what they story tells. I, of course, didn’t think much of it. Well, there were things I didn’t understand, I suppose, but I got the idea, somewhat. Though nowadays I snort when I think about how the Muses were conceived; Zeus spending 9 consecutive nights with Mnemosyne, thus getting us the 9 Muses. WTH? Hahaha.

I didn’t find it weird then.

I also didn’t find men liking men weird, or kidnapping people and raping them. I blame Zeus for these things. Really, how could the ancient Greeks consider him god?

And how I didn’t find it horrifying is another amazing thing.

When I discovered that astronomy would require a lot of maths, I decided on the next best thing; the literature from where they got the names of the constellations and planets and bladiblabla. I was set on going to college and doing a BA in arts or literature; maybe a double major. Arts because they do like painting what happens in myths, though there are probably more biblical images, since the Church are the richest bunch and people are always wanting to have the easy way to enter heaven.

Still, didn’t happen that way; I did law instead. And I have absolutely no career path. Sigh.

When I went back to the UK… Actually, when I went back to Dublin, I went to the Writers Museum, I didn’t know so many of the authors I like were Irish. I mean, the contemporary ones I knew… but the others… Though how I doubted James Joyce was Irish I’ve no idea; considering he wrote Dubliners. Though, to be honest, I’ve never read his books. Hahaha. Also, I’m not particularly interested in the author’s history, so I usually don’t read the biography of the author when I read books. What I do read is their acknowledgements. I absolutely love reading acknowledgements. Sometimes I judge a book according to the acknowledgements the author writes. Part of the reason I decided to read the Twilight saga was because Stephenie Meyer writes a rather long acknowledgement.

I know; I’m insane. What the hell, right? Especially considering I don’t like her actual work.

But I like reading authors saying thank you to people. That’s how I judge which textbook I should use; to see if the said author is humble enough to thank the people who helped them. I especially like those that actually thank their students.

Anyway, so, apparently Joyce is quite a celebrated Irish author. So, went I went to the bookshop, I asked the lady there which particular of his books would she recommend.

She recommended Ulysses.

I looked at her and said “but I’ve read the Greek version when I was 13!!”

Her reply was “then when you…” with a look that prompted me to say “twenty two” “…you read the Dublin version!!”

Right.

However, they were out of copies for Ulysses. And it was only after a few days ago I realize I should have been really grateful. Or maybe then I would have just look at it and just purchased it and thought “hmph; most of my textbooks are thicker.” Yeah, and I didn’t lug my textbooks all around Ireland and Scotland (because I’m pretty sure I would have dumped the book in Durham or York like I did in the end with my other books anyway 😛 ), so yeah. Imagine if I did start reading Ulysses somewhere during my trip… I would have to lug a thick book literally around both Ireland and Britain!! Still, I haven’t purchased the book. Hahaha.

The lady recommends that I read it with a map of Dublin. I am not sure where I put my map of Dublin, and somehow I find it might not be clear. Still, she recommends I draw the route out. And surprise surprise… I forgot this, and I threw away the spare map of Dublin I took just for this in Belfast. Sigh.

And to think of it, I don’t think I even had a map of ancient Greece when I was reading Odessey. I just… read it.

When I was in high school, one of the short stories we had to deal with was W Somerset Maugham’s the Lotus Eater. I never actually manage to remember the story well; I usually thought of what happened in Odessey instead. I thought the character did not want to go back instead of being content with life like the lotus eaters that were living on that island. Oh well…

Would I ever read the Dublin version of Ulysses? I’ve absolutely no idea.

Do the Romans have their own version? I’m not really sure. Hmmmm… Isn’t that the character’s name, anyway?

I mentioned the Memory Keeper’s Daughter when I started talking about Sara Fitzgerald.

A beautiful book. Made me cry and made me wonder how it was for my aunt. My cousin who was born the same year as me suffers from Down Syndrome. However, I’ve always found him similar to me… even though I know he’s… different. I don’t know. The only person in the family who doesn’t understand him is my mother, and that is because she’s hardly ever around. We still have our stupid fights, calling each other smelly even though we’re showering at the same time (the bathrooms share a common light even though there’s a wall that seperates us) or just came out fresh from the bathroom smelling ridiculously sweet from the soaps we use. I still fight to get a pillow with him; been doing that since forever. And he’ll be the older one and give up and get another pillow. Hahaha.

He never had much medical problems. He’ll be the healthy one while all of us fall sick. There was once all of us got a fever and he was the one that was helping us recover. It is only recently that he has medical problem; gout. Because he loves meat. He does eat his veges; he started eating veges before I did. My grandmother told me that I’m the only person in the world who doesn’t eat vegetables, and looking at my younger cousins, I believed her and started eating vege. Amazing, huh?

So reading the Memory Keeper’s Daughter was a very different point of view for me. I suppose the time frame might explain something, but since I never had many problems or witness any medical problems with my Down Syndrome cousin, I absolutely hated David Henry for giving up his daughter because she had one. Of course, he did see how his sister suffered and eventually died; he has witnessed it first hand and saw how his mother suffered and didn’t want his wife to go through it. The irony is that the wife suffered for the lost of her child anyway; he gave her away but told her she died.

I read only a few chapters before I left for England. I fell in love with the book even though I hated David Henry with a vengeance; it was as if he was real. However, during that period, I was reading books with characters named David being such jerks. It also didn’t help that I was angry with my uncle at that time; no surprise what his name is.

Yeah, I came to the UK thinking people named Davids are a bunch of idiots. Good thing I didn’t meet any.

And come to think of it, I never had any friends named David. Funny, considering it’s such a common name. But then, I never really bothered making friends with the locals; not much anyway.

I only started reading the book again a couple of weeks after I got back. Yeah, took me some time.

I started to understand his point of view better, and started to sympathize with him.

And started hating his wife. His adulterous wife.

It seems like I need to hate some character in the books I read. But I don’t. Heck, I don’t hate anyone in Middlesex, even though I get fed up with the crazy things they get into in the book. It’s just that, I don’t know… Now I get so… emotional with the characters. Like they’re real. I don’t know.

I blame Nicholas Sparks for it, obviously.