Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat by Gregory Kuhn

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Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat
I picked up this book because I was curious. Quantum physicists don't get fat? What made them so special that they don't get fat and us non-physicists did? Don't they live in the same plane as we do?

Apparently, they DO live on a different plane than we do. Not on a physical level, but on a whole, new, revolutionary meta-physical level. Like, seriously. It's like they've got a whole level of science out there that us regular mortals cannot even begin to grasp. (Something like, well, quantum physics, as compared to classical physics. *insert scientific jargon here that I don't understand but would make me seem smart*)

I loved this book, because it presents a new and very scientifically proven way of shedding unwanted weight and staying at your ideal form. It draws real-life experiences and effective solutions with actual proven implications.

Unfortunately, precisely because it's extremely scientific and precise, the common man will not understand it.

I loved it because it's technical and appeals to me - one who loves the thought-revolution this book can inspire.

Unfortunately, it's too technical, and if the ordinary layman were to read this, they'll soon get lost in the jargon and scientific geekiness.

I loved how, instead of looking at outward factors such as metabolism and family food history, it looks within, with the self. It's rather funny, now that I think about it, since it dwells with self-discovery and self-observation - when the common man knows science based on its cold facts and hard figures.

Unfortunately, if you skip the chapters that explain and go directly to the how, you'll get hopelessly lost and think of it as incredibly cheesy (because, in a way, it is). I think you'll inevitably look at the new paradigms the author was talking about, give it a nod, and go back to your regular way of thinking.

I have a feeling that this is better preached personally, as opposed to reading it simply. While the writer is passionate and backs up his way of achieving success with concrete examples, the layman would not yet be able to pick it up, and is therefore lost on him.

However, for science geeks and people who can appreciate the technicality, it's a great read about how the universe would conspire to get what you want.

A nod to the author for a good read (for me), but I think it'll be a while before it replaces the fad diets so popular today. Still, a good start.


Why Quantum Physicists Don't Get Fat by Gregory Kuhn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Monday, March 11, 2013

12 by Manix Abrera

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12 (Silent Comics)
Kahit walang nag-sasalita rito, damang-dama mo 'to, pramis! Tila ipapasakay sa roller coaster ang mga emosyon mo-- iiyak ka, tatawa ka, magagalit ka, gugulong-gulong at mag-oover-da-bakod pa!

Pero hindi lang ito mga kwento ng lungkot at saya; may mga isyu rin gaya ng pag-ibig, pag-hahanap ng sarili, at pagiging kuntento. Minsa'y may elemento rin ito ng pantasya at alamat, pero halos lahat nito'y nag-mistulang napakatotoo sa'kin.

Sarap ulit-ulitin.


12 by Manix Abrera
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Friday, March 1, 2013

100 Kislap by Abdon Balde Jr.

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100 KislapAng bawat isang kwento rito, bagaman may sukat na hindi lalampas sa 150 na salita, ay mayroong natatanging paksa at istorya. Bawat isa sa kanila'y buo sa kanilang sarili. Nakakapagtaka at nakakatuwa, pero totoo.

Medyo may pagkalalim din ang mga salitang ginamit dito; kinailangan ko pang gumawa ng sarili kong talasalitaan n.n; Sa tingin ko, bawat isang salita'y maingat na pinili para makumpleto ang mga eksenang inihain sa'ting mga mambabasa, kaya nararapat lamang din siguro na alamin natin (kahit papaano) ang tunay na kontekstong nais ipahayag ni Balde. Tila nga't tula na ang mga teksto sa librong ito sa sobrang makabuluhan nila-- at ng bawat isang salita nila.

May pagkatakutin ako (gaya ng sinabi ko sa aking pag-rerebyu ng librong Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan), kaya ngayon, lalo't sa gabi, tumataas ang aking balahibo tuwing naaalala ko ang mga kwento ng kababalaghan ni Balde.

Isang napakaintelektwal at nakababagbag-damdaming basa.


100 Kislap by Abdon Balde Jr.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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(Unang inilathala nang Marso 14, 2011) 
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt

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Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage
You open your eyes, and see darkness.

Wait, no, it's not exactly darkness. It's the moment before the sunrise, soon peering from the windows. It will be morning soon.

It's cold, very cold. They did not turn on the heaters again.

You shift uncomfortably on your wooden bed. You have bed sores all over, and you feel too stiff to move. Besides, you wouldn't really be able to move, as you're fastened to the bed with a clasp.

You long to get up, to be held, to feel human warmth. You, however, dread the incoming footsteps, because you know it will be them, with only their harsh words and unbearably painful slaps in tow.

You cry silent tears. Even though you are only a few months old, you know that this is how your life will be, ever since your mother abandoned you, since you are not a boy, or because of your handicap.

The door opens, and you stifle your cries. (They will only hit you harder if they hear you.) Instead of the usual cold words, you hear a pleasant foreign voice, speaking as if trying to reach out to you - and reach out to you it has.

Gently, very gently, someone carries you in their arms. She clicks her tongue as she feel your backside, murmuring angry words that seem to not be directed to you. She presses her lips on your cheek, and carries you around. You think she has named you as a girl, but you do not mind. You only feel the warmth of her touch, and wish that this moment will never end.

You smile.

---

This is a compilation of diary entries from an American woman who volunteered at an orphanage in a seemingly rural Chinese district. She enters the chaotic area with nothing but an idealistic whim - that she wants to spend her idle time helping out the social workers with unfortunate kids. Little does she know that there is much more, oh, so much more to take care of than just a handful of children.

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage is not exactly an easy book to read, especially if you're new to the problems that plague today's society. If you've never known what it means to be hungry, to lose a home, to have a death in the family... if you've always had a comfortable life (such as the author herself), this book will be very difficult to take in.

In these halls, you see no color, only a drab gray that these children stare at - day in and day out. In these halls, you see babies who do not even cry, because they know that with each tear a sharp slap on the face will immediately come. In these halls, you will see tired social workers, whose workload is so large that they hurry so much so they could get all their chores done before they go home (and thus have no time for actually caring for the children). In these halls, you see no hope.

It is frustrating to listen to the author, as she tries to make little changes to better the lives of these little ones - and gets hampered almost every step of the way. It is heartbreaking to hear her try to get herself together, especially after a baby she has been holding on to only yesterday dies the next day. It is tear-jerking to know of her struggles to get through to director after director, if only to get to the hospital a little girl who is desperately in need of the ICU.

I admire her for her courage, and I salute her for her not giving up in her quest for giving hope to this orphanage.

This book will tackle, in particular, the kids of the orphanage - from baby, to toddler, to special needs children. It does not dwell much on the abandoned adults, although they are also mentioned in passing.

This book also tells of an expatriate's journey of getting across the language barrier in order to buy groceries, of getting over the theft of their brand new bicycle, of getting stares and unkind words because she is a foreigner. It looks into her life as she struggles to learn Mandarin, as she tries to ask the driver to pay her the attention that he pays her husband (because he is a man while she is a woman), as she soothes herself knowing she won't be home to be there for her daughter's birthday.

It's kind of like a growing up novel, but with a grown woman playing the part of a person waking up to reality.

While, of course, the struggle for care is unending, I like how a single woman, by using baby steps to get the word out, has been able to organize a group of volunteers from all over the world to help the kids out - from a group of only 2-4 people.

My heart goes out to all these poor children, and I'm glad there are bourgeois people who can afford to help them out.

It's difficult to read, but the message is very beautiful. It is so nice to know that in such a hopeless place, there IS a silver lining behind the clouds - but you need to work too, not just stare at the opportunity to work it all out.

---

It is written well enough, although the entries are sometimes too random and different from each other. The mixed themes of expat living + orphanage caring come together okay, although I originally thought that it would be mostly about the orphanage. I feel that need to spend more time volunteering again, too.


Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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(Review initially published Jan 22, 2013)
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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Parrot Talks In Chocolate (The Life And Times Of A Hawaiian Tiki Bar) by Everett Peacock

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The Parrot Talks In Chocolate (The Life And Times Of A Hawaiian Tiki Bar)
Aloha!

Have you come for a Coco Loco Moco? You haven't? Oh, you are here for The Parrot that Talks in Chocolate then? Yes? Ah, my friend, you have come just in time. Tiwaka has just left the last one to question him dumbfounded, with infinite wisdom pouring into his mortal mind.

No questions for the bird, you say, just here to watch? *smiles, while polishing a glass with a rag* Well, here's a question for you. Are you really thirsty?


... And so goes on the night, with our unnamed yet popular (and mysterious) surfer-bartender, as he takes care of one customer after the other. (Customers who, no matter what, always order a second Coco Loco Moco after having their first.)

As you sit in the bar-stool, amazed at the intelligent bird while watching-but-not-watching the sexy pareo-wearing beauties, you begin to breathe in a tinge in the air. Is it the smell of the barbecued grass-fed organic beef (that's so good vegetarians had to reaffirm their faith in its presence)? Is it the scent of the chocolate cashews, beckoning you to hand it over to the all-knowing parrot? Is it even the faint musk of to-be lovers, meeting for the first time in this secluded bar and leaving for the very rustic cabanas in the area?

No, my friend. I believe its the Tiki magic working its way on you.

This book of connected-yet-separate anecdotes features to us the life of one who grew up on The Island. An island where an active volcano lets out its Vog every so often to agitate the spirits of its residents. An island where pineapple pickers long for the blue, blue sky. An island where choice surfing spots abound, stretched out as so as if each was designed to be shared by only two people.

An island among the islands of Hawaii.

It can't be anything but Tiki magic that sprinkles the words here, words of a simple man living a simple life in a curious island. It dusts his daily living with different incidents he doesn't bother to think about - only to feel about and let happen. While he talks about his memories of his old beloved Ococ, the feel of his dried hair while surfing the wave, and the unattainable apple of his eye, he talks too of ghosts, of connected spirits, and of the Great Cosmic Gift Giver. And he lets them hover in the air, not bothering to explain anything.

(Let's not forget the interesting parrot as well, whose current tap of the toes - now at 1, 3, 6 - signify the 136th song on the portable media player. Lo and behold, it's the perfect song to signify the current mood. And he does it every single time.)

No, don't come in if you're looking for an unscrupulous joint selling nothing more than ice tea and moonshine. Turn and leave if you expect therapy, and not escapism. Don't try to find this place if you don't have faith. This is a Tiki bar, through and through. (It even has the parchment paper certificate guaranteeing that it has passed the standards for authenticity of the 1958 TIKI Convention!)

While this book seems like a bunch of well-written (and slow-paced) stories, it holds much more than that. It has the promise of green turtles that snort as they save your life, it has the promise of dreamy vacation landscapes with unique and captivating locals, it has the promise of sun-kissed love.

Don't rush, feel the wind against your hair, and relax. You've got some minutes of escape at your fingertips. Enjoy, and aloha.


(This is almost! a 5-star read for me. While I can't quite rate it with 5 stars, it's awesome! I lost myself almost completely to this world. Note that this is my first foray into Hawaii- / Tiki-related books :) Great read!)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders by L. Leander

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INZARED, Queen of the Elephant Riders (Book 1)Circus, circus, we love the circus~

This is the tale of a young girl of sixteen, one who has taken it into her head that there's more to life than what her family has brought her up to become. It's a tale of growing up, of love and loss, of Gaji and Gypsy, of fitting in and being left out, of life and change, of applause and tears.

The book is voiced by the headstrong Bertha, whose cordial (and perceptive) view of life gives zest to this coming-of-age story. With her simple language and seemingly provincial accent, this girl whisks you along with her as she dreams of changing her basket of eggs for a nomadic life with a bunch of leotard-wearing talents.

Oh, have I mentioned that this story is set in 1843, with a backdrop of sequined outfits, cotton candy and circus people?

Behind Bertha's words, there is more than just scenery of what goes on in the Big Top. There's also a hint of friendship and betrayal, a dash of love and joy, and a sprinkling of suspicions and trust. While the book seems to be a simple circus story, you will find good friends, mistrusted family members, mother-like fortune-tellers, strong partners, ferocious animals and a whole bunch of personalities, each unique in their own way. Oh, and let us not forget the main star of them all: the mighty, humble, loving elephant (taken care of by the dashing boss handler, of course).

With Inzared, you'll inhale the fresh grass while you tread tirely towards the next town. With Inzared, you'll see the blue sky as you attempt to do hand-stands on a bareback horse. With Inzared, you'll, at breakfast, mingle with people who mesmerize you with their amazing tricks with lions, tigers and bears. With Inzared, you'll dance to the merry tunes of the age-old traditions that still govern the ceremonies of the Gypsy.

With Inzared, you'll behold so much joy, wondering if you'll ever experience sadness.

Get ready to up your vocabulary in circus speak, because you may come across a number of casually spoken trouper words. (I can't quite get over "dukie box"!) This story is also quite realistic in its own sense, though it does echo a kind of supernatural vibe here and there. (But hey, what's a circus without its mystery and unfathomable tradition, yes?) I loved the depth into Gypsy lore - it's really quite mesmerizing and exotic to the modern eye.

While the story is cohesive enough, it is not too deep. You can read through this, have a bite or two to think about, but in the end, probably consider it light-hearted young adult fiction. Quite tastefully written, with words carefully chosen. A sequel is also wanting!

Grab your best blouse, wear your blue silk scarf, and get ready for the inviting smell of popcorn (maybe with a pink lemonade?). Now, who's up for a good show at the circus?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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