Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Recent Reads

Finished reading these two books last two weeks.

INFERNO by Dan Brown

I could not say why, but always got fascinated with anything related to Dante's epic poem Divine Comedy. May be the dark side of it. So when I saw this newly release book by Dan Brown at Popular Bookstore, immediately I grabbed a copy and started reading it.

Like his previous books, The Da Vinci Code and Lost Symbol, the treasure hunts for Robert Langdon also set in a 24-hour time limit, a fast paced action thriller indeed.  Here is a good book review by Giulio Prisco, and can have a glimpse of what is H+ or transhumanism about.

Below is a little background :
Inferno (Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. It is an allegory telling of the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine circles of suffering located within the Earth. Allegorically, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul towards God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.

Thanks to one of my favorite French artist Gustave Doré who specialized in wood engraving in the 19th century. According to the art world, although he illustrated over 200 books, some with more than 400 plates, he is primarily known for his illustrations to The Divine Comedy, particularly The Inferno, his illustrations to Don Quixote, and Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven. But to me, I love his illustrations to John Milton's Paradise Lost and Michaud's History of The Crusades as much. And yes, only through his amazing illustrations, I learnt to know all these major works from the other side of the world.
Subsequently, I also came across other beautiful depictions of Paradise Lost and Inferno by William Blake.

Below are few interesting excerpt :

"Not impossible, Robert, just unthinkable. The human mind has a primitive ego defense mechanism that negates all realities that produce too much stress for the brain to handle. It's called denial."
Denial is a critical part of the human coping mechanism.  Without it, we would all wake up terrified every morning about all the ways we could die. Instead, our minds block out our existential fears by focusing on stresses we can handle - like getting to work on time or paying our taxes. If we have wider, existential fears, we jettison them very quickly, refocusing on simple tasks and daily trivialities." ~ pg214

"Remember tonight ... for it's the beginning of forever." ~pg457

Considering everything that had happened ... thing that might still happen ... and all the possible futures, it makes me believe this saying.

My Recommendation
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl is another mystery novel that worth reading. Set amidst a series of murders in the American Civil War era, it also concerns a club of poets, including such historical figures as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and James Russell Lowell, who are translating Dante's The Divine Comedy from Italian into English and who notice parallels between the murders and the punishments detailed in Dante's Inferno. 

ELEVEN MINUTES by Paulo Coelho

A gripping and daring novel by this Brazilian author that explores the sacred nature of sex and love. From the book's blurb, you know that it is based on the experiences of a young Brazilian prostitute called Maria, whose first innocent brushes with love leave her heartbroken. At a tender age, she becomes convinced that she will never find true love, instead believing that "love is a terrible thing that will make you suffer....". When a chance meeting in Rio takes her to Geneva, she dreams of finding fame and fortune yet ends up working as a prostitute. As Maria drifts further away from love, she develops a fascination with sex. But when she meets a handsome young painter she finds she must choose between pursuing a dark path of sexual pleasure for its own sake, or risking everything for the possibility of sacred sex; sex in the context of love.

Why eleven minutes ?
According to the book, spending 350 francs to hire a prostitute from the club Copacabana for 45 mins, allowing time for taking off clothes, making some phony gesture of affection, having a bit of banal conversation and getting dressed again, the amount of time spent actually having sex is about eleven minutes. ~pg86

Some points of interest :
Love was undoubtedly one of the things capable of changing a person's whole life, from one moment to the next. But there was the other side of the coin, the second thing that could make a human being take a totally different course from the one he or she had planned; and that was called despair. Yes, perhaps love really could transform someone, but despair did the job more quickly. ~pg53

And all for eleven minutes a day? It wasn't possible. After her experiences at the Copacabana, she knew that she wasn't the only person who felt lonely.  Human beings can withstand a week without water, two weeks without food, many years of homelessness, but not loneliness. It is the worst of all tortures, the worst of all sufferings. Like her, these men, and the many others who sought her company, were all tormented by that same destructive feeling, the sense that no one else on the planet cared about them. ~pg88

In all the languages in the world, there is the same proverb: "What the eyes don't see, the heart doesn't grieve over.' Well, I say that there isn't an ounce of truth in it.  The further off they are, the closer to the heart are all those feelings that we try to repress and forget. If we're in exile, we want to store away every tiny memory of our roots. If we're far from the person we love, everyone we pass in the street reminds us of them.~pg231

Friday, June 21, 2013

Haze Haze Haze

The PSI reaches a record high of 400 today.
These photos taken around 11am.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cupcakes from Muffinry

Love these cutie ! Colours and decorations can be specified as well.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Big Mama #3

Big Mother # 3: Riikka Sormunen
Dimensions: A3 | Extent: 24 pages | Colours: CMYK | Format: Saddle stitched
Series: Big Mother | Edition: 2000 

Received this lovely book from yesterday.
The beautiful patterns and rich colours that Riikka uses really make her costumes leap off the page. Nice!

Smoky Singapore

On our way to lunch ......
Basically the tall buildings behind are shrouded in haze. 

According to Straits Times, the haze has worsened considerably on this afternoon, with the Pollutant Standards Index climbing to 170 in the "unhealthy" range at 2pm.  Oops! Not good.

My Incredible's Sleeping Mode

With his little red babe (寶貝), of course. ^.^!!!

 <<<<<<<<<<< o >>>>>>>>>>>
 <<<<<<<<<<< o >>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, June 14, 2013

Door God @ Thian Hock Keng Temple

Happened to pass by the temple around 9pm last night.  It looks stunning with the light on.

Have done a cutout version for fun. ^-^ Nice ?

Double Image

Been playing with this little app called Double Photo with my Android mobile.  Not much to choose from at the present moment.  Only four combinations - Screen, Multiple, Lighten & Darken.  If want more, then need to purchase a pro version. Of course, a much admirable result can be achieved if using a digital SLR camera.

After taking the pictures, I opened them up with another app - PowerCam and applied some enhancements to make them interesting.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A Noodle Story

 Like the 'innovative' Singapore-style ramen from this little store at Amoy hawker centre.

My 6-dollars bowl comes with 2 meltingly tender Cha-su, 1 crispy potato-wrapped prawn, 4? HK-style wonton, few freshly sliced scallions, 1 hot springy egg (really springy type yah! I love it).

Ah Yes.  The ramen is springy too. YUMMY !!!

Blk 258A

Does it look like a monster ?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Book of Murder

I like the review given by Paul Pessolano on Here are the excerpt :
This is a murder mystery that basically contains only three characters. Now how difficult can it be to figure out a "whodunit" when there are only three people to choose from? Kloster is an author in Buenos Aires who writes murder mysteries and has become very successful, the narrator of the story is a writer that has moderate success, and Luciana, a young college student, who takes dictation. 
When Kloste is accused of sexually misconduct by Luciana, his life begins to fall apart. His young daughter, who he adores, dies due to possible negligence by his wife. This might be due to his wife finding out about the pending lawsuit filed by Luciana. 
Kloster begins to write a murder mystery that may or may not have dire consequences for Luciana. Kloster writes about a murder that is very similar to the death of Luciana's boyfriend's death. Several years later Luciana's mother and father die, and again there seems to be some connection to the book Kloster is writing. Several years later Luciana's brother is murdered, and again, there is a similarity between his death and the book written by Kloster. 
Luciana believes Kloster is committing murder and is taking his time to ward off suspicion. Luciana believes her sister may be next and enlists another writer that she has worked with to bring Kloster to justice. 
A very unusual story that will probably leave you wondering if Kloster is a murderer or all of this in just coincidence. It leaves the reader questioning if they are looking at reality or deception. The reader will also question whether the deaths occurred before the book was written, or after the book was written. You tell me because I am still not sure.
The only thing I can tell for sure is that all incidents happened only after Kloster had written the scenes down ......

The ending, with the remaining survivor, Luciana's sister falls in love with Kloster is not a surprise to me. More or less I had half-expected it.

Nothing is solved in the end. yet it is an interesting read.

Child Abuse Ad from Anar Foundation

This is a brilliant bus shelter ad for Mexico’s ANAR Foundation, which works to end child abuse, uses lenticular technology to display a message only children can see.

When viewed from an adult’s eye level, the image appears to be of a healthy child and the text reads: “Sometimes child abuse is only visible to the child suffering it.”

When viewed upwards, from a child’s eye level, the face transforms into one with bruises and the text reads: “If somebody hurts you, phone us and we’ll help you,” along with ANAR’s helpline number.

"A message only for children!" Clever.