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Qu… March 10, 2009

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…it the bust above my door!

Take thy beak from out my heart,
And take thy form from off my door!

–The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe

Mich… November 6, 2008

Posted by ZaQ in Readings....

..ael Crichton passed away at the age of 66.

Here is an author that introduced me to the world of science fiction. I distinctly remember reading Congo in 1994, and although the novel never became one of my favorite, I still remember it quite clearly. The next novel from him that I read was Jurassic Park in 1995 (I’ve watched the movie by then), and his use of documents, diagrams, charts, etc (fabricated or otherwise) to provide some background to his novel(s) fascinates me so much that I began fervently scanning shelves on every bookstore for his works. This leads me to Sphere (I thought this one was kinda… weak), Airframe (thought it was too technical and stuff… but you know I was probably only 14 at that time, later on when I reread this one, I think I loved this one better than any other of Crichton’s works), The Andromeda Strain (quite creepy) and The Great Train Robbery (pretty good) just before Indonesia imploded in 1998 xD. The economic meltdown stemmed my er.. feverish impulse buying spree at least until 2002 when I finally bought and read Prey (quite good, it has genetic programming, which is hawt sauce), then Timeline (not quite able to like this one), and of course State of Fear (like) and lastly Next (like it better).

How did this author paved my way to sci-fi nirvana? By a combination of 28.8 us robotics modem and the magic of phone line (sorry mom and dad for the hiked up phone charges), I started to search for essays, reviews and discussion about Crichton’s works and through that, I was able to find the works of Arthur Clarke (2001, Rama), Robert Heinlein (Starship Troopers, Strangers in a Strange Land), the multitude Star Wars EU novel(s) (okay.. this is more like space opera than sci-fi… so what? xD) and Orson Scott Card (Ender series). And for all of this, and more it is in my humble opinion that this author really rocks 😛 Thank you for all the sleepless night(s) (and day(s)), here’s hoping that I can get my hands on your last title (to be published posthumously in 2009) and may it give me some more sleepless night(s) and/or day(s).


Thi… October 4, 2008

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…eving is good… wait… that came out wrong xD

Actually what I wanted to say is, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is good… very good indeed 😛 (What are you talking about? this book came out like 3 years ago, you’re so.. late xD). After the disappointment that wasBrisingr, this book has brighten up my holiday 😛 Okay so I was late in getting this book.. so what? xD

It’s a story about a girl living in an impending WW-II Germany, she’s a book thief who will soon learn the power of words from the book she stole, and the story is told from the point-of-view of Death. Well… that about sums it up actually, without giving away anything 😛 I have to admit, the pov is a bit… jarring… but IMHO you’ll get used to it quickly because the story is very interesting… no, scratch that… the story is very very… endearing 😀 At least for me, I invested a lot of emotion with the characters in the book, and that’s saying a lot I guess 😛 (or it was just the case of extreme rebounding from Brisingr… anywaayy….)

I personally think this book will be a great read for teenagers to adult, children will find the themes (death, war, not so much for the literature and friendship bit though :p) a bit too serious (I found this book on the children section though… imho it’s strange xD), although it was presented in an almost whimsical way (because Death… has seen all I guess :p), and if you haven’t read it, then you’ll be missing a very good read. Allright, I think I have to stop before the hype and gushy praise kills you all xD

So I recommend this book to anyone who loves a good story, especially those who likes book that has heart-err… moving themes? 😛 Better than A Thousand Splendid Suns, and IMHO on par withTo Kill A Mockingbird


Era… October 3, 2008

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…gon gets worse -_-”

The first book has little character development, but since it was just the start of the series, then it’s okay I guess, we need some time to establish the locations, good un’s, bad un’s etcs, in essence, the groundwork for the continuation of the series… IMHO it borrowed too much from fantasy archetypes without expanding them too much to make it interesting, see Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces or for geeks, Star Wars xD

The second… should be an improvement right? No… still lacking character development, and it got twists… that you can see coming from a thousand miles away… IMHO the plot is very predictable, and to get to the finish line you have to endure too much pointless things along the way… but it’s probably just the case of me being annoyed at the main character(s). But to me, the worst part of the second book is the almost instantaneous transformation of the said main character(s) to be an uber cool hero. I don’t mind people changing, but the way it was conveyed here is just… I don’t know, it doesn’t felt right xD

The third book… it’s full of everything that makes the first and second well… not bad probably, just average… and it ups the ante with lame politics, people fawning and worshipping and getting all gushy (okay I’m probably exaggerating here) at the main character(s). And ooooh it got moral dilemmas… kind of (Was it wrong to kill this guy etc etc, next chapter oooh battle! slay kill maim slash dismember etc) doh…. And it doesn’t end at the third book like the writer promised.. noo…

And don’t get me started on the movie -_-”

To sum it up, the series started as an average fantasy-archetype novel, probably intended for younger children, then it gets worse xD


Ju… April 22, 2008

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…st a thought

Emily Dickinson
A Thought Went Up My Mind Today

A thought went up my mind to-day
That I have had before,
But did not finish,-some way back,
I could not fix the year,

Nor where it went, nor why it came
The second time to me,
Nor definitely what it was,
Have I the art to say.

But somewhere in my soul, I know
I’ve met the thing before;
It just reminded me-‘t was all-
And came my way no more.

nice :p

Dark… April 15, 2008

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…ness is all around :p

Lord Byron

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.
The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space,
Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth
Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;
Morn came and went–and came, and brought no day,
And men forgot their passions in the dread
Of this their desolation; and all hearts
Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:
And they did live by watchfires–and the thrones,
The palaces of crowned kings–the huts,
The habitations of all things which dwell,
Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed,
And men were gathered round their blazing homes
To look once more into each other’s face;
Happy were those who dwelt within the eye
Of the volcanos, and their mountain-torch:
A fearful hope was all the world contain’d;
Forests were set on fire–but hour by hour
They fell and faded–and the crackling trunks
Extinguish’d with a crash–and all was black.
The brows of men by the despairing light
Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits
The flashes fell upon them; some lay down
And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest
Their chins upon their clenched hands, and smiled;
And others hurried to and fro, and fed
Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up
With mad disquietude on the dull sky,
The pall of a past world; and then again
With curses cast them down upon the dust,
And gnash’d their teeth and howl’d: the wild birds shriek’d,
And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,
And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl’d
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless–they were slain for food.
And War, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again;–a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom: no love was left;
All earth was but one thought–and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails–men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assail’d their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish’d men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan,
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress–he died.
The crowd was famish’d by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies: they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap’d a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other’s aspects–saw, and shriek’d, and died–
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful–was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless–
A lump of death–a chaos of hard clay.
The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal: as they dropp’d
They slept on the abyss without a surge–
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expir’d before;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them–She was the Universe.

Chilling stuff :p

Des… March 29, 2008

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…cribing her, we articulate what she is and why she is: when hope is past, she is there.

Men… February 28, 2008

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…cius said, without a heart that sympathizes, one is not human; without a heart aware of shame, one is not human; without a heart that defers to others, one is not human.

Hol… February 7, 2008

Posted by ZaQ in Gak Jelas, Personal, Readings....
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…iday yaaay :p

well, not quite :p Why someone dabbling in the IT world doesn’t know about a very basic and simple thing like primary – foreign key and indexes is way beyond me… *curses and expletives censored*

Anyway been reading, rereading, watching and rewatching things, first of all, neal stephenson writes good stuff, neil gaiman excels at telling (not-so-long) stories, george r. r. martin needs to release his next book soon. Legacy of the force crumbles and rips at the seams, only two books left though… that’s some consolation at least…

Next up, Gondry + Kaufman combination is godly (is that a word?), Guillermo del toro and Alfonso cuaron, still two of my favorite directors as for new movies, denzel washington basically plays the (almost) same guy in every movie… kinda like morgan freeman, russel crowe is very versatile because he can underplay and overplay his character, claire danes isn’t capable of emoting very well but she sure can sit/stand/etc and look pretty while doing it, oh and depp gives me a reason to think twice before going to the barber, although he underplays Sweeney Todd, rickman and helena bonham carter gives more flavor to that movie IMHO. Oh yeah, atonement starts off great as a drama/redemption movie, both mcavoy and knightley (to a lesser degree) gives good performances, redgrave is good too (of course) but the latter part drags a bit :p

The last movie I watched was ‘Into the Wild’, and it was good, also scary and haunting at the same time, probably not worth your time if you’re part of the (hoi-pollloi or sheep take your pick) who absolutely must have action in their movie though *wink wink* :p

Up next is, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, Kite Runner and Charlie Wilson’s War woohoo :p

Quo… December 14, 2007

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…table quotes? :p

If you do not climb, you will not fall. This is true.
But is it that bad to fail, that hard to fall?

Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you.
And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.
Todd Faber

But he did not understand the price. Mortals never do.
They only see the prize, their heart’s desire, their dream…
But the price of getting what you want,
is getting what you once wanted.