Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hanging out in Tartarus by the river of fire would be a jolly thing to do

Styxx (Dark-Hunter, #12)Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had this book in my keeping for over a month before I cracked it open. One is because of its size: at 930 pages and at least 2.5 inch thick, I worry that if I accidentally drop it on my face when reading, I might break my nose.

OK, spoilers ahead. You have been warned.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hurrah for gun laws.

Sepucuk Pistol Di Dalam LaciSepucuk Pistol Di Dalam Laci by Hadi M. Nor
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I find myself picking up Malay books and discarding them by page 45. I have lost my tolerance for slower pacing, preachy drama and annoying plot devices.

But I found none of those peeves in this anthology; a marvelous cornucopia of romance (of the weird kind), urban fantasy, sprinkled with a good dose of homicidal mania and sheer hilarity.Suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride. 

Thanks for lending me the book, Hanies!

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NoLa on my mind ...

Dawn Encounter (Masters at Arms #2)Dawn Encounter by Jennifer Blake
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I don't read very many Americana historical romance. Primarily it's because the more I learn about the victimisation of the indigenous people of North America, the harder it is for me to read about the romantic half breed yearning for the blonde homestead daughter. So that takes the cowboy genre out of circulation for me and except for Pamela Morsi and Rebecca Paisley, I rarely come across other settings for Americana historical.

I liked the premise of New Orleans prior to the War Between the States and Ms. Blake did an excellent job of painting the atmosphere and society of the Deep South. I also liked that she didn't whitewash slavery in the premise and did it without contemporary moralising.

However, the female protagonist annoyed me with the way she vaccilated between being so die-away and bull-headed assertion of her independence. A bit like a spoilt brat, but I gave that a pass judging by her age and background. The male protagonist was a total dyed-in-the-wool hero; brave, self-sacrificing, painfully honourable etc etc, but a bit cookie cutter. I think that both characters could have done with greater character development, but alas, that territory was not ventured.

Male protagonist: 3/5 stars
Female protagonist: 2/5 stars
Storyline: 3/5 stars
Pacing: 2/5 stars
Fun Factor: 3/5 stars
Repeat Reading Factor: 1/5 stars

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Like molasses ...

... is the progress of my writing ...

*hangs head in shame*

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

E is for English

... and its myriad accents the world over. From Manglish to Singlish to Aussie to Kiwi to the Indian subcontinent, the language is flavoured by the first language of its speaker. There are ten times more non-native English speakers than there are native English speaker (I pulled this number out of thin air, so don't quote me) so it is not logical to think that there is only one way to use (and abuse) the language.

Methinks that standard English pronunciation exists only in the imagination of snobbish purists.

Monday, May 26, 2014

G is for Gender

(find the lyrics to Arcade Fire's We Exist here)

No, I am not a fan of Arcade Fire but this video caught my eye for obvious reasons (Andrew Garfield, duh).


This song was the anthem I bopped along to during my pre-u days when Damon Alban and the rest of the second wave of British Invasion ruled the airwaves. We innocently sang along to it without real thought to the underlying meaning of the lyrics.

I enjoy dreams where I am a man (except the time I morphed into John C Reilly complete with flannel shirts); it is amazingly liberating to be so physically dominating, let me tell you. Do men ever dream of being women, I wonder.
"Girls can wear jeans and cut their hair short, wear shirts and boots. ‘Cause it’s OK to be a boy. But for a boy to look like a girl is degrading. ‘Cause you think that being a girl is degrading. But secretly, you’d love to know what it’s like… Wouldn’t you? What it feels like for a girl."

I am among those who benefit from this sexism. I can keep my hair ear length  and no one blinks when I buy my shorts from the men's section (women's shorts are too indecent. They barely cover my fat bum). However, all these didn't do squat to make me manly nor do I ever want to abandon my bright lipsticks.

Some people may say that gender is nothing more than a social construct that depends on your location. In some parts of the world, men keep long hair (e.g. Comanche, Iroquois nation) and wear dresses (the Arab men robes are damn comfy and I love wearing them too). Hence, outward manifestation of gender is a fluid thing and has time-place setting parameters to them (Georgian men in Europe used powder and maquillage).

What's it like to be a girl? What's it like to be a boy? For those who do not experience gender dysphoria, these are silly questions. But for those who have felt like they have been in the wrong body for their entire life, it's no laughing matter. It's a terrible discordance to live with and one I wouldn't wish on anyone at all.

The transgender community are often victims of violence and untoward aggression. They are discriminated against not just in terms of service provision, but also in employment and other social mobility. This often pushed them into doing sex work where they are made further vulnerable to violence and limits their economic advantage.

I think we should strive to be kinder to transgendered people. I know that many use religion to smack down transgenders, but if you consider gender dysphoria as something organic, don't you think that it's God's will that they are they way they are? It's not their fault, nor is it something they sought after. So why can't we leave them be and just accept them as they are?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

F is for fright

Back in my early teens, the television station would put up stuff like The Omen, The Exorcist, The Thing, and a number of horror classics from the 70s and 80s. I freely admit that I can be a scaredy cat, so I'd watch 'em behind the sofa, with a pillow over my face.

And because I'm a screamer, I avoid watching horror films in the cinema. It's not nice to make some random stranger deaf just because he/she was unfortunate enough to sit close to me in the theater. It was bad enough I drove away two movie-goers with my tears in the last 12 minutes of Warrior. Yes, I have no problem crying in public either (at least in a darkened cinema, that is).

As much as I love Supernatural, horror is not a genre I sought after when it comes to viewing choices. I know people who find horror films fun and entertaining even if it makes it hard for them to sleep (one person would sleep with the lights on or force a companion to sleep with her for several weeks after watching a terrifying movie) or they get paranoid when they go into the shower (or see static rain on the television set). I'm cool about reading horror, but I do not enjoy the gut churning, heart thumping moments anticipating the big monster stepping out of the shadows or gory ordeals.

I think that there are enough frightening things in this world that are real (e.g. potentially catastrophic financial meltdown, climate change, death of bees etc) that I don't want to be frightened for entertainment purposes. 

But I do plan to watch Crimson Peak for this:

I could always watch from behind my fingers, no?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014