Music Monday – One More Time (from Playful Kiss)

One More Time is the theme song of the 2010 South Korean romantic comedy Playfull Kiss starring Jung So-min and Kim Hyun-joong, a K-pop singer.

Playfull Kiss is based on the Japanese manga Itazura Na Kiss. The TV series did not get much acclaim in South Korea as it did in Taiwan, the Philippines, Singapore, the Middle East and Japan. It even engendered a cult following in Taiwan.

The Japanese made the TV into a film with Japanese subtitles. They kept the original Korean dubbing. The film was released in selected cinemas in Tokyo and Osaka.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Playful_Kiss

Book Review – Prophet: a novel by Frank E. Peretti

Prophet by Frank E. Peretti

Prophet: a novel

Imagine having your world shaken to the point where you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong. Imagine having to choose the wrong just so that you don’t have to acknowledge your mistake. Imagine having to control co-workers and the stories they pursue just so that your conscience can remain violated and your secret remain undiscovered. For some people, like Tina Lewis, this is reality although they would never admit this little fact to themselves—let alone to others.

Tina Lewis, a character in Frank E. Peretti’s Prophet, is a content manager at NewsSix, the news department of Channel 6. Falling in league with the devil, she tries to suppress a story that would weaken Governor Hiram Slater’s chances of re-election. But John Barrett Jr. is determined to have the truth come out. John Barrett lost his religious kook of a father in the fight for the truth and would lose his estranged son if he did not take a stand and see the Truth prevail. In the process he sees through Tina hearing her cries and those of the City, shares his deceased father’s pain, reconciles with God, accepts his destiny and sees justice served at a cost to the chagrin of Tina Lewis and associates.

Never before have I encountered a story that is so real and has such depth. Although Peretti doesn’t delve deep into a character’s history as Lionel Trilling in The Middle of the Journey or Netta Musket in A Daughter for Julia, he does an excellent job at characterisation, communicating the characters’ backstories and their growth on the various issues explored in the novel. One of those issues being abortion as well as the privacy laws that allow minors to have abortions without parental consent or knowledge and the malpractice the secrecy engenders.

Peretti goes into a lot of detail sometimes repeating scenes and cues in the newsroom that the reader was already familiar with. Peretti spent a great amount of time describing the layout of the room and how the other reporters in the room were editing their news packages before John Barrett entered the room to edit the story he was working on. That said, he described the workings of a news room set in 1991 very well. If you did know how news gathering, sifting and broadcasting worked, you’ll have a better idea after reading this book.

His details made the story real to me. The main characters were well-crafted, the plot gripping, the gospel presentation well done, and most definitely thought provoking. One thing he set out to achieve was to have his readers consider where they stand on the issues of abortion, human rights, their relationship with Jesus, and the masks they wear. The supernatural dimension of the book was a bonus and quite refreshing for someone drawn to the supernatural and well-versed in science fiction and fantasy. Peretti also made use of different points of view not restricting himself to only telling the story from John Barretts’ perspective. At critical moments he switches views or uses John’s prophetic gift to give the reader insight into the reactions or motivations of the characters involved in a particular scene.

Prophet is 575 pages long (excluding the front and back matter) and could most probably have been cut by 10 to 15 pages due to the amount of detail. The book was published in 1992 by Living Books, a registered trademark of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

If you are into the fantasy, science fiction, or religious fiction, get your hands on a copy of this book. Peretti presents both sides of the abortion issue and some insight into the influence the media has on our behaviour and the choices we make. I recommend this novel to anyone interested in learning more. And if you just want to take a break from your regular diet of (genre) fiction, read Prophet. It will make you think.

Music Monday – Hey There Delilah

I can still remember the first time I heard this song by Plain White T’s. It was the soundtrack for a life insurance TV commercial which demonstrated the song’s story.

Now, HeyThere Delilah is a love song written by love struck Tom Higgenson, the lead singer of Plain White T’s, to Delilah DiCrescenzo, an American 3000 meter steeplechase runner. In short, a friend introduced Tom to Delilah. He fell in love with her immediately but suffered from unrequited love because she had a boyfriend. He promised to write a song about her.

According to Today.com, he wrote the song long before it became famous. Plain White T’s performed it in clubs before it was introduced into mainstream music where it steadily climbed the charts. In 2007 Hey There Delilah reach number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for the Grammy Song of the Year Award.

You can read the rest of the story behind the song at Today.com and at Wikipedia.org.

Book Review – Bloody Valentine by James Patterson

Have you ever picked up a book expecting great things and then experienced a huge disappointment? Well, that was my experience with Bloody Valentine by James Patterson (the author of the Alex Cross series) with K. A. John. Bloody Valentine was most definitely not one of Patterson’s best. The book was published by Arrow Books in 2011.

On Valentine’s Day Jack Barnes, a wealthy restaurant owner, woke up filled with great joy as he went over the plans he made for him and his second wife, Zee. His first wife died in a tragic accident when the castle that he bought for her burned down with her inside. Zee experiences a bizarre and elaborate death as her heart is ripped out of her body while she was still conscious. As a sick joke, Zee’s heart was sent to Jack Barnes as a Valentine’s Day gift. The cops get involved interrogating all the residents in the Barnes’ apartment building. They go through the motions collecting evidence, interrogating suspects, analysing evidence including video footage and come up with almost nothing.

Patterson could’ve revealed the murderer in a less melodramatic, cliché way. The story itself had little depth. It felt like Patterson just went through the motions. He did, however, have me guessing who the murderer was as I tried to identify the red herrings, false positives and real clues. It was the first James Patterson book I read so I am not familiar with his style but the book does not come close to the works of crime writers such as Dame Agatha Cristi, Dick Francis, John Grisham, and even James Patterson himself.

So, if you are looking for an easy mystery to solve, for practice in identifying positive clues and red herrings, or just something to waste your money on, then this is the book for you.

Music Monday – Fields of Gold

Originally sung by Sting, Fields of Gold was rearranged and performed Live at Blues Alley in 1996 by the late Eva Cassidy. Eva Cassidy can only be described as one of the tragedies of the music industry. Hers is a story that boggles my mind.

In short, Eva Cassidy (born 2 February 1963) was an American vocalist and guitarist who rearranged and covered many popular songs. She performed at the Blues Alley in 1996 (the year of her death) to a very appreciative audience. She sang back up to many singers as a session artist and produced three albums. But never made it big.

Three years before her death she underwent an operation to have a malignant mole removed from her back. In 1996 she discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs and bones. She died on 2 November 1996 in Bowie, Maryland.

It was only after her death that she became famous. Fan clubs were established and albums were produced. And the rest is history.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eva_Cassidy

Book Review – Witness: a fresh look at the New Testament

Have you ever read a book that was better the second time round? Well, that’ what it felt like reading Witness: a fresh look at the New Testament church (Autumn House ® Publishing). Jack J. Blanco picks up the Biblical narrative just before the ascension of Christ in Acts 1 and follows the spread of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire during the time of the apostles. He retells the events St. Luke recorded in the Book of Acts using simple English and little melodrama. 

Witness: Acts through Revelation

Witness: a fresh look at the New Testament Church

Witness was written to help theology students understand the New Testament by placing the events and the letters in chronological order. To this end, he discarded with chapter and verse numbering; instead he concluded each section with Scripture references. Furthermore, he included major Christian doctrines leaving out those portions of Scripture that impeded the flow of the narrative and tended to confuse readers. I did not notice these gaps nor did they offend me because I knew that the work was intended for one’s reading pleasure and clarification. Sometimes too much information bogs you down.

The author intended the book to be a simplified, flowing version of the Bible narrative which I believe he succeeded in creating. The letters Sts. Paul, Peter, John, James and Jude wrote to their respective audiences were placed in chronological order. Jack Blanco vividly describes the shipwreck Sts. Paul and Luke experienced on the shores of the island of Malta (Acts 25,26). Portions from St. Paul’s letters were used to complete the narrative since the Book of Acts does not contain all the details of St. Paul’s imprisonment.

It was with great eagerness that I turned to the final chapters of Witness to see how Jack Blanco would simply the Book of Revelation. I was impressed with how he maintained the use of simple language. I was, however, disappointed by the portions of Scripture he left out in his paraphrasing of Revelation 1. He handled the description of Revelation chapters 10-14, 19-22 well, I think. I noticed that Witness does not include the time prophecies reminding the reader of its purpose to inform.

Overall, it was a good read. Witness answered some questions I had as it placed events and letters in context. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a plain explanation of the New Testament without the possibility of getting sidetracked by or lost in the complexity.

Below you can compare the rendering of 1 Corinthians 4:1-5 by Witness (WIT), The Message (MSG) and the No Greater Love (NGL). All three books are paraphrases of the Bible.

WIT: You need to think of us as servants who have been entrusted with the secret things of God. What is expected of servants? They must be faithful to their master. It doesn’t matter what you think of me or what a human court decides about me. I don’t even make decisions about myself. I let God do that. Even though I don’t know of anything that I’m doing wrong that doesn’t justify me before God. That’s why I leave everything about myself in the Lord’s hands. He’s the One who reads motives and brings everything to light. In time we will each receive praise from God, not from someone else.
NGL: So Appollos and I should be looked upon as Christ’s servants who distribute God’s blessings by explaining God’s secrets. Now the most important thing about a servant is that he does just what his master tells him to. What about me? Have I been a good servant? Well, I don’t worry over what you think about this, or what anyone else thinks. I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but even that isn’t final proof. It is the Lord Himself who must examine me and decide. So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether someone is a good servant or not. When the Lord comes, he will turn on the light so that everyone can see exactly what each one of us is really like, deep down in our hearts. Then everyone will know why we have been doing the Lord’s work. At that time God will give each one whatever praise is coming to him.
MSG: Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s most sublime secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The Master makes that judgment. So don’t go ahead of the Master and jump to conclusions with your judgments before all the evidence is in. When he comes, he will bring out in the open and place in evidence all kinds of things we never even dream of—inner motives and purposes and prayers. Only then will anyone of us get to hear the “Well done!” of God.

Music Monday – I don’t care

2NE1 is a South Korean K-pop girls group that release their single I don’t care in 2009. The song was an immediate hit flooding South Korean radio waves. I don’t care won the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards “Song of the Year” award and with good reason. Its compelling story and the catchy tune work together so that everyone can identify with the song.

 

Music Monday – One More Time

One More Time is an electronic song (in the House genre) created by Daft Punk, a French musid duo. The song was sung by Romanthony, now deceased. The music video is part of Interstellar 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, an animated film. The song was released as a single in 2000 and was later included in Daft Punk’s 2001 album Discovery. It made number 2 on the UK Singles Charts and number 61 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_More_Time_(Daft_Punk_song)

Winds of Change: 295-272 days to go

It’s been quite some time since I last posted, eh? Well, I’ve been working on my thesis and finishing up the last couple of experiments in the lab. Quite a lot of stuff happened since my last post but for the sake of time and brevity I won’t get into those things now. You should know by now that I will get back to the events and the self-discoveries in the near future. I’m a rehasher, a cud chewer. 🙂

Where do I stand with my thesis? I’m still writing and reading up for the literature review. At the same time I am processing my data, fitting equations and thinking about what to say. The latter I find difficult to do since I like seeing the big picture before diving into the details. I have seen the big picture but am struggling to hash out the details, i.e. making the equations fit the data. (My project has a computation component.) Next Friday will be my last day in the lab so that I can focus on writing up my work.

On the porn front I don’t know what to say really. A couple of weeks ago I was in a let’s-just-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset. I just wanted to be done with stuff. So, I dived in and looked for the skimpy underwear that I subconsciously looked for. Suffice it say, I started wading through sewage. My reflexes were active so as soon as I saw some junk I averted my eyes and exited the page. All the bullets I was dodging got too much for so I decided to call of the search. I chose not search through the sewers of the Internet for a strapless leather penis pouch. Although not extreme, it could only be found on the extreme side of the underwear world. And I was not going to jeopardise my porn abstenance any longer. I have not been back since.

I did, however, purchase a c-string and a pouch thong to see how comfortable they really were. The c-string I bought because it can be used while sunbathing (to protect my goods). The pouch thong I bought to see whether it hampers erections and how painful having an erection in one really is. I can satisfactorally say that the pouch thong impedes erections and isn’t painful to wear at all. I was worried about developing Peyronie’s Disease though but did not. Using the bathroom with it was also fine. It was the first thong I ever wore. I purchased three skimpy underwear so far. When I work again I will order two more.

With the let’s-just-get-it-over-and-done-with mindset I also expanded my Flickr favourites album to include photos of non-sexual activities I’d like to do naked one day. To achieve this I had to go back on my resolution to not search for stuff with the words naked and nude in the search string. I saw some unwanted pics which either I literally closed my eyes to and scrolled on or exited the search completely. To be honest, I found the fact that I was search for “nude hiking”, “nude kayaking”, “bare boating”, etc. a little disturbing but I knew that if I didn’t get it over and done that I would want to search for those images again. Why? Because those are my dreams. I kept thinking about doing those activities naked so that I don’t forget that I’d like to do them. So by adding them to my Flickr Favourites album I wouldn’t have to remember that I’d like to do those activities anymore.

I hadn’t been on Flickr for three full weeks until last Friday (277 days to go (DTG)) out of stress and the impractically of going on a short hike while it rained outside. I needed to clear my head while contemplating a data processing problem. It felt good to back on Flickr but I felt so bad because I broke a promise to myself, a resolution. I also returned to Flickr because despite the glimpses of frontal nudity I got during my non-nude searches, the landscapes and activities I search for relax me. I didn’t stop looking for photos though. The same searches I had done on Flickr—that is, “hot tub”, “hot spring”, etc.—I searched for on Twitter. And there I saw some dirt. Twitter is not a good source for water-related images. They Twitter searches shocked my sensibilities so I’ve classed photo searches on Twitter with Google Image Search, Tumblr and Experience Project: a “No Go” zone. So, I’m back on Flickr.

The two questions I noticed myself asking are (1) “What images will Twitter produce for these search terms?” and (2) “Does this [Flickr] user have more photos like these?” Question 1 I don’t have to worry about anymore because I’m avoiding Twitter searches. Question 2 I am training myself to not explore. I take it one day at a time.

Art-wise, I finished Witness: a new perspective on the New Testament church and will post the book review on Friday, 11 July. I also finished Bloody Valentine by James Patterson and K. A. John. The review of that book will be published next week Friday, 18 July.

One last word: I can’t wait for the summer! It’s extremely cold! I don’t mind the rain. In fact, I love rain. It’s the cold, I mind. But what would winter be without the cold, eh?

Ciao!

Music Monday – Blue

For the next three months while I write my thesis, this blog will feature a music video (most likely from the 80’s or 90’s, sometimes from the 2000’s) every Monday. You are welcome to ask me to feature your favourite music video. A link to your blog will accompany your “post”. 🙂

To kickstart Music Monday is Eiffel 65 with their 1999 hit song Blue (Da Ba Dee). They are an Italian three piece boyband who had great international success with their debut album. Their second and third albums managed to make it onto the Italian music charts.