Saturday, July 23, 2005

i feel like a celebrity....

with the re-opening of the National Library Building and Central Lending Library... crowds came... (as expected).. and queues swelled for people were borrowing books. Extra manpower was needed to help to ease the queue..

Incidentally, RamblingLibrarian blogged about the opening.. and Sunday Times reported on the crowds too in today's papers.

Crowds keep library staff ... busy ..busy

Crowds at central lending library

Crwods at Central Lending Library

This made us feel like celebrities though.. har har... especially after waiting in line for Neil Gaiman for five hours... now i know how Neil Gaiman felt when he saw the never-ending queues... har har har..

i felt like saying.. where do you want me to sign on the book??!!

p/s.. of cos i'm not going to deface the books at all. :P

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Now that i'm done with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince...

ok.. i'm done with the book as mentioned previously.. Before the launch of the book, i had stopped myself from surfing around.. and looking up news on the book cos i don't want to spoil the enjoyment of the wonderful writings of Ms. Rowling.

i think that it's a really good book... and Harry displays the typical teenage behaviour. Given the amount of angst that he harboured inside him in the last book, it's nice to read about how he has accepted his 'role' in the wizardry world and what he must accomplish... in other words.. grow up and realises that he needs to have a final showdown with the Dark Lord.

i'm really glad that this book did not disappoint at all. A real page turner.. and it's great that we are finding more about the characters... the characters that we have been reading from the past 6 books. They grow on you.. that's the best part about reading a series... however.. the bad part of a series... is the waiting.. especially when it is written during your era :) This book rounds up lots of loose strings.. and preps the readers properly for the next and final book.

Ms. Rowling hasn't started on the final book yet!!.. and i definitely can't wait for it to come out. Of cos.. when it does.. i'd definitely be feeling pretty mixed-up about it. No more Potter books to look forward to!!!

Anyway.. given that i have finished the sixth book.. i've been prowling for more reads.. and of cos there had been rumors that you can find the e-book online.. and it was out even before the launch of the book. What's interesting was that Rowling doesn't believe in ebooks. And what was posted online were scams. And there were reports of a different ending too... as in it differed from the actual book. Now.. that got me curious.. after all.. wouldn't you be interested to read an alternate version?? Especially when you have nothing else to read? *boo-hoo*

So i went a-looking for ebooks of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (well.. there are no legal versions). but man.. there are so many out there... and after downloading a few different versions and from various websites... you know something??? it's the ACTUAL book!!

hrrrmmpp.. i don't know if it's a good thing or not.. i'm actually in 2 minds about it. On one hand.. i think that Ms. Rowling deserves to be paid for her talents and writing.. and not forgetting bringing the joy of reading back into the lives of the millions of people out there. On the other hand... the books are so expensive... and i detest the whole marketing of all the merchandise and the characters... i think it's too much (overkill), cheap, crappy and tacky.. then again.. the other extreme was Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes... he actually hated the commercialisation of his comic strip and believes that commercialsation robbed him of his integrity and ended it (while pirates did a roaring trade with the bootleg printed tees of his comic strips).

Oh well... after so long.. i still miss Calvin and Hobbes.. i really wish that Watterson would draw his strip again... meanwhile... anyone interested in my old Calvin and Hobbes treasury collection? I want to get this!

p/s... i do wonder what Watteron is doing now... after retiring from drawing Calvin and Hobbes for so many years (10 years exactly). Does anyone knows?

Friends watching out for me...

hrrmmpp.. my friends shared with me this really apt saying today... and it's something that i have to drill it down in my head... and it's really something that shows me how much they care for me..


"The toes that you step on today may be connected to the
ass that you'd have to kiss tomorrow."


*drills into the head*

relates and reminds me of something that i have posted earlier too..

Saturday, July 16, 2005

i have finished the book...

what else but..

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince..

more thoughts on that later

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Something that i have to keep reminding myself...

wat i rant online will be seen by others.. and that this might be detrimental to me in the long run...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Perfume: The story of a murderer

guess what? the disturbing yet captivating story of the man who has no scent, driven to create and murder for the most perfect and powerful scent in the world is currently in production. And guess who is with this german production? Dustin Hoffman.

Check out the details at IMDB.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Do NOT test me on my Caldecotts...

Did one of the silliest things ever in a long long time... i queued up for 5 hours last night to get Neil Gaiman's autograph. In all honesty, i'd rather hear him talk and share ideas and insights than to get an autograph (not that i don't appreciate his dedication in personalising and signing books for the hundreds and hundreds of people who turned up in the seeming unending queue.. even after the queue has been stopped. "Are they breeding in line?" asked Gaiman when i was getting my book signed.. so funny...and yes.. he does look exhausted...even taking breaks to stretch himself.. he was still doing signings at 10pm when we left after dinner! Did he really signed for a thousand?) .. i'd treasure that a whole lot more... doesn't mean that i will give up my autographed books though!

My books that got autographed

Is that a mouse i see before me?

And that's a wolf coming out between the pages

"Are they breeding in line?"

i found that the tips that he shared during the talk at are so much more memorable... (then again.. with old age.. i might forget them.. so better write them down somewhere) such as:

There's no such things as writer's block... just like you don't see show salesmen with salemen's block or doctors with doctors block. What you'd have is bad writing days where you get stuck on a thing or idea and good writing days when "liquid diamond flows from your fingertips".. but at the end of it... when it is all written and re-read.. sometimes.. you can't even distinguish the parts when you have good writing days.

Hence, work on various projects at a time, so that you can get unstuck and work on something different... e.g.. like wat Gaiman did for The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. The most, go and do mundane things like shampooing the cat...a story that he shared which was funny.. cos his 20 pound-cat could defy gravity and crawl up a mirror...a supposedly impossible task.

Finish what you write cos if keep it in the drawers unfinished... elves are not coming in the middle of the night to help you finish it... no matter how much food you leave outside.

And he also shared with us how he was sneaking into a hotel room in the middle of the night, which he was sharing with Terry Pratchett, during one of the conferences, when a voice went," i don't know what god-forsaken hour you call this, but your father and i have been worried sick." and since both Pratchett and himself couldn't sleep... they stayed up and discussed Good Omen's sequel. (Don't quote me on that.)

Anyway, while i was queuing... there was this couple behind me... they saw that i was going to get Gaiman to sign on my copy of The Wolves in the Walls and asked if that was for my children..

Ha!... that's mine.. until the day i die... then i will leave it for my children...

So this brought on a whole lot of sharing from the gentleman about how he actually went to the States and gotten The Rainbow Fish for his nephew... and his sister read the book, fell in love with it.. and decided to keep it for herself. He kinda snorted and said that she didn't know such a book existed (Com'on.. printed in 1995, unless you have a personal interest... people hardly go trampling to look at children's books unless you have read them yourself during your own childhood). The gentleman was very impressed with the book, lamenting that such books, The Rainbow Fish and Joseph Had a Little Overcoat were not available in Singapore...

So, of cos i had to say that they are available... in the libraries and good bookstores... just that at the kind of prices that they are selling at over S$25 per book, parents would hardly get them for the children, especially at Borders...*sigh* i don't want to talk about it but i will. They were selling The Wolves in the Walls at S$38 when Kinokuniya was selling it at S$28!! And think of it this way. At S$6 you can get a McDonald's meal.. and you buy a children's book at S$28??? Using a dollar-to-dollar comparison, in the US, a McDonald's meal cost US$6 and the same book costs US$9. You do the is definitely more affordable for consumers there...and you kinda need to educate the parents here on the different type of good quality books.. award-winning ones..etc.

So he went on to say that The Rainbow Fish was amazing and it had won a Caldecott award.

At that point... i corrected him... it did win awards.. but not the Caldecott...Nononoon... I tried to tell him.. no it didn't...

Yes, he insisted.. it did win the Caldecott award and he remembered seeing the gold embossed badge on the book.

No.. i said... for i was very sure...Funnily.. he didn't say anything about Joseph Had a Little Overcoat... that book did win a Caldecott.

but you know wat ..he still insisted.. so i let him be.... i turned around to my companions and mouthed, "Do NOT test me on my Caldecotts!"

And you know something? I am correct... a quick search revealed that The Rainbow Fish won some awards and they are:
American Bookseller Book of the Year (ABBY) Award
Bologna Book Fair Critici in Erba Prize
Christopher Award
IRA-CBC Children's Choice
North Carolina Children's Book Award
(taken from North-South Books)


In my heart... knowing that the Caldecott awards are for the best illustrations... i can't imagine The Rainbow Fish winning.. yes, it has a nice story.. and shiny gimmicky scales in the book to boot. But, compare it with my all-time favorites honor books such as Stephen T. Johnson's Alphabet City (such realistic paintings that you think that they are photographs), David Shannon's No, David! and last year's winner, Mordicai Gerstein's The Man Who Walked Between The Towers, it doesn't hold a candle..

So yeah..again.. do NOT test me on my Caldecotts....especially when i tell you i can confirm plus guarantee it.

UPDATE: This qas the queue for Neil Gaiman's signing.. and considering that i was way in front.. the end of the queue prob waited for 10 hours!! har har har

Queues for Neil Gaiman's autograph

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Random fact of the day...

Neil Gaiman's in singapore and was at library@orchard... it was interesting to meet and hear him speak and share insights and readings with us. i'm just struck at how down to earth, witty and lyrical he is...i loved his reading of Anansi Boys... i will definitely be getting a copy to read it for myself... i can't wait to see how the story turns out.

Anyway... did you know that he wrote the english script to Princess Mononoke? Darn... i should have brought my DVD and have him autograph it... it would have been something different for sure.. from all the Sandman and other books etc... not that i don't appreciate his writings...

p/s... the signing's queue are super long... and people actually waited for over 4 hours... and i'm amazed that he actually signed for so long...his hand must be numb.. worse still, wrist strain (not the most pleasant feeling in the world). Ain't it great that we have word processors now?

Monday, July 04, 2005

i miss my car already!!!

though there are good things that come without having a car...

  • getting up early to dress up and looking good instead of being sloppy;

  • taking the time to look at the surroundings and noticing that one of the sign board actually features F4;

  • making full use of my ipod shuffle (not that i don't use it.. but imagine doubling or tripling the travelling time!;

  • reading while waiting and travelling on the bus;

  • watching more tv on tv mobile;

  • doing a good deed.. i'm trying to be patient and even gave up my seat..;

  • getting more exercise by walking here, there, everywhere;

  • saving money??? that is a question mark...

  • but but but it's really bad when:

  • it is so crowded.. i was packed like a sardine..

  • i threw up immediately after the ride (i haven't gotten car sick for 4 years!.. kept taking deep breaths in the bus.. and telling myself to hold on.)

  • i can't read due to the car-sickness;

  • i blast the shuffle... i'd probably will go deaf soon or later;

  • a 15-20 min drive becomes a 40 min ride due to the start-stop of the bus;

  • get into work late;

  • And i really hate it when it rains..

  • i miss my car... can i get a personal chauffeur to work and everywhere please? especially when i'm hacking and sound like i'm coughing up furballs (ok ok.. phelgm)...

    i really have to start looking for alternative transport arrangements