Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gables and Skyfall

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

One of those quick, easy questions that I ask periodically because the answer is always changing: What are you reading right now? (And, is it good? Would you recommend it? How did you choose it?)
The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Started it last year and since then I have finished two John Grishams, one Nicholas Sparks, a Philippa Gregory and a few other leisure and work-related distractions. If anyone wants to explore themes of retribution or atonement or know what the consequences of greed were like around 1851, they may want to have a go at this classic. I'm developing curious sympathy for Hepzibah, poor old maid, so I'm going to finish this book before the next full moon invites howls from handsome shape-shifters.

Thursday 13: word associations from Skyfall. I didn't mind not getting around to watching the 23rd JB film until a bloggity friend commented on a post I shared with Judi Dench singing in it, saying she "just watched M die." Oh, blimey I hurried off to buy the DVD, and something caught my attention aside from their latest toys. I provide the 6th, 12th and 13th words as 007 and the psychologist mentioned only 11, and I doubt 'M' counts, as in M = bitch or that skyfall was really done.

I added a literary work that begins with the same word in bold. What are your associations of these words though? Any book, poetry or story you are reminded of with these words?

1. day - wasted -  Day with a courteous mother, A by Helen Hunt-Jackson
2. gun - shot - Gun for hire by Mack Reynolds
3. heart - target - Heart of Arethusa, The by Frances Barton Fox
4. agent - provocateur - Agent at the door, The by Walt Mason
5. woman - provocatrix - Woman who loved Chopin, The  by James Huneker
6. head - quarters - Head of Caesar, The by G.K. Chesterton
7. sunlight - swim - Sunlight on the soul by John S. Adams
8. moonlight - dance - Moonlight favor  by H.G. Wells
9. murder - employment - Murders in the Rue Morgue  by Edgar Allan Poe
10. bird - sky - Birds of spring, The by Wasington Irving
11. country - England - Country lass, The by Robert Burns
12. sky - fall - Sky is falling, The by Lester del Rey
13. lab - rat - Laboratory-Ancien Regime by Robert Browning

Four salad men and a daiquiri poet

Research papers or PhD proposals don't count, right? Yeah, I write those and sometimes a speech to kick off a university business meeting. The rest of the time I play with recreational haiku, and that's that. So I'm no writer, but once in awhile I date some daiquiri. When the calendar showed 1-1-11, I headed off to a beach town, the Thai Royal family's summer home. I did balance the table with something healthy.

Now we don't play with our food but we certainly can have fun:
Guess which writer loved daiquiri: Edward Thomas, Randall Jarrell or Robert Frost 
Clue: "The land was ours before we were the land's..." Read at JFK's inauguration
*More on writers and what they love to eat here.*

Someone once said 'it takes four men to dress a salad. One for the salt, one for the pepper, one for the vinegar and one for the oil." 

Can you name which men? Here are your choices:
a. yeoman, barman, monk, gamekeeper
b. wiseman, madman, miser, spendthrift
c. marksman, poet, undertaker, painter

Now have some coffee before finding your answers below

"Robert Frost loved daiquiris. At the Waybury Inn near one of his favorite dining spots - Frost would begin every dinner with a daiquiri. But only one daiquiri." THE AWL

"It takes four men to dress a salad: a wise man for the salt, a madman for the pepper, a miser for the vinegar and a spendthrift for the oil." ~ Anonymous

Leisure research, a memory of celebratory dining and its association with literature are to me sunbeams of joy to a quiet day off work. I hope you had fun guessing. 

Shared with Mellow Yellows * Inspire Me Monday * Color Connection * Food * Food Trip * Share the Joy * Creative HomeAcre * Favorite Things

Monday, February 25, 2013

Grab a stone

"Bangkok on the cheap," says one site about a series of free concerts in Lumpini Park. The Bangkok Symphony Orchestra performs Sunday afternoons in January. Most concert-goers are picnicking at the same time: families and couples twittering and applauding in between bite-size pizzas, sausages in bamboo sticks and oishi tea. Like always the Thai government provides mats for people to sit on. For 'soloists' who come late, well they just have to grab a stone. I did. The guy in blue probably got tired of squatting on the grass with guy in red so he sat on my stone when I stood up to take a photo -

Since it was my first time to watch this concert I had to find it by asking people along the way. This was by the sky train route -

Inside the park; sweet hues by the wayside -

Lumpini Park lake -

Silom side, Bangkok's financial district, in the distance -

A park guard told me to 'trong pai' (go straight) and pointed me to a gazebo from which speakers with announcements in English can be heard so I followed the voice -

I was glad to finally find the freebie after navigating such a vast park. A vocalist sang Reflection from Mulan and there were a few more recognizable pieces like Moon River and that soundtrack from Born on the Fourth of July -

Thursday, February 21, 2013

My first Replay

I want to write a book about shoes that's full of footnotes. ~ Jarod Kintz

My only recollection of noticing Replay merchandise was around 13 years ago when an ex-boyfriend mentioned that he liked the brand. Recently I was browsing in the shoe department of Central Plaza and noticed an attractive sign.

Now what made me decide to check this pair out? Nah... it's not nostalgia for a past love. The new resolve to treat myself now and then is one. It fits and does not send me waggling on the glazed floor of my playground, a.k.a. lecture rooms, so that's another one. But the number one motivation for this purchase is the 90 percent off factor! I paid just US$13.35 instead of US$135.45. Quite a steal, isn't it?

Sold to shoe lover me.

Libraries and cafes

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 and Favorite Things Thursday

How often do you visit a library? Do you go to borrow books? Do research? Check out the multi-media center? Hang out with the friendly and knowledgeable staff? Are you there out of love or out of need?
When I was a grad student I frequented the library out of both love and need. One biggest distraction to thesis-writing was pleasure reading. You know these things that you can't find in traditional or electronic books - databases and repositories that your university or company is subscribed to, are addicting. It's a world you may not mind spending hours or days in. Practically all collection of knowledge you can imagine is there; not to mention the 'scientific gossip.' And they say academic life is boring ;p

Thursday 13: authors and their food and drink. Let's have fun with who ate or drank what? There's a clue after the names. Answers are on the bottom of the list. And - many T13 participants are authors as well. We'd love to know what you like to eat or drink, if you want to mention that in the comments.

1. Daiquiri - Edward Thomas / Randall Jarrell / Robert Frost 
"The land was ours before we were the land's..." read at a presidential inauguration

2. Apples - Charles Dickens / George Orwell / Henry James
“... It was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light..." 

3. Liver sausage - Oscar Wilde / Frank O' Hara / Boris Pasternak
He had "liver sausages in the Mayflower shoppe." He died of ruptured liver. Larry Rivers, his long-time friend and lover delivered the eulogy at his funeral.

4. Claret - Percy Bysshe Shelley / John Keats / Lord Byron
"A thing of beauty is a joy forever..."

5. Champagne - Oscar Wilde / George Bernard Shaw / Frank Harris
"Always forgive your enemies. Nothing annoys them so much."

6. Eggs - George Orwell / Victor Hugo / Charles Dickens
One of his masterpieces was recently released as a musical

7. Vanilla pudding - Jean Paul Sartre / Boris Pasternak / Gunther Grass
recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature

8. Soda water - Robert Frost / Lord Byron / George Bernard Shaw
One of his most famous poems was sang at the opening credits of the film Vanity Fair: " the night, of cloudless climes and starry skies..."

9. Rabbit stew - Sylvia Plath / Virginia Woolf / Emily Dickenson
She advanced the genre of confessional poetry

10. Plum cake - Elizabeth Browning / Jane Austen / Charlotte Bronte
Her most famous novel is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year

11. Oysters - Vladimir Nabokov / Leo Tolstoy / Anton Chekhov
He once said, "medicine is my lawful wife; and literature is my mistress"

12. Milk - Honore' de Balzac / Frank Kafka / Moliere
 Le Peau de chagrin, Gobseck. "A mother who is really a mother is never free."

13. Espresso - Alexandre Dumas / Marcel Proust / Jules Verne
In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower. "Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind."

~Idea: theawl.  The rest of the research is mine~

Answers: 1 Robert Frost  2 Charles Dickens  3 Frank O' Hara  4 John Keats  5 Oscar Wilde  6 Victor Hugo  7 Gunther Grass  8 Lord Byron  9 Sylvia Plath  10 Jane Austen  11 Anton Chekhov  12 Honore' de Balzac  13 Marcel Proust 

Pelican brief dessert

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first. ~Ernestine Ulmer
Butter pan cake with warm chocolate, green tea ice cream and red bean jam

This dessert plate arrived on my table and I had my nose glued to The Pelican Brief. When I remembered to take a photo, the green tea ice cream had began melting. But who cares? This is one of those feel-good moments when you're doing two things you love simultaneously!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Unknown reasons

What spirit is so empty and blind that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed? - Michelangelo

 Why is the Mom in this family picture smiling? Oh, I know. The Dad is wearing shoes.

But my mother was also smiling in our family photo. All three of us look about the same age as this family. Mama said she explicitly told Papa that day long ago that we would sit for a family portrait so we were to don something formal. But lo and behold Papa came in flip flops! Mama wasn't very happy about it. She still placed our picture neatly in the family album though. Family is family, slippers or stilettos.

What is unknown to me, besides the identity of this family, is how Father (rest in peace, Pap) ended up in the photo studio wearing slippers when he wore shoes virtually all the time. In fact we only saw him wearing slippers during his retirement.

Ah well, so much for shoes. I have loads of them but I don't want to ramble on about why I have more shoes than umbrellas when I live in a country that blazes hot all year.

I could probably attempt an analysis, but there are more interesting Unknowns to explore this week at Sepia headquarters.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love story

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 and Favorite Things Thursday

Not the kind of “love” question you’re expecting for Valentine’s Day. No, what I want to know is:  what do you love most about reading?
I could be in Tuscany on Sunday and Athens on Thursday. I get to observe a medieval drunk lord in a nightie or analyze an assassin's motive while sipping coffee. I'm on top of the world when I'm buried in the pages.


Thursday 13: pieces of music you hear in films that were made from books. The name(s) after each title is either the *singer/performer, **writer, or ***composer. [Edit]I added the author. Can you name which book or story? 

1. Postcard to Henry Purcell  ***Dario Marianelli on Jane Austen's -
2. For the beauty of the earth  **Folliott S. Pierpoint on Louisa May Alcott's -
3. Weep ye no more sad fountains  *John Dowland (16th c.) on William Thackeray's -
4. On my own  *Lea Salonga on Victor Hugo's -
5. Lavender dream  ***Joshua Bell on William J. Locke's -
6. The banquet  ***Paul Cantelon on Philippa Gregory's -
7. Prelude for piano op. 28 no. 4  ***
Chopin on Nicholas Sparks' -
8. Winter light  *Sarah Brightman on Frances Hodgson Burnett's -
9. Wedding march  ***
Mendelssohn on William Shakespeare's -
10. Avonlea  ***Hagood Hardy on Lucy Maud Montgomery's -
11. Elinor remembers  ***Javier Navarette on Cornelia Funke's -
12. The conqueror worm  *Wes Bentley, ***Michael Edwards on Edgar Allan Poe's -
13. Your crowning glory  *Julie Andrews and Raven on Meg Cabot's -

Book / Story 

1. Pride and Prejudice
Little Women
Vanity Fair
Les Miserables
Ladies in Lavender 
The Other Boleyn Girl 
7. The Notebook 
8. The Secret Garden
Midsummer Night's Dream  
Anne Shirley of Green Gables
11. Inkheart
Princess Diaries II 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Les Miserables brunch

Les Miserables hit big screens in Bangkok on January 31st, weeks behind Europe. At least that's what I remember a friend in Sweden said to me last week of December 2012- that they're all crazy about the musical. I love buying little treats to celebrate films I enjoy watching. This time I tried the warm chocolate cupcake from Coffee Beans by Dao. I also browsed a sprinkling of quotes by LM genius Victor Hugo:

 "To love another person is to see the face of God."

“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.”

"He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.”

“It is nothing to die. It is frightful not to live.”

Thursday, February 7, 2013


In this post: Booking Through Thursday and Thursday Thirteen

Do other people influence what you choose to read? When a family member recommends something, or a friend says they hated a book you were planning to read … does it affect your reading choices?
Sometimes I deliberately read a book because others say they hated it or even because it has bad (mixed?) reviews, especially if the review was by a book industry authority I trust. It's interesting to be intrigued. I enjoy my own curiosity and I can't seem to rest until I find out why the book was reviewed like that.

Thursday 13: Banned books that I *have never read, #already read or studied, and @fancy reading: (Edit 2/8/13: banned by governments)

1. @The Bible. I make no promise I can read this entirely though.
2. *Lolita (1955) by Vladimir Nabokov. Why in 1964 France, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Argentina thought it was obscene - I'm curious to know.
3. #@The Canterbury Tales (late 14th century) by Geoffrey Chaucer. When we studied this collection in English Literature class, and later when I required it on Marine academy seniors as supplemental reading, I didn't know this was banned. Therefore now that I know it once was, I want to get my hands on it again.
4. #The Da Vinci Code (2003) by You Know Who err... Dan Brown. Lord help! It would be exciting if they tried to hide all the Harry Potter books too. My mother banned my son from watching the films. Wicked :)
5. *The Diary of Anne Frank (1947) by Anne Frank. A copy has been sitting on my shelf for ages I'm no longer sure if I still have it or it's been borrowed. Now I want to know what's wrong with "portraying Zionism favorably."
6. *Doctor Zhivago (1957) by Boris Pasternak. I may watch the film first and then find out why Jake in Must Love Dogs liked it.
7. *Frankenstein (1818) by Mary Shelley. We read some of Percy Bysshe Shelley's work in class. I didn't know then that his wife was talented too, and I want to know what does Frankenstein have to do with apartheid in South Africa.
8. @Lysistra (411 B.C.) by Aristophanes. Just because in the script "Lysistrata persuades the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace" Greece, in 1967 banned it for its anti-war message? Does being sex-deprived make humans anti-war? Aren't we admonished to 'make love, not war'? Now I'm confused.
9. @Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) by George Orwell. Stalin probably couldn't take the suggestion that it's a satire on his leadership. I read the book during bus rides to the border between Cambodia and Thailand where I go bargain-hunting. I wonder where did Orwell get his ideas. He seemed possessed.
10. #Noli Mi Tangere (1887) by Jose Rizal. This was a whole year of study in 4th year high school. If the teacher had her personal opinions on the corruption and abuse of the Spanish government on Filipinos, she handled it subtly. But I did harbor some dislike against Spain or Spanish people that time. 
11. *Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe influenced Jose Rizal to write Noli Mi Tangere, which eventually got him killed. 
12. *Areopagitica (1644) by John Milton. I want to read it just because it's hundreds of years old, and old intrigues me.
13. *Freemason Or Dajjal (2007) by Kamran Rad. Recently I was on friendly talking terms with a Freemason. It will be nice to not sound too out of this world if we ever talked again.   

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dasa book cafe

When Dasa Book Cafe claims that they are the 'best secondhand bookshop in Bangkok,' I believe them. Not only am I a frequent customer here; I have also visited other secondhand bookshops in the city but I like Dasa best of all.

Their site has a page that explains the name Dasa, and I quote:
"dāsa" came from the name of the late venerable Thai Buddhist Monk called "Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu".

The word "dāsa" itself means "slave" or "servant". It's the word from an ancient language called "Pali" which is the language that Buddhist monks use in chanting and in their regular rituals or ceremonies. We chose this name because it conveys the meaning that all book lovers are "slave" in the sense that they can't live without books or reading. The name also has a nice Asian touch to it and is also quite catchy.
Even though the place may not look attractive on the outside, I'd still say it's one of my favorite haunts. 

Inside it's cozy

and conducive to browsing.

Sometimes I would climb up the second and third floors and browse some more

Often I just stay in this area where the English-speaking assistants are. A white guy (I'm guessing the owner) works quietly near the coffee corner cataloguing books in his computer.


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