Thursday, June 27, 2013

Summer reading

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"It’s time for summer reading, so … today’s question? What’s the worst thing you ever did to your reading material? Sand in the bindings from the beach? Dropped into the pool? Covers smeared with sunscreen? 

And, if you’ve never done actual summer-time damage … have you EVER damaged your book/magazine/paper? Dropped it in the bathtub? Used it to kill a bug? Spilled with coffee?"

I left Dan Brown's Deception Point in my mother's living room long enough for a niece (who was also visiting) to be tempted to 'steal' it and make it her own summer read.

I normally take enough care of my books that none of them are ever damaged but there was a time when some of them were eaten up by termites.  The house help never informed me until the darn pests have burrowed into them.  I was brokenhearted. 

Thursday 13: things the world's smartest people are afraid of.  A hundred and fifty of them are listed on several internet sources. Worry was mentioned several times by, you guessed it - psychologists. What do you think of these fears?

1) Armageddon  ~ Timothy Taylor, archeologist
2) The demise of the scholar ~ David L. Everett, liguistic researcher
3) The post-human geography that will result when robots have taken all our jobs. ~ David Dalrymple, MIT researcher
4) That aliens pose a danger to human civilization. ~ Seth Shostak, SETI researcher
5) That genomics may fail us when it comes to mental disorders. ~ Terrence J. Sejnowski, computational neuroscientist
6) That we'll begin to treat technology like magic. ~ Neil Gershenfield, MIT physicist
7) The proliferation of Chinese eugenics. ~ Geoffrey Miller, evolutionary psychologist
8) The homogenization of the human experience. ~ Scott Atran, anthropologist
9) I worry that free imagination is overvalued, and I think this carries risks. ~ Carlo Rovelli, theoretical physicist
10) The end of hardship inoculation. ~ Adam Alter, psychologist
11) The pseudoscience will gain ground - Helena Cronin, author, philosopher
12) That we will continue to uphold taboos on bad words. ~ Benjamin Bergen, Associate Professor of Cognitive Science, UCS
13) I worry about the prospect of collective amnesia ~ Nogra Arikha, historian of ideas

Here are the rest of them:  150 things the world's smartest people are afraid of

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fave Five: week's highlights

Fave Five: week's highlights
A little note for new bloggity friends: It's been an old blogging practice of mine to keep a record of what's positive and good about the week. For several months I have been unable to do it due to a few bits and pieces both on and off line. But I am doing it again. It's quite a good exercise in gratitude and optimism. There's nothing like celebrating! So on to exactly what I'm talking about, these are some highlights, five of them, of my week:

Catching up with movies
Thank goodness for days off.  I managed four of them in two afternoons. Fast and Furious 6 emphasizes teamwork, Hangover III friendship; The Great Gatsby shows lengths humans are willing to go to to gain acceptance, Jurassic Park introduces DNA to pop culture.

Crichton's Timeline
It took me awhile but I got the reading done. I appreciate and love novels that are intelligently researched.
Overseas phone conversation with the kiddo
CJ: Are you finished working, Mommy?
Me: No, Baby. I'm just about to go to work. I work evenings.
CJ: Do you go to work on a skateboard?
Me: Skateboard what?!...

He kept on talking. Bla-bla this, bla-bla that. Then out of the blue...

"Excuse me, Mommy. I have to go poo-poo...."

The Grandma was giggling in the background. And the sound of shuffling feet faded away.

I can't believe CJ is now talking like this to me. The phone bill is well, I'll put it this way: this happiness does not come in cheap but it's worth it. It does look like that clinical impression (selective mutism) three years before is gone.

Remembering Papa
It has been eight years since father passed away but each year on Father's Day I have him in my thoughts as I go about delicious food. He was the first one that came to mind when I leafed through this back issue of a society magazine at Starbucks and saw Sean Penn like this. You see I once witnessed my father carry a half sack of rice. In his office clothes?! It made a lasting impression on me although it happened for less than a minute. Unprecedented wonder for a nine-year old. I thought only porters could and would do that sort of thing. The surprise factor was significant. Father just played Samson in front of me. And thirty-three years later, it's amazing to see he's got star company.

Sean Penn- certainly 'more than a face,' and my own father showed me what he was capable of beyond his office persona. The world's got supermen all over :)
Father's Day meal

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lotus white, tea, braids and ice

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"And, the reverse–which actors have been particularly badly cast in roles of characters you first met in the pages of a book? Do you blame the actors or the writers and other film-people for the failure? Who would you have cast instead?"

Ewan McGregor as Carlo Ventresca in Angels and Demons. I thought he was too thin and small as a carmerlengo. They could have cast someone with more body volume and a deep bass voice, but it's just me.

Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey. Too pretty for her character as one who is into horror Gothic stories. Again, it's just me.

I don't care about blaming anyone for the failure. It's not worth the wrinkles. I just go get myself a cup of tea and find other books and movies to enjoy.

Thursday 13: Random quotes that mention white things in photos I took recently

1. The white lotus opens wide to those who know her secrets. ~ Fung and Iroh.
2. I failed to make the chess team because of my height. ~ Woody Allen
3. A picture is a poem without words. - Horace
4. There is not so variable a thing as a lady's headdress. ~ Joseph Addison

5. As lovely as the white orchid, I'll never own this bloom outright. Yet as I dream in my small chamber, faith blooms in ever spreading light. ~ Liilia Talts Morrison

6. Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one. ~ E.B. White
7. Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning. ~ William Arthur Ward 

8. From time to time I'm vilified as the person who cares about the look of a teapot. ~ Stephen Bayley

9. Real nutrition comes from soybeans, almonds, rice and other healthy vegetable sources, not from a cow's udder. ~ Ingrid Newkirk
10. Women eat ice cream. Men toast marshmallows. ~ Diana Hardy
11. Consumers are eating about six ounces of Pangasius per year. Hardly more than a mouthful ~ shared by a member of The Caravan Club

12. A girl without braids is like a city without bridges. ~ Roman Payne
13. I dread no more the first white in my hair, or even age itself the easy shoe. Time doing this to me may alter too my sorrow into something I can bear. ~ Edna St Vincent Millay

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

W is for...

For the first time since participating in the ABC meme, I go random for W. So without much ado here I go -

Wine Republic: a wine shop in Thonglor

windows of Mount Ievers Court, Co. Clara from the book Irish Houses and Castles

watery wayside at work

my whimsical notebook or at least that's how I call it. That's the buttercup fairy by Mary Cicely Barker. I scribble haiku on the leaves

winged beans: go well with minced beef

Monday, June 17, 2013

When students are busy

It's fun watching them

and what they're doing

these ones are wondering if their handiwork can withstand wind

and these ones are adding volume to their makeshift wall

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Phra Buddha Sothorn

Never in my life have I worn so much jewelry as I have during my wedding. Strangest sensation. There I was squatting on a wooden floor, hands clasped in prayer wondering what was going on while  nine monks chanted Pali in my clueless face for three straight hours. It was a Buddhist ceremony. The almighty (ex)Mom-in-law orchestrated the entire event. I did nothing but marry her son. 

While barefoot the rest of my body was bedecked with 24K gold jewelry. Well, except the silk skirt which was heavy with hundreds of rhinestones sewn around a foot high above the hem. I don't think I will ever go through such wedding garb again. But I'm keeping the rock (ring is studded with six dots of diamond) and this-

This pendant is a replica of Phra Buddha Sothorn or Luang Phor Sothorn which is the religious symbol of Chachoengsao, the city where the then husband and his family come from. In Christian countries Phra Buddha Sothorn is like a patron saint of a town or province. 

Here's a description of the Phra Buddha Sothon from ThaiGold

"Luang Phor Sothon is one of the most revered Buddha images in Thailand. The image is in the attitude of meditation, measuring 1.65 meters wide at the lap and 1.98 meters high. According to the legend, Phra Buddha Sothorn was the youngest of three brothers. They were created by Hindu priests. It was believed that the owners of these three images were three millionaires in the North. Over a hundred years ago, a miracle happened when the three brothers escaped the blazing ancient capital of Ayutthaya by walking down to the Ping River, heading southward, where they were swept away. 

The eldest one floated down to the Gulf of Thailand and along the coast to Samut Songkram and has stayed there since. The second one floated along Samrong Canal to Bangphli in Samutprakarn.  After a group of people there paid respect and used sai sin, a long white thread, to pull him ashore, he remained there since then. The youngest, Phra Buddha Sothorn, was swept down thru Bang Prakong River to Chachoengsao. He has been there since then. 

Two annual fairs celebrating the image fall on the 5th and 12th lunar months (around April and November). It is believed that once Phra Buddha Sothorn halted the deadly epidemic in Chachoengsao province after vows of appeasement were made to him. Thais believe that whatever good wishes people make to Phra Buddha Sothorn, he will grant and make their wish come true."

~ Head on over to Sepia Headquarters for more stories. ~

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dream Cast

This post is linked with: Booking Through, Thursday 13 

"And while we’re thinking about books converted to tv/movies. Do you ever sit and wonder who could be cast as your favorite characters? (Please feel free to give examples!)
What actors do you think have done particularly excellent jobs with some of your favorite characters?"
Cleopatra VII of Dan Brown's latest thriller; if they're converting Inferno to film soon- I wonder how would a younger version of Maggie Smith do. A complicated fancy but it's free to wish.

Richard Harris (HP1 & 2) and Michael Gambon (HP3-6) were perfect for their role as Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

They couldn't have chosen a better actor than Leonardio di Caprio as Jay Gatsby in the recent The Great Gatsby.

Jacob Black of the Twilight series was played quite well by Taylor Lautner. I don't mind that he is not as tall as his book character. Taylor is the best shape shifter ever and he played Jacob very well I was in love with him for months.

Thursday 13: Random bookish photos in my files

1. the latest Dan Brown thriller

2. I piled these last Christmas to make a tree out of them

3. got to watch the film first; went straight to the bookstore for the reading experience

4. at my fave second-hand bookshop: deciding which ones to check out

5. writing a research-reflective note on a page of a Jane Austen book

6. I heard my mother mutter quietly while watching me bid goodbye to these books I bought after a week-long vacation at home, "Anastasia and her latest loot.'

7. Advertising Management books, Business Management Faculty office (my playground)

8. this boardroom at work teems with e-books
9. Kinokuniya search machine; looks like the one that replaced the note cards

10. a book filled with color drawing of fairies by Mary Cicely Barker

11. some of those books I bought from Logos Hope

12. normal state of the bed

13. playing with free photo background online

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flea market supper

Three cousins wrestle a mountain of clothes in the flea market. An hour or two in they proceed to the food section. It's been awhile since the girls had somtam, or green papaya salad. So it is high on their list of dishes to have for supper. Joy is finding a vendor whose somtam combo is exactly one's taste.




This is the state of the coffee table the day after- a mainly fruit breakfast to offset the effects of coke drunk during the somtam supper which cost just $4.50.

And this is how fruits in the tropics are enjoyed: ten mangoes for $1.61, a kilo of rambutan for $0.60, two kilos of mangosteen for $1.30, durian for $3.25, a dozen pieces of jackfruit for $0.65. Joy is spending less for healthy food.

Somtam is everywhere in Thailand and popular among locals and foreign visitors alike. The Thai variation is no. 46 on CNN Go's World's 50 Most Delicious Foods. Here's a recipe by Maangchi Kim.

Monday, June 10, 2013

By the lift

It helps that the building around where life revolves at work is also a venue for offshore company meetings, seminars, sitcom shootings, press conferences and wedding receptions. Once in awhile I learn something new from the flower world. 

Blue chrysanthemums? I thought the arranger sprayed some of them for variation. But I took a step closer and found they were real natural blue.

Not trusting my eyes enough, I dashed off to Google.... ah! there are indeed blues of them. And their middle is just what I need for the mellows. Hope we all have a great week. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Unbirthday tea

As Lewis Carroll's neologism in his Through the Looking Glass, an unbirthday is "an event that can be celebrated on any day that is not the person's birthday." People who love celebrations may be into unbirthdays regularly. I am. It keeps me counting blessings and looking at life positively.
"Statistics prove that you have one birthday, just one birthday every year. But there are three hundred and sixty-four unbirthdays. And this is a reason to gather and cheer." 
An unbirthday is also
"when you acknowledge that it is, indeed, the date of your birth, but refuse to acknowledge that you have aged."
and to you!


~ Sally's Blues and Maiylah's Food: sticky rice sweet coconut balls ~

It is also suggested that an unbirthday is "the day of a sibling's birthday where you also receive presents/money in order to keep the peace." 

I didn't know about this before but I have been buying gifts for my fur kid when the biological one has a birthday, and vice versa. When CJ turned nine I decided to join in the fun with my boys by having an unbirthday; albeit a working mom style one, spread and ongoing.

The local delicacy is the saving grace of the plastic water glass and paper coffee cup - served as snack during a 15-minute research conference break (intense and seemingly endless; not to mention quality control meetings here and there). When things go this way, as they usually do, the answer is an unbirthday.

~ My World: Business Faculty meeting, TRU-STech 18, Bangkok Campus ~

Never mind that it's punctuated with research thingamabobs: Epistemology. ANOVA. Enthnography. Multiple regression. Theoretical framework. Gimme the darn findings already! A long shot but it's nice to wish sometimes.

Plowing on - content validity, strategic communications, deception analysis. Crack! I need tea!

~ Mellow Yellows: it's strawberry milk tea time in my nook ~

And another unbirthday. So I made a little detour to Asia Books from bank errands the other night and got myself the latest Dan Brown thriller. Don't you just love the feeling of holding a 'just out' book in your hands?

~ ABC Wednesday: unbirthday treat ~

I read the prologue aloud to myself, heart skipping at the mention of Uffizi, huddling in the shadows...; then halted unexpectedly on chthonic, laboring beneath the earth.... How is 'chthonic' pronounced anyway? Anyone?

~ Ruby 2: Inferno ~

They are behind me unyielding, closing in. 
They do not understand what is coming.... 
Ungrateful land! 

The pressure to publish is floating around my nostrils. "'Seek and find,' the woman repeats" (Brown, 2013). Back to research mode. The load does get lighter when fueled by unbirthday tea.


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