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Review: Norwegian Wood

June 14, 2011

Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I know, Haruki Murakami, great author and all, lots of fans and whatnot, but this book just didn’t do it for me.

It seems that… there is no plot, there is seemingly no climax (I’m still trying to think which of those incidents is supposed to be the climax) and the ending is just as baffling. I don’t get it. At. All.

I guess it somehow reads more like a diary or a journal. We start with this current Toru Watanabe thinking about his past… but usually, with this kind of setting, wouldn’t the ending of the book be a wrap up of this "thoughts of the past" and then zoom back to the current character and I dunno, say some sort of conclusion?

The way the book ended felt like it was just cut off. For some people, it may seem that it’s very good, and great and that it ended with the right mysterious flavour, but for me, I still have the beginning of the book, clearly in my mind, so, I keep asking, "so what’s this got to do with the beginning of the book?"

It’s just this Toru going through his late adolescent life, his friends die, blah blah, he’s stuck, he’s lost, sleeps around, meets a new friend, nice girl and all, starts to like her, stops sleeping around, then sleeps with a woman 19years his senior 4 times in a night.

I’m not really discriminating about the age. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if he already liked a girl enough to ask her to "wait for him" then I think it’s just common courtesy to not sleep with anyone else. Or maybe something’s wrong with me, I have no idea.

Once again, this is one of those books that it was enjoyable while I’m reading it, but when I reach the end, the ending just… is either inconclusive, doesn’t wrap things up, no closure… or just simply doesn’t make sense, whatsoever with regards with how the story started. Sorry.

View all my reviews

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Moving for good

May 1, 2011

Dear Friends and readers,

This WordPress has been a fun and memorable place for me. As all great things go, it has to come to an end sometime. I guess this would be the time for me at WordPress.

I now reside at Livejournal. Specifically, my blog is now at notte0.livejournal.com. It is semi private, but still I mainly write public posts. Therefore, please update your bookmarks, and hopefully I’ll see you there too!

PS. Livejournal now accepts external commentors as well, so there is no need to register for a Livejournal account to comment. Thanks!!

Kat.

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Pretty hectic

April 15, 2011

I have good reason to have had disappeared. Life has been hectic. As I type this, I’m feeling pretty sick.
I’m now going for scooter lessons. Exam on next Wednesday. I doubt I’ll pass, but ohwell, I’ll be going for the test alright.

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One-day Holiday

April 5, 2011

So I had a day off today. I guess it was a wasted day, but hey, I’m entitled to waste some days if I want to!

Besides, it being a public holiday means even all the shops & hang out locations have a 70% chance of being closed today. So there.

Slept in till 9:30am… Sweet, sweet, sweet sleeping! As usual, walked the dogs, played a bit on Facebook, read a lot, walked the dogs again dinner… And that’s about what happened…

Here, a photo of our hike :-D

20110405-115654.jpg

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My Musical Abilities

March 13, 2011

Actually, yes, I play the piano.

I was quite the whiz when I was a kid. But I wasn't really paying too much attention to the lessons, and the teacher was a bit off, so I stopped.

Well, I never studied any theory. I started learning to play the piano, and the teacher plunged me right into the Beyer book. Then I did the Grade 1 exam. After that, he started to teach me Grade 3 stuff, and I did the Grade 3 exam. He then attempted to put in my the Grade 5 curriculum, STILL without having me learn any theory.

I remember once, he scolded me really badly. He was talking on the phone or something, and I was playing something from the Grade 5 book, then he said "you should play it like this in this part"

So I spent the following week playing as he instructed. And then when it was class time again, I played it as he said I should, and he yelled at me. I replied "but that's how you told me to play it last week!" and he had the audacity to reprimand me with a "You should not blame others on what you did wrong."

I admit I was pretty much a slowpoke when I was a kid, and I don't remember much of my child-years. But THIS incident I remember so well… so well that in that summer, we paused our lessons because we were going to Portugal for 2 long months, and when we came back, I never called him anymore. I officially quit.

To date, I'm still pretty shakey on theory. I can't really read the scores well (I played mainly by memory – I'd look at the teacher play, remember how the rhythm and chords are, then replay as he had) and I don't have any pieces that I could just whip out and play…. well, yes, the whole of Fur Elise (Beethovan) and a tiny little bit of The Beautiful Blue Danube (Strauss).

I like collecting piano scores though, and have a few pieces that I had tried learning, but with my sucky theory, I never managed to learn anything properly.

So there you go. Another shame for me?

Powered by Plinky

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Macau Tidbits: Zaia vs. THODW

March 13, 2011

I tried to let myself cool off a bit after watching Franco Dragone’s The House Of Dancing Water (THODW) before writing this comparison with Cirque du Soleil’s ZAIA. I wanted to think it all out before making any errors that I would punch myself for in the future.

I watched the ZAIA last year, and just watched THODW last week. Before I go into any of my opinion-divulging, basic information to share:

ZAIA [ Official Website ]
Cirque du Soleil
Location: The Venetian Macau, Cotai Strip
Shuttle bus available from Macau Ferry Terminal, China Border Gate. Unsure if shuttle service is available from the Airport.
Schedule: Changes every week. Mainly 5pm and 8pm. Sometimes 3pm. Check complete official schedule.
Ticket categories: 4 categories: VIP, Reserve A, Reserve B, Reserve C, Adult & Child price available. Pricing table.
Seating notes: n/a

The House of Dancing Water [ Official Website ]
Franco Dragone
Location: City of Dreams, Cotai Strip
Shuttle bus available from Macau Ferry Terminal, China Border Gate, Macau Tower, Sintra Hotel. Unsure if shuttle service is available from the Airport.
Schedule: 5pm and 8pm, NO SHOWS on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Check ticketing website.
Ticket categories: 4 categories: VIP, Reserve A, Reserve B, Reserve C, Adult and Child price available. Click on "Tickets Only" in main page for pricing table.
Seating notes: Front row seats (say first 3 rows) may catch rain/water splashes. Also, the theatre is round, seatings in the 2 ends of the "U" shape may miss out on background props.

Well, I shall say that again, I watched ZAIA last year, so I’m not so sure about the plot line, but it was something about a girl dreaming about the skies and the outer space. THODW, on the other hand… despite it being fresh in my mind, I have no idea what it was about… just some Lady Gaga look-alike queen locking a girl away.

Not wanting to delve too much into actual plot-lines, my opinion, is that, ZAIA is the winner here. It was easy to understand, the costumes are very nice, the acrobatics, skills, choreography, and music are wonderful. Perhaps it’s also because I liked all the dreaming aspect of ZAIA too, so I like ZAIA a lot more than THODW.

THODW, is pretty much the same like ZAIA. Yes, THODW is a lot more impressive in the technological sense, but I don’t think that alone is enough to make it "the best show". What’s so special with their technology? The ground, or stage, of THODW can change from solid ground to deep pool of water in less than a minute. So we see acrobatics and extreme diving in the same show. But that’s it. The music is nice, but you can’t buy the soundtrack – it’s not available for sale. I was a bit confused by the story line. The costumes are nice, but not stellar. Choreography, hm….

 
THODW does have a motorbike show which ZAIA doesn’t have. I was pretty impressed by that. It’s my first time watching a live motorbike show (those jumping over things show?). However, that doesn’t really make THODW so much more different from ZAIA.
 
If I may make such a statement, to me, THODW is just ZAIA, but with some water.

When it comes to shows, I’m not too picky of the pricing, but I guess for a family show it does make a difference. The Adult ticket prices are a nice tie between the two shows, but for children prices, ZAIA wins again. Besides, there is a lot of strong lighting and booming noise effects for THODW, so younger children might get frightened off by that.

One more rant for THODW… I hate that backdrop/background goddess that appears and does nothing. It irks me so. Can’t they cut her out of the show? Doesn’t serve a purpose at all.
 
So… I guess that’s it for this? Finally, I have one topic off my draft list now >:D
I hope anyone visiting Macau and considering either one of the shows may find this helpful. Of course, if you go to both shows, you may gain your own impression :-)
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Book: Making the Rounds with Oscar

March 8, 2011

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
David Dosa
Amazon Product Link

From Publishers Weekly
Dosa, a geriatrician with a strong aversion to cats, tells the endearing story of Oscar the cat, the aloof resident at a nursing home who only spends time with people who are about to die. Despite hearing numerous stories about Oscar’s uncanny ability to predict when a patient’s time is nearing, Dosa, ever the scientist, remains skeptical. Slowly, he starts to concede that there may be something special about Oscar. Dosa starts to pay more attention to the cat’s decidedly odd behavior, noticing that Oscar seeks out the dying, snuggles with the patient and family members until the patient passes; with others, he smells the patient’s feet, sits outside a closed door until admitted, or refuses to leave a dying patient’s bed. Dosa discovers how powerfully Oscar’s mere presence reassures frightened or grieving family. Ultimately, the good doctor realizes that it doesn’t matter where Oscar’s gift comes from; it’s the comfort he brings that’s important. This touching and engaging book is a must-read for more than just cat lovers; anyone who enjoys a well-written and compelling story will find much to admire in its unlikely hero. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Quite an interesting book. Didn’t really focus too much on the cat Oscar, but the reader gets to learn about what the family has to face when a family member has dementia/Alzheimer’s. All those descriptions led me thinking of my Grandma and ultimately, of the hard time my Mom had when she had to deal with her. I remember by the end, I was reluctant to go visit my Grandma because she didn’t even know who I am anyway, and I thought it wouldn’t make much of a difference if I did not show up. Little did i know back then that who needed me most wasn’t Grandma but my very own Mom. So now I’m feeling a bit down because of that.

Overall a very interesting book, with a few typos inside, though I don’t know if it’s really a missed typo or the conversion to Kindle had some issues, but those were still minor errors.

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