Big Bad Wolf 2013


After the great success last year (and the years before), BBWB (Big Bad Wolf Book) sale was back at the same place this year and we made sure we were there on the opening day.

But before that, please allow me to trace back to the beginning of this year when I mentioned that I was intending on adding another book cabinet before end of the year BBWB sale and turn the small family area upstairs into a mini library. Until Deepavali, the lone book cabinet was overflowing with books and magazine but then when we were “cleaning” up the house for Deepavali, my sister came over and slowly worked on the books and somehow managed to find enough space for all the books that we had bought todate. She managed to find even more space once she had moved my son’s comics back to his room. In the end, it looked like there was enough space to hold all the books we expected to buy in this year’s BBWB. But I knew that sooner or later, I still need to get that extra book cabinet – I won’t have enough space for the next BBWB sale – I am very sure of it.

This year, the BBWB sale started on Friday last week and will continue for 24 hours until this Sunday. With my HEO (house executive officer) and the 2 big bosses out at the in-laws house up north for the school holidays and I will not be free for the coming holiday on Wednesday and on this weekend, it looked like I only had one weekend to go for the sale. So I messaged my sister who is another loyal visitor to BBWB and who also have a good collection of books herself and asked if she was planning of going to BBWB (she usually do on the opening) and if she is, whether I can ‘tumpang” along for the ride. She immediately messaged back that she was going that night and she asked me if I wanted to join her. Since she was driving and it is after work hours (i.e. quite late at night – the best time to shop for books), I immediately agreed.

Despite waiting up late before leaving the house, we made the same mistake we did last year – i.e. by going at the same time when the patrons of Mines shopping center was leaving, causing a super bottleneck at the entrance. We should have left at an hour later when all had left leaving only those “book crazy people” (like me and my sister) driving up in peace for the BBWB sale at Mines. We crawled from the main highway (sorry, it was worse than a crawl) and towards the parking lot at the convention center. As usual, there were more than enough idiots making things even worse by queue jumping and causing the proper lane to come to a complete standstill. It took some time but we stick to the proper lane – just because there were idiots out there, it does not mean we need to become one as well. Besides the BBWB sale was a 24 hours event – the later we come in, the less people at the sale (hopefully).

Hoping that there is still parking lot for us, we inched on towards the entrance of the Mines Convention Center. We paid our parking fees and noticed that the first lot of the parking was full – the attendant was closing the entrance just when we reached the place. He then pointed towards another entrance and when we drove towards that, we were surprised that that one was quite empty. After parking the car, we were for a moment got lost – there was almost no signage whatsoever pointing towards to the lobby. We walked around looking for the exit towards the main lobby and then we saw a group walking and we kind of just followed them, hoping that they knew where they were going – good thing they were.

Despite the crowd outside the convention center, the crowd inside was somehow manageable. For this year, the organizers had switched places where one can collect the empty boxes and to store the books, making it a more “user friendly” for the shoppers. The empty boxes can easily be collected at the entrance – the guy stationed there was a very friendly and helped to get the right size of the boxes depending on how many books we intend to buy. I made a mistake of picking a larger box (despite the guy offering a smaller box). The larger box is good to hold all the books I intended to buy for the day, all in one place but it was taxing on my arms and the back, carrying that box all over the place. I lost count of the times I had put down the box down, not because it was heavy but it was too large to hold it properly and walk around the crowd.

BBWB books

BBWB books 2

In terms of book range this year, I focused on the same non-fictions and sci-fi novels (I saw some of the last year titles sold cheaper this year). I picked a book on tanks (I wanted to buy it last year but I gave it a miss since I had other books in the box). Then a couple of Jeffrey Archer‘s 2-in-1 novels mainly because it was small and it was a bargain at RM10 per book. I walked around and then I saw “Political Biography of Indira Gandhi” priced at RM10. I have read in detail about the other Gandhi and I know something about this Gandhi, so it seemed a good time to pick up this book. Waiting at the counter to pay, I then realized that that the copy that I took does not have a price sticker, so I walked back and then noticed that the same book was also priced at RM8. Both books were stacked up side by side (how I could have missed that?) – same quality but different prices. Strange.

I also got “The Pacific” companion book by Hugh Ambrose which was a gem because I have seen the whole TV series and I loved the entire series – it has to be since “The Pacific” was the most expensive television miniseries ever created by any network (by the way, I also loved Band of Brothers which showed how men and women during the war fought on what was right and did things right). I also got myself “Papillon” – I have seen the movie acted excellently by Steve McQueen as Papillon and Dustin Hoffman many times before but as in the case of the Lord of the Rings, a heavily edited for commercial success movie does not tell the whole story in complete. You still need to read the actual book to understand the story in complete. I picked up some other books but when I reached my limit of RM100 (it was actual RM102), I  decided to stop – or rather I forced myself to stop, otherwise I could have burned another RM100 – RM200 easily.

In total, the damage was about RM182 for about 20 books that me and my sister picked up during our 2-3 hours shopping at BBWB (we lost count of the actual hours). It was worth the money and time – it was almost 1.30 am when we walked back to the car with 2 large plastic bags. Once reached home, I was just too tired to take my usual “before going to bed shower” and only woke up at 2 pm later.

Now, I can’t wait to finish reading my new books and for next year’s BBWB sale….

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NaNoWriMo 2010 – Day 6


My entry for this year is titled “The Aryan Wind”…a mixed of espionage, adventure and mystery.

As at today, I managed to crawl about 10,011 words – just meeting the required daily entries of 1,666 words. Compared to last year, this year things have been slow – traveling is hampering the time to sit down and write and then there is the issue of getting a good plot down.

For now, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I am just whacking enough words on a very loose plot to get to the finishing line and as always, need to spend another couple of months to brush up a illogical plot into a logical plot.

Here is short excerpt of what I have done todate:-

John remained silent – he is not sure where his team stands between the powers that are involved and why the betrayal.

“Let’s think about this another time, Joseph. We are on the run, we need to strategize. You better take rest – you been injured and you need to recover. Besides, we need to take some sleep before our turn for the night watch” said John as Joseph made up his bed and closed his eyes.

His injuries were bad and he needs time to recover. In the meantime, John predicts a daunting effort in getting his mission done.

Crossing the 10,000 words milestone has been tough but the good thing is as I keep writing, new plots and subplots starts to form and I managed to clock in more additional words (something thinking is required). NaNoWriMo has not been easy but I think that is what makes it more interesting.

24 days to go for the finishing line…

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Close call


 

(Cartoon source: http://www.maryland-injury-law-advisor.com) 

A slip, wet bathroom floor, early morning and a hard bathroom sink at the back…that is not a good combination.

My wife who had just walked in and witnessed the “event” had a shock of her life. But with God’s grace, I found my footing (after herculean struggle) but at the right time. I was ok but the bathroom door was not.

I just need to be more careful from now onwards (and hope it is not another episode of “Final Destination“). Ha ha

Burka Band


(Day 20 in Kabul)

It can be downright serious in Kabul with armed guards by the road side, at the entrance of the hotel and riding in the same vehicle with us. The very mention of the place “Kabul” may sent shivers to some people and I can’t blame them – the newspapers here always have an article about the fight against Taliban on frontpage on daily basis.

However, there is always time to find some humor or light jokes right here in Kabul and one of the good source of such light entertainment is from Youtube which featured an all women band – first in Afghanistan after the defeat of Talibans by the US. The wording may be serious in Afghanistan but for the rest of us, coming from a less stressful place, it may sound funny.

Now watch the band in action:-

You may be laughing now but a simple google on the web reveals these articles about the band – read here and here

The Life of Mahatma Gandhi


The Life of Mahatma Gandhi

(One short heavy stuff but don’t mind me, I am just having a fever – I can, in fact, write weird stuff. Image source: http://www.petervis.com)

Gandhi…

I recall “meeting” him for the first time in my grandpa’s house back in the 70s. He was up on the wall with golden frame. My grandpa must have had the greatest respect for this old man with frame spectacles. At my age then, I use to think that the old man in the photo was my great, great grandfather.

Having a fever for the past few days has given me an opportunity to catch up on some of the books that has been lying idle in my bookshelf (ya, I have yet to touch the book by Tolkien). One of it is the biography titled The Life of Mahatma Gandhi by Louis Fischer.

Just like the movie, Fischer starts off the book with the assassination and it is explained in detail and all the way, where Gandhi goes down chanting “Rama, Rama, Rama”.

An excellent read indeed and it is nothing like what you have seen in the movie Gandhi although Sir Richard Attenborough (now a Baron) was in fact was inspired by Louis Fischer’s book (you can see his note on the cover as well) to do the movie. I recall buying the book couple of years ago when it was reprinted in conjunction with India’s 50th independence day. It only cost me RM29.90 back then and it was a cheap bargain (then again, anything less than RM30.00 is a cheap bargain). Louis Fischer, who spent his time with Gandhi prior to the independence of India, put forward a book that is not in the form of a story book but rather in the form of intellectual articles. The biography was first published in 1950. There are stories about Gandhi’s earlier years, his time in South Africa, his thoughts on certain issues and the impact of Gandhism on his wife and children (especially on his eldest son).

Ya, it may sound “heavy” especially when you are down with a fever and flu but the language of the book is fairly simple and easy to follow although Fischer tends to move back and fro in time depending on the content of the chapter. There are very little photos in the book except for a couple of it somewhere in the middle, so you have no other choice but to read through each of the words to understand.

It is interesting to understand the things that made a big impact on Gandhi – things like Tolstoy’s literature, poems from both Western and Indian poets, his mother, the British and so on. Gandhi also ventured into vegetarianism at the beginning due to his mother request and the later when he had very little money to spend when he was studying in London. Gandhi was in fact experimenting with a lot of issues and somehow managed to perfect it once he had returned to India.

In the movie Gandhi, you would not have noticed this but in the book, Fischer managed to show several instances where Gandhi tried on several ideas (on brotherhood, struggle against the government and on maintaining his way of life) and failed miserably. He either dropped such ideas all together or varied to practice it. However, in the end, his core struggle focused on India being free – both externally (i.e. from the British) and internally (from religion differences and caste issue). Although he was the Father of India, not everyone agreed with his ideas but at the same time, was not willing to be known as the person who defied Gandhi.

The book, coupled with the Attenborough’s movie and other resources from the internet makes an almost complete fact about Gandhi and his life. It is a good topic to read when one is down with a fever (what I am saying here!). I just wished that Fischer would have added more of the “hard to get” photos of Gandhi and India (when it was under British) – that would have explained to visualize certain of his chapters but I guess, back in the 50s, not many were thinking like a blogger.

Oh by the way, in case you did not know, Gandhi came from a family who been in the grocery business for a long time and in fact, the name “Gandhi” means grocer.

Back to my bed now…

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