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Archive for August 30th, 2009


Brace yourself!  You are familiar with cashless shopping, e-cards, e-wallets and credit cards – those shiny 2″ x 3″ plastic cards which come in different colors and designs, which could buy you a sumptuous lunch or dinner in a fancy restaurant, a four-day quick trip to Hong Kong or a nice European tour depending of course on how much your limit is.  In the banking industry, a client or customer is always valued on the manner in which he handles his finances.  Your credit  history would speak on how trustworthy you are. The longer you have it would somehow give weight when you are applying for a personal loan or want to secure mortgages on your house or other personal properties.  There are still people who prefer cash in their transactions, an old-fashioned and somehow not a safe way to transact business considering the times we are in right now.  I remember that before I left Bank of PI nine years ago, I enrolled our  utilities online, now I could pay anytime, so convenient really.

It seems that the world is rapidly being catapulted to a paperless society.  I am talking here of the new gadgets like the Sony eReader, the Plastic Logic eReader and of course Amazon’s version called Kindle. It’s lightweight at 10.2 ounces and thinner than most magazines, it’s just over 1/3 of an inch.  Do you believe that it can store as much as 1,500 titles and can download newspapers through its 3G wireless system in a blink of an eye?  There is even the new text-to-speech feature, it can load any newspaper, magazines, blogs and book out loud to you.  Voracious readers like me might be overjoyed by this new technology.

Is the allure of reading gone to the dogs?  And they say that books now belong to the 20th century, at the back shelf.  Okay, okay, I’ve tried downloading e-books on the net and saving them to my document files. It’s as easy as one-two-three but the thing is, you still need to sit  in front of the computer to read it.  Having this new gadget is like having the latest I-phone or Blackberry.  If you are an environment conscious individual, you would love to have this instead of the heavy books you have to bring along in your sturdy backpack.   How many trees do they have to cut to compile a thousand page paperback or to make those glossy coffee-table books which we  love?

There is something so wonderful in hugging a newly bought book, smelling its pages and anticipating when to start reading it.  There is a sense of wonder, at least for me, to look at the cover of a paperback and turn the pages ever so lovingly while at the same time enjoying a good story.  You can curl up anywhere you want provided you feel comfortable enough with it.  I enjoy reading the morning papers in the garden and having a night read at the privacy of the bedroom.

Paper or plastic?  Give me a book anytime. It may take a while before I could adapt myself to this new revolution.  I may not be able to afford it anyway.

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One thing that makes me so happy nowadays is what I call “my nothing to do” days meaning that I could read, blog, stay on the net for hours, or watch DVDs (not necessarily in that order) to my heart’s content. So many books to read, so many thoughts playing in my head, they really compensate for the times that I could not tend to my gardening jobs, hours solely spent for personal pursuit.

Nissa and I have lots of TBR books filing up. Just this morning, they went to the mall after the 9am mass to buy some groceries and as I have always said, the trip won’t be complete without visiting NBS. Nissa came home waving a copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffinegger (it’s now a major motion picture) and another book by one of our favorite suspense authors Nelson de Mille. I don’t know if Up Country is as good as his other books. Josef bought another Calvin and Hobbes’ book entitled Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow  Goons. What a mouthful for a book title.  Sometimes I could not really understand his fascination for comic books, they are more costly than your average bestseller. Why, I could buy at least five or more books at Booksale with that price tag. I’ve just read Sophie Kinsella’s  The Undomestic Goddess, a genuinely funny chick lit, and recently started with Emily Giffin’s Something Borrowed , hopefully finish it in  two days. I don’t know why I am repeatedly drawn to chick lit nowadays, they really make me laugh and they are light reading. Anyway, I digress!

Zen Inspiration, now, this is what I call inspired reading and I was lucky enough to buy a copy at NBS several months ago. The paintings and the beautiful and superb calligraphy alone would make you really sit down and savor every page but what kept me arrested were the poems, haiku, koans, etc. Open your heart and let the quiet wisdom seep into your soul. As the cover says, Zen Inspirations “offers a selection of the great Zen texts that bring insight and contemplation to busy modern lives”.

I Make my Home in the Mountains – (Li Po 701-762)

You ask why I live alone in the mountain forest

And I smile and am silent

Until even my soul grows quiet:

It lives in the other world,

One that no one owns.

The peach trees blossom.

The water continues to flow.

This poem was accompanied by a beautiful picture of a dense forest with the sunlight seeping through the pockets of windows among the leaves of the trees. And here’s another one,

Lute – (Po Chu-I 772-846)

My lute set aside on the little table

lazily I meditate on cherished feelings.

the reason I don’t bother to strum and pluck?

There’s a breeze over the strings and it plays itself.

Beautiful! I could imagine the serenity of the scene, the peace it brings to the soul, the quiet and unspoken thoughts of the author, gosh, I can feel the raw emotions there.

Mountain Dwelling – Ch`ng Kung

Things of the past are already long gone

And things to be, distant beyond imagining

the Tao is just this moment, these words:

plum blossoms fallen;

gardenia just opening.

How I wish I could write beautiful poems like these. Oh, they just remain, “wishful thinking”.

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