On Seaside Beach…

July 17, 2007

Ah…summer is the season of reading on the beach in the sand. What better title then Ian McEwan’s ‘On Chesil Beach’. (I was on Seaside Beach) Now I saw this book at Barnes and Noble and read the dust jacket when I was with Andy several weeks ago. I didn’t pay much heed, until I saw Mark Bernstein blog about it. He’s written so few short impressions of this book and two of Ian’s other books.

McEwan’s interest is not so much the question of sex, but rather the matter of seriousness; the difficulty his lovers face is not so much their terrible inexperience but their incapacity for understanding what to take seriously, and when to shrug, or laugh, or simply wait. – Mark Bernstein.

The post got me to thinking, we don’t have to wait to finish an entire book to make a review of it. I think that books take a long time to finish and our impressions if written down can enhance the experience and makes for a better book review or a learning tool. As readers read and live with the book for a moderate among of time, simply jotting down these observations can be satisfying. I’ll have to go back to how Mark even draws parallels between the book ‘On Chesil Beach’ to his own listening to classical music!

In honor of the Bookography circa notebooks that’s been marked down, I’ll make a few notes on the bookography’s questionnaires. This system encourages making notes as you read.

  1. On My List of Candidates. Date discovered___ 7/17/07. How discovered/Recommended by______ (see above) My reason for wanting to read it___As a recent newly wed, I want to discover more about relationships, differences between men and women, our time and past lives. Other reasons for reading this book is that Ian is a highly tauted writer, having won the Booker prize for Amsterdam. And yet, I haven’t read any of his books. Reviewers have call him the master of the defining moments.

Circa Junior Leather Fold Over

My First Circa Fold Over. Like a first set of Legos which strangely enough I have never own. I usually just play with my friend’s set. After all the looking at my comrade’s Fold Over, I collapsed and folded, head over heels for the Circa Fold Over. Even after trying out the Circa Jacket with a belt, I find myself using the cheaper version of the Rollanotebook fold over knock off more and more. The real estate on my office desk is precious. It’s amazing how compact a Junior folded over can become. So with the event of getting older, I thought that I would give myself a present. Plus there was a good deal on the ‘Sand’ color in the Levenger Summer Stock up Sale. I could not find this deal on the Levenger website. I mailed ordered mine. There were other goodies like a pen cup and paper clip holder for about $4. The Bookography line is also marked down. The sale lasts until August. Waiting at present for the CFO.

Update: My CFO arrived last Friday 7/20/07

This version is much improved because the pockets are now in the front cover instead of the back. It makes writing against a flat surface much more suitable. I don’t storage anything in the pockets. I also write on the Verso, the left side of the page and need a nice flat surface for that as well. The bomber version has the same design. Unfortunately, Levenger discontinue the Sand version.

Picture in facebook group ‘Lev’angelism’.

pencil case only

Originally uploaded by Duc N. Ly.
Sometimes it’s nice to take a paper leave, go away from the computer and the internet. Last night, I was sitting with my brother Andy at the local Barnes and Noble reading and drinking Chai. Andy was skimming through the pages of ‘Eggs, Milk, Vodka’ by Bill Keaggy. Very Short List.con recommends it. It is an anthropological and humorous look into the private lives of lists. The scraps are presented as artifacts, rare specimens with Bill’s pithy comments. Bill made an observation that lists are private matters of our lives. We may dump our ash trays on the parking lot but we guard our lists. To me, they contain personal notes and the traces of our hands, our immediate desires and transgressions. Making list is an almost instinctual act to clear our minds, much like the organizational methods of ‘Getting Things Done’ book by David Allen, which also was on the same table with us. Andy laughs out loud at some of the lists. There is an example of a rough script ‘Hooker & Blow‘ written next to cereal on the most demure teddy bear printed grocery list. The discrepancy between the debauchery and the innocence has a humorous affect. Or as it happens accidentally, a different color pen is chosen and written in different script for emphasis: need coffee. I sometimes look at Found Magazine because some of the scraps of paper are odd and engrossing. I think it is our voyeuristic side, our further reading into the brevity of the text to extrapolate the life, the human being behind such a piece of raw code. We come upon it accidentally and read signs and meaning into it much like an anthropologist would. The artifact is ephemeral which makes them that much more rare. It is written without much aspiration but all the more private; communication between each other and ourselves. We come upon these artifacts, they are our contemporaries not from some ancient civilization, there fore they say a lot about ourselves. (I’m reminded of a comparison by Neal Stephenson. In the book ‘Snow Crash’ he compares some of the wall hieroglyphs as ancient Egyptians’s form of a Bumper Sticker.) We notice that there weren’t any list in the Chinese language. Andy says it’s because the Chinese don’t make lists. One list borders on obsessive compulsive. This particular list was sorted into aisles (Aisles 1: eggs, milk 2: bread, butter 3: soda pop , popcorn etc.) of that shopper’s particular grocery store. I however found a more useful list here: http://www.grocerylists.org/ultimatest/GrocerylistsDOTorg_v2.pdf

I hadn’t seen my brother for a while, since last summer. But we took our time. Not rushing into any conversations or committing to any topic. Steve Leven of Levenger spoke about reading together in his book ‘The Little Guide To the Well-Read Life’. I thought to myself, how nice it is to be comfortable enough to enjoy my brother’s company in peaceful silence. Here we are. He and I having read some of the same books or planning to catch up on each other’s recommendations, and spreading some good book along. I had read ‘Bird by Bird’ by Ann Lamott. He’s reading it and buys a copy for Alex as a graduation present. It is like having a sphere of influence next to you. I made this drawing on the hand*book journal pocket size journal. Pocket size is nice, portable, and available. It fits easily on those small cafe tables. Sometimes it’s hard to do a drawing. I took the advice of Danny of ‘Everyday Matters‘ and just draw what’s around me. This is a special pencil case bought in Poland. the company is Hevlite.

handbook-journal-co review


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Earlier, I wanted to start a library at work. I stumble upon this little suggestion in RealSimple magazine.

Previous Tip of the Week (TOW):

[14:28] Ducce Lykin: hi
[14:28] Ducce Lykin: im new here
[14:28] Vynka Dean: hey
[14:28] Ducce Lykin: where you get the robe?
[14:28] Vynka Dean: ok and you would like to join the project?
[14:28] Ducce Lykin: yes
[14:28] Ducce Lykin: i think i joined
[14:29] Vynka Dean: yes you joined the citizens gorup,
[14:29] Vynka Dean: do you have a spcific role you want to play?
[14:29] Ducce Lykin: no…something easy
[14:29] Ducce Lykin: are you a bot?
[14:29] Vynka Dean: nope I a Fedaykin in the Fremen group
[14:30] Vynka Dean: senior member
[14:30] Ducce Lykin: i join you bro
[14:30] Vynka Dean: you want to be fremen?
[14:30] Ducce Lykin: sure…i want spice eyes
[14:31] Vynka Dean: well those you can get for free. htey are part of our freebie collection but a fremen is not just a sanddweller..
[14:31] Vynka Dean: they have history.
[14:31] Vynka Dean: so what is your history
[14:31] Ducce Lykin: i have no history
[14:31] Ducce Lykin: i read the book long time ago
[14:32] Ducce Lykin: it’s empty here…ur the first one i see
[14:32] Vynka Dean: well some are really busy and we have no active storyline at the moment.
[14:32] Vynka Dean: Have you read th sim rules?
[14:33] Ducce Lykin: no
[14:33] Vynka Dean: then I advise you to do so before you get yourself into something you may not like.
[14:34] Vynka Dean: the rules are here
[14:34] Ducce Lykin: do i have to pay alot?
[14:35] Vynka Dean: nope its free onlly clothes and equipment cost money
[14:35] Vynka Dean: but not even that much
[14:35] Ducce Lykin: great then i like
[14:35] Vynka Dean: where are you from?
[14:35] Ducce Lykin: usa you?
[14:36] Vynka Dean: Netherelands
[14:36] Ducce Lykin: wow
[14:36] Ducce Lykin: you got a cool outfit
[14:36] Vynka Dean: thanks you can get the stuff on our marketplace.
[14:36] Vynka Dean: do you know what rping is?
[14:36] Ducce Lykin: no
[14:36] Ducce Lykin: have you read snow crash>
[14:37] Ducce Lykin: role play?
[14:37] Vynka Dean: allright roleplaying is there in different forms.
[14:37] Vynka Dean: 1) the combat and RPG version
[14:37] Vynka Dean: 2) the enactment and roleplaying version in an actin gstyle.
[14:37] Vynka Dean: which do you like?
[14:38] Ducce Lykin: i can’t act
[14:38] Ducce Lykin: i don’t know the book well enough to act
[14:39] Ducce Lykin: man how come there are no chics in here
[14:40] Ducce Lykin: let’s fight
[14:40] Ducce Lykin: have a duel
[14:40] Vynka Dean: nope sorry im in no mood to fight and it is not how things are done here.
[14:41] Ducce Lykin: okay you can be my guide
[14:41] Vynka Dean: and there are women you just havent found them yet or they are nt here.
[14:41] Vynka Dean: Well I can but do I have the time? It is 23:41 here now and i am getting ready to go to bed.
[14:42] Ducce Lykin: aha okay my friend
[14:42] Ducce Lykin: next time then
[14:42] Ducce Lykin: i add you you to friend
[14:42] Vynka Dean: yes probably best.
[14:42] Vynka Dean: one tip:
[14:42] Ducce Lykin: k
[14:42] Vynka Dean: Got ot http://dune.simtopia.org and you will see what this sim is about
[14:42] Ducce Lykin: do you have anything to give me??
[14:43] Vynka Dean: it is very serious on the acting part so be aware that commiting to it means discipline and acting. 🙂
[14:43] Ducce Lykin: oh dear okay…so far so good i like enivorment here
[14:43] Ducce Lykin: good to chill out
[14:43] Ducce Lykin: can you get stone on the spice here?
[14:44] Vynka Dean: yes you can in a Tau within the Fremen group only
[14:44] Vynka Dean: but then you need to be accepted as a Fremen first
[14:45] Vynka Dean: that means writing a backstory and think Fremen life style.
[14:45] Ducce Lykin: wow they are serious…
[14:45] Ducce Lykin: where is tau
[14:45] Vynka Dean: do you know what tau is?
[14:46] Ducce Lykin: no
[14:46] Vynka Dean: allright that explains your light view on it.
[14:47] Vynka Dean: Tau is a fremen group union that brings them together as a group. Is is like a drugs orgy
[14:47] Ducce Lykin: it’s been a long time since i read the book…well read again
[14:47] Ducce Lykin: fantastic
[14:47] Vynka Dean: well we have explaining subjects in our forum
[14:47] Ducce Lykin: great
[14:48] Vynka Dean: have a look there first and see what you think of it.
[14:48] Ducce Lykin: why are you a fremen
[14:49] Vynka Dean: Iam a Fremen because that is my nature
[14:50] Ducce Lykin: how long have you been a fremen
[14:51] Vynka Dean: for a while now but I am also very active on the sim for the ggroup that is Why I was selected to join the council
[14:51] Ducce Lykin: aha i see….that’s why i have sellected you as my guide
[14:52] Ducce Lykin: muadib
[14:52] Vynka Dean: we are not hosting characters from the books or moevies.
[14:52] Ducce Lykin: oh
[14:53] Vynka Dean: For now an mabye also in th efuture there ill be no Paul
[14:53] Ducce Lykin: no paul
[14:53] Vynka Dean: nope and now Hawatt and no leto and no baron vladimir and no feyd etc etc etc
[14:54] Ducce Lykin: i see just fremen
[14:54] Ducce Lykin: so just lots of tau activities
[14:54] Ducce Lykin: what about the sand worms?
[14:54] Vynka Dean: what aoub them?
[14:54] Vynka Dean: we have a few in the desert.
[14:55] Ducce Lykin: you live peacefully among them?
[14:55] Vynka Dean: yes off course they are Shai- Hulud
[14:56] Ducce Lykin: our gods aha yes
[14:57] Ducce Lykin: do you have a clan here?
[14:57] Vynka Dean: we have a tribe in our sietch yes.
[14:58] Ducce Lykin: i would like to live in the sietch
[14:58] Ducce Lykin: would like to belong to a tribe
[14:58] Ducce Lykin: what’s your history and background etc.?
[14:58] Vynka Dean: its in the Backstory part of the forums..
[14:59] Ducce Lykin: aha i’ll have to read it dig it out.
[15:00] Ducce Lykin: so how big is your family in the stiech?
[15:00] Vynka Dean: we are forming famillies now we have 5 to be staged
[15:00] Ducce Lykin: are there opportunities for employment?
[15:00] Ducce Lykin: i would like to be apart of family
[15:01] Ducce Lykin: oh there is some one else here
[15:01] Vynka Dean: well there is no work that can make you linden
[15:01] Ducce Lykin: what shall my profession be…no linden is fine
[15:02] Ducce Lykin: is it possible to take a fremen bride?
[15:02] Vynka Dean: if you know the proper protocols yes. and your actitity is partly yours to decide on.
[15:03] Ducce Lykin: great to learn the protocol is in the forum?
[15:03] Ducce Lykin: do you have a fremen bride?
[15:04] Vynka Dean: nope it is in the encylopedia, but that can also be found through a link on th eforum
[15:05] Ducce Lykin: have you been in a tau?
[15:06] Vynka Dean: nope not yet since they have not ben started yet.
[15:06] Ducce Lykin: we can start one
[15:06] Ducce Lykin: what is role of concil?
[15:06] Ducce Lykin: do you fancy a fremen bride>
[15:07] Vynka Dean: the council decides on all major isuues including story lines and approval of members
[15:07] Vynka Dean: and no not at this time
[15:08] Ducce Lykin: aha so would you approval my membership?
[15:08] Vynka Dean: only after I have a little background on you and am certain that you have a good idea what you are getting yourself and us intl
[15:08] Vynka Dean: into
[15:09] Vynka Dean: and a little background means a little vbackground story on the fremen DucceLykin
[15:09] Ducce Lykin: aha i see very cool
[15:09] Vynka Dean: not the SL avatar but the character you will be playing
[15:10] Ducce Lykin: I see…well i will be a spice expert
[15:10] Ducce Lykin: i’m a scientist studying the spice…promote grow etc.
[15:10] Ducce Lykin: or maybe my eyes are impervious to spice and remain black
[15:10] Ducce Lykin: or maybe i’m maudib’s cousin
[15:11] Ducce Lykin: it could be that the spice doesn’t affect me the same way
[15:11] Vynka Dean: think about what you want and put it in a notecard.
[15:11] Ducce Lykin: i’m sober during a tau
[15:11] Vynka Dean: Then send it to me or Dracaena hnen
[15:11] Ducce Lykin: okay first i put it on paper
[15:12] Ducce Lykin: first and then on notecard
[15:12] Vynka Dean: Yeah make a notecard and send it to me also put in there you expect of the group
[15:12] Ducce Lykin: is the idea so far plausible?
[15:12] Vynka Dean: what you expect …
[15:13] Ducce Lykin: maybe i’ll be the one to betray the fremen
[15:13] Vynka Dean: a deep desert spice specialist would be workable, but you need to sto determin to thicht sietch you belong.
[15:13] Ducce Lykin: i expect lots of taus
[15:13] Ducce Lykin: what are my sietch choices
[15:14] Vynka Dean: ha well ill hafe to disappoint you on that. they wont happen very frequently if at all…
[15:14] Ducce Lykin: and i expect a fremen bride
[15:14] Vynka Dean: you have sietch Taber and the south sietch.
[15:14] Vynka Dean: again read through a few of the backstories befdore you begin.
[15:14] Vynka Dean: I have ot go.
[15:14] Ducce Lykin: i want to be near the deep desert stiech
[15:14] Ducce Lykin: thanks dean
[15:15] Ducce Lykin: holy wisdom of fremen
[15:15] Vynka Dean: sure. let me know when you need more info
[15:15] Ducce Lykin: okay
[15:15] Vynka Dean: gnight
[15:15] Ducce Lykin: gnight


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Force of Gravity

May 10, 2007

‘When he was away from work, he preferred to take notes. At night before bed he copied everything he had done, down to the most minute detail, in his diary. He had started months ago when he first found the events of the day receding, even before he had slept, like the details of a dream”. -R.S. Jones, Force of Gravity

Snow Crash

April 30, 2007

‘The Art of Innovation’ led me to ‘Snow Crash‘. I started reading it over the weekend and didn’t want to put it down. It’s very funny. For some reason, I latched onto this book. Maybe it’s because it talks about the Metaverse. Recently, I got into Second Life (SL). I need to do a little bit of research to find out which came first. It talks about people building houses in the virtual world. I can see some similarities between the Metaverse that Neal Stephenson renders and the world of SL. I think this book has influenced a lot of people and companies. For example, the book talks about goggled into the virtual world through the vision apparatus, a goggle. Hm…Google sounds a lot like goggle. Was the book the source?

update: “The Metaverse is a fictional structure written in code” – Neal Stephenson


I’m not a big fan of Sc-fi books, but once in a while a book like ‘Snow Crash’ proves to be readable. I’ve try William Gibson’s ‘Neomancer’. I didn’t make the leap into it yet. Maybe it’s too far out there for me to grasp. ‘Snow Crash’ seems very plausible. I remember, in my younger days, buying David Brin’s ‘Startide Rising’ because it had a cool cover of the man and dolphin. Uplift series