Category Archives: Books/Comics

Brave New Page

Plastic Logic reader, out in early 2010

Plastic Logic reader, out in early 2010

I don’t like to predict the future much (because I’m a short-sighted realist), but you’re looking at an exciting new prospect for publishing. The Plastic Logic Reader, slated for release in early 2010, is less than 7mm thick, letter-sized, and can read newspapers, books, magazines and the common computer formats such as Word, Excel, and PDFs.

That’s not all. It boasts a new durable plastic screen that resembles pulp, is touch-sensitive, and can connect wireless-ly to cellular and internet networks. How do I know so much? Because it’s one half of the bloody boxing ring in a fight with Amazon‘s Kindle, and is a topic I’m writing about in a feature article for a school magazine.

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The Last Read

Yorick, as the last man on earth

Yorick, as the last man on earth

After six months wait since the series closed, I finally learned the ending of Y The Last Man. For the uninitiated, Y is the story of one man’s (Yorick‘s) journey through a world changed — positively and negatively — by women, after a mysterious plague wipes out every male other than the protagonist.

Yorick traveled the world in search for his girlfriend Beth, who was in Australia when the plague hit. Fast forward sixty issues, gunfights, political tussles, women who walked with him, women who came and went, and here we are. If you’ve followed the story of Y on a monthly basis since its premiere many  years ago, then maybe you’ll agree with me it was an ending that tied all of the plot’s loose ends, but left us emotionally yearning for more. Or even incomplete.

All good stories do that.

Especially when the time comes for closure, often we ask ‘why’ something had to happen. A series like Y is still science-fiction and takes us into an unimaginable world. We’re expected to lift our imaginations into another realm, but we don’t realize it also takes us on a higher level philosophically. It feels like we’re forced to see the bigger picture. Reading the series’ end was like taking a one-hour cruise around heaven, then later returning to earth to make sense of what you’ve seen.

There are many lessons we can take from the series, and it’s different for each of us. Perhaps that’s why humans still desire diversity even when we can come into clashes with it. Women could certainly live and flourish without men (if the problem of reproduction was solved), but they may not necessarily want it.

On a personal note, Y reinforced perceptions on how I view life and how I treat people differently. Accept it or not, truth of life is that people come and go, and one day you just have to decide where you’re going, and who you want to take with you. For me, it’s always been about the journey; through that process you’ll find not only the ones who care for you the most, but also someone whom you’d want to share the rest of your life with.

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Old Reads

Magazines are big money-guzzlers, offering rehashes of old stories to entice people to buy them. Yet our vices are persistent, and I may very well end up writing for a periodical in the future. Now, I still read magazines such as Time, Macworld and other pulps on photography but I hardly fork out any money for them anymore. There was a time when I did though, and here are some endearing ones I fondly remember, and (gasp) subject them to aging and depreciation in my personal library.

1. Writer’s Digest

I read this religiously for a time. It did help with tips and all, but never actually hitting the depth of substance found in writing books. The problem with writing books is they take longer to read, and so without proper discipline, they get left on my shelf untouched.

2. Wizard

This is a mag as American as the Big Mac. Lots of sarcastic humor and also served as a bible for American comics and pop culture. I stuck with this for the longest time, for about 50 issues. Then it got thinner and more expensive. Finally I decided to part ways when my pull-list of comics got severely cut. I still read comics though, just not to the level of insanity when I started 10 years ago.

3. PC Gamer (US Edition)

Once again, you can tell the US and UK editions apart with the Americans’ condescending voice, never shying away from expressing their “all-hail-the-truth” opinions. But that’s what I enjoyed about this mag. That and the unavoidable fact that I had a PC and no consoles, so whatever gaming had to be done there. Good thing I also avoided addiction to gaming, otherwise I’d probably still be pulling this off the shelf every month.

4. Fine Scale Modeler

A very niche publication, as those of you who haven’t heard or seen it will vouch for. For a few years, I dived into building models (of fighter jets, ships, what else?) after being inspired by a childhood friend. Surprisingly I had the meticulousness and temper-testing patience to be good at it. The magazine wasn’t very helpful as it is geared toward more seasoned builders and I was merely starting out at the time. Perhaps one day I’ll post up photos of those few models that I have.

5. Web Designer

The most expensive of the lot, and the most visually stunning. This reminds me of the heyday of web publishing, when I had websites (the very well received but long shut-down 100bullets.com) instead of a blog. With the mag, I taught myself a bit of Dreamweaver and Photoshop so it wasn’t a total waste. But no way can it justify the S$20+ price tag every month. Damn these UK magazines and their Pound pricing.

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Ideas Are Bulletproof

V for Vendetta
“Remember, remember, the 5th of November”

Having read comics for close to 9 years, one of my most well-loved graphic novels is V For Vendetta by accomplished writer Alan Moore (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was written by him). And like a lot of other comic franchises in recent years, V is going to be released as a movie in the first quarter of 2006.

If you like the genre of a morally deteriorating society where ideas are suppressed, then you should watch V, or read the graphic novel. I gave mine away to a friend, but I’m gonna get another copy soon! It’s one of the movies I’m looking forward to next year. By the way, it’s gonna be rated R, so if you’re not legal, don’t be evil.

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A Piece Of My Life

100 Bullets #1
100 Bullets #1. I’ve got two of these

Today I had to do something brave. I shut down my other website 100 B.U.L.L.E.T.S because I realize I’ve lost the dedication and passion to keep it going.

2 and a half years of working on the site had kept me occupied during the army days, and now shutting it down like that feels like I just broke up with someone (okay I’m exaggerating). To have an idea of how much work I put in, 100bullets.com actually made it all the way from a no-show to the top of the Google rankings.

As to why I’ve lost the passion for it? It’s just further testimony of how much I’ve changed because of the last 4 months. . . I just don’t see, or feel, the joy or accomplishment of promoting such a violent comic anymore.

Maybe if a time comes when I revert back to my old lifestyle and outlook then the site will be revived again. Till then I will treasure who I am as of now.

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Non Sequitur

Non Sequitur

In case you’re wondering, Non Sequitur is a satirical comic strip published daily and you can read it in the Life! section of The Straits Times. It is always witty and thought provoking, though I admit I’m not a Mr. know-it-all to always get the unspoken connotation behind each strip, but most of the time I do.

I spent some time in town today checking out my favorite shops – Kinokuniya Bookstore and Timberland, and that sensation of greed erupted quite violently; there were numerous things that I wanted to buy. Pricey things.

I didn’t buy anything at the end of the day (because I’m trying to cut spending) but really, do I really need any of those things? S$100 for a shirt? S$40 for a book? I can be a big spender but I also have a shrewd mind when it comes to comparing the price of something to its value.

The truth is, if we just think simply in a back-to-basics approach, what we really need is almost nothing other than our lives.

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The Hairy On Harry Potter

Harry Potter
Guilty of not reading Harry Potter

I don’t have anything good to say about the Harry Potter Series. Okay but I don’t have anything bad to say about it either, because I simply have not read any of the books or watched any of the movies.

As a result I’m in complete stupor whenever a new book is released and everybody goes gorillas about it. I guess I should blame myself for not exploring it myself. . . just that there always seems to be something else to do other than reading a Harry Potter book.

Lately I’ve been reading new and old books, and it’s causing unhealthy sleep cycles because my eyes get heavy after each read and I fall asleep. For instance, I slept from 9-11pm and now I’m awake past midnight. Rinse and repeat tomorrow.

Ugh right now I can’t wait to get to Michigan.

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