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Cold Flames

For those of you who are curious about my fiancée, here is Crissy’s debut blog post!

Lost in invisible cities

My journey to Mount Pulag – also known as theplayground of the godswas very enthralling! Climbing Luzon’s highest peak and the third highest in the Philippines at 2,922 MASL was extraordinary butclimbing it with ‘the one’ – priceless!

Mt. Pulag's TrailMount Pulag’s trailborders between the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya meet at the mountain’s peak

Long before my fiancè, Steve arrived in the Philippines from United Kingdom, we already set the date for this climb, my twenty-fifth mountain and his first. Ever since I started climbing in 2014, I promised myself to climb this mountain with the one and now ready to share it as my first blog post because we already announced our engagement, I didn’t want to jinx it.

20621758_10210618016192997_661327754123170671_nEnjoying in the playground of the gods with the man I am going marry

Almost every Filipino mountaineer has listed this mountain in their bucket list…

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Posted by on 23/12/2017 in The Philippines, Travel

 

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A Serious Conversation

Apologies for the length of this blog post but I have been having an interesting conversation over at  https://gigisrantsandraves.wordpress.com/2017/12/19/okay-so-235/ which is still going on.  I have copy and pasted the chat so far and would be interested to hear your thoughts on it and gratefully welcome any corrections to things wrongly stated if you see any.  Advanced apologies if I put some of my phrases indelicately at the time of writing although I did my best to be sensitive when approaching my points.  The reasoning of each point and direction of the conversation is of particular interest.

The original post that I read was this:

My friend told me that she was watching TV and someone said they aren’t going to hire women any longer because then they won’t have any sexual harassment issues.

So once again women will be punished for the behavior of men and as always, men will not be expected to change their own behavior. I’m so bloody sick of this garbage.

It was the comment below that intrigued me enough to comment and set me off on reading a lot of websites and informing myself.

… I’m surprised they haven’t banned women from colleges so that the GIGANTIC raping of co-ed will end. They the boys can just rape not college females. Really, I am so angry.

  • It’s been on the cover of Newsweek and other magazines. They are somewhere on my blog. Pictures of women carrying mattress through the campus to get the school’s attention. It’s an EPIDEMIC. Gang rapes, as well. Investigations are taking place but I have seen absolutely NOTHING about any findings or punishments. Also, some schools were not informing women of their rights after rape took place. Most still don’t report them. Google articles on it. You should find a lot of them.

    I found the 1 in 5 women get raped in college, statistic but the authors have distanced themselves from the survey and that conclusion which the press attributed to the findings. The survey itself is certainly floored in its questions. The Bureau of Justice Statistics puts it at 1 in 52.6 women which is still a frightening number but when coupled with data that women are safer in college than those of the same age who didn’t go.

    And that U.S. rapes are also apparently going down. I can’t speak to if those stats are up-to-date as I only found date up until 2016 and of course it depends on how many were not reported as well. I think the word epidemic is a bit of a strong and perhaps misleading word to use here.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not defending any person who commits such crimes, I abhor any man or woman who commits any assault, sexual or otherwise and we shouldn’t sweep any of that under the rug. My position is that we need accuracy and evidence to prove the point.

    Statistics – used correctly – should be brought forward and there should be investigations and more research done into this. The statistics have to be accurate and fact checked, otherwise it becomes just another SJW crusade that uses feelings, usually in place (or just instead of) of facts to elicit a response and this then marginalises their position somewhat and that for me is the great tragedy.

    The Factual Feminist has done some interesting videos on this subject actually debunking the whole idea of ‘rape culture in colleges’ in favour of a ‘gender propaganda culture’ and the importance of due process in all such assault cases including the ones where women have admitted after the fact that they lied about being assaulted, which is another important and marginalised conversation that we need to have as a society.

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Posted by on 22/12/2017 in Blogging, Life

 

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Continental Shift

After a fairly long time of teasing not to mention a severe lack of blogging, I can finally reveal that I am off to live in The Philippines with Crissy in January and from there, getting married at the end of the said month. It’s all very exciting and to mirror our relationship – crazy and exhilarating, which pleases me no end!

Books and Crissy, a delightful combination!

@

I have all my documents ready and am clearing out the last of my things this week(ish) because Christmas is too quiet without doing something seismic to keep it interesting.  It’s naturally an exciting and stressful time as I look towards the move to a new culture, adventures and a severe tan but will be keeping you all involved and am writing as much as I can in the meantime.

With the good comes the emotional wrench of having to say farewell to a good many people and of course the books I accumulated over the years but I shall be carrying over as many as I can.  As to where that leaves the book review side of the blog, I am hoping to find a library as well as rereading the books that I haven’t yet reviewed from my own small collection.  Approaching them again with a more critical eye will make for an interesting blog post in itself no doubt.

I don’t think I could go through the trauma of collecting books again, to then possibly lose them in another move should we wish to move countries in the future but I will keep my book posts flowing as much as possible amidst all the other things I claim to have planned but will probably just wing it as usual and see what takes my fancy words wise.  The above café we found will probably be a popular haunt for us I suspect because it turns out that books on a ceiling are ridiculously fascinating.

 
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Posted by on 18/12/2017 in Blogging, Life, The Philippines, Travel

 

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The Luzhin Defense – Vladimir Nabokov

Nabokov’s third novel, The Defense, is a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, sullen–an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster–but at a cost: in Luzhin’s obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually supplants the world of reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised withers under his opponent’s unexpected and unpredictable lines of assault.

You would have thought he’d opt for a winnin’ defence!  Now that bad, not to mention obvious and cringeworthy joke is out of the way, I’ll leave the comedy and your tolerance in peace.

This being one of Nabakov’s earlier works, there are hints of the writer he would later become; with some wonderful prose in places, that demands the reader savour such lines appreciatively.

Like Stefan Zweig’s Chess, The Luzhin Defense is a fascinating leap into the mind (and abstract genius) of a grandmaster, with its sad but gripping descent into madness.  In this case we see the beginnings in his formative years, a lonely, tortured child unable to integrate with his peers and family who comes across the game and becomes seduced by the simplicity and more importantly the complexity of the it.

Luzhin is a closed, provocative character and very hard to like to begin with, although I softened up to him quickly, he is exhausting, uncommunicative, both annoying and likeable, and absurd.  Without this earlier connect to his childhood I probably would have become frustrated with the direction of the man over time and certainly a lot less sympathetic to him. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 14/12/2017 in Fiction

 

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Monumental Reading

Many thanks to Crissy for taking this and the pther Philippines photos

by dint of studying, of analysing myself, of reaching out for higher things, and of a thousand corrections, I was transformed little by little, thanks to the influence of a beneficent professor….cultivating poetry and rhetoric had elevated my feelings, and Virgil, Cicero, and other authors showed me a new path which I could take. – Jose Rizal, spoken shortly before his execution on 30th December 1896

*photo taken near the Rizal monument in Rizal park…I was reading Rizal.

 
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Posted by on 08/12/2017 in History, The Philippines, Travel

 

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Life Choices

A metaphor with paths and autumn and trees and roots and such.

~

It’s been a while since I have posted; or visited but I have finally returned.  For those of you curious to know where I have been, I am – in truly enigmatic fashion – not yet ready to reveal that to the wider world but it is fair to say it is a seismic change in my life that is occurring and will sadly, mean I have to dismantle most of the book collection.

It will be sad to part with books that have been with me for almost two decades and been a big part in my life but I see no other option and I will salvage what I can, move on and hopefully bounce back in new and interesting ways.

What this means for the long-term of the blog with regards to book reviews, I don’t really know.  Naturally I am hoping to continue and keep that going, along with all the other things the blog has to offer.  In the short-term, I will be posting intermittently and hopefully visiting you all, as promised long ago before events truly ramped up.

As ever, thank you for your continued support, more shall be revealed soon about this new journey when things cease to be less busy but in the meantime, stay awesome and keep writing so I have even more to catch up on.

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Posted by on 07/11/2017 in Blogging

 

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A Dance to the Music of Time: Winter – Anthony Powell

Anthony Powell’s brilliant twelve novel sequence chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations.

Volume 4 contains the last three novels in the sequence: Books do Furnish a Room; Temporary Kings; Hearing Secret Harmonies.

As ever no spoilers will be contained in this review so as not to mar the experience for readers yet to embark on, or are already in amongst the wonderful prose.

Having read each season in a different one, Spring in Autumn, Summer in winter and so forth, I finally finished Winter in the heat of August and feel that melancholy of emptiness when eventually concluding a mammoth series and wondering what could top that.

Starting book ten I was feeling a little sad for this, the twilight of the final trilogy and it seemed my thoughts were echoed by Narrator Nick as well. It has been an absolute pleasure to watch characters come and go and age but sadly these last three books didn’t quite live up the magnificent first nine books.

As journey’s go, this one has been immensely gratifying. Even this late into the series, there are still new characters to be met as well as much welcomed appearances from the series stalwarts. Although after the previous war books, the original cast does feel sparse and it does leave a gap, knowing that those characters won’t be popping up unexpectedly in the Dance.

What makes it a little less immersive is the modernity of its time, whilst the inevitability of things moving on is one thing, the choice of actions and, in particular words chosen in their speech felt jarring against previous books.  In other chronicles, this would, perhaps, be a minor point but having the grounding books one to seven (and arguably eight as well), the change has been subtle but is easy to trace on reflection.

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Posted by on 30/09/2017 in Fiction, Modern Classics

 

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