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Category Archives: Life

Welcome Author Irene Olson

A really wonderful post that deserves a share:

Jill Weatherholt

They say people come into your life exactly when you need them. I’m thrilled to introduce you to someone who has been a tremendous support to me and my family, Irene Olson. She and another blogger friend have walked a path that’s now my own to travel. By sharing their personal experiences, they’ve helped me to prepare for the future. I’m also excited to announce that Irene’s book, REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO, is a finalist in the Caregiving category of the 2018 National Indie Excellence Awards. I know she’s thrilled to honor her father in this manner.

Learn as you go caregiving

by Irene Frances Olson www.irenefrancesolson.com

All family caregiving has its seemingly insurmountable challenges. Whether a hands-on provider of care, or the long-distance caregiver managing care from afar, families on the dementia journey rarely enjoy a return to the wonderfully predictable and boring status quo of days…

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Posted by on 03/07/2018 in Fiction, Life

 

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Villages of West Africa – Steven & Cathi House

Art and especially architecture are often seen as the exclusive realm of formally trained experts. Award-winning architects Steven and Cathi House explore the other side of that reality in a part of the world that has been at the crossroads of history for thousands of years. With more than 500 photographs and insightful commentary, they reveal the remarkable beauty of the people, land, villages, textiles, and vernacular architecture across seven countries of West Africa, situated between the Sahara Desert and Atlantic Ocean. The book celebrates the artisanship of tribal people who use building methods that are both practical and ingenious and that respond not just to local climate, materials, and topography, but also to the needs of the inhabitants with poetic insight, creating environments that are stimulating and sustainable. With their clarity, function, and beauty, these villages are living models of what community life can be.

The authors of this book are architects who travel to remote villages for inspiration and personal growth.  Their wanderings chronicled here, have taken them through a number of West African countries including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo.

Approaching such coffee table books as these, you expect them to be heavy on lavish photos and this book does not disappoint.  The photos have a divided emphasis on both architecture and the local peoples.  Although there is some inevitable crossover with European culture – such as Coca-Cola decorated building or graffiti for favourite football teams like Olympique Marseille – there is a lot more emphasis on the countries of today and their lives, rather than focus on the remnants of colonialism. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 27/05/2018 in Architecture, Life, Photography, Travel

 

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Religion, Politics, and Rationality in a Philippine Community – Raul Pertierra

Religion, Politics, and Rationality in a Philippine Community is a study of the relationship between material interest and ideological practises.  Based on extensive fieldwork in a municipality of northern Luzon, the book explores the structural and cultural bases of religious belief and practise.  Tracing the historical pattern of the local response initially to catholic conversion, later to American Protestantism and more recently to indigenous forms of Christianity.  Dr. Pertierra argues that the complex response to conversion can be understood in terms of material-political interests in association with the attempts to retain meaningful cultural forms.  Drawing from the classical tradition established by Marx, Durkheim , and Weber, but extending their sociological insights by incorporating more recent theory as well as modern anthropological techniques, this study questions the prevailing views of religious practise in Philippine society and challenges the theories of rationalisation found in Development and Modernisation theory.

Hiding (and wilting) from the 41 degree heat outside, I chose to read this. Had I not had an understandable interest in Philippine history and culture, I would still have selected this, for the pure joy of learning about a new country and culture.  Although it’s important to remember that this book deals with data and research from the 1975-6; the value of understanding the present, far outweighs the changes in both community, and perhaps in the theory as well.

Using a fictitious name to protect the identity of the province and the privacy of individuals, the book starts off with a look at previous studies of Filipino communities, the results, and the flaws.  In and of itself, I found this short tour of the subject to be both highly interesting and extremely intricate.

The focus of this study is to track religion (and its evolution, if I may use the word in such a context) to the wider social structure within which it exists. The reader is soon introduced to the balance of both spiritual (institutionalised and indigenous) and secular behaviours on the social climate of the community. Combined with an exploration of the economy, and family roles and ties, it soon starts to resemble an extremely complex puzzle to the outsider.

The book does a great job of explaining the various subjects, keeping everything simple.  It’s well chronicled and well written, insights from other studies are put forward in support or opposition to the points Dr. Pertierra asserts.  The book focuses on (in order):

  • history and geography
  • the economy, division of labour, and the system of stratification
  • political and religious mobilisation and factionalism
  • kinship and social order
  • rituals and social structure
  • indigenous beliefs, morals values, and behavioural models
  • material interests and religious ideology

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 04/05/2018 in Essays, History, Life, Sociology, The Philippines

 

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The Value of a Dime

A reblog for Mike, partly because I am still finishing the review of his novel The Singularity Wheel, and partly because his posts are a really good read.

Eye-Dancers

In both The Eye-Dancers and The Singularity Wheel, Mitchell Brant, Joe Marma, Ryan Swinton, and Marc Kuslanski can’t help but notice how inexpensive things are in the variant town of Colbyville.  In The Singularity Wheel, in fact, Ryan manages to secure a room in an inn for just $5 a night.  Prices like that make the boys think of period-piece movies, Beaver Cleaver, black-and-white still lifes from a bygone era, speckled with cobwebs.

Indeed, I once worked with a woman who, every year, upon receiving her annual “cost-of’-living” raise, would grouse, “Well, three percent of nothing is still nothing!”  Many of the other employees would nod their heads in agreement.  We all notice the increase in prices ($4.49 for that box of cereal?  $10 for a standard book of twenty stamps?) and are caught in the current of escalation as it continues along on its…

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Posted by on 30/04/2018 in Blogging, Book Memories, Graphic Novels, Life

 

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Basic Ideas For Living

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It needs to be reiterated everyday.  Always listen to all sides of an argument, base your opinions on the facts, not the hearsay and seek out what may be being censored (for those who censor are surely losing the argument).  Never react to the headline, always call out those that base their politics on them, and constantly question what you think you know.

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Animal Farm

Animals are great and even if I wasn’t a fan, living with a horde of the critters would certainly change my mind.  The kittens have been spoken about elsewhere on this blog before, my favourite of which is still Mr Boffles:

Here he is, attempting to line up with mum Alut and uncle Rambo, in what I assume is a homage to the opening scene of the magnificent 2001: A Space Odyssey.  As mentioned before, he enjoys gangster movies and the music of Louis Armstrong.  Since then he feels confident enough to run at Rambo and be mercilessly pawed at in return, as well as meowing at Die Hard 3, dramatic stunts are expected from this little one.

Our latest new edition – a dog this time, just to mix things up – which arrived yesterday is this little lady, Rexie:

Having spent little over a day with her, I can confirm she likes the taste of slippers, nibbling Rambo’s tale and disappearing at various times to make me worried that she has wandered off somewhere.  Now that we are up to six animals, life is getting more interesting both in and out of the house.

 
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Posted by on 21/03/2018 in Life, Photography

 

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Working the Space

At the moment I am attempting to be a lot more proactive with my writing as you may have noticed, although today is one of those days when I want to post but writing feels like a bit of a challenge today so here’s a look at the workspace I fashioned for myself.

From left to right:

  • A Test of Time is the latest book I am reading, which is a look at the Egyptian chronology, a rethink and an attempt to sync it up with Biblical archaeology.  I’m also reading The Singularity Wheel, kindly sent over by Mike (see last blog post) as well, to keep my days varied.
  • To the right is my Green Apple notebook which contains my notes for a novel, unlike past efforts this time it is not only going well but in an order hitherto unseen in past attempts.
  • In front of these is my Tagalog notebook, in which I am writing words lists and attempting to get down the grammatical rules so ease me into this foreign language which doesn’t (thank goodness) have masculine and feminine words to remember.
  • The laptop which, other than helping realise these blog posts also keeps me up-to-date with all the big news, like the football scores, which is a welcome tonic to the morning’s TV catch up BBC Worldwide and CNN Philippines.
  • Lastly, behind my coffee cup which is the best jump-start for the day is my trusty notebook which has been to three continent with me and is rapidly filling up with all my notes for reviews and various other blog posts.
  • You may have noticed 10 month old Rambo (guess who named him) who when not happily biting various items of footwear is keeping alert for any move made for food.

It’s amazing what a simple zone for working can achieve, especially when one is in the mood for work, which it seems, I now am.

 
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Posted by on 15/03/2018 in Blogging, Life

 

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