Sunday, June 26, 2011

iPhone: Bonnie's Brunch

Anyone who is a fan of time management games would be familiar with the Diner Dash franchise as well as all the "tycoon" games out there. But we are not going there today. Instead I am talking about the new game in the iPhone world: Bonnie's Brunch.

Here we play Bonnie, an aspiring baker who also loves to travel. And what could be better than receiving a food truck on her birthday. Now, she can do both; travelling while serving delicious brunches to her customers along the way. Did I mention her chosen destination is none other that Paris, the City of Lights? [that alone had me adding double points to the game *winks]

At each level, there will be customers (young & old) queuing and placing their orders. You then tap the ordered food item on to a plate and drag it to the said customer. As the level increases so does the difficulties. The range of food items expands; from mere plain croissants and bagels, you now have to topped it with honey/cream/ketchup depending on the customers' preferences. Soon pancakes (of 2 different shapes) are added on, with drinks included, and ultimately we have sandwiches made of different type of breads [we sure have some fussy customers] and fillings (eggs, hams, cheese, lettuce, etc). Not only are the number of food items increasing, the speed and number of customers are too, with rush hours thrown in for good measure...until your fingers are a moving blur, just trying to keep up with the order and within the given time limit. Mind you, there are impatient customers who can't wait to throw tantrums when their orders are not met in time. There are also "customers" who might influence other customers' moods so you would want to attend to them first.

So what happens if you tap on the wrong combination of order? No worries, they can go into the recycle bin though it might waste a few precious seconds of your time to do that. Then, there are the bonus levels where you have an unending line of customers and you have to serve as many as you can in 60 80 seconds to hit the master (3 stars) level. More finger-a-moving-blur moments.

Bonnie's Brunch has lovely artworks, all colorful and cute, that goes down well with me. It also comes with cute sound effects and voice greetings. Gameplay wise it's not extremely challenging. You just need to be real quick on the fingers. There are similar games that are tougher; think Facebook's Sushi no Suki, which actually requires you to memorize exact ingredients to make the correct sushi (e.g 2 balls of rice and 1 piece of salmon to come out with a nigiri salmon.) Now that was crazy frenzy!

Also since Bonnie's Brunch was just released in early June 2011, it only came with 4 chapters with 10 stages each, which is considerably short for addicts like me who covered ~3 chapters in 1 morning. I really do look forward to more chapters coming our way. Oh, and just so you know, I don't play for the sake of playing. Just like Cut the Rope, I play for 3 stars all the way..LOL!

My Rating: 

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Testimony: A Novel
Three guys. One underage girl. One video.

Location - Exclusive private school.

So what did the headmaster do but to try and keep the sex scandal contained internally. Though with the Internet, can anything of such proportion be kept?

And when the entire thing blew up, it affected more than just the students. In fact, it affected almost every single person in that town. Scandal in a private school equaled huge news. Reporters swarmed the place like moths to light. Worse when the school was portrayed as trying to sweep the whole thing under the carpet. Charges were pressed. Later on it was revealed even the parents who were supposed to be role models have their own skeletons in the closets. And in the end, it weren't just images and credibility that were lost. It was much, much more.

The book is written in such a way that each chapter is an account or a perspective of each of the characters - starting with the headmaster, Mike, discovering the tape - hence the title. Through their eyes, readers are brought into their world, their thoughts, their struggles, their shame. It started slow but picked up toward the epilogue when all hell sorta broke loose, if I may put it that way. And I could not have had imagined the impact and repercussions of the one single action at the start of the book.

In the end, we wonder who should be blamed? The headmaster? The parents? The culture? The upbringing? The Internet? Us, humans, for being wired that way?

Three guys. One underage girl. One video.

Luckily Anita Shreve answered the one question boggling my mind throughout..
Who was holding the camera?

My Rating:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Haunting Monologue

shi shui dao yan zhe chang xi [Who directed this play?]
zai zhe gu dan jiao se li [In this lonely role]
dui bai zong shi zi yan zi yu [Dialogue is only between self]
dui shou du shi hui yi [Memories being the only opponents]
kan bu chu she me jie ju [Unable to see what could be the ending]

zi shi zhi zhong quan shi ni [It's all you throughout]
rang wo tou ru tai che di [whom I am so completely into
gu shi ru guo zhu ding bei ju [But if the story is fated to be tragic]
he ku gei wo mei li [why bother giving me the beauty]
yan chu xiang ju ge bie li [of coming together and parting after]

mei you xing xing de ye li [In a star-less night]
wo yong lei guang xi yin ni [I appeal to you with tears]
ji ran ai ni bu neng yan yu [Since can't express my love]
zhi neng wei xiao ku qi [I can only smile and cry]
rang wo cong ci wang le ni [Let me forget you from now on]

mei you xing xing de ye li [In a star-less night]
wo ba wang shi liu gei ni [I'll leave you with memories]
ru guo yi qie zhi shi yan xi [If everything is just an act]
yao ni hao hao kan xi [I will let you enjoy the show]
xin sui zhi shi wo zi ji [and endure the heartbreak alone]

Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Hour to Live, An Hour to Love

If you had one hour to live and could make just one phone call, who would you call? What would you say? And why are you waiting? - To Kris, the love of my life, on our eighteen wedding anniversary. Love, Richard.
An Hour to Live, An Hour to LoveThis is a true love story that serves as a reminder and a wake up call. It is written by Kristine Carlson, in loving memory of Richard Carlson, her husband of more than 25 years. His sudden departure from the world hit her hard but she has chosen to live and carry on his legacy. The book is focused on answering a letter Richard wrote to her on their eighteen wedding anniversary. And with it, also provides us insights, inspire us, and remind us what it is that really matters in life. 

Richard Carlson was himself an inspirational author though I've never read his works.And while death may have now do them part, Kristine carries him in her heart always. In this way, she believes that love does last forever. The loss is painful but carrying on needs courage and I salute her for that. As she put it, " I vow never to sleepwalk through life again. When it is said that life goes on for the living, we should correct this statement by saying life goes on for the living who are fully awake."

Overall the entire book can be summarized in one of Richard's favorite poem, Tomorrow Never Comes, by Norma Cornett Marek.

Tomorrow Never Comes
If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly, and pray the Lord your soul to keep. 
If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you walk out the door, 
I would give you a hug and kiss, and call you back for just one more. 
If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise, 
I would tape each word and action, and play them back throughout my days.
If I knew it would be the last time, I would spare an extra minute or two,
To stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming you know I do. 

So just in case tomorrow never comes, and today is all I get, 
I'd like to say how much I love you, and I hope we never will forget.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, 
And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day
That you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss,
And you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish. 

So hold your loved ones close today, and whisper in their ear,
That you love them very much, and you'll always hold them dear.
Take time to say "I'm sorry," "Please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.

My Rating:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I sit and wait
Does an angel contemplate my fate
And do they know
The places where we go
When we're grey and old
cos I've been told
That salvation lets their wings unfold
So when I'm lying in my bed
Thoughts running through my head
And I feel the love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

And through it all she offers me protection
A lot of love and affection
Whether I'm right or wrong
And down the waterfall
Wherever it may take me
I know that life wont break me
When I come to call she won't forsake me
I'm loving angels instead

When I'm feeling weak
And my pain walks down a one way street
I look above
And I know I'll always be blessed with love
And as the feeling grows
She breathes flesh to my bones
And when love is dead
I'm loving angels instead

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The French Ripper

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science
Being a fan of Bones and also a follower of shows like CSI once, The Killer of Little Shepherds is a great read. As written on the cover, it is a story about how forensic science came to be. Intriguingly enough, it is also a true crime story that took place in France somewhere in the late 19th century, where technologies were almost non-existence, and no one had heard of DNA, fingerprints, and whatever high-tech forensic stuff we see on TV today.

So how were crimes particularly murders were solved then? Mostly they would bring in a suspect and force the person to admit to the crime via torture. Worse was when rumors spread, especially within rural communities, it was hard life after even if the police let you off for lack of evidence. Most of the time, these poor "suspects" had to move away and start life elsewhere.

But thanks to great minds who saw how science and medicine could help in solving crimes. How autopsies, when correctly done, could determine the actual time and cause of deaths. How thorough crime scene analysis could help uncover evidences not seen by the human eye at the first glance. How a certain chemical would react and turn blue if blood existed, even after the spot had been cleaned and bleached. How profiling could help when it came to decomposed bodies beyond recognition.

All these actually helped in capturing the serial killer, Joseph Vacher, nicknamed The French Ripper. He is thought to have raped, killed and mutilated at least 25 people, though he only confessed to 11 murders. And yes, the book covered the horrific details of the killings and mutilations that I gasped in horror when reading those chapters. He even tried to claim insanity to escape justice. And really, how can one who were capable of such despicable acts not be mad? However, does that mean he can thus escape punishment?

We wonder why  such crimes exist in humanity and what pushed them to be such "monsters". There are many theories; one of which is that these people were born to be criminals. Another being the environment and living situations that made them who they are. But will we ever really know the real why?
Overall, it is very well-written and keeps the reader turning pages. Definitely one of the most thrilling lesson in history that won't have you dozing off.
My Rating:

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Wayward Charade

Once I rose above the noise and confusion
Just to get a glimpse beyond this illusion
I was soaring ever higher
But I flew too high

Though my eyes could see I still was a blind man
Though my mind could think I still was a mad man
I hear the voices when I am dreaming
I can hear them say

Carry on my wayward son
There'll be peace when you are done
Lay your weary head to rest
Don't you cry no more

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season
And if I claim to be a wise man, well
It surely means that I don't know

On a stormy sea of moving emotion
Tossed about I'm like a ship on the ocean
I set a course for winds of fortune
But I hear the voices say