Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Singapore Blogs

I've been blogging from Singapore, my home for the past 14 years, for a little over a year now. You can take a look here for the Latest Entries from Singapore Blogs. I've enjoyed seeing how interested other readers are in my adopted home here, and I've enjoyed getting to write some about Singapore.

A month or so ago, I got my blogs listed with SGblogs. I've found it to be a good way to link with other Singapore bloggers. The site there is a great place to see what is going on in the Singaporean blogosphere. If you've got a Singapore-related blog, if you are a Singaporean blogger, or if you are blogging from Singapore, get your blog listed with SGblog, and pass the word along to other Singapore bloggers too.

This has been a sponsored post

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Are you a writer?

Do you have a manuscript all ready to send out for consideration by a publisher? If you do, you might want to take a look at a new publishing house, Enspiren Press. There's a call for submissions, and this house looks set to do things right. I've gotten a sneak peak at some manuscripts that are in the works, and I have to say I am very impressed.

If you have a top-quality work you'd like to submit, check out the new publishing house. I am very optimistic about their future.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Cell Phones

Wirefly has some great cell phones on offer, and always has good packages bundled up with Cingular.

I am a fan of Sony Ericsson phones, so I found two models quite appealing to me: W810i or the W300i. I was pretty resistant to ever getting a phone with a camera on it, when the technology was still new, as I've mentioned in another post on another of my blogs, but I have to say Sony Ericsson turned me around on that one. I've used the K750 some, and have found the photos come out very nicely, unlike the earlier VGA cameras found on most phones.

Sony has long been known as a leader in sound technology, and in video technology. To me, Sony Ericsson phones reflect that. Wirefly has a great selection of Sony Ericsson phones, including even the older models I was very fond of in the past. The selection available of Sony Ericsson phones with a Cingular plan actually surprised me, when I was browsing through the site, but I think that the combination of Sony Ericsson and Cingular is a tough one to beat.

Click Here to Advertise on My Blog

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Wally's R and B

I love good music. R&B, Jazz, Classic Rock... when it comes down to it, I have more of a taste for oldies on the radio than I do for most newer music. And when I do find newer music that I like, it tends to be a throwback to the style of the oldies.

I've had a lot of fun the last couple of years introducing oldies to my newphews and to my godchildren. I've got one nephew who will pretty much stop whatever he is doing to come and dance to me if I start to sing "Down By the Riverside," and another who seems to answer to "Hey Good Looking" as if it were his name. My godchildren can list every song on my Beatles CD in order, and love listening to it when they ride in the truck with me. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was an early favorite with them, and "All My Loving," which the 4-year-old early on mistook for "All My Nothing," has become a standard joke between us. The older one has recently developed a taste for "A Hard Day's Night," but complained to me over the weekend that she has trouble fitting the words all in when she tries to sing it.

Wally's R & B is precisely to my taste in music. Their blend of oldies, with Rhythm and Blues, jazz, and doo-wop forming the anchors, is very pleasant listening for me over the weekend. If you're an oldies' fan like me, tune in and listen to internet radio over your broadband connection. The show airs on Saturday between 3PM and 6PM EST, and it is worth listening to.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Summer, Romance

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Northrop Frye in his book Anatomy of Criticism has pointed to summer as the season for romance. This isn't talking about romance in the sense of boy meets girl and all the things we associate with "romantic" in movies and books today here. It's not about sexual love, but about quests and knights and idealism... that sort of thing. We're talking here Arthur and his Knights. That's the typical idea of a "romance."

In Frye's scheme, the various genres are represented by a season, and summer is for romance. It is preceded by spring's comedy, and followed by autumn's tragedy, with the yearly cycle ending in winter's irony/satire. Of course, in the death of the year's end, we are promised the renewal once again of spring.

Fantastic literature and speculative fiction is often thought of as fitting into summer, following the story arc of romance. All the stories of young heroes going off to find manhood and glory fit into this mold. A more dystopian type of writing, which is a large subgenre of speculative fiction in its own right, would fit more with a winter motif. But, still, summer seems to reign supreme in many fantasy novels.

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Friday, February 23, 2007

Advantage Processors

In running an online business, or even an offline retail business, one of the trickiest things can be figuring out how best to accept credit card payments. Credit cards are the easiest and most convenient way for buyers to pay, especially for large purchases, but the seller often finds it quite a hassle to set up to take a credit card payment.

Advantage Processors makes it easy for businesses to accept customers' credit cards for payment. They set up the facilities, whether for an online business, or for a traditional offline retail business. When you apply for an account at Advantage Processors, you'll be able to accept major cards from your buyers, encouraging customers to make their large purchases through your company.

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Blogsvertising Service

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Travel Writing

Travel writing is a genre all its own, and one I like to try my hand at from time to time.

If you've not seen my travel blog yet, you might enjoy having a look there. If you've got a travel blog, don't miss the link at the bottom of the left-hand navigation bar. That little widget can link you up with a great opportunity. It's connected to the Washington Post's blogroll. If you've got a good, active travel blog, click on that widget and join the fun. You stand a chance to earn a few advertising dollars, and even better, to really generate some traffic at your site.

I don't get any rewards for letting you know about this, so it's not some self-serving sort of thing. I just thought anyone with a travel blog might be interested.

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Belisi Story

If you'd like to read up on a story that has imparted
Wisdom and encouragement, see Belisi - How it Started
It's the tale of a man who was once tending bar
Who looked around to see what all the options were

When at home he had a child to feed
He felt the time had come: there was a need
To find a job with hours better suited
To the life of a family man, a life more rooted

Trying to look like thse who play success's part
He invested in ties that seemed a work of art
And soon he received noticed for his eye
His ability to choose a beautiful tie

It gave him an idea that he did pursue
He knew right then what he should do
He began to make ties with a lot of style
And was famous for them after a while

His name is now with fashion connected
A whole new image he's now erected
A line of luxury fashion with a Palm Beach look
Is the road that this entrepeneur took

Belisi Radio has made it's debut too
And if you're smart you know what to do
Tune in today and lend it your ear
And check out all the things you might hear

Today’s hottest artists are played there
Alongside music legends from everywhere
There's also progressive lounge tracks
Or perhaps jazz is what helps you kick back

And relax as you listen to the strains
Float across your room; maybe the refrains
Of country and rock favorites are more for you
Which is fine - Belisi's got that too

And not only is all of that true
Belisi fashion has even more for you
If you're the sort who for others gives a thought
You'll be glad when his fashion you've bought

To charity a portion of each sale
Is given, and he allows customers to tell
To which charity the gift should be sent
Giving to those in need is his only intent

Belisi's story is one to warm the heart
The tale of a man who has made a real art
Of selling luxury fashion in the style of Palm Beach
Amazing how far his success has reached

This has been a sponsored post

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Anatomy of Criticism

Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism offers an excellent overview of the importance of genre and the conventions of genre in both the making and the interpreting of a text. I've found it, over the years, a very useful paradigm for approaching any work, including even films or books that are very much treated as "pop culture," as if that somehow implies they are unworthy of more serious attention. I wrote some months back about Hollywood films and how Frye's thought might be applied to a certain trend we see coming from Hollywood these days.

I really love some of the things Frye has to say about the fantastic, and its place in the world of literature and art. His chapter on Romance (summer) has a lot to offer to any reader or writer who wants to approach fantasy and speculative fiction with a critical awareness of genre conventions. His work is one I would highly recommend for its erudite yet accessible approach to genre studies.

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Outside My Door

I've recently been developing a little interest in You Tube. I doubt I'll ever be a full-fledged fanatic about it (it takes too much time and effort for me to do that), but I am having a little fun with it when I can.

I don't claim to be a fiction writer, and this video shows as well as anything that I have no story-telling ability. But still, I like messing about with You Tube because it seems to me that it opens up a whole interesting set of opportunities for fun, play, expression, and even some serious interaction.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Insurance 121

If it's car insurance you're looking for
Then relax and search no more
Insurance 121 has you covered
And you'll never again have to be bothered
With seeking car or home insurance anymore
You'll go in safety from shore to shore
The streets of the town or rural roads
Without worry that the price will explode
Because you can compare car insurance rates
And find the one that is really great
If you take your time and look it over
I think you'll like the things they cover
At insurance 121, whether in your car
Or at home, or wherever you are
You can with sweet assurance rest
Knowing you've signed on with the best

This has been a sponsored post

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Note on Corporate Performance Management

Acorn Systems is the place to help you with your corporate performance management needs. They've developed this great Enterprise Profit System that will help you analyze and understand profitability, supply chain efficiencies, cost allocation and cost reduction rely on Acorn for accurate, dynamic cost/profit analytics and metrics that are easy to maintain and highly scalable to support the largest enterprises. Once you've got all of that figured out, you should be set to see your company's profits soar.

This is what Acorn Systems is all about. Helping companies like yours to increase their profits. Acorn Systems doesn't do anything else, so there won't be any problem with divided attention here. Give them a call and see what they can help you do to make your company more profitable. Do it today.

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The Making of a Fantasy Story

I've been giving some thought recently to what makes a successful fantasy novel. I've pondered works like Harry Potter and Eragon, books that would surely count as "successful" by anyone's standards. What made them so successful?

I think it is clear, especially from these two examples, that to achieve loads of sales (especially in a short time), one has to understand the genre of fantasy. Both of these examples are very conscious of their placement with in a specific genre, and they pay due respect to the typical genre markers.

While that may begin to sound formulaic to some, you can't deny that it is a formula for success. Any argument against it seems to be butting one's head against the wall. These books and movies, like it or not, sell.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Change of Pace

I'm going to be making a change of direction again in this blog in the near future. Up till now, I have been exploring some various aspects of good story telling in my own way. I don't want this blog to be an experiment anymore. Rather, I want it to be a place for sharing knowledge.

I've done a fair bit of study over the years on what makes a good story. I teach literature, and have examined the question of genre quite carefully over the years. I am also very interested, and have done a fair bit of study about, reader responses to various texts.

In the very near future, I am going to begin to use this blog as a spot for keeping notes about the question of what makes a successful novel. Especially a fantasy novel. And I will consider the idea of readers' responses to fiction, and give some thought to how that plays into the creation of a successful novel.

In addition, I'll be reviewing some movies and thinking about how the viewer/reader/audience might play into the creation of films, and how this in turns shapes our viewing experience. I'll also review a fiar number of movies.

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Linking Up

Link Popularity. You can't underestimate its importance in building a successful website. It is a necessity. It boosts Page Rank. It generates traffic. If you hope to make a little money on your blog, you can't do so without considering link popularity.

So what is it all about? Well, pretty much what it sounds like. You work on getting links to your website. Google calculates the number of links, how high profile the sites that provide the links are, and other things like that, in an elaborate algorithm set up just for the purpose. When it's all been run through the system, a page rank is assigned to the site. And what is page rank? Well, simply put, it is the place the page will rank in searches. A higher rank means a site will appear closer to the top of a search.

So how do you increas your page rank? Well, you have to have a whole lot of links, or else a fair number of links from vastly popular websites. Getting links on those sorts of sites isn't all that easy. But getting lots of smaller links is. If you check out Blogitive's advertising method, you'll find that this is what they are all about.

Take a look and see what Blogitive can do for your page rank.

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Foreign Tongues

I've heard some funny lines from people I've known over the years who were learning English. Some of them have come back to mind recently:

"Ugh. The exam on Friday... don't remember me that."

"Wow! This spaghetti is really gorgeous. Can I get the recipe?"

"I have no expectations for myself." (Meaning, "I am not ambitious.")

I've probably made blunders that are equally funny in my langauge learning, but it is sometimes amusing to hear the language twisted on a foreign tongue, and to see the different ways one can come up with for saying a thing.

Some of my thoughts about The Wonder of Words

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The Climb

Eight thousand steps.

That was what she said.

Eight thousand.

I've done at least seven hundred yet.

Almost ten percent done.

I hope I don't die.

Shut up! Don't think like that.

Steps won't kill anyone.

Well, that's not quite true.

People have died on these steps.

But not me.

I won't die.

Even if the air is getting thin right now.

How does she do that?

How can the guide practically sprint up and down these stairs?

And who made this staircase?

Just look at how rugged these cliffs are. How could anyone do the work of laying these stairs?

But of course, more people died in these mountains before this track was laid.

I can't imagine navigating this place without these steps before me.

Eight thousand steps.

That's what she said.

We've done at least nine hundred now.

That's just over ten percent.

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A Poem for Pingo

If you're looking for mobile Ecuador calling cards
Then you'll be glad to know that it isn't that hard
Just pop over to Pingo find what you need there
You can call pretty much anywhere
With the great cards at Pingo's site
You can be on the phone with loved ones tonight
For four hours' worth of telephone calls
Telling them how much you miss them and all

Being away from home is hard enough
When you every day there is more and more stuff
You want to tell your family members all about
So why not go the Pingo card route
Make use of the time on the phone
To say you love those you've left back home

This has been a sponsored post

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Monday, February 05, 2007

A Trip to the Dentist

Having spent a sleepless night due to her toothache, she drove out in search of a dentist. Being new in town, she didn't have a regular dentist yet.

As she drove, she saw a sign that said Hayfield Dental Care. She promptly turned her car into the parking lot, hoping she could get in without an appointment. She read the name of the dentist Charles Brown DDS PC and smiled. The name inspired confidence.

What she saw printed along the glass doors made her groan, wanting to kick herself. "Hayfield Dental Care’s doors are always open to new patients and emergencies." On the one hand, it was good. She wouldn't need an appointment. On the other hand, if she'd tried this last night, perhaps she could've gotten this throbbing pain out of her mouth then, and she could've had a good night's sleep.

Give Hayfield Dental Care a call at 703-971-2220.


She lay in bed, irritated and frustrated. Now, not only was her tooth aching, but she was also unable to sleep, despite her exhaustion. The tooth throbbed in her mouth, and she suspected this was going to be one very long sleepless night.

She had no idea what had started it, but of course it only started after office hours, when it was too late to do anything about it. Just her luck. If this had all started just a little earlier, she could have at least avoided the sleepless night.


Hooray! Mommy had prepared her favorite today! Fresh brownies. Her mouth was watering.

As Mommy brought them out, she and Daddy waited anxiously (it was hard to tell who was more eager for the chocolate delights to come). She put her brownie on her plate, picked up the butter knife, and started to cut it. She couldn't seem to get the knife to go through the brownie at all.

"Your knife won't cut the brownie using the blunt side like that, Sweetheart," Daddy said. "You'll have to turn it over."

She smiled at Daddy, picked up the brownie, turned it over, and gave it another try.

Coin Dealer

He knew what he needed, and all he had to find was a reliable coin dealer to help him get his hands on it.

He'd been reading about how the silver hoards in the US were nearly depleted, and how that meant that silver prices were set to escalate in the very near future. He knew, then, that this was his window of opportunity. He could get his silver coins while they were still cheap and sell them high in a few years.

When he logged in to MDC's website, he read about his options. Hm. Not just silver coins, but bullion and ingots too. And, he'd have to decide how to store his investment for the next few years. Did he want it delivered to him, or did he want MDC to help arrange safe storage in a depository.

Having decided already on where to put his money, it looked like he still had a few decisions left to make.


The four year old and his little sister were having the time of their lives. At a friends' house for dinner, they were free to roam about while the adults chattered around the table. And there was so much to explore.

As they ran here and there, the boy eventually stubbed his toe against a coffee table. He'd hit it hard, and left the toenail broken nearly down to the quick.

Dry eyed, he walked up to his mother, the nail beginning to ooze a bit of blood.

"Look Mom, my toe's ruined."

No Confidence

Mother and Aunt were talking about Aunt's personal life. Daughter was sitting on the floor, in three year old bliss and pleasure.

"Aunt," she looked up and said, "you've got no confidence!"

Amused at the girl's analysis of Aunt's personal problems, the two women had a good laugh.



"And what is confidence?"

"I don't know."

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ashop Ecommerce Software

"Hey. How's everything?"


"Oh no. Why?"

"Business is terrible. I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm afraid I'm going to lose the shop."

"That's horrible... Hey. Have you ever thought of getting online and opening a webshop to supplement what you do?"

"I don't know the first thing about the internet. I wouldn't know what to do."

"Well, I can help you get a site together, a really simple one to start. And I know of this company that has some great ecommerce software. We can use that to set up the finer points of it all."

"Like what?"

"Well, the software will help you set up a really nice online shopping basket for your customers. And then you can use it to set up a way to accept credit cards from your customers, so that they can order immediately from right there on your site."

"I wouldn't know how to do all of that!"

"You don't have to. This software makes it really easy, and all you have to do is customize it to look the way you want it to."

"Sounds like a huge job."

"Nope. You can get it all set up within hours of having purchased the software."

"Are you sure?"

"Yep. Used it myself, and have had great results."

"Well, when do we get started?"


"Mom, what do you think it's like in the clouds?"

"In the clouds?"

"Yes. Inside the clouds."

"I don't know..."

"I bet it's smoky."

"I bet you're right."

"Do you want to go into the clouds, Mom?"

"In the clouds?"

"Yes. With me."

"With you? Well then sure!"

"It'll be fun. Maybe we can climb to the top of the clouds and bounce on top of them."

"You're right. That does sound like fun."

[sidenote: I came across a really cool website with some amazing pictures of clouds, here]

Friday, February 02, 2007

My Favorite Beer Story

Heineken had a really good commercial that was on TV all the time. It had this guy sitting in a bar, blowing into his beer bottle making it whistle. Before you know it, the whole bar was singing and dancing together, having a great time of it all.

That commercial really caught on, and people all over the island were always walking about whistling the song from the Heineken commercial.

On night, I was at dinner at a coffee shop in the neighbourhood with some friends and their kids. The waitress was carrying a tray of Heinekens to the table next to us. One of the kids saw it and started whistling the tune from the Heineken commercial. We all started whistling with her. And before you know it, the people at the table next to us turned back and started whistling with us.

It was funny how Heineken's art was imitated in life.

Big Savings

She'd been an Apple user for as long as she'd used computers at all. It was unreasonable to even imagine she'd use anything else than her old trusty Mac.

But the lightning had struck, and left her computer fried. And she didn't have a lot of spare cash sitting around to repair or replace it. She was going to have to figure out how to do something with the few dollars she'd managed to scrape together. That was the dilemma she'd shared with her two best friends.

The first had actually mentioned the "D" word... that cheap brand of computers that are pretty reliable too... and that was now sell for some pretty low prices....

"You can take the ad away. It doesn't matter how cheap they are. I don't do Windows."

"You are so stubborn."

"Yes. I know. Molly, no ideas from you?"

"Well, actually, I was just thinking about Ebates. It's great coupon shopping online. You can save anywhere from 3-25%, and I know they sell Apple computers there. I bet you could bring it down to as cheap as one of those other offers, if you shopped at Ebates."

"Well, there ya go then! So, which of you is going to let me use your computer so I can go online and buy it?"

"Well, you can use mine, but it is a PC, you know."

"Alright. I'll suffer through it for the greater good."

He Hears Voices?

Mike was one of those crazy sorts of guys. He seemed to think the clouds could talk to him. I mean, come on! Everyone knows there aren't voices in the sky. The only kind of people who think they hear voices from the clouds are the sort that eventually end up in the madhouse.

"Oh yeah? Well, take a look at this."