Weekly Update: Ninja, Bombball and the New Doctor!

7 the rest - sunday

Another stressful week. But good news is that there will be tonnes of posts coming up this week! Stay tuned at the end of this recap for what they are.

1. Song of the Week: Green – Adam Barnes

This is a song that I really needed for the end of the week. All my weekends are being stolen by routines I do not want to have in my life. This is my song to make me feel better about it. And a close second song is #BoysLikeU – Like The Movies & Ali Brustofski.

2. Video of the Week: SourceFed Plays Ninja Episode One

Another Sourcefed video that was hilarious. Ninja reminds me of a game I used to play as a kid called Pepsi Cola Pop. But instead of stepping on people’s feet, it’s slapping another’s hand.

3. LP of the Week: Bombball – Game Grumps VS

Game Grump VS videos are increasingly becoming a highlight of my weekends. And this one was no different.

4. Trailer of the Week: Doctor Who Series 8 Teaser Trailer

Alright, not much of a trailer, but it really makes me super excited for August when we get to finally have adventures with the new doctor!

Last but not least, stay tuned this week as I start on the 30 Day Movie Challenge with Rhey of Sunshine. The first challenge will be up tomorrow and will continue for the next 30 days. I’m extremely excited to see how this goes, and how it will differ from the already completed 30 Day Book Challenge. Also, I will be putting up a review of X-Men: Days of Future Past this Wednesday as well, so keep watching this page for that.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤


Overview of the 30 Day Book Challenge

Hello there readers and followers!

So this is the end of the 30 Day Book Challenge!

On Wednesday, 9th April 2014 I announced that I was going to do the 30DBC with my fellow blogger and friend, Rhey of Sunshine. Back when I announced it, I knew that this was going to need some careful planning, especially with my day job and my other time-consuming hobbies. Now that it has come to an end, the feeling is bittersweet. Sweet because, firstly, I’m partially thankful it is over and I can take a break, but bitter because I will no longer be in the routine of writing another challenge – because there are no more challenges.

I have to firstly say that I am absolutely proud of Rhey of Sunshine. I am proud that, in her even busier schedule than me, she has managed to come out with such wonderful posts on her blog. Some of her posts are so detailed and well-researched, I can only admire and aspire to write with such care as she does.

Secondly, now that it is all done, I would like to recap all my choices for each day, so you can get an overlook of how it went.

Day 01 – Best book you read last year: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times: Maximum Ride by James Patterson
Day 03 – Your favorite series: The Immortals by Tamora Pierce
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series: Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy: Simon’s Cat by Simon Tofield
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad: Le Dame Aux Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils
Day 07 – Most underrated book: Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown
Day 08 – Most overrated book: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving: Butcher’s Wife by Li Ang
Day 10 – Favorite classic book: Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Day 11 – A book you hated: The Guide by R.K. Narayan
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore: Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder
Day 13 – Your favorite writer: Jean Rhys
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer: Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
Day 15 – Favorite male character: The Narrator from Fight Club
Day 16 – Favorite female character: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book: “A river of words flowed between us.”
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Day 20 – Favorite romance book: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood: Molly the Brave and Me by Jane O’Connor
Day 22 – Favorite book you own: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories by Tim Burton
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t: (more than one)
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read: the dictionary/thesaurus
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most: Quentin Jacobsen from Paper Towns by John Green
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something: The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending: (more than one)
Day 28 – Favorite title: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked: Self Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
(SUBMITTED BY: magicandwishes)

To check out all the individual posts for these days, look for it in the drop down menu under “30 Day Book Challenge”.

Last but not least, I’ll be taking a short break for now and I have another challenge in mind in two week’s time. Meanwhile, let me know what you thought about this challenge. Also let me know if you’re interested in taking part in the next challenge with me. 🙂

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DBC Day 30: Your favorite book of all time

Hi everyone!

Oh wow, the last day of the 30DBC! I will be posting up an overview/recap later today of everything I’ve chosen for this challenge. So look out for that! But, for the last time in this challenge, let me remind you to check out Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog for her all-time favourite book. We both thank you for reading and following us through. And if you are ever interested in taking part in this challenge yourself in the future, let me know so I can, in turn, check yours out!

Now, for my favourite book. I’m going to rewind a bit here all the way back to Day 17, where I was made to choose my favourite quote from my favourite book. For those who read it, I quoted this: “A river of words flowed between us.”

It’s a simple enough quote, nothing really too remarkable about it, honestly. But this is was the phrase that stuck out the most when I read my favourite book.

Here, let me give you the full quote that led up, and pass it:

As the weeks continued to pass, Art3mis and I spent more and more time together. Even when our avatars were doing other things, we were sending e-mails and instant messages to each other. A river of words flowed between us.

I wanted more than anything to meet her in the real world. Face-to- face. But I didn’t tell her this. I was certain she had strong feelings for me, but she also kept me at a distance. No matter how much I revealed about myself to her—and I wound up revealing just about everything, including my real name—she always adamantly refused to reveal any details about her own life … My whole relationship with Art3mis was in defiance of all common sense.

And where is this from?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Ready-Player-One-cover-by-Ernest-ClineYes, and I actually wrote a book review of this right before doing the 30 Day Book Challenge. So essentially, we’ve come full circle.

There are so many geeky reasons why I love this book so much, and how it has so easily climbed up my list of favourites, which includes Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”, to make it to the top.

Ready Player One is a story about Wade Watts, a boy who lives in absolute poverty, in a world that is completely neglected and left to ruin. People instead, in this society, escape into a virtual world aptly named as the OASIS. The story kicks off when the creator of the OASIS, Halliday, dies and leaves behind clues and a game for a potential successor who will inherit his fortune and the OASIS for themselves. Wade is determined to find the easter egg that Halliday has created within the OASIS. This story tells of To check out more of what the book is about and my general (unbiased) review of it, click on the link above.

There were so many times during the 30dbc that I wanted to mention some parts of this book. It is by far one of my favourite books this year, I hope to someday read it at least three times (and hear it a million more in its audio version – which is read by Will Wheaton! Will freakin’ Wheaton!), there was an entire section that made me laugh like an idiot, there were bitter realisations that struck me deep and it honestly contains some of my favourite characters – some with amazing plot twists.

I mean, this book references so many 80s music it makes an entire soundtrack, one that you can actually look up and go listen to. It references so many movies that you can have an 80s marathon. It references so many games, you can totally geek out to them over an entire afternoon. It is even freakin’ meta, ’cause Cline created his own easter hunt game from the book that people are actually listed as winners of. So to me, this book is not just a book, you do not read it, you experience it.

Recently I watched WarGames (shown below) for the first time which was referenced in this book – and it was awesome.


I love some of Cline’s technological inventions in the game. My favourite being FlickSync – which is basically like karaoke but instead you are a character in your favourite movie and when you recite the right lines (especially in the right tone and with the right action) you get points. The object of the game is to recite the lines as well as possible to get the highest score. Wouldn’t you love to have that in real life?

Another reason why I love the book is that it is so neatly laid out in terms of plot – find the three keys and unlock the three gates and you’ll get Halliday’s ultimate prize. Yet, at the same time, there are so many thrilling moments, sometimes you forget about the plot entirely. Personally, I found it such an immersive experience.

Ultimately what I love about it is that, even though Wade is entirely engulfed by pop culture, by technological advancement, by games, Cline does not fail to reveal the double-edged sword of the world he has created. Every moment I am in awe at the beauty of the OASIS, I am also reminded that Wade is incredibly alone, incredibly poor and incredibly lost. He grew up in this virtual world – and while you admire the technology, you pity him.

So Ready Player One is definitely my favourite book – it was everything Ender’s Game failed to be. It showed promise the very first time I saw the cover of it and I was not disappointed in the least when I finally read it. The only problem now is that I’m in the search of an equally enticing sci-fi novel.

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤

30DBC Day 29: A book everyone hated but you liked

Hi everyone!

So, this is the penultimate day of the 30DBC, if you have been reading all – or heck, most – of my posts for this challenge so far, I thank you for following along. Even more so if you’ve also been following Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog.

Today’s challenge is on the book I liked that everyone else hated. Personally, I don’t think this scenario exists. Unless you did like Twilight. Otherwise, it’s pretty much impossible for everyone to hate a certain book. There will always be the classic book camp and there will always be the teen novel camp, and those in between, and one may hate the other but mutual hate does not really exist. And if it did, there is a strong likelihood that I hated that book to, so that’s pretty much a moot point.

So the closest situation I could think of in which there was a text I liked but everyone seemed to hate is …

Self Reliance and Other Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson

9781566196987_p0_v1_s260x420Okay, so let me begin with my story: It was the first year in uni and we had to read Emerson’s essays early in the semester for one week for my American Literature course. And, like the diligent student I am, I read them, specifically “Self-Reliance”, “Circles” (by accident, even though it wasn’t on the reading list but it was so good), “The Poet” and “History”, and I just remembered being sent into a transcendentalist journey.

The essays are like 19th century self-help or self-exploration articles. They spoke of living in the moment, being satisified with the person you are and to not be over-involved in the concerns of society but instead to be appreciative of what is around you.

And then I had to go for the lecture that week to discuss it, and I was so excited to discuss the philosophy behind it – and, to my utter astonishment, it seemed like everyone there just absolutely hated it.

They could not read past half a page, they did not understand anything Emerson was saying, they did not like the fact that there really was a clear argument to his essays (although that is not what essays are always about!) or they just did not like transcendentalism as a whole. And I could not understand it – who could not agree with what Emerson says? Even in the most superficial sense of his words?

Man is timid and apologetic; he is no longer upright; he dares not say “I think,” “I am,” but quotes some saint or sage. He is ashamed before the blade of grass or the blowing rose. These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones; they are for what they are; they exist with God to-day. There is no time to them. There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence. Before a leaf-bud has burst, its whole life acts; in the full-blown flower there is no more; in the leafless root there is no less. Its nature is satisfied, and it satisfies nature, in all moments alike. But man postpones or remembers; he does not live in the present, but with reverted eye laments the past, or, heedless of the riches that surround him, stands on tiptoe to foresee the future. He cannot be happy and strong until he too lives with nature in the present, above time.” 
― Ralph Waldo EmersonSelf-Reliance and Other Essays

To me, there are so many passages quotable from Emerson’s essays and so many concepts to reflect upon. But, I can, to some extent, understand their qualms with his writing. Emerson does not write in the most direct manner – sometimes you lose the point in his speech – you forget what exactly he is trying to say, he crafts sentences in squiggles rather than straight lines.

But isn’t that the point of it? It’s to not to be concerned with what has passed or what is in the future, but to live in the words themselves.

I would recommend anyone to try reading one of Emerson’s essays (Here, let me provide a link) – sit down in a comfortable place, preferably near a window that looks out at some greenery, and with a nice warm cup of coffee and tea, and just read. They aren’t long, and they don’t take long to read (they take longer to think about), and they are a goldmine of beautiful quotes and reflections.

So, I’ll catch you guys tomorrow for the finale – the last challenge of the 30 Day Book Challenge.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DBC Day 28: Favorite title

Hi guys!

It’s becoming all too real now, that this 30 Day Book Challenge is almost over. And today I’m covering my favourite title, which is …

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell JarI took this challenge as my ideal title for a novel, a title that just summarises everything perfectly, a title that just resonates, a title you cannot forget. I have to say that from the first time I heard of the title, The Bell Jar, I fell in love with it. It intrigued me. And yes, they say that you should not judge a book by its cover, and that includes its title, but I would be lying if I said I do not go into the bookstores and scan the shelves, and stroke the spines of books for wonderful titles. The more mystique it holds, the more it just captivates me. And The Bell Jar did just that.

“What is a bell jar? And what does the story have to do with one?”

And then, in one of my uni courses, I had the absolute pleasure to finally read it, and find out …

To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.” 


because wherever I sat—on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok—I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air.” 

and, lastly,

But I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure at all. How did I know that someday―at college, in Europe, somewhere, anywhere―the bell jar, with its stifling distortions, wouldn’t descend again?” 

Lisa The Bell JarFirstly, a bell jar is exactly how you would imagine it to be, an upside down jar, shaped like a bell that creates a vacuum effect. It preserves whatever is in it; anything within remains trapped in time and space, separated from the outside world. And this image is perfect for the protagonist, Esther Greenwood, who suffers from clinical depression.

She feels absolutely confined in this metaphorical bell jar, stuck within her own head. Every day to her is one of stagnant, stale thoughts, with no escape.

I love the metaphor because it shows how you can still be stuck in your head yet others can barely see it – you can still look at society (although through somewhat distorted images), and they can still see you. There is nothing apart there that is hindering an individual from being a member of society. Yet at the same time you know you will never be a part of them, you will never feel like them, and they, in turn, knowing your condition, will see you as something fragile and something that will not be a part of them.

Hence, the title is perfect – it reflects someone trapped. It calls to those who feel trapped in a pocket within society – which is obviously any individual. ‘Cause I know I definitely feel that I will never feel like everyone else in society. I, by no means, have the same aspirations and wants as everyone else in society. But then, doesn’t everyone share the same sentiments? Yet at the same time, aren’t we all reluctant to voice this out? Then, aren’t we all sort of living separate bubbles of lives with distorted thoughts of one another? It’s just so compelling to think of the world like this.

Even more so, it’s compelling to think that, since we were born, we are able to think an infinite number of thoughts yet in a finite way – in our way. And the same thoughts that strike us the most keep swimming in our head. And if we are never inspired by anything, then these same thoughts will continue to dangerously float in our heads. And we sit there, among our thoughts, ruminating, as they stifle us like tiny droplets of humidity that cling on the inner surface of the bell jar.

And – I think after those two paragraphs – it is evident that the title, The Bell Jar, is able to manifest so many different images in one’s mind. And this is the reason why it is one of my favourite titles. It is one subtle metaphor, but it is a powerful one. I think Sylvia Plath would have been proud to have grown mushrooms (referencing a Plath poem here: “Perfectly voiceless, / Widen the crannies”, and not drugs) in my mind.

So, for more wonderful titles, go take a look at Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog. And I’ll catch you tomorrow for the penultimate challenge.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DBC Day 27: The most surprising plot twist or ending

Hi guys!

So here’s another 30 Day Book Challenge. Today I’ll be looking at a book I’ve read with the most surprising plot twist or ending. Actually I’m thankful to have read a few books with incredible plot twist endings. I’m thankful because I’ve decided to turn this into more of a category list instead of a description of one book’s plot twist. I thought this would be best because I really don’t want to divulge the plot twist of these books. I’d rather not write down spoilers. Instead, I’d rather list down these books, hint at the plot twist and have you guys read them yourselves and get absolutely blown away by them.

So, here are the books …

1. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Yes, I mentioned this book again but honestly this novel has the #1 plot twist! I did not expect to see it coming and, unlike some novels where the ending is a stretch, this one just fits in so well. Palahniuk should write detective novels. The beauty of this plot twist, after knowing it, changes the entire story – and not just for the events after, it changes everything you’ve read from the first page onwards. And isn’t that something remarkable? When you can literally never read this book the same way you did the first time you did. Yes, that is the magnitude of the Fight Club plot twist. You remember it for the rest of your life.

2. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Honestly, when reading this plot twist when I was a child, I thought J.K. Rowling was a genius – and I felt like an absolute dingbat – and a judgemental idiot. I feel like I can reveal this spoiler because so many people have either read or watched this, but then again, I’ll just keep it as a known secret between me and you, the reader who has read it. I know there are many plot twists that appear after this novel – but honestly, this was the first one that had me stunned. And the one I shall mention now.

3. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Yes, another book I’ve already mentioned – actually in the book that disappointed me challenge. But, regardless of whether it disappointed me or not (only cause I expected it to be better than the movie), you can’t deny that the ending is a shocker and has so many implications to it. The fact that the General pulled a fast one on both Ender and the readers is worth the read. And I heard that the follow-up book had another plot twist in it as well worth reading.

4. Atonement by Ian McEwan

The ending to Atonement is heart-wrenching – and the novel’s ending and the movie’s ending are different, and they are equally heart-wrenching plot twists. At one point in time Atonement was my favourite novel. The plot twist at the end was part of the reason why. The movie’s gorgeous soundtrack is part of the reason why too.

So those are my top four favourite plot twist novels. I would recommend anyone read these novels just for their amazing endings. Please go check out Rhey of Sunshine‘s blog as well for more books with plot twist endings!

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤

30DBC Day 26: A book that changed your opinion about something

Hello everyone!

And thank you for following me as I complete the last few days of this 30 Day Book Challenge with my fellow blogger, Rhey of Sunshine. Today’s challenge is all about the book that has changed my opinion of something.

What I want to first express is how I am incredibly thankful of the course I decided to pursue for college. Many people may censure Literature as a major with few prospects. But the truth is that when I took up the course I wasn’t concerned with what occupation it would get me in society.

Probably, just like a literature student, my mindset was more of how “it’s all about the journey, not the destination”. And I believe one of the most crucial journeys I went on during my uni days was an exploration of how to view the world in a new way through a multitude of texts.

If there was any text that challenged my viewpoint on a subject, it would have to be …

The Passion of New Eve by Angela Carter

new-eve1It is the story of Evelyn, a young Englishman, and it is set in dystopian United States where civil war has broken out between different political, racial and gendered groups.

This dark satire takes the reader along a journey through the mythology of sexuality and questions the primitive notions of gender. 

It is a story of how Evelyn is transformed into a woman, Eve, by an all-women’s society in the desert, and, along with this transformation, he learns the constructed ideals that entail his new gender. To prepare him for the sex change, they have him watch videos on mothering and women’s fashion.

The story also introduces the ancient Tristessa, a famous movie star with a haunting secret. She is the crush of Evelyn since he was a little boy. And she is the walking embodiment of everything false with normative genders.

I believe that if I had not been studying feminism at that point in time, this book would have been a horrific and demanding read. The text as a whole is difficult to swallow because of the stark sexual imagery present (I believe this is made evident from its provocative cover) – which is partially why it made such an impact on me to begin with. This book is hard to forget.

If one were to just read this book without any context to it, I would believe it is easy to feel offended by it. Everything in this book is a suggestive (or very obvious) sin. But if you look beyond the sinful actions of the characters within this novel, the undeniable question is: Why are we offended? And the answer is probably because we have been taught to be.

Proposition one: time is a man, space is a woman.” 
― Angela CarterThe Passion of New Eve

If there is one thing this novel achieves, it is to persuade the reader to absolutely destroy their preconceived semantics of what a woman and man should be, and why these boundaries are so integral for us to function in society. This is alluded by completely extracting the protagonist from the urban landscape to the desert – a landscape that is ironically a plethora of metaphors for the necessities to remove all remnants of symbolism, signification, implication and, yes, metaphor.

Carter ultimately attempts to disconcert the reader thoroughly. What you know of what makes up a man and a woman is no more than what your parents, your teachers and even you yourself has been ascribing to.

And here I move on to the scene that is as equally sinful as it is thought-provoking. After Evelyn is transformed into a woman, upon which he is enslaved by a man named Zero and his seven slave/wives, he meets Tristessa, a movie star he had been admiring for her sensual features, in a glass palace. Zero discovers, by trying to expose Tristessa’s private parts, that she is actually a man. Zero then forces both Eve and Tristessa to act out a mock-wedding after which he insists that they “consummate their marriage”.

It is here that Carter presents to the readers a unique and entirely singular scenario: Eve is a man in a female’s body, with now female genitalia, and Tristessa is a man in a woman’s body with male genitalia; Eve was once a man in society, he used to be in a position of illusionary power, but he has been recently stripped of any power. Meanwhile, Tristessa as a female movie star is objectified and sexualised, but the truth is that she is a man.

The Passion of New Eve blurs the lines between sex and gender differences and puts into contention the chicken-and-egg question, which came first? Is our perceptions of what makes us men and women determined by our sex, or is it growing up with these gender stereotypes that we then force these ideals on the sex?

Growing up, I always assumed that there was a clear logic that the role of men and women in society was always determined by biology – this book made me question how much of our stereotypes can we attribute to our sex. And when can we stop blaming the way we see gender roles on our past generations, when can we start being more perceptive of how meaning originates, sometimes, from the most biased origins of culture and religion?

As a whole this novel made me more open-minded towards the idea of gender as something absolutely abstract – and here I quote Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire

So, till next time!

cumuloq ❤