Tuesday, June 4, 2013

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Book Review: The Book Thief

       The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is indeed one of the best books that I have ever read. Taking place in World War II, narrated by Death itself, it tells the storie of Liesel Meminger, a girl who had to be abandoned by her mother for undisclosed reasons and stays with Rosa and Hans Hubermann. 

       The novel mostly narrates what happened with Liesel during her stay in Himmel Street (Himmel meaning Heaven). This includes (and is not limited to) making friends, falling in love, hiding a fistfighting Jew, learning the meaning and power of words, indulging in crime, being part of the Hitler Youth, hiding from air raids, and of course, stealing books.

        What makes this novel so extraordinary, though, is the way it's narrated. As I mentioned, it's narrated by Death who makes for a charming narrator. Interestingly, he seems pretty human, having feelings, feeling joy and almost crying for a few characters himself. Hell, he gets depressed at points. He has a blackened heart. He possibly hasn't had a vacation since he's started, and his line of work isn't the most joyous. So, he tends to look for distractions, which usually is the color of the sky when every person dies, because for each one there is a different color: red, white, black, breakfast, newspaper. 

      Interestingly, to give his work meaning, like many humans try to, he collects, the most extroardinary stories he comes across, and Liesel's story is one of those. And that's just the start of what makes the novel so great. The way that Zusak places the story in its context is simply impressive, for you really get the feel of what living in Nazi Germany was like, for the rich and poor alike. 

       There's also a lot of thought placed into the philosophy of what war really is, and what really happens in a war. Death complains because he gets busy, but he also mentions that when soldiers run to each other, they actually run to him. These thoughts are deep, and this novel is not meant for everyone (treat it like a young-adult to onward sort of story), but everybody should get to read this masterpiece of a novel.

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Would Widespread Wealth Ruin The World?

Click on the picture to enlarge
        The carbon footprint is a way of measuring how much energy one consumes, usually during a given year. And people in more developed countries have high emissions compared to those in third world countries. Take the U.S., for example; an american toddler will have generated more carbon dioxide in its first year than an average Tanzanian person will generate in his/her lifetime.

          Many people are reluctant to help out developing nations because, without the proper cautions, global warming can be accelerated at a staggering rate. Still, could those precautions stop global warming? Think about it. China has more than four times the population size the United States has, and yet, the country's carbon footprint is slightly larger. If 1.3 billion people can control their consumption at such a rate, why can't Americans, who are roughly 300 million people do so too? And why stop there? Every single country in the world should have access to the knowledge and cultural education that would lead them to look for a sustentable lifestyle.

I mean, seriously, if you can walk on a patch of your own garbage,
(which appears on Google Earth)
you've got problems.
         If anybody remembers Al Gore, or that guy who was almost the President of the United States, he was very well aware of what global warming was doing, but he was also aware of the fact that if people wanted to, they could stop it right in its tracks. 

           I'm not going to post ways that you can save energy here, mostly because many of you already know them and there are many websites written by experts about these topics, but really think about it. If the world actually shows self-control (and investigation is set forth to find new energy sources and renewable materials) widespread wealth wouldn't present a problem to us, in fact, it would help a lot.

We would all be one with nature and shit.
In the meanwhile, if you are keen to start saving up on energy now, here are a few helpful links:

Follow those tips, remember to reuse and reduce (then recycle) and we'll be closer to having everybody with their own slice of wealth in no time. 
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How To: Be An Idiot

            Life is hard. Indeed, all you readers know it. There are people with personalities, intellect, or records that are larger than life, and of course, not everybody can reach those standards. So many people take to being idiots, but, how, exactly, can one be an idiot?

If you're smarter than this by the end of the article, you weren't paying attention.
        First of all, don't give a crap about your education. I mean, getting a degree is hard and many companies want that as the bare minimum which is pretty hard. That being said, whenever you really need something, just get all the requirements you need and nothing else. No need to shine among the pack. Yes, your chances will be slim but you'll have a chance, and this applies for job interviews, colleges, clubs, etc. But of course, as an idiot you wouldn't have any interest in that. 

Small circle good, big circle bad.
             An important aspect of being an idiot is that whenever you have a problem you have to try and try again, but don't change anything. Don't worry, maybe someday something different will happen, who knows? Also, don't record anything, be it results, dates, even small appointments you have to go to. If you remember an hour or a day later, it won't make any difference, you'll be that closer to being a dumbass. 

"I'm terribly sorry, sir, but the anti-progressive convention was four years ago."
            Don't read. At all. Warning signs, newspapers, internet articles, books, whatever, reading's for nerds. And yes, there are smart people who almost never pick up books because they don't have time. Their secret is doing something productive, which could be something creative, or working, or developing a skill like dancing or playing music, but of course, don't do it. You could spend your time sleeping, getting stoned, watching horrible television, you know, whatever doesn't take an effort. 

               And when you're comfortably dumbed down and somebody offers an opportunity, don't take it! Opportunities mean work, and you don't want to have anything to do with that, now, do you? Work's for squares, and you're not one. Also, when your friends stop speaking to you (that is, if you had any friends), don't worry, you can buy some booze and be friends with a couple of dweebs from junior high, or maybe that creepy old guy from the apartments down the street. He seems to be a blast.

Try to be like these guys!
                Also, the more you don't interact with smart people the better. Don't be like them. Don't organize yourself. Why clean up? It'll get dirty again anyways. Besides, you already know where everything is, I mean, why make the effort? You know that whole clean room clean mind mumbo jumbo's a piece of crap anyways.

Ah, zen.
               Whenever you have to take the opportunity to go to some important place or event, don't learn about it beforehand or while you're there, you'll look like a damn geek if you do, and nobody wants to be that, other people will get jealous then hate you! 

Someone else of course because they won't notice you.
               Although, why be considerate of other people? Why even bother to have values and morals? I mean, every man for himself, right? By this point, your family and friends have left you behind, why even bother to be good to others? You just go ahead and be that selfish bastard you've wanted to be. Sure, in the long run you may struggle but the short run's the one that matters, isn't it? Besides, life is too short and if you were remembered it wouldn't be for that long, so, yeah, no reason to give a shit.

That's the spirit!
                  Of course, don't remember the difference between your and you're, there their and they're, or any of those complicated words, and try to adopt words like yolo and swag into your daily language. Try not to use more than four-lettered words, period.

               So, as you can see, it's pretty simple, simply don't work, don't learn, don't make an effort, because, why should you even bother? If you follow this article well (and make sure it's the last one you ever read), you'll be an idiot in no time! And your comfortable life as a lazy bastard can finally begin. 

Hell, maybe you can impress somebody so much they'll make a book about you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

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Book Review: World War Z

        World War Z. Written by Max Brooks, the same guy who wrote the Zombie Survival Guide (and the son of cinema legend Mel Brooks). Everybody's waiting for what will possibly be the best zombie movie ever produced (if there's a famous actor in it, it's going to be well produced) and many people are wondering whether the book is any good. Well, I got around to it a couple of months ago, and I'll be damned if it isn't the best zombie book I've ever read. Why?

Wouldn't you think zombies are enough?
         The book's about a bunch of interviews. Yes, that sounds strange at first, but you have to realize that those turn this novel into a beautifully crafted story which talks about every aspect of the zombie war. How did tribes fare against zombies? Did zeds die off in the cold? What about oceans, could they go across them? Lakes? Rivers? How did humanity fight back? What happened with the economy, with politics, with everything? How many people died? How did countries change?

I mean, just, what the hell, man?
      The book goes everywhere, from the U.S. to Israel to Brazil to Japan to Russia and many other countries and even space (for example, astronauts got to see the onslaught as they had to keep satelites operating). A crew in a satellite had to go through hearing distress signals while they themselves gave off instructions on how to fight back against zombies, cultivate plants, etc.

They never explain why Brad Pitt tried to get Kid Rock's hairstyle, though.
And think about it. Everything's there. 


          Also, emotion plays a huge part in this novel, and I'll be damned if it isn't awesome. So, go ahead and read this book as fast as you damn well can before the movie comes out, and if you don't get to read it, then tough shit, read it after watching the movie, because this may damn well be one of the most awesomely crafted survival/horror novels ever made.

Bring it on, brainless maggots, humanity's ready.
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Pros And Cons: Tattoos

DON'T chop your arm off to get this tattoo.
          When you grow up you're going to face a few life-changing decisions, and one that's overlooked a lot is getting a tattoo. It's a great way to show the world how much of a badass you think you are, though it's frowned upon by many it's held in high esteem by many others. So, do the benefits outweigh the negative consequences or vice-versa?

I don't know but I guess that the guy on the left was painted.
Or maybe that is a tattoo.
Made by a professional artist.
        People love hearing the good news first, so here goes. First of all, there's almost no risk. Sure, go homemade or go to a dirty shop and you'll see you've got another thing coming, but usually there's no problem. And of course, it's not like you'll be considered a freak. Hell, there are teachers and doctors with tattoos. 

            Also, it's fairly customizable, it can cover a small part of your body or all of it, and you can choose to put it in a concealable place. Besides, if a tattoo's done correctly, damn, it'll look awesome. Besides, it can hold some deep personal meaning or serve as a reminder (that doesn't mean you should tattoo the periodic table before finals).

It's also a good alternative for baldness.
         Now, cons. If a tattoo's visible, that could cost you your job, and also, they're hard to get rid of (hopefully that will change in the next few years). Also, if you go to a shitty parlor you can get a disease like Hepatitis B or even get infected with HIV. Also a tattoo can come out crappy or can fade away and that really sucks. Also, you can't donate blood or an organ once you've been marked (this is possibly the biggest con of all, and hopefully one that will also change soon). 

Or you could get a tramp stamp.
           Many people complain the process is painful (some more than others), but aside from that there aren't many cons. If you're going to get a tattoo just make sure that you're comfortable speaking with the artist, check out their portfolios, make sure they sterilize their needles, and that the needles themselves are disposable, and you should be good to go. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'll get one of these.