Saturday, April 17, 2004

Future Books (and other stuff) to be Reviewed!

Well I have to make this announcement because I have made RONJBLOGs public... No, I did not make any IPO. Ok, not all people probably understood that joke.

Okay, back to business. I should tell you guys that as much as possible, I only like to read books that I know are bestsellers or potential bestsellers. And I do only read usually inspirational books, or... engineering books. Yeah, yeah, I am an engineer by day and a blogger by night. And I play basketball and badminton also during some nights, and watch the boob-tube and the big screen also on some other nights. Har har. There goes another... never mind.

Seriously now, I have to list these books so that you may know what to expect in the near future. You know, so that you might wanna come back to this site?

Actually, the business of reviewing books and stuff (like maybe CDs or movies or whatever else...) is not as easy as you think. I mean you have to construct your sentences very well to convey your real message. And to really give a good, complete review of the book, it will take quite a long write-up... Alas, I am not giving complete reviews of these books. I will be actually writing more like "reaction papers", you know, like those one page pambobola that is required by your freshman college instructor to write for that really boring play you watched, only so that your instructor can be sure that you really did watch that really boring play. And well, maybe get some entertainment out of your one-page literary piece.

So well, Coach Potato is about entertainment. Entertainment is what you will get here. Check out these really nice books. I will review them (please note that when I say review, I mean I will write "one-page reaction papers") soon on this BLOG. Keep posted.

One more thing, most of these books are books I highly recommend for reading. Some books though might not be of interest to others. We all know that one cannot please everyone.

So FINALLY, here's the (partial) list. ;-)

The Alchemist [Paulo Coehlo]
The Fifth Mountain [Paulo Coehlo]
By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept [Paulo Coehlo]
Thank God He's Boss [Bo Sanchez]
You Can Make Your Life Beautiful [Bo Sanchez]
You Have The Power to Create Love [Bo Sanchez]
The Prophet [Kahlil Gibran]
The Purpose-Driven Life [Rick Warren]
If I Really Wanted to Simplify My Life I Would... [Lighthouse Books]
Boy Meets Girl [Joshua Harris]
The Matrix trilogy of movies [The Wachowski Brothers]
Star Wars Episode 2 [George Lucas?]
Castaway [starring Tom Hanks]
Forrest Gump [starring Tom Hanks]

P.S. I have a separate blog for The Matrix trilogy. I loved those movies. However, as of today, I haven't posted much on that site. School got in the way of blogging. Till next post! Ciao! ;-)

[sub-labels: CPC general]

[Book Review] Simplify and Create Abundance [Bo Sanchez]

Alright! I now have two reviews and counting! For my review (more like a "reaction paper") of Bo Sanchez' latest book, I actually wrote him a letter. It follows. By the way, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, it's a must-read I think as it is a good reminder for us all. Oh and it's cheap. Bo Sanchez is a simple and great guy. I wrote a little short something about him in the RONJBLOG, thoughts.

------------------ Book Review: Simplify and Create Abundance [Bo Sanchez] ------------------

Dear Bo,

I would just like to say that I am a big fan of yours, specifically your books. I have bought all five of your books (the P150 ones; I haven't bought "Embraced" yet. I do have "The Way of the Cross" also. I hope I got the titles right...): Thank God He's Boss, You Have The Power to Create Love, You Can Make Your Life Beautiful, Simplify and Live the Good Life, and, I am in the middle of reading "Simplify and Create Abundance."

I can't help but react to your book. It is the message that many Filipinos need to hear, I think. I just recently read the chapter/section about poor Leny and Manager (and former house helper) "Helen." I think those two are two stories many Filipinos need to hear. If I would write a reaction paper on that chapter/section, I would say this...

Christianity and the Bible tell us that we should learn to accept, and to be thankful to God for whatever we have, for wherever we are, for whatever situation or condition we are in, and for who we are. "Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God." Et cetera. We know that envy and self-pity are our enemies... On the other hand, the Bible does not tell us that we should stop there. There was this one parable about... the talents? Or basically the one wherein the master gave his slaves some money and left for a while; he came back to find out that some of his slaves made more than the others out of those he left for them. In fact, the Bible is telling us that for whatever we have, we should make something out of it, make it grow. If it's money, we should make it earn. If we are indeed, say, financially deficient, we should accept that fact, be thankful for the littlest thing we have, but the thing is, we still have something. If we have hands and feet, we could use them in many ways to earn---to get to work, to use at work, etc. We have brains that we should not waste at all; by just internally brainstorming, we could come up with lots of ideas to be able to provide for our personal needs, and for the needs of others, including our families and loved ones. If we are not deaf, we could ask others to help us in our quest, and humbly give back in gratitude for their help. Even if we are blind, we know that even blind people could be productive. If we are still alive, let us not waste a minute of it doing nothing to make things better for ourselves and for others. If we have time, we could take a rest from all the work. The thing is, there are a lot of these "little" things that we forget we have that we could use so that we may not end up poor. Like Helen, she had free time in the evening, and she used them to take classes and finish school. She had feet to walk to her job interviews, a voice to communicate with her interviewers, a mind to help guide her to give her best answers, hands to fill up the application form, etc. Haha, and this is just one very simple example. There's this one person I know who thinks more like Leny; he thinks that "Mahirap maging mayaman..." And there's this other person I know who thinks that simplicity means being poor. On the other hand, I think we can be simple and have an abundant supply of whatever we need! Bo's message is truly something that all Filipinos should hear, and apply in their lives.

Okay, well that's that. But Bo, if I may make a suggestion. One thing I have observed is that, while many Filipinos understand English, like say when the LRT makes an announcement like "Next station is Araneta Center, Cubao", Filipinos can easily understand that; it's just one sentence. Most Filipinos know what "Stop" means, or "One Way", "Yes", "No", or "No Left Turn"... But I think not a lot of Filipinos really understand "Turn right anytime with care"... Haha, I might be being too judgmental of my fellow Pinoys now. Anyway, to explain my point better... I was an instructor for one semester at one of these universities and I made all of my students submit an index card with their full name, identification numbers, contact numbers, and I asked them to answer the question "What do you expect to learn in this class?" When I got the index cards, all their answers had all-English words, but I got frustrated because it's not even close to 50% who gave grammatically correct English sentences. My point is, though Filipinos are proud because we're probably the third largest English speaking nation in the world, it is still not our first language. It is not our natural language. Maybe only a few of us really may have had very good grades in our English classes back in Elementary or High School...

My point, Bo, is I think your books, your message should reach more Filipinos. Your books are not just for us who understand English. I appreciate it that your books are affordable (to me at least) at P150 each. I think it would be great if you would have your books translated into the natural language for most of us. Maybe you could have at least a Tagalog or Filipino version, or a Bisaya version... What do you think?

Nway, keep up the Good work, Bo. By the way, I did listen to one of your tapes already, "Loving difficult people." Hehehe.

That's it for now. God bless!

Ronjie Aquino

[sub-labels: CPC books]

Friday, April 16, 2004

Who is iSIDrow?

iSIDrow is a character I conceived back in 1997. iSIDrow is this simple, old man, who, lately, has become a fisherman, and is well read and has enough scars, physical and otherwise, to make him the man full of wisdom that he is. People come up to visit iSIDrow at his home near the beautiful beach of one of the small islands of the Philippines, to ask him for advice, and often they leave him with the answers they needed. iSIDrow’s real name is actually Isidro, but even the younger generations recognize and admire him, and that is how they refer to him. One young man at the age of 22 wrote about him in a popular newspaper, and it was he who started to add the “w” to “Isidro.” He spelled his name “iSIDrow”, for a few reasons: it looked cooler, sounded like “Skid Row,” a rock band, and well, some folks who went up to him simply called him “SID”.

iSIDrow is actually a character that I see as my ideal self when I have reached that old age. I wish to be able to help people, answer their questions about love and life, and yet have that very simple life, probably fishing when I’m not doing anything. Probably dark skinned already because of regular exposure to the sun. In a sense, while iSIDrow is living what he teaches, he teaches how one should live based on how he has lived.

Back in 1997, I started to create iSIDrow, to write his life, to introduce him to the world. I made a web site that was supposed to be the iSIDrow website, the content of which, I envision putting in novel. I stopped somewhere after the “first chapter”, and have lost the contents of the site since. I should start again with “iSIDrow,” the man, the story, the website, the novel, and continue with what I have started.

iSIDrow might just become… the next RONJBLOG. Stay tuned. ;-)

Bo Sanchez

Bo is a living example of a man who has a lot of time to serve God first, and still have time to earn a lot of money. He earns more than enough money to feed his family, and more than enough love for other people to give some of that extra money to the needy. That is how his latest book, “Simplify and Create Abundance,” impressed upon me. It is a must-have book. Go get a copy for yourself and your loved ones!

ronjnote: i'll be most likely reviewing Bo's "Simplify..." book and a few others (recently read and not so recently) at the coach potato's corner.

How are you, Ronjie?

I feel like a bird that found itself lost in the middle of the ocean and had to travel for miles on end to reach shore. I am feeling drained, very tired, and not thinking of anything else but getting a lot of rest; feeling shocked, saying to myself, “I went through that?”; and to some extent, feeling relieved that it’s all over, hoping that there would be no important, lengthy trips I have to make soon.

The damage has been done. Recuperation is necessarily next.

For more than 12 months in a row now, I had nothing but work, school, and (some) social life (not to mention a little “romantic” life with a sad ending). Right now, I feel so tired, physically, mentally, and emotionally, my spiritual side has also suffered, and yet it is now I need it most. More than 12 months ago, I did a lot of “fun” things. A lot of sports and workouts, night-outs (“gimmicks”), and all that. I was able to watch movies at theaters more often than, well, now. For the past 12 months, I could still count with my two hands how many movies I saw at a theater. And now, after that 12 months or so, I’ve come to play more “mindless” games: Snake and Opposite (Reversi) on my 3-year old Nokia phone, and Minesweeper on my computer. Now, I sleep early and wake up early. Now, I do not know what is the latest in music and in fashion. I’m now an oldie!

Ah, how the mind, heart, body, & soul are so interconnected. One falls, the others follow. No wonder. That is probably why God created women, to provide that redundancy that men need. Unfortunately, one reason I am in this situation is precisely that, that I thought there was this one person who would provide the heart when I lost heart, the mind when I lose my mind, the strength when my body is weak, and the spirit to help lift my spirit when it is down. I was wrong.

blogging vacation

whew, imagine that. it has been more than two months since i last posted anything on this blog. school+work got the best out of me. i don't recommend you have your kids do the same. part time work might be okay...... alas, i got a few new posts at the "thoughts" blog. check it. peace out.