Get my book for free on Amazon!

Hi everyone!

So going with the flow of promotions and marketing I have planned for my newly released book A Little Bit Of Everything, I will begin with the free promotion of my book on Amazon over the next four days (Tue-Friday).

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Limited time free e-book distribution from Tuesday – Friday! Get your copy when you can!

During this period, my book will be offered for free worldwide on all Amazon websites. This promotion applies specifically to the e-book version of A Little Bit Of Everything. All you have to do to get a free copy is to go to your preferred Amazon platform, and download the book!

If you do chance upon this opportunity, and read my book, I would be highly grateful if you could leave a short review, and rate the book on Amazon! As a budding writer, what matters to me most is that my work is read; my readers’ opinions matter to me as your reviews are valuable in getting my book out there by spreading the word as well as providing a source of constructive criticism that I can build on during the course of my journey as a writer.

The start and end times of the promotion will be approximately midnight Pacific time Tuesday and midnight Pacific Time Thursday. So, if you would like to catch a read on an adventurous short story about love, friendship, family, dreams, and a tad zesty slice of life this summer’s end,  A Little Bit Of Everything is every little bit the book to check out.

Thank you all, once again, for your support! Here is the link to start you up:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0753YXRSN

 

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Presenting “A Little Bit Of Everything”

After three years of hard work, words cannot express how happy I am in making this announcement today on the publication, and official release of my book, A Little Bit of Everything. It has been a long journey leading up to this moment, and I’m glad that the final product turned out to be exactly what I wished for.

While the tale to be read is fictional in nature, the book is a spiritual successor to my first work in Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir. The foundation of the plot is in fact inspired from very real events in my personal life involving an assortment of themes from love, hope, and dreams to personal identity, friendship, and family. An author’s copy of the book now rests in my bookshelf alongside a massive binder consisting of three different drafts of the work through the years.

One aspect that sets apart A Little Bit of Everything from Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir involves the illustrations that accompany the story. A picture is worth a thousand words or so they say; I decided to roll with this philosophy in expressing the ideas and emotions of various scenarios through the drawings that span the book’s pages.

Having published the book, I’m both happy, and sad. I’m happy in that I succeeded in bringing to life a story that had resided in my heart for many years; sad in that this wonderful journey has come to an end. Moving onward, I relish in the joy of being able to share my story with all of you!

A Little Bit of Everything is now available through Amazon (Amazon.Com; it’s also available on amazon.ca/.uk/.de/.fr/.es/.it/.jp/.nl/.br/.mx/.in/.au/) as a Kindle e-book. Similarly, the book is also available in paperback format on most of the aforementioned links (a few more days before it will be available on all of them). The paperback format is also distributed through my Createspace E-store (ALBOECreatespace), and will be distributed (within 6 weeks from publication) through online and offline retailers such as Barnes & Noble and to distributors such as Ingram, NACSCORP, Baker & Taylor (which distributes to libraries).

Over the days to follow, I will consistently provide promotions, and updates that would allow me to talk more in-depth about the book as well as my journey towards publication of the work. I’m thankful to my dedicated audience of readers on this blog. I hope you all get a chance to read the book, and most importantly, enjoy it!

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Catching Meteors

Meteors or “falling stars” are an annual visual treat for casual observers and amateur astronomers alike, all around the world. I had my first experience of observing a meteor shower with the Perseids last weekend.

In what turned out to be an unforgettable experience, my girlfriend Leina, and I took a late-night road trip to Prairie Gardens, located near Bon Accord, a small town in central Alberta and an International Dark Sky community.

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A sample picture of the night sky at Prairie Gardens.

As a waning gibbous moon rose prominently above the distant horizon, we alighted upon a parking spot near an open field watching the night sky gradually come alive with the familiar band of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the luminous freckles of innumerable stars. Grabbing some popcorn, we would spend the next few hours watching a wonderful show of celestial beauty.

Of course, the night wasn’t complete without a short monologue (thanks to my background in astrophysics) on the phenomenon itself, before the show got underway. I will be treating you, my fellow readers, to the same today while providing further information and resources for all who are interested in catching the next similar astronomical event.

What are meteors?

Meteors are bits of interplanetary material falling through the Earth’s atmosphere. The same objects are also identified as meteoroids while they are hurtling through space, becoming meteors for the few seconds they streak across the sky and create glowing trails. Meteorite essentially refers to the same phenomenon, the major distinction being it is a meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and impacts the planet’s surface.

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It is estimated that about 44,000 kilograms of meteoritic material falls on the Earth every day. Several meteors per hour can be observed on any given night. It is when the number increases dramatically that these events are termed meteor showers.

What causes a meteor shower?

Taking the Perseid meteor shower as an example, the phenomenon we are observing is caused by the Earth’s motion through the dust and debris left behind by the comet Swift-Turtle, the largest object known to repeatedly pass the Earth. The comet last passed our planet during its orbit around the sun in 1992, and its next visit will be in 2126 (I should be 135 years old then, but don’t worry, I will give you all a heads-up). It is Earth’s passage through the leftover comet debris that results in meteor showers. The Perseid meteor shower is particularly popular, and peaks around August 12 every year. Most of the meteors in the Perseids are about the size of a grain of sand, and rarely make it all the way to the Earth’s surface.

Are there others?

Other meteor showers and their associated comets include the Leonids (Tempel-Tuttle), the Aquarids and Orionids (Halley), and the Taurids (Encke), most of which are modest showers. The Geminids, coming up on December 13, are typically one of the best and most reliable of the annual meteor showers with peak rates of about 120-200 (at best) meteors per hour.

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Photo by David Kingham of the Perseid meteor shower, awarded Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year award in 2013,  combining 23 individual stills over several hours.

What do you need to see them?

Very simple. All you need to catch the show is darkness, somewhere comfortable to sit, and a bit of patience. The best thing to do is drive away from the city lights, and go to a nice dark place by the suburbs or countryside. Prepare to sit outside for a few hours, and bring some snacks and bug spray. Finally, let your eyes adjust to the darkness, and enjoy the show!

Where can I follow up on all of this?

The World Wide Web is a wonderful resource. Space or Astronomy, and even more obviously, NASA, all provide wonderful updates and articles on the various astronomical events throughout the year. So, whenever you feel like indulging in your inner astronomer, and something out of this world, just check out these resources.

In that vein, I leave you all with a reminder that we do have a solar eclipse coming up tomorrow. The eclipse will primarily be featured across America where people will have the chance to observe a total solar eclipse, while Canada will see a partial solar eclipse. To all my readers in America and Canada, have your eclipse glasses ready for this! To all my readers elsewhere around the world, for more information and live streams, you can always check out: Solar Eclipse!

Happy observing everyone!

Almost there…

It has been an ascent of Sisyphean proportions to the summit of publishing my book, and the journey’s end is now in plain sight. Having toiled persistently, I have pushed against the heavy boulder of formatting, and have finally alighted upon the stage of approving the final proof of the book before it is on its way for publication.

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The book will be published in both paperback, and e-book format (thus, the delays and exponential workload in formatting). But, patience is a virtue. Being the perfectionist I am, I want my work to be published at its best quality, and so we continue with this waiting game temporarily. Independent publishing certainly keeps your hands full but it is a wonderful feeling once your book is out. At the least, another week remains before the official date of publication.

Having been so focused on the publishing business, I’ve had little time to post anything new and interesting on the blog, and I apologize for this. While I wait for the proof copy of my paperback to arrive at my doorstep, I will get back on those posts I promised earlier. In fact, I hope to have one up by tomorrow evening, where I will detail my most recent adventures in observing the Perseid meteor showers.

I thank all my readers for their patience. You guys are the best!

Bogged Down With Formatting…

It is a necessary step, but formatting is possibly the most irksome part of publishing a book. That’s pretty much where I’ve been in the last two weeks, wading through a murky swamp of page breaks, indentations, paragraph spacings, margins etc. Having completed the illustrations, along with the cover art for my book, I spent an entire week polishing said images to fit the prerequisite conditions for publication.

As of now I’m alighting upon the final few steps before clicking on that beautiful button “Publish” on my screen. I’m hoping to have the book out by next week, and prior to release, I will provide full details on the work (along with promotions), including where it will be available, and how you, my wonderful readers can get your hands on it. Following the publication, I intend to continue promoting the book on the blog, while getting back to the posts I had planned earlier.

I thank everyone for being patient, and I look forward to sharing my work with you very soon!! Have a great weekend!!

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Book Review: A Brief History of Thought

Luc Ferry’s A Brief History of Thought recently caught my eye as I wandered through the library. The book promised a brief summary of human thought and its evolution across significant historical epochs within a meager volume of pages. Who wouldn’t wish to entertain such a prospect?

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The book’s strength is in Ferry’s ability to summarize various complicated worldviews with such simplicity, and conciseness. While I can’t call upon an extensive knowledge of philosophy to critique Ferry’s work, I certainly identified my share of agreements and disagreements with the opinions and perspectives proposed in the book. In this review, I will summarize Ferry’s claims and arguments, which while insightful and highly educational, personally, fell short of convincing by the final pages.

Ferry begins by addressing the question at the heart of human existence, a quest for salvation (an answer to the mystery that is death), which he identifies to be the vital aspect of every philosophical system. Characterizing philosophy as more than an act of reasoning and logic, Ferry asserts that philosophy is also a measure of human thought that “claims to save us – if not from death itself, then from the anxiety it causes, and to do so by the exercise of our own resources and our innate faculty of reason.”

From there on, Ferry uses this argument as a guide to expound his views and perspectives on the various philosophical movements that have spanned the history of human thought: Stoicism, Christianity, Humanism, Postmodernism (Nietzsche), and Contemporary philosophy (post-Nietzsche). The book flows smoothly from one time period to another while providing an effective summary of the relevant aspects of each philosophical movement. By the end of each chapter, the reader is able to identify the questions and answers that serve as the foundation for the consecutive movement.

We are first acquainted with the Greeks and their establishment of Stoicism, the representation of the world as a perfect cosmos, an ordered logos where transcendence and immanence are united; a cause that the human strives to be a reflection of.

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Cosmos refers to the explicit complexity, and perfection of the external universe. Logos defines the divine reason implicit in the cosmos, providing it order and meaning.

The impersonal  approach towards death and salvation in Stoicism is rectified by Christianity where the human is the focal point of the argument. Unlike in Stoic reflections, salvation is personalized through the evocative belief  in a Son of God, a motion towards “love in God,” promising fulfillment and an immortality where we maintain our personal identities.

The foundations upon which both Stoicism and Christianity rested soon come crashing down with the advent of science. Modern physics reveals “an infinite chaos devoid of sense; a field of forces and objects jostling for place without harmony.”

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Thus, mankind is once again alone in a cosmos void of a logos or god of any kind. Reality is marked by chaos. The Stoic measure for study or contemplation and the Christian revelation fall flat against the ensuing chaos.

The human is once again the focal point of the argument, but this time, “it was going to require man himself…to introduce some order into a universe which seemed no longer to offer any of its own.” Man’s ability to devise a personal history distinguishes him from his animal brethren resulting in a Humanism that takes the reigns in a movement where humans forge the history of the world through the ideals and laws we invent to judge our actions and their consequences. Nevertheless, humanism stumbles in offering a solution to our quest for salvation, leading to a well-defined struggle that lasts to this day between the various pantheons of human thought.

The cycle doesn’t end here as we alight upon the arrival of Nietzsche and Postmodernism. Nietzsche dismissed both science and religion. His critical deconstruction of the conventional philosophies of the time focused on their inseparable similarity that adhered to a disregarding of the essence of life, and instead building metaphysical constructs/ideals to allow the human to find “salvation” or a purpose.

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“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

All of which Nietzsche believed was nothing more than a lie, a negation of life from what it essentially is by supplanting it with transcendental ideas of god, and the ideal human being. Nietzsche’s nihilism would fuel his famous ideas for the “will to power,” an attempt for control in a deconstructed universe by the self physically, emotionally, and also morally.

Ferry concludes his work by providing an assessment of modern day Contemporary philosophy in the wake of the revolutionary movements summarized above. This concerns a world where there is no longer a universal meaning towards human existence, but rather an incessant and a seemingly directionless promotion of progress for the sake of progress, a morose form of materialism.

In conclusion, Ferry provides a wonderful and enlightening primer on the various philosophical attitudes that span the history of human thought. I would certainly recommend this book for any philosophy enthusiast. The reader gets a taste of the major aspects of Western philosophy over the vast vista of time. Nevertheless, the  fact that the book is a philosophical overview for a mass audience makes it a tough prospect in accurately capturing the more subtle facets of the various philosophies discussed. While this can be seen as a weakness, it is also a strength, as it will drive the interested reader to learn more about the topics involved (it did for me). Though Ferry himself stumbles in deriving a clear answer to the human quest for “salvation,” his work succeeds in emphasizing the significance of said journey in that it is defining of our very humanity, and individual spirit. In that vein, A Brief History of Thought is a wonderful journey in itself.

 

Getting Fired Up!!

Hi everyone, here’s a quick update!

The last few weeks have been intense, and I’ve been quite busy. Having finally completed the proofreading for my second book, I’m now all set to move into the production phase, beginning with some illustrations.

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All art begins with imitation, and as such I have spent the last week pouring over a compendium of images, and ideas I had contemplated for this stage. While progress has been slow (thanks to my perfectionist ideals), I look forward to getting the book out by this fall.

In the meantime,  I also recently finished the three-part series covering various facets on the phenomenon of climate change. The first entry was posted almost a month back on June 25, 2017. Little did I know then that in the days to follow I would successfully secure a research topic for my PhD addressing the very issue I was writing about on my blog. As of now, I have begun my “doctoral” adventures focusing on interdisciplinary research involving “semiconductor mediated artificial photosynthesis…”

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In simple terms, my research will involve studying, and creating technologies to assist in the mitigation of steadily increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, a major global scientific challenge of the 21st century. Carbon capture is an important issue in the context of climate change as well as the looming global energy crisis; my research, will take inspiration from nature, namely the process of natural photosynthesis (the chemical reaction at the basis of life), and mimic the same behavior through electro-mechanical systems of higher efficiency, or “artificial photosynthesis.” If I were to exaggerate slightly, it would be the same as planting artificial trees that are consistently more efficient in helping recycle the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Having spent the last few days reading an assortment of research papers on this topic, and looking like this for the most part of it,

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I’m hoping to put my brain to good use, and to a certain measure, come up with something awesome during my degree, so that one day I could celebrate like this,

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Beyond all this research business, I still intend to keep up to date with my blog despite my busy schedule. In that vein, my next post will be a book review on Luc Ferry’s,

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I’ve also decided to move along from my extensive summaries on Carl Sagan’s “Dragons of Eden.” Instead, I will provide a rich synopsis of the remainder of the book, while skipping on the gory details. This way I can encourage you, my readers, to read the book itself while not giving away the majority of its contents.

So when all is said and done,  I’m fired up for what’s to come in the next few months.

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The Pensive Reverie will also continually evolve as I intend to implement a few minor, but significant changes in its content organization. Once again, I thank you all for your patience. The next post should be up very soon!