10 Years

WordPress tells me I’ve been blogging for 10 years now. It’s been a life-changing decade. From a film lover writing reviews just for personal journalling, I’ve developed into writing to share. Hundreds of movies later, I’m now an Arts and Film Writer for Asian American Press. In recent years, I started covering Film Festivals; my appreciation for cinema art and independent films from all over the world had grown deeper.

Books, I’ve read a few, but then again, too few to mention. My TBR piles is expanding much faster than I can tackle. To manage them, I use the simplest method: deleting them from my memory. Many I’ve bought from the annual Book Sale (several posts), but I’ve since donated them back. There’s one on my Goodreads ‘currently reading’ shelf for years now which I don’t want to give up just yet, and that’s Proust’s In Search of Lost Time Vol. 3, The Guermantes Way.  Some day.

Other than books, movies, and my special interest in the transposition of one into the other, I’ve also become an avid birder. Arti of Ripple Effects has turned into a nature paparazzo. I’d thought of starting another blog just for nature photography but thought, hey, everyone needs a respite even from books and films. The Pond is open to all to throw in their two pebbles, make some ripples while enjoying a piece of natural beauty.

WordPress tells me in the side bar that I have 6,843 followers. Simply amazing, considering the number of comments I receive in each post. No matter, commenting isn’t a requirement when you visit the Pond. I’m just glad to know you’ve enjoyed your stay, even if it’s a short minute or two. And to all visitors and followers, a hearty thank-you. You’ve made my presence in the blogosphere meaningful.

To celebrate 10 years, to say goodbye to Spring (already) and welcome Summer, I’ll leave you with a few photos I’ve taken in the past few days.

The forest by the Pond:

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They may be the most common bird, but every Robin is a welcome sight against the blue sky:


The well-groomed and handsome Cedar Waxwing, always camera ready:

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True to their name, the Yellow-headed Blackbird on a cattail:




The female Red-Winged Blackbird. Nature endows with different features:


Up in the sky, an Osprey is busy transporting his building materials:


And a touring group of Pelicans, looking for my Air BnB?

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More to come.






Top Ripples of 2012

The Ripple Rating System began when I started the blog Ripple Effects five years ago. I’ve been asked why I give three ripples so often, and how come there aren’t any one ripple. A look at how the rating works you’ll see why:

~ Ripple: Stay away, I did

~~ Ripples: Manage your time better

~~ 1/2 Ripples: Average, so-so

~~~ Ripples: Good, worth seeing

~~~1/2 Ripples: Superior, make time for it

~~~~ Ripples: Almost Perfect, must-see

You see, I’ve done the screening for you, just to save your time. But of course, the disclaimer here is, like Roger Ebert says, all reviews are subjective. But then too, here at the pond, ripples are the result of much thought.


In 2012, there are several movies I have given 3.5 or 4 Ripples. Two of them I have yet written a review. Here they are:

Life of Pi Book and Movie


Les Misérables

Birders: The Central Park Effect


Moonrise Kingdom

I’m still eagerly waiting for some to screen here, so I’ve yet to see them, like Zero Dark Thirty, Quartet.


There are reading experiences that I would give 4 Ripples, they are Read-Alongs:

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

A first for me, reading with others in a virtual reading group. Two brilliant books, some delightful camaraderie.


And then there are real life experiences that I’d gladly give 4 Ripples in my heart.

Bird Watching: See my photos on Saturday Snapshot Posts

Also my visit to:

The Salk Institute

The Grand Canyon

Rating with 4 Ripples is an understatement or maybe even an insult to the Creator of the Grand Canyon. But just an expression, I think He understands.


Thanks to WordPress, I receive a concise annual report on my blog. Top posts for 2012 are:

Memorable Movie Love Quotes (My Valentine post for 2008, Over 73,000 views since then). 2012 views: 15,237

The Glass Castle: Book Review (Since Aug. 2008, over 47,000 views). 2012: 8,334 views.

Quotable Quotes from Downton Abbey: Over 7,400 views since March, 2012

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Now this is a surprise. Since I posted it in May this year, there have been over 6,200 views.


And now, my favorite, the Search Engine Terms, words people type in to come to Ripple Effects. These are some that not only bring a smile, but boost the spirit as well (I’ll leave them in their lower case as found in WordPress Stats):


grace in nature

oldest human frozen

colin firth chocolate

canada lost in austen

keep calm and act like kate middleton

e.m. forster can’t tell a good story

alien captured alive

studebaker truck girl

did red dog go to japan

the blogger arti  [Arti here: just love to know people actually Google about me!]

arti film life of pi

arti never let me go

the best exotic marigold hotel post modernism


paleolithic hunting

does meryl streep have affairs

how many languages does colin firth have

yann martel lonely

joshua bell modest

why was ulysses poem chosen for skyfall

most memorable tv seduction quotes

anna karenina psychoanalysis


To everyone who has stopped by the pond and thrown in a pebble or two, thanks for the ripples. There are some new regular visitors and followers this year, I’m so glad to know you all. You’ve made me feel we’ve known each other for much longer. I’ve enjoyed our mutual visits. Thanks for the enrichment.

And to All

A Happy New Year!


Rewards and Awards of Blogging

Why do we blog? WordPress seems to have grasped the psyche of bloggers in five words: “Express yourself. Start a blog.” If being free to self-expression is the intrinsic reward of blogging, then being heard and read is the extrinsic reward. And, to top it all off, getting unexpected awards for what one already enjoyed doing is the icing on the cake.  A few months ago Arti had the first taste when she received the Excellent Blog Award.  This past week Arti has tasted more icing from fellow bloggers in the form of two awards.  In chronological order, they are:

The Premio Dardos from Ms. Place (Vic) of Jane Austen’s World. Thank you Vic for naming Arti as one of your 15 recipients of this award “that is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing”. Thanks Vic for the honor and for the translation from Portuguese:“O conceito deste prémio passa por reconhecer valores culturais, éticos, literários e pessoais, transmitidos de forma criativa e original nos pedacinhos rabiscados por cada blogueiro que o receba.”

To meet the requirement, in turn, I am naming the following blogs to receive the same award.   To avoid duplication and to make it more meaningful, I have selected 10 instead of the 15 suggested.  Here are their excellent sites in alphabetical order:

  1. Austen Quotes is the blog of Lori Smith, writer of the book A Walk with Jane Austen, her personal experience of treading the paths of Jane’s in England.  She has inspired me with quotes from the works and letters of JA, some witty, some wise, some poignant, and all of them delightful.  Lori may have taken a hiatus due to physical ailment, but what she already has chronicled in her site is worth reading time and time again.
  2. Austenprose is a wealth of JA information and forum. Laurel Ann offers Janeites with a wealth of Regency knowledge, book discussion, interviews… a delight to visit every time.  This is one of the first blogs that got me hooked on JA…, no I wasn’t born a Janeite.  I only discovered this wonderful world a few years back.  And it’s blogs like this that feed me to my fill.
  3. Blogging for a Good Book is created by the staff of Williamsburg Regional Library.  In there you’ll find in-depth and insightful book reviews.  With several contributors, the blog offers a new post almost every day, keeping us up-to-date with newer titles. The quality writing and informative entries are enjoyable to read.
  4. Film Think is a site where films, theology, and criticism meet.  Writer M. Leary offers a wealth of resources and knowledgeable discussions and critique for those interested in the intellectual pursuit of the art of film, and its interaction with Christianity, criticism theory, other art forms, and their relevance in society today.
  5. Itinerant Idealist is Sarah’s journal  “in search of a soul awake”.  I’ve enjoyed her excellent writing.  In her casual way, Sarah embeds her prose and poems with style and spiritual insights.  Hers is one of the long time blogs I’ve been reading since the beginning of my own blog.  I’ve learned and gained much from reading her posts.
  6. Looking for Life’s Humor looks at life and brings out the joyous perspective.  As a mom with an autistic child, the writer of this blog depicts the humor and love that we often miss in many of life’s circumstances.  A heart-warming and delightful read in every post.  A truly enjoyable break in the midst of daily chores and chaos.
  7. Of Books and Bicycles As a book lover and an avid cyclist, Dorothy has successfully created a concoction of writings involving both…well maybe more about books.  Informative reviews and personal book experiences can be found here, while she has another site dedicated more to bikes and her training as a cyclist.
  8. So Many Books Stefanie chronicles “the agony and ecstasy of a reading life” with detailed research and insightful commentaries.  This is a literature lover’s blog.  Just the Blogroll is impressive enough, for there are probably hundreds of lit blogs on her list to provide almost unlimited avenues for blogging and reading pleasure.
  9. The Happy Wonderer It’s a joy every time I visit Ellen’s blog.  As a happy wonderer, Ellen wanders in the fields of photography, food, life, family, and the Bible, offering us musings, pictures, and inspiration, a celebration of life every day. This is one of the earliest blogs I found when I first started blogging, and I’ve been reading her since.  “To honor and encourage”, that is exactly so.
  10. The Task At Hand What Linda Leinen has created here in her relatively new blog is nothing short of a compilation of model writing.  Every single post is an example of style and inspiration.  At this point of her life she is a boat varnisher along the Texas Gulf Coast (how cool is that!), and she writes what she lives.  In her blog, she has woven artfully a tapestry of penetrative observations and skillful, affective writing.  I have gained and learned much from reading her every single post.


The other award I received just a couple of days ago is the Arte y Pico given by Linda of The Task at Hand. Directly translated from Spanish means “Art and Peak”, at the peak of its art. Linda has included Arti’s Ripple Effects for its “creativity, design, content and contribution to the blogging community, regardless of language”.  Thank you Linda, I’m greatly humbled by such an honor.

To fulfill the requirement of the Arte y Pico, I’m naming 5 other blogs to be recipients in turn.  Noting that it’s Spanish in origin, and the phrase “regardless of language”, I attempt to highlight some of the ones I visit that have a different geographical or cultural flavour, although I admit they are all in English.

  1. Blogging in Paris As a 64 years-old cancer survivor, Claude’s attempt at blogging is in itself inspiring.  She writes from Paris, and from her many travels in Europe, affecting us with her zest for life and eye for beauty.  It’s a mixed bag in her blog, some photography, some journal writing, some personal musings.  A delight to visit.
  2. Moderato brings a European perspective to the discussions of art, books, music, films, and literature.  The writer offers in-depth and well researched commentaries on the subjects.  A very fine and intellectual lit blog.  Some great You-tube clips to augment the enjoyment.
  3. The Errant AEsthete From New York, “Essentials for the Cocktail Swilling Savant”, ok, it may sound a bit exclusive, but the art, photography and visuals presented in the blog are stunning and often thought-provoking.  And since it’s located in the ever widening blogosphere, anyone can visit and better yet, no dress code.
  4. Hidden Art A blog for the arts and crafters among us. The name says it all… art can be found and creativity unleashed in almost every homely place.  I’ve enjoyed the casual atmosphere and the stimulating ideas for mixed media and paper arts that are achievable by those who, like myself, are not art school graduates.  Accessible art speaks a universal language.
  5. Edible Landscape This is a unique blog on food written by a young guy from Hong Kong, an interesting diversion from the blogs on food and cooking we see from North America.  Wilson concocts an international flavour with his fine, quality writing on food and restaurants.  What more, where do you ever read a 20-something young man writing about cooking and cuisine art with such expertise?

Wow, that’s a mouthful!  Why do we blog?  The above are some of the obvious answers.

First Blogaversary and Summer Wrap-up

Last year on this day, August 29, 2007, I began my blogging journey on WordPress.  One year and 104 posts later, this sputtering engine is still chugging along.  I’d like to think of my blogging experience as a road trip.  The kind of vehicle I have in mind is the VW van in the movie Little Miss Sunshine.  Almost an obsolete wreck and yet still functioning, just needs a little running push.   

It has been an eventful summer for me.  Having had to move twice and living out of a suitcase, sustaining the horrors of home renos, tending illness in the family, and caring for two elderly parents have put my life on hold…or maybe this is life.  All this time, I didn’t have easy access to the internet, no TV, or other high tech luxuries.  While my posts have been more sparse than I’d like, blogging, even though infrequent, has at least kept some kind of normalcy for me during this unsettling and chaotic period.

While I’ve missed many important events during these two months, such as Hilary’s concession speech, and the Olympics… I’ve been able to catch some summer flicks and read a few books.  As I take stock of this summer’s entertainment consumption, I’m surprised to find that my list is long despite the interruptions:

The following are straight from memory, in no particular order:

Movies seen at theatres:

  • Mamma Mia! 
  • The Dark Knight
  • Swing Vote
  • Brideshead Revisited

Live Musical:

  • Spamalot

DVD’s watched or re-watched:

  • Persuasion (1996)
  • Persuasion (2008)
  • Sketches of Frank Gehry (2005)
  • Life As A House (2001)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  • Vantage Point (2008)
  • The Bank Job (2008)
  • Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
  • Plus about 25 titles previewed for a Film Festival

Books read or re-read:

  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Then She Found Me by Elinor Lipman
  • The Savior by Eugene Drucker
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Up Till Now by William Shatner
  • Lady Killer by Lisa Scottoline

So this is the summer of 2008.  Will be leaving for Ontario tomorrow to take our son back to university, Arti is wrapping up another summer, and the first year of blogging. 

What’s your blogging trip been like this summer?   And your list of books and entertainment?