Alex Garland

garlandI discovered this author Alex Garland about 4 years ago when I read “The Beach” for the first time. I was in high school and wasn’t much into reading for my own personal enjoyment. However, this book really took a hold of me. It was a genuine gripping, page-turner. I had actually been a fan of the film before I ever picked up the book. The movie a moderately well-known picture from the nineties starring Leonardo DiCaprio. After seeing the movie I had no immediate interest in reading the book but I had thought about it. It wasn’t until I was looking in my parents massive bookshelf for a book required at school that I found “The Beach” hiding between a couple National Geographic magazines.

The book is essentially junk-food for the intellectual reader, but it’s a really great read with some suspenseful twists and turns. The novel revolves around a young man named Richard who is backpacking in Thailand and encounters a strange fellow nick-named “Daffy” who leaves a interesting memento for Richard after he kills himself.

I really enjoy his writing style because his lays down ideas on the page that flow with natural ease. He has this unique ability to relate the reader to his writing. His writing is simple but well spoken; I think it’s the way he describes such mundane events with words that associate the reader to the context of what’s happening in the story.

Recently I just finsihed reading Alex’s second novel called Tesseract. It’s a gritty crime drama/love story that takes place in Manila. It explores the lives of several residents of the  Manila slums ranging from crime bosses to slum children. These lives intersect resulting in a surprising ending but I’ll let you find that out for yourself.



Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control

flamewarAs an active user of online social communities, I know just as well as anybody else how annoying and out of control flame wars can get. All it takes is one negative comment to set off a chain reaction of unnecessary, juvenile threats and attacks. Why do people do it? Because it’s probably the best way to get a rise out you. How can you avoid flaming? Stay calm, ignore the person who’s attacking you and keep in mind that most of these people are weak, tasteless and immature. This is not to say that you shouldn’t speak your mind or share your opinions. As long as you can project your thoughts in a respectful and organized manner you’ll have nothing to worry about. So I’m asking you to be a productive, contributing member of your own social community and help keep flame wars under control because they only cause grief and chew up bandwidth.

Rule 6: Share expert knowledge

screencapThe is one of the best pieces of advice that anyone can give to new web user. Thankfully I can say that I am lucky enough to belong to a couple of really great online communities with generous senior members who are open to sharing advice with other users. As an experienced user, I’ve made it my goal to help out new users who are having trouble because I was once in their shoes. This is a simple philosophy that can really help make the web a more friendly and constructive environment. It can be a good idea, especially in web forums, to create “stickys” or permanent threads that help direct and inform new comers about your site and how it functions. Just remember that you were once that lost, confused user! so share your knowledge with those who need it most.

Artwork and No Play

This week I’d like to talk about the world of poster art and art inspired by other art.

ryan_miller-hair_of_the_dog_that_bit_meRecently I’ve been really influenced by all the creative posters and paintings i’ve discovered from artists who have either used film or music as their inspiration. For example, I am a HUGE stanely kubrick fan and last week I was looking at blogs online for ideas for my own projects when I came across this great little feature called “Artwork and No Play”. Basically it was showcase in New York last Fall featuring a collection of works from artists who are inspired by Stanley Kubricks “The Shining”. Since “The Shining” is one of my favorite films from one of my favorite directors I was excited to see artists with similar tastes. Some of the works really blew me away, in particular some incredible screen prints that were just rich with colour and detail. You can see more of the show at

Another great blog site i found if you’re looking for inspiration is They have tons of amazing film posters, gig posters and pop art ideas sure to get you excited about art. My photoshop class at BCIT has just come to end and for my final project we were given a lot a creative freedom so I used these sites for ideas and I think my project turned out quite well. I made a ficticious gig poster and a fake movie poster, this was surely my favorite assigment yet.

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Subject Line: “Electronic Music Production and Entertainment Blog “

Do You Like to be Entertained?

If you like music production, movies and digital technology in general, come check out my friendly and informative blog updated weekly to keep yourself informed about new interesting products and ideas in entertainment.

Jcook75’s blog is an entertainment technology news blog, featuring product reviews, music production ideas, and loads of other interesting facts and tips you wouldn’t expect from your average blog. Jcook75 caters to all types of users, not just people with music production knowledge, and includes informative, to-the-point entries that will keep you interested and satisfied.

If you’re into music and everything related, I think you’ll enjoy the experience of visiting my site.  Get the scoop on industry recommended headphones or even discover the newest hottest, place to buy your music.  I am also starting to add local event reviews to show you how Vancouver’s music scene is developing and how you be a part of it. Some of my entries even address more important, unconventional issues and concerns about music including one I did recently on hearing loss and tinnitus. If you want to read more about this topic visit my blog where I talk about my personal experiences I’ve had with this problem.

Jcook75 also has loads of images and useful links in order to make your visit more exciting and informative so that you’re able to form opinions of your own. In which case you are more than welcome to leave comments on my page, as I’m interested in what you have to say as well.  Recently I did a review for “The Watchmen” movie and added a link to their website which is done in flash and is really cool so I encourage to check it out! I’m currently adding links to other blogs too because it’s important to here what other bloggers are thinking and saying especially about the world of technology.

Over the past couple years music production with digital audio workstations has become a major passion in my life. That’s why you will find entries about software like Ableton and Traktor Scratch Pro on my blog; this will be ideal for any DJs and producers out there. So whether you’re in movies, music, technology or all three, come and check out my blog you won’t be disappointed.

Sennheiser HD 25’s

Last year I was looking for some professional studio monioring headphones for DJing and producing music. I put aside a fair amount cash because i wanted to invest in a quality pair of headphones that would last me a long time.

Around the same time I had noticed that many of the artists that I admired were using the same headphones. After some light investigation I discovered that they were using the HD 25 II headphones by Sennheiser, a professional audio systems company based out of Germany. After reading some specs, determining my price range  and considering the endless amount of support from my favorite DJs, I was sold and ordered myself a pair online.

The first time I tried them, I was immediately impressed with the sound quality. The lows, mids and highs of the audio was distributed perfectly. They are also very light and comfortable, even after prolonged use which is so important for DJing and producing. The size of the ear cups are great for my ears and they help to cancel unwanted environmental noise.


Before I ordered them though, some people told me to be warry of the delicate wires that run along the top frame of the headphones because they are prone to breaking. And sure enough, at the end of last year, something mysterious happened with the wires and I now I get no sound in the right ear! Since then I’ve had to use my medicore sony headphones which just don’t get the job done. Luckily the wires are cheap and easy to replace, all i need to do now is find a suitable headphone repair place to fix the headphones which by the way is proving to be a more challenging task than first anticipated.

Thomas Harris: Meeting Dr. Lecter For the First Time

I’ll be the first to admit that Im not a huge reader, especially of novels and literature. Aside from the manditory novels I had to read in high school, rarely would I ever read literature on my own for pleasure. I’m one of those people who would rather watch a really good film or listen to music. I guess that means I’m firmly placed into todays modern generation of tech-savy young people. I think books and literature are a forgotten art form and I’d actually really like to start reading more because it can be such expressive, amazing escapism.

Recently my best friend convinced me to read a really great piece of fiction called Red Dragon. It’s actually the prequel to Silence of the Lambs which you’ll know as the ground-breaking motion picture. The author of Red Dragon is Thomas Harris, who is also the author of Silence of the Lambs. I’m only half way through the book but so far it has kept me interested and engaged. Thomas Harris is very discriptive in his writting but he also has a nice flow which i love. Red dragon was acutally made into a movie a few years ago. I remember it wasn’t very good despite the long list of talented actors starring. I think i might watch it again however, to compare the directors vision versus the authors. I think that this is always interesting especially for myself to see how actors interpret characters from a novel and how a director realizes a story from fiction (or non-fiction). Meeting Hannibal Lecter for the first time reading Red Dragon was certainly scary but I like to be scared sometimes and i can’t wait to read the next chapter.



Before I started the New Media and Web Development course at BCIT I was concerned about using Mac computers. I’ve been a PC user my whole life and the PC is what I’ve come to love and know. My dad is the same way since he makes a living working on computers and he has always used a PC. My grudge with the Mac lies mostly with it’s main operating system. By operating system I mean the general layout of the task bars, file storage and the way you navigate through the Mac’s system. This easy hurdle for most has proved to be a greater challenge than I had anticipated simply because I’m so used to working with a PC. When I’m navigating through tool bars and menus I want to revert to the PC navigation, It’s like a reflex that I can’t control.

This being said, there are a couple really cool features exclusive to the Mac which I havn’t found with the PC. One of these is called “Spaces”, this application allows you to assign different work windows to a hot key which lets you jump from one work to space to another without the hassle of finding a program by closing and minimizing windows. Another program that I like is called “Time Machine”, this program is similar to ‘system restore’ on the PC however Time Machine is far more accesible and effective in retrieving lost data and restoring old system settings. Also viruses and bugs have always plagued my PC so using a computer without having to update virus protection software every 10 days has been very relieving. So while I’m still adjusting to the Mac OS, I can see myself, with time, working comfortably on a Mac computer.