Angels, Demons and Ambigrams

Three days ago or so I got a copy of a book. And since it’s been so long since the last time I got to read for pleasure (SO LONG!), I was really happy, a nice novel is probably one of the best gifts someone could give me!

This time it was the turn of a book that made me feel a bit confused when I got it.

(I didn’t get the nice cover though)

From what I heard about it, this book didn’t seem like my kind of book. I’m also unfamiliar with Dan Brown’s work. I haven’t read the famous Da Vinci code, nor I have watched the movie, they never interested me too much. Religious crap, I thought.

However, I started reading. I could never imagine, that three days later, I would have my eyes stuck in the paper reading the last 50 pages of the book without being able to stop until it ended. It was good from start to end. It was like some action movie, without a single dull moment. Action and action and more ACTION and surprising moments, very interesting facts, and a very interesting plot, really interesting. Things were poping out from nowhere to surprise you, and although they almost seem forced sometimes, after a while it all made sense. I didn’t stop enjoying it, not even when it apparently went against my points of view about religion and turned all pro-catholic church. I actually thought it was going to end that way, and I said to myself “oh well, it’s fiction, I didn’t stop reading the Odyssey just because it talks about deities I don’t believe in). BUT later the book surprised me again, but I’m not telling everything to prevent further spoiling… hehe.

The references also surprised me, lots of history, art, scientific and architectural facts making a good scenario for the fiction to take place. When I started reading I thought the author was making it all up, until I happened to google for a couple of things, like CERN and the buildings in rome. It was all there. I assume the author had to go through a lot of research.

It’s a great work. The ending is awesome and the last page is hilarious. I think I’d go as far as to say this is my favorite book now.

I loved the ambigrams. The book was all about them. Words that read the same after flipping them upside down. I never heard about them before. I found them completely enigmatic and curious. Similar to palindromes. But even cooler. I liked them so much that (and being a geek as I am) I made my own.

I pasted the rotated version in inverted colors right above the original and added some effect in the line. It’s sucky. I wanted to get it as an image that rotates showing that “Nessa” is readable both sides, but my image software got messed up really bad. I might try it again later. 😉

If you want to see really cool ambigrams, you can try this page:

http://www.johnlangdon.net/ambigrams.html

If you want an ambigram of your own and don’t want to mess with designs, you can try this page:

http://www.ambigram.matic.com/ambigram.htm

If you haven’t read this book. Read it. (I think most people have, it’s relativitely old anyway. But maybe you also are another busy student who only gets time to read cool stuff in vacations. :P)

Hasta la vista.


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9 thoughts on “Angels, Demons and Ambigrams

  1. I received this book as a gift two birthdays ago and it took me a long time to even open it because of the plot’s excessive reliance on Catholicism.

    As a fan of science fiction, I already possessed plenty of knowledge about CERN and so reading about it did not outweigh the excruciatingly tedious religious babble. To the very scientific oriented, it does not include enough science. I say this from the perspective of someone who is very interested in hard science fiction.

    The plot and characters were too formulaic and this is the ‘kiss of death’ for mystery novels. The more formulaic, the easier it is to predict the plot. I knew who the ‘bad guy’ was the moment the person was introduced and I admit the main reason I kept reading was a hope to be proven wrong.

    I was not.

    Furthermore, the ‘assassin’ was too one dimensional. There was no keen insight by the author into the character’s psychosis making the plot and characters not only stereotypical but extremely ordinary. The world is already filled with too many ordinary individuals for me to waste time reading about them.

    I do agree that the author dedicated a lot of time to research. Unfortunately, he relied too much on it. He fell into the amateurish trap of making his novel about the research with characters and weak plot to flesh it out, instead of making it about his characters and plot first and the research as support.

    I will say this; the ambigrams were very interesting and the only redeemable part of the novel. It found it lamentable the entire novel itself was not a textbook on inversions.

  2. Yeah, I can see where you’re coming from. Still, I enjoyed this book a lot. It did surprise me, all the time. Of course I have the tendency to shut up my brain when it is trying to predict what’s going to happen in order not to spoil my enjoyement. I do that with horror and suspense movies too. If I decide to try and guess what’s going to happen next, I’m right most of the times, and that ruins the movie for me. I started doing this after most mystery books and movies turned out to be too predictable. I couldn’t find one that really surprised me so I guess I learned to let myself go along with the movie without thinking too much.

    Took me a couple of days to start replying to these comments of yours, but I was intending to do so from the beggining. Procrastinator me.

    Thanks for reading and commenting, I’m enjoying this a lot.

  3. If I decide to try and guess what’s going to happen next, I’m right most of the times, and that ruins the movie for me.

    I see.

    I find most movies, books, and people insufferably predictable. Worse, since I enjoy problem solving, the more I do it, the better I get it, the greater the level of predictability.

    I expect ingenuity and uniqueness. Sadly, this is very rarely the case resulting in an extreme level of disinterest for humanity in general. It is why when I discover anything or anyone that manages to capture my interest, I pursue with a great deal of fervor.

    They make being alive worthwhile.

    Took me a couple of days to start replying to these comments of yours, but I was intending to do so from the beginning. Procrastinator me.

    Yes, procrastinator you.

    Thanks for reading and commenting,

    You are welcome. I was beginning to wonder if you were finding it excessive.

    On another note, I notice I am now in your blogroll. I just want to say the gesture is surprising fast, flattering, and wholly reciprocated.

    I’m enjoying this a lot.

    Likewise.

  4. I don’t find it excessive, I just wonder how you manage to write so much in so little time. I can barely keep up. But I enjoy reading what you write, which is also why I added you to the blogroll.

  5. I just wonder how you manage to write so much in so little time. I can barely keep up.

    Much of it is intuitive really. Any time we look at anything our subconscious is doing most of the work. I simply use it to my advantage. The average person pays no heed to their subconscious, struggling instead to form ‘words’ and then ‘sentences’ all the while chastising themselves for their inability to produce work that is creative or fast enough.

    When it comes to analysis, practice and enjoyment play a factor. It is fairly easy for me to achieve a high level of focus. I read what you write and let it sit for a minute or two. I do this often enough in my life that I have absolute confidence in the process.

    I think in pictures, allowing for no words to enter. I see your post in my mind as a circular mass with all the words meshed randomly before me like a hologram. It stays there writhing and constantly rearranging itself. What it rearranges to I do not care to notice. It is not important at this point.

    My ‘mind’ is also a round hologram. Directly around me is darkness with a radius of 10 meters. It encompasses me from all angles with small, glowing, see through cabinets neatly stacked. Each of the cabinets contains its own set of information. The entire mass is so thick I cannot see beyond it.

    Eventually, cabinets open here and there and small holographic files add to the smaller mass that is your post. When it has absorbed enough files to initiate the writing process, it speeds toward me and engulfs me. From the corner of my eyes I see more files being added to this ‘post mass’ but once again zeroing in on them is not important. If they were not relevant they would not come.

    I open my word processor and begin typing. The screen is bigger than the wordpress post window making it possible to see most of my words at once. This is handy because I tend to grab sentences here and there and rearrange them on the screen as I go. It does not hurt that I am a fast typer either.

    And this is essentially how I seem to miraculously bombard your comment box so quickly and so continuously.

    As an aside, I do not want to overwhelm you. I will refrain from posting until you have enough time to respond.

  6. Yes, I recently discovered how I can post directly from my text editor, and then because of what you said, I started using the editor for comments aswell. It seems to work. I’ve read all your latest comments, and comments I had read before, and posts from your blog.

    I read everything you’ve said, and I realized the main reason why I can’t reply as fast is because I try to respond to the comments separately and hesitate about what to write where, and then my mind drifts into something less complicated. If I take all what you’ve said as one big thing, it all makes more sense and it’s easier to reason about it.

    I made one file in my text editor, and everything I’ve been replying to you tonight, and my latest post, comes from the same long text I created. Making it a single long text allowed me to focus and I’m feeling like I had taken a pill of X. My mind keeps wandering REALLY FAST but I tamed it for a little while to write all this at once and I can’t stop writing now! And whenever I feel the urge to reply to something else because I just remembered, I can just write right there, the order doesn’t matter, after a good amount of content has been plastered into words from my mind, then I start deciding what will go here or there.

    Alright. I love the graphic environment that is inside your mind. I have one too, I have posted bit of it in my last post… it’s old and I didn’t try hard to create it, it just is.

    I read really fast,I think really fast, and I type really fast. But I don’t think it has to do with my difficulty on keeping up with your comments.

    I insist that there has to be an ability to connect the thoughts with the language we’re intending to use to exteriorize them.

    I know what’s like to have all these things floating in my mind language-less. It doesn’t make it any easier to convert it into words and to post them.

  7. Making it a single long text allowed me to focus and I’m feeling like I had taken a pill of X. My mind keeps wandering REALLY FAST but I tamed it for a little while to write all this at once and I can’t stop writing now!

    That is wonderful. I hope your new method continues to work. 🙂

    I love the graphic environment that is inside your mind.

    Thank you. It serves its purpose.

    I know what’s like to have all these things floating in my mind language-less. It doesn’t make it any easier to convert it into words and to post them.

    I spent a good deal of my teenage years in solitary confinement. No privacy for writing and no one to share thoughts with. Language is a skill that improves with use and disappears with disuse.

    I can relate to your frustrations and in thinking that you are not as ‘smart’ as you once were. It took the right medium and right people for me to begin to reacquire my language skills. Had my ability for communication not been so interrupted they would be far more advanced today. You have plenty of ideas and your communication skills are not as poor as you believe them to be. With conviction and practice, you will find the gap between raw source and execution slowly closing. Even though we have not known one another for long, I can already detect improvement in you.

    As an aside, I hope your mad spurts of energy redirect at some point to your PSYCHOTIC post. You leave me in suspense!

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