Saturday, July 9, 2011

Today I bought...

...Two new books, some groceries (foodies, mostly) and three news pieces of clothing. Yay! This is so like one of the few times I actually shopped on my own, for myself. Hihi.

The books first, of course. They are The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I bought the first one because some of the vignettes there were studied in our CW 10 class under Sir Butch Guerrero. The latter one I bought because I learned a few weeks ago that it was turned into a movie and will be shown soon. I just wanted to get a little peek at what's in store, and maybe do a little comparison between the book and the movie.

(I think it's better to read the book first before seeing the movie. Gimme a Harry Potter book. Now.)

I wouldn't bother detailing the groceries I bought because (1) it's not interesting, and (2) it's none of yer business. *evil laugh*

So, the clothes... I'm a freakin' cheapo so I wouldn't say the price. *grin*

Anyway, I bought a black, long-sleeved blouse with ruffled sleeves, which I plan to use for a future costume. Even if I don't continue with the costume I still get a fine addition to my (color skimpy) closet. I also bought a dark blue-colored blouse and (get this) a hot pink shirt. Yup. Hot pink.

That is so all today. :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Weekly Post

Written: June 27, 2011, 7:50 PM

So, this is another random post, but it has more sense than the others, I hope.

As I was using a search engine earlier today looking for 'odd jobs in the Philippines,' I came across a blog post that detailed some supposedly odd jobs in our country. What I was looking for are jobs which are probably never heard-of or which are "too dirty" (kadiri, if you may), like septic tank cleaners. The list, though, included the takatak boys (men, really, who sold cigarettes, candy, and what-not to drivers and vehicle passengers), shoeshiners, sapatero (shoe cobblers), barbero (barber), lavendera (laundress, but it can also be a man), konduktor (bus conductor), barker (a person who calls the passengers for a jeepney), etc. I was surprised, because, for many of us, these jobs are common; some probably know other people who do these kinds of jobs. Yes, they are (what some may call) menial or blue collar jobs, but they are by no means rare or odd. I do not know if the blogger is Filipino or of another nationality, but the article is clearly written for the consumption of foreigners.

There was also another article wherein an eyebrow shaver was considered odd. Um, that is so common in our beauty salons and parlors.

This little piece of cyberspace tells me that other countries perceive us differently, and vice versa. What is common in one culture may not be so in another. Perhaps these people who do these "odd" jobs do not exist in their country, and they find them, well, odd.

- - - - -

In another news, my book list has officially reached the 200th mark. This feat was not possible without the existence of The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne. I have completed the "Pooh series," as I call them (Winnie-the-Pooh actually made me cry... And here I am an eighteen year old girl with a penchant for murder investigation stories). I was actually planning to buy two other books prior to seeing the two aforesaid titles: Tarzan of the Apes (forgot the name of the author, sorry!) and Disclosure by Michael Crichton (which was selling for a measly 25 pesos). But the pull of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin and the rush of childhood nostalgia that is sure to come is stronger than the "adult" side of me. Ha-ha! So, Juster and Milne prevail. Hurrah for children's literature!

But, really, on any other day I would definitely buy a 25-peso Crichton.

I have also decided to write about A.A. Milne and his works for "The 2011 My favorite book essay writing contest," sponsored by Philippine Star, National Book Store, and Globe. I was (actually, guiltily) roaming around NBS this afternoon looking for what I would spend a gift certificate on.

- - - - -

I think I like my semester. All my professors seem to be pleasant and the subjects okay. So, I think it will be a good semester... I think.

- - - - -

On the lighter side, I bought another piece of K-On! merchandise. You probably think I'm wasting money on these stuff, but, really, who can resist? They are so adorable! I don't care about the cries of yuri and whatever, I just love these girls. This time it's a notepad... With no lines! Yeah! That's the kind of notepad I love.

So, now you know what kind of notepad to buy me. *wink*

- - - - -

Written: June 30, 2011, 9:35 PM

Two weeks from now, we are required to pass the first drafts of our CW 110 manuscripts... And I have no freakin' story ideas. What's a girl to do? I totally have no idea what to write about. I mean, I do but it's not taking shape. Ooh my~ I'm in a pinch. Where are plot bunnies when you need them?

I've been reading (on and off) Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the basis for the movie 127 Hours starring James Franco, by Aron Ralston and I love it. Even with the mountaineering jargon (it's sometimes hard to follow), it's a wonderful book. I'm not halfway through, but I know I'm in for another wonderful book adventure.

I have begun to read Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne, and I love the poems. They're just... darlings! :D

Book Review - Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Rating: 10/10

Twenty-seven year old Aron Ralston is a retired mechanical engineer and an experienced outdoorsman. He has hiked numerous mountains and escaped death several times. However, on April 26, 2003 somewhere in Utah, as he is hiking through an "easy" route, a boulder gets dislodged and traps Aron's right hand on the canyon wall. With scant food and water and a dying resolve, Aron manages to pull through for six days, and survive to tell his inspiring tale.

This book has been in our family's shelf since 2006 (it's my dad's - he brought it back from America). I never once thought of reading it all those years, until Danny Boyle came out with the movie 127 Hours starring James Franco. So, yes, I am guilty of that.

Anyhow, as much as I dislike non-fiction literature (I'm a lover of fiction through and through), I actually liked this one. Aron Ralston's writing style is very good, very detailed (don't worry, the amputation scene isn't all that bad). Between a Rock and a Hard Place is a very inspiring book, more than the movie I dare say. If you felt 127 Hours was not enough to convince you, then you should go read this book. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

OmO. :3

Hello, hello! Today, we went shopping and I bought two cutesy items!

First up is a key chain from Comic Alley. That girl with the long, blonde hair is Tsumugi Kotobuki (Mugi, for short) from the anime K-On! She's, obviously, the keyboardist of Hokago Tea Time. My bunch of friends said I'm like her for these reasons: (1) she plays the keyboard, and (2) she is demure but easily excitable (nyah~). She's also a rich girl and brings tea and dessert for the club (her father owns a maid cafe, nyao).

The second thing is... a book! Yeah, some people may not consider that cutesy, but it's cute for me. Heehee.

The book on the right is Mermaid in the Basement by Gilbert Morris. I have never heard of Morris until a couple of hours ago. I bought the book because it was interesting: (1) it's set in 1800 (I think?) London, (2) the lead character is female, (3) it's a detective story, and (4) I smell romance in the corner. Haha! I was actually in a pinch when I bought this because there were two other interesting books: The Phantom Tollbooth and The Mistress of the Art of Death. Meh, the latter title is really piquing my interest... But it costs 115 pesos and that's the end of the dilemma. :P

Anyway, I also saw a lot of interesting things in the mall: a two-finger ring with a skull design (which is so Sunako Nakahara), cute pencil cases, a wolf plushie (so adorable~), Gundam OO merchandise (finally!), and a poster of a topless Kurosaki Ichigo with nun chucks. Haha!

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Political Compass


Book Review - Dirty Sally by Michael Simon

Rating: 10/10

Sgt. Dan Reles, a Jew and New Yorker, is trying to fit in the Austin, Texas police department. When his buddy is killed, Reles finds he is having a hard time coping with the death and with his feelings for the widow. Additionally, he is set to go before a review board, and cracking his current case is the only way for him to look good in front of the superiors. However, the future seems bleak, as businessmen and prominent Austin citizens appear to have a hand in the murder of a prostitute.

Gritty and dark, this is an example of a good crime novel. Not only is it exciting, it is also well-written. This may be Michael Simon's first novel, but he sure writes like an expert.

Book Review - Three for the Chair by Rex Stout

Rating: 10/10

Three for the Chair contains three stories starring Nero Wolfe and his assistant, Archie Goodwin. The first, "A Window for Death," involves a pretty nurse, a squabbling family, and the mysterious death of Bert Fyfe. "Immune to Murder" brings Wolfe and Archie to the Adirondacks where the famous detective is asked to cook trout for an ambassador. But things start to go awry when Archie discovers a dead body during a fishing expedition. Finally, Wolfe and Archie are suspects in a murder investigation in "Too Many Detectives."

As I mentioned before, I have started to like Nero Wolfe and how he does his work. A secretive man, much like Sherlock Holmes, his methods are irregular but his results are always astounding.

Book Review - Plot It Yourself by Rex Stout

Rating: 10/10

A group against plagiarism asks Nero Wolfe to find out the person behind the recent plagiarism claims in the literary world. As Wolfe and his assistant, Archie, embark on this seemingly simple investigation, a dead body suddenly turns up, followed by another, and another. Soon, they are not only looking at plagiarism, but also at murder.

I didn't like Nero Wolfe at first because of the comparisons given by people between him and the beloved Sherlock Holmes. With this book, though, he is starting to be likeable, and his methods of investigation are as astounding as Holmes. A wonderful book this one is.

Book Review - The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen

Rating: 10/10

Boston PD Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles receive an appalling - and rather grotesque - Christmas present: a murder investigation. However, this is no simple murder. There are evidences of arcane and demonic activity in the crime scene left by the mysterious killer. An occult group offers to help them - a group that aims to find the root of Evil in this world. When the murders grow closer to home, the group wonders if they accidentally summoned a demon on earth.

Medical suspense can't get any more thrilling than this. Tess Gerritsen's The Mephisto Club lingers in the reader's mind long after it has been finished (heck, I couldn't sleep for three nights). This is one of her best books, really.

Book Review - The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

Rating: 9/10

To the ordinary human being, midnight occurs only for a moment. To a special group of people, though, midnight lasts for an hour. Only at this time can they truly be free, enjoying their powers to the fullest. The darklings, creatures that roam only in the midnight hour, let them be, afraid to come near the humans. However, when a new girl comes to the town of Bixby in Oklahoma, the midnight hour turns dangerous. Meet Jessica Day, a normal girl with a normal family. The darklings, though, see a power in her that could destroy their precious midnight hour, and they must stop her, at all costs.

The Secret Hour
is the first book in the Midnighters trilogy.

This is my second Scott Westerfeld book, and all I have is praise. He is a master of his art - able to use literary techniques to their full potential. The Secret Hour is a well-written dark, adventure novel, with just a hint of romance here and there. It's a good read for teens.

Book Review - The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Rating: 9/10

Professor Robert Langdon is summoned to Washington, DC late at night to deliver a lecture. When he gets there, the lecture is mysteriously cancelled, and the only thing that remains is a severed hand belonging to his friend, Peter Solomon, which represents the Hand of Mysteries, an invitation to a challenge. With his life's friend on the line and a killer on the loose, Langdon unravels a series of events that leads him to the secrets of Freemasonry and the search for 'the Lost Word.'

With amazing writing techniques and numerous surprising secrets, Dan Brown created a book where the reader can't help but go on and on reading without stopping. Interesting and filled with lessons about history and religion, The Lost Symbol is a thrilling page-turner.

Book Review - The Society of S by Susan Hubbard

Rating: 10/10

Ariella Montero is a young girl living in Saratoga Springs, New York. She has almost everything: a nice house, education, a caring (and handsome) father. But Ari does not have a mother. One day, amidst the questions plaguing her life, she sets off to look for the mysterious mother she never met.

To those who have been disappointed after reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight and who have given up reading YA novels about vampires, this book is for you. Beautiful and sensitive in its writing, The Society of S keeps one reading forever, if that is even possible. I like the way Susan Hubbard wrote: dark, haunting, and often infused with humor. Her techniques will leave you begging for me (which is precisely the reason why I shall now be looking for a copy of The Year of Disappearances).

Even humans can enjoy this book.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

If you think this is an Independence Day post, then you're wrong...

At eighteen and a half years old, I'm still like a kid rummaging through her mother's bureau - I don't know the first thing about make-up! Sure, I know about eyeliner, eyeshadow, lipstick, mascara, blush-on and all that stuff, but actually applying it is tricky. Yeah, I have watched and read about how to apply but it's hard when you're painting your own face. I have had make-up applied on me by other people, but I can't seem to do it to others or to myself. It's really frustrating, haha!

In the picture on the right, I tried applying pink eyeshadow and black eyeliner to match my clothes. The problem is, they disappear quickly because I have oily skin and the weather is freakin' hot. My mom says I should get waterproof make-up, but I bet that costs a ton. Also, the only make-up I could get along with are eyeliner, face powder, lipstick, and lip gloss. Even eyeshadow is a chore because I don't know which should come first: darker hues or lighter hues?

I'm getting the idea that the weather in the Philippines isn't suited for eyeliner. Once, I wore some and it was really hot. In the middle of the day, I looked like a bad version of an Addams Family member.

But, I am trying to learn, because I know I'll need it someday. :D

Friday, June 10, 2011

I love Bruno Mars and Ryota Miyagi, yo! But... *chuckle chuckle*


It's my sister's idea, really. And I want to thank you, yo! :D

Random stuffies~

Hi! This is the last Friday of vacation. Next Monday, we'll have to go to U.P. Diliman and dive into another year of academic work, yo!

*sigh*

*groan*

Ugh.

Summer is almost over and I think I haven't done anything absolutely productive - anime-books-fanfiction-games-and-drama things-wise.  Well, I did finish watching Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge live-action drama, post two stories (1 oneshot and 1 on-going), kept ourselves updated on BLEACH (manga and anime - strictly canon... sort of), re-watched and relived Slam Dunk, watched Season 2 of K-On!,  managed to read several books, downloaded a ton of DS games, almost done with Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, but it just is not enough, yo! For one, I wasn't able to get to the beach this summer. That is so dream material, yo!

*sigh*

Anyway, I'm happy with how things turned out. We manage to go on everyday. *grin grin grin*

This is one random post.

Oh yeah! My bebz and I (count 4 in that "bebz" word) went out this summer! We also had an overnight! Yay! All of us are in college now, except Reg-kun who graduated last April. Yay! It's awesome, really.

Also, this summer was full of firsts. I attended my first cosplay convention - Ozine Fest 2011, yo! I participated in a cosplay event as Sunako Nakahara from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge in Hobby Fest 2011 (and got a lot of recognitions, yo!). Maybe it wasn't such a bad summer, after all.

*shrug*

Nyahaha. That is probably my favorite online laugh right now. So addicting... Nyahaha.

Muh. I still haven't posted any reviews which is so... Um... Lazy of me. Also, I haven't updated Broken, which sucks because I don't have anymore ideas (on how to make my OC non-hateable, ahem)! Plot bunnies, come on!

And, so, this totally random post stops here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Writing/Reading updates

Hi! Tonight, I published another story on FF.net with the [rather cheesy] title "Old wounds never heal". It's InoShika once again (after one year) and is set ten years after the current manga events. I have added the URL on the list on the right. Feel free to click it, but for easier access here it is: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7034292/1/Old_wounds_never_heal.

Chapter 2 of "Broken" has been up since last week. Here's the URL: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6981993/2/Broken

Book reviews will be posted sometime this week. I have to write for 'The Mephisto Club' by Tess Gerritsen, 'Plot it Yourself' by Rex Stout, and a collection of Edgar Allan Poe stories. I still have not read my "new" books. :P

That is all for now. Feel free to read anything and criticize. Muh.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New fanfic!

Hi! It's been almost a year (actually, it's only a few days away...) since I last published a fanfic chapter. So, I decided to write a new story entitled "Broken". What a story title but I can't think of anything nice/poetic/flowery/inspiring tonight. Good news, though. Title is subject to change, although I probably wouldn't bother. Hehe.

Here's the URL: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6981993/1/Broken

This one is under the anime BLEACH starring my dear Shuuhei Hisagi and an original character. Yay for OCs!

Book Review - Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 10/10

The rebellion has begun, and Katniss Everdeen must play the Mockingjay - the symbol of the revolution.

Different from the first two books, Mockingjay is more political and bloody than its predecessors. It explores themes such as pain, indecision, madness, etc. Some parts of it are fast-paced. The ending, though, sticks to the reader's mind indefinitely. It's a fun read. :)

Book Review - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 10/10


Katniss Everdeen's last action in the arena did not go unnoticed, and now President Snow wants her to assuage the spark she started in the Victory Tour. But fire is catching, and pretty soon, even she can't control it. What is more, the Quarter Quell brings another surprise: she, along with Peeta Mellark, must go back to the arena.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Book Review - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Rating: 10/10

The Hunger Games is an event held annually by the Capitol to remind the Districts of their helplessness. Each District must provide two 'tributes' - one boy and one girl - to participate. The twenty-four, aged 12 to 18, must compete for survival and fight to the death, until only one remains...

The Hunger Games certainly lives up to its reviews. Spectacular and thrilling in its entirety, it's a novel you'll never want to put down. It's the best adventure story I ever read. Every moment is just fantastic and equally thrilling.

And the last paragraph! God, how I loathe that last paragraph... It practically leaves you wanting for more. If you're planning to buy this, buy the other two as well, because once you've read this, you cannot stop. :>

Book Review - Arabian Nights by Kathryn Wesley

Rating: 8/10

Schariar, the son of the late Sultan of Baghdad, must marry in order to inherit the kingdom. However, his recent experience with his first wife causes him to distrust all women. With this dilemma in mind, he formulates a plan: marry a girl from the harem and have her killed the morning after the wedding. Enter Schaharezade, the beautiful and independent daughter of Giafar, Schariar's adviser. Ever since they were children, she had always loved Schariar, and she feels she can save him... But can she also save herself with only tales as her guard?

This version of Arabian Nights is not that complicated: it's a simple love story. This aspect of the novel makes it a light and easy read. Plus, the stories are told in a humorous style, which temporarily alleviates the mood of sadness enveloping Schaharezade.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Filipina

I Juander, a television show on GMA NewsTV, tackled the topic of "dalagang Pilipina" tonight. I was able to catch a few whiffs of the program, but I think it's enough to inspire me to write this blog post.

This past second semester, I took my first elective: Kasaysayan 118 or History of Women in the Philippines. It was something I never wanted to take, or even expected to. I merely signed for it to accomplish the required 18 units for the semester.

History, for me, was always boring and, above all, masculine in nature (hello, history!). I didn't think I would enjoy the class; more so when I found out on the first day of school that there were only a few of us. As expected, most of us were females, but there were some males who also signed on.

Anyway, to put it shortly, the semester was not what I had thought it would be. I found myself immersed in the lessons and even spent considerable time in the library reading about the topics. Everything was interesting. But what piqued my interest the most was the fact that Filipinas were freer than we believed them to be.

It all began with the "Maria Clara" archetype of the Filipina. This, I say, is not true for all Filipinas. First of all, Maria Clara in Jose Rizal's novels was a privileged young woman: her family was well-to-do. In our discussions, my professor, Ms. Maria Luisa Camagay, said that women from the lower classes enjoyed more freedom than the nobility. It would seem that the effort of the Spanish conquistadors to restrain the woman was not entirely successful. Take for example the cigarreras of the 19th century. Considered to be the first manual laborers, they held a job, received their salary, and were subject to sanctions. There was even documentation of a strike arranged by the cigarreras. They were fighting for an increase in wages.

While the noble women of the time brushed their hair, trimmed their nails, and ate sparingly, others were fighting for their rights as women - as working women.

Also, during the pre-colonial period, the Filipina was prominent in the barangay. The babaylan or the catalona were important figures during that time. Women also exercised certain rights over men with regard to marriage (the man paid the dowry to the woman's family), sex, religion, etc.

So, in spite of the Maria Clara image thrust upon women, I would like to believe that the Filipina is not the timid woman in fancy clothes. I would like to believe that she is a warrior.

Perhaps the freedom women enjoyed during the pre-colonial period can never be fully regained. However, my advocacy is this: that women and men be treated equally, with no one above the other. While women today enjoy the same luxuries as men, we still have a long way to go to attain that state. More must be done - women must be made aware of their rights, and that they can do something about their condition.

(By the way, I really recommend the Kas 118 subject!)

Images from:
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_FFKau-MIe2I/TJeITIdTmsI/AAAAAAAACME/zT9VsuejbRM/s320/gabriela+silang+philstar+com.jpg
http://fc07.deviantart.net/fs16/f/2007/126/1/b/Maria_Clara_by_Xergille.jpg

Sunday, April 24, 2011

New [bought] book

Hi, hi!

Today I bought one of the books on my wait list: Tess Gerritsen's The Mephisto Club. It's about this cult that investigates the existence of evil using science. However, a series of murders follows them and they begin to wonder if they inadvertently summoned a dark entity...

It's kind of an "evil" book and all but supernatural stuff is kind of interesting, too. Plus, Tess Gerritsen is one of my favorite writers. If you're looking for suspense-filled pages and sleepless nights (ha! I doubt anyone's looking for that...), give her novels a try. Most of them are medical in nature, but after the jargon, they're actually great reads. I've read two of her novels and I can say they're better than some of Michael Crichton's.;D

So, I'm definitely looking forward to reading this thrill ride.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Book Review - Extras by Scott Westerfeld

Rating: 10/10

Set in a futuristic Earth, Extras tells the story of Aya Fuse, a fifteen year old girl in a city addicted to fame and reputation. With her rank of 451,369, Aya is a total nobody - that is, until she meets the Sly Girls, a clique that likes playing dangerous tricks but is obsessed with keeping it secret. She decides to kick the Sly Girls story without them knowing... But when they stumble upon an earth-shattering discovery, Aya becomes caught in a web of betrayal and extreme danger that may just cost her her life.

Before Extras, Scott Westerfeld also wrote Uglies, Pretties, and Specials. I, unfortunately, have had no chance to read the three books. However, Westerfeld's writing is so masterful that after a few chapters of Extras, I understood just what he was talking about. Now, that is an important rule in writing a series, but how he does it is just amazing.

Another appeal of the novel to me is that it is, I think, set in Japan. The manga eyes, pixel skin, prehensile toes... It's just something crazy and so Japanese-y! Reading Extras is totally entertaining.

Also, the characters come alive. I definitely see this turning into a film... A good film, in fact, if placed in very good hands. It has the makings of a blockbuster teen flick: hoverboards, the right amount of romance, etc.

I'm dying to read the other three books. :>

Friday, April 22, 2011

Book Review - Emily's Quest by L.M. Montgomery

Rating: 10/10

Emily Byrd Starr is all grown up and it's high time she marry! At least, that's what the Murrays want. But what does she want? To publish her own novel, of course! But in the course of her literary adventures, Emily encounters love in its many forms and, as her relationship with her childhood friend, Teddy Kent, blooms, will she be ready?

This is the last in L.M. Montgomery's Emily trilogy. Actually, I liked these novels better than the Anne of Green Gables series. It was more entertaining and more personal, I guess, for Montgomery. In some of the articles I've read about her, all of them say that the trilogy was more like her life story. Maybe I am reading Montgomery's biography, and that's what made it better than the Anne series.

Again, L.M. Montgomery works her wonders. She can make her characters dance right out of the page. They are so real that I want to strangle a few Murrays right now. Emily is still lovable (and, sometimes, hate-able) as always. Her adventures never fail to amuse. Montgomery can make the reader laugh and cry. She truly is a wonderful writer.

Book Review - Sword of Waters by Hilari Bell

Rating: 7/10

Sword of Waters is the second book in Hilari Bell's trilogy. Arisa and her mother, the Falcon, have just settled into the life of the nobility. But Arisa hates it: the dancing, evening balls, the spiteful girls, politics... Everything! That is, until her mother tells her to befriend Prince Edoran in order to find the Sword of Waters...

It's a good book - on its own. But when Sword of Waters is placed alongside personal favorites like Green by Jay Lake and A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, it's not as good. While reading it, I felt like it was meant for a younger audience (by younger I mean 10-12, 'kay?) and, seeing that I've read a lot of fantasy novels lately, I've failed to appreciate it. But it is well-written and well-executed. I just don't see it competing with other novels. :(

Book Review - Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco

Rating: 10/10

Winner of the 2008 Man Asian Literary Prize and the Palanca Award, Ilustrado tells the story of Miguel, a close friend of the acclaimed and much-criticized writer Crispin Salvador, as he goes on a journey to write the story of his mentor amidst a troubled Philippines.

The world of Ilustrado is, chillingly, similar to ours and it makes one wonder if this is really fiction one is reading. At least, it made me feel that way. Miguel Syjuco weaves a masterful story that reveals so much about us - things that often go unnoticed. After I closed this book, I wondered for a very long time why we cannot reform this society we live in. We, obviously, have so much work to do.

But it is not only its social relevance that makes Ilustrado a good read. It is also, more importantly, a good read. Unlike boring political novels, this mixes politics with humor and other entertaining literary devices. Not one moment is boring and I'm sure everyone can (and will) enjoy this book.

Considering that this is one of the (unfortunately) few Filipino novels I've read, Ilustrado is so good I want more...

Book Review - K is for Killer by Sue Grafton

Rating: 8/10

Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is hired by Janice Kepler, a woman who lost her youngest daughter, Lorna, ten months before. Lorna was found in her secluded apartment in a bad state of decomposition. Police suspect foul play but there are no leads and the investigation is forced to a halt. But Janice doesn't want to stop, and so Kinsey must solve the puzzle of Lorna's death, but she must take care not to face her own.

K is for Killer is good in its own right, but it doesn't stand against the better Grafton novels I've read, like T is for Trespass or I is for Innocent. It was just "okay" for me.

Time capsules

My letters to my father when he was still in the US... I refuse to divulge their contents here.
For two days now, our house is undergoing a major upheaval. My mom decided to clean out some cabinets and throw stuff we don't need away. Naturally, this involves a lot of dust - which is making my allergies rise up in rebellion - and sorting out. So, in the course of cleaning out, we uncovered a ton of stuff which were also buried in our minds. In other words, we clean forgot about them. But, looking at all these stuff, I am suddenly transported to another dimension - the past.

My unimpressive Candy magazine "collection"
Comics and K-Zone issues we bought over the years
I found my old identification cards all the way back to Kindergarten (which I will never be bothered to post here), the program guide during my piano recital, cutesy class pictures, and even letters to my dad when he was still in the US (which I, also, will not be bothered to post here... please be content with envelopes); he saved all of them and, reading back, they were funny-I-don't-know-why-I-wrote-that kind of letters. Just leafing through the pages of my favorite kids' magazine produced a lot of remembrances. There were exclamations (e.g. "Hey, Nintendo DS didn't exist back then!" or "Look, there's AJ Perez on the cover!" or "This is the magazine I brought during the staff meet and greet!") and questions (e.g. "This game was so popular back then... Why is it forgotten now?" or "Look at Lindsay Lohan in this picture. She's so innocent! What happened to her?").

A pastel painting I did in high school
My debut box
But, most of all, the question that needs to be asked is, "How much change did I go through since then?" It may be decades, a few years, months, weeks, or even days since I last held those things. In that incredibly short time that has passed, what lessons did I learn? What failures have I gone through? What ambitions have I achieved? How many notes have I played? How many pictures have I taken? What awards have I received? What have I learned thus far? How many books have I bought... and read? How far have I gone in this journey called life? These moments lead me to reflect on the questions above. But, seriously, I can't answer all of them. I don't know how far, because I never keep track. I'm not one to write down everything I've done in a day for the sake of remembering - that's because some of the stuff I do are downright stupid; in short, things I don't want to reminisce about. Everyday is a new day and I don't need to write stuff down. The materials I leave behind will do the talking for me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Embroidery 101

Hello! Today was spent embroidering the Japanese symbol for the number 4 on one of my bags. Why the whole day, you might ask? The bag isn't that big and it's not a very complicated character, but... Well... Blame it on amateurish hands. Haha! I'm such an amateur when it comes to needlework, but, I must say, I am proud of what I've accomplished today! I was poked by the needle a lot of times. Thankfully, none of my fingers are bleeding. I got dizzy at times because I'm not used to it (we did some embroidery in high school... basic, of course) and because the process is horribly meticulous.

I embroidered the character because...
1. My birthday is December 4.
2. My favorite BLEACH character, Retsu Unohana, is the Captain of the 4th Division. (Cool, ne?)

I might bring the bag (more like pouch, really) on MetroCon because it's small and handy. Also, 4 in Japanese shares the same pronunciation as death, which is 'shi'. That's why the number is considered unlucky (could it also be the reason why Yumichika Ayasegawa considers it ugly???). Since I'm going to dress up as goth chick Sunako Nakahara, I think the symbolism would be appropriate.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oyoyo.

Hai!

I'm done watching Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge live-action (oh, what a mouthful!). It was good. Of course, there would be differences with the anime. For one, this was more dramatic while the anime tends to be extremely funny.

I totally love the last episode. If that happened to me, I'd beat *spoiler alert* senseless!

But, it was a wild ride and I'm positive I did not waste my time watching this. Although it was not as dramatic as 1 Litre no Namida or SMILE, YamaNade still shines in its own pedestal.

Oh, and speaking of shine... Mabushii!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Project: Hikikomori-san!!!

So! After (serendipity-cally) attending the 2011 Ozine Fest, I have decided to try my hand on cosplaying. I have chosen Sunako Nakahara from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge for my first because (1) it's simple and (2) I like her character. I'm already looking for a wig and I might come with my parents to Manila on Friday to hunt for one in Divisoria. I have also drawn the school uniform worn by Sunako in the anime so I can show it to the seamstress (I have yet to do so, but... yeah). I'm also going to look for a skull... and maybe make some fake-organs-floating-on-water-inside-a-jar whatevers.

And, because cosplaying is more than just dressing up, I decided to brush up on my hikikomori (social recluse, in Japanese) skills by watching the live-action version starring Kazuya Kamenashi as Takano Kyohei and Oomasa Aya as Nakahara Sunako.

So, I figured some stuff I can apply:
1. Start saying "mabushii!" when cute people approach me.
2. Practice playing with my fingers.
3. Talk to myself.
4. Wear a cape around.
5. Run with the cape billowing behind me.
6. Start eating Koala Ghost cookies. (Oh, he has eyebrows!)

Well... There's probably more. LOL. But this series is really funny and Tegoshi Yuya is sooooooo kawaii!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

DONE!

Hi! Today I finished reading two books: Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco and K is for Killer by Sue Grafton. Thanks to the black out today, I managed to do so.

The last pages of Ilustrado was like walking in murky darkness or, ironically, swimming in muddy water. Gawd. At the very end, I didn't know who was really writing it. Gah. I can think of it all I like, and maybe I'll figure it out in a few days. Or not. Okay, so Miguel Syjuco really really really is a writer to be proud of. I love how he writes! It's so... Different. Quite unlike any foreign writer I've ever read. It's just special. I can, perhaps, compare it to another writer but I can't remember his/her name right now. I'll spend some time thinking about it. Ha, good luck with that!

Like I mentioned above, I managed to finish K is for Killer in one, hot, frickin' day. It was worth every minute. I just can't put it down! That's how exciting it was! PLUS (wait for it!) Cheney Phillips figures so much in Killer and no girl could ever resist Cheney Phillips. Trust me.

So, reviews will probably come up in a few days. Happy vacay! :>

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

My Political Compass

Okay, so that means I'm a Liberal Communist. Mahatma Gandhi is one of the famous personalities located in that area. Anyway, you can also take the post here: http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

dun dun dun dun...

Finally! I bought this at the SM North EDSA branch of Booksale earlier this day for 82 pesos. Fun! Now I'm only missing U is for Undertow. Pretty fat chance that I'll buy that off a real book store sometime this summer. After that, I'll have to wait for the next book, V is for ________.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Of laundry and... surprises.

Doing the laundry became part of my list of phobias.

That reads "freaky", but I am pretty serious.

Last Saturday - March 19, to be exact - my aunt told me to continue doing the laundry. She was going somewhere, she said. I accepted, having nothing to do since it was a lazy, lazy day. She told me which knobs to turn, how to put the washed clothes in the spin dryer, where to hang the clothes, etc. When she left, I was all alone inside the house; my younger sister was playing outside.

So, I did the laundry. I turned the knob and waited for three minutes so the clothes would be washed. Then, when that was done, I proceeded to put them on the spin dryer. That load was composed of everyday clothes: sando, t-shirts, and shorts. To make sure that there were no left-over clothes on the washer, I plunged my hand into the murky depths and scoured the floor of the washer. I felt something long. Thinking it was part of one of our shorts (you know, the string that you pull to make it tighter, or whatever...), I lifted it up.

It was yellowish white on one side and green on the other.

It was thin at one end, but it eventually got fatter.

This was no string...

The revelation came when I saw what looked liked feet coming after the tail. I immediately let go of whatever it was and squelched a yelp: it was a big lizard!

I called my sister and told her that there was a lizard in the washing machine, dead. She was freaked, too. I mean, who wouldn't be? I drained the water and when it was all gone, there it was. The lizard was lying on its back and it looked like it was spread-eagled. It drowned (duh!), although how it came to be there is a mystery. I grabbed a rag and picked it up with it. I threw the dead lizard into the trash.

Urgh. I still have goosebumps when I remember that.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Endurance - Jay Lake's next novel

I found the picture above from http://muddycolors.blogspot.com/. It's the cover for Jay Lake's next novel and sequel to Green; it's entitled Endurance. Now, if you've read Green, you'll know that Endurance is the name of her father's ox and... Oh, that's going to be a spoiler. Moving on! I, personally, think it's weird if the name of the girl on the picture is Endurance, because he's an ox and, well, something else in the latter part of the novel. But, if that guess is correct and this is Endurance, she's very pretty and it's reasonable to say that she followed in Green's footsteps: the wounds, bells, and the knife she wields says it all.

Endurance will be released on November 2011. I'm kind of psyched about it, but I don't know if I'll buy it when it comes out (if the bookstores in the Philippines sell it). If I'm really lucky and I have a good mound of moolah on that month, I might just consider buying it. After all, Green was an awesome read.

On another topic, I still haven't bought Going Bovine. -shrugshrug-

Book Review - Green by Jay Lake

Rating: 9/10


She was sold by her father when she was young, and was brought to a land she did not know. Imprisoned in a bluestone walled manor, she was taught the ways of a great lady. For many years, she had been called "Girl", until the Factor arrived and called her "Emerald". But she prefers to call herself Green. Suddenly, the time is ripe and she knows she must leave. Running away from the things she had known for years, Green enters a world where the gods meddle with the affairs of men, and one full of treachery.

I was actually frustrated while reading Green. I thought it was taking me a long time to finish a 368-paged book. I spent three hours one night and finished less than a hundred pages. But for all that, I actually enjoyed reading Green.

There is so much to say about this novel, but I'll focus more on the main character.
It's amazing to note that a man was writing this novel. The character of Green is so strong, but it still retains its feminity. It was like Wally Lamb with She's Come Undone. I mean, these guys are amazing. I felt what Green felt, and that feat isn't just rooted in the writer's style: it has to be felt by the writer himself/herself. My professor was telling me some time ago to "write about what you know". Now, Jay Lake isn't a woman, but I felt the womanly aspect of Green. That was just amazing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sorry, guys, but...

Hey, this might sound selfish, but I am happy that my favorite Japanese actresses, actors, and voice actors are safe. (The links are included in this post so feel free to check them out.) They are Aragaki Yui, Ryoka Yuzuki, Shotaro Morikubo, Paku Romi, Matsumoto Jun, Yamamoto Yusuke, Shun Oguri, the D-BOYS (which I hope includes Osamu Adachi), Ikuta Toma, Kimura Ryo, Mizushima Hiro, and Rie Fu.

But, really, scrolling down that list made me feel better. And not because I'm feeling selfish or whatever. It's just plain human emotion: care.

Links:
http://www.jpopasia.com/news/your-idols-their-status-a-list-of-japanese-celebrities-and-their-status::5421.html
http://hashihime.blogspot.com/2011/03/earthquake-seiyuus-known-safe.htmlAB

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Japan earthquake

This afternoon, a magnitude 8.9 earthquake hit Japan, causing a 4-meter high tsunami to ravage the northern lands. If you watched the news on TV, you'll probably see that horrible video being played over and over again: tons of water swallowing the farm lands, bringing with it houses, vans, and various debris. The "avalanche" moved fast, too. In a matter of seconds, it was able to cover a lot of miles (I assume) and even reached the viaduct where a number of cars were driving, trying to escape the calamity.

Now, you may say that Japan is disaster-ready. Actually, I saw it for myself in my CWTS class last summer, and they were really ready. The Japanese took these things seriously. Their earthquake drills were very efficient and everything was done thoroughly. There were even "fake" victims that need rescuing. Their equipments were up-to-date and effective. However, nothing beats a real disaster. We've seen it during Ondoy and Pepeng, and we've also seen it happen in Haiti, Chile, Australia, and other countries recently. People are helpless in the face of these disasters. There's nothing we could do to prevent these things from happening. No sophisticated and up-to-date technology could accurately predict when a disaster would strike. Scientists are able to know that an earthquake or a storm would hit, but they can't tell when or where. We can only hope it's not where we're standing at the moment.

As of the latest update, Hawaii was hit with tsunami. Davao City, Davao Oriental, and Mati in Mindanao have also felt tremors. A petrochemical complex in Japan exploded, and Kenya issued a tsunami alert. We don't know what's going to happen, but we do know that these things will keep happening especially when the end is near. The only thing we could do right now is get down on our knees, clasp our hands together, and whisper a prayer to God. Only He can save us.

(I'm following @inquirerdotnet and @gmanews on Twitter.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

New book

I bought The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams last Friday. It was worth 40 pesos.

I have no idea what this book is about, but I heard it was good so I just had to buy it over Amy Tan's A Hundred Secret Senses (worth 37 pesos) - which I see all the time in Booksale.

Anyway, we went to Fully Booked yesterday and I saw a copy of Going Bovine for about 700 pesos. Urgh. That is so expensive! I also found other books I like: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and Pirateology. Of course, there was a copy of U is for Undertow, but I decided I'd purchase that when this semester is finally over. :D

I'm still looking for a copy of K is for Killer by Sue Grafton and a cheap copy of The Mephisto Club by Tess Gerritsen. Anyone seen them yet?

P.S. I find some books overrated, especially book-to-movie adaptations. :P

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another new book!

Yes, that's right. That is Extras by Scott Westerfeld, and I didn't buy it from National Bookstore or Powerbooks. I found it on Booksale... for 50 pesos. (These people don't know how much they're losing!) Last time I checked, Extras cost 289 pesos in NBS, and that's in paperback. My latest buy is a hard-bound, in good condition copy of Extras. Although it's the last book in the quartet, I never hesitated to buy it because it's not everyday that I see a [relatively new] book as cheap.

This book is really a treasure. I've always wanted to purchase the series, but the price is really scary. However, finding this one raised my hopes up.

I hope I'm lucky as this every week!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Two new books

I just bought a copy of Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado, a 2008 Man Asian Literary Award and a Palanca Award. Back then, it was still unpublished so it's probably a really, really good novel. Plus, it's written by a Filipino and it's about Philippine history - stuff which I dig right now. It costs 288 pesos at National Bookstore. Quite a sale, if you ask me. I found it on the "Literary Winners" shelf. As soon as I came home, I covered it with plastic to take care of it. :) 

I also saw copies of Ang mga kaibigan ni Mama Susan by Bob Ong, Between a rock and a hard place by Aron Ralston, and Never let me go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Suzanne Collins' best-selling The Hunger Games trilogy is there - my dream buy. The next book I'll purchase from National is U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton. :) 

Christmas with Anne and other Holiday Stories is a lucky find. I left Booksale to meet up with my sisters outside, but since my aunt wasn't there yet, I decided to go back in. I went to the back of the store where the hard-bounds were. I don't usually go there because they're more expensive than paperbacks. While scanning the shelves, I saw it. It was right there, sitting. It's kind of battered, but it has seen a lot of years (printed in 1996). It's a rare find; I don't usually see these kinds of Montgomery novels around, except for the Anne series. It costs 40 pesos.
I also found a copy of Dr. Faustus, but since it's a play, I didn't buy it. Plays aren't my thing. :P

Of course, there were about five books by Michael Crichton, but they were all expensive. I found two copies of E is for Evidence by Sue Grafton; I already have those.

It's awesome how many books I've found in that store. It's the best shop in the world. :D

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review - I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Rating: 9/10

PI Kinsey Millhone finds new office space with her attorney, Lonnie Kingman, after being fired by California Fidelity. Lonnie has a case he needs help with: Isabelle, a house designer, was shot through a spy hole on her front door six years ago. Her husband, David Barney, was accused, tried, but found innocent because the prosecution couldn't make it stick. Now Isabelle's former husband, Kenneth Voigt, wants to try once more, and Kinsey is hired to look for evidence. However, every discovery she makes seems to prove that David Barney is innocent. If he didn't kill her, then who did?

I is for Innocent is one of the best Alphabet Mysteries novel I've read. There is a lot going on, and the reader is as clueless as Kinsey (at some part, at least) is on the investigation. The ending is surprising and, yet, predictable. It's everything you're looking for in a mystery novel.

Book Review - Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Rating: 10/10

Chronicles of Avonlea and Further Chronicles of Avonlea are set in the Avonlea where the likeable Anne Shirley grew up. These two books consist of stories about the people living in that place. Humorous, refreshing, and lively - the way every L.M. Montgomery novel is - Chronicles and Further Chronicles makes a reader see the good in life, love, and everything under the sun. They will make anyone fall in love all over again.

If you're looking for a pick-me-upper kind of book, then check these two out.

Book Review - Looking back trilogy by Ambeth Ocampo

Rating: 9/10


Ambeth Ocampo's Looking Back trilogy (Looking Back, Dirty Dancing, and Death by Garrote) are essays he wrote for the Philippine Daily Inquirer about historical Filipinos and events (as others say, tsismis). There are, for example, writings about the love story of Andres Bonifacio and Gregoria de Jesus, Pres. Manuel Quezon's temper, and Graciano Lopez Jaena's drinking problem. It's certainly a break from the monotonous books we were made to read in high school - those which glorified the events but made them as distant as Jupiter to us. In this trilogy, Ocampo makes use of data which cannot be gleaned from these books. He delves deep into the lives of heroes and presidents and presents them as people that are vulnerable, in short, just like you and me.

It's a fun read, I'm sure everyone will enjoy it. :)

Book Review - Process of Elimination by Carolyn Keene

Rating: 9/10

Nancy Drew, with her friend Bess Marvin, were going to have lunch with one of the speakers from the environmental conference in California they just attended. However, Carl Dubchek was not able to come - he was killed, gunned down while he was walking down the street. What;s more, they find out that Dubchek was a CIA agent! In San Diego, Frank and Joe Hardy try to stop a burglary of bamboo from the San Diego Zoo. They investigate the reason behind the puzzling theft, and discover that it is connected to the CIA. The three detectives find themselves entangled in the same web of murder and deceit, with a controversy that could destroy nations.

Process of Elimination is my first book where Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys team up. It's a change from the usual Nancy Drew (where she solves a crime, falls in love with a guy, and still ends up in Ned's arms) and Hardy Boys books. I actually admire the way it was written: entertaining and suspense-filled.

Book Review - Rizal without the overcoat by Ambeth Ocampo

Rating: 10/10

Ambeth Ocampo's essays about Jose Rizal are compiled in this award-winning volume. At times humorous and thoughtful, Rizal without the overcoat gives the reader a glimpse into the rich life of our national hero. His life and loves are all in here, written in a style that is educational and entertaining at the same time. Ocampo doesn't fail to deliver. :)