Monday, October 30, 2006

Sunday Lunch


Monday, October 09, 2006

So much has happened and so much more is going to happen (good and bad) so I haven't been able to blog. Maybe I won't be able to post properly until the semester break. =( I do miss blogging and reading other people's blogs, but I'm swamped with work. Argh. And for those of you who don't know yet: this will be my last semester teaching for a very long time.

Friday, September 22, 2006

My birthday

My birthday this year was better than my birthday last year. Yay! =D I was able to celebrate with my family and friends and I ate lots of yummy food and received lots of nice presents. =D (For some reason, this year I literally got dozens of pretty handbags as gifts. =)) My loved ones started greeting me (in person or through text messages/cellphone calls) midnight and some are still wishing me well today. Hehehe. I had to work the morning of my birthday. I had my class for the intensive English language program of the language learning center. I had lunch with my language center family (I had Japanese food) and we devoured upside down apple pie (baked by my best friend CY) with vanilla ice cream. =9 CY and I went shopping in the afternoon. My mom (who's in town visiting) cooked/prepared delicious food for a special family dinner: salad, Asian noodles, barbeque pork and chicken, and a tapioca dessert with fruits. And there was yet more upside down apple pie a la mode from CY. =) CY's upside down apple pie is warm, very sweet comfort food that reminds me of snow/winter and Christmas! =)

The best part is my birthday celebration isn't over yet! I'm still going to celebrate next week with the loved ones I didn't get to spend time with yesterday. =)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tomorrow is my birthday. Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me. Happy birthday, happy birthday. Happy birthday to me! =D

Friday, September 15, 2006

Taken from Ren who took it from J who took it from Yogon

(I don't know who J and Yogon are though.)

1. Last person for whom you wrote a testimonial?
I have never written a testimonial. I don't have a Friendster account and I don't want or need one.

2. Last movie you watched?
Two nights ago I watched Scoop with Isaac. =)

3. What do people first notice when they see you?
My breasts?

4. Do you like peanut-butter?
Yes, sweet peanut butter. =9

5. Most memorable place?
Las Vegas, Nevada USA (my hometown) and the University of the Philippines Diliman (where I was an undergrad and where I am now a grad student)

6. Do you read comics?
I like comics but I don't read them regularly. (Graphic novels are so expensive here in the Philippines!)

7. What's your favourite restaurant?
A Veneto, Chocolate Kiss, and Bon Appetit

8. Do you have enemies?
Maybe some students hate me?

9. You like to go out grocery shopping?
Yes! =D

10. Can you dance?
Yes! ;D

11. Do you believe in God?
YES.

12. First thing to do when you wake up tomorrow?
Check what time it is, to check if I can go back to sleep.

13. Where are you right now?
in the language learning center where I teach EFL

14. Your name spelled backwards
eiraT

15. Where were you born?
Metro Manila, Philippines

16. What is the last thing you downloaded?
Downloading episode 172 of Naruto right now.

18. Are you registered to vote?
no

19. Do you have a car?
no

20. Do you like rollercoasters?
I don't love them, but I don't hate them either. (I'm a scaredy cat actually.)

21. Chatting with...?
nobody

22. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving?
sky diving

23. Are you shy?
Sometimes yes, and people misinterpret it as being snobbish.

24. Do you think you're popular?
no

25. Chips or popcorn?
popcorn =9

26. Are you a good cook?
Not yet.

27. Best thing in the world?
FAMILY and LOVE

28. Have you ever broken a bone?
no

29. Have you ever won a trophy?
Yes, for my artwork when I was a little girl. =D

30. What is your favorite board game?
Monopoly and Scrabble

31. Do you bake cakes?
I love baking! But I don't have an oven right now. =(

32. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy?
toilet paper and hair polish

33. Do you believe in love at first sight?
yes (never happened to me though)

34. What's your favorite song right now?
Naruto's Theme

35. How many pairs of shoes do you own?
three

36. Last song stuck in your head?
the songs on the Naruto soundtrack

37. Any pets?
no =(

38. Worst local TV show as of the moment?
I don't have a TV right now either!

39.Color of most clothes you own:
pink and/or black

40.Whose picture(s) do you carry in your wallet?
my cousin Manna and her daughters and my cousin Chris

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Announcement

I am taking a break from teaching for one to two years. I need time in the world outside of the academe so that I will be refreshed and a better person for my future students. I might also teach in another university when I go back to teaching.

Yeah! Who's the Man?!

My youngest brother Brian represented the Philippines in the 1st World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Seoul, South Korea from Sept. 4-6. (Poomsae is "forms" in taekwondo. It's sort of like the exhibition part of the martial art. As opposed to the sparring element.) In the men's category for his age bracket (Brian is 21), out of 41 countries, he placed 12th. And in the pairs category, out of 31 countries, he and his partner placed 9th. Congratulations Brian! =D

Tag!

1. One book that changed your life?
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

2. One book you have read more than once?
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

4. One book that made you laugh?
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (from the Bartimaeus Trilogy)

5. One book that made you cry?
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

6. One book you wish had been written?
Huh? Uuuhhh...

7. One book you wish had never been written?
No such book exists.

8. One book you are currently reading?
Possession by A.S. Byatt

9. One book you have been meaning to read?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

10. Now tag five people.
Everyone is "it"! =)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Student evaluations can be really confusing. What did you like the most about the teacher? The teacher was kind. What did you like the least about the teacher? The teacher was too nice. Huh? These came from the exact same class (but different students of course). What did you like the most about the course? The debate activity. What did you like the least about the course? The debate activity. Again, these are students' responses from the same class. I can go on and on and on with the examples. What half the class loved, the other half hated. So what am I supposed to do? I know I can't please everyone, but geez, this can be really frustrating

The Devil Wears Prada

Wednesday night I watched The Devil Wears Prada with CY. It wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I mean, I expected some focus on the clothes and/or on the physical transformation of Anne Hathaway's character, but the movie didn't really have any focus on those things. The movie wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be. I also expected to get excited about fashion and want to go shopping because of the movie (other people said that was the result of their watching the movie), but it didn't have that effect on me. The good things about the movie: Meryl Streep looked gorgeous and her acting was wonderful (as usual), and the main characters were nice and three dimensional and fleshed out - no flat characters.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Naruto episode 124 is so freakin' awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Birthday Celebrations

All of my closest friends' birthdays were/are this month. Isaac's birthday was on the 19th. My best friend CY's birthday was yesterday. And today is Corinne's birthday. Happy birthday Isaac, CY, and Corinne!!! =) =) =) I love you guys. Where would I be without you guys???

Corinne is in Zamboango City so I won't be able to celebrate with her. =( But on Saturday Isaac, CY, and I celebrated their birthdays. =) We went to this hole in the wall Chinese restaurant in the Recto area of Manila. Wah Sun is an interesting place. Hehehe. First you walk into this place with two huge black pigs - that are kept as pets! Then you walk upstairs to the actual restaurant and are greeted by... A giant yellow and white snake in one glass case and an alligator in another glass case! These two are really scary. They gave me goosebumps and I almost felt like throwing up when I looked at the snake. (Ewwwwww.) But it was all really interesting. There were also fish and turtles in glass cases. I liked the turtle with the spiky shell. There was also an enormous lizard - the biggest I've ever seen.

Don't worry, the animals were a safe distance from the tables and chairs and the food was yummy. Hee hee hee. We had hototay soup, yang chow fried rice, crab omelette, beef with broccoli, and baked mussels. =9

After eating we went to the Quiapo area to check out the pirated dvds. (Tsk tsk tsk - I know.) CY was able to buy several pirated dvds. I was looking for pirated dvds of the fourth season of The West Wing (one of my favorite TV shows) but they only had seasons 5 and 7.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

How'd I Do That?!



Sometimes I freak even myself out.

Girl friends =)


Friday, August 18, 2006

Yay!

I have a long weekend ahead of me. =) There are no classes on Monday because it's a national holiday - the death anniversary of Ninoy Aquino (he's considered a Filipino martyr). Hmmm, my pastor once said that we are probably the only nation that celebrates death anniversaries. You guys should see the Philippines when it's Halloween. We have parties in the cemetaries! I'm serious! Anyway, I'm just glad that I have an extra day off. =)

Plans for this weekend:

Watch Click and The Ant Bully (I got free movie tickets!)

Go to Starbucks at least once (I love coffee, I love Starbucks, and I need the caffeine this weekend. Plus, the American Medical Association has just announced that coffee reduces the risk of diabetes, heart disease,and cirrhosis of the liver. I'm celebrating the affirmation of my favorite drink!)

Finally finish reading Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence

Find vcds of the movie adaptations of A Room With A View, Women In Love, or The French Lieutenant's Woman for my MA class. (We want to watch a movie during our next meeting.)

Get lots of extra rest and sleep

And of course, watch lots of Naruto episodes and maybe also the first Naruto movie =)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I am so bored.

"Ursula [a school teacher] often wondered what else she waited for, besides the beginning and end of the school week, and the beginning and end of the holidays. This was a whole life! Sometimes she had periods of tight horror, when it seemed to her that her life would pass away and be gone, without having been more than this. But she never really accepted it. Her spirit was active, her life like a shoot that is growing steadily, but which has not yet come above ground."

-from Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence

This is sadly familiar... Unfortunately, I can relate. =(

Friday, August 11, 2006

Today one of my students from last semester ("C") told me that he was able to do well in his Lit 14 (poetry and drama) summer class because of me (his Lit13 -short story and novel- teacher). Awwwwww. *Sniff* This is why I am a teacher. =D Thank you "C"!!! Today I also talked to one of my students from two years ago ("A"). His younger sister ("J") is my student this semester. She told him that I was a "terror" teacher. He disagreed and said that I was really nice. That she just has to work really hard to get a good grade in my class. Thank you "A"! =) =) =)


Weekend plans:

Check students' work (responses to a short story, paraphrases, summaries)
Read Women In Love
Read the August issue of Vogue
Get lots of sleep
Watch as many episodes of Naruto as possible!
Prepare for my 7:30 a.m. class on Monday
Go to church
I've been -

Watching: Naruto. Lots and lots and lots of Naruto. =D With my brothers. =)

Reading: Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence (for my MA class)

Eating: Japanese food

Drinking: Iced green tea (I like it lemon-flavored)

Listening to: The radio and music from the Naruto soundtrack

Working on: Preparing for classes and checking students' papers, as usual. And preparing for the mid-terms I'm giving next week.

Why is my blog all screwy these days??? Did I accidently change the format??? =( I don't know how to fix it!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Why I Love Japanese Culture

1. The Japanese students of the language center are always nice. They are serious, hard-working, cooperative/obedient students of the English language.

2. Japanese food is healthy and delicious.

3. Video games - I love video games!

4. My current obsession (I research on it and everything): NARUTO!!! My brothers and I have been watching episodes of the intense and exciting Japanese cartoon series Naruto (on dvd - sometimes we watch up to seven episodes in one sitting). (My brothers are also playing the video game.) Right now I can't get enough of Naruto. =D I think it's an excellent cartoon series. Sometimes the show even touches me. And I like the themes and the elements of Japanese history it explores. The TV show is based on the Naruto Japanese comic books. Now I want to read and enjoy the comic books and study them as children's literature. =D I wonder how much each issue is...

P.S. My weekend plans: Shopping, watching more episodes of Naruto with my brothers, watching Miami Vice with Kuya (my older brother), reading A Room With A View by E.M. Forster for my M.A. class, and working out to Carmen Electra's aerobic striptease series.

Monday, July 24, 2006

It was another cold and REALLY rainy weekend in Metro Manila, Philippines. Typhoon Glenda is in the country/passing through the country. I woke up 4:30 this morning because I have a 7:30 class to teach. I soon found out that classes are actually suspended today because of the storm. Classes were suspended probably also because President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is delivering the State of the Nation address today. Why cancel classes because of a State of the Nation address? Because there will probably be several protests against the government and rallies for the government. Students might want to join a protest or rally and other students should stay home to be far from the possible violence in these demonstrations.

I'm in the language learning center right now getting some work done. Soon I'll head on over to the grocery store and to a bargain book shop. Later Kuya and I will watch a movie. Either Lady in the Water or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. But my best friend CY said that Lady in the Water has a poor plot that doesn't make sense and her father fell asleep during the movie. And Jill from Beat Your Own Drum says that the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie also has a poor plot. So hmmm... What to watch?

Anyway, don't you guys just love rainy weekends? =D I sure do! Especially when they end up being long weekends. =D

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ant in My Pants

Yesterday there was an ant crawling on me under my jeans. Specifically, it was crawling on my left butt cheek. And the ant bit me! Of course my butt got itchy and I wanted to scratch. But I was in front of my students. I was actually facilitating a class at that time. I just tried to ignore it. I did sneak in a few scratches - through my jeans of course! I didn't stick my hand down there in front of my students. Hahaha.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I celebrate the year Superman returns.

Last Thursday I watched Superman. Friday I watched Superman II and III. Saturday I watched Superman IV and Superman Returns. I am now watching episodes of Smallville. I am now officially a fan of Superman. I used to be a Marvel girl. I will always love the X-Men, but I have defected to DC comics. =) They have Superman AND Batman! =) I'm IN LOVE with Superman. <3 The character, I mean. (Ok, fine. I admit I'm also in love with the late Christopher Reeve.) But if you wanna talk about the actors who have played Superman, I say that Christopher Reeve will forever be Superman for me. Sorry Brandon Routh. You're cute, you're handsome. I know you channeled Christopher Reeve's Superman in your performance. Still, your Superman does not hold a candle to Reeve's Superman. For one, Reeve looked better in the tights and cape. Maybe that's because he was more broad-shouldered. Maybe that was because he was taller and had a better body. Maybe it was because your new suit had obviously fake muscles. I dunno.

And since we are comparing Supermans, I have to say that Superman Returns is a good movie. Definitely a better movie than Superman III and IV. But Superman I and II are still the best. Aside from Reeve being a better Superman than Routh, I didn't like how there was not enough focus on Superman in the new movie. Not enough close ups. Not enough of the iconic shots. Not enough of Superman in Superman Returns! There wasn't enough focus on Superman because there was too much about Lois Lane, her son Jason, and Lois' new guy Richard (who I felt to be a completely useless character). I want Superman! I want more Superman! But what I got was Lois Lane, Richard, and Jason. Yech.
I read in a review of the new movie that Bryan Singer is a fan of Superman the movie. That was obvious. Superman Returns is like an homage to Superman the movie. I found the references and allusions to Superman delightful. But I believe there are Superman fans like me who sensed that there was something wrong. And there it is: I also found out in the review that Bryan Singer is not a fan of the Superman comics. How can you get a director like that for the new Superman movie??? I thought it was obvious Singer wasn't a big fan of Superman. =(

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's Official.

New Line Cinema will have another movie trilogy based on a fantasy literature trilogy: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I'm excited about watching these movies, but I don't know if I am happy. I have mixed feelings. I haven't read the books yet, but I will (I've always wanted to read them - always been curious about them). Especially now that the movies are coming out. But Pullman being anti-religion, anti-The Chronicles of Narnia, etc. just makes me wanna... AAARRRGGGHHH. GGGRRRRRR! =(

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tag, you're it.

5 Things In My Fridge:

1. bagoong with gata (that's shrimp paste with coconut milk, a stinky but yummy Filipino condiment)
2. tuna from General Santos City (the tuna capital of the Philippines and my mom's hometown)
3. Chock full o'Nuts coffee (original blend)
4. Del Monte Sweet Blend ketchup
5. tapa (the Filipino version of beef jerky)

5 Things In My Closet:

1. my secret stash of money
2. my clothes and underwear
3. some of my bags/purses
4. my jewelry
5. old letters from friends from high school

5 Things In My Purse:

1. Chap Stick (cherry flavored)
2. Strepsils (orange flavored)
3. Vitress hair polish
4. paper soap (lavender scented)
5. Bench Prescribe facial absorbent paper

Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.

The experience of reading Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, watching Mrs. Dalloway the movie, then reading Michael Cunningham's The Hours and watching its movie adaptation is mind-blowing. I loved it. The whole amazing experience gave me several mental/intellectual orgasms. I am so grateful to be doing graduate work that I love. It's wonderful to a get master's degree for something you love. It's wonderful that my homework is to read a novel and then the novel is discussed in class.

Mrs. Dalloway is a dense and complex novel that takes a lot of time, energy, and concentration to read, understand, and appreciate. It is worth all the effort. It's a beautiful, insightful, and haunting novel. Mrs. Dalloway follows the thoughts of three charcters over the course of a single day in 1923 - and they intersect in their thoughts.

If you don't understand or appreciate Mrs. Dalloway, read The Hours next. It will help you understand and appreciate Mrs. Dalloway. The Hours is an insightful and haunting novel. (Not as beautiful as Mrs. Dalloway though because Woolf's prose is more lyrical than Cunningham's.) The Hours follows the thoughts of three characters over the course of a single day - and they intersect in their thoughts. (Sound familiar?) In the novel, Virginia Woolf is writing Mrs. Dalloway in 1923, Laura Brown is reading Mrs. Dalloway in 1949, and Clarissa Vaughan is a contemporary (end of the twentieth century) version of Mrs. Dalloway. The Hours revisits, echoes, parallels, mirrors, reimagines, reworks, and pays homage/tribute to Virginia Woolf and Mrs. Dalloway.

Now I want to read Mrs. Dalloway again.

P.S. Next up is "The Dead" by James Joyce and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

DOUBT

Saturday night my best friend CY and I watched the Atlantis production of the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play in 2005. Doubt is John Patrick Shanley's lean drama (set in a Bronx Catholic school in 1964): the rigid and resolute Sister Aloysius accuses easygoing Father Flynn of child molestation. According to Shanley, "Doubt perhaps will help us to remember what was good, what was bad, and what can never be known [about the Catholic Church]."

This Philippine production of Doubt was directed by Chari Arespacochaga and starred Cherie Gil (Sister Aloysius), Niccolo Manahan (Father Flynn), Cathy Azanza (Sister James), and Jay Glorioso (Mrs. Muller). I am so glad I watched this play. It's a well-told story. It's thought-provoking and enjoyable to watch. We got great seats at an affordable price. The acting was impressive. The acting was the best part of the production. I am now a fan of Cherie Gil and a big fan of Niccolo Manahan. Niccolo Manahan was awesome, and he's hot! He was so good. I thought the set design was great. Kudos to production designer Mio Infante and lighting designer Johnny Reyes.

I remember watching another Atlantis production of a Pulitzer and Tony winning play: Proof by David Auburn*. That was a really good production too. Atlantis Productions also brought Baby the Musical, The Rocky Horror Show, Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch to the Philippines. I'm definitely going to watch out for more from Atlantis Productions. They even have a publishing division called Altantis Manuscripts and have published a children's book and are developing the Philippines' first educational-audio reading center for blind and dyslexic children. I'm impressed, so later I'm gonna head on over to www.atlantisproductionsinc.com.

*Thursday CY and I watched the movie The Lake House starring Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. The screenplay is by David Auburn. I like The Lake House a lot. What can I say? I'm a sucker for happy endings and Keanu Reeves is really nice to look at! =)

Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm having a bad day.

I'm in a foul mood. Actually the first half of my day was fine, it was good actually. Had a good class. Was feeling great actually. Then around lunchtime things started happening. Things that got me down. Things that saddened me, offended me, disheartened me, disappointed me, and pissed me off. Things like students breaking university rules and my rules. Having bad/disappointing classes. Reading offensive posts about Asians. Racial slurs against Asians. Bad day. I'm trying to forget about everything.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Congratulations Khristine!

My good friend Khristine over at www.kiteflying.blogspot.com (Serpent Beneath the Flower) gave birth to her first son Seth Monday night! =) =) =) I am so happy for Khristine. And I can't wait to see baby pictures. =D (Since Khristine and the baby are in Iloilo City now and I am in Quezon City.)

Monday, June 19, 2006

First Day of School

I only met my EN 12 7:30-8:30 a.m. class today. (My two Lit 13 classes were "borrowed" by their EN 11 teachers for a two-hour diagnostic exam.) I think I was pretty perky because well, I am a pretty perky person and I had a big mug of strong coffee with my breakfast. =D A lot of the students were listening to me with eyes glazed over. I thought they seemed a little shell-shocked. I guess they still have a "hangover" from the summer. I asked them if anything was wrong or if it was "the 7:30 a.m. thing." They answered that it was "the 7:30 a.m. thing." Hahaha! Still, they seem like a good class. =)

I spent the rest of my time at work cleaning, organizing, and redecorating my cubicle, and preparing for future classes. Ssshhh, I am already excited about my classes on Wednesday.

Meme from The Muttering Muse

What one word do you think describes me? Leave it in the comments then copy and paste this into your blog so I can leave a one word comment about you.

You guys should check out www.themutteringmuse.com. =) It's a great blog! =)

Friday, June 16, 2006

The English teacher in me just had to know

Your Linguistic Profile::
75% General American English
15% Yankee
5% Dixie
0% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern

So true

You Communicate With Your Body

This isn't as bad as it sounds, it just means that you're a "touchy-feely" person.
You need a lot of affection in your life. And for you, this means both giving and receiving little touches.
Warm hearted, you bond with people easily. In fact, you often feel a little sad when you're not in the company of others.
A little moody, you tend to be controlled by your emotions. But a bit hug always comforts you!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Summer is over in the Philippines. The new academic year has already started for most of the schools here. This new semester I am teaching one EN12 (Communication in English II) class for sophomores. I will be teaching the research paper and the reflection paper. I am also teaching two Lit13 classes (Introduction to Fiction) for freshmen. We will be discussing short stories and novels. For the language center of the university I am teaching the communication skills of listening and speaking to the intermediate level EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students. This is for the Intensive English Language Program. As an MA student, I am taking a Contemporary British Literature class (in another university). =) The first novel we will discuss is Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. =)

So I need your help again. Heehee. =D What novels can I assign my freshmen Lit13 students to "introduce" the novel to them? =)

I'm kinda excited about the semester. What can I say? I'm a nerd and pretty damn proud of it. Haha. =D

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I got a kick out of this

You know how in student evaluations of teachers there is always a question like "What do you dislike the most about the teacher"? I was reading this essay about student evaluations and I came across the idea of a follow up question: "What intellectual or characterological flaws in you does that dislike point to?"

Bwahaha!

P.S. I didn't know "characterological" was a word.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I Knooow...

You Are Italian Food

Comforting yet overwhelming.
People love you, but sometimes you're just too much.

Yay! =)

Your Blogging Type Is Thoughtful and Considerate

You're a well liked, though underrated, blogger.
You have a heart of gold, and are likely to blog for a cause.
You're a peaceful blogger - no drama for you!
A good listener and friend, you tend to leave thoughtful comments for others.

Ten Things About Because of Winn-Dixie*

1. I don't like the movie as a movie (for one thing it's too slow for me), but I like it as the movie adaptation of the children's novel by Kate DiCamillo. The movie reminded me about all the beautiful things/parts in the novel. It even made me want to read the novel again, even though I read it just a month ago (I wrote a post about it on April 30).

2. The soundtrack was cool and beautiful.

3. Dave Matthews as Otis is brilliant.

4. AnnaSophia Robb is cute as India Opal. (I'm looking forward to watching her as Leslie in the movie adaptation of Bridge to Terabithia.)

5. Winn-Dixie (I don't know the name of the dog who played him - haha!) is of course very likeable. (I hope I get my own dog soon!)

6. The landscape/setting of "Naomi, Florida" was great.

7. I was a bit disappointed with the acting in the movie. =(

8. The movie of course wasn't exactly like the book, but it was beautifully faithful to it. =)

9. It makes me like Walden Media even more. [I'm looking forward to their adaptation of Lois Lowry's The Giver. =)]

10. I liked the adorable animals in Gertrude's Pet Store. (Man, I need my own pets.)

*I was excited to finally be able to watch this because I finally read the book and I read in Fuse #8 Production that this is one of the best movies based on children's books.

P.S. I've been spending hours watching one of my favorite tv shows, The West Wing. I love how it's intelligent, interesting, and fast-paced entertainment. I'm addicted!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Magician, the Djinni, and the Rebel

I finally finished reading The Golem's Eye (book two of the Bartimaeus trilogy) by Jonathan Stroud - I've been watching so many (maybe too many) rented vcds lately. Even though there was so much going on in the story - "the fates of Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, and Kitty explosively collide" - I didn't find it an exciting page-turner like book one, The Amulet of Samarkand. But it was witty and an enjoyable read. Bartimaeus is as likeable as ever (or even more likeable). It was a mystery story with an ending that makes you curious and excited about book three. And I think that it's actually a story about politics. Hmmm, I don't think I've ever read fantasy or children's literature this political before.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Thank you so much to everyone who replied to my kids lit survey post! I really appreciate it. =) Now I have a better idea of what children are reading now. And I've been reminded that children mostly read books that were suggested, given, or required by their parents/other older relatives, teachers, or librarians. Hahaha!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Monday, May 22, 2006

Survey on Children's Literature

As an English teacher one of my research interests is children's literature (the other is fantasy literature). I read a lot of children's literature, but now I'm wondering what CHILDREN are actually reading. =) If you have children, nieces/nephews, and/or godchildren, what are they reading??? What kinds of books do they prefer and why? What kind of books do you buy for or read to your children/nieces/nephews/godchildren? If you teach children what books do you assign your class?

Thanks in advance. =)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

FAMILY

I was finally able to watch Mission Impossible 3 on Sunday (Mothers' Day), and I was able to watch it with my family. Of all things, what really struck me from the movie was: "Family is... everything." And I was finally able to watch Bee Season (Monday night) and Everything Is Illuminated (Tuesday) on vcd. What I was reminded of by Bee Season is that only from God can our families have true happiness, joy, peace, good health, protection, unity, and strength. From Everything Is Illuminated I learned that everything is illuminated by the past. For example, the past of my broken family definitely illuminates my plans and desires for my future family.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

1. Reply with your name (in the comments section) and I will write something I like about you (also in the comments section).

2. I will then tell what song reminds me of you.

3. If I were to apply an o'clock to you, I'll tell you what it would be.

4. I will try to name a single word that best describes you.

5. I'll tell you the most memorable moment I've had with you.

6. I will tell you what color you remind me of.

7. I'll then tell you something that I've always wondered about you.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

"Although she is the daughter of Damar's king, Aerin has never been accepted as full royalty. Both in and out of the royal court, people whisper the story of her mother, the witchwoman, who was said to have enspelled the king into marrying her, to get an heir to rule Damar - then died of despair when she found she had borne a daughter instead of a son. But none of them, not even Aerin herself, can predict her destiny - for she is to be the true hero who will wield the power of the Blue Sword..."

Sunday evening I asked my family what I should read next: Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (the sequel to The Giver), (Book two of the Bartimaeus trilogy:) The Golem's Eye by Jonathan Stroud, or The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. Almost everyone "voted" for The Hero and the Crown, so I started reading it that night in Starbucks. (I finished reading it very early Friday morning.) It's a fantasy book and the 1985 Newbery Medal winner, so I was thinking it had great potential to be a book I'll love. It's a combination of my two favorite literary genres: children's literature and fantasy literature. =)

While reading the first chapter I was distracted by thoughts about reading The Golem's Eye instead. I was wondering what Nathaniel and Bartimaeus were up to. But I soon got caught up in the romantic story of Damar's dragon-slaying princess.

I have been reading a lot of the latest fantasy novels and I found The Hero and the Crown refreshing because it is a good old-fashioned fantasy story. (It reminded me of the kind of books I read when I was in elementary school - which makes sense because it is a book published in the 80's. Haha.) It's a very detailed sword and fantasy (I think that the fantasy part is subtle) story (that I think can also be considered a feminist text). It's a real page-turner! It's the kind of novel that makes you resent anything that keeps you away from reading it. ("Like Harry Potter," as my friend Corinne says.) I would look at my students and think, "Grrr, I could be home right now reading The Hero and the Crown." It's the kind of story that lingers with you and haunts you after you have finished reading it. You walk around in a dream-like state when you're reading it and after you've finished reading it. (Again, "Like Harry Potter," as Corinne says.) It's the kind of book that has you wanting to take your time reading it so you can really savor it and you don't want the experience/the story to end but you're torn because you also can't turn the pages fast enough, you're always excited about what's going to happen next, and you can't wait to know how it all ends. (Once again, like Harry Potter.)

The romantic parts of the story made me kilig (loose English translation: giddy). =D I'm wondering though about one part of the novel that is the start of an, um, ahem, intimate scene between two characters. After reading that part I was thinking, "This is children's literature?!" I think people of all ages will enjoy reading The Hero and the Crown, and that particular part of the novel made me doubt a little its being categorized as children's literature.

The story is also sad. =( =( =( I wonder why a lot of fantasy novels are sad or have melancholy undertones. Is it part of good fantasy? Is it part of the nature of fantasy? Can that be traced to the roots of fantasy literature?

I found out that The Hero and the Crown is the prequel to The Blue Sword. Yay! I know what book to buy next. =)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's survey time again =)

1.) Where were you when the ball dropped for 2006?
In General Santos City, Philippines, with my family and relatives. =)

2.) What color underwear are you wearing?
yellow

3.) Do you own an iPod?
no

4.) What did you do this morning?
I didn't wake up until 10:30, then I just got ready for work.

5.) What does your dad do for a living?
He's retired...

6.) Where do you work?
in a language center in a university in the Philippines

7.) What ended your last relationship?
We weren't compatible. =(

8.) What are the last two digits of your phone number?
25

9.) What was the last movie you watched?
Silent Hill

10.) What do you dislike at the moment?
nothing =)

11.) Did you dream last night?
I don't remember anymore.

12.) What was the last TV show you watched?
Kim Sam Soon (a Korean soap opera)

13.) What is your favorite piece of jewelry?
earrings =)

14.) What was the last thing you ate?
an afternoon snack: an egg and ham sandwich

15.) Who is your best friend of the opposite sex?
my brother JP and my gay best friend Isaac (so does that count as the opposite sex?)
my ex was my male best friend when we were still together

16.) Are you on any medication?
no

17) What color is your razor?
blue-green

18.) What is your favorite frozen treat?
ice cream

19.) How many tattoos/piercings do you have?
0/2

20.) What is your favorite store?
bookstores

21.) Are you thirsty right now?
I think so.

22) Can you imagine yourself getting married?
yes

23.) Who's someone you haven't seen in a while and miss?
Isaac

24.) What did you do last night?
I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. reading The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley.

25.) Do you care what people think about you?
yes (especially as a teacher)

26.) Have you ever done something to instigate trouble?
I don't think so.

27.) Do you like your nose?
I don't love it and I don't hate it.

28.) What color is your bedroom?
mostly white

29.) When was the last time you worked out?
???

30.) Are you an aggressive driver?
I don't drive...

31.) Who is your cell phone carrier?
Smart

32.) Do you like the person who posted this last?
(my cousin Stephanie) yes =)

33.) What color is your car?
What car?

34.) What do you smell like right now?
???

35.) What are your favorite colors?
pink

36.) Do you like mustard?
yes

37.) What do you tell yourself when times get hard?
I don't think I tell myself anything, I just get depressed and try to cheer myself up by watching a movie.

38.) Would you ever sky dive?
I don't know, but I don't think I would.

39.) Have you ever bid for something on ebay?
no

40.) What do you think of Angelina Jolie being pregnant?
I think it's great! =)

41.) Who is your favorite Star Wars character?
Padme

42.) What books, if any, have made you cry?
A LOT of books have made me cry.

43.) What are you allergic to?
nothing =)

44.) Are you a jealous person?
Yes, but I'm not a VERY jealous person.

Hey guys, please fill this out and email me. =) I love answering surveys AND I love reading others' answers to surveys. =)

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo*

"Just about everything that happened to me that summer happened because of Winn-Dixie."

I finished reading Because of Winn-Dixie (a 2001 Newbery Honor Book) a couple of days ago, ironically right by my brother JP who was playing Silent Hill 4. We watched Silent Hill the movie just recently by the way - I was screaming in the theater. I started talking about Because of Winn-Dixie in my April 24 post. Because of Winn-Dixie is convincingly told in the disarming, charming, smart, and even insightful voice of the ten-year-old protagonist Opal. Because of Winn-Dixie is about Opal and her cool dog Winn-Dixie. It's mostly about Opal (the title made me think at first that the novel was mostly about Winn-Dixie) and about how she deals with being the new kid in town and the preacher's daughter, being abandoned by her mama when she was three, and having a daddy like "a turtle hiding inside its shell." This children's novel is also a lot about friendship =) and about how we shouldn't judge people.

Boy, children's literature sure is getting sophisticated. And I guess that is because children are more sophisticated now, or at least they are maturing faster now. The plot of Because of Winn-Dixie is definitely linear, but I don't think it follows the classic organic plot structure of conflict-complication-climax-denouement-resolution (which is a simple, straightforward kind of plot that is easier for children to grasp). I think the plot is also a "static" plot - all of the really important action is going on inside of the characters, especially the main character. In fact, I think it would be very interesting to do a psychological analysis of Opal/the novel.

And yes, I like the novel. I think it is a good summer read for children ages 8-10, but perfect for the ten-year-olds. =)

"There ain't no way you can hold on to something that wants to go, you understand? You can only love what you got while you got it."


*also the author of the beautiful books The Tale of Despereaux (the 2004 Newbery Medal winner) and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Aside from being addicted to Starbucks, I am addicted to answering stuff like this

1. Where were you 1 hour ago?
same place (at work), same computer, with the same people (my boss and her administrative assistant)

2. Who will be your next kiss?
I am wondering the same thing.

3. What is the largest amount of money you spent in one store?
2, 500 pesos for a pair of Levis?

4. Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you?
my wallet

5. When is the last time you went to the mall?
last night

6. Are you wearing socks right now?
yes

7. When was the last time you drove out of town?
a couple of weeks ago I was in Rizal and Laguna [provinces near the Metro Manila area for those of you reading this in the States =)] with my family

8. Have you been to the movies in the last 5 days?
yes, last night I watched The Sentinel in a mall cineplex

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?
water

10. What are you wearing right now?
shirt and jeans - the usual

11. Do you wash your car or let the car wash do it?
What car?

12. Last fast food you ate?
Does popcorn from last night's movie watching count as fast food?

13. Where were you last week at this time?
same place, same computer, with the same people hahaha

14. Have you bought any clothing items in the last week?
Nope... I REALLY need new clothes.

15. When was the last time you ran?
When I was in college I think.

16. What's the last sporting event you watched?
A taekwondo thing with my brothers in it. =)

17. What is your favorite class?
English! (Duh.) Hahaha.

18. Your dream vacation?
Europe or NYC or Las Vegas!!! =) Or the beach! =)

19. Last person's house you were in?
I'm pretty sure Corinne's

20. What are you doing?
I'm doing THIS.

21. What's the last thing you ate?
a slice of chocolate mousse, mmmmmm =9

22. Do you miss anyone?
yes, I miss lots of people =(

23. Last play you saw?
I forgot the title. I watched it a couple of years ago and it was TERRIBLE.

24. What are your plans for tonight?
I think JP, Fuwannie Goo, and I are watching Silent Hill. =)

25. Ever go to camp?
Yes! =)

26. Were you an honor roll student in school?
yes

27. What do you want to know about the future?
Who will I marry?

28. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
no

29. Are you hungry?
no, I just had that chocolate mousse

30. Do you have a tan?
no, and I don't want one

31. How old do you want to be when you have kids?
28? 29?

32. Do you collect anything?
books, especially Newbery books and Beatrix Potter books

33. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
Well my dad was pulled over several months ago and I was in the backseat...

34. Have you ever drank your soda from a straw?
yes

35. How do you like your drinks?
? It depends on what the drink is I guess.

36. Do you like hot sauce?
no, but I don't hate it either

37. Last time you took a shower?
this morning

38. Do you need to do laundry?
Hehe. I have someone to do the laundry for me. Hehehe.

39. What is your heritage?
Spanish-Filipino =)

40. Are you someone's best friend?
yes =)

41. Are you rich?
no

42. What do you think of the person who took this survey before you?
I LOVE my cousin Stephanie =)

I just realized that this particular survey doesn't reveal much about me. Oh well, did it, might as well post it.
Mmmmmm. A venti Starbucks caramel frappuccino with a shot of espresso is refreshing and even invigorating for a summer day in the Philippines. Next time I think I will ask for THREE shots of espresso. Hehehe.

Being addicted to Starbucks is a disturbing and EXPENSIVE thing. =(

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Memes

Celebrity

Who is your favorite celebrity and why? If you aren't much into celebrity watching, why is that?

My favorite celebrities are Natalie Portman and Alicia Keys, because they are beautiful, talented, and intelligent. =) I find celebrity watching fun, entertaining, and sometimes even educational. =)

In your opinion, if six celebrities could win the following awards, who would win: Most Beautiful (inside and out), Most Idiotic, Most Shallow, Most Generous, Least Likely to be Remembered in 20 years, Most Temperamental?

Most Beautiful (inside and out): Natalie Portman and Alicia Keys
Most Idiotic: There are too many idiots in Hollywood.
Most Shallow: There are too many shallow people in Hollywood.
Most Generous: Oprah
Least Likely to be Remembered in 20 years: All those new boy bands. See? I don't even know their names. I'm just vaguely aware that there are some new boy bands out there.
Most Temperamental: Russell Crowe and the other celebrities who beat up photographers

List one other made up award and who you would give it to:

Biggest Dick Award (I mean this in the very negative way.): Tom Cruise, I hate him.

Do you think that society's fascination with celebrity is justified? Explain.

Yes, society's FASCINATION with celebrity is justified. These celebrities entertain us for a living and their lives also entertain us. We celebrity watch for fun and for entertainment. It's also to keep up with popular culture, which isn't a bad thing, it can actually be a good thing. =) But society's OBSESSION with celebrity is NOT justified. There are some people out there who need to get a life and let the celebrities have their own.

Are there any celebrities you would want to meet in person? Why would you want to meet them?

I would like to meet any celebrity whose work I admire. =) I would like to congratulate them on their good work! =)

Is there any celebrity who might actually make you swoon if you met them?

Paul Walker would make me swoon. His smile makes me melt!

What do you think about the way celebrities are hounded by paparazzi and gossip magazines?

The paparazzi and gossip magazines should stop being violent and too intrusive. Respect the privacy of the celebrities. There IS such a thing as TOO MUCH.


List Making

10 happy thoughts:

1-rain
2-JP (my brother)
3-Brian (my brother)
4-Kuya Martin (my brother)
5-Isaac (one of my best friends)
6-books
7-movies to watch =)
8-people reading and liking my blog (I hope this is true.)
9-reading the archives of www.themutteringmuse.com
10-cousins =)

9 of your favorite things:

1-books
2-reading
3-fantasy literature
4-children's literature
5-interesting people
6-Starbucks
7-pizza
8-breakfast
9-watching movies (This list isn't long enough for me. I want to keep on listing my favorite things!)

8 reasons to _____ (fill in the blank):

8 reasons to smile

1-best friendships
2-friendships
3-siblings
4-cousins
5-music
6-movies
7-books/literature
8-blogs

7 things you would like to receive as gifts:

1-books
2-jewelry (especially earrings and diamonds)
3-books
4-clothes
5-books
6-money
7-books

6 people you know who would be interesting fictional characters:

1-my mom (perfect for a soap opera)
2-my dad (perfect for a soap opera)
3-?
4-?
5-?
6-?

5 addictions:

1-books/reading
2-pizza
3-Starbucks
4-sweeties
5-the Internet

4 dream jobs:

1-teaching fantasy and/or children's literature
2-food/restuarant writer/critic
3-model scout
4-getting paid to read hehehe

3 wishes you would make if you found a magical genie in a lamp:

1-an all-expense paid two month vacation in Europe with my best friend CY
2-an all-expense paid month long vacation on the beach with my family and relatives
3-lots and lots of pocket money to support the first two wishes =)

2 places you would like to visit:

1-Italy
2-New York City (This list isn't long enough either. Let me cheat by adding my hometown Las Vegas.)

1 memory that comes to mind:

1-I had spent time with my cousins Stephanie and Sabrina when we were all living in Metro Manila. Then my family moved to the US. I saw Stephanie and Sabrina again several years later when they moved to Las Vegas too. When we were "reunited" they were fresh from a bath and I couldn't tell them apart. They looked like twins to me. I had to ask, "Which one is Stephanie and which one is Sabrina?"

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Cold chocolate chip banana bread from Starbucks is yummy. =9 Cafe Tortoni and tableya cake from Cordillera Coffee is not yummy (I don't know if they are not yummy because they are really not yummy, or because they are just not my type of yummy, or because the service was bad and that ruined my experience in Cordillera Coffee).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Winn-Dixie and Honey-Vanilla Latte

Last night (my younger brother) JP and I were in Starbucks (Katipunan branch of course). JP was re-copying his notes from his Math 14 (summer) class and drinking a chocolate afogato. (He re-copies his notes to study/review and to make sure he has neat notes. Yuck - I hate math. Well, so does JP, but he's stuck with it for now.) I was reading Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo*, a Newbery Honor Book for the year 2001, and drinking a honey-vanilla latte (and writing this post actually hehe).

I read about honey-vanilla latte on www.themutteringmuse.com, which by the way is my new favorite blog to read =), and started craving for it. I decided to "make" honey-vanilla latte using my friendly neighborhood Starbucks. (I looove Starbucks.) I ordered a caffe latte (grande) and told the barista to add vanilla flavor. Then I added two packets of that Knott's honey Starbucks has to the coffee. The result? The honey and vanilla flavors in the latte were subtle, so if you try this you might want to add more honey and/or more vanilla. I enjoyed drinking my honey-vanilla latte experiment. It tasted comforting and "toasty" [as in that warm "toasty" feeling - yes it tasted like that feeling =)]. The honey offered a nice different kind of sweetness for my coffee and I actually don't really like vanilla so I'm glad the vanilla flavor was subtle. Haha. =) The honey-vanilla latte also reminded me a bit of the toffee nut latte (which I like) Starbucks has during the Christmas season.

I'm curious about Starbucks' summer season specials of banana cream frappuccino (so that would basically be a banana milkshake I guess) and banana chocolate chip loaf (banana bread with chocolate chips?). I don't really like bananas either, but I'm still curious. Hehe. =) (JP and his Fuwannie Goo say the banana mocha frappuccino and banana caramel frappuccino are nothing special though.)

(*So far I think that the ten-year-old main character Opal is projecting herself onto her dog Winn-Dixie and it's a bit heart-breaking.)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy*

I stayed up late last night to finish reading The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. =) It's a charming children's novel. =) It's perfect summer reading for a ten-year-old girl. The main characters, the Penderwick sisters, are aged 12, 11, 10, and 4. "The very interesting boy" (the Penderwicks' friend), also a main character, is 10 and he celebrates his 11th birthday in the story. So I think that the book is an appropriate read for girls aged 10-12, but I think it's BEST read by a TEN-year-old girl. =) An 11 or 12 year old might think the book is too "childish." The Penderwicks is a novel about youthful adventures and youthful honesty. =)

The synopsis given for The Penderwicks is: "On their summer vacation, four sisters discover a garden paradise, a lonely boy, and one truly awful grown-up. This is Jeanne's first book about the Penderwicks, who believe in truth and honor, yet can't seem to stay out of trouble." (from the official website of the author: www.jeannebirdsall.com)

And man, they weren't exaggerating about the main characters always getting into trouble. (I thought before reading that it was an exaggeration.) They got into trouble every chapter! And sometimes they would get into trouble twice in a chapter! The characterization in the novel was awesome. I'm definitely reading the next book about the Penderwick family. It's a family I love! =)

*By the way, the tale is also of a dog, a doting father, a clueless mother and her yucky boyfriend, a gardener, a housekeeper, and a tomato man.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nothing happened, everything happened

"But just now they had missed, and the jet trails of the crisscrossing moments left an awkward vacuum in their wake."


Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (the 2006 Newbery Medal winner) is an insightful and creative novel. It captures the feelings, the thoughts, and the doubts of teenagers - specifically fourteen-year-olds. I would give this book to a fourteen-year-old because he/she would be able to relate to the characters. Reading Criss Cross reminded me of what it was like to be a teenager/fourteen years old. All the doubts about myself. I can't believe I forgot! Now I don't doubt myself - my strengths, my capabilities, etc. I may doubt the world. I may doubt other people. But I don't doubt myself anymore. I should read this novel again when I have teenage kids so that I remember the sentiments and the tentativeness and wonderment of adolescence and know what my kids are going through. It's a good thing I read Criss Cross now. It re-opened my eyes. I have nieces and nephews to take care of. I honestly believe having read the novel will make me a better aunt and a better teacher (and in the future, a better mother).

Criss Cross is the sequel to All Alone in the Universe. I must read this! [I just ordered this from Fully Booked in Gateway! =)] And from what I gather from the ending of Criss Cross, there will probably (hopefully) be a third book. Yay! =)

Now I'm off to read a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy by Jeanne Birdsall. =) I love summer reading! =)

(To explain the title of this post: Criss Cross has an episodic plot, but its plot can also be considered a static plot because most of the action, or at least the significant action, in the plot is internal action - action WITHIN the characters.)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This is so me! (in the sense that this is the type of pizza I usually order)

Cheese Pizza

Traditional and comforting.
You focus on living a quality life.
You're not easily impressed with novelty.
Yet, you easily impress others.

Very Accurate Test Results!

Your Ideal Relationship is Marriage

You've dated enough to know what you want.
And that's marriage - with the right person.
You're serious about settling down some time soon.
Even if you haven't met the person you want to get hitched to!

What Kind of Coffee Am I?

You Are a Soy Latte

At your best, you are: free spirited, down to earth, and relaxed

At your worst, you are: dogmatic and picky

You drink coffee when: you need a pick me up, and green tea isn't cutting it

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

Monday, March 27, 2006

Summer Plans...

The semester is almost over for me. I just have to check my students' final papers and compute then submit their final grades. My blog is more than a year old now and I feel like deleting it. I feel like I don't want to keep this blog anymore. Maybe I should start a new blogspot. Maybe I should just maintain a blog on my myspace account. Or maybe I shouldn't keep a blog at all anymore. I don't know. I'm not sure why I don't feel like using this blogspot anymore. Maybe it's because I feel like not enough people read this blog. I still want to express myself but I feel like this blog doesn't generate the "conversations" that I want it to. I was hoping to "talk" to people through this blog but I feel like that's not happening because I never get any feedback. =(

Anyway, I'm excited about summer. =) I have so many plans for this summer. I have lots of work with the Ateneo Language Learning Center this summer (money!). I want to go to Baguio City this summer. I want to spend lots of time with my friends. I want to go to the beach. I want to watch lots of movies. I want to go shopping. I want to catch up on my reading. My summer reading list so far consists of: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (the 2006 Newbery Medal winner - it's about the summer of a group of friends) and The Penderwicks : A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. Nothing like reading about summer "escapades" during the summer. =) I'm almost halfway through Criss Cross and it's very good. =) Artist/writer Lynne Rae Perkins is very creative. =) For example, there is a chapter in Criss Cross entitled "The Japanese Chapter." In that chapter, the story is narrated mostly through haikus!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Crash is officially the best movie of 2005

Yay! Crash won the Best Picture Oscar. =) I thought Brokeback Mountain was going to win because it IS a beautiful and well-made movie AND very popular with critics (and viewers?). I am happy that Crash won. I personally think Crash is the best movie of 2005. It is definitely the deepest, the most profound, the most thought-provoking movie of 2005. I watched it and I was just BLOWN AWAY. Right after watching Crash last year I wanted to discuss it, analyze it, make my students watch it, and I even wanted to write a paper about it!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reading List

I've finished reading book one of the Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathan Stroud. It's good. Solidly good. It's not epic like the Inheritance Trilogy (or The Lord of the Rings - but it's not fair to compare ANYTHING to LOTR, because LOTR is hands down THE BEST of fantasy literature). It's not as endearing or as charming or as close to my heart as The Chronicles of Narnia. But it is solidly good. It is a clever and ADDICTING fantasy book. (I'm not sure if I we can really call it children's fantasy because most children will not be able to recognize the different historical, cultural, and literary references and allusions in the book that are part of what make the book an INTELLIGENT book.) It's a truly UNIQUE fantasy book, but you'll have to read it to know why I say that. =) Frankly, the explanation would be too long for my blog. I could write a PAPER on what makes the Bartimaeus trilogy a unique fantasy trilogy!

It's one of those books that you immediately reach for when you wake up or when you get home or before you go to sleep. I would often think about it when I was out. You know, like I am out with my girl friends CY and Corinne and we are having coffee, talking, and having fun but in the back of my mind I am thinking, "I want to go home and read the Bartimaeus trilogy." =)

I am now re-reading Holes by Louis Sachar because I am discussing it with my Lit 13 students. [I finally bought my own copy, I usually just borrow a copy from my friends. Thank you for introducing the book to me Isaac! =)] AWESOME book written by an AWESOME author (Sachar also wrote the very funny Wayside School series). It's a Newbery Medal winner (I forgot what year) - read it! =)

I just bought book two of the Bartimaeus trilogy: The Golem's Eye. [Hello again to Nathaniel, Bartimaeus, and Kitty! =)] I also just bought the 2006 Newbery Medal winner Criss Cross by Lynn Rae Perkins. (What a dirty, dirty tactic of Fully Booked to sell only hardbound copies of Criss Cross when the paperback edition has been available in the US for some time now... A dirty tactic that works, apparently. I still bought it, didn't I? So now there is only one copy left in Fully Booked Greenhills.)

I want to buy and read all those charming books by Kate DiCamillo! [At least I already have my own copy of Because of Winn-Dixie. =)]

I also bought/am reading the monster March issue of Vogue (US) magazine. It's their annual "power players"/"movers and shakers" issue. The beautiful, intelligent, and ethereal Natalie Portman is on the cover! =) (I'm addicted to fashion magazines, by the way.)

Monday, February 13, 2006

"The adult mind has a greater need of fantasy than that of a child."
J. R. R. Tolkien

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Currently Reading...

I have finally finished reading A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I didn't like it. I loved it while I was reading the first part. I love Meg, Charles Wallace, and the rest of the Murry family. I especially love Calvin. But in the middle of reading the book I got bored. And I was still bored when I finished the book. I expected the book to be fantasy, but I don't consider it fantasy. It didn't touch on/wasn't set in/didn't include "faerie"/"the land of faerie." (I "follow" Tolkien's definition of fantasy literature. Hey, he is THE father of the fantasy GENRE.) It's more of science fiction (what happens in the book can be explained by scientific ideas/theories). I actually think it's "Christian science fiction." I still want to read L'Engle's other books in the Time Quartet though, because I like her characters (Calvin, Meg, et al.).

Right now I am reading Book One of the Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (this is good - I'm addicted!), Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (I don't know WHY I continue to read Funke's works - her plots are too slooow for me), and The Excellent 11 by Ron Clark (very inspiring and helpful for teachers!).

The Romantic Relationship as a Long Passionate Dialogue

As one of Ford Madox Ford's characters in Parade's End says: "You seduced a woman in order to be able to finish your talks with her. You could not do that without living with her. You could not live with her without seducing her; but that was the by-product. The point is that you can't otherwise talk. You can't finish talks at street corners; in museums; even in drawing-rooms. You mayn't be in the mood when she is in the mood - for the intimate conversation that means the final communion of your souls."

I wouldn't move in with my boyfriend or let him move in with me, but I do want a romantic relationship that is a long passionate dialogue.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The 2006 Newbery Medal Winner and Newbery Honor Books

New children's books I must read:

"The 2006 Newbery Medal winner is Criss Cross written by Lynne Rae Perkins, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Criss Cross follows the lives of four 14-year-olds in a small town, each at their own crossroads. This ensemble cast explores new thoughts and feelings in their quest to find the meaning of life and love.

'Writing in a wry, omniscient third-person narrative voice, Perkins deftly captures the tentativeness and incompleteness of adolescence,' said Award Committee Chair Barbara Barstow. 'In 38 brief chapters, this poetic, postmodern novel experiments with a variety of styles: haiku, song lyrics, question-and-answer dialogue and split-screen scenarios. With seeming yet deliberate randomness, Perkins writes an orderly, innovative, and risk-taking book in which nothing happens and everything happens.'

2006 Honor Books

Whittington by Alan Armstrong, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Random House)

In Whittington, Armstrong creates a glorious barnyard fantasy that seamlessly weaves together three tales: Whittington the cat’s arrival on Bernie’s farm, his retelling of the traditional legend of his 14th-century namesake, and one boy’s struggle to learn to read. These three tales unite the disparate citizens of the barn community in a celebration of oral and written language, the support of friends, the healing power of humor and the triumph of life.

Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Scholastic Nonfiction, an imprint of Scholastic)

How could the Holocaust have happened? Bartoletti delivers a chilling answer by exploring Hitler’s rise to power through the first-hand experiences of young followers whose adolescent zeal he so successfully exploited and the more extraordinary few who risked certain death in resisting. The meticulously researched volume traces the Hitler Youth movement from the time it formally gathered strength in the early 1930s through the defeat of the Third Reich. The grace and clarity of the writing make Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow a powerful addition to Holocaust literature for children.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

Miri and the other young women of her rocky highland village are forced to leave their close-knit community when the prince must choose a bride in 'The Princess Academy.' Like the miri flower, which sprouts from the cracks in the linder rock, Miri soon becomes the strong, resilient and courageous leader of the academy. The book is a fresh approach to the traditional princess story with unexpected plot twists and great emotional resonance.

Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Hudson Talbott (G.P. Putnam's Sons)

'And the children leaned in./And listened real hard.' Jacqueline Woodson’s magnificent poem Show Way tells the story of slavery, emancipation and triumph for each generation of her maternal ancestors. She pays tribute to the creative women who guided their 'tall and straight-boned' daughters to courage, self-sufficiency and freedom. Whether with quilts or stories, poems or songs, these women discovered and shared the strength to carry on. 'There’s a road, girl./There’s a road.'"

-from the Newbery Medal homepage

To which race of Middle Earth do I belong?

Numenorean

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

NAR-NI-A! NAR-NI-A! (part two)

"Discovering the Heart of Narnia" in Crossroad 77 last night was a nice event. There were lots of people in Narnian costumes. Boiled brown eggs, toasted bread, sardines, tea, and Turkish delight was served. Just like in the book/movie! = ) So I finally got to taste Turkish delight! = ) It's this gelatin-y sweetie. REALLY sweet. Just a little bit is enough for me. Now that I think of Edmund chomping down on the stuff I feel kinda sick. It's so sweet! A little bit goes a long way, man.

The entrance to the venue was a wardrobe door. We had to walk into the wardrobe and through coats to get to the "snowy woods" room! COOLNESS! There were "Narnian games." (The Edmund who eats the most Turkish delights will be the king of Narnia!) We got to watch clips of the BBC version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I got a lot of spiritual insights about The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe from "King Caesar Conde the Wise, from the High Mountains of Valiant Dreams," the speaker for the night. = ) I've always thought/known that "King Caesar" would make a great university professor. That was confirmed last night. He imparted spirituals truths in/from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe using the Socratic method of teaching by asking questions (instead of telling/lecturing/preaching). His "talk" reminded me of a GOOD university class. = )


There are some things I really have to get off my chest.

The Chronicles of Narnia are NOT allegory. It really annoys me every time a movie critic refers to The Chronicles as Christian allegory. First of all, The Chronicles do not fit the definition of allegory: "in literature, symbolic story that serves as a disguised representation for meanings other than those indicated on the surface. The characters in an allegory often have no individual personality, but are embodiments of moral qualities and other abstractions" (from Yahoo.com). And secondly, C. S. Lewis did not intend The Chronicles to be allegory. He discouraged people from reading The Chronicles as allegory. The Chronicles are SUPPOSITION. God is God, and He is the God of everything. SUPPOSING there was another world, God would be the God of that world too. How, then, would He rule that other world? What would the story of salvation be like in that world? Lewis believed that Narnia answered SUPPOSALS/"what if" questions. What if Jesus became incarnate in a different sort of world as a lion? What if He had to save that world too? THIS IS NOT ALLEGORY AT ALL.

I also don't like it when people compare the Narnia movie to the Lord of the Rings movies. First of all, the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is complete. We have yet to see and judge the other Narnia films. Secondly, we have to remember the context of a movie before we judge it. For example, we wouldn't expect a mushy romantic comedy from Quentin Tarantino now, would we? The Lord of the Rings was written for adults. The Chronicles were written for children. The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is from New Line Cinema. The Narnia movie is from Walden Media and Disney Pictures. Walden Media makes movies for children. Disney Pictures makes movies for "the family."

P.S. Bridge to Terabithia (based on the beautiful book by Katherine Paterson) starts filimg in NEW ZEALAND this month. Yipee! This movie project is also from Walden Media and Disney Pictures. I love Walden Media! I love Disney! = ) The main character, Jess, will be played by that cute kid in Zathura and Little Manhattan. = ) I think he's perfect for the role. Walden Media is also going to make the film adaptation of The Giver by Lois Lowry, another beautiful book for children! I don't know if Disney will be involved with that as well. And I don't know when they will start filming for The Giver.

My Philosophy

"When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

- C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

NAR-NI-A! NAR-NI-A!

I have watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe five times now. And I want to watch it AGAIN. I still want to watch Lucy discover Narnia. The look on her face when she discovers Narnia is PRICELESS. I still want to watch Edmund's transformation from sour and sulky to happy and smiling. I'm HAPPY every time I watch the Narnia movie. :)

Just a few of the delightful things about the Narnia movie:

1. Lucy Pevensie/Georgie Henley as Lucy Pevensie - I love Lucy!

2. Tilda Swinton as the White Witch is awesome.

3. Seeing Pauline Baynes illustrations come to life

4. The awesome battle scenes

5. The beautiful music

6. The humor in the movie

7. The awesome characterization of the Pevensie children

I'm now going to a/n talk/event in Crossroad77 about the Narnia movie. :) So I'll probably have more to write about soon. In my next entry I also want to blog about how The Chronicles of Narnia is NOT allegory.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I am Prince Caspian and Cedric Diggory!

According to the Narnia personality quiz from www.narniaweb.com, I am like Prince Caspian. "As Prince Caspian you are a noble, goodhearted but mischievous scallywag! Fun loving, you are admired for your easy going nature."

And according to the Harry Potter personality quiz (from the same website) I am part of Gryffindor House and like Cedric Diggory. "As a member of Gryffindor, you are brave and loyal." "As Cedric, you are good looking, cool and popular. You are a natural born leader, and are talented and resourceful."

Um, why am I male characters?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

My Yahoo Avatar!

Yahoo! Avatars


As my friend Ren says, "Not a bad likeness." =)

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (the movie)

Sunday night I watched The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in the Gateway cineplex with my cousin Kate, my brother JP, and JP's girlfriend Fran [Fuwannie Goo =)]. The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books (but my favorite in the series is actually The Horse and His Boy) and I felt like I had been waiting my whole life for the (new) movie versions. So Sunday night was very exciting for me!

It's a great movie. [But no, it isn't better than The Lord of the Rings movies. (The Lord of the Rings are also my favorite books.) But there are more Narnia movies coming up so we'll see. ;)] I'm planning to watch it 3-4 more times! Because, first of all, I love the movie and want to watch it over and over again. I was sad when the movie was over. =( Secondly, I'm a scholar of fantasy and I'm teaching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to my Lit 13 class so I should/want to study the movie.

The battle senes in the movie were awesome. And the characterization of the four Pevensie children in the movie was even better than their characterization in the novel. I loved how the characterization was done in the movie! I loved all the details in the movie. The acting was great, especially the acting of Georgie Henley (little Lucy). She was adorable! =) My favorite part of the movie was the scene of Peter and the White Witch duking it out. That, for me, was the scene with the best action, the best acting, and the most palpable emotion in the whole movie.

I'll be able to post more about the movie after I have watched it and studied it a couple more times. For now what I can say is: I want more of it!!!!!! And already I can't wait for the next Narnia movie, which I hear is Prince Caspian. =)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Bears

Four of my cousins are bears. Seriously! They are Dino Bear, Charles Bear, Lina Bear, and Bobby Bear. =) They are my younger cousins (their last name is Bear - their dad is an American) and when they were still kids they were often annoying. Hahaha! I wasn't close to them when they were younger. Now they are teenagers and no longer annoying. (Well, Bobby is still, um, quite a handful. Hahaha!) Dino is even on the verge of adulthood. =) I spent almost all my holiday time in Gensan with the Bears. I got close to them and now I consider them my new brothers and sister! I love my Bears! =)