Saturday, December 22, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Very, very early yesterday morning I finally came to the conclusion of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I am stunned, sad, and haunted. I have already given several of my comments on book one: The Golden Compass. My favorite part of the series is book two: The Subtle Knife. The Subtle Knife took the story to greater heights by putting it on an epic scale and showing just how delightfully complex the story is. It was also a disconcerting novel because the anti-organized religion theme was much more apparent. The novel did not just explore the corruption and hypocrisy in the Christian religion - it also posed doubts about the nature and origin of God. As a Christian I squirmed at some parts of The Subtle Knife. But I believe in mutual respect and tolerance. I expect other people to respect my spiritual beliefs - and I respect other people's spiritual beliefs. There was a point where I couldn't help laughing inside at all the fuss over His Dark Materials because many people label it "atheism for kids." If your faith - whatever it may be - is strong, it will not be shaken by a book or a movie. I truly believe that only a real-lfe experience opens the possibility of shaking a strong faith. But then again, His Dark Materials is supposed to be for young readers, and young readers are very impressionable... Here's the bottomline for me: I am a Christian, and I think His Dark Materials is a good series. These are good books for many reasons, but I do not love them. And yes, if I were a mother - and I would be a Christian mother - I would allow my children to read these books, but I would make sure to discuss the ideas in the book with my children. The series definitely raises questions about the universe, the meaning of life, and the afterlife, and makes one ponder about God, angels, and good and evil.
The Subtle Knife is my favorite in the series because it is the book that makes the story so rich. It is also my favorite because it gave us Will. Did I say in an earlier post that Lyra is magnetic? I take that back. Lyra is great. I love her because she has so much spunk. I love how she does what she wants and doesn't really care what other people think. I love how she always questions authority. But Will is the magnetic one. He is young, but already so strong and even powerful. He is so good to his mother and such a good boy overall, but not a goody-goody. He is interesting, reliable/dependable, and responsible. Will is my favorite male character out of all the books I have ever read. (As many of you already know, Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia is my favorite female character out of all the books I have ever read.)
I can see myself happily re-reading the great adventure that is The Golden Compass (it is one action scene after another) and happily re-reading The Subtle Knife. But I found I had to force myself to finish my first reading of The Amber Spyglass. I didn't find it as exciting as The Golden Compass and I didn't find it as compelling as The Subtle Knife - those two books really pulled me in and I was always resentful whenever I had to put them down to do other things like sleep or work.
I do like the parts in The Amber Spyglass about Dr. Mary Malone and the mulefa. The mulefa seemed like such kind, gracious, and sweet people. Their world and their lives seemed so simple and beautiful. I especially like how the mulefa would groom each other out of pure sociability. Mary would clean her friend Atal's claws and wheels while Atal would massage Mary's scalp and play with Mary's hair. I always secretly wish that someone would play with my hair out of pure sociability. :D
I was astonished by the turn around of Mrs. Coulter. She really is one of the most complicated and dynamic characters in fiction. I was truly taken aback and pleased (even touched) when Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter stopped being so selfish and sacrificed their lives to make sure their daughter Lyra would be safe and live a long and full life.
The ideas behind the Magisterium, the Kingdon, the Authority, Dust, the many universes, and the Republic of Heaven were so grand. And because the story and its themes are so grand several important things in The Amber Spyglass seemed weak: the worlds decaying because Dust was leaking out of the windows made by the subtle knife; a Specter being born every time the knife makes a window; less Dust flowing out of the mulefa's world just because Will and Lyra fell in love. Lame lame lame! I am not satisfied with the tying up of loose ends, and I feel some questions were left unanswered.
I cried when Will and Lyra had to separate so soon after they realized they were in love. :( (They realized it towards the end of The Amber Spyglass, but readers can already perceive that love in the middle of The Subtle Knife.) They decide to be on the same bench in Oxford's Botanic Garden, noon, on Midsummer Day every year - Lyra in her world and Will in his. That is the closest they can be with each other. :( Reading Lyra's cry to do that "as long as I live, as long as I live" really tore at my heart. :(
His Dark Materials is a stunning narrative with a melancholy finale and a beautiful story of young love that haunts me.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
The book: I enjoyed reading Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (book one of His Dark Materials). It's a compelling fantasy adventure. The action scenes in the novel held me rapt. The characters were so likeable - especially the fierce and magnetic Lyra. (How much do I like Lyra? I want to name one of my future daughters "Lyra"!) And I love love love the dear relationship between a human and his/her daemon. (I want a daemon of my own!!!)
The movie: It's always a treat to see a book come alive on the big screen. And we can always count on New Line Cinema to offer a visual feast. The casting was brilliant. Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter, Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel, Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra, Eva Green as Serafina Pekkala, Sam Elliott as Lee Scoresby, Ian McKellen as the voice of Iorek Byrnison, and Kathy Bates as the voice of Hester = WOW. But the bottom line is, I am disappointed by the film adaptation of The Golden Compass. I guess it's just impossible to cram the richness and complexity of the story into a short movie. They tried to. But they failed miserably. The unfolding of the plot in the movie was so awkward and uninspiring. I don't think viewers who haven't read the novel will appreciate the genius of the story. Also, with daemons being so important in the universe of His Dark Materials, daemons and their wonderful relationships with their humans should have had more "screen time."
I'm watching the movie again though - for the exciting action scene at the end and for the great acting. And there is always hope: the second and third movies (for The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) will probably be much better. :)
Monday, December 03, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
1. My family: I am grateful for my very caring, very beautiful, and supportive mother. I am grateful for my loving father (he has a huge and tender heart). I am grateful for my interesting, sweet, and dependable brothers and cousins. I am grateful for my generous and affectionate grandmother. I am grateful for my helpful uncles and aunts.
2. My friends: New and old, near and far, at work, at school, in the blogosphere - I learn from them. They make life fun and they comfort me.
3. Great narratives: Whether anime series, novels, films, or songs - They amuse, entertain, inform, educate, challenge, rebuke, encourage, motivate, and inspire me.
4. My job: It's challenging work - with people I respect and admire - that is helping me grow professionally and personally, and allows me to have a life outside of the office! :)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. What are you thankful for? :)
P.S. I think I lead two lives. I live in all the stories I read, watch, or listen to. And I live in the relationships with my God, my family, and my friends.
Monday, November 12, 2007
The Boy with Two Belly Buttons is a funny and pretty straightforward story written by Freakonomics's Stephen J. Dubner, with great illustrations by Christoph Niemann . This picture book is perfect for children ages 4-6. (I fit right in there since my psychological age is oh, 5. :D) If you like stories about accepting yourself and celebrating what makes you different - or if your children simply want an amusing and touching story with delightful and adorable illustrations, I highly recommend The Boy with Two Belly Buttons. :)
Friday, November 02, 2007
I officially began the holiday season by reading Lynn Brittney's Christine Kringle. I always wondered how Santa Claus delivered all those presents in one night. (Please, no killjoys leaving comments for this post saying Santa Claus is a myth. Who else gave me all those Barbies when I was a little girl? :D) I have been enlightened. Each country has its own Gift Bringer/s! There's Pere Noel and Tante Arie for France, Grandfather Frost and Babushka for Russia, Santa Claus for the Philippines, Babbo Natale and La Befana for Italy, and so on and so forth. In Christine Kringle, all the Gift Bringers of the world are part of one family - The Yule Dynasty. And each Gift Bringer is responsible for delivering holiday gifts to the children in his or her country. Kriss Kringle has a problem though. He has no male heir. But he has a very likeable fourteen-year-old daughter: Christine. Will the Yule clan allow Christine Kringle to be the United States' Gift Bringer when Pa Kringle retires 100 years from now?
The Yule Dynasty has an even bigger problem this year though. The Town Council of Plinkbury in England has formally BANNED Christmas. Nick, the son of the United Kingdom's Father Christmas, has come up with a secret plan that will save Christmas in Plinkbury and convince the dynasty to allow Christine to become the United States' Gift Bringer. Christine and Nick head to Plinkbury with their friend Little K, the son of Japan's Santa Kurohsu, who is on a mission to promote his Living Lights invention - fantastic Christmas lights that need no electricity because they run on reindeer DNA. To help the three teenagers are Nick's mother Zazu - a beautiful, glamorous, and kind "tall elf," and Nick's uncle Egan - a handsome and clever "tall elf" businessman.
I enjoyed reading Christine Kringle because it stirred up Christmas memories (making presents, decorating the tree as a family, visiting relatives, opening gifts on Christmas morning!) and it stirred up excitement for Christmas this year. (I can't wait!!! I'm so excited about seeing all the lights up in Metro Manila, drinking Starbucks' toffee nut latte, listening to Christmas music, shopping for presents in Greenhills, getting dressed up and attending parties, and eating Christmassy goodies like gingerbread, mince pies, and chocolate. :D) Christine Kringle is a story full of good cheer, interesting tidbits about how Christmas is celebrated around the world, and Christmas spirit. If you are looking for a way to kick off the season, I suggest reading Christine Kringle with your family. :) It's a fun Christmas adventure - complete with interesting shopkeepers, mulled wine, a Christmas bazaar, Christmas nuts like myself, and a female Scrooge! It's the first book in a proposed series and I'm curious about the future adventures of Christine and her friends. I can see Christine Kringle being turned into a feel-good family movie. :) Also check out www.christinekringle.com. Don't forget to play the addicting Ferrari Game on the site. Through the site you can also ask Christine Kringle questions and email Santa. Hmmm, what should I ask for this year??? I've been nice...
Monday, October 22, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Either. Whether or not I buy the hardcover or paperback depends on how much cash I have on hand. If I have the money to buy the hardcover, I will buy the hardcover. (I usually don't have the money to buy the hardcover.)
2. If I were to own a book shop I would call it…
Into the Wardrobe! Books take us to different worlds the way the wardrobe took Lucy to Narnia. :)
3. My favorite quote from a book (mention the title) is…
Oh my, I don’t really have a favorite quote from a book. But one quote I love is this one from Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean it is not real?”
I think that quote applies to literature in general. Writers use “lies” to tell the truth. Literature proves that there are some things truer than fact.
4. The author (alive or deceased) I would love to have lunch with would be…
C.S. Lewis! I want him to know how much The Chronicles of Narnia means to me. I want to ask him some pointers on university teaching. I want to know about his experiences with writing. I know I would learn a lot from him!
5. If I was going to a deserted island and could only bring one book, except for the Bible, it would be…
The Lord of the Rings. No, this is not cheating. J.R.R. Tolkien meant the narrative to be published as one novel, and there are editions with all three parts of the series in one book.
6. I would love someone to invent a bookish gadget that…
That will give proper reading light anytime, anywhere – without needing electricity or batteries.
7. The smell of an old book reminds me of…
Other books. More books. :) The smell of old books brings back childhood reading memories and all the warm, fuzzy feelings connected to all my reading experiences. :)
8. If I could be the lead character in a book (mention the title), it would be…
I would be Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia! I want to go on all those adventures in Narnia. I want to spend all that time with Aslan! (Are you guys getting a clearer idea of why I chose Narnia as the theme for my blog? Hahaha.)
9. The most overestimated book of all time is…
Hm, I don’t know. Many times whenever a book is getting a lot of hype I purposely do not read it (reverse snobbery). Everyone is reading chick lit? Then I won’t. Everyone is into The Da Vinci Code? Count me out. And of course I cannot judge these books without reading them first.
10. I hate it when a book…
I hate it when a book is calling to me in a bookstore but I cannot buy it because I do not have enough cash on hand. I hate it when a book calls to me in a library but I cannot borrow it because I have already borrowed the maximum number of books. I hate it when a book calls to me in my room but I cannot read it because I have work to do. :(
Choose some questions and answer them in the comments section! Don’t leave me blogging all by myself. :P
Monday, October 01, 2007
September 17, 1947 - September 5, 2007
As you can see from the picture above, Tita Baby was beautiful!!! Not only was she the best tita, she was gorgeous!!! It wasn't just the fine clothes, jewelry, and accessories. Yes, she wore designer clothes, like clothes from Ralph Lauren. Yes, she wore expensive jewelry - gold, diamonds, pearls, sapphires. Yes, she carried bags from Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Christian Dior. Yes, she used goods from Hermes and other luxury houses. But she was effortlessly elegant because of her natural beauty, because of her grace, because of how she carried herself and all those fine items. You can see from the more recent picture below that Tita Baby didn't really age. (She's on our left. She's the woman with longer hair. The other woman, with shorter hair, is her sister, my Tita Susan.) Tita Baby was glamorous to the very end. :)
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Friday, September 21, 2007
1. During the sixth and seventh grade, I would bake cakes/cupcakes (not chocolate) and would put tuna sandwich spread (canned tuna chunks, mayonnaise, sweet pickle relish, and chopped onions) on as "icing." I swear they tasted good! Ok, ok, I admit I was the only one who ever ate those things, but that's because I thought they tasted good! I would crave for them.
2. I'm sorry, but I don't like cats. I am a dog person. I love, love, love dogs!!!
3. I do not own a dog right now because I live in a place not big enough for the kind of dog I want: a golden retriever I want to name Sam (whether or not it is a boy or girl).
4. I looove coffee. I take my coffee strong (the stronger, the better), black, and with a little brown sugar. I do not drink instant coffee because I do not think instant coffee is real coffee. I admit to sometimes being a coffee snob: I sometimes roll my eyes at people who drink instant coffee. I sometimes think that people who put cream in their coffee "don't know how to drink coffee." But putting milk in coffee is ok. :P
5. I graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a bachelor of arts degree in English studies (major: language).
6. I used to teach academic writing in De La Salle University - Taft.
7. I used to teach academic writing and literature in Ateneo de Manila University.
8. I once drank eight shots of espresso in a row. The baristas in Starbucks started worrying about me. They were asking if I was experiencing any heart palpitations from all the caffeine. I put all their concerns to rest when I promptly fell asleep at my table.
9. I used to teach English as a foreign language in the Ateneo Language Learning Center.
10. I don't like bananas. Bananas do not taste good. They are too soft for something so sweet, and too sweet for something so soft. Ew.
11. I do not like my nose. It is not a pretty nose. If I could change one thing about my body, it would be my nose. Some people are probably wondering at this point: Don't you want to lose weight? Yes. But I would like a prettier nose first!
12. But no, I will never have cosmetic surgery. I'm too scared of going under the knife, side effects, accidents, looking fake, etc. The nose thing is just if I could be granted a wish or something. :D
13. I am a very loving and caring person. But not very forgiving. :( I know, I know, that's bad for the offender AND offendee. :( I hold grudges. *sigh*
14. I am a very sweet and affectionate person. I love/am always hugging and kissing the people I care about.
15. As a little girl I played with fire with my younger brother JP. (Don't all kids do this?)
16. When I was younger I made at least two prank calls to 911.
17. I wear contact lenses during the day, and glasses at night. I wear my glasses during the day only if I stay at home the whole day.
18. I do not own a TV. The computer at home does not work properly and we do not have Internet access at home. These facts help explain how I have so much time for reading. :D
19. I have a crush on someone really nice, funny, sweet, tall, and cute. No, I will not give his name because he might read this. Anyway, the more I get to know him, the more I like him. :D
20. I love biology and environmental science. I hate chemistry and physics. I hate math, but I like geometry.
21. English and history have ALWAYS been my favorite school subjects.
22. I was the seventh grade representative to the student council in Becker Middle School. I wasn't elected though. Hahaha. No one ran for that post but they needed a seventh grade representative, so all the seventh grade teachers chose/appointed me.
23. I was the news editor for my high school newspaper (it was more like a news magazine).
24. I have a tender heart. I cry easily - tears of sadness, tears of joy, all kinds of tears.
25. My current favorite songs are Alicia Keys' "No One" and +NobodyKnows' "Heroes Come Back" (the opening song for Naruto Shippuden - my favorite anime series).
26. I have always been an honor student. I plan to get a PhD (maybe two) and even do formal post PhD studies. I love studying because I love learning. To not excel in academics is a horrible, horrible thought to me. :(
27. My stomach is a regular black hole.
28. If you think I turned 27 or 28 today because of the length of this list, you are wrong. :P
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
I spent the weekend with my mom and dad, sharing memories about Tita Baby. It was our first time to talk together about Tita Baby after her death. I found out some pleasantly surprising things. Like how Tita Baby had been planning to take me, JP, Brian, and my mom on a trip to Hong Kong. Tita Baby had been planning on giving me her car. I also found out some painful things. Like how Tita Baby knew she had cancer and did not tell anyone and did not seek treatment. My mom also has regrets about not talking with Tita Baby more often. My dad still cannot sleep at night. Brian was the last person to see Tita Baby (last month). We were asking him how she looked and were all horrified to find out that the cancer growth in her throat had grown so big that he could no longer distinguish between her throat and her shoulder. She was bedridden at the time. But see how kind Tita Baby was? Even in that state she drove to meet Brian and gave him money so he could pay his rent.
My dad told me how much my Tita Baby loved me. How she had very high standards and that I had passed those standards with flying colors (Dad's words) and how she would talk about me with Tita Cecile. I am glad, but I am also sad because I do not know if she realized how much I loved her. I am ashamed of myself because I know I could have expressed my love more!
It's still painful. I am learning more and more about Tita Baby through my mom and dad. All the new knowledge about her is making me love her more and miss her more. Dad is also learning new things about Tita Baby from me. He didn't know that she had been so generous with us. Tita Baby did not brag about her generousity. She never told my dad about all the help and all the gifts she gave me, Mom, and my brothers.
It is my birthday on Friday (Sept. 21). I think in a future post I will share some random things about myself. Over the past year, especially over the past month, I have learned just how much my family means to me. How much I love them. And I realized that as long as you truly mean it every time you say it, there is no such thing as saying "I love you" too often.
Thank you so much to all who are checking in on me, listening to me, praying for me and my family, and sending support!!! I love you all!
Sunday, September 09, 2007
Saturday, September 08, 2007
I'm worried about my dad. He seems to have shrunk. Is he eating? He's broken-hearted, I know. In great shock and in great pain. (Broken seems to be the best word to describe the family right now.) Of course he was the one who spoke for the family during the funeral. He and Tita Baby were not only siblings, they were the best of friends. He always said that he, Tita Baby, and Tita Cecile were the "Three Muskateers." What everyone else said during the funeral confirmed how great a person Tita Baby was. So selfless. A loving and caring and helpful person who made everyone feel special. My cousin said Tita Baby made her feel like a princess. How true! She made me feel like a princess too! And knowing how my cousin and I shared Tita Baby made me love my cousin even more.
Already I see a little light on the horizon. I'm starting to feel a little better while writing this. Tita Baby's death is bringing my family closer together. This is bringing us closer to God. This is reminding me to truly cherish my loved ones. This is reminding me not to hesitate in expressing love, because life is short and what if - what if this all happens again and I lose someone again without saying everything that I needed and wanted to say? :(
My mom and my friends, especially my friends in the blogosphere, are being a real comfort to me. Thank you all so much for your care and concern! I truly need your support and prayers. I know I cannot survive this without all of you!
Friday, September 07, 2007
Thursday, September 06, 2007
There is no hope after loss. There is only bitterness and guilt.
But then you wake up. Sometimes the truth jolts you as soon as you wake up. I was startled awake this morning by my cellphone ringing. I saw that it was my Tita Baby calling. But no, it couldn't be Tita Baby, because Tita Baby died yesterday at 3:26 a.m., from thyroid cancer. It's Tita Cecile using Tita Baby's cellphone - crying and letting me know about the funeral arrangements.
I went back to the blissful oblivion of sleep. Sometimes the truth creeps up on you. I woke up and thought, something is not right - something is different - something is wrong. My eyes focused and I registered all the bags scattered in my room. All those bags were presents from Tita Baby. I reached for my cellphone because I wanted to talk to my mommy. It's the cellphone Tita Baby gave me. Then of course it dawns on me. She's no longer just a text message away. And I wasn't able to hug her one last time. I wasn't able to kiss her one last time. I wasn't able to say "I love you" one last time. My God, I can't even remember the last time I told her I loved her. That means it was too long ago! I miss her and I wish I could hug her.
Friday, August 31, 2007
1. What was the last thing you ate?
Oh this is sad. Toasted pandesal with strawberry jam. It was good, but I wish “the last thing I ate” was something more exciting.
2. Licorice...black or red?
Red… Black licorice tastes…nasty.
3. Red...Twizzlers or Red Vines?
Twizzlers! Red Vines taste like…licorice. Haha.
4. Your idea of the perfect dinner out is:
Any dinner with someone who loves food as much as I do. And this dinner must be accompanied by really good conversation.
5. You picked the perfect dinner. Now how are we getting there?
6. How much do you tip?
If the service was really good, 10% - even after paying the 10% service charge included in the bill. With or without a service fee in the bill, if the service was really bad = no tip. With or without a service fee in the bill, if the service was ok = 20 pesos or so.
7. How often are we eating out?
For every single meal. *sigh* I don’t cook. (This is different from not knowing how to!)
8. List three things in your refrigerator right now.
Jars of guava jelly from General Santos City (made by relatives :) ). One frozen tuna sausage (should be thrown away by now). Black olives (should be thrown away by now).
9. What are you cooking for dinner?
10. Breakfast...savory or sweet, and give an example, in graphic detail, because I’m hungry.
I haven’t had breakfast in more than a month. :( *cries* I would like: a Belgian waffle with lots of butter and maple syrup, fresh strawberries and blueberries, bacon, scrambled eggs, and freshly brewed coffee. Mmmmmm.
11. Do you drink the milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl?
Of course! You don’t?!
12. What food has made you cry? And if food has never made you cry, let me take you to Table8 for a grilled cheese sandwich and some deep-fried chorizo-stuffed olives.
Food has never made me cry. :( Please take me to Table8!
If you read this please answer at least one of the questions in the comments section! Don't leave me blogging all alone. :)
*This taste test was brought to me by Sarah of The Delicious Life, where she serves opinions like sushi - always raw. I love how Sarah keeps it real. :)
Friday, August 24, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
1. Teaching is not "just a job."
2. You have to really care about your students to be a good teacher.
3. A good teacher and/or a good class does make a difference in the lives of young people.
4. The "problem students," the ones who give us the most trouble, are the students who need us the most.
5. Reading/literature can touch and change lives.
6. Journaling is therapeutic (and improves communication skills).
Here it is... After seven months away from students, I am starting to miss teaching.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
These pictures are from a Friday night together in Eastwood City (a mixed-use development area in Quezon City - also a "party area"). Brian wasn't with us. He was on a date. *rolls eyes* (This is my protective, possessive, pouty older sister side coming out.)
But when we got home Brian soon joined us and we all stayed up late talking so it was all good. :)
Our cousin Kate lives in Bahrain and works as a flight stewardess (I forgot the name of the airline). She was finally assigned to a flight to Manila so she was here Sunday and Monday. JP, Brian, and I spent Sunday afternoon and night with her and her family (her parents flew in from General Santos City just to see her!). So I was at my happiest again. :) We stuffed ourselves with doughnuts and coffee in Krispy Kreme (we were in SM Megamall). Literally five minutes after our Krispy Kreme binge we had dinner at Dad's (the buffet restaurant). We all ate (Japanese food, Spanish food, Filipino food, American food) until it was hard to breathe, then we rolled ourselves home. We're looking forward to when Kate visits again in October. :) We all miss her so much!
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Ah yes, my family had yummy seafood without me. But that's ok. I'm really happy they had a great time.They went to a place called Dampa. It must be near Manila Bay. You choose the seafood in the market and they cook it up for you!
Here's the gang eating what they picked from the market. This is currently my desktop background at work. Looking at this makes me happy. Brothers, cousins, and delicious food all in one picture!
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
My cousin Joseph sent the pictures he took here in the Philippines.
Joseph, (and my other cousins) Joselyn, Rey, Kuya Bon, and my brothers JP and Brian went to a "wet market" to buy amazing seafood and have it cooked.
Monday, August 06, 2007
We had lunch in Kimono Ken. Oyakudon (a bowl of Japanese rice topped with chicken, egg, and sweet sauce) for April and ebi tempura udon (prawn and vegetable tempura on fat noodles with a sweet soy-based soup) for me. Then it was off to get facials! I won several gift certificates for facials (from Aesthetic White Beauty Center) in a raffle. Yay! :) I shared one of the gift certificates with April and we both got wonderful facials on Saturday. I have enough gift certificates left to get a facial every month for several months. Yay! :)
After facials we continued pampering ourselves by getting green tea milkshakes from Bubble Tea (a "Tokyo milk tea place"). Our milk shakes had big and small yummy tapioca pearls so we drank through fat straws. We went our separate ways after that. Before going home I went grocery shopping for the pasta I was planning to cook on Sunday. Life is good. :) Tell me how your weekends went!
P.S. I am still amazed and almost speechless about the scope and depth of the recently concluded Harry Potter series. There are so many important themes to analyze, so many things to debate. There are issues to discuss. There is the fact that if we read the series all over again in light of how it ended, we will see the patterns, threads, connections, and clues that were there from the beginning. The entire series is one great narrative where every detail matters and plays an important part in the story. Here is my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows quote for the day:
"The thing is, it helps when people stand up to them, it gives everyone hope. I used to notice that when you did it, Harry."
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Some spoilers caught up with me before I finished the book :( :( :( , but thank God most of the plot twists remained revelations to me :) . What do I do now that it's over? :( I can't believe this is really goodbye. :( I can't wait to watch the sixth and seventh Harry Potter movies. I hope JK Rowling writes more books. I think next I will read the His Dark Materials fantasy series in time for the movie coming out Christmas season...
Monday, July 30, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
This morning my friend (from work) Grace called a little before 6:30 to wake me up. The bookstores opened 7 a.m. just for Harry Potter book 7. (People were also able to reserve their copies by paying part of the price ahead of time. I reserved my copy two weeks ago.) I know the bookstores open midnight in the US and UK for the book but I am in a time zone several hours ahead so woohoo! I got to the Katipunan branch (I live a 5 minute walk away) of National Bookstore a little before 7:30 and there was a very long line for Harry Potter book 7. (Grace told me through a text message that she was there 6:35 and the line was already long. People do not line up like this for other books. Hahaha.) While waiting for my turn I chatted with the other Potter fanatics in line. Complete strangers connected by Potter mania. :) We felt united. We were excited and emotional. :) (Will the world ever experience this kind of publishing phenomenon again? We are studying the publishing industry in my MA class and really, in the history of publishing the Harry Potter series really stands out.) When it was my turn, when they put my copy in my hands and I felt its weight and saw its cover, my heart fluttered. Literally my heart was flying around in my chest. What a wonderful feeling! And now I'm off to watch the Harry Potter 5 movie again. Oh happy day! :)
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Ulysses by James Joyce
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
By the way, I like my classmates. :) One is a university lecturer and Anglo-American literature major. Two are creative writing majors - one is focusing on fiction (she's already a published author!) and the other is focusing on poetry. The poetry major is also a book buyer for a major bookstore chain. How cool is that? I want her job! Two of my classmates are high school English teachers and education majors. (It's a small class.)
Thursday, July 05, 2007
We cooked and pigged out on good food.
We played parlor games. We played Cranium. (My team won!) It was my first time to play Cranium. I love it! It's now my favorite board game.
The team building was a success. We all had a good time and we are a closer, more united team now. We're ready for the next project!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Chapter one of The Secular Scripture: A Study of the Structure of Romance by Northrop Frye
"Realism and the Novel Form" from The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding by Ian Watt
"Book publishers: from family houses to international media corporations" from Inside Book Publishing by Giles Clark
"The Age of the Novel" from A History of British Publishing by John Feather
"Commissioning and Editing Modern Fiction" from On Modern British Fiction by Dan Franklin
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles
The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch
Midnight's Children by Sir Salman Rushdie
Flaubert's Parrot by Julian Barnes
Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
My professor has a Master of Arts degree from Boston College and a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. :)
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Monday, June 18, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
After Dark is about the obvious and not-so-obvious connections between 19-year-old Mari Asai (the main character) and her older sister Eri, a jazz trombonist, the manager of a “love hotel” and her staff, and a Chinese prostitute and the man who beat her. After Dark is about the beauty of the late hours. And I say that the time from night to dawn is parallel to Mari’s “journey” to finding herself and to finding friends and possibly even love. More importantly, that time from night to dawn is symbolic of Mari’s “journey” closer to her sister Eri.
It’s true that Murakami’s story threads (such as the one in After Dark) aren't “resolved." But who says narratives have to be conclusive? Literature reflects life and we usually don't have neat, tight little endings for the real "stories" of our lives...
I think the triumph of After Dark, in terms of writing technique, is its point of view (as in point of view, the element of fiction). Murakami uses a point of view so palpable that it can be considered a character in the novel. The omniscient voice is so effective that it is like we are witnessing everything while holding hands with the narrator. Such precise details are given that the main characters’ actions are very vivid.
After Dark is not one of Murakami’s best works. It's good, but in a very quiet way. I just have to add that the critics are right: Murakami makes poetry out of contemporary life. (I think he is able to do this through the tone and atmosphere of his fiction). After Dark and his other works remind me that life is beautiful.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
I have wanted to read Lois Lowry's Gossamer ever since I read a fantastic review of it on A Fuse #8 Production. I like Lois Lowry. I read her Newbery Medal winner The Giver and it was mind-blowing. A couple of years ago I took a graduate class on individualism in American literature and I decided to focus on individualism in American children's literature for a paper. For my paper I analyzed The Giver and another Newbery Medal winner, Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. The other children's book I ordered was Jennifer Holm's Penny From Heaven, a 2007 Newbery Honor Book.
Last, but not least, I decided on Two for the Road: Our Love Affair with American Food by Jane and Micheal Stern. I love reading about gastronomy and reading food memoirs and travel memoirs. And how could I resist when I read the first sentence of Two for the Road:
"Our first date was over a white clam pizza at Pepe's Pizzeria on Wooster Square in New Haven, Connecticut, and it was instantly apparent as we gazed into each other's eyes across the thin-crusted Neapolitan pie, speckled with tiny, tender clams and frosted with olive oil, that we shared a passion for garlic."
I'll write detailed reviews of the books after I read them. :D The plots of Gossamer and Penny from Heaven are too rich to summarize in a post like this.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
1. Your real name: Roberta Marie Sabido
2. Your gangsta name: (first 3 letters of real name plus izzle) Robizzle
3. Your detective name: (fave color and fave animal) Pink Dog
4. Your soap opera name: (middle name and current street) Marie Xavierville
5. Your Star Wars name: (the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of mom’s maiden name) Sabroloz
6. Your superhero name: (2nd fave color and fave drink) Black Coffee (hahahaha!)
7. Your witness protection name: (mother’s middle name and father’s middle name) My mom and dad have no middle names! How’s that for going into hiding? I won’t even have a name!
8. Your goth name: (black and the name of one your pets) Black Spike
Monday, May 28, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
O-nii-chan in a library. All I have to say about this picture is: Hahaha. =D
Saturday, May 12, 2007
I haven't been able to draw/paint this week. =( Hopefully next week I can continue a colored pencil drawing that I am proud of (so far - tee hee). I'm still savoring every event in Haruki Murakami's Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. I'm still watching anime with my younger brothers: Naruto, Bleach, and Death Note. And guess who's here! O-nii-chan is in town for a week or two. Yay! Mom is going back to General Santos City on Monday. (She stayed with us for around three months.) On that note, advanced Happy Mothers' Day!!! =)
Sunday, May 06, 2007
1. I'm starting to like Franz Ferdinand. Sheesh. It's because in the SM North branch of Fully Booked I discovered Sound Bites: Eating on Tour With Franz Ferdinand written by the band's singer and guitarist Alex Kapranos. It seems like an interesting book for foodies and music lovers like me. I want to read it! I checked out the band's music online and I like it!
2. I watched Spider-man 3 with my mom, JP, and Brian. I like how it's a movie about forgiveness and redemption. =) The Spider-man movie trilogy is truly the chronicle of a hero. The first movie is about the hero's coming of age/initiation. The gaining of powers and responsibilities. The second movie is about truly accepting those responsibilities and the sacrifices, pain, and loneliness that comes with being a hero. Then the third movie is about not letting all that power get to your head. Good stuff! =)
3. Have you guys tried Cerealicious? =D There are several branches throughout the Metro Manila area. I go to the SM North branch for my cereal snack fix. =D Last Sunday I had "The Gummi Returns" cereal bowl: Honey Stars cereal with icy and foamy milk (it's their special blend/secret ingredient - the cereal doesn't get soggy!!!!!!), gummi bears, marshmallows, and vanilla ice cream. Today I had Coco Pops cereal with their special milk, choco pebbles, marshmallows, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate syrup. I think next Sunday I will try Cap'n Crunch cereal with Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! =9
Saturday, May 05, 2007
Monday, April 30, 2007
Friday, April 27, 2007
The Athletic Playground recognizes that a child’s medium for learning is play. Since play touches all the domains of a child’s development: cognitive, physical, social, and emotional; lets children relax their mind and body; and gives them the ability to focus, it should be incorporated into the training of child athletes. Incorporating play in athletic training for kids calls for a specially designed training facility. The Athletic Playground is an outdoor athletic training facility that carries a playground-like atmosphere conducive for PE activities and athletic training that incorporate play for children. It is composed of three areas: the Mindset Area featuring the Nature Walk and Lecture Hall where the children are trained mentally; the Movement Area featuring the Coordination Field, Multipurpose Court, Climbing Zone, Tag Arena, 50-Meter Sprint Track, Stair Sprint Course, Ascending Descending Sprint Course, and the Balance Obstacle Course where the children train physically; and lastly the Nutrition and Recovery Area featuring various sitting areas where children learn the importance of recuperation.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I call Martin "O-nii-chan" because that is the affectionate term in Japanese for "older brother." "Chan" is a term of endearment in Japan. "Older brother" without the affectionate term would be "O-nii-san" or "Nii-san" and other forms of "Nii." I'm no expert on Japanese but I am really into the Japanese culture (I guess it's pretty obvious in this blog).
I'm not sure how to explain JP's nickname. O-nii-chan used to call JP "Jepoy." Then that morphed into "Shmipoy," then finally became "Pipoy." (Sometimes, I call him "JP-chan" or "Pipoy-chan.") Only Nii-chan and I can call JP "Pipoy." Yes, that's a rule. I can't really explain it except by saying that I can be possessive of my brothers. Especially with my younger brothers (JP and Brian). It's an Asian older sister thing. Or can it be like that in other cultures as well???
As for my Pop-Tart/Brian-chan/Pop-Tart-chan: There was a time I was thinking about food nicknames in general. Like "Cupcake," Sweet Pea," etc. Then I started thinking about other food nicknames that people haven't used yet. And one day I just started calling Brian "Pop-Tart" even though I hadn't been thinking of nicknames specifically for him!
My real name is actually Roberta Marie. Tarie/Tarie-chan is my nickname. roberTA maRIE. Get it? Heeheehee. =) And it has something to do with the Atari too. Remember that game console? It was really popular in the Philippines when I was born. My dad was playing that when my mom was in labor with me.
My brothers and I are really, really close. They are my best friends. (Excluding God,) There is nobody and nothing more important to me than my brothers. I'll post more on my brothers soon! =) I am very proud of them after all. =D