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Showing posts from February, 2013

Book Review: Si Amapola Sa 65 Kabanata (2011)

Note: in honor of the book, this review will be in Taglish. Go ahead and let Google translate it if you can't read Tagalog. The experience is magical. If you know Tagalog and use Google Translate anyway, your journey will be transcendental.

Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata ay isinulat ni Ricky Lee, ang sikat at award-winning na manunulat ng mga script para sa pelikula. Ang bida ng nobela ay siya mismong si Amapola, isang baklang impersonator sa club. Parating na naman ang eleksyon, at itinakda si Amapola bilang tagapagligtas ng bayan. Ngunit feel ba niya?

Sa umpisa pa lang ay naloka na ako sa bonggang kabaklaan ni Amapola. Malakas ang tiwala niya sa kanyang sarili. Bilib na bilib itong si sister sa kanyang kagandahan. At malalim ang kanyang pagnanasa sa kanyang kapitbahay na si Oscar, na single father. Gusto ni Amapolang magkatuluyan sila ni Oscar, ngunit marami siyang hinaharap na hadlang. Ang mga tema ng libro ay nakatali sa mga sagabal na ito. Ito ang mga kailangang talunin ni Amapo…

Binge Drinking, Oscars Party Edition

I threw a small party to celebrate the Oscars on Sunday. The only person who didn't show up was the one who sincerely thought we were gathering for Oscar, the grouchy cat. Oh, well.

'Twas a fun evening, but it ended badly for me. Now that my brain is working again, here's a list of warning signs to stop. Mixing. Drinks. Just stahp. Stahp.

How to Tell When You've Had Too Much to Drink at Your Oscars Party
You keep using the word "amazing" to describe everything.You're so loud that the loudest person in the room keeps looking at you.You take a sip of sweet wine, briefly pause to consider that you hate sweet wine, then down the entire glass.You only vaguely remember what happened in between Octavia Spencer announcing Best Supporting Actor and Meryl Streep walking onstage.You upchuck the contents of your stomach when everyone leaves, like you're still in college. Gahd.You wake up the next morning and want to die immediately. Anyway, my shambling corpse mana…

Game Review: Symphonica (iOS)

Symphonica is an iPhone game that combines classical music, anime character designs, and finger tapping. Square Enix made the prologue and the first three episodes of the game available for free download in the App Store, confident that nerds such as myself would shell out fifteen bucks for the whole package. Fortunately, my strict ninja-pirate training has rendered me immune to such pleas for remuneration by game developers. I will wait patiently for my birthday so a loved one will buy it for me! Mwahahaha, I have defeated your aggressive pricing model, Square Enix!

...oh, wait, they still get their money, don't they. Curses.

Anyway, if you're looking for a brief distraction on a slow workday, I never have those so I can't possibly imagine what it must be like, I highly recommend joining perpetually upbeat conductor Takt and his ridiculously young, pretty, and skinny orchestra as they struggle to ascend the ranks and perform in the prestigious King Hall.

Symphonica takes…

Rejection: How I Dish It, How I Take It

     I.  DISHING IT

Lifehacker posted "Nine Practices to Help You Say No Without Feeling Like a Jerk" yesterday. I initially ignored it, because I have no problem saying no, and even HALE NO when warranted.

I developed this ability by working at a nonprofit for three years. Nonprofits tend to be chronically underfunded and filled with clueless eager beavers. After being sent to the Armpit of Asia twice to be a mobile Staples, I gave a hard pass when offered yet another chance to get a skin infection/ be followed by strange men/ find fire ants in my bed/ not sleep for a month. Soon after that, I gave my job the ultimate NO by scarpering to a for-profit.

My say-no-ability, which we shall call my NObility, became part of my established style of answering questions and/or explaining, which goes like this: MAIN IDEA > MAJOR DETAILS > MINOR DETAILS. I learned this technique while teaching reading comprehension to kids with special needs/learning difficulties in Philly. We wou…

Movie Review: Mama (2013)

Mama offers a terrifying ghost, an even creepier child, and touching performances by Jessica Chastain and Megan Charpentier. As horror movies go, this delivers the scares. Andrés Muschietti, who also directed the short film that inspired the full feature, keeps the dread and tension at a slow simmer, and makes an interesting decision for the film's ending.

Mama tells the story of two young girls, Victoria and Lilly, abandoned for five years in a cabin in the woods. Their artist uncle (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, A Game of Thrones) gains custody when the girls are found, feral and undernourished. His rocker girlfriend (Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty) stays to help him care for the kids, although she repeatedly declares, "This is not my job." The small "family" moves to a larger home, where the girls appear to play with someone only they can see, who they call "Mama." Cue the terror.

The movie checks off a lot of items in the Horror Movie Tropes list, including j…

After Black Valentine's

Fiancé just called me downstairs to the office lobby to hand-deliver his V-day gifts for me: a little flowering plant, a Blu-Ray of Pitch Perfect, and a punny card, because I text him puns on the regular.

Last year, he got me a Flaming Katy plant (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana) and chocolate. Katy had flowers back then:


Here is this year's V-day plant, which I shall call Chloe, beside Katy, who lost her flowers and had a massive growth spurt in the past year:


Meanwhile, my officemates have been distributing chocolate and cookies like nobody's business. It's a fantastic V-day so far, and it'll only get better because we shall have a lovely dinner tonight!

But all this joy and delight comes after years of loneliness. Before this, I spent several years bemoaning my fate of being Forever Alone. But those years helped forge me into the strong, sassy, and sometimes shameless woman I am today.  Let me fill you in, because sharing is caring.

Back when I was finishing up with grad sc…

Snow Storm Nemo

People on TV yelled at us for days about the coming "historic blizzard." News headlines screamed, "ZOMG STORM ON FRIDAY!" for a week. Meteorologists ominously proclaimed that our freezing northern air would mix with moisture coming off of the Gulf of Mexico and dump a metric ton of snow on us. They also helpfully predicted the storm's schedule: snows start at 8 am on Friday, blizzard gets going at 5 pm, and continues through Saturday.

Thus informed, schools shut down. My office declared a half day on Friday.

Fiancé, born and raised a hardy New Englander, got the essential supplies together: shovel, ice scraper, two-alarm chili kit, and a six-pack of beer.

The day of Nemo came. My boss texted me that I didn't have to come in. I went anyway. Fiancé drove us to work on Friday morning amidst...wait for it...not a single snowflake. "They always blow this out of proportion," he scoffed. He dropped me off, and I walked into a ghost town. Everyone seeme…

Gray to Light

A perfect day
Begins with rain
So that we fight to rise
And live.
So that when the sun
Comes out,
And the clouds flee,
Everything we did
Mattered.
And everything we do
Is bright.

***
This uncharacteristic free verse poem brought to you by Winter Storm Nemo. Keep your children inside!

A Tribute to Sailor Moon

Language School Application – Personal Statement
Young women deserve a powerful role model to emulate as they join the struggle for equality. That model is Ms. Naoko Takeuchi’s ultimate creation: Sailor Moon. My one-woman campaign to introduce the Sailor Moon series to the next generation of strong women hinges upon achieving fluency in Japanese. I humbly ask the Sunshine-Sunshine Japanese Language School to consider my application.
Sailor Moon would teach girls the values of love, friendship, justice, and microskirts—the supreme expression of feminine freedom. Sailor Moon and her Sailor Scouts fought off alien invaders, defended the entire galaxy, and routinely sacrificed their lives so that humanity may be saved. Like Jesus, Sailor Moon always came back from the dead. Unlike Jesus, she got right back to work preaching the good news of girl power. She eventually became Queen of Crystal Tokyo, and used her magic crystal to build her own palace. Sailor Moon is the ideal woman: compassio…

Confessions of a Reformed Neat Freak

I love cleaning. It represents the pinnacle of responsible household activity. So many things out of place, so many items crying out for categorization and proper placement. I hear your cries, my children.  I'm coming for you. I am your salvation.

I led a monkish existence when I lived alone. Only the basics survived under my roof. I allowed a bed, dining room furniture, and a futon for guests. I borrowed books from the library. My hard drive held all my movies. The hardy little PlayStation Portable served as my video game console.

Then I moved in with Fiancé. Here, I saw the peril of home ownership: stuff. SO. MUCH. STUFF. Laserdiscs, VHS tapes, DVDs, Blu-rays, boxes of paper, boxes of unknown content, textbooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, board games, pictures, shirts, sweaters, mom jeans, pants, coats, costumes, suits, XBox games, D&D paraphernalia, knick-knacks, mismatched glasses, expired alcohol, expired medicine, I've-never-seen-that-before thongs, Mason jars, office …