A Quick Word

Thank you for taking time to visit my blog! For more info about this blog, you may check out the Content tab. For all re-posts and other articles that caught my eye, you'll find them in Echoes. My own literary pieces are in Anthology; tips, trivia and info are in Blabs; anything about movies in Flicks; food-related stuff in Gastronomy; my journey to getting hitched in I Do;places, trips and activities are in Jaunts; anything about books in Lit; and short posts in Snips. Lastly, you'll find my contact details in Say Hi.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Phantom of the Opera is There Inside My Mind

Watched the 2004 film version starring Emmy Rossum, Gerard Butler and Patrick Wilson in the movie theater thrice in a row.

Surfed within IMDB to cure the movie hangover.

Bought a VCD copy... then a DVD copy.

Played the movie again and again.

Sang along Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical scores on You Tube.

And finally.... would be watching the play live in just four months from now!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Zerg Rush Attacks Google!

Google once again shows its funny side in the form of the Zerg Rush! 

Type "Zerg Rush" in the search box and hit search, and these tiny O's start invading your screen and attack your search results! To fight back, click on the O's until you destroy them all! 

Zerg Rush Attacks Google

But, let's say you were able to eliminate every single one of them, the O's still show up at the end of the game and form "GG" which should mean "Good Game" in gamer lingo.

Good Game!

Well, definitely an interesting time killer!

To learn more about the Zerg Rush tactic, you may consult Wikipedia.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Unzip Google!

The Google Doodle Gideon Sundback Zipper Screenshot
Google Doodle's the coolest! Today, they're marking Gideon Sundback's -he developed the zipper -- 132nd birthday! Go to https://www.google.com.ph and see for yourself.

Philippine Labor Day 2012

Philippine Labor Day 2012, Image by DOLE
Once again, Filipinos will be celebrating the annual Labor Day on May 1, Tuesday. To date, President Noynoy Aquino hasn't released any announcements yet on whether the holiday will be moved on April 30 which is a Monday.

So why May 1? 

It actually originated on May 1, 1886 in the United States when American workers fought for an eight (8) hour workday instead of their usual 10, 12 or 14 hours a day. It ended up with a riot, killing a significant number of policemen and demonstrators alike in its wake. The good news was, the proposed eight hour workday was eventually approved.

In the Philippines however, the first labor day took place on May 1, 1903 where  about 100,000 demonstrators flocked in front of Malacañang where William Howard Taft was residing. Aside from the fight against imperialism, they also expressed their demand for better working conditions.

For more info, you may visit Dept. of Labor and Employment's official website on dole.gov.ph or check-out their Facebook fan page here. For the Labor Day history, you may check-out WikiPilipinas.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Search for a New Hairstyle This 2012

I easily get bored with my hair. That's why as much as possible, I change my hairstyle every now and then. Boy, I've probably tried everything -- except for pixie, that is. From boy cut, to shaggy, to mid length layers, one length cut, stick straight, wavy, digiperm, rainbow (that's my mom's term because it looks like one), full bangs, side bangs, no bangs, parted in the center, or left, or right, or no partition at all aka brush up. Ha, I can go on! Thing is, my last hairstyle, which was half digiperm was really close to my heart. I hadn't had it changed for more than a year which is eternity in my hairstyle lifespan. Why? Well to name a few..

My long outdated mane
  1. It was so easy to maintain. I could survive a day without combing my hair.
  2. Actually, I rarely combed my hair, I just finger comb it once it had dried.
  3. I didn't have to blow dry my hair or wait for it to dry before going out, no specific form was necessary.
  4. All you had to do is twirl and scrunch it every once in a while!
  5. Finally, the look looked (vocabulary shortage haha) party ready all the time sans all those unnecessary preparations!

Sad to say, it all had to end. It had grown waist long already, weighing my face down, the roots were so dry with a couple of split-ends, and... (drum roll) I had been depressed. And when I'm down, all I need is a haircut! Which reminds me that it was the same reason I spent some serious amount of cash for my digiperm!

Now, I really wanted to try pixie. It looked good on Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, even on my mom who had no choice since her hair was just growing its way out again after some chemotherapy sessions. But then again, I'm not as pretty as them! Frankly, it's such a drastic change, and I might get married soon (oh really now?), so of course I wouldn't want to look more masculine than my groom! In short, pixie is out.

My new hairstyle!
Finally, I got interested in bob cut. It looked so edgy and such a far cry from my long curls!.. But, there are lots of styles to choose from and I was lost in no time. So began the process of elimination. I have a diamond-long-shaped face, so I zeroed in on celebrities  with a bob who have similar face shape like mine. It was Liv Tyler and Anne Hathaway who laid the final brick. Anne Hathaway had a shoulder bob, while Liv Tyler had a one length shoulder cut. There's very little difference actually, therefore I decided to mix both.

Here are some pictures I grabbed online to show to the hairstylist. See how chic and versatile the hairstyle is, whether it's straight, wavy or curly. I was screaming yay, another LOW MAINTENANCE cut!

Don't they look lovely?

Image from Hairspotlight.com

Image from Hairstyleagain.com 

Image from Styleruminative.blogspot.com

Image from Talkingmakeup.com 

Image from Dailymakeover.com 

Image from Handbag.com

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Joshua Bell's Social Experiment

“You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”
-Walter Hagen

Email Message Copied from Hoax-Slayer:

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the top musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written,with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jack Could've Stayed Alive!

The first time I've seen Titanic (the movie) back in 1997, I remembered shaking my head in regret and screaming unpleasantries at Rose for her adamant stupidity during the last few scenes in the movie. I mean, come on, if she had just gotten into that boat, Jack wouldn't have died! *Calms myself down.*

Now, after more than a decade, the movie is being shown again, but this time in 3D. Not surprisingly, people have taken mock interest in those final scenes again, posting comments on how Jack could've been saved.. Well, here's one so laboriously done I had to share it with you.

Taken from http://imgur.com/lItNe

Hmmm.. they have a point. Makes sense right?

To hear more raves and rants about the film, you may visit Greenspun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Post Lamentation

Image from Ghost in the Machine, Jacob Sutton

I've come undone,
swept by the tidal waves
I've been devoured.

My synapses pulsing wildly,
furious at the blatant consciousness
in the cross aftermath.

I've struggled to retaliate,
dumb stricken by the desolation,
and yet I've held back.

Far ahead in the distance,
there's a flicker of light,
I ran after.

Nowhere to go, nowhere to be,
but facing a glint of hope,
I've never looked back.

April 16, 2012
7:15 PM

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fahrenheit 451 (1953)

Don't have enough time to read the book or even the review? Watch this video as it highlights the major plot points, characters and themes used in this cornerstone of modern literature.

Created by Jack Collins, AcademicEarth.org

Now, as reviewed by Choc:

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradburry
Fahrenheit 451 is about a dystopian future where books and critical thoughts are outlawed. "Firemen" who no longer serve to fight fires because houses have been made fire-proof take on a radically different task-- to burn books. 

Guy Montag is the story's protagonist, he is a fireman who does his job with unequaled satisfaction and pride, standing immovably on his sense of purpose, affirmed by the firemen's informal philosophy: "BOOKS ONLY MAKE US UNHAPPY." Montag however has not read a book in his life, he therefore is a sort of blind follower to the Firemen's creed. 

Montag's neatly packaged disposition however is tested when he met Clarisse, a 17 year old, whom he became friends with.

Clarisse is almost an anachronism, she seemed not to belong in the book, she was a romantic in the true sense of the word, in that she sees beauty in the simplest of things, like the morning dew on leaves, the way raindrops fall on your face, the intricacies of facial expressions and such. She has a personality worthy of a Butler Yeats poem, suggesting meaning in the immaterial and wonder in the mundane. 

This quality is something uncanny in the story's social landscape where people no longer "wonder" because they are dumbed-down by the absence of creative thought and ideas that books provide. 

Clarisse asked Montag questions like: "are you happy?" and "have you ever read any of the books you burn?" these questions, as far as Montag is concerned are mere rhetoric, but in the contemplative silence of his lonesome (after the mysterious death of Clarisse) he is forced to give the questions more depth, and in the process lets his DOUBT crack his erstwhile invincible belief in the system and spur his curiosity about books. 

Already curious and in doubt, Montag was forced to watch as his fellow firemen burn an old lady along with her books, this was not unprecedented by any stretch in his job but what disturbed Montag was the repose and the lady's calm acceptance of her fate, she WILLED to be burned along with her books, as if her life rested on the very books themselves. 

The ensuing feeling montag felt can only be expressed in his own words:

"There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing." 

Montag then sets off to read some of the books he had saved unwittingly and joined with others who had been "intellectuals" in the past, professors, writers etc. and together they planned a return to intellectual liberation. 


In the story, books are outlawed because they "ONLY MAKE US UNHAPPY", but how true is this claim? 

We've all heard of the saying "a book is a loaded gun in the wrong person's hands". You only have to ask john Lennon for an affirmation of this.. his infamous killer--mark chapman was carrying the book "Catcher In the Rye" when he killed the musician, chapman didn't resist arrest but offered the book to explain why he killed Lennon... essentially he thought of lennon as a "phony".. 

Or who could forget the opening and closing words of the communist manifesto---a spectre is haunting europe.... the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains ... these words effectively launched the socialist and communist movement..

Rizal and "Uncle Tom's Cabin", women's rights and "The Feminine Mystique" heck! who knows what Harry Potter or The Twilight Saga has done OR HAD BEEN doing in our collective psyche, the effects of which will only manifest itself in the future... 

As I understand the novel, I think that aside from the caveat the society is suffering from a dumbing-down of it's people due to the waning interest in the Subtle (now replaced by the Obvious), and the eschewing of activities that make people think, I think that the story also tells us books OR KNOWLEDGE is the force that shapes us and the world. True, that knowledge can be dangerous, and it had in fact altered the course of history many times, it started wars, political movements, murder and mayhem. But these turning points in history are mere by-products of KNOWLEDGE-- the most rewarding of all gains... and thus, something that we cannot do entirely without. 

When Einstein discovered the relationship between, mass and energy.. He paved the way for nuclear and atomic bombs,.. would you readily forfeit this monumental discovery for the bad effects it spurred? 

When Newton wrote his laws of physics he essentially wrote the foundation of war rockets. 

Ideas and knowledge do not kill people, even guns do not kill PEOPLE..

PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE.. and mankind will forever have this burden on his shoulders-- 

The burden of knowing...

Source: http://choc27.multiply.com/reviews/item/5

Friday, April 13, 2012

Man vs. Woman: A True Story

I did a double take when I encountered this in FB. Surely the creator must be rewarded for his/her gross utilization of sharp wit! Lol. Got the pic from this link.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Para Kay B (2008)

"Alam mo ba ang ibig-sabihin ng "Conjure"? Isa ka bang Capital S? Me quota ang pag-ibig. Sa bawat limang umiibig ay isa lang ang magiging maligaya. Kasama ka ba sa quota?"
photo courtesy of John Anthony Wong

Ito ang kauna-unahang nobela ni Ricky Lee, ngunit hindi na siya baguhan sa larangan ng pagsulat. Isa siyang dakilang scriptwriter na naghatid sa atin ng magagandang istorya para sa Pinoy cinema at TV shows.

Itong una niyang nobela ay nakakaaliw. Ang kanyang napiling paksa ay LOVE, pero ang karaniwan niyang sinusulat ay tungkol sa pulitika at lipunan. Nanaisin kong isapelikula nila itong nobelang ito, subalit kapansin-pansin ang pagkakahalintulad nito sa mangilan-ngilang pelikulang banyaga kagaya ng LOVE ACTUALLY, STRANGER THAN FICTION (sabi ni botchok) at SECRET WINDOW.

Ang nobelang ito ay tungkol sa limang babaeng may iba't ibang karanasan sa larangan ng LOVE. Ang isa'y may childhood crush, meron din namang incest, tibo / bading love, love sa isang lugar na walang love at cliche love. Ngunit ang limang istoryang ito ay umiikot sa utak ng isang manunulat na hindi alam kung paano tatapusin ang istorya, sapagkat siya ay bitter at tuliro din sa pagmamahal at ang kanyang mga tauhan ay nagrereklamo sa mga istoryang ginawa niya para sa kanila.

Nakakaaliw din ang lengwahe na ginamit ni Ricky Lee. Angkop na angkop sa modernong panahon at may pagka bastos. Hehe.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey (2011)

The first of three
Yes, I guiltily jumped on the bandwagon.

I first came across Fifty Shades of Grey via an article about how it was taking the world by storm. I was in doubt. If it was, I would have heard of it, right? But til then, I hadn't. So I went on reading the article, found out the novel sort of became famous 'underground' since it clearly had a niche --erotica slash mommy porn as some people dub-- but nevertheless a hit, and a bestseller at that! (Actually, all the books in the series) So curious as I was, knowing that *ehem* I'm old enough, I got my own copy.

The novel was about Anastasia Steele, an NBSB (no boyfriend since birth) and soon-to-graduate university student who had to interview the young, rich, famous, and handsome Christian Grey for the school newspaper. They were instantly attracted to each other. And just when Ana thought they had a chance, Christian had offered her something else, the only thing he knew.. a dom-sub relationship. And the rest was history...
Matt Bomer (pic from IMDB)

Okay, I admit the book technically wasn't written in a way that would make it go down in history. But do give EL James a break, it's just her first, and so much unexpected at that since it actually started as a Twilight fanfic entitled Master of the Universe. And how do we measure success nowadays anyways? Just Google online and see for yourself how the book had elicited so many raves..and rants, touched a lot of hearts.. including mine, and raised a lot of eyebrows. Personally, I guess it owed its success to a heady mix of unrealistic Christian + navel-gazing Ana + steamy love scenes + stream of consciousness technique + a well chosen playlist (EL even compiled it all in YouTube!) embedded in the story.

Btw, I also heard that some outfit had already bought the movie rights and so the film version is soon to be in the works.. Please please let Matt Bomer be Christian Grey. That's exactly how I'd imagined him to be...

Will be posting more info soon about the Part 2- Fifty Shades Darker and Part 3- Fifty Shades Freed.

"Laters, baby!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stranger in a Strange Land (1961)

I finally grokked.

This novel by Robert A. Heinlein had temporarily altered my perspective in so many ways -- it even changed my definition of water. No joke. For the lack of better word, it was written well, creatively well. I found myself hating and loving some of his characters. Like they really existed in this world and not just written by a god-like mind. It also had a hint of satire, the way they look at religion, society, politics and money.

Though it was written decades ago, you'd find it amazing that the concepts he touched are still the very same concepts that are happening now. It goes without saying that though everything changes, basic wants and needs are still the same, perhaps on a different scale, but they still evoke the same emotions, feelings and desires. 

Definitely a good read guys, all book lovers should read this! But be prepared for a culture shock. By the way, this is the first and only book that had me laughing out loud. In public. Alone. Guess that goes to show you how brilliant Heinlein really was.

For a more in-depth review, here's what Choc has to say:

"Stranger in a Strange Land" was 1st published in 1961. It had been elevated as the "The Most Famous Science Fiction Novel Ever Written" by many fans and critics alike. Quite a feat, but very ironic for the fact that this novel had been suppressed, kept underground for a time, on account of its iconoclastic themes and infuriating innuendos. The book left no sacred cows untouched, it had views on God, Religion, Government, Church, True Love, Sexual Love, Jealousy, Technology and even Tattoos!

The Novel is about a Human Being, born and raised on Mars. After 20 years, he is "rescued" and sent back to Earth. Have you ever wondered how the Earth's Culture and Mores would look and feel like to an alien? That is, more or less, the premise of the book.

The Martian is Michael Valentine Smith, he'd been on Mars and reared by martians for 20 years and this martian upbringing is so dynamically complex and different from earthlings that his honest beliefs and interpretation of our society will surely elicit OUTRAGE, ASTONISHMENT, AWE and AMAZEMENT in EQUAL servings from any Earth-raised creature...-- yours truly included, for I have never experienced all these varied emotions brimming while reading one and the same novel.

Take for example in one portion of the book, Mike (the man from Mars) tells the reader about how he views romantic and sexual love in humans. In Mars, martians, are asexual, there is no male-female distinction between the Martian race, therefore there is no sexual act (or rather no sexual act "as we know it" in Mars) Mike therefore is also ignorant of sex, but during the course of the story, he inevitably "grokked" or found out about this amazing union brought about by the male-female distinction, Mike even went to as far as proclaiming that the greatest asset Earthlings have is this BEAUTY in DIFFERENCE..

Right about at this point -"BEAUTY in DIFFERENCE"- I was nodding in agreement, after all, if you really think about it.. the difference between men and women has been so long embedded in our psyche that now it's more of a nuisance than a beauty, men are from Mars and women are from Venus right? but whenever you hear those words, they're always spoken in bad context.. men whine about why WOMEN won't understand, women for their part have these support-groups for their friends who suffer the ever-lasting incorrigibility of Men.

Clearly, no one stops to think that this very "difference" is what makes love AND life NOT DULL. Just Imagine if all men were great, all infallible, all Romeos. Just imagine if all women were great, all infallible and all Juliets. Then finding the right one "wouldn't" feel as blissful since practically ANYONE is the right one! The greatest moment in Love is finding out that your investments of emotion and love, have gathered more than proportional dividends.

And this great moment is brought about by this: "BEAUTY in DIFFERENCE"

OH WELL... for all I care the author could have simply meant PHYSICAL DIFFERENCE to permit sex, but I'm too romantic for such a bland interpretation. =)

But when Mike offers his views about monogamy, saying that since SEX is a means of true happiness, and true happiness is to be shared, therefore sex is to be shared... WHAT THE F*CK (no pun intended), heck! even my Philo professor will admit that the logic is impeccable! But the alien is talking about "Plural marriage" and "communal lovemaking"! One character in the novel thus explains to Mike that it could not happen here on Earth because, -HOW INCREDIBLY IRONIC- because... of LOVE.

The alien asks why?

Because a human being doesn't like his wife to enjoy the "beauty in difference" with another, that's just unthinkable. Because a husband loves his wife.. that's why.

Mike answered:

But it is not love that hinders the sharing of this "happiness" but JEALOUSY... which is not present in real TRUE love, a love that has jealousy isn't love...

At this point I was beginning to hate MIKE! HECK I was furious at him! I prefer the love with jealousy THANK YOU... at this point on it was very hard for me to keep on reading but I did...

The author intended for this book to push our sensitive buttons... and the fact that it did find mine, just tells me all the more why this book is brilliant. It is intelligently written and very provocative, and really a unique reading experience for me.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Bell Jar (1963)

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I was actually contemplating whether to buy Kidnapped or this one prior to purchase. Alas, I decided on this one as it had sparked my curiosity once I found out that its author committed suicide shortly after publishing it in 1963 under another pseudonym-- Victoria Lucas. What struck me most is that it's actually semi-autobiographical, most of the events in the novel were eerily synonymous with the writer's personal experiences. The book had also been transformed into a movie in 1979 (More info here), and the Hollywood version is in the works with Julia Stiles in the lead role.

The story is about Esther who hails from Boston and is currently having her internship at a prominent magazine in NY. She always gets straight As in her subjects and is a consistent scholar in her school. Her experience in the city disorients her and when she comes back to her hometown, she finds out that her application for a writing course is rejected. She tries writing a novel but becomes insomniac and depressed, thus, she feels like living inside a bell jar. A series of suicide attempts follows until it eventually leads her into an asylum where she recuperates and learns a lot about life. The story ends with "I stepped into the room", where the doctors in the hospital decide whether it's time to let her out or not.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Online Tots

I know it has been there for some time, so finally, out of sheer curiosity, I've decided to try MakeMeBabies.com, one of these online applications that predict what your future baby/ies are going to look like.

All you have to do is upload two pictures i.e. your picture and whoever's picture (e.g. lover, friend, crush, celebrity), customize some details like the baby's gender, skin color, name; and then wait for your baby -- which should not take more than 9 months.

In my case, of course I used my pic together with my boyfie's pic, randomized the gender and skin color, and voila, here are the results! 

1st Baby: Boy
Little Chaf

2nd Baby: Girl
Little Mhoc

Aren't they cute? Thing is, neither of us is Caucasian. Lol.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Things Fall Apart (1959)

This book is considered to be Achebe's magnum opus. Lots say it's a modern Greek tragedy because it has the same elements like the use of a tragic hero, pride, karma, etc.

The story is really simple. There's this man named Okonkwo who had a bitter childhood so he did his best to rise up from the ashes. When he was older, he became so successful that the people in his community looked up to him as a leader. Little did they know that inside his powerful and brave facade lay his need to be in control and the fear that others would find a weakness in him, thus driving him to make decisions which he would regret later on.
It's based on African lifestyle, so you'd naturally expect lots of polytheism and polygamy involved. It also has a hint of politics, masculinity and the myriad of struggles within a society.

From Choc:

I enjoyed this book for the marvel of being transplanted right in the midst of this African tribe and indeed witnessing how things fell apart right before my mind's eyes..
Religious overtones apart, this to me represents the all-encompassing power of an idea. How ideas can bring down security beliefs, how it can bring structures to its knees, how it can create so much dissonance that blind-allegiance to ideologies become obsolete.. This story is one that echoes throughout history... ideas are in constant opposition, it is the hope of humanity that this chaos will inevitably bring forth: synthesis.


I hope you don't mind, but in order to accomplish my secret mission, I have to post this code into my blog.


Now, come and crawl this baby. I'm waiting.

Genius Instruction Manual

My consistent pursuit of knowledge led me to this book which was luckily on sale. It's oozing with lots of interesting topics ranging from Shakespeare's comedies, nuclear reactions, patron geniuses, philosophers, short summaries of 31 works of literature, string theory, nuclear reactions and even open heart surgery! (et cetera, et cetera.)
...Yeah, it really sounds intimidating, but no worries, because that's only how the writers want it to look like. Deep inside the pages, you'll find just the right amount of info of almost about everything, presented in a rather comical way. It also gives great tips on how to look and act like a nerd which makes it all the more fun!

What I especially like about this book is that it's generously packed with witty thoughts and comments which makes it far from boorinnngg. There are also lots of interesting trivias inside... Something we need to keep our brains going from time to time, not to mention, to make us look smart at the right times.