"We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Read and Write

Not so much happening with me, friends. There's a script I have to finish by tomorrow.

There's a book I have to hunt down and read. My Good Reads book group agreed on Jane Eyre for the April 2012 To Read book. Lucky for me Mikee has an extensive collection of Jane Austen.

I don't know what will happen to me after the taping tomorrow. Haaay.

Monday, 30 January 2012


Yup, that's weird.

So Mikee texts me and asks if I could write a eulogy for her. I asked who died, and she said the eulogy is for her. I should be writing about her. Weird. So yeah, how crazy could it be?

I'm still having thoughts about posting what I wrote here. So shortly after I sent it to her, I asked.

Me: Magsuicide ka na?
Mikee: Hahaha maybe.
Me: Ok, tell me when para hindi kalayat.
Mikee: Yes Ma'am.

So much for being the Ate. What kind of a writing assignment is that?!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

War Horse

Directed by Steven Spielberg

How far will you go to fulfill a promise?

Saw this movie with Papa last weekend, running at about two hours. With the advancement of "borrowing" movies these days, it's easy to go on a movie marathon on weekends with the family without having to spend on pirated DVDs which have bad screen resolutions. I don't like watching movies and having to shell out good money and force myself to finish watching a movie that's just cam ripped. I can stall myself to wait for clear copies that are available to be ripped right from a website I've been patronizing. And I don't like going to the movies with my friends who always show up late, then we miss the first part of the story. By the time we find our seats, we're harassing each other :"Bakit ganun? Bakit galit sya dun? Ano'ng nangyari? Ano daw?" And a ticket costs almost a hundred bucks, (only in Zamboanga?) and the whole packaging comes with it. If you're lucky you get to avoid cinemas with poor air conditioning, bad odor, toilets with vandalism of crazy people with cellphone numbers since 1997 and stale popcorn. Papa is a better companion when it comes to movies. He talks after the credits roll in. =) 

So here, it's the dawn of the First World War and Devon, England is a wide sprawling town of greenery and agriculture. Albert admires a thoroughbred foal from a distance, and is overjoyed when his father comes home from an auction with it. Albert names the foal Joey and devotes his days to taming and training the foal, and teaching him how to plow a field, in order to raise money for the land's rent that is due. 

Together, man and beast go through ups and downs as they wrestle with odds and ends just by toiling in a farm. But when the nation enters into war, the two are separated and Albert promises to bring back Joey to his home. 

It takes years, and the Joey develops a relationship with different kinds of people during the war. It is a story of fulfilling promises and striving to be independent in times of uncertainties and challenges. 

It's an inspiring story about perseverance, hope and peace. 

What are your must-see movies for 2012? Share your rants and raves! =) 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Best Movie Posters of 2011

Quite busy right now, but there's something I want to share with the rest of you art-loving people. Here is a list of the best movie posters of last year, and I'm dumping them here. I am swamped with writing tasks, being the conclusion of the SOCA here, and upcoming productions lined up until kingdom come.

I'm longing for a vacation, but the Vigan trip with L won't be until June, and I still have to save a huge portion, so I'm depriving myself from further purchases because I have to prove myself as frugal. Yay.

Cat Run: The poster is an example of creative graphic work. (I didn't go for the movie) 

The pink font is sexy and perky set against a dark-themed background. It's simple. And the movie has Ryan Gosling in it! 

Nice layers of shadows for the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If I were teaching a Science class about the umbra and penumbra, I will be bringing this movie poster as a visual aid. 

Apart from good reviews, the blacks in this poster makes Lisbeth Salander's face blend well in the background. Simple font, three themed font colors, dragon doesn't overdo the whole negative space. 

An adult version of an Agatha Christie movie, if there was one, this is the Swedish version of the movie which came out a few years ago. Still convincing. 

Daring take for whoever designed this vintage-y poster of Hobo with a Shotgun. Was this how movie posters were designed back then? Collage-like appeal did good to the eyes.

Gosling-Clooney: This is outstanding. Need I say more?

Again, shadows. Effective typography with the font and negative space is well utilized. 

For some movie posters, "posters say it all about the movie". This fits well. Simple yet effective. 

In this case, the lower portion of the grid makes good attention-grabbing. The upper portion of the grid is well utilized with a good logo-ish title. 

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Shadows, Again

Pooh and the Gang. Just a date, nothing more. 

So there, the best. I didn't bother putting up the worst. 

Hi ho, hi ho. And off to write I go....

Monday, 23 January 2012

How My Love for Books Started

This is a guest post from a friend of mine who also shares the same love as I do: books. Here she talks about books and how the love affair blossomed.

How my love for books started
By Agnetha de Castro

I still remember the day when I started to read books. It was the fault of one Sweet Valley Kids volume that I borrowed from a classmate. I don’t know what compelled me to read that. Maybe it has something to do with the colorful cover or the way my classmate’s face shone with happiness over the written words in those pages. But I am glad that my interest for reading was triggered that day and before I knew it, I consumed the book in almost one sitting and borrowed some more from her.

When I finished reading her books, I became an active member of our library and read all their Sweet Valley collections. When there was nothing more for me to read on Sweet Valley, I explored other books like the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys and even Mills and Boon series.

That was one of the clearest memories I’ve had of reading. And from that day onwards, I started to read as many books as I could possibly get my hands on.

I never knew such joy and happiness as what I have found between the pages of the books I’ve borrowed and bought. It can never be replaced by momentary bursts of glee over a new gadget or some such thing. It is ever constant and irreplaceable. Such is my love for reading books. And it is a certainty that I would have books above any other material thing.

Even if I would grow old, wrinkled and with very bad eyesight, I would never break the habit of reading books.

Such is my love and passion for it.

About me:
Guest writer for Maimai’s blog. Anime addict. Movie junkie. Faithful follower and reader of many, many books. 

Got a memorable book to share? Leave a comment below!

Paulo Coelho's Thoughts on the SOPA

Coelho expresses his thoughts on the SOPA in his blog

Who else is against SOPA?

Paulo Coelho, that's who.

Here I am, ready to head home, with a good deal of commuting, when I stumbled upon this blog. It belongs to no other that The Alchemist's author himself, Paulo Coelho. And here, he shares his thoughts on the SOPA.

Visit his blog, and you will be surprised to see that he welcomes those who pirate his works.

Click here: Welcome to Pirate My Books

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kung Hei Fa Tsai

So after distributing tikoy to my non-Chinese colleagues, I had to give out a sigh and wondered what I was doing in the studio so early this Monday morning. Because it's Chinese New Year today, every body else is on holiday, (thanks to a President with Chinese roots, we now observe 3 New Years) except for our firm. Being in the media profession has its ups and downs. But there are definitely opportunities which cannot be found elsewhere.

So I'm away from my family this morning, for the second Chinese New Year in a row (last year I was out of town on assignment) and facing the computer. But 2012 promises a good year for those born in the Year of the Dragon, in all aspects (mine being 1988). But the Water Dragon has started its work already, with the city most of the time being drenched in rain. However, I'm grateful that it's not always hot here. I've learned to appreciate the rain as a heavenly blessing.

I've got tons to do so maybe I will continue blogging after I complete the script which is needed tomorrow for the morning taping. (So help me, Lord.)

One more thing, I'm halfway with my book, The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint and I might finish it this week. To everybody, Happy New Year.

Kung Hei Fa Tsai!

Friday, 20 January 2012

SOPA: The Blackout

This issue has brought quite a ruckus on the net.

Wednesday, users of Wikipedia, Reddit and other internet sites based in the US found most of the homepages in the dark. This, as some administrative operators of the sites expressed their opposition to the bill under review by the American House of Representatives, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) authored by Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX). The bill seeks to expand the ability of US law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods.

If passed into law, this will allow the US Department of Justice as well as the copyright holders to seek court orders against websites accused of violating copyright laws . This could lead to barring search engines from linking to protected sites, and this could also prevent online advertising networks and payment facilitators from doing business with infringed sites.

Supporters of the bill say it protects intellectual property rights and corresponding job industries, protecting revenues. This will filter access of web users to corresponding sites, and enforce copyright laws, especially from foreign, competing websites.

However, those who are against the bill have declared it to be violating the First Amendment, that it is internet censorship and will threaten free-speech actions. Protests have already been staged, including boycotts, petition drives and service blackouts of leading websites.

List of sites on blackout here.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg cranked up his Twitter account and tweeted for the first time since 2009:

"Tell your Congressmen you want them to be pro-Internet, [the Internet] is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world, we can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the Internet's development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA (Protect IP Act- corresponding bill in Senate), we will continue to oppose laws that will hurt the Internet."
My take on the issue

I agree to the need of protecting intellectual rights, especially in the fields of advertising, communications, arts and other major industries, which are major brands of companies in themselves. The Internet, being an endless archive of catalogues, networks, services and massive tool for development, exists in its continuity and fluidity of connecting one user to another. However, what needs to be regulated are sites which contain violence, abuse and those which promote indecency. For as long as there are websites which violate humanity and are proven harmful to children, also those containing immoral content, the censorship should be redirected there.

Texas Republican Representative Lamar S. Smith

When Rep. Lamar Smith announced the Stop Online Piracy Act in late October of last year, he knew it was going to be controversial. But the Texas Republican did not anticipate the response from Internet users.

Have any concerns regarding the SOPA? Share them...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

To Keep Reading in Check

To keep reading in check, my lola decided to be my book buddy. =)

And she is one absolutely fun book buddy! I don't call her lola, I call her Mama Lette, shortened for Loretto. Papa calls her Mamang. Grand kids call her Mama Lette, so do her nieces, nephews, and other relatives. She is mother to three sons, (Papa being the middle son) and two girls.

Mama Lette is a retired teacher who also served under the Ministry of Education, during Marcos's administration. She was in fourth year law school when she married Papa Choy, (my lolo) and took up a teaching career when she no longer pursued the bar exams.

Mama Lette and the grandkids (L-R: Jess, Mikee, Mama Lette, Kyla, Tita Bing and Jenica) taken last December during our family picnic

Perhaps the love of books run in the family, and she is very conversant when it comes to talking about books she read, her favorite characters, what she likes about the style, the plot and whatever it is that catches her attention. With good eyesight, she still reads books at night by the bedside.

I brought home a copy of The Help by Kathryn Stockett and she borrowed it, suggesting we exchange books after I read The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint. Mama Lette makes the perfect book buddy, because we can always exchange books and talk about them when I come home from work and when she has finally settled down in the evening from watching her favorite Koreanovela. =)

The book pile

Mama Lette's current occupation 

My current book for the 2012 Reading Challenge, and I'm not even close to half of it yet! 

Awaiting the arrival of Thoughts of a Blogger via Multiply

What books are you currently reading? Leave a comment below! 

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Idle Worship and Library Updates

So there's this link in the ads corner in FB. And curiosity leads to some crazy discovery. Lo and behold, a beta game allows a player to be god of one's own island. Play like a god and perform blessings and curses on your muddlings, and do the same to other gods' islands. It's all about enforcing the followers' beliefs for them to offer prayers which fuel gods benefits. It's also a game to show what kind of gods you wish to become, a god to be feared, a god who bestows blessings. Gain followers, create a prophet out of a muddling, convert others, establish your own religion. It's a crazy game, but it's still fun to play.

The fun art and mechanism of the game makes the player want to attend to his "religion" because of quirky, sometimes out of this world tasks to complete.

It's the right game to nourish one's sense of humor.

Idle Worship is by Idle Games 

Yesterday, my latest batch of books arrived, and I'm happy. I have another batch of books to keep me busy for a while. Yes, admittedly, this is where my money goes, but I fuel what I love, and I don't regret it. I will be depriving myself of splurges for quite a while, but I have books to keep me company in the meantime. 

Do look out for book giveaways for interested bookworms out there. =) 

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Hobbit

The Hobbit! 

This book brings back memories. Years ago, when I was a poor student who could not afford great literature to read, especially from highly acclaimed authors, I stumbled upon someone else's copy of The Hobbit and sought permission to borrow it. And yes, like any other amazing Tolkien book, this one is just simply oozing with adventure and mystique and legendary characters. 

In this book, home-loving Bilbo Baggins' story is told of how he joins a band of men to complete a quest which will allow them to win a share of the dragon's treasure. Tolkien introduces the creatures of the Wilderland and the world that is completely different from Bilbo's Shire from which he is very much attached to. The entire quest changes how the young Bilbo sees life as he reaches a higher level of maturity and appreciation for company and adventure. 

These are just some glimpses of the book

John Ronald Reuel Tokien

Some news for Tolkien fans, the movie will be coming out soon! Click here The Hobbit Trailer.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends is a memorable read, set in a charming Irish town and adorable characters. 

I don't remember what year it was, but because classes were done and it was summer, it was probably the only book I could get my hands on. An old lady book.

So, who would have thought I could still remember the plot and some events even after a few years, when I am now in my twenties and I read this when I was in my teens? Maybe it's because the story and characters reflect some of my perspectives in a way.

Simple country life, that's what I first thought, but the values and struggles each character faces every day mirrors our own, and here we stand in the small Irish town, looking childhood friendships, to parent-bonds shared by mothers and daughters, even between an orphan and nun. We discover humility and forgiveness, and hope. One of the memorable summer reads, I must say.

Maeve Binchy

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Book Swap

There's a budget-friendly way to update your library and make new friends. Try book-swapping- and this is highly recommended when it's done among book buddies and book lovers alike. Anyone who likes to read books is welcome.

Book swapping is trading an unmarked book of good condition for another title, perhaps of the same author or a different one, or another genre. If you own double copies of a title, choose the book to be swapped and you could just finally get your hands on that sequel or the final book to update your collection, at almost no cost at all.

It's a free trade and a chance to find a good read, save a few hundred bucks (brand new paperback books cost around Php300-400 each and hardbound books range from Php500-700 or even higher), meet friends over coffee and explore other authors and genres. Swappers will be asking about other available books you own which are up for swapping of the same genre.

Swapping is also a good opportunity to compare and discuss authors and to share books to other book lovers. If you want to tidy up your space and are willing to let go of some babies, go ahead and schedule a swap.

Helpful tips for Book Swapping:

  1. Gather books from your library or collection which are unmarked, in good condition, no creases, no torn pages and possibly no damages.
  2. See if you have double copies of books you are willing to exchange.
  3. Check out contacts or online bookstores in Multiply and other blogs and see what titles and authors are up for swapping, check out Book Bed's Swap Zone
  4. Exchange book titles with potential swappers and arrange a schedule and agree on some details. 
With the ease of many leading courier services in the country today, book swaps are possible between swappers from different cities. All it takes is 2-3 working days. It is better to schedule swaps on weekdays because only some couriers do deliveries and pick ups on weekends. It's also admittedly more relaxing to read on weekends away from the reaches and concerns of busy work days. 

I have a few titles available for swapping too. If you want to schedule a swap for any interested swappers out there, do leave me a comment

Have a good swap! 

Monday, 9 January 2012

Discovery of a Book Lover

Because the site was mentioned in Read Philippines, a site-forum for reading enthusiasts, I followed the link and fell in love with the crazy finds there. Too bad the holidays are over, I could have put "anything from Booktique" on the top of my wishlist. But then, there's still this year's Christmas coming up after another eleven months.

This adorabs book end catches people's attention and immediately get them talking... The falling books seem to be the end of days for the little man... 

The floating bookshelf is perfect for small spaces and can be used to tidy up hardbound books.

Magnets make the arrow bookends look like they are floating.

If any of my friends asked if I wanted these, I would have said Yes! 

Satisfy your bookish side by visiting Booktique Store and find a little something for that special bookworm in your life. =)

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Which E-Books are Mostly Borrowed from Libraries and Why?

The link below is from paidContent.

I don't own an E-book reader, but it would be quite fun to have one someday. However, here's a look at some of the reading preferences made by avid readers lately.

Here in our city, I wonder how many visitors the City Library has, and the ZamboangueƱos reading habits.

Which E-Books Are Most Borrowed from Libraries and Why

Thursday, 5 January 2012

The Fall Of Kodak

For some of us who grew up with Kodak as a household name, and have always grabbed the camera while trying to capture moments by saying "Kodak it!" instead of "Take a picture", I also couldn't believe my ears when I heard the news.

The following was contributed by my friend Robin Gonzales.

Second Look 
by Robin Gonzales 

The Fall of Kodak 

For what seemed like from time immemorial, Kodak cameras and film were a part of every household. Special moments were always incomplete without the familiar Kodak camera to capture them. Likewise, the Kodak film roll that photo shops would never run out of was always a best seller. It seemed like the Kodak Company was a permanent fixture on the world’s psyche. No one would have predicted then that the year 2012 would see the Kodak Company to file for bankruptcy.

The dawning of the digital age has changed a lot of things. One of the inevitable changes was the obsolescence of the traditional camera and film pair. The prevalence of digital cameras and ready cameras on phones, tablets and the pc has doomed the camera and film pair. Though Kodak has continued to develop digital cameras, the market in the digital world was a lot more crowded than the traditional camera and film world where it so easily dominated. With steep competition from brands such as Nikon, HP, Canon and the inability to compete with the other brands’ technology, Kodak now faces its inevitable fall.

Kodak over the years, maintaining its identity

The Wall Street Journal has reported the Kodak Company is preparing to file for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in the coming weeks ahead if it fails to sell a trove of digital-imaging patents. Since then, Kodak shares have fallen to an all time historic low. In the decade before 2011, Kodak has reportedly lost 95 percent of its company value to competition and the digital revolution. The New York stock exchange has warned that it plans to delist Kodak as a trading company shall the value of its shares stay unusually low for a long period. It seems the once legendary Kodak giant has fallen to its knees.

All is not hope for the once iconic and invincible photography company. The company has invested heavily in digital inkjet printers and revenue from that part of the company’s sales has risen a staggering 13 percent. If Kodak hopes that the printer and software industry will triple in the short future ahead, it may be able to make a comeback on those products. The company is also in the midst of selling patents, property rights and in the midst of talks for loans to keep it afloat.

No one knows for certain what the future holds for Kodak. Whether it can weather the storm it faces or fall victim to it instead, only time will tell. What is certain is that with so many technological revolutions, Kodak is not the only company that will face such tough times ahead. As always in a free market system, the free hand will favor those companies who remain competitive and disfavor those who do not. It’s a story of survival of the fittest and no matter how iconic and successful a company has become in the past, the fortunes of the times change as fast as direction of the wind. 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Great Titles at Bargain Prices from Life Is Like a Book Page

Life Is Like A Book Page

True to its shop name, this online bookstore has loads of stuff for every book lover, for every genre. The online bookstore is being maintained by Maricar and she does her best by managing her time, work, family life and answering questions from bookworms all over the archipelago.

I have the URL bookmarked on my browser tab, and check her new arrivals every month. If only my budget were bigger and I were a tad bit richer.

Some special features of Book Page are great finds in some of the albums. Categories are for Classics, Young Readers, Memoirs/ Biographies and Children's Lit. Submit your wishlist and you might just spot the book you're looking for in the next arrival. Contests and other great deals are aplenty, and an automated order form makes the transaction effortless.

Low on cash but want to add some new arrivals on your shelf? Browse through here and you could just snatch deals, happily ever after!

Monday, 2 January 2012

If I Could Rewrite The Back Description of The Next Queen of Heaven

Contains spoilers! 

Because I am a fan of Gregory Maguire;

Because I picked up the lessons the book had to offer;

Because I believe that this work of variation is a gem and a product of the author's sweat and effort and writing and brainstorming and all the other things that come between;

Because the description of the book cover utterly fails to reflect what is in the true contents of the pages;

Because I believe that we have different perspectives when it comes to religion, Christmas, family and all that have special meaning concerning the season;

I think that the back cover description of The Next Queen of Heaven should be rewritten.

There are a few things that have to be straightened out:

  1. Mrs. Leontina Scales does not speak in tongues, in fact, ommitting the beginnings of her sentences and utterances is barely speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues is considered by some to be more profound and sacred.
  2. Her children do not attempt to surrender her to Jesus. They abandon her in the basement of a retirement home for nuns and leave her to God's mercy on Christmas Eve.
  3. The ancient Sisters of the Sorrowful Mystery adopt a gay singing group, and gain a family and socialize in the process.
  4. A Christmas concert is hardly a pageant.
  5. And there is nor clear illustration of which child or whose child is born (figuratively or literally). Does Tabitha really find herself pregnant?
Themes/ Lessons learned from the book:

Although the style and language is very different from Gregory Maguire's previous treasures, the lessons and themes offered in its pages still make it a keeper. Here's what I have learned from the book.

  • Whether it comes sooner or later, we all have to forgive and let go. This circles Tabitha as she lets go of Caleb and for Jeremy as he gathers courage to do the same to Willem. 
  • Family is still family. Family members accept you for who you are. Mommy Leontina may be the single mom, but she fights and lives for her children as she raises three teenagers all on her own. Sean Riley's parents may not come to terms with his homosexuality and having AIDS but they show up as a family just the same. And whether or not the Catholics and the Radical Radiants are on different sides of the spectrum, they do help out each other in the case of the Scales family. 
My favorite character in the book would be Sister Alice Coyne of the Our Lady of Scarcese Parish. The Nissan-riding outgoing nun is too smart for her age and reaches out to anyone belonging to her church-even those who are not. And she does not condemn nor chastise anyone.

There. Now, I will be moving to another book. 

Even after reading, I still don't know exactly who is the Next Queen of Heaven. But I'm still keeping it on the shelf between Confessions and Mirror, Mirror. 

Any thoughts? Share them below!