Wednesday, November 23, 2011

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I like for you to be still*

These days I prefer silence.
People and places feel far away and I am adrift.
Home is at the tip of my tongue.

*line from Pablo Neruda's "I like for you to be still"

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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A note on my grandmother

How have you all been this long weekend? I'm writing from home, and I think this is the first time in many visits that I'm not worrying about school or work.

I've been spending time with my family, remembering loved ones who have passed on. I especially miss my grandmother, because November 1st actually reminds me of her. When I was much younger, she used to marshal our big family off to the cemetery every year to visit the graves of our lolos and lolas. It would be a day-long event, with her in the thick of everything. She would have my titas pack Marie biscuits and bottles of Coke so we wouldn't go hungry during our expedition. Apart from the candles and flowers, we would bring brooms to clean the family plot. It was a busy scene: the adults chattering amid tidying up and the children playing with candle wax until someone got burned. Sometime during the day, my grandmother would bring me and my cousins along for a walk through the bustling cemetery. We would call on relatives and family friends, my cousins and I inducing the customary exclamations of "Nagdadakkel dan!" (Look how big they've grown!). Often, we would run into this ancient great-uncle who always looked spiffy in a brown suit. She was a real family woman, my grandmother. On the day we are supposed to remember the dead, she made it a point to bring together the living.

Monday, October 31, 2011

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Happy Halloween, ickle ghouls and goblins

Halloween with its costumes and trick-or-treating isn't a Filipino practice, but if we insist on dressing up, I would like to see more children as manananggal and tikbalang.  Our monsters are as fascinating and terrifying as any vampire or werewolf.

Side photo: A A Wild Sheep Chase sheep shirt! (found in Artwork for P150)

I'm reading Un Lun Dun by China Mieville to keep things sufficiently eerie. What are you reading this fine ghostly night?

Friday, October 21, 2011

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Today is Hanna Day

This is for Banana on her 25th birthday:

You are a dreamer,
a cumulus cloud chaser.

You are a storyteller,
and yes, "your bed is a raft."

You are a wordsmith,
Long Live the Oxford comma!

You are a paperback lover,
a book devourer.

You are a green Post-it note,
"Don't forget the cake."

You are a music mastermind,
secret mix-tapes playing in your head.

You are a true original,
a rare vintage LP.

You are a lion-heart,
and life is a waltz.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

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Home again.

Interverse, did I not tell you that I was back home? That's right, again. I'm here to do some data gathering for a special problem for my terrestrial sampling methods class (Did you also feel that I am sharing unnecessarily here? Because I'm typing this and I have a feeling you won't really care.) Anyhow, plunging on shamelessly, the sampling is done! Yes, this morning, while it was shining and John Hay smelled all of pine and dew. We saw a black labrador and lots of ferns. So many ferns.

This is my mother. She was my RA for the day, even when she could have been sleeping in on the weekend. She's the best.

After, the boys met up with us and Pa took us out to Army Navy for lunch in that new Convergys place (My fine Baguio folk, please. Do not roll your eyes at my belatedness, this place is still novel to me.) I had the steak burrito, and was satisfied as always. However: Army Navy, you know you totally strum my guitar, but you seriously need to rethink your condiments. I am nuts about your cream thing, but more salsa I say! Plus, your lemon wedge is not so much a wedge as half a wedge. Acid is the secret source of your burrito's power. Give me a full wedge!

(Before I forget: my baby brother is taller than me and there are unknowable things happening to his voice.)

And then, Booksale after. It was on sale more than it usually is because the rest of SM is on sale. So:
What was a Bukowski doing there? For only P127 too. And finally, a copy of What Was She Thinking? (Notes on a Scandal) because it was only P45 and didn't have the movie cover. I can be obsessive like that. Also, Booksale is cheeky (read: bookmark). That's why we love them.

At the end of the day, we dropped by the SM Supermarket. Boys and girls, maiawawannak idiay. The tocino and the tapa were not where they normally are. I wanted to sit quietly in a corner and wait for my father to come get me. Because that is what you are supposed to do if you get lost.

There is an art to packing groceries. When I was younger and there was no SM Supermarket, we used to shop in local grocery stores like U-Need or Victoria's or 5 Cents Up or Sunshine. The bag boys could fit everything we bought in three bags or less. They were genius packers, efficient in their use of space and quick with their hands. They would momentarily approximate the relative sizes and shapes of the items, and find the perfect nook for them in each white plastic bag. When you carried the bags, things didn't stick out to poke you in the leg. The bottoms would be flat so the bags would be upright when you put them down. And the eggs were always on top. When you had too many items for plastic bags, the boys would suggest you would be much better off with a box. Everything would fit neatly in there too, tied up with straw, a perfect handle knotted at the top for easy transport. In SM, they just toss things thoughtlessly into huge plastic bags. Weekly grocery shoppers tend to end up with six or seven loads. It is a wasteful process. Remember when we said we would stop using plastic?

Later, dancing hippos. I am tired of looking at plants.

Friday, October 14, 2011

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Living for today


You guys. Isn't that the most boring cover ever? But Jeffrey Eugenides, I am your bitch. I will believe everything you write.

Internetz, I am all kinds of busy, y u no leave me alone?

Today, my brain clicked. I think it is the result of the seemingly unrelated bunch of images and videos and news stories I've been encountering while trawling the interwebs.I was like the Intersect, except MUCH slower and I still don't know kung fu.

Randomly, have you seen Emmanuel Kelly's rendition of "Imagine" on The X-Factor? The YouTube video has been shared and re-shared on Facebook all day. The info box said: "BEWARE...Make sure you have lots of tissue beside you." I scoffed, Challenge Accepted. And you guys? I cried. (My friends will tell you I cry at anything. They would be right. So I really don't know what I was Challenge Accepted-ing for.) That John Lennon. He knew his shit. And that boy. He can sing.

Anyway, my brain. It is as if twinkly lights have come on one by one in my head and, outside looking in, I feel like I'm looking up at the Sagada night sky in January. I'm thinking more clearly, and I'm inspired. I remember why I'm doing what I'm doing. It will be useful in the coming days and weeks when I will be a writing machine.

Later.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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Superheroes and some mention of my ovaries

A semi-productive day.

Jeepney rides have always done wonders for my cognitive processes. On my way home this evening, I had an epiphany about my thesis. I've had epiphanies about my thesis before, but this time, I feel like maybe I've found the Golden Ticket. Anyway, I have written the idea down and it will soon be fodder for the gods of Academia. No worries, that's just the way things are. I expect my brain will be sufficiently chewed out before this whole operation is over.

Female pop tarts, it is lady time. There is a reason PMS can also stand for Perchance to Maim Someone. One minute, I am stuffing my face with unicorns and rainbows, and the next, I want to break someone's face. It is that week: death glares, gnashing teeth. And I know it, too. I'm aware my rage is irrational the way we realize a dream is a dream. It is Inception in my ovaries.

There will be rain again soon, and its name is Ramon.

And finally:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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Evasive maneuvers

Internetz, I have been blue. It's almost the end of the semester, and there are many papers to write. I'm responding with my usual blend of Procrastination. There is a little bit of Cycling, and much Avoidance (and evidently, an overuse of Capitalization). I've been reading (things mostly unrelated to school and/or work), writing (see: reading), and, I'm ashamed to say, spending too much time on Facebook. I while away the hours until there is nothing left of the day, and I spend most of the night feeling guilty. I realize my lack of productivity and wallow, boxing myself into a corner. Then, to shake off the bad vibes, I find other means of distraction. It's a vicious cycle.

Monday, October 10, 2011

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Tonight:

I am back in The Big City. Seeking refuge in Trese 4: Last Seen After Midnight and a big bag of potato chips.

Friday, October 7, 2011

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Home.

Ickle weblings, hearken! Join me in my elation. I am home.

It has been a strange week, where I was unable to identify my emotions and I have been dragging my feet. I texted Lem to complain about my waning academic drive (a different story), and he assured me that all would be well when I'd get home: "You'll have a few days to refocus here." He was right. As soon as the cold enveloped me, my mind started to clear.

I have always loved October. While September is the cusp of the seasons, October has always signaled the arrival of true cold. This is when the air starts to become crisp, a preview of what December and January will be like. The colors of the city thrum with an animated glow, and I feel my blood come alive. This is how I know things are never as bad as they seem.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

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Steve Jobs dies at 56

Steve Jobs transformed the way we listen to music, how we communicate, and how we perceive media and technology as a whole. But more importantly, he was admired by his peers and respected by the people who worked for him. The man was a visionary.

Steve Jobs passed away today. He was only 56.

Reading is the best medicine

Sunday, October 2, 2011

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The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link

"When you're Dead," Samantha says, "you don't have to brush your teeth."

"When you're Dead," Claire says, "you live in a box, and it's always dark, but you're not ever afraid."

Claire and Samantha are identical twins. Their combined age is twenty years, four months, and six days. Claire is better at being Dead than Samantha.

Read the rest of this deliciously creepy story here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

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I was an island

Believe me, I'm just as surprised as you are. I'm back after only a week of silence. I thought I should take advantage of this random bout of diligence.

This is what the world looks like now: A theater teacher shrewdly uses Joss Whedon's Firefly to demonstrate honor and principle, and is threatened with criminal charges. In the Philippines, government officials are so obtuse and out of touch, they think it's okay to Photoshop themselves into disaster photos. Yes, the world is one big facepalm.

Space Ghost is not amused. [Image source]

There was another typhoon today. I hear Baguio has been having a hard time of it. My family and many of my friends live there, and I am thinking of them. The Philippine name for Typhoon Nalgae is Quiel. It is a strange name. It's the sort of thing fantasy anime fans might name their first born.

It is quiet in the house tonight and I am looking for something to watch to ward off the blues. Earlier today, I found out that Edgar Wright has included Rushmore in his Criterion Top 10. Coolio. I have been itching to watch it since. Acquiring it now because, apparently, I do not have Rushmore among my files. I am not sure how this could have happened, and now I am worried about the state of my Bill Murray collection.


Kelly Link has been an excellent companion during these stormy days. Her stories are smart and spine-tingling, and her writing is just delicious. Really, I can't get enough of it. I am putty in her hands, dazed by her literary swag. First, she makes me laugh. Then, she makes my skin crawl so I am forced to look behind me. Then suddenly, she comes up with a paragraph that is absolutely heart-breaking, like:

Jeremy's father's office is above the garage. In theory, no one is meant to interrupt him while he's working, but in practice, Jeremy's father loves nothing better than to be interrupted, as long as the person who interrupts brings him something to eat. When Jeremy and his mother are gone, who will bring Jeremy's father food? Jeremy hardens his heart.

Kelly Link, I can't even.

In music, I have been listening to more or less the same stuff. Except I've been enjoying a lot more of Allison Weiss. I like her poetry: "I was a wolf, dear, apart from the pack/ But you answered my cries in the dead of the night/ And told me that you had my back."

My Supernatural download has finished, care bears. I'm off to commune with the boys. I'm like a Twi-hard, but for these guys. Later.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

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[Short Title, please]

I finished Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out this afternoon. It's a short story collection edited by Ted Thompson, published by McSweeney's in 2005. The book mostly contains heart-warming/ mildly disturbing tales that can be appealing to both young and adult readers. The entire collection was a delight, but my particular favorites were "Monster" by Kelly Link and "Grimble" by Clement Freud.

Kelly Link writes so cleverly and subtly that you can't tell that the eerie has made a home in your spine. By the time I was finished with her story, I wanted to burrow into my blankets and turn on all of the lights. It was mid-morning. Another thing I wanted to do was read all of her stuff.

I loved "Grimble." It reminded me so much of when I was growing up, when my parents had to travel a lot for work. So, very much like Freud's plucky title character, I learned how to be alone at a young age. In the story, Grimble's parents leave him a list of neighbors he could go to for help. These dears would help him make dinner through notes and thoughtfully written recipes. When both my parents were out of town, I had my grandmother. She told me stories about funny relatives and let me read while she did the crossword puzzle. Grimble was quite the sensible young man, smart and observant in the ways only small people can be. But even more endearing was, he was really still just a little boy missing his parents. I have been missing mine, too.

Neil Gaiman's "Sunbird" and Jonathan Safran Foer's "The Sixth Borough" were also in the collection. It made me happy to read those stories again. "The ACES Phone" by Jeanne DuPrau was the real surprise. I tried hard not to cry. But come on. A puppy and a boy. A recipe for tears.

The stories in the collection were affecting in a deep, quiet way. They alone were a genuine pleasure. But the book itself was an interesting encounter. I'm a sucker for pretty books (yes, I do judge books by their covers). Who would not be drawn to a round, green monster imploring you to hold it? But there's more: inside the dust jacket is the beginning of a story by Lemony Snicket. It was to be finished by brave, willing souls and sent back to the publisher as a contest entry. "The winning entry [was to] be published in a future book, and the author [to] receive a complete set of A Series of Unfortunate Events, signed by Mr. Snicket himself, along with eleven pounds of chocolate, a Venus flytrap, six hundred tiny glass bottles, and a large sack of dirt from Winnipeg."

The proceeds of the book help fund a reading program for young people. A very worthy book for a very worthy cause.

Please read this book.

Looting at the 32nd Manila International Book Fair

Well, this is awkward. I really want to start writing about this big book fair but my brain is obliging me to explain my long absence. I would have to go back a quite a ways because the last time I wrote here was the beginning of June and it is, in fact, the end of September. So, how about we skip that and go straight to the book porn?

I am temporarily putting my blog sabbatical (cough) on hold because I want to write about the 32nd Manila International Book Fair. There were these lovely blog posts on the fair (namely Carina's at Nothing Spaces, Aldrin's at The Automaton, and Bloo's at Bookmarked) and I was inspired to write my own. I love it when people take photos of their books. Hanna and I put up loot posts regularly on The Exchange. It's our mechanism of enablement (this is not a word goodness, it is a word).

Anyhow, I went to the MIBF with Lem. We were there on September 17th, so the fair had already been going on for four days. We got to the convention center pretty early so the crowds were still a bit thin. This is when things started to get crazy:

This is me sniffing around in the National Bookstore bargain bins (I spent most of my time here).

This is Lem smiling behind a new edition of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. The folks at Penguin sure know how to make pretty covers. And look, an introduction by Lev Grossman.

A copy of Jonathan Safran Foer's Tree of Codes. It is a beautiful book. We admired the pages in hushed, reverent tones. I took a photo because I couldn't afford it.

There was a cosplay next door. The Joker and the rest of the Arkham gang came out to play:

These are Lem's bags:

These are my bags:

A third of Lem's buys. He found these during the first five minutes and, just like that, his money vanished into the cash machine. He was particularly taken with the Justice League of America Volume 1: The Tornado's Path. He asked me to read it, and I did. I cried. Damn you and your heart, Roy Harper.

This is my haul:

The most expensive of the lot was the graphic novel Black Hole by Charles Burns, which I got for 20% off. The rest were rooted from the bins. I'm especially pleased with Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I have long been curious about Little Doctor because Neil Gaiman likes it. And since reading You Shall Know Our Velocity, I've been wanting to get me some more Eggers. Also, he has such pretty books. During a quiet moment at the fair, I started reading Zeitoun and it took my breath away. Look:

On moonless nights the men and boys of Jableh, a dusty fishing town on the coast of Syria, would gather their lanterns and set out on their quietest boats. Five or six small craft, two or three fishermen in each. A mile out, they would arrange their boats in a circle on the black sea, drop their nets, and, holding their lanterns over the water, they would approximate the moon.

I've always wanted to own Fevre Dream, George RR Martin's classic vampire novel. This was before A Song of Ice and Fire. On a side note, I finally have (okay, borrowed) a copy of A Dance with Dragons. I will read it when there are no more papers to write and no more workshops to document.

I bought Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson because YA is the source of my happy while living in The Big City. Also because she'd already won me over with a bunch of blue envelopes (and yes, cute English boys). It had a green sticker, and I took that for a good sign. I was lucky, because it did actually mean a 40% discount. Not bad in the way of deals.

My funds are still recovering from that single day of reckless sensible spending. These days, my default financial state is broke. It has been a week since then, and already I am suffering from book-buying withdrawal.

Later.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

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The once and future king

Roger Federer made it to the Finals of the French Open. He defeated Novak Djokovic 7-6 6-3 3-6 7-6, bringing the Serb's 41-0 streak to a grinding halt.

A frustrated Novak (Photo from Roland Garros 2011)

And so, a Nadal-Federer final. Just when you begin to think the world is out of joint, something like this happens and restores your faith in humanity.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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We're halfway.

Yesterday was my last day as an instructor. Havoc duly wreaked.

The end of an (kind of) era has made me introspective.

A lot of my thoughts have been settling on last summer. I'm remembering random details about spending time with my family in The Netherlands and traveling alone. The other day, I suddenly thought about the grey sweatshirt I left on a train to Florence. A gust of nostalgia blew through my rib cage, and consequently rattled my heart. Far-away places tug at me. I miss the mobility.

 
This is me on another train, before I lost my sweatshirt.

Anyway, there will be some of that next week. My return to the Big City is properly underway. Apart from the minor debates on whether or not I should bring the rice cooker or how many mugs I should take, the preparations have been uneventful. Ma has been going around the house, unearthing things that could be useful in the apartment.

For a while, the idea of living in Manila carried stigma. I couldn't think about the place without getting hyper acidic. I suppose, these days, the strong adverse reaction has dialed down. I now respond to Manila in pretty much the same way any Northerner would. I have spent enough time in the mountains putting my soul back together. I love living with my family, but I feel like it's time for me to jump back into the trenches.

Later.

Monday, May 30, 2011

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The world is vast

I have been a very bad blogger. But look-- SeƱor Chang!


And now all is forgiven.

A couple of weeks ago, my family and I went to the beach. I bobbed around in the sea for a bit, then rolled around on the sand with my baby cousins. They collected smooth rocks and I would stick them back in the sand. The babies would promptly find them again. We also made sand castles where you dribble wet sand from your hand until you end up with piles that resemble towers and turrets. When I resigned myself to dry land, I found that my older cousins had rented out a videoke machine for the night. We sang ourselves hoarse.

Between now and the last time I wrote here, there was a little work done on the house. (Yes, that is how long it has been.) Jake now has a room of his own, and the living room walls were repainted. Also, my overhead light has been repaired. That doesn't seem like a big deal, but it is. I have been living in semi-darkness for the last two years. Obviously, my room was generally bright during the day. At night, though, all I had was my reading lamp. Because it's been so long, I have to remind myself to turn on the overhead light in the evening. I now seem to have an easier time finding things at night.

Relocation is in my future. In a yester-post, I briefly mentioned I'd be going back to Manila. That's happening more or less now-ish. The time has come for me to address that scholarly elephant in the room. I have a few more semesters to finish what I started.

I know I had more interesting things to say when I started writing this. Anyway, check out this clever comic strip by IdaEva. I have struggled struggle with my own creativity, and it set off a couple of sparks in my brain.

Later.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

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The Gestalt Prayer

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

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After everything


School has been over for a while. I'm only just getting the hang of moving slowly again. Shortly after I turned in my grades, I went through the usual post-hell week blues. A tiny fraction of my brain understood that I was now without obligation. But I couldn't, for the life of me, figure out exactly what to do with myself. So mostly, I just sat around, studying fascinating bumps on the wall. I also made the rounds in my head, checking for damage.

I've come around since then, but haven't quite gotten to the point where my writing is all flow-y. So bear with me while I incoherently blurt out bits of my life.

In June, I'll be moving back to Manila where spending money is kind of like exhaling. And with all those nice, well-stocked bookstores too. Irony, you sneaky bitch.

The best thing about not having to go to class everyday is I get to read as much as I want. Sure, there are pesky interruptions like bathing and eating, but things on the literary front are golden.

On The Exchange, Hanna and I embark on the 30 Day Book Challenge. We are wreaking all sorts of havoc over there. Join us! As of now, we are up to Day 5.

Ma is back, which is a relief. (I don't think I have to mention how pleased Brother Bear and Dog are.) The first thing she did when she got home was clean. The thing about mothers is, they manage to find dirt even when you thought you'd got everything. So now, the house is clean by maternal standards.

I'm almost done with The West Wing. I know someone who is mightily proud of me.

I'm not teaching this summer, but I have tasks for the department here and there. It's not a bad set-up. I have lots of free time and still get to work for my pay.

I end here. Oh and another thing, school letting out also means I treat my sleeping habits with wanton disregard. Later.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

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You will smile again

Poster from Signalnoise (Click for a list of links to organizations engaged in relief efforts.)

Mother Nature is heaving.

My heart breaks for the people who have lost so much. I pray that they find their way back to hope. I pray that they begin to heal.

I am thankful that the people I love are safe. I pray that they continue to be.

As the first waves reach our shores, I pray that everyone takes care.

While it doesn't seem that way now, things will get better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

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Are you a brutal heart?

I didn't much care for The Romantics, but I'll give you this: it had a killer soundtrack. I have fallen absolutely in love with this song:

Brutal Hearts by Bedouin Soundclash featuring Coeur de Pirate

Thursday, February 17, 2011

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Congratulations, this is a rant

Strange day where I lectured for three hours straight in the morning and there were two consecutive earthquakes in the afternoon.

I went home early today and almost fell asleep watching The Romantics. I don't think it had anything to do with my recent lack of sleep. I hear it is based on a book, which I have not read. The author wrote the screenplay, which should have been a good thing. It was also brimming with beautiful people, including Malin Akerman whom I have always had a guilty crush on. Also, Anna Paquin and Adam Brody. And Katie Holmes without her famous hair. And Josh Duhamel. These ridiculously gorgeous actors play a bunch of college friends who reunite to see two of their own get wed. This movie had so much potential but it tripped all over itself in the effort to realize it. I'm not sure even Josh Duhamel's abs could have saved it, but it would have helped to have had more of that. He recites a poem, but by then, I was only watching because I am polite.

So. Out of politeness, I finished the movie and then went to sleep. It was touch and go at first (I had me some caffeine), but my exhaustion eventually won out. It was the kind of sleep where drool is a definite possibility and strange, vivid dreams are a given. It would have been restful, but I woke up when the sun was going down. Naps that end in twilight are the worst. I get cranky and often declare that I Want To Rip Someone's Head Off.

In It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, the protagonist Craig Gilner obsesses about his numerous daily tasks until he becomes paralyzed and is unable to accomplish anything. He calls this process Cycling. Vizzini provides a name for something I am quite familiar with (In another post, I will talk more about how much I could relate to It's Kind of a Funny Story, it was kind of alarming). I have had episodes where it became impossible for me to finish anything because I would psyche myself out with overthinking. And because I was unproductive, I would fall into a depressed stupor. This has not been the case lately, though. I have been mobile and prompt, and participating. But even then, there is still so much to do. This would not be so bad, but there are also the unforeseen and unfortunate setbacks to deal with. My frustration and anxiety about school has been growing, and I can feel my brain ticking. Fuckstockings, I am teetering on the edge of Cycling.

**********
Writing helped, but I feel bad that this negativity is now loose in the Universe. To begin the healing, I give you chicken and potatoes!


Later.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

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A respite


It has been a long week. The days are zipping by without so much as a by-your-leave, and I am hard-pressed to keep up. I've been so tired, the words coming out of my mouth or through the keys are sometimes not the words I come up with in my head. I am unaware of how many potentially embarrassing blunders I've unleashed into the Universe. Perhaps my brain is feeling weary and is now making the necessary dissociation from the rest of my body. School has been relentless.

Now on to other things:

I have actually been reading, which bodes well for ailing brain functions. Lately, though, I can only seem to finish Light Books That Make Me Giggle (but not excluding Light-ish Books With Hidden Dark Corners) and not Serious Books That Are Considered Relevant To Our Times. I will let you know when I have become emotionally primed to take on the latter. For now, I will continue to wade in the refreshing pools of pleasant distraction.

TV, as always, has been kind enough to comply with my need for lighter fare. White Collar is back, and what can be more distracting than Matt Bomer in suits? His eyes are like the ocean. Haha. There are new episodes of Chuck too, but I cannot say I'm pleased with where the story is going. I've also been watching Friends a lot, because it shields me from the anxiety that wells up when I think about school things.

The Australian Open is coming to a close, and neither Federer nor Nadal will be playing tomorrow. Roger's was a particularly sour loss, because it was to Djokovic, who has been irritating to me lately. In other news, Nadsy has been modeling underwear for Armani. Good. Lord.

Hanna posted this on my Wall to confound me.

More belated, personal news: my birthday came and went quietly amid the daily blur of work and Being. Jake and I went out for a snack to celebrate.


I also got a bunch of books to show for turning a year older. Lem let me loose in a bookstore, and I made off with quite a haul. Hanna got me a birthday book for readers where I learned Lem shares his birthday with Jane Austen.

I will end here because my stomach is informing me that it is lunch time. Later.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Tales of childhood


On The Exchange, we celebrate Roald Dahl month! And we are giving away a copy of Boy! The contest details are here. Happy reading!

2011 Reads


These are the books I have read this year, so far:
  1. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
  2. Girl Goddess #9 by Francesca Lia Block
  3. Just in Case by Meg Rosoff
  4. NP by Banana Yoshimoto
  5. This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
  6. One Day by David Nicholls
  7. You Shall Know Our Velocity! by Dave Eggers
  8. Second Hand by Michael Zadoorian
  9. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
  10. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  11. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  12. The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano
  13. Dramarama by E. Lockhart
  14. On Love by Alain de Botton
  15. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
  16. Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
  17. Starter for Ten by David Nicholls
  18. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  19. You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons by Mo Willems
  20. Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  21. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  22. The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson
  23. What Happened to Goodbye? by Sarah Dessen
  24. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
  25. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
  26. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Schteyngart
  27. Justice League of America Volume 1: The Tornado's Path by Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes
  28. Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out, Edited by Ted Thompson (with Eli Horowitz)
  29. Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
  30. Daytripper by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon
  31. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
  32. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
  33. My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer
  34. Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett
  35. Encore Provence by Peter Mayle
  36. No Tomorrow by Vivant Denon
  37. Trese 4: Last Seen After Midnight by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo
  38. The Heroes of Olympus Book One: The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
  39. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
  40. Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
  41. Enough About Love by Herve Le Tellier
  42. Fantastic Women: 18 Tales of the Surreal and Sublime from Tin House
  43. A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
  44. Let it Snow: Three Holiday Romances by Maureen Johnson, John Green, and Lauren Myracle
  45. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Friday, January 7, 2011

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So sleepy...but wait!

On The Exchange, I write a long overdue review for A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. This book is one of my best reads for 2010, and now an all-time favorite:


"A Dirty Job was my first taste of what would later become an acute addiction to Moore’s work. To say I was impressed is a gross understatement. I basked in the unhinged humor, the zingy back-and-forths between kooky characters, and the thick tangle of a plot. In between all that, Moore manages to make social commentary with his study of the Beta Male and talks about death and reincarnation in a new and interesting light. I was reeling, mystified as to where all this awesomeness had been all my life. So there I was, happily wandering around in this aforementioned blur of awesome, when out of nowhere, I was accosted by hell-hounds and reanimated forest animals and sewer harpies! It was madness. It was magnificent. All this in superb writing."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

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The year so far

January has been okay thus far. My return to school was surprisingly uneventful (i.e. the forces of Procrastination did not make an appearance), and everything else is more or less getting on smashingly. But for some mysterious reason, I keep mucking around in the darker corners of my head. I am writing this post to remind myself that THERE IS NOTHING TO BE DEPRESSED ABOUT. And also, lists are fun.
  • I live in a place with lots of strawberries.
  • I have a Lemur who loves me.
  • I have great friends.
  • I have a large black dog who is always around for spontaneous hugging, and a tall-ish little brother who talks to me about airplanes (and is also around for a hug should he permit it).
  • I have a bunch of books (understatement) waiting to be read. (Dear Attention Span, I wish you would stop disappearing at inopportune times. I would really like to finish a book.)
  • I have time to read. A miracle, because I thought my only reading material this month would be evil, ungraded papers.
  • I bought a smaller bag for my camera...so that I could put it in a bigger bag. Shuddup. It's preeettty.
  • It's blinkin' cold up here. (We didn't need snow, you idiots.)
  • I have Assam tea again, thanks to a friend. In October when I ran out (Was it October? It feels longer.), I survived, but barely. My life was in shambles without it.

So. Life is pretty great. I want I want I want to get out of my head.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

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2010 in photos

Here are a bunch of photos from a truly nebulous year:

         *The last six photos in the final row are borrowed from Inky of inkytakespictures.

As for resolutions, I promise to drink more cups of positivi-tea: let there be good cheer in my cold, black heart all year round.

Happy 2011, Universe!
May you continue to shower us with a slew of interesting, random serendipitous events.
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