Tag Archives: books

Oh, What a Day.

Can’t seem to think of any other way to express my sentiments. Sigh.                                             (Photo courtesy of vimeo.com)

Where to begin? I guess I’ve been setting myself up for this day, thinking that I would be able to do whatever I put my mind to. But my body had other plans.

This post is impulsive, because I just had to get out of the confines of my head, which at the moment is obsessed with reading the Hollows series by Kim Harrison. My mind seems to have forgotten that I have papers and exams coming up, and decided to let me stay up until the wee hours of the morning just reading. Finishing 3 books in four days when you still have to go to school for a minimum of 8 hours a day, plus gym thrice a week, and still get to do all the homeworks and read all the assigned journals and books is no small feat. Probably exactly why I wasn’t able to accomplish it.

Today was the last exam for the first half of one of my majors – and I totally bombed the it. I think I’d be lucky to get 30 percent from the restriction mapping and the other things I was able to guess, but I don’t plan on getting my hopes higher than that. I didn’t want this to happen to me, or at least that’s what I keep thinking. For the past few days, my classmates have been studying their butts off for the exam and doing papers while I work on papers and read Harrison’s novels. And to think I plan on applying for the laboratory of the teacher whose test I bombed.. I don’t know what’s going on with me, and what blew my priorities away.

I truly hope I’d be able to get back on track. Thankfully, there are still some silver linings in this huge, threatening cloud. Having finished books 2-4 of the Hollows series (namely, The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; and A Fistful of Charms), I now bring my 2014 reading goal to 5 down, 18 to go! Yes, this series is violent and has a little bit of erotica woven into it (because where there are vampires, sex often follows) but the way K. Harrison wrote the books makes me want to live in that world she has created. Oh, when will the Turn take place on my Earth?

To clarify: I wasn’t able to finish studying for my exam because I fell asleep. ‘Finish studying’ is even pushing it, since I didn’t even get to read or go through at least half of the coverage of the exam. I also wasn’t able to finish a paper on biological ballistics due today, but the universe/God decided to give me a helping hand and our 10 am-1 pm class was cancelled, giving me loads of time to finish it. Which brings to mind: why am I writing a blog post when I should be finishing the paper? The fate of the paper solely rests on my laptop’s battery; thank God I had the sense to buy one from Acer’s Aspire Timeline X line.

To finish this post, I admit that this is one of those times that I truly lost track of what I’m supposed to be focusing on at this point in my life. While I know I’m going to be regretting the results of my lack of sense of priority, I don’t regret the things I did. I truly enjoyed myself while doing them, even when they added virtually irreversible bags under my eyes. And to top it all off, I still have my gym time to look forward to this afternoon. I guess it isn’t all so bad, right? But if the Sorting Hat was to have a say, I doubt he’d consider putting me in Hufflepuff even for just a second.

“..For I’m the Hogwarts Sorting Hat, and I can cap them all.
There’s nothing hidden in your head the Sorting Hat can’t see,
So try me on and I will tell you where you ought to be.
You might belong in Gryffindor, where dwell the brave at heart;
Their daring, nerve, and chivalry set Gryffindors apart;
You might belong in Hufflepuff where they are just and loyal;
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true and unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wise old Ravenclaw, if you’ve a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin, you’ll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means to achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don’t be afraid! And don’t get in a flap!
You’re in safe hands (though I have none), for I’m a Thinking Cap!”
— excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Missed Connection: A Visit Down Memory Lane

^I’m not such a fan of breaking the words in the wrong places, but I really like the concept. (Photo from http://www.buffalocomedy.com/)

I’ll get right into it because it’s a school night and nearing 2 am already. This is just one of those things that’s been bugging me for a while now, and even causing some restless dreams..so cliche, right? Moreover, the thoughts may have been reinforced when my family started watching the series entitled Sherlock. If you’re a fan of both the books and the past movies, I highly recommend you watch this; after all, there’s just 3 episodes to a season (and the show is currently on its third). The simple connection was this: Benedict Cumberbatch’s appearance reminded me of this guy. Of course, I don’t mean to say that he was as sexy as dear Sherlock, but he shared the general look.

When I was in my early years of high school, I was inclined to be close to some upper years because they were our ‘guides’ as to how to get around the campus, and they were our ‘seniors’ in various organizations. I was pretty sociable but I’ve never really been part of the popular ‘in’ crowd; I gravitated towards ‘more lonely’ people who seemed interesting but just didn’t have an ear to tell their stories to. If I was lucky, I’d end up with a really quiet person whom I’d gradually get to open up to me. This was (and still is, when it happens) gratifying because you can feel the person’s trust building and I’ve always found it nice, seeing them ‘come out of their shells’.

Moving on, there was this boy that I think was at least 2 years older than me; I don’t remember seeing him while I was in my junior year, but maybe I was just too preoccupied with my academics and same-age friends by then. Like B. Cumberbatch’s version of Sherlock, he was white, tall, and had a lanky frame; I think he wore glasses from time to time. He looked like he has some foreign blood, and I remember having primarily-English conversations with him. Thinking back, he seemed to prefer being by himself. Nevertheless, I distinctly remember taking walks with him around or school’s oval, something I don’t normally do with people unless we have long, interesting conversations. I truly hope I wasn’t obvious, but I had a crush on him back then. We got along quite well, although I don’t remember how exactly we stopped talking to one another..

Fast-forward to college. I remember thinking where he could have gone, if he even decided to stay in the same country. I didn’t dwell on it; I was pretty preoccupied with adjusting to college life and trying to face my impending academical challenges with renewed ardor. But one day, I saw him: it wasn’t hard to mistake that face for anyone else’s. He grew his hair out and was then sporting a shoulder-length head of curls, not that it fit him well. I distinctly remember feeling the urge to hide and at the same time wondering why he was alone, and whether he would remember me. I’d say we were quite close in high school, so who’s to say the past cannot repeat itself?

I was able to put him out of my mind in time. My classes pretty much confined me to my college’s set of buildings, and I never so much as caught a glimpse of him in the past semesters. But this semester, I’m taking a GE (General Education) class in the Archaeology building, which he seems to frequent. He got a haircut (oh yes please, now you’re looking more like Sherlock!) and looked as if he didn’t change at all since high school! Which then made me reconsider reacquainting myself with him. I eventually got curious enough to consider greeting him sometime; curious at to whether our previous closeness can be reestablished, and whether he just really preferred to be alone like before but still had an interesting personality.

I have doubts of course. I don’t remember his name. He would have recognized me several encounters before if he did remember me, but he showed no signs of recognition. I don’t remember anything specific about him, I just remembered being close to him; consequentially, I feel apprehensive at approaching him because I have no idea on how to open the conversation on a lighthearted yet familiar and welcoming note.

We’ll see in the coming days whether my curiosity gets the better of me, or not.

On other news, I’ve re-finished the first 5 books of the Harry Potter series! I’m now on the 6th book, which is just fitting as I was able to choose the corresponding films as the subject on my upcoming report in my Film GE. I’m supposed to focus on the essay; but it never hurt being familiar with the original works, right? 😉

Mr. Ollivander cried, “Oh, bravo! Yes, indeed, oh, very good. Well, well, well.. how curious.. how very curious..” He put Harry’s wand back into its box and wrapped it in brown paper, still muttering, “Curious.. curious..”
“Sorry,” said Harry, “but what’s curious?”
Mr. Ollivander fixed Harry with his pale stare.
“I remember every wand I’ve ever sold, Mr. Potter. Every single wand. It so happens that the phoenix whose tail feather is in your wand, gave another feather — just one other. It is very curious indeed that you should be destined for this wand when its brother why, its brother gave you that scar.”
–excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Obligatory Post for the New Year (2014)

This photo captures not just the new year, but the name of my blog’s new theme. Inspired, right? :))

Different posts have been popping up on Twitter and leaking onto Facebook (and vice versa) recently, among which include the “Give me a number and I’ll write you a message without anyone knowing” and the “List 10 books that have touched you; tag me and 9 other friends”. While I was irked that my Twitter/FB feed was flooded (and I didn’t want to start unfollowing and unfriending people left and right since I knew this trend would pass, as others did), I did answer the latter with a post of my own. Here are the 10 books I listed (along with the original instructions of the post):

Don’t take more than a few minutes and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the ‘right’ or ‘great’ works, just the ones that have touched you. Tag 10 friends, including me, so I’ll see your list.

1. Poison (Chris Wooding)
2. Ender series (1-7) (Orson Scott Card)
3. Solitaire Mystery (Jostein Gaardner)
4. Harry Potter series (JK Rowling)
5. Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher)
6. Adorkable (Sarra Manning)
7. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
8. Elsewhere (Gabrielle Zevin)
9. Why We Broke Up (Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket)
10. Brida (Paulo Coelho)

I was reluctant to answer this at first because I thought that it would be really hard to choose among the hundreds of books that I’ve already read. However, once I actually followed the instruction, it wasn’t hard at all! Well, except for the bit where you try to remember the actual book titles and their authors.

And since it’s the New Year, resolutions have been cropping up all over the place as well! I myself haven’t really been able to keep my resolutions (in fact, I didn’t even write a letter and then burn it. I used to do that the past years) because I either forgot them over time or felt that sticking to them wasn’t that necessary. So I’m just going to set goals for myself this year. By the end of 2014, I should:

  • Weigh less than 120 lbs and have been maintaining it for at least 3 weeks.
  • Have taken (and completed) at least 1 Tribesports challenge every month. (almost 1 down: Day 5/7 done – 10 proper push-ups every day!)
  • Have ran/jogged at least twice a week, for every week that there is school.
  • Read at least 23 new books. (1 down: City of Secrets by Mary Hoffman.)

This may seem like a really short list (which it is), but I think it’s 100% attainable given my limitations. Oh, and since I/you/we have a whole new year to look forward to, I figure that it’s high time to change the way I’ve been ending my posts. I recently chose to relive my ‘childhood’ by rereading the Harry Potter series (I have, in fact, finished the first 2 books already and well into the 3rd); and thus, I shall end all my posts from a quote in the series.
And what better way to start the year than with a bang?

“STOP! I FORBID YOU!” yelled Uncle Vernon in panic.
Aunt Petunia gave a gasp of horror.
“Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh,” said Hagrid.
“Harry — yer a wizard.”
–excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Because One End Wasn’t Enough

Friday was a mixture of feelings. I have no idea why, but I realize now, looking at my blogging archive, that  December seems to always induce a cacophony of feelings; and hence, a lot of blog posts. I did not do well in my long exam (given that I fell asleep while studying) and did quite well in my long quiz. This was quite unexpected, as I barely studied for that long quiz.

Anyway, after all academic requirements were done for the day, there were still a couple of hours before we had to start getting ready for the carol-singing competition (hereafter referred to as ‘carolfest’). We got to talking about movies that are now showing and a couple of classmates and I decided on watching Ender’s Game. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time because the story was so..epic. One of my classmates said that the author’s not so great in real life as he’s actively homophobic, etc. but I think that that shouldn’t hinder me from being able to appreciate his work (although I admittedly give him money in the process of doing so). Now, I am not just writing to review the movie, but I admit that I will rant about it somehow in this post. So be warned: this post may contain spoilers. (If you want to skip the review and go on to the other part of my day, just speed-scroll down.)

There is no denying: THIS. MOVIE. IS. EPIC. AND. AWESOME.

One of the things I loved about Ender’s Game (and I guess, consequently, the creativity of Orson Scott Card) was the scientific accuracy of many of the parts. It never ceases to amaze me how authors like him can write futuristic novels so far in the future that generations later, people will still consider their novels futuristic. Also, their technological ideas in the books, albeit seeming far-fetched, seem to be more and more possible as advances arise in the technological front; that is, their ideas and current advancements seem to coincide. Sometimes, I can’t help but wonder if inventors get their ideas from books such as these. Being a molecular biologist with a decent background on chemistry, mathematics, physics, and general biology, the original Ender’s series appealed to me as well as the books about Bean. The political stuff though, not so much. Anyway, onto the movie.

I am currently taking film as a GE (General Education) subject, in which they encourage us to dissect films. As it was, I was pretty much on the lookout for any indicators present in the movie about plans for any sequels. Disappointingly, I found things that suggest otherwise. For example, they made Ender and Bean go to Battle School in the same launchie group. Bean was supposed to shine on his own, even if both boys were supposed to enter Battle School at a younger age than normal. One of the problems, I think, was that people were so tall; it was hard to emphasize that Ender and Bean were advanced earlier than they should have been. This was a key point to the story, as a lot of the discrimination towards them came from their age, since Battle School was a place in which teenagers valued experience often proportional to the length of time a person lives. I mean honestly, it was a little amusing to see Bonzo toughening it up to Ender while looking up at him.

They also made Ender and Bean quite close, although Alai was injected into the friendship moments before Ender was catapulted to the Salamander Army. Bean was supposed to be in a launchie group with his brother, although unknowingly. This is a crucial change from the book, as it affects the way Bean will discover his family in any future sequel (if there will be any). Also, Bean was supposed to be really curious about what all the hype about Ender was about before actually meeting him; he was supposed to be pretty arrogant when they finally got to be in the same team in the Dragon Army. Bernard wasn’t supposed to be in the Dragon Army; he was supposed to be the bully left behind, a sign of Ender winning over his followers and how they will have come to love him. I must say that while I disapprove of these changes as it pretty much discourages those who have read the books to think of the possibility of a sequel, they pretty much work out in the overall scheme of the movie.

Don’t get me wrong; the movie was epic. Even one classmate I was with, who didn’t read the books, said so. However, I dislike how they didn’t include more fight scenes, both during Ender’s leadership of the Dragon Army and more simulations in Command School. These challenges were supposed to emphasize what a great tactical leader and strategist he was, and how he came to be one who commands respect and love from his soldiers without being lenient. Also, one thing I really, really hate about this movie was how they made lose one battle/simulation in Command School. I think it was an important part of the story how Ender never lost; how, no matter how dire the situation may be, he always won. It made him undefeatable and even more admirable and loved in the eyes of all those under his charge. One more thing to note was how they didn’t show the subtle signs that should have befuddled Ender’s jeesh: how they were supposed to be required to turn their heads to the left and to the right while issuing commands, etc. which were supposed to be indicatory of their actual relaying of orders to real people, unbeknownst to them.

The ultimate thing, I think, that absolutely shouted to me, “THERE WILL BE NO SEQUEL” was how they made Ender go off into space with the cocoon of the Hive Queen, alone. For all those who’ve read the books, we all know that Valerie was supposed to offer him to go with her in one of the colony ships, both to start anew and to avoid being ‘used’ by the other countries that will most likely fight over governance of the Earth once the Formics were defeated. From a producer’s point of view, I knew that a lot of what was written in the books won’t just sell to a big crowd if made into a movie; some of the things were just to scientific and will only really appeal and fascinate people with a pretty decent science background and/or people ‘in love’ with the idea of alien life forms. However, sometimes I wish there was funding for movies/stories like these, like for Star Wars.

Overall, this movie was epic and awesome. I don’t know how I don’t get tired of saying those words, but I can’t think of any other words to describe the awe I felt while watching the movie. Although I felt that some scenes were lacking, this rendition did do the book(s) some justice. The effects were astounding and almost flawless; the portrayal of the asteroid the Formics once inhabited (and where Command School was then located) was interesting and may be exactly what the author had in mind; and the casting, despite their inappropriate heights, did justice to the book(s)’ characters. I must say, I can’t help but fall for the movie, even for just a little bit.

Around 4:30 pm, we had to go back to school to get ready for the carolfest. In high spirits, I was pretty optimistic of our performance..at least until we got to the venue. We were singing it out against 11 other teams (10, if you count out the Rockhounds who basically do Christmas carols’ spoofs every year) and I had a solo part in our choice piece. When they read out the criteria, I felt quite resigned upon knowing that 15% was allotted for the props alone, of which we had none. But we were the 7th performer, which was my favorite number; the curtains were closed prior to our performance, giving us enough time to troubleshoot outside of our performance time limit (and which also gave us an advantage, as the audience and the judges were able to take a short break from 6 repetitions of the contest piece). All ‘omens’ were popping up to our favor, so I still had more than a shred of hope that we might win, even just 2nd or 3rd place.

But, as the night came to an end, we finally had to face the truth: we didn’t win. Admittedly, no one sings in a competition to not win (even if you count the Rockhounds; they got a minor award), but it doesn’t mean we weren’t proud of what we accomplished. Our conductor, a senior, told us that no matter what, our performance right there was the best he’s ever heard us. And while that may be sugarcoating it, I think it’s important to note that this was not the end of our lives. Our efforts may not have been so fruitful, but this just closes another chapter of our lives. I don’t know if I just have this mindset because I’ve joined the University-wide carolfest and have won only 3rd place once, and know that losing on a much bigger scale has this effect on dampening any future feelings of losing; however, I know this much: Moving on, when done right and in an appropriate pace (and of course, with a positive attitude) can open doors to bigger, more impressive things.

So, here’s to the future. And because it’s the 7th of December (my favorite number), I’m going to take this chance to greet you all a very merry Christmas. 🙂

Over and out,