Tag Archives: singing

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,

*******23

As Luck Would Have It

The four-leaf clover. Stuff of legends, this one is.

A day before our college-wide carolfest (and also the day of an exam and a ‘learning center activity’ worth ~20% and ~7.5% of my grade in those subjects, respectively), all my majors’ subjects were cancelled due to an ongoing seminar held by the Philippine Society of Molecular Biology (something like that), which my professors and selected senior students had to attend. So basically, I just had one class (4-5:30 pm) and choir rehearsals afterwards. The night before, we had a very unsuccessful rehearsal due to the lack of people present; we couldn’t get our dynamics right and a lot of people weren’t able to remember their tunes. This happening two days before the competition, in my entire choir history, was unspeakable and unacceptable; thus, we finished the night in a glum mood. Despite wanting to practice, I also couldn’t stay late tonight due to my exams. So my plans for the next night & day were:

  • Study (not just read) Chapter 2 of From Genes to Genomes (FGtG)
  • Wake up early and go to school, as usual; but stay at the library the whole day, save for lunch time
  • Attend my class at 4-5:30 pm, and afterwards, my choir rehearsal at 5:30-7 pm.

When I went home, I just crashed on the couch because I felt tired. I didn’t plan to sleep; in fact, I couldn’t sleep for nearly an hour before I did. I wasn’t able to change out of my clothes (nor wash my face, brush my teeth, the whole enchilada) since I didn’t even plan on sleeping in the first place. This was alright in the long run though, as it will hopefully help in my recovery from colds that I am currently afflicted with. But then, the universe/God decided to have a field day with me.

When I woke up and was perusing through my clothes, I decided to wear a skirt. I used a newly-bought razor to shave my legs and did so while taking a bath. For the first time ever in my history of shaving (which I do in between waxes), I got nicked, and so many times! In fact, I ended up with 3 small ones (as big as ‘.’) and 6 big ones so much for flawless legs. The wounds were the kind that were shallow but kept bleeding, so I had to hunt for some Band-aids and Bactroban (an antibacterial ointment; works nicely on wounds). Since I was running late because I was too busy stopping the bleeding, I decided to go with what I initially planned to wear; I thought that the bleeding would stop and the wounds be relatively unnoticeable in an hour. Well, I apparently had another think coming.

Before getting in the car, my grandmother made a remark to me about not getting a hot beverage whenever she’s heated up some water, but looking for some when there weren’t any. So to pacify her, I filled a mug 2/3 of the way..only to realize, once I was in the car and we have sped away, that I didn’t have any of my morning cocoa with me. #facepalm right? So I offered my sister a drink from my jug and transferred the hot water there instead. Next, when I was putting my ‘face base’ (which is a lavender-tinged moisturizer of sorts), a couple of drops landed on my dark navy blue shirt! Talk about disaster! I tried washing them away but they wouldn’t completely fade, so I just decided to ‘paint’ on a design of stitches (more on this later). I was really frustrated at this point because my wounds were still bleeding, my legs looked butchered, and my shirt was a mess. I was even starting to sweat, which rarely happened with our car’s AC. All these within the first 2 hours of the day. 😦

By this time, we were nearing the mall where I was supposed to be dropped off, since it has a jeep terminal which would have made my commuting easier. Driven by frustration, I decided to tell my mom that I’ll just go down at her office and commute from there, even though the commuting would be loads harder. I relayed my frustrations to her and she wasn’t..much help really, but she couldn’t be blamed. I even told her I wanted to cry because everything was going downhill. I possibly couldn’t be in the right mind to study with all the pent-up frustration! But when my mom left me (because she was going to be late; she waited for me for a couple of seconds), that’s when I really broke down.

I’ve never had a day like this before. I’ve experienced days when I’ve had to cram everything due that day, be it various requirements or tests and quizzes, but they have never given me such frustration. I guess it was all the little things together that just convinced me that today was doomsday, figuratively. But after crying it out (which, as Violet said, can be a really great stress-relieving habit), I composed myself and put what few Band-aids I had on the bigger wounds on my legs. I then went up to my mom’s office and told myself that I could study there even if her office-mates were noisy (I swear, it’s like a market up there. I remember asking her once how the heck she manages to get things done.)

Maybe now, my ‘luck’ would change. Once in my mom’s office, she told me that my stitch designs looked ghastly and insisted on my removing them, which I did with her soap and dried them using paper. It worked, even though it felt really cold for a couple of hours. Then, I set-up on her table and started reading FGtG. After a while, I accompanied her to buy extra food from the canteen, extra Band-aids from their in-house shop, and snacks for what I foresaw as a long night due to things I still haven’t studied. We bought pineapple slices and pork liver steak, too. 🙂 Then, their 3 pm snack time rolled around. Usually, they buy raw ingredients and just cook different foods themselves; but today, one of them treated the whole office to 4 boxes of Shakeys’ pizza! Ah, what a feast for the palette.

Afterwards, I arrived at school earlier than usual and even got to chat with my group mates and teacher. Then I went to practice, in which we fine-tuned our transitions, choreography, and mostly got everything correct. On our way home, we met up with my uncle who got a call past 8 pm; apparently, a water pipe broke/burst and the water supply was going to be turned off at 9pm! My mom and I hurried home and went about filling drums and pails. The water was turned off at 10pm.

Just starting to study now. I hope that God will guide me throughout the night, and that He, or the universe, won’t deal me any more mishaps. I also hope that I’ll still have my voice for tomorrow, even if sleep-deprived.

Hoping,

*******23

P.S.: It’s my first time writing a blog post throughout the day. I guess it’s really different when you write about what happened a mere couple (2-4) of hours after that thing happened; the emotions are still fresh, as well as the details. 8) Such a long post though.

The Week-long Irony

Definition of "irony" from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Definition of “irony” from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.

I don’t know if there’s any clearer way of explaining how apt the title is than by narrating the things that have happened to me this past week. If you’re uncertain of the definition of the word ‘irony’ (as was I, when I began writing this post), I have included a short definition of it from Merriam-Webster. I hope it would suffice.

Tuesday. My sister just started her on-the-job training at The Buffet, a restaurant located along Commonwealth, Quezon City. They are required to wear uniforms which included white long-sleeved blouses and black flats. My sister insisted on buying these items Tuesday afternoon. I didn’t want to go since I was tired from a long day at school, but I eventually went and waited for her at Starbucks while writing my notes. I drank an iced peppermint mocha (sorry, but I really prefer the taste of CBTL beverages. Good thing this isn’t a drink review), which will come into play later. Once we were together, we proceeded to shop and I discovered that there was an ongoing sale on women’s lingerie/underwear, so I went to buy 2 bras while she went looking for her tops. I also got to buy a pair of really comfortable beige flats! (Note that I didn’t want to go to the mall in the first place.) When we were having our items reserved, I suddenly realized that my phone, wallet, and handkerchief were gone. Nothing out of the ordinary happened in the last few moments, so it was really confusing. We talked with the mall management and asked for a review of the CCTV records, but it ‘just so happened’ that the cameras were focused on the merchandise and its view of me was cut. WOW. The biggest irony was that I’ve been planning to replace my wallet and phone for some time; I even have a replacement wallet ready at home since my wallet’s leather was peeling already. Also, I lost 600-700 Php with the wallet..and just moments before, I offered to pay for my flats which cost 600 Php.

Wednesday. I spent part of the weekend writing pre-laboratory protocols for one of my lab classes. Suddenly, we were informed the night before that we were going to do primer design instead of plant DNA extraction since some needed reagents were out of stock. Just when I finally didn’t cram my pre-lab notes, we didn’t have to use them. 😐 Furthermore, I think we spent more time figuring out how to install Beacon Primer Designer (a program) rather than the actual designing….

Thursday. My Archaeology class is held every Tuesday and Thursday, from 4-5:30 pm. Last Tuesday, a guy was added to our group, still making me the only girl in the group. I talked with him and found out that we were in the same year and that he also sings, among other things. I thought that he may be a potential crush and was even thinking of blogging about him. When we had class today (meaning Thursday), I realized that I felt no attraction to him at all. Oh heart, what a fickle ‘mind’ you have.

Friday. I was hurrying from my tissue culture lab class to my film class and was running late. I asked Violet (refer to past previous posts) if she could drive me there because I didn’t want to miss the movie we were going to watch, as we had to write a paper about it. When I got to the building (15-20 minutes late), all my classmates were waiting outside the room because it was locked. 😐 I even had to look for the person that our teacher supposedly left in charge of our class’ activities for that day. I hurried for nothing!! and wasted Violet’s gas allowance in the process of doing so. >_<

Saturday. I went to school for two reasons: to help out in the applicants’ orientation of my university’s floorball organization, which I’m applying for, and to attend my institute’s organizations’ practice for the carol-fest (a Christmas singing competition), which is taking place on December 6. I was running late because it was Bonifacio Day (look it up if you want 🙂 ) and my usual route was overcome with traffic. I couldn’t text anyone because I had no phone. When I arrived at the venue, there was no one. I wasn’t able to go online the night before, and had no updates as to whether the event was moved. Note that this was going to be the first meeting that I’d be attending this semester, and it was apparently moved to next week 😐 So I proceeded to my university’s main library, intending to study for my exams this following week. To my surprise, the library was closed! And with a face-palm, I realized it’s because of Bonifacio Day, yet again. I then went to my institute’s building to study there..only to pass the time exchanging stories with our resident guard.

A good thing though, was that I got the solo part I was pining for 🙂 However, I’ve been feeling under the weather since Wednesday/Thursday night (which is why I’ve only been sleeping for the past couple of nights instead of studying) and this sore throat keeps bugging me. Just when I finally get the part did I get sick. Why Universe/God, why? 😦

Hoping everything works out (and soon),

*******23

P.S. Currently reading From Genes to Genomes: Concepts and Applications of DNA Technology. Never thought I’d say this, but I actually find it fun and enlightening to read a textbook for once. This is awesome ❤

Finding Strength

As it turns out, the temptation to blog is too much for me to resist. But I still won’t be blogging about rather personal stuff; let us let those wounds heal. I’ve thought of other stuff to blog about though.

Last Friday, I was definitely a mess. We had quizzes all day long and I don’t think I was able to answer any of them decently, specially Physics (which is ironic, since it’s the only one I really studied for). It was hard not to project my bad performance, and I was getting depressed by the hour. I even ranted to Violet about it, how I felt grim about my future in our course. Tonight, I was looking for a song to sing solo at one of our chorale practices when I stumbled upon this song. I have to say, it really touched me deeply and gave me some hope. 🙂 (although yeah it’s about love, it may well be also about life)

Onto other things: I just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s Brida, a story revolving around a witch who was trying to find and follow her path. The book also focused on the topic of soul mates, how it’s the greatest mission of one’s life for every incarnation. Meeting your soul mate, even for a mere moment, completes you; however, a person has more than one soul mate in this world (due to different lineages, etc.) and meeting more than one soul mate in one lifetime can bring about sadness and despair. That was Brida’s predicament. I’ve told enough; if you want to know more, try it–it’s a very fascinating and liberating read.

A part of a conversation in the book really stuck with me though. One of the Teachers was telling Brida how God has plans for all of us, how he gave each person a Gift. Brida explained that even though she has found her path, she wants to live her life the way others do: by making mistakes and learning from them. The Teacher responded that life runs on mistakes; cells replicate over and over until a single mistake was made, introducing change into that endless repetition. (this really appealed to the scientist in me; what a profound way to explain evolution!) Now, Brida questioned what the Teacher said, using Adam and Eve as examples and how they were cast out of Paradise. The Teacher replied, “And they will return one day, knowing the miracle of the heavens and of all the world. God knew what He was doing when He drew their attention to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If He hadn’t wanted them to eat it, He would never have mentioned it.” The Teacher proceeded by saying that Adam and Eve’s mistake set the whole world in motion. I’ve always thought of it this way: surely the all-knowing God was able to predict how those two would act? And following that thought, we should be thanking them for sinning in that garden, else we won’t be existing right now. (we ought to be thankful even if everyone born inherits their sin)

Over and out,

*******23