Category Archives: books

08/25 – 26/12 Odds and Ends

Listening to: “Wag Kang Matakot” by Eraserheads

Reading : “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell

This is by far one of my more “productive” weekends. Meaning, I’ve actually managed to do something of import. As opposed to sleeping my ass off from sunrise to sundown (and sometimes all throughout the evening as well. I tend to wake up around 1:00 AM though).

One of my friends invited me to become a member of one of the art groups he’s currently into. An exhibit is due on September 10, 2012. So I’m currently working on my piece. Hopefully, I will be able to finish it before then. It’s pretty big (20×30, Acrylic on canvas), but I’m much comfortable working on larger pieces, more room for details and I don’t have to strain my eyes (and my hands).

From time to time I like to go out by myself.  So that’s what I did yesterday. Decided to visit Little Tokyo (along Pasong Tamo, Makati) and eat at “Hana” (one of my go-to restaurants aside from “Izakaya Kikufuji”). I had Chirashi Don (that is rice topped with various sashimi and seaweeds), Miso Soup (which comes with the Chirashi Don meal) and 6 pieces of steaming hot, authentic Takoyaki. Needless to say, I left with a full stomach (though not necessarily heavy). Oh, and they gave me another free drink stub. I might come back later for a bottle of beer. Cheers!

I also bought a couple of DVDs at MCS. They already have a Blue Ray copy of  Hunger Games ( the pirated variety of course) then went to “Market! Market!” and watched “Total Recall”. It’s an OK movie (if you happen to love seeing Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel kicking some serious ass. I’m not much of a Colin Farrell fan though). It strongly reminded me of “Blade Runner” (neon, Chinese signs, loads of grime and of course, who could forget the rain), “Fallout” (just look at the “No-Zone” sequence; I expected large green mutants to pop up and attack the characters) and oddly enough “The Bourne Identity”. Maybe we can call it “The Quaid Identity” or some such. 😀

Not sure what my plan is today. I might come back at Little Tokyo. I have half a mind to try the “Shinjuku Ramen House” and their famous Gyoza. I’ll try to see if I can finish at least 3/4’s of the painting  tonight.

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Gender-roles and “fag hags”

Lately, I’ve been wondering why I have (had) so many gay friends. In fact, I’ve never been without a gay friend. From the time I started school through the various jobs and places I’ve been, I’ve always found it easy to befriend gay men. I also have a lot of  straight guy and women friends but it’s a whole different matter with gay guy-straight women friendships.

In my searches across the internet, I came across the term “fag hag” or women who have a lot of  or prefer gay men for friends. While I would never call my gay friends fags (lest I be bitch-slapped to death), and I’m certainly far from being a hag (well maybe during my “younger years”, but now I have better fashion sense, no small thanks to my sassy gay friends), I found it rather fascinating that there is some sort of “phenomena” behind this.

I’ve read a lot of purported reasons why women would purposely seek the company of gay men. But here’s my two cents. I think it’s because these gay guys are like me in the sense that they fall somewhere in between the gender-role spectrum. There’s the “overly feminine” and the “overly masculine” and there’s the somewhere in the middle. Before assumptions are made, I am not romantically or sexually attracted to any of my gay friends (that’s just a big no-no). Nor do I wish that they are straight. I like them just the way they are.

Let me explain further. While I would definitely identify myself as 100% heterosexual, I also tend to embody a lot of “masculine” traits which tend to either confuse or intimidate straight guys (I’m speaking from experience). What do I mean by confuse? Most of the time, just because I’m into “guy stuff” (like comics, violent video games, gory movies, military history/fiction, etc) they would assume that I’m certainly not straight or automatically relegate me to “just a friend” status . I am extremely annoyed by this. Where was it written that because I’m a woman, I can’t be interested in those things and still be straight?? Hey, I also happen to like cross-stitching and knitting! Couldn’t they exist side by side?

Sorry, I seem to have lost my composure there for a bit. But being an artist, I find it useful that I can appreciate both the “masculine” and the” feminine”. So I’ve drawn a bad-ass looking Jedi Knight, does that mean I can’t draw a great sexy pin-up of Nancy Callahan from Sin City? I don’t think so.

Another thing is, while I’m certainly far from fat, I’m not frail-as-waif  either (for body type comparison, see Battlestar Galactica’s Kara Thrace). I happen to possess bones that do not break at the slightest pressure. Is that a problem now?? Add my slightly “tomboyish” attitude. I wear make-up, dresses (I’m more of a tee/blouse and jeans person though) and all, but I guess it’s more of the way I carry myself. I hold my head high and swing my arms (not my hips!!) when I walk. And I walk rather fast. I could also be rather direct. Although I generally try to avoid arguments and would rather have things be resolved peacefully if possible. But once  my tolerance (which is considerable) is breached, then we really have a problem. I do not slap people, I’d rather punch them.

Point is, this is who I am and I don’t intend to bend over backwards to please some guy. So far, only one person (from my last relationship) has managed to understand  and like me they way I am. We had have had our differences of course (and so the relationship is sort of over) but that’s one of the things I liked about him. He had no problem with me loving gory/horror films, Call of Duty or Fallout (with the same enthusiasm that he has). Maybe because he is such a geek as well. But you know what I mean.

So, back to the topic of gay men. So my gay friends accept me for who I am. They are generally fun to be with (witty, sarcastic and funny). They call out my BS when they have to and do not let me wallow in self pity. They would boost my self confidence and give great fashion advise (I would still be wearing sweats to the office if not for them). Plus they open doors and carry my stuff for me too. And they’re not doing it to get in my pants because we love the same thing: men.

When Flaking Out is Not an Option

The odds are certainly in favour of this film. The best book-to-screen adaptation I’ve seen in a while. Jennifer Lawrence captured Katniss’ independent, resourceful, fierce, tough-as-nails-but-still-vulnerable and occasionally arrogant personality. Yeah, I know. Bella Swan (the eherm..’heroine’ of Twilight) comparisons are raging through the net, from The Guardian to Feministe. They can’t be helped I guess.

I really tried to finish the Twilight books, but my higher brain functions were objecting at the turn of every page! Lol. So I gave it up as a bad job. I did finish Twilight and Eclipse though. Anyway, back to the review. Comparisons to Bella cannot be helped, like I said. After all, there is a ‘triangle’ of sorts in The Hunger Games as well. But that’s where it ends. The similarities and differences have been discussed so much that I won’t go through the details anymore.

But here’s my two cents: Although both Bella and Katniss fell in love, Katniss will always be her own person. She is the Mockingjay, the Girl on Fire and not defined by her relationship with Peeta or Gale. Her primary concern is not whether she should choose between the two, but the survival of those she cares about and yeah, bringing down a corrupt and unjust system.

Whereas Bella was jumping off cliffs when Edward (a complete jerkass worthy of a restraining order) left, Katniss was busy strategizing with the rebels of District 13 when she and Peeta were briefly separated. Of course she felt lousy the whole time, but that’s the point!

There is nothing wrong with being in love. Hey, I’m a bit of a romantic myself. But I prefer couples whose relationship is more on equal footing (ex: Scully, Mulder from XFiles; John, Aeryn from Farscape; Han, Leia from Star Wars; Zoe, Wash from Firefly; Helo, Athena from Galactica). These couples can both kick ass and wipe the floor with the best of the best. They are certainly not perfect, but they do love one another and do not require their partners to be a limp noodle.

Oh and going back (coherence just jumped out of the window), I like Katniss’ attitude. Being the eldest and primary breadwinner of the family requires a ‘we’ll just have to grit our teeth and do it’ philosphy at times. Flaking out and being weepy is not an option to be considered. Katniss is tough but she is not uncaring, in fact she cares a great deal about the people around her. Just not in that ‘merry sunshine’ but in more of a ‘tough love’ way. And hey, she loves a good laugh too!

Why should it matter? Because if ever I’ll have daughters, I’d want them to be Katniss Everdeens or Ellen Ripleys or Hermione Grangers. Not Bella Swans.

The Mystery of Lyanna Stark

This is just some random free-thinking on my end (because it’s 3:00 in the morning and I can’t sleep, but I’m too tired to draw properly). I’m trying to think back and re-read the series. Truth is, I haven’t even finished “A Clash of Kings” (such a shame!), but I must before watching the seconds season of the HBO Series. I read the Ice and Fire Wiki from time to time to keep myself updated on the goings on at Westeros.

Anyway, there are some theories surrounding Lyanna Stark’s death and Jon Snow’s parentage. I strongly suspect that Jon’s parents are none other than Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. How they came to be is still open for debate. On the surface it seemed that Rhaegar kidnapped Lyanna, held her captive for sometime, forced himself on her and impregnated her as a result. Then the band of “The Outraged Gentlemen” waged war to recover her (and also er..got rid of the clearly- batshit-insane king). Very simple. But I don’t think that’s really what happened. First off, let’s examine some of the characters:

>Robert Baratheon – I have mixed views about Robert. On the one hand he really is a tragic character. The king who doesn’t want to be king. But on the other he just comes across as rather weak (but that is obviously because he failed to ride off into the sunset with Lyanna). A decade of general decadence and drunken torpor is simply too much. Sometimes I get the urge to smack some sense into him! Get yourself together man! I also have issues with him blaming Cersei for everything. I get the feeling Cersei might have liked him at first. But then Robert started spreading bitterness all around. I don’t entirely blame her for being pissed off with him. Anyway, it is clear that Robert loved Lyanna, almost to the point of obsession, I think. But since Lyanna is no longer available for comment then we don’t really now how she felt about him. But I suspect the affection is a bit one-sided (on Robert’s end).

>Rhaegar Targaryen – The only one who seemed to be completely sane on the Targaryen end. Everyone else was Royally Screwed by comparison. Perhaps they should stop marrying each other and give their genes a break. He was described as the epitome of a gentleman by most people (except for Robert of course). That scene about him announcing Lyanna as the Queen of Love and Beauty instead of his wife during a certain Tourney was a bit telling. But ultimately doesn’t prove much except that Rhaegar had liked her (yeah, more than like, since what he did was rather scandalous).
Again Lyanna is unavailable for comment. And Rhaegar too. 😛

I have a bit more exposition, but I’m starting to get sleepy. One last comment about Lyanna Stark herself. Arya Stark, possibly my most favourite female character, is often compared to her. So I generally think she (Lyanna) is one bad-ass character. Strong willed and a bit on the tomboyish side.

Before I completely keel over, here’s my theory: There was a possibility that Lyanna might have gone willingly with him. I am speculating wildly here of course. But think about this, I don’t think Lyanna is that much of a weakling to be kidnapped so easily (again, I’m considering the very fact that Rhaegar is the Crown Prince and had means). I’m inclined to think they might have been of the star-crossed variety here. As for what the “promise” was, I think Lyanna asked Ned to take care of her son and keep him safe. So Ned would rather have Catelyn believe he had been unfaithful rather than reveal the fact that Jon is half Targaryen.

So there. End of this completely pointless rant. LOL.

Heels and Commandos

A few “Odds and Ends” as usual.

One. I  finally got hold of the Star Wars Republic Commando Series. At least one of the books anyway. I bought “Triple Zero” yesterday at Fully Booked. They still don’t have “Hard Contact” and “True Colors” but I had the guy reserve me some copies when they do arrive. Yey! I’ve started reading it last night even though I’m supposed to be resting (as I had to go to work in a few hours). But I just can’t put it down. In fact I’m reading snippets of it as I am typing this blog entry.

Two. I gave in for a bit to my inner “girly-girl” and bought a pair of really great –looking heels. Shock! Horror! They’re high heels if you really want to get nit-picky – somewhere around 2 to 3 inches. I think they’re a bit closer to pumps anyway. My friend (who is incidentally gay) finally convinced me to get one. Why is this news you say? Because I typically do not wear heels. Although I have a bit of love for collecting shoes, I usually wear ballerina style flats (quite stylish, but does not impede walking – because I certainly do not walk like a “lady” haha!) I caved in because I think it would go better with the rather nice dresses (on sale ) I recently bought.

I tried them on (the dress and the shoes) this morning after getting home from work. I practiced walking up and down the stairs too. I think I’ll survive. But I really must commend the women who were able to wear them all the frakking time. Because after 30 minutes or so I feel like all my toes had gone a bit numb. 😀 ahaha! Not to brag, but it does feel good to dress up like a “real” girl from time to time (like last, last week when I hung out with a few friends on one of the local spots. I traded my usual pants/shirt/flats outfit for a navy-blue, greek-inspired dress, which I really loved). I do “clean up” nicely from time to time. Just not ALL the time though. Takes a lot of work, I tell you. And I’m a slob by nature. Besides,I like breathing and blue-berry cheese cakes too much to really focus much of my attention to beauty regimens. But yeah, like I said it feels nice to know you can look pretty for a bit (again, not bragging or anything, I’m not Grace Kelly. But I don’t think I’m ugly either). 😛

And since we’re tackling my “girly-side” (once a century). Let’s move on to the subject of make-up. I’ve only started wearing real make up recently (meaning a year or so ago). But I’ve always known what colors will work for me. The benefits of being an artist I guess. It’s no different than drawing on paper really. I usually go for nudes, neutrals to dark colors  when it comes to lipstick. My staples so far are something called “Dark Chocolate”  (Avon) and “Night Valley Red” (Max Factor). For the eyes, I go with browns; although when I feel like going “gothic” I go a bit overboard with the black liner. But not too much. Let’s be thorough and talk about my hair too! But there’s nothing interesting about my hair. I just use conditioner and that’s it.

Anyway, enough with the nonsense. I feel like I wasted paragraphs talking about “shallow” things like makeup. Haha! Another semi-related thing, I also bought a copy of OK! featuring  Kate Middleton (I must be shot right on the spot! Oh, the horror! The horror!) But whatever, I honestly like the way she dresses. Simple and classy.

Oh, quick footnote.  Our “team” at work had a little exchange gift ceremony earlier (there’s only four of us). I received most of the stuff I put on my wishlist. A laptop skin (mechanical design) and whole load of Bristol Boards (for sketching).

I have to go back to reading Triple Zero now…:P Might write a review afterwards.

9/23/11 – Saturday Odds and Ends

I would continue my previous post with “Liz Lemon-ing (part 2)”, but not now. Probably later in the day.

Just a few random thoughts.

WORK – Still waiting for the ax to fall. Not on my neck, I hope. No news yet whatsoever about training schedule and whatnot. I’m not quite sure whether that’s a good or bad thing. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Aside from that, back to the regular humdrum of things.

BOOKS:

Bought a couple of books. Two from when I attended the “Manila International Book Fair” last Sunday.  Found “Storm Warning” by Jack Higgins. It’s one of the books I loved when I was a teenager. My brother and I made a sort of  radio-drama-style cassette recording of the story. Complete with sound effects. We do all the major character voices, as well as the background characters, since there’s only the two of us. It was really fun (the recordings I mean). Especially the part where the Deutschland finally foundered on the Washington Reef , and was slowly sinking. Harry Jago, Paul Gerrick (the “dashing” –at least to me, I find his intelligence and ability to break a few bones dashing– U-boat captain turned POW, I might add), Janet Munro, Admiral Reeve and some others were trying their best to get to  rescue the passengers/crew before the ship totally sank. All the sound effects we had to do to simulate the “sinking”! We yelled! Pounded the table with our fists! Rattled cups and plates, etc. Just thinking about all that makes me laugh.

I liked the chemistry between Paul Gerrick and Janet Munro (I think he left her his war medal before going off to escape somewhere). It’s kind of obvious that they were attracted to each other, but cannot do anything about it since the situation was somewhat complicated. He was a captured U-boat Captain, a German POW; while she was a stern, somewhat abrasive, cigarette-smoking American doctor. But they had brilliant conversation though. Nothing mushy. Mainly because the story is about war and how people are willing to endure overwhelming odds to go “home”. It is also about setting aside differences and having the decency to save what is truly important, our fellow human beings, no matter what side they happen to be.

Anyway, I’m reading it again. Haven’t read it since I was 1st year HS. Let’s see. 🙂

Before I get carried away, there’s that other book I got from the fair. It’s called “Stories”, a collection of works from different authors edited by Neil Gaiman. Haven’t  read a page yet, but I’m guessing it’s going to be good.

And as if I don’t have enough books on my plate. I got a copy of  “The Castle” by Kafka (yes, THAT Kafka) last Thursday. I’ve just observed that translated books are much cheaper. Not sure why. But I’m not complaining.

OTHER THINGS:

Might watch “Contagion” later. Glad it’s still showing at Market Market. Then I shall work on a project for a friend and probably finish my “Padme” drawing. I certainly do not plan on moping or sleeping all day just because I have problems (of a personal nature – I really wanted to strangle the person causing the problem. But I haven’t seen him for quite sometime now).

Valley of Darkness..(and other random things)

Continuing the trend of borrowing my blog entry titles from episodes of Battlestar Galactica, I give you “Valley of Darkness”. I’ve always wondered when I’ll be able to use this. It’s one of my favourite episodes from the show. Now the opportunity has presented itself, although I cannot say I am entirely happy that it has. Now I’m wondering when I’ll be able to use “Daybreak”.

Blerg!  (just so you know I just added “Blerg” to my standard dictionary) I sound like some speechifying fool. Maybe I am. *talking to self* I need to finish this blog entry before I sleep.

I didn’t want to mention this phrase, but indeed, the only thing constant in this world is change. It’s a bit of a cliche, but true nonetheless.

So, this is a month of changes. And not  just in my “professional” life.  I’m being transferred to another department. They practically told me I should be thankful I’m not being shipped to the Spice Mines of Kessel or something. The powers that be must have figured I sort of liked my job and decided to give me a little something called “stress”. Seriously. I believe I’ve done enough griping about this issue and so I’m just going to stop here.

On a more personal level, I started cleaning up my social networking  account, as I do not for the moment wish to be reminded of  certain things and people. If you did not get what that means then you are rather thick. Might actually be good though.

I plan to stay at my current job probably until the end of the year (really I can’t wait for this year to be over, might have to start crossing-out the days of the calendar) and then rest for a week or two. Blessed rest!

I’ll catch up with all the new books sitting here on my table. I swear to finish “A Song of Fire and Ice” series for good. I’m still stuck somewhere on Game of Thrones. Although I recently purchased “Clash of Kings”. There’s also “It” by one of my old time favourites Stephen King. I managed to go more than halfway, but got sidetracked. Other titles include Jane Eyre (a re-read), Battle Royale (Koshun Takami) – this is pretty good, way better than the actual movie and I liked the movie immensely. I’m talking about the first one with Beat Takeshi. Don’t get me started on BR part 2. It’s one of those bizarre films that manage to make you laugh (at the sheer cheesiness of it all) and at the same time cry because it’s just so hard not to care about the characters. Or maybe I’ve been reading too many books and watching a lot of anime when I was a kid); let’s see I also have Naked Lunch by  William Burroughs (which I just bought yesterday),  something by Clive Barker,  whole load of Star Wars novels (some of which I bought because I never had the chance to read them as a kid due to financial constraints at that time). What else? I still have all three books of the Lord of the Rings in line. I hope to finish them before this century ends. Just kidding.

And by the Lords of Kobol, I seriously need to finish all the drawings I’ve started. And now I believe it is time to sleep.