Busy is the Word #WhatsupWednesday

KUNG HEI FAT CHOI!!! or GONG XI FA CAI!!!

Welcome, Earth Dog!!!

How have things been, guys? It’s been almost a week since the Chinese New Year (others call it the Lunar New Year). If you celebrate this, then my greeting goes out to you 🙂

I had been busy writing work-related stuff these past three weeks. I often had no more energy to blog or do much more socializing on social media. I would try to start but end up falling asleep just watching Netflix.

I have been learning new things that I hope I can use, though. Maybe they’ll work. We’ll see. Meanwhile, I sign out for now.

Have a great day or evening, friends!

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Write! Write! #TuesdayToons

Yes, it’s a new hash potato day! #TuesdayToons! And this one says A LOT about me:

How appropriate

Copyright goes to Jorge Cham. Check out his site PHDComics.com! (“PHD” means “Piled Higher and Deeper”)

Revisiting Discarded Post-it Poetry: An Idea That Sticks [REBLOG]

Reblogging because (1) I like his idea, (2) it’s a nice interview, and (3) It’s Mr. Pinkoe for real! (except he loves yellow, it seems)

little word studio

My friend, sob, and I recently reconnected over Instagram (hey, find me @melissakandel!) and it made me want to repost this interview I did with him several months ago. I publish this not only to celebrate our Insta-friendship but also in commemoration of his most recent milestone, hitting 20k followers! Enjoy!

We met in the most unexpected way. And while I guess great love affairs do often spring from the auspiciously unusual, I’d suspect none involve quite so much dog poop as this.

In the thick of Sunset Boulevard, just a hint from The Standard hotel, there’s a little dog park chiseled into a hill, accessible by two sets of stairs guarded at their very top by a blue-painted guitar standing sentinel at the entrance. Egyptian mummies are painted all along this guitar and on a warm, early morning in June I imagined that looking at the guitar was about as creatively inspired as…

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#AskGi No. 2: “Should I forgive my wife of one month; she hit me with a bhangra stick,…” #AskWednesday

On a whim, I decided to check on my Twitter again a few days back and somehow, Damyanti Biswas (@damyantig) reminded me of Quora. So for today, I decided to add another Ask Gi post. I wasn’t really asked this one, but it honestly annoyed me so I decided to give the OP (meaning Original Poster in Quora world) a piece of what I thought. My written answer was honestly the cleaner version of what I was really saying to him in my mind. Seems like others felt the same way.

Here it is. Read on then share your thoughts in the comments, if you will. Click on the image if you want to see what everybody else was saying.

My Ultimate New Year Wish #WhatsupWednesday

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

No, sir, my greeting is not late because it is still the new year, and it will continue to be so maybe until February (the usual month for the Chinese New Year), maybe even March. So you know, there’s been a bunch of stuff that actually either made me busy or hindered me from posting here. But I’m back, nevertheless (do people still say “nevertheless” or just me…?), and I’m wishing you all the great things 2018 may bring.

Obviously, the world is not right these days. It is ill, sick with all the negative forces surrounding it. There are the environmental problems and degradation. Endangered animals are being slaughtered to very near extinction. Politics are rife with graft and corruption. There are wars between nations, races, religions, factions, individuals. There are biases against genders, age, disabilities, economic status, educational background. There are…too many negative things that we spread, leading to our decay…

Tell me I’m wrong. Please do, I need to hear it. Then tell me why…

We have been so sick for the longest time, it’s time to heal. This year, why don’t we start to heal the world even through baby steps?  Let’s start with ourselves. I am not being all-righteous here. This, too, is something I need to do. Let’s all do it together!

Heal the world. For the world to heal its wounds, that is my ultimate wish for 2018.

What’s YOUR new year wish?

 

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Thanks to Maati Baani for creating the video, all the talented child prodigies featured in it (I only recognize Angelica Hale from the most recent AGT and because she’s half-Filipino), and especially the late Michael Jackson for this beautiful song 🙂

Next post is about 8 new things about me!

HEY, HEY, HEY! HO HO HO!

HO HO HO!!!
However, though Christmas is for anyone who wants to celebrate, let us never forget the real reason why we celebrate, okay? It’s CHRISTmas! I’m not against any Christmas figure, but there’s a reason it’s not called “Clausemas”, or any other “-mas”.

Why we celebrate CHRISTmas

If you’re not Christian, that’s okay. No real religion is bad religion. Practice the good that yours preach. If it doesn’t teach you any good, then what are you doing in it?

If you have no religion, then celebrate humanity. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to be human, but it does require effort from you.

Please, always stay positive and keep smiling. Never let depression rule you. It’s a debilitating disease — the longer you nurture depression, the more it will debilitate you. It could be clinical, yet it doesn’t mean you should let it rule your life. It’s hard, we know and we understand, but ultimately, it’s all up to you. Many have succumbed to this deadly affliction; don’t be part of the statistics. We love you. You are important to us. Maybe we are just not good at showing it.

This world is not an easy world to live in. It is up to us to make things work the way we want them to work. Just be happy for the world even if the world seems to smile downwards. Give and expect nothing in return. Spread love and joy and you will feed the hungriest of hearts.

Remember, we’re all in this together.

The Hunchback of Rural High #MondayMemoirs #KwentongUPRural

I was never popular in high school. If I ever was, that could be because I was considered weird, which never offended me. I welcomed being voted as Weirdest Girl in Class two years in a row. For me, that meant I was not one to conform just to be called cool. Besides, when you’re a writer, people just tag you as weird. Hollywood fed us that idea.

Most probably, though, if I ever was popular, it was because I was the Hunchback of Rural High. I was the short girl looking like Quasimodo.

I didn’t use to be like that. I did not have a humped back prior to high school. I was a shy kid in grade school who only started coming out of her shell in fourth grade. By sixth grade, I was jumping from tables, singing the oldie La Bamba shamelessly…Then a teacher sent me back into my shell, accusing me in front of the other kids because she supposedly didn’t like something I said about her favorite student.

I was dumbfounded and confused. I did not even understand what she meant until days later! Worse was, she thought wrong as I was not referring to him. Unfortunately, my self-esteem already suffered because of it. Why a teacher should even get offended by a student practicing the right to choose who to like or not is beyond me. By the time I reached high school, I was starting to develop the humped back.

Well, that was my backstory, no pun intended. High school started and soon, boys from my batch would sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) theme song whenever I passed by. But I never hid or ran away; I just passed by poker-faced. I knew they’d get tired of it one day. Thankfully, the bullying didn’t go further than that. But of course, I resented what they did; I had feelings, too. Some years ago, an old teacher reminded me of the time I had the guts to tell him to tell those boys, whom he was friends with, to get off my back (again, no pun intended).

The funny thing was, to be honest, I resented them because I thought they were referring to the “mutant” part, which, for me, translated to “uber-ugly girl”.  It was months after that I realized they didn’t exactly mean it that way. They meant something else. Surprisingly, that lifted my self-esteem a bit. I was glad they were referring to something else that I could do something about.

So, I did do something about it. I started trying to fix my Quasimodo posture. If you think it was easy, it wasn’t.

It took a lot of effort and self-awareness to prevent the slumping whenever I walked. I could actually feel the physical pressure every time I tried to keep my back straight. If you were near me enough, you’d probably hear me groaning a bit. It worked, though. I may not walk straight as a model, but I got my intended result. I didn’t know the reason for the humped back until Home Economics in the fourth year: a book explained that slumping was a sign of insecurity. I thought, Well, that figures.

The teasing stopped. A boy in senior year attempted to revive it by singing the TMNT song as I walked nearer. It was the classic case of someone bullying somebody else to compensate for his own low self-esteem. Instead of feeling hurt or getting mad, I was amused and tempted to say, “What, you’re still not over that?“ He never tried again.

 

My whole high school life was like everyone else’s. I had to struggle with different issues (body changes, grades, crushes, friendships, lack of confidence). However, if there’s one thing that made me different, it was this early experience.  It hurt emotionally and physically, but that was part of what made me, me.

I don’t resent those boys anymore. I forgave them a long time ago. I’m thankful they somehow taught me to stand up straight. Take it figuratively, take it literally, it’s up to you. Besides, I kind of liked the ninja turtles 😊

 

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Usually, I don’t follow the Philippine time when I post stuff. But I wanted this posted already before I forget or lose interest again. While it’s still Sunday in most readers’ part of the world, it’s already Monday here, so this counts as a #MondayMemoirs post.

I’ve already mentioned about my turtle “background” before, but this is a bit more revealing and personal. I wrote about it because our high school reunion is coming and I’ve been asked to write my HS experience for our unique souvenir programme. I was able to submit three write-ups (Rattling Cages and two trivia pieces). Unfortunately, this one did not meet the deadline. I was supposed to share this after the reunion, but since it’s not going to be part of the programme anyway, I went ahead and shared it. (By the way, my school was the U.P. Rural High School, ergo, the use of the “Rural” word.)

I do have a DISCLAIMER: I don’t, in anyway, hate my old school. This is not to speak ill of it. I shared this because (1) my growth was important to me, and (2) to show that things like this happen anywhere. Ultimately, it is up to us to choose which life lessons we’re going to keep and how we will use them to our advantage.

Any comments or thoughts? I won’t mind. Let me know below! Or maybe share your own experiences? 😉

“Do I have to make every detail in fantasy fiction logical or acceptable?” #ThursdayTips

Well, I haven’t done this in a long time, so why not?quora-believable-fictionThis was where the excerpts came from: The Truth in Your Make-Believe.

Fellow fictionists, feel free to add in more tips!

 

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Sorry, I hadn’t been posting guys. There are just many things on my plate lately. But I promise to be a little more active again the next days…Toodles!

Science, Space, Elementary, my dear Lizzie #WhatsupWednesday

These last few months, I’ve been doing lots of watching, particularly, but not exclusively, on Netflix. Seen just a few flicks, followed/following a few series–old, new, and new-to-me. The thing is, they don’t have a lot of other stuff I want to see, so I actually checked out iFlix last night and saw several of those other stuff. Maybe I’ll keep both accounts, considering that the latter is so much cheaper, actually. I’ll be trying out their month-long free trial.

Anyway, I am sharing my quick reviews again. Read on, friends, but check out the guide below. 

RATING GUIDE:

  • Excellent – No doubt that I super love this and would love to continue watching!
  • Good – Very interesting that I wouldn’t want to miss an episode
  • Promising – Interesting that it can keep me glued to my seat and ask for more, but there’s still a chance my interest in it may wane
  • Fair – Entertaining enough to watch to pass the time
  • Undecided – Not consistently interesting that my feelings for it seesaws from almost-LIKE to meh.
  • Bad – NOT recommended WHATSOEVER, for valid reasons

PREVIOUS REVIEWS

Okay, first we discuss some shows mentioned in the last review post. Oh, and another fair warning…

SPOILERS ALERT!!!

IF you have not seen a show mentioned here, feel free to ignore this post if it suits you. Better if you’ll just skip parts instead to avoid the “spoilage”, so to speak…Here goes…

Game of Thrones (GoT)

I finally got to continue with Game of Thrones. So far, I’m done with Season 3. GoT is one big and compelling web of interwoven stories. It is very interesting, if not sometimes gruesome and scandalously unapologetic about the sex, the nudity, and the annoying habit of killing off beloved characters just when the audiences are warming up to them.

Nothing prepared me for the betrayal and murder of Robb Stark! I mean, I knew he would die sometime, but it was all so sudden, quick and a really undeserved and meaningless death of a strong character. I also did not expect Lady Catelyn Stark‘s death–I had thought she’d outlive Robb and, at least, get to see her smaller kids first–so cruel!

Characters I love and would love to see till the end:

  1. Arya Stark- smart, brave and loyal (so far? we’ll see), and she kicks butts…It would be terrible if the character gets killed off.
  2. Tyrion Lannister I give him the Best Lannister award! His past before the war aside, he’s proven to be intelligent and rather kind-hearted.
  3. Daenerys Stormborn easily almost everyone’s favorite. While the Lannisters, Starks, and Baratheons were battling it out and busy tricking one another, she successful gathered thousands of armies to her side. My fearless forecast is she stays until the end.

More comments:

  • I know when sex/nudity is a work of art, and I know when it’s just meant to lure the audience. So save me the for-the-sake-of-art BS. And with the whole Weinstein controversy going on, it’s hard not to be concerned about the actors in such shows, whether they are big stars, bit players or extras.
  • Finally, the fantasy factor! The dragons are bigger, there were white walker sightings, and Melisandre is one intriguing magical character.
  • I’m not spared from spoilers even if I try to avoid them, so I do know about Jon Snow and Daenerys being related (don’t know how yet) and I have this to say: When has incest become accepted as cool??? GoT crossed the line. Nevermind if they end up not related after all. The point is, they think they are, yet they do it, anyway. Protagonists need not be saints, but they don’t have to be that morally questionable either.

RATING: GOOD (It would’ve been EXCELLENT, but I can never truly love a show that troubles me a lot. Still, I’m watching it. Hopefully, it doesn’t completely turn me off.)

Once Upon a Time (OUAT)

It’s been a slow progress that I have only finished the first season of Once Upon a Time. I haven’t even started with any episode from season 2 mainly because I’m busy with GoT and another series. Also, I want to watch most of it with the kids during weekends when I’m not busy.

Thankfully, the storylines were building up, keeping me interested, so I expect to be more entertained by the next season, at least. I do wish that Emma Swan did not finally learn the truth. I feel like the show could have delayed the revelation longer, maybe kept it until the first few season 2 episodes, at least. Maybe the producers were not sure whether they should continue it so they made a sort of open-ended ending, but it would still be an ending of sorts.

I am somehow glad that the antagonists aren’t really such bad people. I do want a better background story for Maleficent in the next seasons. Meanwhile, I have a pretty good idea who the Queen of Hearts actually is.

RATING: GOOD (It’s something the kids and I bond over. Now the youngest wants a Pinocchio costume for Reading Week.)

Dexter

Dexter has ended and, to be honest, it kind of left a hole in my heart. I DIDN’T like the series finale at all! Practically everything was wrong! Practically the whole final season was wrong! As it has ended and I have a lot to say about it, this deserves a whole write-up, so whatever I need to say, I’ll save it.

RATING: Went up to EXCELLENT (I am tempted to change it to GOOD because the ending was AWFUL.)

iZombie

The last time, I said I was willing to try iZombie until its third season. That was before I found out it has only two seasons so far. I also said it needed more oomph. Fortunately, the zombie show did step up the game especially in the season finale. I can’t wait till I get to see the next episodes! It’s light, entertaining, I’m not scared to show it to kids (with my supervision, of course). Needless to say, the rating went up as well. No complaints for now. Long live the zombie!

RATING: Brain-licking GOOD (Also another bonding-worthy series to watch with kids–of course, I make sure to spare them from the very few a-bit-too-steamy-for-kids scenes.)

YouTube channels

As I have mentioned in my previous post, my enthusiasm for watching YouTube channels has started to wane. So what I’m doing is I just take my time.

NEW REVIEWS

Elementary

I am always into mysteries, so I decided I’d try this series out, after all, it’s about the great fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in the 21st century. It didn’t disappoint, coming on strong in the first seasons, though I have to say it’s getting a bit less interesting as time goes by. I hope it picks up again.

My comments:

  • Sherlock is incredibly good at what he does. He has great deductive reasoning skills and a big wealth of information in his head. I like hearing bits of trivia when he talks. It does seem too impossible already at times the way he knows almost everything.
  • First woman Watson! And it’s Lucy Liu playing Joan Watson at that. I had to choose which to view first between Elementary and the other series, Sherlock–Lucy won my vote for the show, hands down. She’s natural as Watson, there isn’t time to wonder why Watson is Asian and not a man. It is not really relevant, anyway.
  • First woman Moriarty! That was brilliant as well. I also didn’t realize Moriarty was/is a woman and that she’s both Sherlock’s biggest nemesis and the love of his life. I suspected she was involved somewhat with Moriarty’s group, but not like that.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a possibility for a Holmes-Watson romantic angle. That’s refreshing. Also understandable as that would be too much veering away from the original fictional characters they’re based on.
  • It’s good that they tackled the addiction issue, which is a great flaw on Sherlock’s character. However, I’m in season 4 now and it still plays a big part in his storyline. It’s kind of getting old, to be honest. The writers should lay off it for a while. Sherlock using again at last season’s finale was just very disappointing, rather unnecessary and, really, just a betrayal of the audience that have come to accept him.

RATING: EXCELLENT

The Lizzie Borden Chronicles

Apparently, this series was based on the TV movie Lizzie Borden Took an Axwhich was based on actual cases of murder supposedly committed by the real Lizzie Andrew Borden. I haven’t seen the movie, but the series took from where the movie left off. Christina Ricci did so well as Lizzie that the network/producers decided to create The Lizzie Borden Chronicles (let’s call this LBC).

I must say that Christina sure showed how much she’s mastered the art of portraying dark and sinister characters (well, she’s had years of practice). She slayed it, pun intended. Character-wise, I never liked Lizzie. She’s evil and the only person she cared about, in a way, was her sister, mainly because she had a need for the sister. I told myself I would just watch the first season because Lizzie was not a main character anyone could root for. Surprisingly, I didn’t have to as the show was only meant to be for one season…Whew!

More comments:

  • The actual Lizzie was said to have only killed two. Supposedly, as she was acquitted of the crime. LBC took a lot of liberties with their story and took a lot of the lives (some names were actual people back then) than necessary. Now, while things are often open to artistic interpretation, I believe that making Lizzie seem like some kind of sociopath/psychopath was going overboard. Maybe the real Lizzie was a killer, but it didn’t mean she killed many others. If you ask me, it’s a case of character assassination. If they wanted to drastically change things, they could’ve just created a whole new story that would not have Lizzie in it.
  • It is not clear if the Lizzie here was a sociopath or psychopath. Yes, there’s a difference, look it up. She’s cold-hearted and calculating, but she didn’t have a psychopath’s M.O. She just killed those who either stood in her way or those she could use to her advantage. Everybody knew she was some kind of bad; she never really pretended to be normal and likable, which is characteristic of a psychopath.
  • I am not sure whether to love or hate the modern approach the show took in terms of background music. It really seemed out of place. We’re not watching steampunk, after all.

RATING: FAIR

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (a.k.a. CSI: Las Vegas)

I was so glad to have the chance to finish the whole CSI show. It’s one of my fave shows ever. My only problem was Netflix’s offer started with season 13 when I have never seen season 12! So while I expected Dr. Ray Langston leaving (after all, I already knew somebody was going to be the next lead actor), I wanted to experience that “closure”. Plus, I suddenly found some old faces missing and found new faces whose backgrounds I didn’t have an iota of an idea of.

Anyway, I am both sad and happy about the show. I am sad it’s ended, but I’m happy it ended well. After Warrick Brown‘s death in…whatever season that was, no main character died anymore, as far as I know, so yay! They brought the main characters back in the last episodes and gave everyone a happy finale.

I love that they brought Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows back for it, especially for Grissom and Sara Sidle to mend things and sail off to sea together. Nick Stokes finally got the promotion he’d been hankering for. I was confused whether the show was considering a David Hodges-Morgan Brody-Greg Sanders love triangle thing or not, although, in the end, it seemed to be Greg for the win.

No complaints here, except I won’t be able to see the show anymore. However, I am currently trying to see where I might be able to view CSI: Cyber. It’s been canceled, I’ve read, but I’m very much interested to see if I would like it or not.

RATING: EXCELLENT (My interest never wavered!!! I don’t know why I even delayed watching it before.)

Star Trek: Discovery

Yes! About time that I watch me some Star Trek again! It’s very new so I have decided to try and follow on a weekly basis. Certainly, it hasn’t disappointed me yet after four episodes. Great effects! And they definitely upped the ante on the creepy factors (twisted corpses in spaceships, anyone?) Plotlines aren’t bad at all either.

Love that after kicking zombie butts in Walking Dead as Sasha, Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham is now kicking Klingon butts (no offense to Worf as I loved him). She’s brought the tough persona with her, minus the too-much angst, yet still kind of brooding with the tendency to be anti-social. She’s perfect for the role! It’s nice that this show now gives more power to more women (I do want Deanna Troi here somehow, which is probably impossible, given the time setting). Now, for my fearless forecast: Michael will sooner or later replace Capt. Gabriel Lorca as captain, mark my words.

More comments:

  • Why did Michelle Yeoh have to die so soon? She could have given more to the show. And why the H did the show not give Capt. Philippa Georgiou a proper and dignified burial rather than have the Klingons eat her??!!!
  • The Klingons. Their look. No. I prefer the Worf-look. These Klingons do not look like Klingons. Just sayin’.
  • Some have taken issue with it, but I don’t mind the Michael name. Women are now named Joey, Jesse, Alex…so what’s wrong with Michael? My only qualm is, really, “Michael Burnham” doesn’t sound anything near special. And one funny thing: “Georgiou Michael”…Coincidence, for sure.

That’s what I can say about it for now. It’s cool that they have After Trek right after every episode. I watch that as well.

RATING: EXCELLENT

I actually watched the first episode of the series version of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Just one. Suffice it to say, I was not that impressed yet. I’m avoiding it for now, but I promise to go back to it sometime. Also began watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Everyone knows the show and the things that happened, so I will spare you and me by not doing a review of it anymore. My plan is to catch up on shows and/or their episodes that I missed.

Well, I’ve shared my thoughts. Yours?