Thursday, December 17, 2009

For Debbie

A short freewriting piece for my friend Debbie. :) Semi-inspired by her real life.

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He told me he loves summer.

He dreamily blabbers about the sunlight hitting his skin, how it makes him feel so alive after hours of listening to a dead-boring professor of a dead-boring subject inside a dead-boring school. He suggests leaving the noisy city and plunging to the cool, blue waters of the sea. Making sand castles on the shore. Dancing around a bonfire with your friends. Strumming his old guitar under a star-lit sky.

Sometimes, his antics will just bring a smile to my lips. When he says he’s fond of the season, it’s as if he’s saying he’s also fond of me. “I love summer!” says his doodle at the back of his Algebra book. I smiled furtively when he met my eyes and I scribbled on my paper: “I wish you love Summer too.”

Yes, I wish he loves me too. It’s not my choice to be named after that season, but I realize, especially now, that having the name “Summer” has its perks. I know it’s daydreaming, but who cares? It’s harmless. It even makes me feel ecstatic, even if in a wrong way.

Wrong? Okay, let’s scrap that part. When will you know that something’s wrong if it feels very right? I don’t usually consider my feelings for him wrong. Not even when he’s talking about that girl.

That girl, clinging to him like a leech, hanging on his arm like a tawdrily-colored Christmas decoration. That girl and her trying-hard-to-sound-sweet voice that was cloying to my ears. That girl who proudly shows off her cheap-looking outfits when in truth she terribly needs to call someone for fashion 911. That girl whom he is truly fond of.

When I first saw her—and I first saw her encircling her arms around his waist—it dawned on me that I’m just jealous (or so said my friends). Everything’s fuzzy inside. I wanted so badly to claw at her hair and drag her to the street, to humiliate her for a reason some would consider too cheap. I’m not one to be involved in catfights but just seeing her uneven smirk and arching eyebrows made me feel so violent. I think I’ll give everything just so someone will give her to me as a punching bag.

I was actually thinking about the extremity of my dislike for her that afternoon when he came up to me. I was slumped on a rust-caked bench, sipping the last of my Coke. He sat beside me, all one-sided smile and bright eyes and unruly but stylish hair, then nonchalantly grabbed the can from me to swig from it. I ducked my head a little for I knew I blushed. I always do when he does this, thinking that he sort of—indirectly, that is—kisses me. I mean, same container and all, you know? My cheeks grew hotter when he returned the can in my hands.

“I love summer,” he sighed, sprawling on the bench, looking up at the sky.

“I know,” I replied, rolling my eyes. “I know.”

He cocked a brow at me. “You know? Since when?”

I shrugged. “Can’t remember. It’s the millionth time you said it.”

“…oh. I see.”

A pause.

“…so what do you think?” he asked.

“About your love for summer?”

“Yeah,” he said and looked away. “About my love for…summer.”

“I think it’s normal, especially for students like us. We’re all in love with vacation. Actually, I myself am looking forward to traveling this coming March. The white sand beaches in—”

“No,” he cut in, looking a bit irritated. “I’m not talking about that. I mean…well, I thought you know already.”

I flashed a confused look.

He shook his head. “I can’t believe you’re that slow.”

I hate it when he makes me want to assume.

“Spit it out already,” I said, showing him that I’m irked. Or I’m going to strangle you for suddenly giving me some kind of…hope…

“No,” he decided after a long pause. “No way. I’d rather just show it than say something so sappy. Doing the latter is just so not me.”

“I don’t get you.”

“I know. You’re slow.”

I would have retorted angrily, but for some reason, silence seemed to be a great intruder. We sat there wordless for a while, looking up at the animal-shaped clouds. I smiled when I made out a heart-shaped one.

“I love Summer,” I heard him whisper. I noted the emphasis on the ‘s’. Capital letter.

I could barely contain the sudden surge of happiness in me. It took me a while to go down from the little heaven brought about by the oblique revelation.

“But how about…”

“She’s a friend. We did have some sort of history, but it’s never official.”

“Fibber,” I snapped, giving him a mock punch on the arm. “She’ll never act that possessive if it’s just a fling.” Oh, I feel like I’m floating…

Another shrug. “Believe what you want to. She’s actually aware of my true feelings and is just trying to get a reaction from you. Which is quite successful, I think.”

My jaw fell. “She wha—oh, you! It’s a conspiracy!”

He chuckled. “Not really. I think she’s still somewhat bitter about it, but she’ll move on. I hope she will.”

“I hope she will,” I said sarcastically, face curled up in a wicked grin.

He laughed at my attitude and jokingly pinched my cheek. “Once a mean girl, always a mean girl. Don’t make it hard for her.”

“I won’t. I promise I won’t.” Both of us knew I meant otherwise. “She will move on, in time.”

Silence intruded again. I finished my Coke and looked up, feeling how he’s slowly gripping my hand, thinking how beautiful that summer day was.

____


fin



my pre-planned mini plot didn't come to play here because I think it'll be extremely long (and if it goes that long, Debbie might not read it) LOL, kidding! :) I'll make another one next time when I'm in the mood. The weather's contributing to the building up of writer's block.....but I'll block it. *winks*



I'll doze off for now. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obzezzed with Oz

:wizaI can’t remember when exactly I fell in love with L. Frank Baum’s ageless masterpiece, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. All I’m certain of is that my love for it never dwindled since the first time I read it, and that there’s always a shout out or reference to it in almost all the fandoms I’ve been in (and is still in). Until now I’m still on prowl for WOZ-related thingies. :)

So Wizard of Oz, Wizard of Oz, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

Gundam Wing.

Anyone who really knows me is aware that I’m addicted to this series. Very old school, yes, and I’ve been a fan for almost ten years since the day my father persuaded me to watch it (yes it’s him—he got me to watch it after joking how an eight-year-old character in it is very much like PGMA). I may be a hoyden of some sort, but I’m not into it because of mecha. I love it because of its well-developed characters (imho the best characters ever created in the anime world), the storyline, and the politics that amazed, shocked, disturbed, and made me interested in people’s different philosophies about war.
When I heard of ‘Oz’ and ‘Dorothy’ in this series, my liking for it shot up several notches—especially when I discovered they were indeed a tribute to Frank Baum.



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Dorothy Catalonia


I didn’t know about this at first. Dorothy’s not this little girl from Kansas with dark pigtails and gingham dress, but the fact that she is involved in a organization called OZ (Organization of Zodiac) made me want to connect her with the Baum’s work. I researched about her and voila—she really is inspired by Dorothy Gale, and the Organization itself is a shout out to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!




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OZ logos: golden Lion and Tin Man insignia


Very much like her namesake, Dorothy is lost in the world and philosophies of Oz. She’s often switching sides just for the sake of the “good view” of battles, practicing Machiavellian schemes, and is very vocal about her desire for the war to continue. But unlike Baum’s Dorothy, Dorothy Catalonia isn’t searching for her way home. In the end, in a conversation with Trowa Barton, she realizes she doesn’t have any home to go back to, and wept.

Her personality and beliefs made her my favorite character. She admires Relena Peacecraft, who promotes Total Pacifism, but claims that she loves wars. In the end it is revealed that this belief is formed when her father died in battle; she wants the world to witness a battle so horrible that once they see the harrowing things it could bring them, they wouldn’t like to have wars ever again. That’s her way of showing how badly she wanted to have peace.

Princess Tutu





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Princess Tutu, Mytho, and Fakir


While this series is primarily based on Swan Lake, I can still see some Wizard of Oz references. This is the story of a writer who died in the middle of writing a book, and the characters in it—the Prince and the Raven—escape the pages and continue the fight in the real world. The Prince seals the Raven away by shattering his own heart and that’s basically where the real story starts.

Prince Sigfried/Mytho appears emotionless because, well, he is literally heartless. I think this makes him analogous to the Tin Man. The whole series is actually all about how Mytho will get the shards of his heart back (in the gotta-catch-em-all style) to restore his humanity.

Ahiru is the duck who’s given the chance to help the Prince get back his heart shards by turning into a girl and into Princess Tutu. She’s a klutz and is very scatterbrained, and is one of most frequent recipients of Fakir’s death-glare and his sharp “idiot!” I think she’s sort of analogous to the Scarecrow. She herself believes that she doesn’t have so much of a brain.

Fakir is the brutal, possessive, and overprotective friend of Mytho. He knows that Mytho is the Prince from the story and he takes the role of the Knight, pledging to protect Mytho at all times. But Fakir has read the unfinished story and learned that the Knight died while protecting his ward. This sent him frightened of his fate. Like the Cowardly Lion, Fakir the Knight should be courageous, but he simply couldn’t.

And like the original characters from WOZ, these three characters already have what they thought they lacked from the beginning. Mytho’s largest shard of heart, which represents his Will to regain his emotions, is actually the pendant that turns Ahiru into Princess Tutu; Ahiru, when she turns into Princess Tutu, is practically Wisdom on two legs; and Fakir, when he decides to puts down the Sword and picks up the Pen to continue the unfinished story, showcases unparalleled courage as he is fighting against the dead writer who can still mysteriously manipulate how the story is going in real life.


Howl’s Moving Castle





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The Wicked Witch, Scarecrow, Howl, Calcifer, Sophie, Michael, and the dog.


There are only a few references to WOZ from this anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’ book. So few actually, but I’ll still mention them. XD I sort of see Dorothy in Sophie Hatter, the main protagonist, who travels to find a way to lift the curse of Old Age that the Wicked Witch of the Waste (pun to WOZ’s Wicked Witch of the West) put on her because of jealousy. The handsome Wizard Howl takes a liking to Sophie and it is apparent that the Witch wants him for herself. In Sophie’s travel she meets a scarecrow, and there’s also a dog that resembles Toto very much. The Wizard Howl is somewhat analogous to the Tin Man. He loses the ability to love when he gave up his heart to save the life of Calcifer, a falling star that he caught when he was small. In the end, it is proven that he doesn’t lose the ability to love at all, as proven by his feelings toward Sophie.

Tin Man





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Raw, Cain, DG, Tutor, and Glitch


A miniseries produced by SyFy channel, this is a reimagining of the WOZ with additional science fiction and fantasy elements. DG (Dorothy Gale) is the protagonist, a waitress who doesn’t quite like her farm life in Kansas. Like in the original story, DG is taken to OZ (Outer Zone) by a “storm”, though in this case it is the travel storm of Longcoat Soldiers (Winged Monkeys) sent by Azkadellia (Wicked Witch) to kill her. DG meets up with Glitch (Scarecrow), who had his brain halved by Azkadellia, Cain (Tin Man), a law enforcer who is locked in an iron suit after defying Azkadellia, and Raw (Cowardly Lion), a viewer.

It was very different from the original the story—something like a sequel actually, as it is revealed that DG is a great-great-granddaughter of Dorothy Gale herself. It’s also set in the modern world of androids and stuff. XD My memory’s a bit fuzzy; I’ve actually watched only the first part, as the second part is quickly taken down by the SyFy site days after its airing, but I’m positive it has a lot of family-related concepts that contributed to the conflict. Since I couldn’t find any DVD or online sites where I can watch it, I cheated and read its ending in Wiki lol. I’m still on prowl of a DVD copy of it.

Was




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A book by Geoff Ryman. It is basically made up of the dark tales of Dorothy Gael, a real girl who goes to live in Kansas with her aunt Em and uncle Henry after her parents died of diphtheria; Judy Garland, the theatre girl who will play the role of Dorothy Gale when it’ll be finally turned into a movie; Jonathan, a dying AIDS victim who is obsessed with the Wizard of Oz; and L. Frank Baum, an itinerant young actor from New York who writes a masterpiece after being inspired by Dorothy Gael, making all the lives of the characters abovementioned connected.

It took me a while to finish this book because of the somewhat slow progress of the story. Parts in the middle certainly made me cry; the ending is sad but I sort of saw it coming (will tell everything in the review XD ).


The Wicked Years Series




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Trilogy by Gregory Maguire. I have nothing so much to say about this, as I haven’t finished the trilogy yet. In fact I’m still currently reading the first book, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I’m liking what I’m seeing so far and I hope it gets better. The second book is entitled Son of a Witch, and the third one is A Lion Among Men.


Pet Society

Heee! I actually cracked up when I thought of including this. In the Playfish game Pet Society, there is a fairytale egg vendo machine in the Mystery Shop. Each egg contains toys, and you’ll be able to complete three fairytale sets from the items. I’ve completed the Goldilocks and the Three Bears set and the Wizard of Oz set; I still have to find a Unicorn to complete The Prince and the Dragon set (I’ve actually found a Unicorn toy before, but I sold it when my pet’s broke, lol). Below is the image of the complete Wizard of Oz set:



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The Tin Man, Dorothy (pet-style lol), the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow


-I still have a lot of blatherings about the Wizard of Oz, but this list is getting too long. Will post another Oz-related blog....but not tonight! Teehee! Ta-ta!



Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A note to W.B.

Dear Writer's Block,

I.Hate.You.
You always come back and bugger me and make that...that blank word document loom larger and whiter than it already is, perhaps to emphasize how my creative juices have dried up. Well, just so you know, you're one of the cruelest things to invade my system. Ever.

Writing fanfics (or poems or original short stories) is my personal stress reliever, but yes you come and add to the burden. *sniffs* I just hate you!!

Tomorrow, in our six-hour break, I hope you decide to just melt away with our library's air conditioned atmosphere. If you don't, I'll do my best to kill you--which means, I have to don't write anything at all. Which means I have to take a break. Which sucks.

But if that's the only thing that can make you go away...well, I don't have a choice. Ta-ta! :P



Yours truly,
AIRIZ

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tempus has Fugited

Written in longhand: 11 PM of November 10
Typed: 9AM of November 11

After a couple of years, this is the first time I’m writing a (sort of) diary entry in longhand. I always go straight to the computer and type away when thoughts sprout out, but the laptop’s not here—I requested my father to have that junky piece of technology repaired again. I’ll still post this on my blog today though (with the palmtop and with that broadband wireless as slow as perhaps the biggest tortoise in the sea).

Writing like this felt somehow different. Typing is a bit oblique. Writing in longhand, on the other hand, makes me feel as though the pen’s a direct conduit of my soul, that the ink represents the thoughts I’m yet to scribble. At least I feel that way. It makes this entry really mine—even the uneven letters of my handwriting seems to tell me, “we are your trademark!” (be that as it may, I’ll still post this in my livejournal or my multiply. It’s one pet peeve of mine to leave something “imbalanced” or “incomplete” and writing this just on paper makes me feel like committing a little crime against my online diaries).

Anyway, the second semester of my junior year commences in six days. Tempus fugit, indeed. I spent my sem break with Haruki Murakami (it feels like I’m really with him as I read his What I Talk About When I Talk About Running), Anne Rice (as I read her pornographic fairytale The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, which triggered a long string of rants from me), and Geoff Ryman (as I finished the first book of his Wizard-of-Oz inspired novel, Was. Two books to go!). All in all I think this is a fruitful sem break. I didn’t get to read anything on my actual to-read list for vacation time, but these three authors made up for it. I learned a lot from them and I’ll apply the lessons in real life.

I’ve lied low on my e-social life for quite a while but I’ll get back to it as soon as I completely organize the little “clutters” in my real life (when is that, I wonder?). It’s nothing much of a sacrifice, but the internet has been a part of me. It’s…well, I see it as some kind of a “boyfriend” (what an analogy!)—cool off for now and we’ll get back together as soon as everything finally falls into place.

I’m writing this entry because I want to blather. No truly interesting topic prepared beforehand: I’ll just rely on the flow of my mind. It will probably break the cohesion of the paragraphs if I say something about how beautiful the stars are or if I wonder where we get the stereotype attitude of coloring the stars yellow despite the fact that there’s not a single yellow star I can clearly see (save the Sun of course). But what the hell. I’m not writing this for school.

I know there are people out there who share this idea with me. People who think there’s something very beautiful in spontaneous trivial things. Or spontaneous trivial thoughts.

I remember someone who, like me, can find magic in things that most people dismiss as something trivial. She saw beauty in the delicate lines of the clouds. I saw beauty in the symmetry of the heaped up pillows after I made the bed. She talked about her dreams. I talked about my daydreams. We talked about angels. We imagined how angels used the clouds as pillows and how they dreamed, if ever they dream at all.

She’s a precious thing in herself and I know she knows this. If only a lot of people see the world through her eyes, then maybe the world we live in today isn’t like the world we live in today (and with that I just added another item to my miles-long list of “ifs”).

There are some things that even if I find something beautiful about, still show something very unsightly. Like now, as my mother marched into the room fagging, I can make out different beautiful shapes in the smoke. But she’s still polluting the air and it can trigger my asthma (and I HATE asthma attacks. Who loves them, anyway?).

Then there are some things that though so beautiful are still transient. A rainbow is the ornament of the sky after it wept; with its seven vibrant hues, it seems to console the world that acted as a basin for the sky’s tears. It's there one minute and gone in the next. It’s just a fleeting thing, like a person’s external beauty. Time will gnaw away this vain mask and in the end what we’re left with is what’s inside. That thing at your core, that’s what really matters.

Like now..my zits are breeding again, but so what? At least I get to release what’s inside, even if I’ve turned into some form of nocturnal creature. Er…or maybe not. My mother’s death-glare is telling me I shouldn’t torture my body clock, especially that the school days are approaching. Perhaps I’ll just type this up tomorrow….

Off to slumberland! Ta-ta!

(crossposte to my livejournal)

Friday, October 30, 2009

[Fanart] Mytho and Kraehe

Recent RL happenings are giving me stress worse than the one I always have during school days. They're driving me mad and reducing my OL time (though I do log in secretly for a few minutes to get rid of ennui and...well, stress.). Good thing I can occupy myself with art and anime marathon--they are very good stress relievers. It's Princess Tutu I last re-watched and I decided to at least make fanarts for it since I've been in the fandom for so long and I haven't contributed anything. XD

So here you go. It's the pantless chibi Prince Mytho and chibi Princess Kraehe. I'm a bit dissatisfied about the Mytho drawing..I think it doesn't look like the real thing. :l


  Prince Mytho Chibi   Princess Kraehe Chibi




I tried to draw them in the storybook style used in the beginning of each episode, but I think I failed in doing that. XD I got to improve my shading.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

[Review] The Time Traveler's Wife

Henry was twenty-eight years when he first met the twenty-year-old Clare. Clare, however, had met a thirty-six-year-old Henry when she was six, and they were married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry thirty-one. It’s quite confusing and utterly unbelievable, but not in Audrey Niffeneger’s ground-breaking debut novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife.
An unconventional love story, this is perhaps one of the most twisted romances (in a good way) that I have read. The idea about time travel in literature existed ages ago, but this novel turned out to be surprisingly original. I have been a fan of works classified under sci-fi so I liked the main driving force and framework—the genetic Chrono-Displacement disorder—but considering the author’s exceptional prowess, I must say that even those who are not fans of the said genre will like this.
I think the “magic” that the author has is that she can make everyone in her pages teem with life, be it a main or just a supporting character who appeared just once. You’ll never see flat characters here—no clichéd interpretation of any kind. For instance, the main characters: Henry DeTamble doesn't have a very likable personality, as induced by his frequent comings and goings. He's not able to establish deep relationship with people who he doesn't meet often during his time hegiras. He is interpreted as simply a human with a disorder, with foibles and shortcomings, but is in himself a hero without being a "Prince Charming" stereotype of today. While Clare Abshire often compares herself to The Odyssey's Penelope as she waits for Henry, she isn't one to be counted as a woman who *just* waits. No, she doesn't act as a damsel in distress--she has her own way of fending for herself and fighting for what she feels.
Niffenegger managed to make the story flow smoothly, not letting her audience get lost inspite of the confusing nature of her chosen theme.  Every scene charges along at a gallop. Her prose is not florid, but shows enough imagery so the reader can picture out the scenes vividly. Her tone is almost journalistic.
She used alternating first person points of view, so the readers are given access to feelings and thoughts of both the main characters, establishing an instant rapport. That, in my opinion, is one of the most important characteristics of a good novel: its ability to draw in those that are reading it.
Over all, I say this is an excellent work. I almost can’t believe that it is Niffeneger’s first novel. The foreshadowing, the course of events...it's all laid out properly. She is able to discuss time, love, loss, patience, destiny, free will, and a lot of other philosophical issues without making the whole thing soporific. A spellbinding tale of two star-crossed lovers, this 500-page book is certainly worth reading.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Addiction and Theraphy in one: Gundam Wing

Fourteen years after its first airing in Japan, I'm still an avid fangirl of Gundam Wing. Not so many people can understand my 'obsession' for it---sometimes I think even I myself don't know why.

It's actually my father who got me to watch it, when he asked me to come over and watch Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz with him (still in VHS format at that time). I was readily drawn to Mariemaia Khushrenada, the seven-year-old despot-wanna-be in the movie. For some reason, she reminds me of President Arroyo (perhaps because of the character's role--my ten-year-old self referred to Mariemaia as a 'president'---and of course, because of the *coughs* height). I secured CD's and DVD's after I watched the flick, and what happened next, you can figure out.

The main story goes like this, as told by the narrator: "With high expectations, human beings leave Earth to begin a new life in space colonies. However, the United Earth Sphere Alliance gains great military powers, and soon seizes control of one colony after another in the name of Justice and Peace. The year is After Colony 195. Operation Meteor: in a move to counter the Alliance's tyranny, rebel citizens of certain colonies scheme to bring new arsenals to the Earth, disguising them as shooting stars. However, the Alliance headquarters catches on to this operation."

These "shooting stars" are Heero Yuy, Duo Maxwell, Trowa Barton, Quatre Raberba Winner, and Chang Wufei, in their respective Gundams. They are fifteen-year-old boys with a mission to destroy OZ and to avenge the death of the original Heero Yuy, a pacifist-leader of the colonists who was assassinated back in AC 175.

Anyone who thought this anime is just all about the mecha battles designed for boys is awfully wrong. All in all, Gundam Wing is a political anime---battles of beliefs and ideologies about peace and war, intensified by their use of the era's modern weapons. I learned a lot from this show; I grew up with the characters as they realize their worth in a world that underestimates them.

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Relena Peacecraft/Darlian, the main female protagonist of the show, drastically changes from being a somewhat spoiled girl to a responsible leader (and Queen of the World--at 15!). Suicidal Heero regains his will to live, not only because he realizes the importance of life, but also because he has something to live for now *hints at love interests*. Duo, who gives himself the name God of Death, lives believing not everybody who comes near him is fated to die; Trowa learns that he should continue living because he has a home to go to with people who cares for him; Quatre learns to forgive himself and not to deny his own kindness; Wufei realizes that while he believes he needs to find "justice" on his own, he still has comrades who are willing to help him.

Occasionally I rewatch my favorite episodes; sometimes, especially during long weekends or semestral breaks, I have whole series marathon. Every now and then I publish fanfiction, my OTP being QuatrexDorothy (I'll post something about them next time). This is my addiction for 10 years...and it's still not showing any signs of petering out.

Ironically, this is my therapy, too. Sometimes real life happenings can be too complicated and...well, a little too tiring. Watching GW, writing fanfics, browsing for pictures...they can all serve as a stress reliever for me. I don't forget offline commitments of course; there are things that require my attention irl, and I make it a point not to ignore them.

Luckily, I can nimbly juggle my OL and RL worlds. XD

Sunday, August 30, 2009

[Fanart] Dorothy and Quatre

I realized I just murdered my f-list with my artwork picspam....Sorry! I thought the cut worked, but it didn't (I'm still having problems with my posting, yeah). Anyway, to avoid such problems again, I will post one artwork each day.

Here's the artwork for the day:
Chibi Dorothy Catalonia and Quatre Raberba Winner.
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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rant and Meme time! :D

I'm back! Not for long, though.
Midterms will be on Monday (and it's the same date of the end of my wilderness years, I'm finally eighteen!). I haven't written anything for LJ writing comms. I think this is my worst case of writer's block so far.

And I hate it! There's nothing else that can frustrate me than not being able to produce anything...just blinking in front of my laptop, fingertips resting with not-so-much pressure on the keys................argh! I don't like this! Anyhoo, there's nothing I can do about it. *sigh* Perhaps I should listen to inspirational music or read an old poem so I can get the plot bunnies reproducing again.

Since I have nothing to productive to write, here's a little picture meme. I got this from an amazing fanfic writer, .

A.) Post ten of any pictures currently on your hard drive that you think are self-expressive.

B.) NO CAPTIONS! It must be like we're speaking with images and we have to interpret your visual language just like we have to interpret your words.

C.) They must ALREADY be on your hard drive -- no googling or flickr! They have to have been saved to your folders sometime in the past. They must be something you've saved there because it resonated with you for some reason.

D.) You do NOT have to answer any questions about any of your pictures if you don't want to. You can make them as mysterious as you like. Or you can explain them away as much as you like.



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Of Haywire Logic

Reading this little poem by Neil Gaiman quite cheered me up today. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed...er, well, I think I slept on the wrong side, too. We all know that every person has his own set of anxieties, (anyone who says he hasn't any is just fooling himself). I think I kind of magnified them a hundred times, and I let them clobber me, sending my logic haywire. My bad. I thought I'm better than that.


And then here's Neil Gaiman to the rescue. I've stumbled upon an excerpt of this poem a while ago. Reading the whole thing is very refreshing, and it sparked some hope in me, kinda. Here's the poem:

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A set of instructions for what to do when you find yourself in a fairy tale
from the collection "Fragile Things"


Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before.
Say "please" before you open the latch,
go through, walk down the path.
A red metal imp hangs from the green-paintedfront door,
as a knocker, do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.
Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.
However, if any creature tells you that it hungers, feed it.
If it tells you that it is dirty, clean it.
If it cries to you that it hurts,
if you can, ease its pain.

From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.
The deep well you walk past leads to Winter's realm;
there is another land at the bottom of it.
If you turn around here,
you can walk back, safely;
you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.
Once through the garden you will be in the wood.
The trees are old. Eyes peer from the under- growth.
Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman.
She may ask for something; give it to her.
She will point the way to the castle.
Inside it are three princesses.
Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.

In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve
months sit about a fire, warming their feet, exchanging tales.
They may do favors for you, if you are polite.
You may pick strawberries in December's frost.
Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going.
The river can be crossed by the ferry.
The ferry- man will take you.
(The answer to his question is this:
If he hands the oar to his passenger,
he will be free to leave the boat.
Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.
Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that
witches are often betrayed by their appetites;
dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;
hearts can be well-hidden,
and you betray them with your tongue.

Do not be jealous of your sister.
Know that diamonds and roses
are as uncomfortable when they tumble from
one's lips as toads and frogs:
colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

Remember your name.
Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.
Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped
to help you in their turn.

Trust dreams.
Trust your heart, and trust your story.
When you come back, return the way you came.
Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.
Do not forget your manners.
Do not look back.
Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).
Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).
Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).
There is a worm at the heart of the tower;
that is why it will not stand.

When you reach the little house,
the place your journey started,
you will recognize it, although it will seem
much smaller than you remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate
you never saw before but once.
And then go home. Or make a home.
And rest.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I can say that these instructions can be applied in real life as well. My favorites are in italics.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

[Fanfic] Schoolyard Mercenary

Schoolyard Mercenary

_________________

“I killed him!”

Yi Jung was brandishing a sunny smile when he set his first foot on the ‘battlefield’, but hearing the impishly triumphant declaration sent him cussing under his breath. He plastered an unperturbed façade and marched on.

Ammunitions? Check. After engaging in several ‘battles’ here, he learned that it was true when they say the best form of offense was defense. His bandoleer was filled with the best bullets in the world: patience, patience, and some more patience.

Camouflage? Check. Well, at least his recent fountain wrestling with Woo Bin made it for him. He chose to wear a coffee-colored Galliano suit; with water seeping into its fabric, it got a tad darker. Any stain-inducing assault to his immaculate outfit would be more or less feckless now. It wasn’t a big deal for him if he would end up having the garment auctioned like the others, but he figured that if he was planning to live through these ‘wars’, he would have to defend his…own uniform. At least once.

“Yi Jung sunbae.”

He looked over the heads of the platoon of boisterous ‘soldiers’, and he spotted Ga Eul standing on the other end of the lot. His smile dimpled back into place for a fleeting second; it almost felt like he was going to rescue his princess from a horde of…gremlins. He raised a hand to symbol ‘stop’ when Ga Eul moved to approach him.

“Mission accepted,” he whispered to himself, straightening his tie.

And the battle began.

“I killed him!” the shrieked reiteration of victory came, arresting Yi Jung’s attention fully again. He craned his neck around to locate the source of the voice. While he knew that his smile was already an obsolete weapon (in these creatures’ home turf, at least), he never attempted to discard it, believing he could find a way to worm under these little devils’ skins with it. He flashed his movie star-white teeth now, which was answered with a mischievous set of uneven milk teeth.

“Who did you just…kill?” He actually fumbled for kid-friendly synonyms of the last word, as he thought he sounded too profane speaking it in front of a sweet little thing. He was suddenly very glad he didn’t find any: the obnoxious glint in the girl’s eyes made him think that even the word ‘kill’ was very light. He found himself searching for a more extreme synonym now.

“Him,” the girl said, wagging her index finger to her open lunchbox. Yi Jung mentally slid his first ‘patience’ bullet into his mental gun, cocking it ready. He stooped over the lunch box and found a half-eaten hamburger minus the top bun.

“You killed the hamburger?”

The girl nodded enthusiastically, plaits swaying with the gesture. “Want me to show you how I did it?”

“Sure,” he said unsurely.

The girl snatched a bottle of ketchup from a nearby table. Giggling, she squeezed the bottle and carefully drew a smiling face on the patty with the sauce, then scooped it up to show it to Yi Jung.

“He’s smiling,” Yi Jung described.

“Not anymore,” the girl laughed, and without another word smashed her palm against the food. The other kids started to gather around him and the girl, young eyes engrossed with the burger-murder spectacle.

“Stop that,” Yi Jung chided, somewhat panic-stricken. “I’m going to be your teacher for the clay modeling class today, remember? I won’t allow students with dirty hands to attend my subject.”

The child’s face convoluted in horror. “Nooo! I have to make clay grapes again! Teacher said she will help me!”

“Dirty hands, no clay class,” Yi Jung repeated.

The girl fidgeted, chewing on her bottom lip. The other kids exchanged glances and murmurs. “Ummm… If I clean my hands, I make clay grapes?”

Yi Jung nodded.

“Okay then! I’ll clean it!”

Somehow, he didn’t even flinch when the girl pressed her hands flat against his suit. It was a reflex already—the little devils had done these kinds of things before. Even worse.

The girl giggled when she started rubbing her palms up and down his front.

“Hee Young!” cried Ga Eul, marching straight towards where they stood. “Hee Young, how many times have we talked about this already?”

“Ga Eul,” Yi Jung called, once again raising a hand to stop her.

“But sunbae…”

“Kids,” he ventured with a wink. “It’s not like I’m not used to them.”

That did it.

The cluster of little creatures began rejoicing as if what he had just said was an announcement of freedom, and not for the first time since he went to help Ga Eul teach, he felt as if he was in a miniature hell…

…that was probably worse than the real hell below his feet.

Mud, ketchup, burger buns, Play Doh stains, and something really smelly and unpleasant (that he preferred not to know what) were dabbed at his suit, at his face. He felt little molars too, sinking through his suit and onto his skin beneath.

“Stop!” he heard Ga Eul yell. “Stop it! Kids! Hee Young, Sou Jung, Lee Soon! Stop!”

“Ga Eul,” he called, shielding himself from the attacks. Oh, yes. He terribly needs an SOS now.

“Stop it!”

A silly I-feel-like-I’m-in-a-zombie-movie thought sailed across his mind, and when he thought he was being dragged down to the ground, the little hands began peeling away from him.

“I. Said. Stop!”

A couple of seconds—eternities—passed. When he finally opened his eyes, the chaos was gone, and he was jailed in the arms of his all-time heroine.

“Hi,” he greeted Ga Eul with a chuckle. “You saved me again.”

Ga Eul couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Sunbae, you’re not actually coaxing the kids with toys and sweets to…well, do this, are you?”

Yi Jung looked shocked. “You think I’m coaxing them to pound on me like I’m their favorite chew toy or something?” He unlocked her arms and scrubbed at his face. “Please. What made you think I’ll do such a thing?”

Ga Eul ducked her head, but he could still see her blushing. “You like calling me a superheroine.” It was a statement, not a question.

Yi Jung laughed, and it was his turn to imprison her in his strong embrace. “I don’t need to have an army of little monsters to torture me so I can call you my superheroine. You've already given me what I needed for me to feel safe…and saved.”

That short sentence caused a thousand memories to rush through his head. His heartbreak, his pain, the jigsaw-shaped potsherds….

He shook his head and blinked the memories away. They didn’t matter anymore because everything that matters now was enclosed in his arms. He smiled at his thought and instinctively leaned forward, letting his eyes flutter close, breathing her breath, slowly closing the distance between them and—

—plak!

He chewed his lower lip in annoyance, feeling the burger patty that was hurled at him sliding down his face. The thrower giggled from somewhere behind the bushes.

“Kids,” Ga Eul reminded him with a hint of laughter. “It’s not like you’re not used to them.”

He rolled his eyes. No, he didn’t think he was going to be used to them.

Ever.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

[Fanfic] Cinderella in Rubber Shoes

Cinderella in Rubber Shoes
____________

“You came.”

It was a statement, but the way Woo Bin’s body arched into a hesitant posture and how the ghostly swirl of smoke from his last Red Devil stick coiled up into a question mark shape symbolically and effectively turned it into a question.

“It’s a brotherly instinct,” Yi Jung responded with a one-shouldered shrug. “I heard the Woo Bin nine-one-one alarm going off, so what do you think I should do?”

Woo Bin perched himself precariously on the fountain rim. “Stay tucked in bed, perhaps,” he suggested. “I don’t really know where you get the idea that me brooding is an emergency. Besides, a sleep-deprived So Yi Jung is no fun.”

Yi Jung chuckled and executed a mock punch that landed on Woo Bin’s jaw. Woo Bin comically turned his head to the side and convoluted his face in pretended hurt. He threw the cigarette away, permitting himself a short gulp of laugh.

“Seriously, bro,” Woo Bin said through a lopsided smile, “you need to sleep more—get some rest. Your energy’s a tad scaling down lately.”

“Says the man who did nothing during the past few days but space out and make his eye bags droop lower to his cheeks,” countered Yi Jung. “If by ‘energy’ you meant the Casanova vim, I don’t think I have plans of shooting it up back to the same level it has five years ago.”

“Serious about being stick-to-one, I see.”

“It’s one of the perks of being in love,” Yi Jung affirmed.

“Perks,” Woo Bin snorted. “Yeah, right, being in love…”

Despite Woo Bin’s attempt to keep his words from sounding too bitter, an awkward silence reigned over them to meaningfully punctuate the statements. For some reason, it felt like it somewhat embossed the emotions he was supposed to hide. Yi Jung shuffled his loafers on the pavement uncomfortably and shifted his weight to his other leg, a frown replacing the dimpled smile. He stuffed his fists in his overcoat pockets before looking up at Woo Bin.

“Correct me if I’m wrong. This is all about a woman?”

Woo Bin searched for any judgment or ridicule in Yi Jung’s face and found none. He raked one gloved hand through his hair—his automatic gesture following a foolish deed, like letting someone else know one of his deepest insecurities—and took a lungful of breath.

“What if it is?” he asked rather sourly. “Don’t tell me you’re going to give me an advice, we have the same feather.”
Yi Jung laughed. “I’ll still give you one even if you don’t want to listen.”

“You can't if don’t know the whole situation.”

“That’s why you’re going to tell me everything first.”

Woo Bin smirked. “Make me.”

That wasn’t so much of a dare. Yi Jung lunged with a half-laughed, incoherent battle cry and collided with his friend, toppling both of them backwards to plunge into the fountain. Woo Bin flailed his arms and threw jabs, but Yi Jung easily dodged each and caught him in a headlock in one swift move. Just as Yi Jung was preparing to use the leverage, Woo Bin grabbed a handful of his suit and yanked him down to splash deeper into the chill water.

“Damn it, my roll-ups are all wet now!” Woo Bin guffawed, suddenly remembering the pack of cheap chocolate-filter cigarettes in his windbreaker pocket.

“Yeah, and you owe me one Galliano suit.”

Barking another laugh, Woo Bin gave Yi Jung a playful rabbit punch, then disentangled himself from the latter’s arms. He hoisted himself up the rim.

“You’re free to take anything from my closet,” Woo Bin chortled. “But you really have to buy me a new pack of Black Bats.”

Yi Jung brushed his wet bangs away from his eyes as he emerged from the water. “You’re really exasperating, you know that? I gave you Lucky Strikes on your birthday and you still subscribe to cheap sticks.”

“The kiss of ordinary cigarettes are way too exquisite than that of luxury fags; those who think otherwise are just overwhelmed by the price. Besides, the only thing you paid for was the pack. Whoever thought about studding it with diamond and ruby is completely out of his mind.”

“I forgot how impossible it is to please you,” Yi Jung sighed, shrugging off his dripping coat. “But tell me now…who is it?”

And Woo Bin forgot how hard it was to get rid of a determined Yi Jung. The years they spent together taught Woo Bin that trying to stray away from the topic was just a waste of time; Yi Jung would never let go of a question until he gets the answer to it, no matter how long it would take him.

“Is it Miss Les Miserablés?”

Woo Bin snorted. Yi Jung has this way of giving their girls nicknames after the most notable characteristics they have or anything that could be considered their trademark. It was a shame, but the boys have to admit that it was easier that way than to remember each girl’s name. There were exceptions though—those who, in a way, touched their hearts.

As for Miss Les Miserablés...Well, he wouldn’t have remembered that American girl they met at a Victor Hugo Broadway musicale if Yi Jung hadn’t mentioned her now. He couldn’t recall the wench’s face, but he could remember Ji Hoo commenting that she was winsome. She was way too sweet for his tastes though.

Yi Jung must have read his face. “No? So…is it Miss Fashionista?”

Oh, that woman Woo Bin remembered—she was sex on legs, clad in a fabric-deprived little black dress when he first bumped into her in a benefit fashion gala last year. There was something very attractive about her, but her being too snooty was an immediate turn off.

Yi Jung climbed up beside him. “Miss Playboy bunny?”

Seriously, did Yi Jung think he would last a day with that woman? He tried so hard not to offend the blonde in saying that he preferred black-haired Asians...after thirty minutes of nonstop flirting with her.

“Miss Centerfold?”

Woo Bin arched a brow. Three days? Four? He wasn’t certain about how long his relationship had been with that French model, but it was no different from the other flings he’d had with Miss Toothpaste Commercial or Casino Girl or Lady Russian Roulette...

“Don Juan, you’re not going to let me mention every girl you’ve been with, are you?”

“All I know is that I’m not going to tell you who the woman is.”

“Give me a hint, then.”

“Look, bro—“

“Song Woo Bin,” Yi Jung stated firmly. “I can figure it out on my own. Just give me a hint.”

A sigh. “If you think I’m exasperating, I don’t know what word I can describe you with. But fine, I’ll give you a clue.”

Yi Jung flashed his dimpled beam. “I know you will.”

Woo Bin ran his fingers through his locks once more while his friend’s expectant face loomed in his peripheral vision.

“Sort them out,” he said nonchalantly, “and cross out everyone with the ‘common denominator’. The only girl who’ll remain is the…the culprit, I might say.”

He ended with a mirthless laugh, but Yi Jung drank in his every word and was now thinking hard. It took the latter no more than a minute to figure it out.

“No way,” Yi Jung breathed incredulously, eyes wide. “Y-you don’t mean…Cinderella in rubber shoes?”

It stung. Just hearing the nickname Yi Jung gave Yang Sun Byul made his heart drum painfully against his breastbone. The little event that earned her the title came rolling back in his head...

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He and Sun Byul had argued the night before that rainy Valentine’s Day. While he didn’t consider patience as an overrated virtue, he never said that he would hold on to it even if the circumstances were beyond human toleration. Or beyond his toleration. He had to admit that even if Sun Byul was kind and innocent, she was still one of the most stubborn creatures he had ever encountered. Woo Bin thought their quarrel that night was just petty, and only when he attempted to kiss her the morning after did he realize that she had been really angry. He couldn’t remember how many times he uttered apologies; he even used his high caliber sweet-talking that would normally make any woman blush. Well, she did blush…only it wasn’t because she was flattered, but because her anger meter was elevating a notch.

He left immediately not because he was fed up—he just needed to think of something that would make her anger peter out. He was driving his yellow sports car and the rain was beating hard on his windshield when he noticed a pink blur moving on the sidewalk. He squinted at its reflection at the rearview mirror and slammed on the brakes when he realized it was actually Sun Byul.

“What do you think you’re doing?!” he remembered himself rebuking her as he dragged her angrily inside the car. “Running in the rain like that—do you plan on having me hospitalized?”

Sun Byul opened her mouth to retort, but she shut it up again when his words sank in. “Having you hospitalized? Wait, I think it’s me who’s in the rain!”

“My point exactly!” he answered through gritting teeth, his viselike hold on the steering wheel getting tighter. “Do you realize how much I would worry if something bad happens to you? What if I hadn’t seen you? What if—”

The pink stains on her cheeks sent him suddenly tongue-tied.

“Sun Byul?” he asked warily.

She shyly ducked her head. “Y-you know, you better work on your coaxing skills some more. Sometimes your smooth-talking gets too cheesy…”

He gaped. “I’m smooth-talking?!”

“Are you not?” she challenged. She crossly wiped her hands on either side of her pink jogging pants in attempts of drying them up or something, but it was completely useless because the garment was also drenched with rain. With her rosebud pout and her ponytail askew, she looked like just a little girl who was scolded for playing too long in the rain. Woo Bin chided himself for not being immune to her charm, feeling his own version of fury dwindling away.

“Here,” Woo Bin said, handing her his trench coat. “I’ll get you something warm to drink once we get to the nearest convenience store.”

She sneezed twice, and when she didn’t make any move to accept the coat, Woo Bin himself swaddled her with it. It was only when he looked down that he noticed she was only wearing one tennis shoe.

“Hey…”

“I left it,” she snapped with a hint of embarrassment. “If I take more time on tying its lace I wouldn’t have caught up with you.”

Woo Bin was flabbergasted. “You went out with only one shoe?”

She cocked a timid nod, lifting her shoeless foot and wiggling her toes underneath the wet sock. “I would’ve taken off the other, but you’re driving way too fast I don’t even have a second to do it.”

Woo Bin flashed a questioning look.

“I have something to give you, that’s why,” she finally said, shooting him a curious look. “And you have my permission to laugh, no need to hold it back.”

“I don’t find anything funny,” he said honestly. “You could’ve just phoned me so I could go back, and you wouldn’t have to go running like that. It was Prince Charming who chased Cinderella, not the other way around.”

She rolled her eyes at him as she dug for something in her pockets.

“About last night,” Woo Bin continued, this time a little uneasily. “I’m really sorry about it. I don’t think it’s completely true that a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, so you don’t really have to cook for me next time and…”

“I know I’m a bad cook,” she croaked. After seeing last night that her timer was actually a smoke alarm, Woo Bin didn’t have the heart to disagree with that. She hated it when he lies, although she couldn’t exactly note when he was saying the truth or when he was just bluffing. Ever since she told him about it, he made it a point not to tell lies to her. His ‘smooth-talking’ wouldn’t count as tell tales, because in one way or another, they were still the truth—as both his eyes and heart could attest.

“Here it is,” she said in delight, handing him a pair of gloves. “I’m aware that you have a plethora of gloves, but I hope you still accept these as my valentine’s gift.”

Woo Bin took the items from her without a word. She flipped them palms up to reveal small pink hearts stitched into them.

“I’ll appreciate it if you’ll wear them,” she said coyly. “That way, it will be like I’m just holding your hands, even if I’m away. Those pink hearts…”

“Yours and mine?” he queried and she nodded. “Now look who’s getting too cheesy here…”

He laughed when she jutted her lower lip out.

“I’m just teasing, you know,” he said. “I love them, thank you…”

As if words were not enough, he closed the distance between them and caught her lips in a soft, persuasive kiss, expressing his gratitude in his most heartfelt way.

That, for the record, was his first real kiss.

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“Ah, so it’s really her?” Yi Jung shook him out of his deep reverie.

“Bingo,” he sighed, then looked at the stitched hearts on his right glove. “My sweet, personal karma.”

“What happened?” Yi Jung sounded profoundly concerned now, and Woo Bin wasn’t so sure why he didn’t seem to like it.

“I think I don’t want to discuss anything about it tonight,” he decided. “I’m sorry, bro.”

“Are you sure?”

“A hundred one percent,” he confirmed with a grin. “I’ll let you know if I’m ready to talk about it.”

Yi Jung silently blew at his slowly-drying bangs and hummed something under his breath. He was waiting for Woo Bin’s decision to change.

“I’m serious,” Woo Bin declared. “You’ll be the first one to know everything about it.”
Yi Jung cocked an eyebrow when Woo Bin lifted a fist. He suppressed a giggle, knocking his own fist with it.

“Deal,” Yi Jung cheered. “I don’t want to force you, even if I think it’ll somehow lighten your load. I already expected that you won’t talk—I’ve noticed how you became selfishly masochistic these past few days, punishing yourself…”

Yi Jung swung his legs out of the fountain and stood up, preparing to leave.

“But if it goes overboard,” Yi Jung pronounced in earnest, “I’ll stop it.”

“And how will you do that?”

“Braggart, what made you think that you’re the only person who can make a punching bag out of anyone?”

“So you think that hurting me can lessen my pain?” Woo Bin sniggered.

“A hundred and two percent.”

Without any warning, Woo Bin launched one last blow on Yi Jung’s stomach.

“Off you go now bro,” Woo Bin ordered. “You still have to make up a story on why you’re going on a date soaking wet.”

Yi Jung coughed and flashed a smile. “Ga Eul’s already used to my unusual appearance whenever I come from your place. She considers it normal now so there’s no need to invent fibs anymore.”

“I can see Ga Eul shortening your leash. She’ll think I’m a bad influence.”

“Pipe down, idiot,” Yi Jung snapped with a glare. “You can’t influence someone who’s just as bad as you. I’ll see you later.”

“Later,” Woo Bin nodded.

He watched his friend’s retreating back. When the last footfall echoed, his attention was arrested by the slowly dying ember of the Red Devil he discarded a while ago. He picked it up and smoked the last inch remaining, savoring its strawberry tang while wondering where the partner of the tennis shoe he kept in his closet could possibly be.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Caricaturist

I stumbled upon this little picture at photobucket while I was searching for the images I'll incorporate to a previous post (which was badly messed up). I remembered uploading this ages ago. It's from one of my cartooning practice sessions with NCR editorial cartoonists under the tutorial of Mr. Rene Aranda, editorial artist of The Philippine Star, during the regional Mini Press Conference and Contests back in high school. XD

I thought I'd share. Hehe.
The caricature is of Sybill, the partner/subject I chose for this activity. The notes around the drawing were of the other contestants from different schools. :)

Photobucket

Trivia: The Alexander F. Padilla Jr who wrote his name at the left lower corner of the drawing, is only nine years old. XD He's sooo Santino-like and cute and awesome and *insert all adorabibble-related adj here*. Hehe!

[Fanfic] Four-Leaf Clover

A/N: I and Mamu are working on a series of ficlets based off the Korean drama series 'Boys Over Flowers'. This is a 'teaser' (of sorts) for the whole series. We're still working on the next installments.




***

Title: Four-leaf Clover
Characters: Song Woo Bin (in the forefront), So Yi Jung, Gu Jun Pyo. Mention of others.
Genre: Angst, romance, humor
Notes: Contains SPOILERS from the end of the series. This is actually a 're-imagination' of the special episode focusing on Woo Bin, "After Story episode 2: Five Years After". The fic is also hosted at fanfiction.net.

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He clenched his fist around the stems of the half-destroyed bouquet, not even flinching at the thorns that painfully sank into his palm. Pain? He snorted disdainfully. He erased that word in his life’s dictionary a long, long time ago.

Smirking bitterly to himself, he lifted his eyes warily and stared at her back, at the way the fabric of her orange sundress hugged her curves. His arms used to envelope her soft profile, too… and the manner the wind whispered through her hair, it reminded him of the very way he played with every precious strand while murmuring sweet nothings to her ears…

He let out a sarcastic laugh. Who would’ve thought that a harmless-looking lady like her can defeat a proud, violent Mafia bloke like him? It was so Samson-and-Delilah-ish: she managed to crush his heart into smithereens by just uttering a few words.

...but had she betrayed him?

Refusing to think about it, he veered his mind towards somewhere else. Memories then came flooding his headspace when he let his eyes flutter close, bringing him back to the time when he first cross paths with this woman.
___

Insecurities were the last thing an onlooker would think about if he would scrutinize Song Woo Bin that night. The young man was sporting his characteristic lopsided smile, and the way he carried himself in his dapper windbreaker hinted of the start of his Don Juan-ish escapades for the night. Unknown to everybody, he was struggling to keep the cool facade unyielding...and he was slowly crippling himself inwardly in the process.

He found a bar in a quite squalid alleyway in search of a different kind of refuge. He wasted the whole day there, imbibing countless bottles of beer—yes, beer over expensive wine or cocktail—and by dinner time he finally felt the kick of the drinks.

His surroundings were getting fuzzy; he was gripping the edge of the bar top for support and for the first time in his life he scowled at the aftertaste of alcohol in his tongue. His temples were throbbing hard and the sole idea playing in his mind was to find the loo—or anywhere else where he could possibly throw up. He wobbled from the stool; he looked up, and the dim lights of the bar loomed around him like some local gangpeh1 he encountered before, cornering him, threatening him…

“Yo, mah bros,” he said rather comically, “wanna play a game?”

And with that, he started throwing uncontrolled blows and kicks around, hitting anything solid that came in their path. There were feminine shrieks overlapping the soporific music—he thought he saw fleeting faces of admiring, blushing girls, and he scowled at them in disgust. Seriously, why does the majority of the female population prefer to have kick-ass boozers as their ideal mates? He knew he couldn’t understand it so he never tried to. As long as he could use it to his advantage, he wouldn’t really care.

By the time he released his last punch, the beer-stained floor was already carpeted with unconscious men that he beat black-and-blue all by himself.

He brushed the warmth that trickled down his chin—blood, he realized with a note of surprise—and marched out of the awkwardly hushed scene. He slumped against the nearest wall once he escaped the suffocating atmosphere of the place, his breathing a tad labored as though he had just run a marathon. He laughed quietly to himself and reached inside the pocket of to get his last Black Bat stick.

“Is the commotion over, Sunbae-nim2?”

His fingers twitched around the cigar. He snapped his head at the direction of the voice while his other hand instinctively curled up into a fist. Blinking twice, he discovered that the speaker was just a girl; he willed his breathing to steady and permitted himself a sigh of relief. Funny oaf, he chided himself. Is this a sign that I should never go alone on a binge again? Perhaps I should invite Yi Jung next time…

“Sunbae-nim? Are you alright?”

“Sunbae-nim?” he echoed with a one-sided smile. “Do I look old enough to be addressed like that?”

The girl seemed to tense. He trapped the cigarette between his lips once he successfully lit it.

“Not that old to be called Ahjussi3,” the girl responded too coyly that it was almost impossible to tell if she said it in jest or not. “I mean…well, I initially said it out of respect, but squinting now, I can say that you do look older than me.”

He thought of arguing but something in her voice forced him to swallow a string of narcissistic remarks back down his throat, along with the sour rush of his breakfast, lunch, and dinner for today: beer. Who knows, the lassie might not be lying at all. He himself felt ugly and old in his own skin tonight.

“Good girls are taught to tell the truth, aren’t they?” He said with a half-released laugh and blew a cloud of sweet-smelling smoke, which she timidly waved away with her hands. He tilted his head to study her face. “No fag?”

“What?” the girl asked with furrowed brow.

“Fag, mama,” he said in nonchalant abandon, raising a brow. “Cigar. You don’t smoke?”

She frowned. “No.”

He shifted his weight to his other leg while he went on studying her. Even behind the alcohol-induced blur in his eyes he could tell that the girl was of exquisite beauty, the kind that would work its way to your head and cling there for a long time until someone or something more beautiful comes to replace it. He had seen beauties before, but none deserved to stay in his head for even a single minute. This time, however, the charm of innocence proved to be a factor to make this face a potential afterimage in his mind. He absentmindedly nodded to himself.

The only lights falling on them were moonlight and the band of colored fluorescents escaping from the bar. He could clearly see how the glowing colors bounced off her buttermilk skin and her slightly wavy hair that swirled down to her elbows. The lights played on her eyes, too, he observed.

It was only when she looked away that he noticed she was blushing under his scrutiny. He chuckled and limply let the cigar fall to the ground.

“I should be going back inside,” she said, carefully avoiding eye contact. “I suppose that the commotion is over already…”

“It is,” he confirmed readily, “because the one who started and ended it is standing right in front of you.”

She stepped back once but unexpectedly, she didn’t look scared. With exaggerated slowness she lifted a hand and brushed a thumb on his chin. He tensed at her warm touch; much to his surprise, he didn’t pull away.

“Sunbae-nim,” she said with reproach, eyes focused on the dried trail of blood there, “I know you’re old enough to know that you don’t have a set of milk teeth anymore—they won’t grow back once they go off. I guess it’s really true that bad guys lose their teeth so soon even before their hair turn white.”

“You’re breaking my heart,” he said as he pouted in mock hurt. “I’m a bad guy?”

She smiled and stepped back. “Good guys don’t start trouble.”

“Good guys and heroes often stop trouble,” he added in retaliation. “I stopped what I started, so I’m not fully a bad guy.”

“I can’t argue with that,” she laughed and took a bow. “I’ll be going now.”

She came to a halt when he blocked the entrance.

“Password?” he asked with a devilish grin.

She rolled her eyes but answered anyway. “Please?”

“Wrong answer.”

“Please is wrong?”

He winked. “Song.”

“What?”

“Song Woo Bin.” He gently took her hand and planted a soft kiss on it. “That’s me. Not Sunbae-nim or Mr. Bad Guy.”

Flushing scarlet, she tugged her hand away from his lips. “S-so that’s the password? Y-your name?”

“No, but yours is.”

“My name?"

He nodded eagerly. "I'll only let you in if you give me your name."

There was nothing else she could do but sigh in defeat.

“Yang Sun Byul4,” she said quietly.

“Sun Byul,” he repeated. What a fitting name, he thought. Byul—a star.

Sun Byul pushed him when he didn’t move. “Excuse me, Woo Bin Sunbae.”

“Quit attaching the title,” he complained as he shimmied drunkenly to the side. “It makes me feel a lot older—never mind the respect part. And by the way, Sun Byul—“
She stopped in her tracks.

“There’s a small flaw in your bad-guy-lose-teeth theory,” he said over-cheerily. “I didn’t lose any tooth tonight.”

“That doesn’t explain the blood,” she said with a final wave, obviously dismissing his statement as a lie.

“My cut lip does,” he answered back. “And thanks for the balm.”

The devilish smile was back on his face when she came to halt once again.

“Balm?”

“The kiss,” he said. “Your skin’s more than enough to heal my—”

He ended his sentence in a loud gulp of laugh when she threw him a glare that accused him of being a pervert, before she hurried inside.

___


The flashback betrayed him, he realized as he refloated to the present. He hadn’t completely deleted ‘pain’ in his vocabulary. In fact, he had been soaking in it all this time, enjoying its presence.
Ha, so how’s that? Prince Song the masochist? He rolled his eyes at his own thoughts.

After their first meeting, he and Sun Byul kept in touch. It helped that Sun Byul actually studied in Shinhwa University as well; they were both wide-eyed when they ran smack into each other while she was hurrying to her next class. Woo Bin remembered resisting the urge to punch Jun Pyo that day after the said F4 leader suggested on giving her the ‘red card treatment’ because she didn’t bother to apologize for the little incident. Some things never really change, he thought then, rolling his eyes.

Sun Byul escaped the professor’s reprimand afterwards, thanks to Woo Bin’s undying charm that she refused to acknowledge at first. And then they started their frequent meetings. Whenever Woo Bin thought the F3 wasn’t paying him any attention, he would sneak out of the private lounge and convince Sun Byul to ditch her remaining class so they could go out. They would walk hand-in-hand, laughing and teasing each other, sometimes stealing kisses and sometimes even ‘accidental’ touches. Without a doubt, Sun Byul liked him—he could even swear that she actually loved him. Well, he did love her...

…and he still does.

He tightened the grip on the thorny stems until a certain wetness was felt. He didn’t bother to know if it was just sweat or blood. Physical pain was, needless to say, no match for the ache throbbing in his chest right now.

Gathering all the courage he got, he marched towards Sun Byul. She let out a gasp when he grasped her arm and forcefully swung her around.

That was when the realization hit hard: he wasn’t in pain.

He was angry.

“What’s the reason?” he demanded. He drowned himself in the blackness—and blankness—of Sun Byul’s eyes as he waited for her answer. His eyes then traveled down to her lips.

“I’m sick of it,” she whispered. “I’m sick of your kindness.”

Everything went in slow motion after she said that word. She whirled around, the sound of her stilettos decrescendoing. He watched her retreating back with gnashed teeth and angrily suppressed a growl, effectively destroying the bouquet by smashing it against the pavement.
___

“Woo Bin, come over and play with us.”

He grudgingly peeled his eyes away from the flower he was cradling in his hand and focused them on Jun Pyo and Yi Jung, who were busying themselves over another childish game of building blocks. He pressed his lips in a thin line as he stood up and efficiently astonished the other boys by swiping the little wooden tower off the desk. He wordlessly turned around and left, but not before he heard Jun Pyo asking: “What’s his problem?”

Okay, so he was brooding. The proud, cool Don Juan of F4, who was popular for always carrying the I-can-always-fix-everything-with-a-wink-and-a-flash-of-smile attitude, was brooding.

Well, he sighed, Why the hell not? I’m still human.

He perched himself on the stairs and thought about…those days when the F4 shone. Their high school days, the times when their world changed because of Geum Jan Di’s entrance in their lives. He remembered the way the whole school would gather to wait for their arrival; he remembered his tap dance, the movements of Yi Jung’s hands that the God of Pot blessed, Jun Pyo’s boiling temper about false scandals involving Jan Di, Ji Hoo’s silent times and his careful strumming of the guitar…

“The memories will always be the same,” he murmured as he stared down at the four-leaf clover he was twirling with his fingers, “but I could’ve been the one to change.”

Let’s go back, he told himself.
___

And go back he did.

It felt like home, being back there in their private classroom. Woo Bin settled himself on his cozy old chair with a satisfied sigh. A book toppled down to the floor when he accidentally brushed against it; when he picked it up, and old snapshot slipped out of the dusty pages.

Gu Jun Pyo, Yun Ji Hoo, So Yi Jung, and himself.

The little boys in the picture grinned at him and he couldn’t help but to smile back. How could he be so naïve to think that they’d stopped shining? Friends like them would never cease to shine. Yes, sometimes they’re weird, sometimes teeth-achingly sweet, and never by any means nondescript. They were his special gifts.

As long as he has friends like them, the world would be beautiful and life would blossom beautifully like no other flower.

A movement to his side arrested his attention; he snapped his head at it, and found his nose inches from a birthday cake.

“How can you go here alone?” Yi Jung complained churlishly, sliding the cake closer towards Woo Bin. “Gu Jun Pyo started to feel bad, somewhat. Didn’t we promise to be together forever?”
A toothy grin spread over Woo Bin’s face.

“Happy?” Jun Pyo asked, trailing Yi Jung.
“Happy birthday!” Yi Jung greeted contentedly.
Woo Bin playfully lifted the cake to his eye level and blew the candles out in several puffs. The moment his fingers came in contact with the icing by mistake, a mischievous thought flitted across his mind. Jun Pyo and Yi Jung were sharp as ever, of course; they dodged out of reach as soon as Woo Bin commenced flinging amorphous lumps of icing at them.
After almost half a dozen years, F4’s private room once again echoed with laughter.
Woo Bin realized that brooding wouldn't—would never—suit someone like him at all.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Additional notes:
1. Gangpeh- also spelled 'kkangpae' or 'ggangpae', it is a Korean gangster. An organized crime gang is called a 'pa'.

2. Sunbae- what you call your “senior” or anyone who's older than you; is often used with the suffix “nim” which makes it polite. It can go without the suffix but it is more casual that way.

3. Ahjussi- a middle-aged man.

4. Yang Sun Byul- yes, she's practically an OC, but there is a real girl who broke up with Woo Bin in the After Story episode. It's like I just gave her a name and a story with Woo Bin. 'Byul' means star.

As I have said above, some scenes from this will be a part of a multi-chaptered series I'm co-writing with a friend. Consider this a 'teaser'.

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"If love is the answer...can you repeat the question?"- anonymous

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Of Doodles and Banters

Last night, my banter with my younger sister Aila ended up in a little drawing battle. She knew that the odds are not in her favor (especially in terms of the drawing quality) but she went on with it anyway, knowing that she has the upper hand when it comes to creating the most offending barb. It all started when I commented on her head being too heavy and big for her body (it’s a random observation that I thought I only said in my mind). In return, she retorted that my head is too small for my body, and that I’m a fat, heavy balloon that can float anytime. The repartee went on, each half-cackled, half-said phrase punctuated with an occasional playful slap on the leg or arm. When our eyes landed on a box of oil pastels, the real fight began (much to our mother’s ire, because our voices overlap the TV’s volume, tuned in to the latest news about Hayden Kho).
I made my ‘contest piece’ in caricature style, just perfect for her too-big head. The black pastel wasn’t in the box anymore, so I used the darkest color left, blue, for her hair. Aila had put some pink highlights on her head some weeks ago (it’s not so much of a hairdon’t, really, since they appear redder) so I scribbled some reddish-brown color on it. Oversized toes and fingers, wide mouth and pig-nose, minus the underwear—voila! It’s Aila’s perfect portrait!!!!

My ‘portrait’ that she drew—her masterpiece, as she called it—was a bit rushed because she was hurrying to see the grand finals of our community’s amateur contest already starting at that time. The dominating figure on her figure was a large circle with few contours on it to show some body parts. She put on some chicken legs and sausage-like arms, one hand (according to her) curled up ‘punk-style’ (commonly called, ‘demon horns’). Added with a swish of a ponytail, a half-moon mouth and slits as eyes, and my picture was finished. She wrote ‘BUTSEKO’ at the top, a messed-up version of my nickname ‘Butchick’; below, she wrote ‘Lipad na!’.

Like every contest that we engaged in, neither won. What else was there to expect when the judges were us ourselves?! *facepalms*

She immediately tore out of the house after that, and our refrigerator door was now embellished/marred (it depends on the looker) by the two pictures. I’m actually waiting for father to come home and comment on them, teehee.

Maybe it was just me…but the event made something in me stung. I mean, it’s been a long time since I last touched those oil pastels—or any art material at that. It’s like…meeting an old friend (?). All summer, I’ve been constantly sitting in front of the laptop, making a hermit of myself on ‘The Pit’, updating and proofreading fanfics. Maybe it’s this ‘little artist’ in me that tugged at my heartstrings. I love drawing and painting as much as I love making stories and poems. I know I’ll get back to them someday…when I’m not busy anymore, or when I get the vibe. :)

(PS: Tinamaan na ata ako ng AH1N1 virus! *sniff* I have flu……)

Friday, April 10, 2009

[fanart] 4xDx3

Photobucket

Haha! Well, what did I do when time pleads to be killed? Ah well, kill it before it kills me. Here's Trowa (3), Quatre (4), and Dorothy (D) tangled up in a bittersweet, sizzling triangle. Heeeeeeee! Fanart has its way of scaring my boredom away...

*dead bored*

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sierra Madre Photojournalism Trip

 

Day 1:
Actually, it was more appropriately called ‘night 1’, but for the sake of uniformity let’s use ‘day 1’.
So after our last class that Friday we dispersed on our own ways to pack our things. We met at school at four, with some kind of bad luck prodding my friend Kianah when she lost 3k ( barely putting her on a bad mood—she’s still the goddess of demented laughs and expletives I always know. Thanks to kuya Jimmy’s sweet assurance through that phone call, of course).
When everyone’s boarded Professor Jimmy’s (not to be confused with Kianah’s Jimmy) highlander after couples of minutes waiting for our only male classmate, Pao, we finally rolled off to the roads. It was a fun ride, though it was me who was set as the laughingstock of the bunch. I was not certain, but I know they were making fun of me. Mamu’s, Debbie’s and Kianah’s evil laughter penetrated my earphones, which were turned on full blast. I shrugged them off for the first few minutes, and when I realized I couldn’t do anything about it I just surrendered then that it was “Pick on Airiz Night” tonight.
We stopped at SM Sucat to buy some groceries. Everyone seemed to be grabbing anything what they liked, from piquantly flavored instant meals (i.e. yakisoba) to large potato chips. By the end of the rolling cart frenzy, we have our cart chock-full of our excessive treats.
It was needless to say that the budget purse was drained.
We ate at Chowking after that. And of course the craziness never fades out. Sir Jimmy, upon ordering, said his name was “Wilson” and Kianah introduced herself as “Winona”. I have to smother my laughter when one of the waiters trudged to our table to announce that Winona’s order was finally here.
I, Eliza, and Abby were the ones to finish eating last. Because of that, we were sort of ‘kidnapped’ by a funny pudgy man whom we later came to know as sir Loi. We we’re informed that he, along with the other occupants of the car, would accompany us to Sierra Madre.
What did I just say? That this night was ‘Pick on Airiz night’? Of course! Apparently, even sir Loi found me as the best laughingstock he could pick on. So my curse went on (heh).
After a few arguments about who’s going to stay in which car, we drove off into the night, straight to Quezon province.
The ride itself was awesome. Even if it’s night, we still saw the beauty of the passing scenes, and slowly we could feel the grasp of the city on us loosening. Eliza counted how many ‘haunted houses’ she could spot while the car skidded in such a speed that almost everything went in a blur.
For the night, we stayed at Sir Jimmy’s residence at the Quezon province. Everybody sought for spots where they could sleep comfortably. Some of us rolled into the floor with their sleeping bags—I decided to stay away from the bunch and made the solitary sofa my personal bed. As if never losing any energy, Mamu and Debbie took pictures of us asleep and held the shots as something they could blackmail us with whenever they wish to.


Day 2:
I woke up frowning at the irritating call of ‘mamang naglalako ng pandesal’ that morning. Everybody lined up for bath. While waiting for my turn, I washed the dishes left ignored last night—and after that came sir Jimmy’s lesson on ‘working on the field’. After the sermon, it seemed like everybody were encouraged to move. Eliza was taught how to wash the dishes, while the others hiked to the market to buy food we could use as we climb up to our destination.
After sir Loi bashed my poor black-striped-white leggings (read as: zebra), we commenced the adventure. We trekked up the mountain, taking good care of our ‘sweethearts’ (the cameras) as we randomly clicked and boxed the sceneries we want to bring home.
We crossed at least seven branches of river, hiked up mud-slicked rock formations and stumbled here and there, rappelled at the steepest jutting parts of the mountain, while the leaders shouted shrill and long “Steaaaaaddyyyy!!” whenever someone tripped or sank through the mud. Mamu’s poor pink-and-white rubber shoes were victimized by the reckless hiking (peace!).
Once we arrived to that heaven-like place, we plunged excitedly through the green waters of the river. Boy, was it so good! It was like…well, like we’re in heaven. I remembered taking a shot of the riverscape up from a rock and later labeled it as ‘a basin of Adam’s ale’. I thought is an appropriate title for such an image. As we know, ‘Adam’s ale’ is the only source of water in Eden in which Adam could drink. That place was heaven on earth! Really! Though, I was quite perplexed later when one of our professors mistook my photo caption as ‘devil’s champagne’.
*shudders*
Anyway…so we bathed and posed and bathed some more before we helped ourselves over our lunch—tadaa, in boodle-fight style! Heh, it’s so memorable because it was my first military-style meal (which didn’t feel like military at all, as everyone were still the crazy group that we always were).
After that, we savored the beauty of nature while we do our work as photojournalists. We hiked some more and squeezed through the limestone beauty of caves, took shots, waddled through the dark waters swirling around brittle and somewhat slimy stalagmites. We have to rappel our way up to exit the cave. It was fun and exhausting, but very, very dangerous. Debbie was positioned in some kind of fear-factor moment while we climb—waa, snake! We couldn’t get to stop her sobbing while she was gripping for the rope. Anyway, we all 


survived the tantrums-of-sorts from Debbie and we were able to get back to the camp—only to realize that the caves have a shortcut from there. Apparently, sir Jimmy wouldn’t want us to have it the easy way. Which was precisely how we wanted it. *smirks*

Soon, the sky darkened and everybody packed up to transfer the tents up the ‘koprahan’. Mamu, Kianah, and Debbie slept inside the tent they built while I, Eliza, Pao, and the other mountaineers sought refuge under the roof of the lone nipa hut. Before sleeping, the others went to play cards under the meager light of a gas lamp. Elai and I were gushing about random things, laughing about stories we make from the funny stolen shots in our cameras, and watching the large spider clinging on the wooden wall of the hut. My sleep was fitful as I didn’t bring any blanket and the temperature kept on dropping as the night deepened. Sure I got Elai as my human heater, but that wasn’t enough. Our sirs provided us a blanket—we’re very grateful we’ve got such companions in trips like this.


Day 3:
We thought that we only have a few things to do that Sunday because it’d be our last day on Sierra Madre. Oh well. Assumptions lead to mistakes.
That was the day when we, probably, got to see the most beautiful part of the trip. That’s IMO only, of course. The large formation of caves that seemed to be floating above the emerald water was perfectly heavenly—you know, the very foams that accompanied the current, the cold embrace of fresh water enveloping you (YES, we did swim there)—they were that sort of things you’d want to be one with. I was more than glad that I managed to experience this.
After lunch, we trekked back to the town. There was a queue for a prope
r bath, apparently. We got to use all of the bathing services in sir Jimmy’s house (be it the bathrooms and shower rooms, the taps, and the artesian well). After that, we transferred all of shots to sir’s laptop. And then came our trip home.
To some, three days were pretty short; for us, one day spent with each other laughing, joking, coupled with an ample amount of bullying in a setting that was definitely one-of-a-kind was equivalent to the longest time we believe we could spend with each other. Make that threefold and you almost made an eternity.
Thank God we returned home safely, and thank Him again because we’re able to have another trip in a different location—Vigan.
(blog entry for Vigan soon to be posted! Hee!)