Friday, June 29, 2012

Sometimes the stars will fail you.

Sometimes they will burn out in the inky sea of your skies, leaving you alone without a guiding light. You will stop in your tracks, panic swelling as the darkness cloaks you. The sudden realization of aloneness will eat at you, and it will try to get through your skin and flesh and bones, aiming for the little sparks of hope that have all but waned in your heart.

Do your best to protect these hopes. They may be tiny and trembling, huddling and hugging themselves against your breastbone, but they’re still alive. The moments of darkness will be unnerving, but keep on walking; hold on tightly to your dreams, for the ghosts of failure will try to scare them away from you. The night will be long. The night will be cold. Try not to mind it: put one foot forward after the next, muster all the courage you can. Remember that the sun will peek among the silhouettes of your destination, and when that time comes, your sparks of hopes will flare up like a wildfire again. Trust your story.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Reviews: The Sandman (Volumes 1-5)

Seriously, how can I call this blog a Gaimaniac one if it does not house my punctured thought balloons about one of the Dream King’s most famous creation—The Sandman graphic novels? Ah, that will be corrected now. Here’s the first half of the series, featuring the volumes Preludes and Nocturnes, The Doll’s House, Dream Country, Seasons of Mists, and A Game of You.


1PRELUDES AND NOCTURNES
Synopsis:
A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer.

My thoughts:
I understand how it needs to plant the literary seeds so that in the next volumes, the plants of the plot would sprout out to life with well-defined story arcs. It’s a captivating read, a good springboard to a new mythology that an older audience will surely enjoy. I used to refer to the whole series as “graphic novels for the thinking man”, and I still think of it that way. (read more)

2
THE DOLL'S HOUSE
Synopsis:
As part of a manhood ritual, an old man in the desert tells a younger man an ancient story, detailing the tragic love between Dream and Queen Nada. Fearing the consequences of loving an immortal, Nada spurns Dream. In anger, Dream sends Nada to Hell, where she remains to the present day. Meanwhile, Dream's androgynous sibling Desire calls upon its twin, Despair, to inform her there is a new dream vortex. The two of them allude to a scheme against Dream.

My thoughts:
While Morpheus starred in the forefront in Preludes and Nocturnes, he takes a backseat in The Doll’s House. Here, mortals—the Walkers—fueled the story. This is a good follow-up to Preludes and Nocturnes. The twisted darkness is still there, writhing beneath the melancholic tone of the whole tome. (read more)


3DREAM COUNTRY
Synopsis:
The third volume of the Sandman collection is a series of four short comic book stories. In each of these otherwise unrelated stories, Morpheus serves only as a minor character. Here we meet the mother of Morpheus's son, find out what cats dream about, and discover the true origin behind Shakespeare's work A Midsummer's Night Dream.

My thoughts:
The Sandman graphic novels are a myriad of styles in themselves; stories are told in different angles, from different perspectives. Dream Country is a wonderful compilation of quartet, dream-like short stories. It’s amazing how Neil Gaiman can use his mythology to produce other tales and at the same time giving us a glimpse of more sides of the Endless through the new tales. (read more)


4SEASONS OF MISTS
Synopsis:
”Lucifer has grown tired of being the lord of Hell. He kicks out the demons and the damned alike, closes up shop, and gives the key tp Hell to Morpheus. Beings from all the world's mythologies converge on the lord of Dream to seize this instrument of power.”

My thoughts:
For me, Season of Mists (The Sandman volume 4, issues 21-28) is where Neil Gaiman really starts to unspool the threads of his own magic at length, weaving them to the first filaments of the series’ foundation that we found in Preludes and Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. Here we get more than just fragments of the enigmatic central character of the series, Morpheus; ; we get to see his depth and how he slowly gets to have more touches of humanity in himself. (read more)

5A GAME OF YOU
Synopsis:
Take an apartment house, mix in a drag queen, a lesbian couple, some talking animals, a talking severed head, a confused heroine, and the deadly Cuckoo. Stir vigorously with a hurricane and Morpheus himself and you get this fifth installment of the Sandman series. This story stars Barbie, who first makes an appearance in The Doll's House, who here finds herself a princess in a vivid dream world.

My thoughts:
A Game of You tackles several themes that reappear frequently across the whole Sandman series, but mostly the spotlight is on the power of dreams, finding your own identity, how sometimes oneself is one’s source of suffering, friendship, and sexuality. (read more)

Liebster Blog Award

Well, what a pleasant surprise! A whirlwind of offline commitments has reduced my internet activities to almost a notch above zilch, but I’m glad to know some folks still drop by my online havens and even bother to give awards! Thank you so much, Samaine from the Bookworms Avenue. :)

Liebsteraward

“The Liebster Blog Award is given to upcoming bloggers who have 200 followers or less. The word Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.” Um. *snerks*

I don’t usually do this kind of thing, but I will now as a token of thanks. Here goes…

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Rules:
1. You must post 11 random facts about you.
2. Answer the eleven questions the tagger has given you, and then give eleven questions for the people you tagged.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Tell them you've tagged them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

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My 11 Random Facts:
1. Right now, I’m a staff writer for Gala magazine.
2. Sometimes I still think there should be more than 24 hours a day. It’s not enough!
3. It amuses me how people think Cinderella is my favorite fairytale princess just because my blogs bear her name. Just for the record, she’s not. It may surprise some people to find out how far down her name will appear on the list of my top female fictional characters.
4. I have a lone teddy bear perched atop the highest skyscraper of books in my Barrow Jane. His name is Lennon. He seems lonely, but a furry companion for him may not be allowed. One asthma trigger is enough. :p
5. I’m freaking in love with milk tea, hot and cold. Every day I wish I could marry the creamy content of the darling little cup. Best way to start office work, if you ask me.
6. I’m still engrossed with Isis cw’s Gundam Wing fanfiction Revelations. Her treatment of the characters is extraordinary, making me fall in love with them over and over again. That said, no matter how 3x4 may seem so waffy and cute, I still ship 4xD.
7. I’m bisexual, but mostly I’m just book-sexual.
8. I hate it when people underestimate the intellectual content of graphic novels and anime series. I bet they’ll be surprised to learn how much these mediums teem with wisdom compared to other shallower works that may have come their way.
9. I can’t take spicy food, sorry.
10. Sometimes, when I can’t say what I want to say through words, I say them through drawings.
11. I don’t think I can live without chocolates.
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Questions from the Bookworms Avenue:
1. So far, what's your best read this year?
I think Going Bovine by Libba Bray is amazing, closely followed by The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This will change later, I think, since I have yet to read more  books.

2. If you were given a chance to meet a character from a book, who will it be? Why?
Just one? Unfair! I think I’d love to meet Death. Which doesn’t mean I want to die, of course. A little chat with Neil Gaiman’s perky gothette Death or Markus Zusak’s enigmatic Book Thief narrator will be nice. If I won’t be allowed to meet anthropomorphic personifications of concepts, well, I’ll just pick Cassel Sharpe from Holly Black’s Curse Workers trilogy. He seems to be a nice little bloke, and he’s “clever as the Devil and twice as pretty.”
Or maybe Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games.

3. Besides reading, what other habits do you do?
I write a lot, for my work and for myself. I draw, listen to a lot of music, drink a lot of tea, daydream, watch TV series, take night walks, and daydream again. Sometimes I try to learn playing the violin, which is hard because the neighbors can't take the auditory disaster. So I just turn to the online keyboard...

4. What are your top 5 books?
In no particular order: The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak, The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano, The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. (NOTE: this list changes a lot, depending on my mood).

5. A book you recommend to readers out there.
I’ll point you to my answers to number four. Choose one. :)

6. What genres do you prefer reading?
I try every genre I come across, but I always go back to that kind of fiction where reality and fantasy blurs. Surrealist books are amazing.

7. A book that made you cry.
The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. Many people will consider that weird. No one died in it.

8. Authors you're dying to meet.
Neil Gaiman, Haruki Murakami, George R. R. Martin, Holly Black, John Green, Paolo Giordano, Chuck Palahniuk, Suzanne Collins, and Scott Westerfeld.

9. How did you come up with your blog name or title?
”The knee-jerk reaction of almost everyone who stumbles upon my blog is to wonder: Why ‘Cinderella in Combat Boots’? And why is it a fairy tale that violates all rules of fairy tales? The answer is simple: I wanted to show that even someone who is auto-crowned as the Queen of Damsels in Distress can be her own savior too, that she can wear anything that is tougher than glass slippers as she braves her way through life. I’m only a nondescript girl, but I believe I can show everyone that I can stand up for myself if I need to. In a way, I’m my own Cinderella donned in footwear fit for the harsh roads of life.”

10. Tell us something about you that you kept as a secret to others.
How about I just tell you something that I don’t tell a lot of people? Haha. Not necessarily a secret, though: I have a huge crush on Chris Evans/Steve Rogers (Captain America: The First Avenger).

11. What book made a great impact in your life? Why?
I have lots! But Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables opened a lot of literary doors for me, making me the way I am today. :)
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(I promise to tell them later, haha!)
**********

Questions for the blogs I tagged:
1. If you were to be catapulted into the past and you can only bring one book from the future to give your predecessors, what will it be?
2. Can you share with us one thing from your bucket list?
3. If you were to switch lives with a fictional character for one day, who would it be?
4. What is the book you last read? Would you recommend it to others?
5. Who are your favorite authors?
6. The house is burning! You can only bring five books on your way out—what are these?
7. Have you encountered a fictional villain you can’t help but love? If yes, who and why?
8. What do you look for in a novel?
9. What is the weirdest thing you ever used as a bookmark?
10. If you were to be roommates with a fictional character, who would it be?
11. If you were a writer right now, what sort of book do you think you would be writing?



Again, thanks so much, Samaine! You’re awesome.
Cheers and Ciao!

Airiz

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NASA’s most adorable spaceship models

Scrolling down the entirety of my Tumblr likes in search of something rebloggable, I found this collection of spaceship model pics originally posted at Wired. I’ve always been a sucker for anything cute (plus points if it is geeky), and seeing these models again drew out a little squeal from me. I wish I could acquire local likenesses—I care not if they’re all cheap or twee copies! I think they’ll be perfect for my Barrow Jane. :p

Quoting Wired: “From lunar landers and rovers to satellites space stations, NASA's engineers built tiny replicas and concept representations that will melt your heart.” They did, oh gosh. Such intense cuteness is hard to disregard, but yeah, with NASA’s bigger accolades, that’s only expected. Anyway, here they are (photos and captions from Wired.)

apollo-lander-1963 Apollo Lunar Lander 1963
The design for the Apollo lunar excursion module went through several stages, some cuter than others. The image above shows the lander at peak cuteness. Even without the miniature astronaut, fake moon rock and starry sky, this scale model would elicit motherly coos from space geeks. This concept was known as a "bug."

apollo-lunar-excursion-model-moon-1964 Apollo Lunar Lander 1964
By 1964 the design of the lunar excursion module had entered another phase of adorability. This model almost looks like it has eyes and ears and is afraid of the surface of the moon.

mercury_capsule_shape_b_1958 Mercury Capsule
The Mercury capsule design above, called "shape B," was fairly close to the final design of the real capsule. This loveable little 1958 model shows how the astronaut would be positioned inside, including the individually fitted couch.

space-station-early-concept-1963

space-station-early-concept-1966 Space Station Concept
Early concepts for a space station also resulted in super-cute models. The one shown above from 1963 is probably our favorite, but the one  from 1966 has a tiny astronaut doll in it.

viking_lander_1973 Viking Lander
This little model of a Viking lander, shown here at NASA's Langley Research Center in 1973, is almost as cute as the engineer pretending to tend to it as he poses for the photo.

hypothetical-nuclear-propulsion Nuclear-Powered Spacecraft
This 1959 model of a piloted nuclear-powered spacecraft looks like a gumball machine or some kind of game. Posing it hovering above a fake extraterrestrial surface with Earth in the background seems almost calculated specifically to enhance the ship's cuteness.

orbiting_solar_observatory_1962 Orbiting Solar Observatory
One of NASA's top scientists, Nancy Roman, poses in 1962 with a little model of the Orbiting Solar Observatory. Roman looks like your favorite science teacher combined with your doting grandmother, and is definitely cuter than the model. Roman had her hand in many important satellite projects, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Cosmic Background Explorer.

apollo-lander-1961Apollo Lunar Lander 1961
Just like the wooden toys your parents probably played with, the early lunar excursion model shown above is adorably simplistic. In some ways it might even be cuter than the more advanced models at the beginning of this gallery.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Reel Rolls (May-June)

Mini movie reviews won’t hurt every once in a while! Here are three films I’ve seen the past months and a few kernels of thoughts I’ve popped after watching them. Feel free to share your thoughts about them, too! :)

The Avengers

The Avengers
“Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. brings together a team of super humans to form The Avengers to help save the Earth from Loki and his army.” [imdb synopsis]

Marvel’s juggernaut flick of the year, The Avengers, definitely took the cinematic universe by storm. Action-packed and peppered with just the right amount of humor, the movie’s rather basic plot is spiced up by the characters who—as we all know—are already big stars on their own. The world’s still enjoying the “hang over” from this movie up to now, spawning fanworks that you can make your jaw drop.

Everyone—including yours truly—is excited for Avengers 2.

*************


Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows
“An imprisoned vampire, Barnabas Collins, is set free and returns to his ancestral home, where his dysfunctional descendants are in need of his protection.” [imdb synopsis]

A couple of  milliseconds: that’s usually how long it takes before I fall headfirst in love with Johnny Depp’s quirky characters in many Tim Burton films. Barnabas Collins seems to be one of the few exceptions. While he does deliver the usual morbid humor that can elicit dark chuckles from viewers, he seems to be a tad too underdeveloped for my palate. The other characters feel that way, too. And please, let’s don’t talk about deus ex machina, okay?

The story’s rather cluttered and a few portions are quite dry, but I admit it still managed to make me laugh a lot.

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Snow White & The Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman “In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.” [imdb synopsis]

As far as I can remember, it was Neil Gaiman’s short story called “Snow, Glass, and Apples” that introduced me to the world of fairytale reimaginings. It tells the story of Snow White from the perspective of the supposedly “evil” queen. Read it, I never saw the Disney version the same way again.

Anyway, this retelling starring Kristen Stewart is a decent movie, although it may sound a bit harsh if I say what I liked the most are the special effects. I love Queen Ravenna’s back story, though. It adds a couple of layers to her character, which is often dismissed as a one-dimensional antagonist in many depictions.

*************



There’s a promise of a few good films this month, so maybe there will be another reel rolls post. I’m eyeing Brave and The Amazing Spider-Man at the moment! :)

Cheers and Ciao,
Airiz

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tick-tocks peter out.

I’ve been doing an awful lot of thinking the past few days. Right now, I’m sitting cross-legged in my mini-office/built-in lib (aka the upper bunk of the double-decker bed), incapable of stopping the hurricane of thoughts that’s battering my head. I figured putting some of them on these…virtual papers might help in calming them down, so here I am. It’s a whirlwind of word vomit, so scroll down at your own risk:

****
I’m really beginning to realize that 24 hours a day is never going to be enough for me. I used to exaggerate about it when I’m still in college, but it’s quite different at present. Back when I’m still tethered to scheduled schooling, I just felt like I’m readying for my ever-dreaded “future,” steadying myself in the training wheels called formal education.

Now that I’m in that future, I sometimes find myself lost, and I needed to always rummage in my brain and heart for the inner compass I’ve always prided myself in making, one that I created to supposedly help me follow my dreams. Each time I stall, every time I rethink something, I felt like I’m letting the seconds slip through my fingers like sand. I don’t know. I guess a girl’s hyper dream-crammed head will never be accommodated by the regular clockwork the world has to offer.

I wanted to do so many things, and I’m well aware that I should start/continue them now. But for some reason, I couldn’t. Being busy is understandably included in the package of being employed, but I’ve always been told that if you want to do something, you will able to find the time for it no matter what. I know exactly what I want to do, but I am too tired at the end of the day for these things to even brush my mind. All I could do is to plunge straight to slumberland.

Huh.  You know, I reread that and I thought I sounded like an incurable screwball. Who am I blame the poor timepieces for having just 24 hours? Maybe I should just smack myself upside the head to wake myself completely. *shrugs* Where has my if-you-can’t-direct-the-wind-adjust-your-sails mantra gone?

(YEAH and suddenly I’m writing without any mental filter, in stream freaking consciousness style. How many days have I been sleep-deprived?)

Books I wanted to read and reread, musical instruments I always wanted to play, sports I wanted to try, places I wanted to go to: those are just a few of the things that topped my list. I don’t intend this to be a TL;DR post, so I’m just going to say that I’ve drafted a few more entries about this that I planned on publishing the whole week. Sorry for the mass-publishing every weekend, by the way! That’d be rectified soon. ;)

Cheers and Ciao,
Airiz

Happy Superdad's Day! :)

Time and I again I was told that repeating oneself is dangerous to one’s health, but   I can’t help it if this is all true. This is from my Father’s Day post last year:

Papa Rick
“Screw Marvel and DC Comics! Even if he has no bizarre costume or mutation of any kind, my father would always be the most powerful superhero that my world would ever have—the perfect match for my Supermom, as evidenced by this post. Swishing a cape of life lessons, battling every day's little evils in the confines of his workplace, steeling himself for the unexpected jabs that life might throw his way…when everything’s done he’ll remove his protective armor and melt, because at the end of the day, his family would always be his heart’s kryptonite.”

It’s hard to put into words, but all I can add is that I’m so happy he’s here with me. I just can’t imagine what my life would be without the first man I ever loved in my life. I pray to God to give him blessings and rewards for all the hard work he’s doing and we—his family—would give the love, respect, and care that he deserves. :)

Happy superdad’s day!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Walking Dead (Season 1)

Not more than a week ago, an officemate asked me what kind of apocalypse I would believe to see or try to survive. This was while I was playing Infectonator (post-office hours, of course) after wrapping up an article about a zombie-themed fun run, so my answer was pretty obvious. There was a lot of other end-of-the-world possibilities: dropping meteorites, the sun exploding, extraterrestrial invasion, the earth plummeting in endless winter…but yes, I chose a zombie apocalypse. Not only because I have a quintessentially morbid fondness for the living dead, I guess it’s also the most survivable among the shiver-inducing options. I mean, you’re not technically against Mother Nature’s wrath; you have to gear up and fight your way out. There’s a bigger chance of starting all over again…

…which of course was a thinking I got from almost all the fictional zombie-themed stories I’m encountering lately. Books, movies, TV Series, you name it. AMC’s The Walking Dead, of course, is one of them.

the-walking-dead

With the third season just around the corner, I’m definitely late to the party. But no matter! I finished watching the first season and I’m puncturing my mini-thought balloon about it.

The synopsis reads: “The Walking Dead tells the story of a small group of survivors living in the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse. Most of the story takes place in the Atlanta, and then the surrounding countryside, as the survivors search for a safe haven away from the shuffling hordes of predatory zombies (or "walkers," as they are referred to in show) who devour any living thing they catch, and whose bite is infectious to humans. The plot is focused primarily on the dilemmas the group face as they struggle to balance their humanity with their survival against the zombie horde, and later, how they cope with members being killed and deal with other human survivors they encounter, many of whom are dangerous and predatory themselves.”

Shane, Rick, and Lori
Shane, Rick, and Lori

The-Walking-Dead-the-walking-dead-16919274-840-600
Glenn, Daryl, Dale, Amy, and Andrea

I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again: I love good characters, ones that possess  the intricateness you can only see in real, living humans. Perhaps one of the things that drew me into the show is the presence of the developing characters and how the story focuses not just on their heart-stopping encounters with hordes of the undead, but also the realistically flawed depictions of their relationships, decisions, problems, and overall mental and emotional stimuli to their post-apocalyptic surroundings.

I must admit, the characters did start out as flat at first. As subplot and back story unfold, though, the creators and actors are able to add one layer upon the other until the folks populating the show can be considered three-dimensional. That does not mean I have a fond regard for everyone, of course. Admittedly I still need another season so I could warm up to cool-and-calculated and slightly Gary Stu-esque Rick Grimes. My current favorite would be Glenn, not only because he’s the comic relief, but also because he never loses humanity despite all the things he’d seen. I’m looking forward to their further molding in the next seasons!

Plot-wise, though, I think it’s pretty…mundane. I’m not the biggest zombie fan around, but I’ve read and watched enough living dead stuff to know the basic formula of a post-apocalyptic story like this. So there’s some kind of virus, the dead starts walking the earth, and then there’s this group of folks who are trying to survive. The whole first season showed the bare bones of this formula, although as I’ve said, the presence of the characters gave it more depth.

I hope the second season will cover more grounds; truthfully, the six episodes I’ve watched felt like they were chopped off versions of a very long movie. I enjoyed them, though, and I’m looking forward to see more of this in the coming nights. I even want to pick up the original comic book series this show was based on. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: Why We Broke Up

Review: Why We Broke Up
Author/Artist: Daniel Handler/Maira Kalman
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
My Rating: ★★★★ (3.5/5 stars, 3 for story & .5 for art) 

Why We Broke Up cover

Call it humorously off-kilter or poetically peculiar, but I have always viewed heartbreak as some kind of a Pandora’s Box. You take the whole package after that final blow from your beloved, unlock it, then let all the little devils residing in the cracks of your broken heart fly away until the only thing left is the healing butterfly of moving on. This is the metaphoric image I’ve engraved in my mind upon learning that when some couples call it quits, one party usually returns things that may remind him/her of his/her ex.

When I sat down with Daniel Sandler’s Why We Broke Up, I readied that image to juxtapose with Min’s boxful of trinkets she is returning to her ex-boyfriend. The contents of both packages clicked together, but I’d be lying if I say I wasn’t expecting an out-of-the-box (no pun intended) tale from Lemony Snicket of A Series of Unfortunate Events fame. What I got instead is a run-of-the-mill love story from a hormonal, quirky teenage girl with a penchant for classic movies.

But that does not mean I did not like it.

Film

Basically, the whole book is a letter accompanying all the debris from Min’s romantic relationship with high school basketball star Ed Slaterton. The tone is clever at times and constantly bittersweet, and the stream of consciousness narration is fittingly juvenile. There is nothing new with the plot, but the common intrigue triggered by being presented with a literary tray where someone’s raw emotions were laid out for complete exposure will get the better of you. I wasn’t immediately put under whatever spell other reviewers claimed this book possesses, but somehow, when I learned to connect with Min, I managed to somewhat enjoy it despite myself.

I guess the best word to describe Min’s voice is…young. You know, typically precocious and almost histrionic. This pretty much explains why many readers thought she sounded eye-rolling-ly exasperating, especially that the tone is glued to all her angst-laced rants spilled shamelessly in a letter that is more than 300 pages long. Her mantra of self-loathing, the long strings of expletives, and the heaps upon heaps of run-ons may come off as intolerable to many, but I think it is the perfect tone for a young adult world rotating in an axis called “heartbreak.” She is vulnerable, very much like everyone else who weeps inwardly while bearing the brunt of a failed affair. I could even say that is exactly the reason why the novel carries a realistic shade.

shirt

I believe Min is akin to a mirror from the past for us older readers. Most of us have experienced being young and stupid in the love department; we have at some point thought we were smart, and we surprised ourselves for relenting to the wild commands of our hearts (or in some cases, hormones) when that certain person barges into our lives. If we could only go back in time and listen to our teenage selves sulking and sniveling about people that shattered us, we would effortlessly recognize bits of ourselves in the narrator. It’s been a while since I had a little…“emotional catastrophe,” but this book seemed to amplify that it hasn’t really been that long since I left my melodramatic self in the bat-squeak echo of Yesterday. Because of that past, and the similar instances Min goes through when it comes to placing her identity in the society, I was able to acknowledge the connection between me and Min. That made my reading experience more relatable, if not exactly enjoyable.

Of course, how can I forget Maira Kalman’s pastel-colored illustrations? All of them wowed me from the start. Every chapter kicks off with a full-color drawing of each bauble in the box, and I dare say they added more concreteness and appeal to the book. I’m going to check out other books that Kalman illustrated, that’s for sure.

protractor

Lottie Carson

tea

Over all, the novel is good, but it’s something I’ll recommend with reservations. Handler successfully interweaved the goal of reminding you of the joys and sorrows of being in love with a fairly decent story. I give this 3.5 out of 5 stars (the .5 is for the illustrations).

Never a traitor.

Books are friends

Threefold Rock Revolution: Set Your Goals,This Century, and We Are the In Crowd

June commenced rather eargasmically for me as Smart Araneta Coliseum was rocked by a 3-in-1 supergig of pop rock and easycore. I was once again covering for Gala magazine, and I tell you, there’s nothing like doing your job while enjoying every minute of it. :)

At Araneta

Debbie (who was moonlighting as my photographer partner for the event) and I arrived at Araneta shortly after watching Snow White and the Huntsman at the Gateway Mall. Long queues of keyed up fangirls flocked the entrance to the Big Dome, and the earsplitting screeches were only expected when the doors finally opened.

Set Your Goals

Soaring gang vocals and earsplittingly good hooks were executed by the first band to perform, the easycore Set Your Goals. It was pretty obvious that they were enjoying every number, though I have to admit that they were getting more and more crescendoing screams when they teased the hordes of fans by rooting for This Century. Their songs were enjoyably uptempo, and everyone was jumping to the beat of their music.

This Century- Joel

Next to perform was This Century, which was made of sweet pop rock stars who incorporated various Philippine flag designs into their garments. Every crowd of fan that was squeezing me that time transformed into sweaty, scary scream machines, hurling everything from love letters to bangles to the stage for Joel Kanitz (vocalist) to catch. Their performance was really memorable; I loved how one lucky bespectacled girl got the chance to sing a duet with Kanitz to close the set.

Flag

Neat, eh? I wished they used a bigger flag or at least placed it on a higher position or something. Either way, I love the fact that the band seemingly made it a point to show they were enjoying their stay in the country. :)

WATIC- Tay

Finally, the band I was waiting for graced the stage with their unmistakably awesome presence: We Are the In Crowd! Taylor Jardine was one monster of a rock songstress, and I felt funnily ecstatic for having her almost only two arm spans away from me. The actual proximity almost made me dizzy, haha! I loved every song, and I sincerely hope at that moment—yes, even before the last note of their song made peace with the air—that they would go back here soon.

watic

My article  about this PULP Live World- and Karpos Multimedia-produced concert will appear on our July issue. Take this entry as a teaser of sorts; in my post-event coverage, you’ll learn more about the specifics of the concert, from some of the bands’ clever repartee with the audience to the setlists of anthems the young ones sang along with. Please do grab a copy when it comes out. ;)

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All photos are from Karpos Multimedia Inc.