Friday, December 31, 2010

10. Thou shalt practice playing thy piano at least once a week. Learning a new piece is a must. Neighbors are getting sick of same compositions being played over and over again.

9. Thou shalt eat well and not more. Thou shall banish thy temptations of palate cravings. The power of vanity compels you!

8. Thou shalt find a suitable laptop desk. Chair and shoe box is not working. Laptop is insulted.

7. Thou shalt increase writing money-making articles. Paypal is getting bored and lonely.

6. Thou shalt hire someone to cut off hair. Banish they idea that the world needs a 21st century Rapunzel.

5. Thou shalt give Wuffy, the white and fluffy dog, a bath at least once next year. Thy dog smells.

4. Thou shalt read more quality books and watch less YouTube. Neurons are fighting hard to stay alive.

3. Thou shalt clean room every weekend. Thou shalt ask reliable housekeeper to clean room every weekend.

2. Thou shalt put thy PRC license to use more frequently and put thy Registered Nurseism to work by serving  human race.

And my No.1 New Year's Resolution for 2011 is...

1. Thou shalt type more, compose more and write more. Thy future novel and blog posts shalt not write and publish  itself.


“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.” -- Edith Lovejoy Pierce


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Novels Never Finished Reading a.k.a. I-Might-Finish-It-Someday-In-The-Distant-Future Books:
  • Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert (19% into book)
  • The Girl and the Dragon Tatoo - Stieg Larsson (52% into book)
  • Under the Dome - Stephen King (18% into book)
  • Flood - Stephen Baxter (12% into book)
  • Saving Juliet - Suzanne Selfors (44% into book)
Novels ALMOST Never Finished Reading a.k.a  Just-End-Please-Before-I-Give-Up Books:
  • The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
  • Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  • Nights in Rodanthe - Nicholas Sparks
  • The Winner Stands Alone - Paulo Coelho
  • New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
  • The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold 
Best Written Book: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
Worst Written Book: New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Book That I Will Never Get Tired Of: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling 
Book That I Will Never Read Again: Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks

Tear Duct Activator Award: The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 

Wittiest Prose: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie 
Most Boring Prose: Flood by Stephen Baxter

Most Addicting Novel/Series: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

Best Female Character: Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Best Male Character: Draco Malfoy, The Draco Trilogy by Cassandra Claire
Best Villain: Anne Boleyn, The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Most Irritating Female Character: Bella Swan, The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
Most Irritating Male Character: Edward Cullen, The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer 

Where Is The Plot? Award: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Best Ending: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Worst Ending: The Winner Stands Alone by Paulo Coelho

BEST BOOK OF 2010: The Hunger Games (Book 1 of 3) by Suzanne Collins

Let me just tell you that the first book is brilliant, then it somehow spirals down from there. But still, the creativity, the ingenious plot and the strongly developed characters of the first novel make up for the shortcomings of the other books. Not to mention that, unlike other YA novels, it features a smart, self-preserving and feisty female protagonist that doesn't weep and melt over someone with a Y chromosome in any shape or form. What a great model for girls around the globe.


So with that, I conclude a full year of diverse universes and developed characters. May next year be as equally fulfilling as this one. A toast to books, novels, fiction writing and the various worlds that only live inside our heads.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Okay, so I did not succeed in my 50 books read this year goal but 34 books is not that bad. Especially since I virtually did not spend a cent in getting all these wonderful novels (unless you count Internet provider fees). Reading is a lifelong passion and unless I go blind in the future, I don't think I will ever stop what I love most. Even then I'll probably just listen to audio books. Anyway, here is the grand list of all the books, all the worlds and unique lives that I've lived in this year.

In chronological order:
  1. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
  2. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
  3. The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks
  4. The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
  5. Claiming of Sleeping Beauty - Anne Rice
  6. Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
  7. Draco Dormiens - Cassandra Claire (Fanfiction, read for the 3rd time)
  8. Dear John - Nicholas Sparks
  9. The Reader - Bernhard Schlink
  10. Beauty's Punishment - Anne Rice
  11. Nights in Rodanthe - Nicholas Sparks
  12. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
  13. Draco Sinister - Cassandra Claire (Fanfiction, read for the 2nd time)
  14. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marguez
  15. The Winner Stands Alone - Paulo Coelho
  16. The Ultimate Harry Potter Cliche Catalogue - Clam Chowder (Fanfiction, read for the 2nd time)
  17. Draco Veritas - Cassandra Claire (Fanfiction)
  18. Hush Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
  19. New Moon - Stephanie Meyer
  20. Eclipse - Stephanie Meyer
  21. Atonement - Ian McEwan
  22. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
  23. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
  24. Draco Malfoy, the Amazing Bouncing Rat - Maya (Fanfiction, read for the 2nd time)
  25. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
  26. The Gun Seller - Hugh Laurie
  27. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
  28. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
  29. He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Brehrendt
  30. The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell
  31. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
  32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - JK Rowling (Read for the 5th time)
  33. I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
  34. Uglies - Scott Westerfeid
Let's all see together if 2011 can top off this one. As for the meantime, my first ever annual book awards is up next. My dearest wish is that the future generation will lay off the PSPs and the Farmvilles for just a while, crack open a book and discover the possibilities.

      Monday, December 27, 2010

      Before computers, the Internet and the birth of blogging, there was me with a notebook, a pen and a crazy imagination.

      Now, there's me, a laptop, a new blog, typing enthusiastic fingers, a wilder imagination and a bigger craving for words. Since I don't want this blog to be too crowded since it is already a hybrid of nursing related information, incalculable countdowns, movie / book reviews and everyday ramblings, I have decided to give birth to a separate entity where (hopefully) the beauty and power of words will reign supreme.

      Everyone, meet my new online brainchild: Stories in G Major. The place where heroes, heroines,  highly cringe-worthy situations, hallucinations, fairy tales and emo verses collide.

      There are only 8 entries at the moment, ranging from poetry created almost a decade ago to short stories written just now.  The posts range from out-of-a-whim shorts to personal verses. I hope to add a lot more in the days to come. My goal is to surpass my inability to write a decent short story at will. All these unfinished novel-length fiction must not bear more siblings.

      So why Stories in G Major and not C# or A Minor?

      Taken from Christian Schubart's Ideen zu einer Aesthetik der Tonkunst (1806)

      G MAJOR     Everything rustic, idyllic and lyrical, every calm and satisfied passion, every tender gratitude for true friendship and faithful love,--in a word every gentle and peaceful emotion of the heart is correctly expressed by this key.

      G Major is my favorite musical key if it's not yet obvious. I love how simple it is, the way it sounds and even played. It brings about a true sense of completion, of situations bare yet powerful and of emotions raw and untarnished. These qualities are what I hope to convey with my writing.

      So feel free to read through and share your thoughts and you will probably never know if you're staring at an entirely fictional work or delving into the deepest, most secluded part of reality.

      Stories in G Major

      Ever wondered what happens inside the womb during pregnancy? This article delves into the magical process that brought people like you and me to the world.
      A. First Trimester - period of organ development, which is the most critical period in fetal growth and development

          Fetal Heart Tone (FHT) begins
          Central Nervous System (CNS) develops.
          Gastrointestinal Tract and Respiratory Tract remain as a single tube.


          All vital organs are formed.
          Placenta is developed.
          Umbilical cord is developed.
          Blood is now pumping.
          Arm and leg ...

      Sunday, December 26, 2010

      I've been constructing story lines, places and characters in my head for as long as I can remember. It was back in elementary when I started to put them into words. And boy, were they terrible. Grammatical errors ran rampant in my sentences and the format itself is a Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley rip-off, with numbered volumes of a so-called "True Friends Club" series with a childish adventure in every installment. I used to grow callouses on my fingernails because of the long hours I spent writing on a cheap notebook with an equally cheap pen.

      Never-finished novel length stories came afterward when I learned to type on the computer with decent speed (thanks to my mother's rigorous typing lessons complete with an antique Typewriter Typing book). Those stories included a Dawson's Creek inspired dramatic cheese fest and even a Castaway-ish murder-mystery-in-an-island chaptered novel where the survivors of a shipwreck fight for survival from the wilderness and maybe even one of their own as someone mysteriously gets killed off every week through the unlikeliest circumstances. And take note, that was way before Lost the Absolutely Confusing TV Series aired on US primetime. And yes, I can be Nostradamus that way.

      What came next is fanfiction. The Harry Potter fanfiction community is where I lived for most of my prepubescent years. After reading too many fics for my own good, I've grown envious of how they were creating their own HP worlds so I also made my own. Not all were good but I have to say they were quite imaginative. One is an angst buffet concentrating on  the past and sufferings of a specific Hogwarts teacher in each chapter. Really depressing, believe me. Another is an incredulous hybrid of romance, post-war anguish and wit where a fierce and smart-mouthed Ginny Weasley is forced to apply as a maid for the Malfoy Manor and serve a sarcastic and very very handsome Draco Malfoy in Leather Pants. And yes, it is inspired by Cassandra Claire's epic Draco Trilogy.

      Needless to say, most of them were also never finished. Insert sad face here.

      Then came blogging and suddenly, my crooked opinions infiltrated the world wide web. The characters and their contradicting lives were pushed to the side and the imagination died down a bit as real opinions and actual life took center stage. School works and peer gatherings bathed in the spotlight of my writing and the castaways, the angsty dramatic teens and my very own masochistic Harry Potter universe took their last shriveled breath.

      So what's next? Unfortunately, the death of fanfiction came with the demise of my fiction writing altogether.  Instead of writing my own world, I find myself reading tweets or just watching online videos to pass the time. Since those simpler times devoid of web junk, I have not been able to write a decent story to save my life. I am not proud of this, in fact, I am very much frustrated. I hope that this new project that I'm working on will help jump start some of my creative neurons and bring them back to the bustling cells they were before the brain drain of social networking sites and microblogging platforms.

      As of now, my own universe of reluctant island campers, red haired house maid and emo teens are in limbo.

      Friday, December 24, 2010

      Top 5 Things I Love About Noche Buena / Christmas Eve:

      5. Our Christmas Tree (which has been standing in the corner of the room for 3 months now) will finally be lit up for the first time.

      4. Going online and greeting friends Merry Christmas. And yes, I don't need you anymore Unlitxt20.

      3. Food preparations even though I don't cook nor cooperate in the kitchen. Watching is enjoyable enough.

      2. Ham. Hamhamhamham... (Insert Glee's Lean On Me intro)

      and the No.1 thing I love about Noche Buena.

      1. What else? Presents!


      Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart… filled it, too, with a melody that would last forever.
      - Bess Streeter Aldrich

      Monday, December 20, 2010

      What's the sign that you are fully leaving behind the intoxicating world of tertiary education and delving into the unknown world of corporate madness and adult responsibilities?

      Well, for one thing, you care about when certain days are  deemed 'special' for double pay or no work at all. 

      The Office of the President has just released this list of holidays in the country for 2011. Hope this helps as a reference for those looking for such information.

      A. Regular Holidays
      • New Year’s Day – January 1 (Saturday)
      • Araw ng Kagitingan – April 9 (Saturday)
      • Maundy Thursday – April 21
      • Good Friday – April 22
      • Labor Day – May 1 (Sunday)
      • Independence Day – June 12 (Sunday)
      • National Heroes Day – August 29 (Last Monday of August)
      • Bonifacio Day – November 30 (Wednesday)
      • Christmas Day – December 25 (Sunday)
      • Rizal Day – December 30 (Friday)

      B. Special (Non-Working) Days
      • Ninoy Aquino Day – August 21 (Sunday)
      • All Saints Day – November 1 (Tuesday)
      • Last Day of the Year – December 31 (Saturday)

      C. Special Holiday (for all schools)
      • EDSA Revolution Anniversary – February 25 (Friday)


      Saturday, December 18, 2010

      10. Anger management classes for some Charice die-hard fans.

      9. A couple of those newly designed Philippine Peso paper bills to keep in my wallet. Not for spending, just for show.

      7. Darren Criss's charisma and wit.

      6. The hilarious sarcasm of Emma Stone's character on Easy A. (Great movie btw.)

      5. An invite for me and all my friends to one of those call center Christmas parties where everyone is dressed up and sparkling pretty, complete with red carpet and background tarp with the company logo for picture taking purposes.

      4. Personal blogs for friends who still send group messages of things that happened to them that day.

      3. That the RH Bill be passed. Go go go, CONDOMS!

      2. A universal sign that will let Jeepneys, FXs (FXes?) and Buses know whether you are looking for a ride or trying to cross the freaking road.

      ...and the No. 1 thing I wish for this Chrismtas:

      1. A stop to the endless karmic cycle of me leaving the house with good music in my ear from my iPod earphones just to board a Jeep belting out Jejemon rap songs in heart-pounding bass and inhumane volume.

      Friday, December 17, 2010

      You may have heard it in the news recently. I, however, had no idea that the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas is doing a facelift on the kind of paper bills that we have grown accustomed to. That said, I was pleasantly surprised to see one picture floating on my Facebook wall showing the new designs of our country's money.

      The new bank notes sport a younger-looking photoshopped versions of the personalities that were already a part of the old design, except for the 500 Peso bill where former-president Corazon Aquino joins her beloved husband as they together smile at our nation. Everybody say "awwww...".

      The new look also retained the color used in the current bank notes as to avoid confusion.

      Value aside, I think my favorite design at this time (basing from the pictures) is the 500 and 200 bills. The chocolate hills scenery is a great addition to the otherwise lackluster bank note. Also, the splash of a yellow Tarsier in the monochromatic green bill gives off a nice aesthetic finish and boasts one of the Philippines' rarest creatures.

      The 500 just screams Aquino the Royal Family as it showcases husband and wife Cory and Ninoy Aquino with their son President PNoy's signature in the lower right side of the bank note. What I like best about it is the regal gold color and the fact that Ninoy lost his infamous pensive scowl. I'd like to think that he is now happy that he is reunited with her loyal wife. Once again, all together now: "awwww..." Part II.

      With the release of these new bills, what I hope and pray for is that Filipinos will treat them with pride and respect. I shudder to think of these new happy bills in the hands of a Jeepney driver who will just roll it until it resembles a cigarette stick and slip it in a narrow crack in the vehicle's dashboard. 

      I remember when we were outside the country, we were so afraid to fold the foreign money in our hands for fear that it will lose its value because we have noticed that the people there have kept theirs crease-free and still looking almost brand new.

      I just hope that our fellow countrymen will follow the same practice. And mind you, it is not a bad habit to learn and live by.

      Monday, December 13, 2010

      Singer, songwriter, producer and musician extraordinaire Bruno Mars is exactly what I am talking about when I say I appreciate artists who can do it all rather than those who just belt out tracks written by others. Peter Gene Hernandez, half-Filipino and half-Puerto Rican, was catapulted into the international music scene by his collaboration with other artists such as B.o.B. (Nothin' On You) and Travie McCoy (Billionaire). Just a few months ago, he released his first album "Doo-Wops & Hooligans" and now has been nominated for 7 Grammys at the 53rd Grammy Awards to be held in 2011.

      And take note, he has neither authentic star-spangled American heritage nor magazine-cover-worthy pretty-boy looks. Not that he's not attractive, but you can't really say that his appearance is his strongest point.

      With the dramatically heart-pounding song Grenade and the panty-dropper debut single Just The Way You Are, it's no wonder how he has captivated the hearts of music lovers worldwide and even the ears of the Grammy committee. His lyrics are symbolic, deep and surprisingly heartfelt and honest you can't help but to  stay and listen to what he has to say.

      With genuine talent comes genuine fans. An artist doesn't have to be a part of a certain race or demographic to attract admirers nor retell a sappy life story to get attention. His/her music is supposed to speak for itself, without the help of make-up, hair gel and/or partial nudity. With the current state of the breast-filled and curse-motivated music industry, I, for one, am thankful that real musicians like Bruno Mars still exist.

      Friday, December 10, 2010

      Carrying a developing child in your womb for nine months, or having a wife, sister, mother or friend who is, can be quite stressful when coupled with confusing mood changes and erratic behaviors. With a myriad of disorders associated with motherhood and pregnancy, it is advisable to know which behaviors are common and developmentally significant to expectant mothers. This article offers a glimpse of a woman's psyche during the months that she is nourishing another human being in her body.
      1st Trimester: Establishing an Acceptance of Pregnancy
      There is feeling of surprise, ambivalence, ... 

      Thursday, December 2, 2010

      Imagine my surprise when I log in to Facebook and find that almost all of my friends have cartoons as their primary picture. And when I say 'almost all' I really mean approximately about 90% of my 500+ friends. Now, that's a lot of people too insecure to show their faces on a social networking site. I would understand if this is still one of those early Friendster days more than 5 years ago when nobody wanted to post their real faces online. There must be another reason.

      Well, there is and this viral status basically sums it up:

      Change your Facebook profile picture to a CARTOON FROM YOUR CHILDHOOD and invite your friends to do the same. Until Monday there should be nohumanfaces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories! This is for a CAMPAIGN AGAINST VIOLENCE ON CHILDREN

      Now, I usually do not participate in online fads like those circulating messages about women posting just a color on their status for Breast Cancer Awareness Week or whatever but this one, I can't help but join.

      First of all, I like how fun the campaign is. I enjoyed thinking of a cartoon character for my profile photo and, at the same time, it's interesting to look at who my friends also chose. It says a lot about what their personality's like more than an "At Starbucks, chillin'." status can.

      As an online viral game or a serious crusade against child abuse, I'm with this latest trend even though all these pictures of childhood cartoons make me feel old.

      I mean, would you believe that Princess Sarah, Cedie, Power Rangers, Mojacko, Ghost Fighter and Sailormoon are all almost 2 decades old? It seems like it was just yesterday that I was doing weird arm movements and reciting " ngalan ng BUWAN!"

      Dogs may be man's best friend but sometimes, these normally placid and friendly creatures gets threatened to the extent that they are forced to bite. These wounds, like any other, may be a cause for infections and even rabies, if not properly treated or prevented. Here are some of the ways to help prevent being bitten by an unkown dog or even your own pet.

      • Don't go near dogs you don't know. Some dogs may be just to cute  and fluffy that you can't imagine them hurting someone, but some dogs  are wary with strangers and can bite from the slightest provocation.
      • Let a dog sniff and... 

      From: How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog
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