Thursday, December 21, 2006

Books I'm Reading...




 


Just finished reading this book, took me two sittings in two nights to consume its 642 pages. Ga! Nagpuyat ako (the second night, I slept at 2 am so I could finish it, FINALLY!). To be honest, it disappointed me. :( 


It started out nicely, and I like Kostova's writing style. I could really see the mountains and castles of Eastern Europe. It was like going to Bulgaria/ Romania/ Hungary vicariously.


However, it was simply TOO LONG, in my opinion. Sure, there was enough suspense (always put it at the end of the chapters, propelling the reader to forge ahead... nice) to keep me going, but somewhere in the middle of the book I kinda forgot WHY people kept dying, WHY the girl was going after this wild goose chase after Dracula. Well, not really forgot... but it was no longer REAL to me after a while.


(Call me a prude, but I was rather shocked that the sixteen-year-old heroine SLEPT with a man as the story progressed... ganun na ba ka-loose yung mga Americans even back in 1974?)


I like how one reviewer (courtesy of amazon.com) put it:


"...imagine for a second that you're at a fancy French restaurant. Money is no object, so you tell the chef to prepare the finest, greatest meal he can muster. And he's up to the challenge. From divine appetizers to wonderful entrees, the most exquisitely delicious food crosses your palate. After a delicious plate of seared lamb, you realize you're starting to get too full. You're not sure how much more you can eat. But the chef begs you to continue, for the desert he has planned will be pure ambrosia. So you sit through just a few more courses. You nibble your way through courses of soup, and veal, and a divine roasted duck. Finally, unable to stomach another bite, the chef announces desert. You sit up, wondering what exactly the chef had in mind...how it can possibly trump all the delicious food you had consumed already. And the waiter walks out of the kitchen carrying a small plate. Your desert. The promised ambrosia. He sets it down in front of you, and you stare at it in confusion.

It's a popsicle.


... The Historian flounders under it's own weight, unable to scale the mountain of even it's own windy narrative and leave me with even anything remotely close to a feeling of satisfaction upon it's close. Somehow, I think the popsicle would've been more entertaining in the long run."


Let's hope that this is better:




Some books I want for Christmas (*winks suggestively to siblings and parents*):


 


I loved Anthony Capella's previous novel, it's one of my favorites! Especially good to read while eating, yum yum!



And this one:




Hmmm... not exactly "intellectually edifying" reads, but hey! That's why I joined Ex Libris and not UP Grail (hehe half kidding).


Will be going out of town for a week, specifically to Baguio. Yay! Malamig!


Asa pa kami that we'll be able to stick to our every-day jogging plan.


Jogging in Baguio. To lose weight. During Christmas season.


Hay. Asa pa kami.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Art Of The Saber




I LOOOVE the action! The brothers ought to make martial arts movies of their own, in Hollywood. Think The Matrix + Hero/ House of Flying Daggers.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Voice Major Party: for the Department's web site

I first found out about the upcoming voice major Christmas party a week before the event, when I saw the colorful poster on the Voice Dept. bulletin board while rushing to the loo. "Hmm... that's a first," I thought distractedly, and I am ashamed to say that I put it out of my mind almost immediately, seeing that it fell on the same evening as a Jazz Concert that we were supposed to attend to get extra pogi points for our MuL 13 class.


Wednesday evening: I had just come from another Christmas party (which was a HUGE flop due to lack of proper planning) when a text message from Keith reminded me of the voice major party. (Thanks Keith!!)


I replied that I couldn't make it, I had to watch the jazz concert, blah di blah di blah...


And then it hit me. What am I doing? I said to myself. This is an HISTORIC event!


Another voice hissed in my mind: But it's a POTLUCK party. You just attended one of THOSE, and it was a disaster! Not to mention the food which was hardly better than CASAA fare. And the games were ill planned. This party will probably turn out like the previous one! And what about the jazz concert?


My good angel huffed and puffed: Teka muna, MuL major ka ba, o Voice Major?


The B.I. (bad influence) voice spoke up: Mapupuyat ka... e puyat ka na nga tonight. You'll need your energy for the next day, for the lantern parade! The party will probably be boring, anyway. You won't miss much.


Good angel shifted tactics: Sige ka... kapag hindi ka pumunta, ikaw ang pag-uusapan!!


Oh goodness! I better go!


Fast forward to Thursday afternoon. A couple of us voice majors congregated in the canteen, waiting for our rides. "Is _______ riding with me or with you?"    "What kind of pasta are you bringing later?"     "DON'T buy chocolate cake! I'm bringing that already!"    "Are any of the freshmen going? Goodness, I don't know ANY of them!"


Three of us (Feon, Shaddai and myself) left first because we had to drop by Katipunan to buy our contributions for the pot luck. We decided on Cello's donuts, and I got two boxes (cheese and cinnamon crunch) while Feon got chocolate sprinkled ones.


At least the dessert's good, I thought to myself, preparing for the worst.


We then proceeded to the party venue: Zuri's (new) house at Ayala Heights. If it hadn't been for the map beautifully illustrated by the official cartographer of the voice department, Tanya, we would have been hopelessly lost.


Upon our arrival, we saw to our dismay that Ma'am Kitchy had been the first to arrive! Shame on us. "Para pala itong klase...palaging una ang teacher," she joked.


We couldn't very well start eating without the others, so we settled ourselves on the comfy chairs around the tv and watched De-Lovely, the musical movie on Cole Porter.


(Good thing our department head was present! Otherwise the only thing left of the Cello's donuts would be their boxes by the time the others showed up.)


After De-lovely, Zuri popped in a dvd of a broadway concert special, hosted by Julie Andrews and featuring the best dancing/singing divas of our time. Time simply flew by! We got so involved in watching the dvd, and it was nice because Ma'am Kitchy would comment every now and then. "The Americans don't really prefer quality or a beautiful voice... mostly, their idea of a Broadway voice is a nasal one, with power," and other little gems of wisdom would pop out of her mouth. And all of us would go: "Oooooooh...."


Finally, when a sizable number of people were present, we started eating. I was astonished at the bounty on the table!! Each person who was asssigned to a particular food (e.g. pasta) made sure to bring the most delicious specimen possible, and lots of it! If I recall correctly, there were three different kinds of pasta, an enormous Yellow Cab pizza (courtesy of Ma'am Kitchy) which was devoured in a matter of minutes, and other yummy things. We happily filled and re-filled our plates, and ate to our heart's content while gossiping amongst ourselves, seated in the patio/veranda outside with the cool evening breeze wafting on our faces


Definitely NOT Casaa fare, I thought happily while I got my 3rd mini-slice of donut. Someone had the brilliant idea of dividing each donut into four pieces, for those diet-conscious among us. I may have had 4 or 5... I don't remember! Possibly more... no wonder my jeans were nigh near bursting after eating!


The freshmen arrived soon after we higher years finished eating, so while they ate, we watched Zuri's dvd entitled GREAT MOMENTS IN OPERA (or something like that).


It was fun watching singers with fellow voice majors! We would alternately sigh / gush / make fun of the singer, depending on how good they were. An example of a typical discussion would be the one on Vissi d'arte as sung by Leontyne Price ("I prefer Callas' version... " "Leontyne's my IDOL!"  "Ever notice how black women have big asses?"  "Don't you mean VOLUPTUOUS behinds?"  "Didn't ________ sing this for opera workshop?"  "Will you LOOK at that MOUTH? SCARY!"  "Woohoo! Inggit ka lang! Kaya mo ba yan?")


When the freshies had finished eating, we introduced ourselves all around. We were divided into helpful categories such as Bechie Babies, Ferrer Gals to help the freshies remember us more easily.


Good! We now knew everybody else! Time to play games!


There was a suggestion that we play strip poker, unfortunately nobody really quite knew how to play. Besides, there were MINORS present! Hehe. Instead, we played GUESS_WHOSE_NAME_IS_WRITTEN_ON_THE_POST_IT_STUCK_TO_YOUR_FOREHEAD. Of course, the names were all those of people present in the party. And we were divided into two groups. Pataasan ng points!


The person on the hot seat could only ask questions answerable with 'yes' or 'no.' There was this time when Patrick's name was written on his OWN forehead! He easily guessed it after the first few questions: "Is he a guy? Is he in our own group? Is he studying under Ma'am Vina? Is he a baritone? Ohmygosh this is SO hard! *sarcastically* Who can this be? 


Uh... is he CUTE?"


To which we all shouted NoooooOOOOOoooo! "Then it can't be me!" Patrick said, deadpan. Haha!


Next we played a variation of charades. The topics? People from the college. Ma'am Vina came up with the name assignments. That was how I came to impersonate Sir Raul Navarro's conducting style.


Later, we played the connect-the-song game (hey, we're voice majors! No surprise there!). The first group would sing any song, and stop at a particular word. The next group had to start singing on the same word (or one that sounded very much like it).


E.g. 'Doe, a deer, a female deer...'


'Deer... ever had a shiny nose...' and so on.


I remember the time our group was stumped when the other group sang out, "Hakuna!" Haha!


Eventually, one group lost. "Truth or consequence?" Rather than being forced to admit their crushes in public, they chose the consequence: Spell your name with your butt!


(For more information, please see Tanya's lovely videos.)


Sadly, I had to leave at 9:30 pm so I missed out on the christmas carol sight singing part of the evening. Ich bin "loser," yeah, I know. My family picked me up and we still had to go home to Paranaque. (If only I'd known beforehand that there wouldn't be a lantern parade the following day!!)


So there! That's my (incomplete) transcription of the events that took place in Dec. 9, '06.


I can't wait for the next voice major party! To say that it was fun would be an understatement. Zuri's neighbours probably hate him now, since we made such a huge racket that evening. I got to bond with my colleauges (and teachers! Hi Sir Leslie and Ma'am Vina!) on a level that would be impossible to achieve within the classroom/school setting. For one beautiful evening, different people came together, bonded by our love for singing. And we were ONE.


*sniff*


Sa mga hindi pumunta: Sorry na lang kayo! We gossiped about you guys all evening... hehe I'm kidding. :) But we might, next time around. SO BE THERE! OR ELSE!


Mabuhay ang Voice Dept. ng CMu!!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blast from the Past




Back when we were young and innocent... *sigh*

Friday, December 15, 2006

December Happenings




Ex Libris party / Voice Major party
December 2006

Sunday, December 10, 2006

"Malamig ang simoy ng hangin..."

I had so much fun yesterday!


It just struck me that there's only one more week of school left... and then... PASKO NA!!! Well, practically.


I'm only starting to feel the Christmas season NOW. Maybe it's because of the weather. It's been nice and cool these past few days, quite a pleasant relief from the heat we're accustomed to.


I guess I'll feel even more Christmas-y come tomorrow, when I watch the TDR of our college's production of MESSIAH (tickets for the actual show on Tuesday were sold out weeks ago, I'm lucky to have gotten tickets for the dress rehearsal!!).


Nothing like Christmas to make one feel senti. *sigh* Christmas seems less magical and more realistic with each coming year.


I remember the good ol' days when I blissfully believed that it was TRULY Santa who brought the presents (I only awakened to the harsh reality that it was my parents doing the stocking stuffing three years ago, believe it or not!!).


I remember being all dressed up and ready to go for Christmas Eve mass, and watching the old fashioned Christmasy cartoons showing on Cartoon Network while waiting for the parents to finish dressing up.


I remember singing along to Jose Mari Chan's Christmas album in the car, on our way to the Church.


We've all been so busy, we haven't taken the time to look up the Christmas album of either Jose Mari Chan or Charlotte Church (Dream A Dream)!!


Gosh, I feel old.


This will be my last Christmas as a teenager. Next week, it will my 4th Lantern Parade (and my twinnie's last!), and my 3rd Oblation Run (i'm no maniac... but it's great fun waiting for the prancing peacocks to appear, when with friends!!).


I really want to make the most of my subjects, but right now, plantilla-making/materials hunting/TEACHING voice/practicing is taking up way too much time that I haven't even bought Christmas gifts for some of my loved ones yet! :(:(: Guys, sorry a, bawi ako come January.


For the first time, I'm regretting taking 19 units this sem.


*toddles off to practice the 3 voices in Bach's three part invention in g minor... Gabi's assignment for her piano lesson next week*


 

Monday, December 4, 2006

Am re-posting my twinnie's post here on my multiply account...

blood...blood...need blood

 

What happened yesterday and today was really frightening and has made me an OFF! (or Nenuco) - toting person for life.

Seriously. I'm currently lugging around a bottle of OFF! in my bag, with an extra bottle in the boarding house, and yet another bottle stashed in the car.


Because I do not want to catch Dengue please Lord no it's nasty and it's a raging epidemic and it's one of the sneakiest, deadliest illnesses ever and if you do catch it, it'll kill the platelets in your blood and you will need lots of blood transfusions that sounds fine right but NO it's not you know why I'll tell you why it's because there's no blood to go around.

My uncle was confined yesterday to the ICU of the Asian Hospital, where half of the hospitalized people are Dengue victims (and only three of those are kids; most of those who caught it are 20+). My uncle was in critical condition because he was down to only 7,000 platelets. Now it turns out that the human body's normal platelet count is 200,000 to 140,000. You're critical if you only have 20,000.  And he was down to 7,000. 


Yesterday night was spent in the hospital, where we were all panicking, trying to get blood. Because of my uncle's critical condition, even the universal donor blood type O wouldn't do. We had to get blood donors with type A RH positive (blood type A+). We started calling up like mad. The National Kidney Institute was out. So was Manila Doctor's. St. Luke's. Even The Red Cross. Because Dengue is so prevalent, there is no blood to go around. Some hospitals had the blood we needed, but would not release it (my uncle needed 5-7 packs of blood) until we had a type-specific donor at hand, ready to replace the blood at a ratio of 2 packs to 1 (hospital) pack. 


Last night and today was spent in a flurry of texting and calling (in the hospital lounge). To all the people I pestered, begging for blood donations, you have my apologies and my sincerest thanks. Thank you especially to willing donors Jika and Nerie from Archi, Rosa, Anna Migallos and Ate Jorge from Music. Thank you also for the people in my phonebook who I texted/called for your replies and prayers.


UPDATE: Just tonight, my uncle's condition has improved (thank you Lord!!). My uncle's platelet count is up to 28,000. He's past the danger zone...for now. The thing with dengue is, you can't guarantee that you're well. Which is why my uncle is going to have to undergo a series of blood tests/transfusions for the next several days, because the illness eats up platelets so fast. One day you're well, the next, you're not. So we still need your prayers. And possibly your blood.


So if you are blood type A+ or if you know someone who is, please email at tatatwin@gmail.com (or gabitwin@gmail.com) , text at 09209470861 (or 09209470835), or leave a comment here. We're still scouting for possible donors. Thank you so much. If we do take your blood, I am honor-bound to source blood for you when you need it.

Am so mad part 2

I met R.I.P today in school. I stared at him, coldly, and called him by name. The gall, he actually SMILED at me sarcastically and said hello as if everything was fine. I was too nice to upbraid him in public... but... come to think of it... I SHOULD HAVE.


Ah well. Tomorrow's another day.

Am so mad...

Last night, this really irritating person who I used to think of as a "friend" texted me something that really made me blow my top.


Context: I was a bit panicky because my uncle had just been confined that day to the hospital and diagnosed with dengue. The normal platelet count is 140,000 -- 200,000. Critical is 20, 000. My uncle's was 9,000 last night. So I texted a lot of people, asking for potential donors of blood (type A+).


This R.I.P (short for really irritating person) texted back, saying that he was type A.


I replied: "Ei... it's got to be A+. Thanks very much though."


And then he replied with: "O, tignan mo ang sagot ng malditang bruha!"


What the?!?!?!??!


I ask you... even if you were the nicest, sweetest person in the world, would you just sit back and do nothing when called a malditang bruha?


Maldita na. Bruha pa.


I got so mad, I scared even myself.


I do not like who I become when I am mad.


I texted back: "What's wrong with my reply? Nagpasalamat ako a! IKAW ang malabo! "Malditang bruha," indeed. And you call yourself a Christian?"


R.I.P: "I find it ungrateful, though. You didn't even ask me if I'm A+. Fact is, I am A+. I'm sorry, I was just trying to help because I thought you needed one (sic)."


Gabi: "For a Christian, you take an automatic un-Christian view of everything. An ungrateful person wouldn't even thank you.You only texted that you were A. In an emergency, we need accurate info. We didn't want to trouble you unnecessarily. If you REALLY wanted to help, you'd say you were A+."


R.I.P: "I wouldn't even text you if I didn't want to help. Don't worry, nobody would know that you personally JUDGE people if they're REAL Christian(s) or not. (sic)"


Gabi: "I'm not worried. I am what I am. People will judge me by my actions, in the same way you will be judged for who you are and what you do. You seem to be forgetting you were the first to pass judgement in this case."


Gggggggggggggggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....


Comments, anyone?

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