The Girl With The Untrained Eye

A good number of my friends in my social networks fell in love with Tumblr. At the time I learned of it, I already have accounts on similar sites that I didn't find the need to create one.  I didn't see any difference plus I couldn't think of a good use for it. I mean, I have Twitter, Plurk and Facebook for my fits of fangirling... and I have Blogger, LiveJournal and WordPress to serve my blogging needs... Why go on Tumblr?

Well, I stumbled upon Brittani Kline's Tumblr account (which seems to be deactivated now) while I was trying to put myself to sleep by doing some random googling (yes, it's my online version of channel surfing).  I liked how she created her site: it had a mesh of photos and all things about her life after winning America's Next Top Model Cycle 16. Another random google search revealed that Katie Leung (a.k.a. Cho Chang from the Harry Potter movies) also has a Tumblr account in which she posts all the photos she has taken.  I remembered that she pursued her interest in photography after filming the movies and I love what she posted so far.  Then, it clicked: I felt the need to create an account and use it as my photo blog.  Aside from reading books, I consider photography to be my other love.  While I wouldn't call myself a professional, my photographer friends constantly tease me to get a DSLR because of the shots I've taken; some of which are featured on the banner for this site and they were not taken using a DSLR.

Armed with that resolve, it took me around 30 minutes to create everything -- from the blog title to the first post -- and I felt happy after.  To date, I've posted around 9 photos and even changed the site's layout.  This is what my Tumblr blog looks like:

I guess it is safe to say that I will constantly update my Tumblr as often as I could.  I still have a good number of photos in my archives that I haven't shared and I don't think I'll ever stop taking them.  So if you have a Tumblr account, you can follow me here. And if you're curious about my title for this blog post, click here.

Now, what to do with my WordPress account... Hmmm... =P

12 Days of Literary Christmas

I know it's way past Christmas and about a few nights short of 2012 but I found this meme fun enough that I don't care.  I'm still on my Holiday mode, that's my excuse.  :P

Before I share my answers to the meme, I'd like to give a little background on how this started.

My friend, Meann Ortiz, started this on her blog after coming across this question on her Twitter feed:

What Christmas gift would you want to give your favorite literary character?

This inspired her to create the meme, which I came across during one of my out-of-work-mode moments.  Her blog post, which I found creative and cool, contained characters and authors from her 2011 Read List on Goodreads.  Since I'm also on Goodreads and having exceeded my 2011 Reading Challenge, I figured I had enough characters in my arsenal to give imaginary gifts... Hello, Beauty Queens! ;)

So, without further ado, here is my response to the 12 Days of Literary Christmas meme:

On the 1st day of Christmas,
I’ll give Petra West a.k.a. Miss Rhode Island from Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
An Emmy award for her late-night show, Go West.

On the 2nd day of Christmas,
I’ll give Zuzana from Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Two theatres in her name.

On the 3rd day of Christmas,
I’ll give Lindsey Lee Wells from An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Three million dollars to keep her town afloat.

On the 4th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Dex from Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
Four types of camera lenses.

On the 5th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Macon Ravenwood from Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Five castles with moats to decorate/re-decorate.

On the 6th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Sidhean from Ash by Malinda Lo
Six months to eat, love and live like any typical mortal.

On the 7th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Margo Roth Spiegelman from Paper Towns by John Green
Seven all-expense paid vacation packages to any destination of her choice.

On the 8th day of Christmas,
Eight VIP concert tickets to any artist of his choice.

On the 9th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Lia Milthorpe from Circle of Fire by Michelle Zink
Nine foolproof wishes.

On the 10th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Adam Wilde from Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Ten million downloads of his new single with Mia Hall.

On the 11th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Miles Fisher from Torment and Passion by Lauren Kate
Eleven romantic dates with Shelby.

On the 12th day of Christmas,
I’ll give Mia Featherstone from Zombicorns by John Green
Twelve cases of wine and fully-loaded AR-15 rifles.

Manila International Book Fair 2011: New Year, New Experiences

Tata Francisco (Ex-Libris Philippines) pretty much summarized what the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) is for me: "It's like Christmas in December."  Well, at least in the last two years.  While I admit to being a leisure/casual reader cum book hoarder, participating in book fairs/conventions was never my cup of tea.  For one reason: I hate large crowds as I constantly feel the need to apologize/excuse myself every time I pass through.  Perhaps, it's largely out of fear that I get Mad-Eye Moody-like stares for accidentally hitting someone or I'm the one getting hit.  Not even the lure of discounts and books fresh out of the box would persuade me.  However, as time would have it, my curiosity about the MIBF got the best of me and I've been going since 2009.  Not that long ago but I guess we all start somewhere.  :)

My first MIBF experience in 2009 was largely due to fandom-related activities as it pertains to The Hunger Games & The Twilight Saga.  First, I was one of the participants in the Live Action Role Play (LARP), which was done as part of the launch activities for Catching Fire, Book 2 in the said trilogy. Afterwards, I was a panelist for the book-to-movie adaptation discussion of New Moon by Twilight Coven Philippines.  Given the hectic schedule that day, I didn't have any time to browse/buy books but I did get an ARC of Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink from Meann.

A year later, I went to the MIBF for business reasons.  I was excited at the prospect.  I attended an English language conference with Claire, an ex-officemate/friend/fellow bibliophile.  While we visited the book fair after our conference, unfortunately, there wasn't any book that caught my attention... or perhaps, I was tired.  In a way, it somewhat reinforced my first impression of the book fair: that it seemed to cater more to educators/non-fiction readers given the huge spread of booths selling books for their market.  I don't find anything wrong with that, truth be told, as it helps educators get updated on materials they can bring to their schools.  I guess I was expecting a variety of books which would attract different markets/crowds to be in the fair.

Those experiences made me think twice about visiting this year.  However, through stories of friends and social media networks, I learned about some key activities that even compelled me to file a leave in the middle of my work week.  While I only visited for only two days out of five, I can definitely say that I came, I saw, I pimped... and bought... I lined up and listened... more than any of the years I went to the fair.  I noted that there were a lot more authors invited to sign their books; there was even a web chat and signed books raffled off.  The books available were more diverse and accessible, price-wise; even titles that weren't supposed to appear were sold already. Suffice to say, I had fun this year.  My photo slideshow below covers some of my personal highlights, which include:
  • Attending the 1st Filipino Reader Conference;
  • Buying more books, of course, to add to my growing pile;
  • Meeting and having my books signed by two authors, namely Samantha Sotto and Alexander Yates, and listen to their experiences in a panel discussion sponsored by National Bookstore & Random House entitled "Life of a Novelist"; and
  • Sharing those experiences with good friends and fellow bibliophiles.

    Note: All images uploaded in this slideshow were taken by me.  Should you download
    them and use in your site, please credit accordingly.  Thanks!

    On that note, I'll end this blog with a big kudos to the organizers of the MIBF!  It's getting better each year. Keep it up! I'm looking forward to more books, more authors and more activities in the years to come. :D

    ETA: Some photo captions in the slideshow were already edited in the full album prior to publishing this blog post. It seems like Photobucket is having some problems synchronizing my updates.  I will try to fix this the soonest. My apologies.

    A Meme & A Wish

    Only 3 nights to go before the 1st Filipino Reader Conference!  I'm pretty excited.  I'm all set and looking forward to meeting fellow Pinoy readers, especially those whom I've gotten to know through the Filipino Friday memes.  Speaking of which, I still have to post my answer to the final installment wherein it asks about expectations during the event...

    What do you hope will happen in the Filipino ReaderCon? What are you expecting from the event?

    If I were to base it from the program, I'm definitely going to learn a lot from the event.  I don't expect it to be perfect or anything given that this is going to be the first venture but I do hope it's not going to be the last.  I look forward to meeting fellow bibliophiles and get/share book recommendations.  I've been reading for as long and as much as I could so learning from the experiences of fellow Pinoy readers would be such a trip.


    Since the BER months have ushered in, I've been wondering about what do I get myself this Christmas.  While Sydney would've been my delayed birthday gift, I've been toying between a couple of gadgets and with my brother leaving for a business trip in Canada, it seems all the more plausible that I get this little thing for myself...

    (Image Credit:

    To be honest, buying a Kindle was the least of my gadget priorities... until recently.  A new camera was supposed to be my next target gadget specifically this one...

    (Image Credit:

    However, since we got a new camera as a freebie for the package my brother and I got for our laptops, the thought of buying one suddenly became less of a priority.  Plus, as my daily commute to & from the office averages about 3 hours, I need something to pass the time by minus the bulk of traditional books.  This notion alone is quite odd because if you'd ask me a couple of years ago about my thoughts regarding a Kindle and I'd probably say that buying it is a luxury.  Now, I feel that it's no longer the case.

    I fear for my wallet, I really do, because it's going to do a whole lot of work for several months. Wish me luck! ;)

    Another Blog In The Works

    Over the last few months, I've been secretly nurturing the desire to put up another blog.  And no, it won't be similar to this blog, content-wise.  This is time it's going to be a bit straightforward as to the type of posts that I plan to publish.  As this will be hosted in a different site, I still need some time to design the look and feel of it, as well as study my options for this new blog.

    When I put up one via LJ a few years back, I enjoyed its privacy options and the insurmountable amount of communities that it has.  But it all became just that and nothing more after a while.  I still access it but not for the original intent when I signed up for it.  I think, despite the nature of this blog, I've managed to ensure that my posts would not generate that TMI effect.  After all, there are still a lot of things about any person's life that's not meant for public consumption.

    This only means that I'll be doing double-time for both blogs soon.  I think I can handle it especially after getting some inspiration from a training summit I attended two months ago.  And that alone fuels me, even if it takes me one widget at a time to build up this new blog.  I do hope that you'll like it as much as you've supported this little one.  I'll announce it when it's up and running. :)

    Readercon Filipino Friday: Weeks 2-4

    I know this is 2 posts delayed but I feel that it's better that I did it than never. Having Sydney in my life is going to make a difference and making this post -- as well as others, in the near future -- would be one of the many changes.

    Okay, done apologizing/rationalizing and on with my answers to Readercon Filipino Friday... ;)


    For Week 2's installment, it's about my story as a reader...

    How did you become a reader? What factors influenced you to take it up as a hobby? For instance, was it your mom who read to you every night? Or was it a high school friend who started lending you books? Or maybe it was a really inspiring teacher whom you wanted to emulate. Whatever it was, we hope you tell us all the story of how you became a leisure reader and what it is about reading that you enjoy so much.

    When I was young, I always see my dad and my mom read every morning in our living room, either holding on to that day's paper or a pocketbook. But I was never interested to pick up reading as a hobby until I was ostracized by my classmates during 1st grade for not being able to speak Filipino/Tagalog well. In my haste to get away from them, I found myself in our school library. I found the silence comforting thus, I stayed. One of my teachers, Mrs. Ferrer, who was checking papers, saw me and asked why I was there. I think I cried and told her about my situation thus, Mrs. Ferrer decided to let me stay and gave me some books to entertain myself. From then on, I became one of our school library's frequent patrons and that's when I picked up reading as a hobby.

    What I like about reading as a hobby is its ability to stretch your imagination and appeal to your emotions through nothing but words. Reading fiction allows me to relax, momentarily forget about my worries and somewhat live vicariously through the characters.


    For Week 3's installment, it's about my challenges as a reader in our country...

    How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines? What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g. availability of books)? What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines (e.g. book prices are lower here than they are abroad)?

    When I started reading leisurely as a kid, I didn't feel challenged at all because most of the books I wanted to read were available in our school library. I think I didn't find any challenge in reading because I didn't have a favorite genre and I hardly discriminated on books. To me, as long as the story seems good enough, I'll read it.

    When I shop for a new book, I randomly pick it off the shelves: I look at the cover and the title, read the synopsis and a few pages just to get a feel of the writer's voice. If I like it, I buy it. If I don't, I put it back. I used to shy away from the bestseller shelves; that was pretty anti-mainstream of me. Thus, it took me years before I read, as an example, Harry Potter. But when I do like something that's considered mainstream, I overcompensate. I think I read all 6 Harry Potter books in a span of a month and bought all original DVDs of the movie adaptations afterwards.

    The fun thing about being a reader in the Philippines, which I agree with the question above, is that the books are sold relatively cheaper than the posted USD/CAD SRP. I don't know how our country manages to do that but I'm grateful. However, it would take a while before new releases for specific genres to get to our shores. This can really test a reader's patience especially when you see reviews posted about the books you wanted to read but are not available. I don't know how the Powers-That-Be decide on what books to carry in their shelves but there has to be more variety to cater to a lot more Pinoy readers.


    And lastly, for this week's installment, it's all about Filipino Literature...

    Do you read Filipino literature? If you do, tell us your favorite books by Filipino authors and name a few that you'd like to recommend to fellow readers. If you don't read much Filipino lit, then tell us why.

    Honestly, I don't read much Filipino literature not because I think that the stories are bad but mostly because it feels like required reading. Most of the Filipino literature I've read were done as part of school work thus, it lost its appeal to me. I like seeing Filipino references though in the books that I read and it's a thrill to see such.

    While I did say I don't read much Filipino literature, I do have books from the following Filipino authors -- Francis Kong, Arlene J. Chai, Bob Ong & Samantha Sotto. I would recommend that you read any of their works especially The Last Time I Saw Mother, Before Ever After and Stainless Longganisa.


    Whew! I did it. Thanks for reading my meme post and do check out The 1st Filipino Reader Conference on September 14 at SMX Mall of Asia.

    Readercon Filipino Friday Meme 1: Introduce Yourself

    It's been a while since I've blogged here. Computer issues, something beyond my control for now. I don't normally do meme-type posts but I'm making an exception for this, simply because it's for something close to my heart: reading. So to kick this off, let me introduce you to...


    Filipino Friday is an initiative of the official Filipino Reader Conference site to promote the 1st Filipino Reader Con on the 14th of September during the 2011 Manila International Book Fair. For this meme's first installment...

    Introduce Yourself: Let’s all get to know each other better. Tell us what kind of reader you are. What are your favorite genres and books? Who are your favorite authors? Do you have a comfort read? And what’s the best book you’ve read so far this year? You can also include links of where other readers can find you online, such as your book social networking sites, etc.


    Okay... Where do I begin? ;)

    As a reader, I'm pretty open to a lot of genres. I don't discriminate; as long as it is a story that piques my interest then I'm good. My love for reading started with Nancy Drew, back in first grade. Since then, I never stopped. I moved on to The Three Investigators, then Sweet Valley High. College reading was torn between course books and classic/chic lit. Now, most of the books that are on my to-read pile are either YA or classic/contemporary fiction. You would see books from some of my favorite authors like William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Libba Bray, Michelle Zink, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer in an odd hodgepodge filling the corner of my room.

    When I read books -- even if I liked them -- I would only read them around twice. I have my in-between-book reads: mostly Shakespeare's sonnets and a couple of his plays (Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream) or Jewel's A Night Without Armor. To date, the book that I loved reading so far was Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto. It was a welcome break from the stream of YA fiction that I've been reading lately.

    Most of my reading adventures can be seen via Goodreads and I like updating my reading status if and when time permits. Also, I've discovered the beauty of colored tabs. The last two books I've read have little colored tabs peeking on one side, indictating bits of the book that I loved as well as best quotes.

    I guess that pretty much sums it up. Thanks for taking time to check out this blog post. Pinoy readers unite! :)

    Sweet Pea's Monologue

    More than two weeks already passed since I watched Sucker Punch and much has been said about it, both good and bad. Personally, I loved and enjoyed it -- so much that I don't even care about its low ratings over at Rotten Tomatoes. To each his own. I think it's an interesting movie, one that is best seen inside the cinemas and not buying from your local... uh... I mean... by-the-corner-of-the-streets disc retailer. I might even venture into buying the original DVD, and that's saying something.

    One of the things that I loved about it was Sweet Pea's monologue. I love well-written monologues; to date, my favorite is still the one by Kate Winslet in The Holiday. While my initial intention was to help a friend, I felt the need to capture the monologue itself. Maybe because there's so much in it that reflects certain parts of my life, not to mention that it's nicely written. Nonetheless, I think it should be shared. Perhaps, you may find something something about it that you can draw inspiration from.

    "Everyone has an angel; a guardian who watches over us. We can't know what form they'll take: one day, old man; next day, little girl. But don't let appearances fool you -- they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they're not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our hearts, reminding that it's us... it's everyone of us who holds the power over the worlds we create."

    "We can deny our angels exist, convince ourselves they can't be real, but they show up anyway -- at strange places and at strange times. They can speak through any character we can imagine. They'll shout through demons if they have to... daring us... challenging us to fight."

    "And finally this question, the mystery of who's story it will be... of who draws the curtain... who is it that chooses out steps in the dance... who drives us mad, lashes us with whips and crowns us with victory when we survive the impossible... who is it that tells all things?"

    "Who honors those we love with the very life we live? Who sends monsters to kill us and at the same time, stay with it and we'll never die? Who teaches us what's real and how to laugh at lies? Who decides why we live and what we'll die to defend? Who chains us and who holds the key that could set us free? It's you. You have all the weapons you need. Now, fight!"

    Credit: Featured images in this blog can be seen in this link.

    My Movie Tie-In Love Affair

    One of my resolutions this year was to continue managing my book purchase list. I was successful in 2010, thus I figured it would be a walk in the park when 2011 started. Boy, I was wrong. I guess the lure of new books especially those that I've been curious to read and own was stronger than sticking to a list. To date, I already bought around 10 books and a good number of them are movie tie-ins.

    There's a handful of them (i.e. The Fellowship of the Ring, The X-Files: Fight The Future, Star Wars, Stardust) that would've loved to make an appearance but they're shy. Kidding. Truth be told, I cannot find them.

    From the picture above, my recent movie tie-in purchases were Jane Eyre, Red Riding Hood and Water For Elephants. I don't know why I like movie tie-ins -- sometimes it's a matter of how the cover looks better than the original one; others would be the extras included like the pull-out posters from the Twilight saga series or the timeline from the Chronicles of Narnia, which are often not part of the original releases. I know that on a marketing standpoint, movie tie-ins would help increase interest in the book, i.e. Water For Elephants. Sometimes, they're sold cheaper than the original editions. At one point, I wondered if Scholastic or Bloomsbury ever thought of releasing movie tie-in editions of the Harry Potter series. I would have bought them without any hesitation.

    I don't think that my love affair would movie tie-in books would stop as I enjoy watching book-to-film adaptations. I'm even considering buying such editions of He's Just Not That Into You, Bridget Jones's Diary, The Devil Wears Prada (since I lost my original one) or Eat, Pray, Love. I'm just controlling the temptation to start picking up a copy given the sheer number of unread books -- 60++ so far -- that I have. The fact that I still see them on the shelves of my favorite bookstores along with other movie tie-in books is comforting. I don't feel the need to buy them immediately. However, not all movie tie-in books draw my attention, and there's a couple of them that I wouldn't even dare touch with a ten-foot pole.

    Can you spot the common denominator?

    I don't need to explain why. Most of my friends would know. =P

    The Bennet Sisters Excitation

    Jane Austen in the den.
    Jane Austen in the den.
    Hi-ho, we're merry-o!
    Jane Austen in the den.

    And so the spoofed nursery rhyme speaks of a tale of five Austen soul sisters who were all Macfadyen-ed by the end of a 27-hour journey.


    In my get-togethers with this circle of friends, the talk about having movie/TV series marathons was mentioned several times. And in one of those talks, Pride & Prejudice became one of the choices given its number of adaptations: from Laurence Olivier's version to this modern-day take.

    When 2011 started, I thought that why not pursue a marathon and schedule it during one long holiday weekend. Given enough planning despite the surprising and odd holiday declaration, it happened and this became our line-up:

    I came into this marathon knowing that I'm going to be absolutely sleep-deprived but throughly excited at the prospect of watching different adaptations with friends. As you may see from this twitter hashtag, we had tons of fun and fangirl squeals.

    Among the three adaptations we watched, for me, the Colin Firth version stayed true to the book. It benefitted from the liberty of being presented as a 6-part mini-series thus every possible detail was covered and some new bits *coughthelakescenecough* were added. The most romantic was the Matthew Macfadyen version, hands-on, if only for the squeals we made for this particular scene in the movie, especially at the 3:45 mark:

    That doesn't mean that the Laurence Olivier version didn't have any merits in my book, despite its WTF moment towards the end that sent the most hardcore Austen fans in the den screaming. I loved the campiness of its script! It was not short of wit but it managed to be funny and definitely quote-worthy. This is perhaps my favorite line from this version:

    Towards the end of the marathon -- wherein we were re-watching P&P 2005 with commentary -- I mused of the fact that there were five of us in the den, much like there were five Bennet sisters. So I posed the thought as to who's who. I ended up being Jane Bennet since age became the main parameter. The longer I contemplate about the characteristics of each Bennet sister, I think it matched to a good extent as Jane was the one I could relate to the most.


    Now that the Pride & Prejudice marathon was over, everyone in the den was excited for the prospect of a next one. There isn't a date yet but a line-up has been determined:

    And we're attempting a feat greater than the previous one: the extended cuts of the movies perhaps even with commentary. So, let the journey to Middle Earth begin! ;)

    The Show Is Over, Say Goodbye

    Last night, I went into a frenzy searching for a good movie that will ease my stress at work. In the middle of my hunt, I came across one of my old Madonna CDs, Something To Remember. It was one of my favorite compilations since it featured most of my favorite ballads. I stopped hunting, took out my old CD player, got my good pair of headphones and let the ol' gadget shuffle the tracks. Out came "Take A Bow" and a slow smile crept on my face.

    The song reminded me of a lot of things, bitter and sweet. I remembered singing this to a college friend the night before she got married. I remembered hearing this on the radio while lending a shoulder to another friend who discovered that her boyfriend didn't love her anymore. If anything, the song reminds me about realization; that all things -- good and bad -- come to an end.

    Nothing is meant to last forever... even something mundane like stress or something precious like free will. When the curtains fall, you have nothing left to do but say goodbye. As soon as the song ended, I did.

    Take A Bow

    Take a bow, the night is over
    This masquerade is getting older
    Lights are low, the curtains down
    There's no one here

    Say your lines but do you feel them
    Do you mean what you say when there's no one around
    Watching you, watching me,
    One lonely star

    I've always been in love with you
    I guess you've always known it's true
    You took my love for granted
    Why, oh why
    The show is over, say goodbye

    Say goodbye

    Say goodbye

    Make them laugh, it comes so easy
    When you get to the part
    Where you're breaking my heart
    Hide behind your smile
    All the world loves a clown

    Wish you well, I cannot stay
    You deserve an award for the role that you played
    No more masquerade
    You're one lonely star

    I've always been in love with you
    I guess you've always known it's true
    You took my love for granted
    Why, oh why
    The show is over, say goodbye

    Say goodbye

    Say goodbye

    All the world is a stage
    And everyone has their part
    But how was I to know which way the story'd go
    How was I to know you'd break...
    You'd break my heart

    I've always been in love with you
    Guess you've always known
    You took my love for granted
    Why, oh why
    The show is over, say good-bye

    Say goodbye

    Say goodbye

    Say goodbye

    Driving Cars & Cutting Hair

    I am part of a indie band named Northsound Radio and I am proud to say that we are going to launch our first album, which is entitled Driving Cars & Cutting Hair.

    Doesn't the album cover look cool? I'm really proud of it because I designed it. However, that's just about the only thing you'll see about my band. Nothing about what I said above is real. There's a part of me wishing that I were part of a band but all I can manage is creating that fake album cover.

    I saw this fake album cover game over Facebook and decided to follow the rules. The friend, from whom I learned the game, shared that it was originally from Multiply. Regardless of its origin, I had fun with it. I even ended up creating an account with one of the sites below. The rules are a bit tedious but believe me, you will be amazed with the results. The picture above is a testament to the game's awesomeness. Ready to take a shot at it? Here are the rules:
    1. Go to Wikipedia and hit random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
    2. Go to and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
    3. Go to Flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”. Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
    4. Use photoshop or similar ( is a free online photo editor) to put it all together.
    5. Post it with this text in the "caption" and tag the friends you want to join in.
    I won't be tagging friends in this page but if you find game interesting enough, I dare you to do it and share your results with me. Post your blog links in the comments after you've made one of your own. I'm excited to see your own fake album covers. Cheers! :D

    Mea Culpa, A Heartfelt One

    Most of my friends know that I'm a huge audiophile. I like music. For me, it's poetry in motion. Sometimes, I let certain songs express the way I feel. Most of those that I like have strong, solid lyrics. I don't have any bias when it comes to genres but I there are some that I would have a love/hate relationship with. One of them is country music.

    I'm a little picky when it comes to country music songs. There's a handful of them in my playlist like Jesus Take The Wheel by Carrie Underwood and What Hurts The Most by Rascal Flatts. But I always admired country song lyrics: they're often personal and grounded. And Taylor Swift's latest single is no exception.

    A good number of Taylor Swift's songs are autobiographical in nature, which she admitted once in an interview. The lyrics often chastised the men with whom she had really bad relationships with. However, Back To December is different. The song is a heartfelt apology; I could feel her regret, her longing all throughout. While I have yet to decide if this was really meant for the other Taylor, I am adding it to my playlist. Of all songs she has released, this will probably be my all-time favorite.

    Back To December
    Taylor Swift

    I'm so glad you made time to see me.
    How's life, tell me how's your family?
    I haven't seen them in a while.
    You've been good, busier than ever.
    We small talk, work and the weather.
    Your guard is up and I know why.

    'Cause the last time you saw me
    Is still burned in the back of your mind
    You gave me roses and I left them there to die.

    So this is me swallowing my pride,
    Standing in front of you saying I'm sorry for that night
    And I'd go back to December all the time.
    It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you
    Wishing that I'd realized what I had when you were mine.
    I'd go back to December, turn around and make it alright.
    I go back to December all the time.

    These days I haven't been sleeping
    Staying up playing back myself leaving,
    When your birthday passed and I didn't call.
    And I think about summer, all the beautiful times
    I watched you laughing from the passenger side,
    Realized I loved you in the fall.
    And then the cold came, the dark days when fear crept into my mind.
    You gave me all your love and all I gave you was goodbye.

    So this is me swallowing my pride,
    Standing in front of you saying I'm sorry for that night.
    And I'd go back to December all the time.
    It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you
    Wishing that I'd realized what I had when you were mine
    I'd go back to December, turn around and change my own mind.
    I go back to December all the time.

    I miss your tan skin, your sweet smile, so good to me, so right
    And how you held me in your arms that September night,
    The first time you ever saw me cry.
    Maybe this is wishful thinking,
    Probably mindless dreaming
    If we loved again I swear I'd love you right.

    I'd go back in time and change it but I can't
    So if the chain is on your door, I understand.

    But this is me swallowing my pride,
    Standing in front of you saying I'm sorry for that night
    And I'd go back to December...
    It turns out freedom ain't nothing but missing you
    Wishing that I'd realized what I had when you were mine.
    I go back to december, turn around and make it alright.
    I go back to december, turn around and change my own mind.
    I go back to december all the time.

    All the time.


    I came home today with an assignment: finish a 100-page book and note the lessons gained from reading it. The book was no stranger to me. I discovered it many years ago and I'm happy to say that I'm still able to live its principles, although a bit rough around the edges -- well, at least, for the last four years or so.

    I always referred to Fish as the more down-to-earth version of The 7 Habits. However, the assignment has refreshed my memory about one poem entitled "Faith" by David Whyte. It is featured on page 44 of the said book. Hope you will indulge me as I share this and maybe you will find yourself loving it like I do.

    by David Whyte

    I want to write about faith
    about the way the moon rises
    over cold snow, night after night

    faithful even as it fades from fullness
    slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
    sliver of light before the final darkness
    but I have no faith myself
    I refuse to give it to the smallest entry

    Let this then, my small poem,
    like a new moon, slender and barely open,
    be the first prayer that opens me to faith

    My Life In 2010 Through The Movies I Watched

    “I measure my life in terms of my relationship with Star Wars.”
    Simon Pegg

    I laughed my heart out the first time I came across that quote. I mused at how cool it was of Simon to make that comment. In a way, that inspired me to create this blog post.

    I don’t normally buy planners but when I brought my Navi 2010 planner more than a year ago, I swore than one of the things I wanted to do with it was write down the movies I watched. As I took out my old planner to be replaced by a new one (still a Navi), I decided to look back on what movies I watched and I was surprised with what I saw. It’s not much but I’m proud to say that I’ve seen quite a number and I’ve got the ticket stubs stuck on my planner to prove it.

    January 9 – Sherlock Holmes
    January 14 – Sherlock Holmes

    (With movies I like, I normally catch them at least twice in the cinema. Hope this doesn’t surprise you as you may see similar entries below.)

    March 4 – Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief
    (I remembered wanting to borrow the books after I watched this because I was amused despite that one musical segment. To date, I’ve read all 5 books and I felt really disappointed with the adaptation the moment I finished Book 1.)

    April 17 – Date Night

    April 29 – Kick Ass
    (I became a fan of Chloe Moretz after seeing this movie. However, this hasn’t made me brave enough to watch Let Me In when it was released in Philippine cinemas several months after.)

    May 1 – Iron Man 2
    (I confess. I love Robert Downey Jr. since Chances Are, thus I hated it when I wasn’t able to see Due Date with Zach Galifianakis.)

    June 5 – Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
    (I remembered hedging to watch this because I’m not a Jake Gyllenhaal fan despite loving Brokeback Mountain. I came out enjoying it.)

    June 29 – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
    June 30 – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
    July 2 – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
    July 3 – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

    (I’m a Twilighter so this is normal. I watched Twilight 11 times during its run in Metro Manila cinemas last 2008. Expect the same trend when Breaking Dawn Part 1 comes out late this year.)

    July 6 – Toy Story 3

    July 13 – Inception
    (Inasmuch as I would’ve loved to catch it more than once inside a cinema, my head hurt after watching this in IMAX. It must’ve been all those mind-bending SFX and sequences.)

    July 17 – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

    July 20 – The Last Airbender
    (Jackson Rathbone was my saving grace in this movie. Enough said.)

    July 21 – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

    July 24 – The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
    (Another movie I hedged watching but I thoroughly enjoyed after exciting the cinema. Not exactly a Nic Cage fan; sorry folks. The movie, however, allowed me to rediscover my love for One Republic.)

    July 26 – SALT

    August 19 – Vampires Suck
    (Any Twilighter worth his/her salt should be able to laugh at his/her own fandom once in a while. Besides, when a franchise is spoofed, it only means one thing -- you're already part of pop culture history.)

    November 13 – Unstoppable
    (This was one of those movies that I felt had the most compelling script, acting & direction. I was emotionally compromised… err… engaged all throughout.)

    November 19 – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1
    November 20 – Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part 1

    (While I am also a Potterhead, I didn’t watch this one more than twice because I had some issues with it -- specifically all the Harmonian themes of the movie. I’m just glad that my first screening was with a theater-full of Ron/Hermione shippers. I plan to change this when Part 2 comes out in the middle of this year.)

    December 4 – The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
    (This pains me. I wanted to watch it more than once because, of all the three movies in the franchise, this was the only one that made me cry a lot. And yes, it didn’t hurt to see Ben Barnes in 3D. No sir.)

    December 27 – RPG Metanoia
    (The lone Filipino movie I watched for the year… in years, to be honest. I hardly watch Filipino films even if the MMFF is an annual event. The last MMFF movie I watched was Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo. Too bad I only caught RPG Metanoia once and in regular format. To say that it was awesome would be an understatement. RPG Metanoia gave me something to be proud of -- that Filipino filmmakers haven’t lost its touch when it comes to telling stories. It doesn’t hurt that the quality was beyond satisfactory for a first 3D Pinoy animated film.)

    Hopefully, 2011 would bring more movies for me. So far, the line-up is exciting. I kicked it off last Saturday, January 8, by watching The Tourist. And yes, the ticket stub is already stuck in the new planner.

    Two Paragraphs

    2010 went by without so much a fanfare. It was typical yet assuring; cynical yet validating; comical yet disheartening. There was so much I wanted to say about 2010... so much I wanted to blog about... but I wasn't able to. Perhaps, it was meant to stay that way. 2010 would be another unspoken year, but still unforgettable despite its utter simplicity.

    When 2011 stepped in, I welcomed it with no foresight. A first in over a decade. I still did my customary birthday song hum... I still marveled at the fireworks (and morosed at the smoke)... However, a certain degree of calm settled over me. As well as fear. I know for certain that there will be changes but I can hardly see anything. I can only act, hope and pray... for a better year, a better decade... because, heaven knows, I deserve something better for myself.

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