It’s been a turbulent and hectic last quarter of 2015, which is why I haven’t posted anything for the past few months. I’m hoping 2016 will be kinder so I can write more.
In the meantime, to remind me that I should do just that, I am posting this link to an article in The Guardian: Ten Things I Learned About Writing from Stephen King. The advice is nothing we haven’t seen in other articles like this. But numbers 5 and 6 did resonate: Number 5 was, “Aim big. Or small.” and 6 was “Write all the time. Write a lot.” So these are what I will be doing more of this year. Hopefully I get to keep this promise.
See you soon!
What do you do when you’re not really feeling any of the leftovers in the fridge for lunch? If you’re like me, you experiment (so long as said recipe experiment wasn’t too complicated, of course! I don’t pretend to be a great cook).
So here was the situation: After a long morning wrestling with editorial plans, I was getting hungry. I could eat a banana or a tub of yogurt but that was not going to sustain me for long. A glance at the pantry showed that there were canned corned beef; I could make a quick corned beef hash (that’s always good, but we’ve had that recently). There were also packets of instant noodles (not an option, unless there wasn’t anything left to eat and we’re in a midst of a zombie apocalypse. Nothing against instant noodles, but I ate a lot of it growing up and during college. Also, I was trying to eat healthy)… Ooh, there’s canned tuna. Wonder what I can make with that. Quesadillas? An option, except that I have to open a packet of tortillas and only use one or two of them. I didn’t want to add to the leftovers in the fridge. Hmmm, tuna salad? Yes. But yikes, no bread.
Continue reading Kitchen experiment: Tuna cakes
“I have weighed all the virtues and faults of the Filipinos, and I have come to the conclusion that the Filipino is worth dying for.” — Benigno Aquino Jr (November 27, 1932 – August 21, 1983)
I remember it was a sunny and sleepy Sunday. The TV was on, as it always was when the whole family was home. I remember we just had lunch and I think my dad was reading, a tall Nescafe glass of instant black coffee nearby. I don’t remember what I was doing or what any of my brothers were doing. I do remember the breaking news, about Ninoy getting shot, not so much because of who he was, but because my dad sat up, told me to hush up. I remember he said, “Naloko na,” as we watched the news. I remember my mom was suddenly in the room, and both of them staring wide-eyed and riveted at the TV, shocked. I remember one of them said, “Hala, pinatay nila si Ninoy” [“They killed Ninoy”]. It must’ve been my mom. I remember asking who Ninoy was. I remember the grainy TV footage, a man in white going down the tarmac, I remember he stumbled, then toppled over. That was the first I’ve seen a real person getting shot on TV. I remember that everything seemed to be at a standstill. And suddenly quiet, as if everyone was holding their breath. It was an ordinary day. But Ninoy died and nothing was the same after. Change was in the air.
I deal in words every day — I’m a writer, after all. But there’s just something about Japanese that perfectly explains feelings we have a hard time with in English. Here are a few that I found beautiful:
Continue reading These words are beautiful
Creatures from the Black Lagoon? Hmmm… these could be cousins. Meet our fascinating deep sea denizens in The Deep: Illuminating the Mysteries of the Deep Sea
(above) One of over 40 specimens displayed, this is a Flapjack devilfish, a finned octopus that lives near the bottom of the sea floor. When they are caught, the muscles of the octopus retract, giving them their characteristic flat pancake shape
We had the chance to catch this fascinating exhibit at the ArtScience Museum last June. The whole exhibit is like a sci-fi movie come to life, if the sci-fi movie in question involves strange life forms. The creatures here are what are known as abyssal (from abyss) because, well, they live deep below the sea, deeper than most divers venture. Looking at them brought home to me the realization that we still know so little about life in our seas, despite the fact that we’ve sent many manned expeditions to the moon, have gone exploring farther into our solar system that we’re now saying hello to Pluto, and have made inroads into technology that we can communicate with anyone in the world at the push of a few buttons. As these pictures show, our seas are still uncharted territory for the most part. They’re our version of terra incognita. Enjoy the images!
Continue reading Into the deep end
A collection? A shelf? A library? How about a discussion or a storytelling or a chapter or a paragraph? Whatever it is, I read a lot of books the past six months. Did I mention this is a (loooong) book post?
Ready for their closeup. The books I’ve read the past six months; not included are the two I wasn’t able to finish. The funky wooden busts styled with them are from Bali
Over the years, right around April or May I used to take stock of what I’ve read for the past months. And the list would invariably show up somewhere — back in the day, it was in journals and then more recently in various social media, albeit in a more haphazard fashion. I don’t know why I do it really, maybe because I wanted to have a record of what I read and also because April and May evoked school vacations in the Philippines, a time when I could just curl up with a good book in the middle of a hot afternoon instead of taking a siesta (afternoon nap) as my parents wanted us kids to do (to make us grow tall, they said). Now of course, I am more likely going to choose the siesta than read a book, because I’m old(er).
But at the start of this year, I told myself I would jot down each book I read as I started it just so I have a record of my reading diet — you are what you eat or read, am I right or am I right? I wrote down the titles in my desk diary — literally, an actual diary on my office desk. I am not so particular that I wrote down the title on the actual day I started reading it. I basically scribbled on those blank spaces allotted for each week/month for the diarist to write down whatever existential thought or musing he or she has. I chose to write down what I read.
The results were interesting:
- 23 books read, 2 unfinished; so 21 books actually read cover to cover.
- 8 = most number of books started in a month (March). Note that I said “started” because I wrote down the titles as I started reading, but did not really write down when I finished the books. But given that I usually — not always though — pick up a book when I’m done with one, it’s safe to assume that I did finish all eight books in March. Even for me — a fast reader (D says I don’t take the time to savor the books and devour them like fast food, a claim I wholeheartedly deny) — this was, er, impressive… and a bit frightening.
- 1, unfinished = least number of books read in a month (April). What was I doing in April?? A quick glance at my diary revealed that I was drowning in work that month, apparently.
- Genres covered: They run the gamut, from historical romance, to thrillers, to a memoir. Was tempted to enumerate the books per genre, but after attempting to classify several of them, I ended up confusing myself and stopped. Let’s just say that many of them can be classified under different categories and I will never be a competent librarian, haha!
So what have I been reading? Here’s a list (as they appeared in my diary) and capsule reviews:
Continue reading What’s the collective noun for books?
This isn’t why I love to read — I read because it relaxes me, it’s pleasurable and allows me to travel to different worlds and realities. But it’s great that there are actually health benefits to one of my favorite activities.
[infographic borrowed from this link: The Benefits of Reading]