May you all have a great Sunday!
“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.
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!
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?
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:
…. here’s a useful link — Bicycling’s 50 Golden Rules. I’m a newbie, so it’s all I can do to remember the basic stuff. But yes, I need to keep all these in mind!
(image above: One of the deserted spots in Sentosa where we like to go cycling. The bike in the photo is Beast, D’s Specialized Stump Jumper mountain bike, so called because he is scary — to me anyway)
For a well-balanced life
Kermit at rest. (I named my beautiful green Trek bike Kermit. I have a habit of naming some of my things. For example, my Mac has a name and now my bike. Why do I do this? I don’t know. Because.)
So there I was, nervously perched on top of a big green bike, seemingly miles off the ground, and navigating through Sentosa’s three beaches, which were filled with gawking tourists, trams — and horrors! — little kids in scooters and bikes and families with pets. Why oh why didn’t they all go home?? More to the point, why am I here? I could be home, reading a book instead of trying to navigate through Sentosa’s crowded beaches on a weekend! Instead, I still can’t believe that I am indeed riding a bike. On my own. Without training wheels…. How did I get here?
… in which we ate too much Italian food, imbibed glasses of Bellinis, laughed a lot, told stories, argued, bought stuff — in other words, celebrated. Good times!
Had heard a lot about Osteria Mozza but haven’t had a chance to eat here, so it was great that we had our Easter brunch there. Food was fantastic! Expensive, of course — as only a Mario Batali restaurant can be. It’s definitely not an everyday kind of restaurant. More for special occasions, like today. The service was great, too! The waitstaff was very attentive and saw to our every need, even anticipating refills of Bellinis! Now, that’s my kind of service!
Starters were assorted bread, which went well with the coffee I had to have before the meal started, because I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink the whole day and I get a caffeine-headache if I don’t have coffee first thing. So we munched on bread while waiting for the food. We also ordered Orechiette with sausages and chard. This is actually a main, but we had it for starters, because we can. The orechiette was very good. The pasta was cooked just right and the sausage and chard complimented each other very well. The sprinkling of bread crumbs was a nice final touch, and mitigated the strong flavors, creating a nice balance. I wouldn’t mind having it again next time we eat here. On second thought though, it can be a bit heavy, so it was actually a good idea to have it for sharing.
Bellinis! Alcohol in Singapore is expensive, so this was, at $18 a pop. So if you’re here to celebrate and splurge anyway, do what we did and have the free-flow at $50. I thought it was worth it, but that’s me. You can check the health of your bank account tomorrow.
Tagliatelle Verde with lamb ragú, olive Taggiasche & mint. This was phenomenal and really hit the spot. At first I thought the serving was a bit small for the price, but about an hour later, I wasn’t done eating it! Flavors blended well together. The lamb ragu, although slightly salty for me, was the perfect compliment to the pasta.
Paparazzi pics of us just enjoying ourselves. The great ending to this Easter Sunday? My haul of magazines and A Storm of Swords 2: Blood and Gold. The exile is over! As a friend said, “You really had a good Easter, huh?” Yes, I did!