Kids and Christmas

I totally should not be doing this while I'm at work--it's tantamount to surfing the net or playing Plants vs Zombies in philosophy class, or something--but I don't want to put it off in case I forget.

Every Christmas when I was a kid, my family and I would give out groceries to the poor. We would load up our old Nissan Vanette with dozens of plastic bags filled with canned goods and instant noodles, and hand them out to the families living under the bridges of EDSA and squatting on the sides of the lesser roads of the city. We did that every year until we moved to California, when I was about ten. When I came back here, times were a bit tougher, and my family stopped the practice.

It didn't bother me much as a kid, but now the obligation to give to those in need lies a bit heavier on my chest. And that's why (finally I get to my point) I applaud Karylle Tatlonghari's efforts to make a few lonely children happy this Christmas. With the help of Childhaus and Magic 89.9 (okay this is reading like a plug, but I'm being sincere) Karylle's put up a wish list by kids with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Check it out here: www.clink.ph. I myself pledged to give pooh pillows to a 7-year-old with congenital heart disease. 

A simple Pooh bear pillow to make one child's whole Christmas

My heart melts whenever I think of it. So there, that's my early Christmas message. Whaddaya say, hm? Let's make a few kids smile this holiday season? :)


Shirt of the Week: DONUT PANIC

Okay, so I'm not sure if I'm actually gonna have a shirt of the week. But whatever, this one made my day today:

The jelly is the blood. Heehee 

It's off a site called shirt.woot.com, one of those places where they feature a new design every day. "Donut Panic!" is one of their bestsellers. Unfortunately, they don't ship to Philippines (damn anti-Third World websites!), but if you have relatives in the US, you can skim a few bucks off of the shipping costs. The shirts themselves are about $10-$20 a piece.

Ang cute nung donut!!! :D


Choose Your Own Adventure

When I was growing up, one of my favorite children's stories was (ironically) Peter Pan. There was just something about the idea of never growing up that appealed to my imagination. Neverland and its mermaids and pirates, Lost Boys and fairies, Indians and flying and happy thoughts--it was my childhood paradise. 

Obviously I just got this from the Internet. Don't sue. It's a nice picture.

As I grew older, my tastes did too. I moved on to more mature books and more complicated tales. But the core of all my favorite stories was always adventure.


Any Suggestions? (UPDATE)

Incredible. It's so nice to see that people still really do read. I was just sort of putting the question out there with my last post, and 20 comments...! For the more hardcore blogger, that's nothing at all, I know. But I am so amazed that you guys (and I can comfortably address "you" out there, because I now actually believe that I am addressing someone) responded so enthusiastically. I am thoroughly humbled by this. :)

So, here's a follow-up to your comments, because I feel they all deserve to be addressed. 

First, on Filipino lit: I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I've done little more than dabble in our local selections. Most of my exposure to Philippine literature, both modern and historical, is courtesy of my Augustinian and Jesuit education. Your suggestions will all be noted. Just to share, though, one of my favorite poems of all time is by Filipino poet Angela Manalang-Gloria. The more heavy-duty readers here are probably all rolling their eyes and going, "How cliche!" But I can't help it, Soledad strikes a chord with me. It did from the first time I read it and it still does every time I do. :D

Someone suggested that I go into another fantasy series... my thing about that is that I have to keep buying the books, and it's just agonizing to have to wait to get my hands on the next installment after a cliffhanger ending. I'm sure you know the feeling. :D Plus, it's costly and a bit too time-consuming. I'm hoping to stick to one-part novels for now. :) 

Regarding the Classics and the classics (and I learned recently, courtesy of my current lit teacher, that there is an important difference between the two), I enjoy them when I'm feeling particularly intellectual. You know, the "oh hey I'm feeling smart today" kind of feeling? Only then can I go Dante and Homer and all them guys. For the record though, I have always had a particular interest in the Arthurian legend. Has anyone read Le Morte d'Arthur? I've always wondered if that could count as proper leisure reading.

Somebody also mentioned Einstein's Dreams--that book is a dream! Love it. :) As for Robert Ludlum, I did get into the Bourne series for a bit, but I can only take so much espionage in one go. I like variety in my literature. :D

But okay, my point here really is THANK YOU. This is so awesome, that people respond. 

Can you tell I'm excited? I totally got carried away. :D


Any Suggestions?

I am a book freak. I've been reading since I could, which was probably around the time I was five. I started with the Sweet Valley series: Sweet Valley Kids, Sweet Valley Teens, Sweet Valley High. I knew the Wakefield twins and their posse like the back of my hand. From there I moved on to The Baby-Sitters' Club (you KNOW you read that stuff back in the day!) and to the Goosebumps series and to R.L. Stine. 

One day when I was ten and still living in California, my dad came home with a set of books that he said the people over at Barnes and Noble highly recommended. They were calling it the next big thing in young adult fiction, and they told him I would love it. They were right on both counts: it was Harry Potter, and I fell head over heels (I've been a Potter fan since--I pride myself on being a pre-movie one).

Coming back home to the Philippines when I was twelve, I relapsed into chick-lit for a while. I went Meg Cabot a-la Princess Diaries and got hooked on Gossip Girl years before anyone dreamed of turning it into a TV series. Then I discovered Stephen King. I read everything of his I could get my hands on: The Shining, Salem's Lot (still an all-time fave), Desperation, The Stand, The Tommyknockers, Carrie, The Talisman and Black House, and all seven books in The Dark Tower series. I adored his style, the depth of his characters, the place of the human mind in his brand of horror. Somewhere along the way I fell in love with fantasy. Tolkien at first intimidated me, but once I got into The Hobbit, the rest of the Ring series were an exciting foray into the genre. I went David Eddings, and Neil Gaiman, and then I veered into Haruki Murakami (whom I first encountered through Kafka on the Shore, a gift from a friend on my birthday) and Chuck Palahniuk. 

I did classics, too: Treasure Island, Black Beauty, The Great Gatsby. I dabbled in everything in between: Salman Rushdie, Christopher Paolini, Paolo Coelho, Jostein Gaarder, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Mario Puzo, Tracy Chevalier. I read books by unknown authors and unknown books by random authors. I could keep going, but I'm afraid I'm starting to sound a bit stuck-up and name-droppy. :) 

My point is, I love books. Always have. And now, I need recommendations. The book titles in Fully Booked all sort of scare me; there are so many unfamiliar ones that I don't know where to begin.  

And so, I ask: What, these days, is a good a read? Now no offense to the Twilight fans (I have read all four books, so I get an informed say) but I don't mean that kind of reading. I'm talking a real gripping story, the kind that stays in your mind for days. After I read Salem's Lot, for instance, I kept the curtains drawn at night for a week--I was so scared I'd see a pale, fanged face staring back at me. That kind of reading.

So to the two people who read this blog and to whoever else might drop by...any suggestions? :D


What Are Weekends For?

It's a rhetorical question. I mean, obviously, weekends are supposed to be rest days; God Himself had one, didn't He? "And on the seventh day, He rested," etcetera. But I guess if you're gunning to start your career at an early age, which the media industry in particular practically requires now, then real rest days do not exist for you. Or at least, they ought not exist, if you're really serious. 

I like to think I'm beginning to get real serious. Graduation is looming, after all--March isn't all that far from November. And that old saying about time and flying really applies when you're approaching something big and scary, which in my case is The Real World. So here I am, working part-time, trying to get the best possible transcript out of my collegiate life, putting myself out there to get both money and exposure. 

Being surrounded by people who have been through or are going through what I am is both inspiring and intimidating. It's like: Okay, they can do it, then so can I! But at the same time: Can I, really? Doesn't his or her presence in the industry make the competition more formidable? And you can't really dwell on it because if you have time to be dwelling, then you're clearly not working hard enough. It's a tough game.

So what did I do this weekend to enhance my chances for survival--and eventually, success--in the industry of my choice? I boarded for radio 6 to 9 AM. At 10, I attended an orientation for a required activity at school: immersion [in an underprivileged sector of society. Ateneans, you know what I'm going on about]. At 12:30, I went to help out a friend with his thesis project, out of which I emerged with photos I can use for my portfolio (I figured out some time ago that it's always good to have some decent photos in storage if you want to get a job where your face will be shown on TV. Ha.). 

I took a couple hours to rest at home, but by 8 PM I was at the venue of a hosting gig I did for a school event--Shindig '09: Rebirth. Fancy. My friends/colleagues (what do I call them, I wonder?) Mia and Boom were there with me. We ended the program at 10:30. I was dead asleep by midnight. 

Photo courtesy of my good friend Piaroj. Stolen! :)

Is this really as hectic a schedule as I make it out to be, for a Saturday? Maybe. But more importantly, will it pay off someday?

I'll let you know a few entries from now. I hope.