Category Archives: books and movies

2012 Goals – Midyear Updates

The constant email reminders that it’s time for our midyear performance review has reminded me to evaluate where I am in terms of the personal goals I set for myself this year. While the former is an annual bane to my professional existence, I find the latter to be a good use of the 30 min of free time I have in what proved to be a very busy couple of days.

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On Board the MV Logos Hope!

It was my first visit to the vessel, though I’ve been planning to come for years. I am a failure that way.

Logos Hope is actually the new ship, the fourth one the organization utilized. It is run by a German charitable organization whose goal is to bring “knowledge to the world”, though there’s a heavy Christian theme throughout. The crew  is made up of different nationalities and live on board for about two years.

It was an easy commute for me from Taft-Vito Cruz. I just took the LRT1 to Carriedo station and from there, rode a jeep with a sign that says “Pier”. I’m a very “let’s take a cab” kind of girl because I’m lazy and get lost easily so I’m telling you, it’s a no-brainer commute.

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These are a few of my favorite things!

Since this week had me feeling a lot of negative emotions, I decided to counter that by listing the little things that make me feel good:
  • My mother’s cooking.
  • The smell of new books. The smell of old books. The feel of a book in my hands.
  • A golazo from a player I love, and a really great goal celebration.
  • Taking my first bite of quality chocolate that I haven’t tasted before.
  • The anticipation before a kiss.
  • A really good read or photo from the internet.
  • A really epic movie. Alternately, a really fluffy movie which allows me to space out.
  • My bed, after a really long day.
  • Laughing with friends. Nothing like it.
  • Getting snail mail or postcards.
  • Grocery-shopping.
  • Buying school supplies.
  • Applying lotion. Oh yeah.
  • A really good song that I can play over and over again until I get sick of it.
  • Planning pretend events.
  • Pretentious coffee. (I just can’t quit!)
  • Getting unexpected but sincere compliments.
  • Wearing my really ratty shirts at home, sans bra.
  • Potato-based products.
  • Our Awesome Fantasy Lives (Hello Pat and Jerome)
  • When it’s really cold and my breath comes out in white puffs. Happens rarely in a tropical country.
  • Making lists. And checking it twice.

There you go! Actually, there’s a lot more but this is enough for now. Goes to show that for every tiny thing that pisses me off, there is something that can make me feel good. In fact, I think the ratio could be 1:2, but it’s so easy to forget the good things.

Book Reviews: The Hunger Games and I Am Number Four

The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

I guess I can say that this is between “I like it” and “I love it” for me. It’s not going to go into my list of faves– which, to be fair, is filled with mostly Anne Rice and J.K. Rowling — but it holds its own and I sincerely recommend this for anyone who wants an entertaining and riveting read.

The pacing is the best part of the book; it’s been too long since I read a book cover to cover without putting it down. Even if the dialog is not very interesting or particularly witty, one can’t help but want to know what happens next, and the next after that, etc. The plot and premise is not very original, especially to someone who’s a fan of the Battle Royale franchise, but Collins did manage to turn things around and make it her own.

The weakest point of this book for me is probably the romantic angle. The love triangle is awkward and at times forced. While I can understand how [SPOILER ALERT] Peeta and Katniss could have a connection, and the author even made an effort to provide a back story, I just don’t feel the actual chemistry. Same with Gale and Katniss. I was actually more sold on the other (non-romantic) relationships, like Katniss and Rue. Or even Cinna’s weird friendship/affection with/ for Katniss and vice versa. [/END SPOILER]

It’s one of those books I want to see made into a movie, because 1) it would make a great movie, plot-wise and 2) I am not overly emotionally invested that I fear a movie would just ruin it.

Before I read the books, I’ve been getting a lot of positive reviews for it. Though I wouldn’t go so far as to call it overrated, it’s not as epic as others have led me to believe. If I were to rate it with other YA trilogies I’ve read in the recent year that is of a similar bent, I would rate it higher than Scott Westerfield’s Uglies and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments.

I will be buying the second and third books in the trilogy, but it can wait.

I Am Number Four

Okay, I admit, I bought this book because it’s large and thick for its price and it has Alex Pettyfer on the cover. If you must know, Alex Pettyfer is always, always the first guy that comes to mind whenever I have to fantasy cast a blond, handsome guy, aged 16-25, often with some sort of special ability or set in an alternate reality.

Moving on.

The book’s concept is good, but the execution – not so much. It focuses a little too much on teenage angst for my liking. Also, the author was unable to pull me into the Lorien lore. The plot is predictable. Their main problems/hurdles– though the author probably want to make it seem like they’re impossible to overcome — feels altogether surmountable. Okay, let me try to explain that better: In Harry Potter, while waiting for the final book, there was some “J.K. Rowling won’t kill off Harry… will she? Oh no, what if the only way to defeat Voldemort is for Harry to dieeeee….” Here, there’s just, meh, he’s gonna develop some supercoolmegaawesome “legacy” and save the planet(s).

While reading, I kept thinking “I could write this better.”, and this is not a testament to how good I think my writing is, but to how much the book could be improved. There are times when it becomes too Sweet Valley High, when I expected it to be X-Men. I don’t know, I’m thinking I should have gotten the second book in The Hunger Games Trilogy instead of this.

I’m sorry, Alex Pettyfer, I hope the movie is better.

Fever Pitch, p169 (Nick Hornby)

…describes my state perfectly. I felt like I was reading about myself. Okay, so I could somehow relate to some sentences on practically every other paragraph of this book, but not as keenly as what was said on this page. And no, this page does not contain anything about Arsenal, oddly enough.

(I was supposed to type the whole thing in, but laziness got the better of me, I’m not trying to be cryptic on purpose.)