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On the Record

"I don't care how many times you've seen women carry guns on a thigh holster on television, it is damn awkward. You walk like a duck with a wet diaper on." - Anita Blake, from the book series by Laurell K. Hamilton

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GENERAL

FRIENDS

2007
+ Retro Cafe and Sunshine Tacos (20 June 2007)
+ Meeting D at Empo
+ Sleepover of D. (July 2007)

FAMILY (filtered)

2007
+ Christmas 2007 in the Philippines (25 December 2007)
+ Shopping @ SM Megamall (29 December 2007)
+ New Year's Eve @ Palmera Hills (31 December 2007)

COLLECTIONS
+ All photos from Bangkok are HERE.
+ All photos from the Philippines are HERE.

that would explain much

Participated in the California Coastal Cleanup today. It was fun, and I got to hang out with people, but Huntington Beach is pretty damn clean, so it felt a bit like a wasted effort. Or maybe it's because the last time I did a beach clean-up, it was a site at Newport Beach that was targeted specifically because a lot of trash washes up on that part of the bay.

We finished around noon, and I got home around 2, but since then my head's ached and I've been gulping water like a horse. It's now past midnight, and it just occurred to me that I might have been feeling bad because of the heat. Dunno if it's heatstroke, exactly, but yeah.

Kept two bird feathers that I picked up, mostly whole. Except now I can't find the second one.

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Presenting... the 44th President of America

I seem to have forgotten about this journal completely, which is a shame since it's a PAID account. So I'm going to be coming over here a lot more. And I guess, if there's ever a good time to restart and try again, it would be today of all days.

Congratulations, President Barack Obama!



Wow. That word can pretty much sum up the entire day. I'm continually amazed by how many people there were in Washington at noon. You can't help but be touched by the outpouring of support and love and hope, tinged a little by a pervading disbelief that a day like this could actually happen.

I love that Obama made it clear that there's hard work to be done, that his taking office was only the beginning of change, that trust needed to be built between the people and the government again. I love how he reached out to everybody, everywhere, because it reminded me of his promise to be the President for all Americans, not just those who supported him. And I love the strength of his goals and ideals, because he backed them with pragmatism and an awareness of how much needs to be done.

For the first time in a long time, I kind of wished I was an American. But I feel I have a legitimate reason to celebrate nonetheless, because here, finally, is an intelligent man who is aware of and has visited other nations outside of the United States, is learned in law and philosophy and the workings of government, and is young and caring and real.

"As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake."
- President Barack Obama

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Books: "Fingersmith"



FINGERSMITH by Sarah Waters

Gosh, it's been a long time since I last came across a book I could not put down. This engaging novel reads like a part-mystery, part-coming-of-age story that turns out to be somewhat convoluted romance about half-way through. Oh, and the plot is very much Greek tragedy. Set in Victorian England with a memorable cast of characters, the writing reminds me a bit of Margaret Atwood meets Jeanette Winterson.

It was first recommended to me by my English teacher in Year 12, and I think I glanced over it once in the bookstore, but for some reason it didn't engage me. Am very glad I gave it another go, though. There be madhouse, which takes me back to my Extended Essay in English for the IB. Normally I don't like switching character POVs, but Powers does it to good effect, and the twisty plot kind of requires it. I enjoyed Maude a bit more than Susan, perhaps because I could identify with her situation.

Highly recommend this, and I hear that Powers' other books are excellent also.

International Poetry Month

Apparently it is International Poetry Month. Huh. I would have participated, I think, if I'd known about it a little earlier. Luckily other people on my friends list have been more attentive (*waves at satismagic*) and so I've at least been reading poetry.

But earlier today, I saw this one over at copperbadge and immediately loved it.

The Symbolic Poem
by Fred Bremmer and Steve Kroese

<> !* ' ' #
^ " ` $$-
!*=@$_
%*<> ~ #4
&[ ]../
|{,,SYSTEM HALTED

You're probably wondering if your computer or the internet vomited something strange up there, so I will explain. In order to properly appreciate this poem, one should read it aloud.

Like so:

Waka waka bang splat tick tick hash,
Caret quote back-tick dollar dollar dash,
Bang splat equal at dollar under-score,
Percent splat waka waka tilde number four,
Ampersand bracket bracket dot dot slash,
Vertical-bar curly-bracket comma comma CRASH.

Somebody needs to make a song out of this. Come on, somebody must have by now.

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Books: "Candide"

It's already February and I'm only up to 5 books. Not good.



CANDIDE by Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet)
Translation by Burton Raffel, Yale University Press

One of the most distinctively unique pieces of literature I've ever read, this French satirical novella is a response out of the Enlightenment period to the indoctrination of the people by the church and state, and particularly to Leibnizian Optimism. The central character is continuously disillusioned by the hardships and obstacles he experiences, and sets out trying to prove the philosophy of the world being the "best of all possible things" by finding one person who's life story supports it. The style is partly picaresque, after the popular romance and adventure stories in European culture, which Voltaire's satire also addresses by reversing the normal archetypes and highlighting the unrealistic and superficial nature of the characters based on them.

A thought-provoking and memorable book, and quite short, though full of action. The narrative seems to consist almost purely of cause and consequence. At first, the reader may be taken aback by the swift changes in scene and circumstance, hardly allowing time for thought (which may have been the author's intention), but the prose soon transcends the details in a blur of half-remembered names. The ending feels like there's a morale in there somewhere, but is rather open-ended in what exactly the message of this morale could be.


3 / 50 words. 6% done!

Books: "The Wee Free Men" and "Getting It"

This year I'm having a go at the 50bookchallenge. Again. After last year's utter failure, I've decided to not be too picky with my books this year, and just read whatever I feel like reading, even if it's fiction for 12-year-olds.

Oh, and I should actually finish books before getting distracted by new ones.



1. THE WEE FREE MEN by Terry Pratchett

The wonderful thing about Terry Pratchett is that even when he writes a book intended for young readers, he doesn't patronize with simplified vocabulary or formulaic plots. The Discworld came into being as a parody of conventional fantasy literature, and this carries right into the story of nine-year-old Tiffany.

After all, fairy tales are just another form of fantasy.

From the start, I was enchanted by Tiffany Aching. An exceedingly sensible girl who has a way with cheese, Tiffany deals with a monster that jumps out at her from a stream by going at it with her mother's frying pan. She wants to know why the handsome prince and beautiful princess in the stories are what it says they are. She is able to identify a witch on sight, though perhaps the talking toad was a bit of a clue. Above all, she wants to find Granny Aching.

Great read, had me in tears the first time, and now I reread it at least once every year. It's also where I first came across the word "susurrus". There's also a cameo by certain characters from the main Discworld novels. Fits in best with the Witches' storyline, but the character of Tiffany reminds me a lot of Susan from the Death storyline. Highly recommended to readers of all ages, and especially to fans of Pratchett's other works.



2. GETTING IT by Alex Sanchez

Sanchez is a guilty pleasure of mine, I admit. (Good thing I still look young enough to be in the 'young adult' section.) Even though his stories usually border on being cheesy, there's a certain charm to the writing that helps the reader form an attachment with the characters. I also love how he integrates the Chicano sub-culture into the narrative; nearly all the main characters in this book have a Latin American heritage, and Sanchez makes this clear in a very natural way that doesn't detract from the plot.

The story is quite simple: 15-year-old Carlos is tired of not having a girlfriend (among other things) and, inspired by the show Queer Eye for a Straight Guy, asks a gay fellow student at school, Sal, to give him a make-over. In return, he agrees to help Sal start a Gay-Straight Alliance at school. The story touches on the roots of homophobia in a high school environment, as well as explores how friendships change and evolve through experience.

A lovely read, overall. Definitely reminded me of being a teenager, from AIM chats to lunch tables in the school cafeteria. It also looked at the environment of a child growing up with divorced parents, a reality for many young people in the USA today. Not exactly classic literature, but a nice feel-good read for a busy day.

PROGRESS


2 / 50 books. 4% done!

Happy New Year!

Woops, I completely forgot about this place :P Photos coming up soon. Ish.

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HAPPY 21st EDGAR!!!

It's already well into the day after where you are, but think of this as prolonged birthday greetings ♥

HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY
to
spektorsaurus


To the woman who is both the rock that grounds me, and the weather balloon that takes me places I've never been. To the friend who knows my secrets and keeps them. To the mind that will some day change the world. To the spirit that makes this world a more beautiful and random place. To the person who is only human, but is one of the best of us.

♥ I LOVE YOU ♥


I wish you the best this world can offer, and a future full of every happiness.

Always,
M.

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NaNoWriMo 2007

Looking for Mars

Think big red planet in the sky. Or the Roman God of War.

Photographs, books, movies, random stuff I find on the internet... I tend to post about anything I feel like sharing.

I apologize if any of my opinions cause offense or disrespect to anybody. Constructive and valid disputation is usually welcome. Any who wish to friend me should feel free to do so, though I'd appreciate it if you comment and make your presence known :-)

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