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A Year in Consumable Art

Thursday, December 30, 2021









In your many hours poring over the juggernaut that is the Internet, maybe you have stumbled upon this meme of the two identical twins, creepy but iconic I must say, from The Shining, standing straight facing you as they have always been with uncomfortable, chilling inscriptions: 2020 & 2021. If that ain't an accurate representation of the past two years, I don't know what is. We are basically still in that pandemic era whether restrictions are lowered down to several subterranean notches. People are still lining up to be vaccinated because the anti-vaxxers had a change of heart at the very last minute, just because their chances to socialize are thin to near nil. So yeah, the two years are identical twins, sharing the same frustrations, the same penchant for worries. 


So if there's one thing that is constantly changing, it's the plethora of consumable art in the forms of literature, motion pictures, TV shows, vlogs and the like. There is a wealth of boredom busters this year which I haven't really partaken to be honest because of my aversion to bandwagoning so I ended up consuming what created stirrings from years back. The thing about me is I have to wait for my mood and when it does ignites, there is nothing that will occupy my mind but that. 


So what I will be rounding up in this post is everything that made my year, art-wise. If you are expecting for some Gauguin and Van Gogh, this is not it. 


In order for me to remember everything, I used an organizing app called Notion because yes, even if we remember it all too well, it's also a year that we like to forget, only to cripple the pangs of the panini. 




1. The Hours | Michael Cunningham- There is a lengthy review about this book over at my personal Facebook account and I can't repeat myself here. All I know is that the ending took my breath away. I live to tell the tale and to shout to whoever is listening: Read The Hours, skip the movie version if you may, and understand why this deservedly won the Pulitzer. And for someone who hated reading award-winners, this changed my mind. The sentences here are too exquisite for words. 

2. Kissing in Manhattan | David Schickler- I once read of this book from a review by Jessica Zafra and imagine the shrieking when I found this lounging in the discount bins, unpicked by untrained eyes. THIS IS KISMET everybody! This is a delightful and acerbic short collection about the inhabitants of a certain Manhattan apartment who go about their twisted lives, entangle in the tethers of their relationships, and free-falling in the destiny that binds them. I read this for 3 days and for someone who can't commit to longform everything, this is a record! 

3. Convenience Store Woman | Sayura Murata- There is supposed to be a full-blown commentary of this book in this blog but I never get around to doing it because life happens but I managed to quip a droll riposte that I logged in at Notion: Deceptively simple tale of nonconformity that is anything but simple but always, always deceptive. I want to add more to it but the book is so slim, I'm afraid if I factor in few details, I am robbing you of the opportunity to check this out which will be a travesty. This is clearly my favorite book of this year. 

Other ongoing reads: The Virgin Suicides, Big Magic, Writing Down the Bones, Olive Kitteridge, Holes and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler. 




1. Miss Congeniality- You can always rely on Sandra Bullock to always deliver. 

2. Little Women- This adaptation had me questioning why I allowed myself to watch this only now when it's clearly magnificent in all the sense of the word. 

3. I Know What You Did Last Summer- I don't know about you but this 90s flick always gets me whether for swooning or pumping. Definitely, this slasher film is the latter. 

4. I Still Know What You Did Last Summer- Still as unsettling but did not live up to the gore of its predecessor. 



5. Marriage Story- If you are like me who pays particular attention to dialogues even with minimal movements, let's say movies with swashbuckling swords play, then this is for you. I would marry Adam Driver in a heartbeat. 

6. To All The Boys I've Loved Before: Always and Forever: The perfect ending to a trilogy that I love so much. I know for a fact that if I find myself at a crossroads of here and there, I'll always choose this beginning, middle and end. Obsessed with the soundtrack, too! 

7. Ponyo: You don't watch a Studio Ghibli and not to be gripped with overwhelming ambrosia of wonder. 

8. Flipped: This is a rewatch forever. I don't even need to justify this now. 



9. Sailor Moon Eternal: Go for the nostalgia, stay for the gorgeous visuals and storyline. 

10. About Time: It's an upgrade on the disappointing Time Traveler's Wife although I love the book. This one's a reality check without relying heavily on romance. 

11. Notting Hill: 90's Julia Roberts and the dreamy Hugh Grant are match made in heaven. This is a rewatch because it was on DVD the first time. Thanks to Netflix. I enjoyed this heavily because they don't make these kinds of movies anymore. 

12. Serendipity: First of all, that title is dreamy AF. I mean destiny could suffice but it's a tad too corny. Second, when Annie Lennox sang Waiting in Vain from one of the scenes, even if what's unfolding are not necessary tear-inducing, I cried. This is so silly romantic I can only love it. 



13. The Shawshank Redemption: MY FAVORITE MOVIE OF ALL TIME!!!!!! YES IN ALL CAPS AND IN MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS. 

14. Jaws: This iconic blockbuster about a ravenous great white shark terrorizing the summer tourists of Amity delivered the thrills and the shrills!

15. Ruby Sparks: The first movie off our Friday Night Movie Club. what if you can conjure out of thin air who you are writing right now? How will you go about it? How will you control her? Are you fair to your character that you created? Can she be herself? This is the premise of this film and it is interestingly the movie, if you are a writer, the realization of your dream. 

16. Book Club.  Four respectable women formed the eponymous Book Club and read the salacious Fifty Shades trilogy to add pizzazz to their mundane lives. Although this is not as enjoyable as The First Wives Club. 



17. When Harry Met Sally: A charming film that stands the test of time! and oh, I'll have what she's having. 

18. Bride Wars: Nothing makes me happy than a beautifully realized chick flick!

19. Princess Switch 3: Romancing the Stars: I love it! Vanessa Hudgens is just soooo good. It's predictable I know but I want to be rubbed with holiday cheer so I really couldn't ask for more. 

20. All Too Well: The Short Film: It's 10 minutes of pure artistry and sheer emotional tour de force. 



21. Single All The Way: It’s a Christmas movie starring gay friends-turned-couple who needed to be nudged that what what they have is beyond friendship and their love story is right in front of them. What not to love? 

22. Love Hard: Bound to be a Christmas classic, just so you wait. 

23. Don't Look Up: The only disaster movie that I genuinely like. People describe it as satirical, I call it eye-opening. 

24. Holidate: Emma Roberts, who I love on the short-lived Scream Queens, has been too jaded about a prospect of love during the holiday season only to be swept by someone who's even more jaded. 


25. From Up on Poppy Hill: Definitely underrated especially in the midst of other great Studio Ghibli movies but I like to keep it that way. I want it to be eclipsed by say, Spirited Away ( my fave from the legendary animation studio) because I would like to maintain an almost spiritual attachment to it. I couldn't stop thinking about it even if months have passed since the last time I saw it. 

26. Whisper of the Heart: Much has been said about Studio Ghibli's masterful take on fantasy but their silent love stories are just as riveting. If you have a dream and you won't let others take it away from you because you are holding onto one promise by one person who gets you through and through, then this film is a comforting hug. 



1. Every Single Album, Taylor Swift: Nora Princiotti and Nathan Hubbard break down the entire discography of Taylor Swift with all the panache of collective Swifties. If you are not a fan of the artist that they feature (they are currently doing Adele), chances are at the end of each episode, you will definitely be. 

2. Ang Walang Kwentang Podcast with Antoinette Jadaone & JP Habac: What do you get when you pair two of the most engaging directors in the Philippines today and have them dish on popular culture, relationships-gone-wrong advises via Sta. Roselle Nava Tulungan Mo Po Kami which is equal parts witty and hilarious and just about everything that they like to shed light on? You get this podcast, schooled, learned while rollicking on the floor laughing. 

3. Switched on Pop: “Musicologist Nate Sloan & Songwriter Charlie Harding pull back the curtain on how pop hits work magic on our ears & our culture”. Their dissection of Butterflies by Kacey Musgraves made me even love the song more and I don't think for one moment it is possible. 

4. Sway by New York Times: Particularly the Nobel Prize Winner Maria Ressa’s episode because she’s one woman who never sways to fear. As we all should. 



 

1. Solar Power | Lorde: I am not really a Lorde disciple so I really did not dig this but it has interesting cuts which admittedly I have forgotten now. 

2. Star-crossed | Kacey Musgraves: Nothing to be compared to Golden Hour which is more accomplished, this album is a tragedy in 3 parts and it delineates all the situations that lead to the divorce. But it is a beautiful album through and through. 

3. Red (Taylor's Version)| Taylor Swift: There is a reason why critics considered this her best album. The 10-minute All Too Well is worth the wait and hype! Dayumm! 



1. Trese: Pinoy lore for worldwide audiences. This adaptation deserves a resounding applause for breaking the barriers of what is known to be dominated by Japanese and American. Yes, we can compete with the best of them. 

2. Big Little Lies Seasons 1 and 2: The book saved me last year during the pandemic. This series does not disappoint at all! The episodes that cover the 2 seasons are some of the finest hours in television! It's a masterclass on writing and acting and I'll laugh at you if you still haven't seen this. 



3. Ru Paul's Drag Race ( Seasons 4-13, All Stars 4-6) This is probably my favorite reality series of all time. I only have these words to say: This show is what? SICKENING! OKUUUUUR!

4. Schitt's Creek ( Seasons 1-6) This is the sort of TV show that you watch for just one episode and YOU ARE COMPLETELY PULLED IN FROM THE GET-GO AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT YOU ARE LAUGHING LIKE CRAZY HELL, CRYING EVEN WHEN THE SCENES UNFOLDING ARE NOT PARTICULARLY LACHRYMAL AND JUST MIRACULOUSLY HEALED. I slap myself silly for sleeping on this when this started back in 2015 so I consoled myself from the sting by just combing the ends of the cyberspace to learn everything that my midget brain could handle about it. This show is a gift wrapped in the most splendiferous of papers with ribbons and bows and all the frou frous. If you trust my taste, GO TO NETFLIX, SEARCH FOR IT, PRAY BECAUSE YOU KNOW MIRACLES ARE UPON YOU AND PRESS PLAY. You're welcome! 


This is quite a handful this roundup, I must say. But this is me paying homage to the creators of each piece of art that I mentioned above because hey, let's face it imagine our collective lives without books to read, movies and TV shows to watch, new albums and podcasts to listen to? You might as well be dead right? So consume art to live. You owe it to yourself. 


Happy New Year to you! 


Xoxo, 


Credits: 

Cover: Tom Mossholder on Unsplash

Notebook layout: Canva

Photos: Google Images, Pinterest. IMDB, Booklist






This Week in Visual References

Friday, November 26, 2021





I know I haven't been updating here as much as I wanted to because as always life gets in the way. So this is me trying to pay penance by finally introducing a brand-new, squeakily-clean, sparkling feature for the blog! 


It's an update no one asked for but I need to do this because my website has new readers since I have been promoting this nonstop to my students lols and I don't want them to berate me to high heavens because I have nothing new to offer. Whew. That was a breathless sentence. 


So the question remains. What sort of gimmickry will I be doing to cater to those who want to read my blog more? Nothing extraordinary of course. I mean I can't have giveaways because I am cash-strapped but I might for Christmas so you better WATCH OUT FOR IT! 


So basically, every week, from Saturday to Friday, and since I love taking screenshots of anything that piques my curiosity, I will be dumping them here as a sort of snapshots of the week gone by. There will be memes, soc-med posts of any kind or pictures that I take myself with brief explanation of course because I insist. 


So if you are ready to get lost in them, here's This Week in Visual References: 



Last Saturday I went to my favorite mall because I am so desperate to feel the Christmas spirit and this year, their decorations did not disappoint at all. From the looks of it, I think the holiday theme is enchanted forest! 



Can you guess which mall I went to? The thing about Christmas tree is that even if its pagan in nature, it's a surefire way to get you in the holiday mood. This gives me butterflies! 


You know it's going to be magical when iridescent butterflies let loose! 



This vinyl showcase from Satchmi is a dream to own! 





One day if I get to own a turntable, I already decided to buy my records here.  



Lately, I have been obsessing over cooking videos on Tiktok so this spices portion from Healthy Options is right up my alley. 



Don't you love a heavily-filtered, overly decorated throwback photo? I do! Especially if you are in a good company of fabulous friends: Me, Ubegail, Salve, Shiela and Maricor outside a place that I would do anything to forget. 




If you are going to ask me where I make and edit my slide decks for my subjects Creative Writing and 21st Century Literature, it's in Genially! Collaging as an art form is something that sets my blood astir so using this template is a no-brainer! 



You know I love them trees decked with balls! This is the holiday set-up in Vista Mall which we noted is a 'repeat performance' from many years back, lels. 





It's the obligatory groupie for me with my Samgyup buddies: Ubegail, Enah, Gracia and She! 



The birthday artcard I created for one of my favorite people using Nichi app. 




With my loves, Ubegail Rubibay who I will catch a grenade to. 






Dolomite Beach who? 



The Urban Dictionary entry of my name. Yes to asshole personality! You may find yours here




My excellence incarnate friend Rizza and her version of Christmas staple Oh Holy Night will give Celine Dion and Mariah Carey a run for their money! 




So honored to judge our district's Essay Writing Contest in celebration of English Month. 


Yey! We won! 



I can't wait for next week's dispatches! 



Xoxo, 


* All pictures, aside from the screenshots from different sources, are taken by me. 


Cover photo from Unsplash 


Holiday Reading is Fundamental

Monday, November 8, 2021

 




The Library is Open! 


I dream to own a shelf full of seasonal books as inspired by this post by A Beautiful Mess. As you know in the Philippines, we only have 2 seasons- wet and dry- but that will not stop me from dreaming my own shelf filled with Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring books just because this makes me authentically happy. It is so hard to find happiness these days so anything that will keep you from feeling so blue, I will gladly accept it thank you very much. 






I have been very vocal about how Christmas is different this year. So I just spend my days trying to activate the Holiday spirit ( this is referenced to that really funny Tiktok video about activating Holy Spirit) playing my Spotify mixtape 'We'll Always Have Christmas', budget decorating using last year's bottlebrush trees and old Starbucks Red Cup series, rewatching charming holiday fares like The Princess Switch, Dash & Lily and The Holiday, updating my journal which I will be sharing here soon. As in anything that will potentially awaken the familiar joy that I always associate with the season. 


But on a mission to gather all my Christmas-themed books, I dusted off all the titles that I ever owned. These books have been read for countless hours on end and it's always happiness reactivated. All of these books were bought in discount bins because I believe that these delightful reads deserve new homes! 



The Shepherd, the Angel, and Walter the Christmas Miracle Dog by Dave Barry



Auggie Wren's Christmas Story by Paul Auster



Matchless: A Christmas Story by Gregory Maguire



Claus and Effect illustrated by Mary Engelbreit 



Bah! Humbug! 101 Great Reasons to Hate the Holidays by Ron Barrett & Patty Brown



Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan



Illumination presents Dr' Seuss' The Grinch I'm the Grinch 



The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg



Nutcracker by E.T.A Hoffman, pictures by Maurice Sendak




I might add more here as I plan to go book-hunting soon! Please watch out for it! 





Do you have a favorite holiday book? 


 Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash



Xoxo, 





34 and Loving It

Thursday, September 9, 2021

 




I am 34 officially! 


I declare this age with much exultations, I don't see the need to hide this now because this is a celebration. I am loving it so far. Well, I have only been 34 since the 6th and I can't wait to discover what this 'era' can offer in terms of my career (worthy professional progression as worded by my bro Sam Edillo, Teacher II for 12 years, it sucks right? Oh well), of my writing (more and more published works as the bulk of my many, many birthday greetings wishes), and my love life (nothing to say here except that as cliché this may sound, I am in love with life. We all should be). No complaints really. I take things as they come because at one point, fretting does nothing good. 


So how did I celebrate my birthday? Nothing too spectacular. I am not big on birthday celebrations. Probably because I was not raised that way. I do not have a particular pompous memory regarding my own birthday because truth be told, life in the province is hard. But I do not remember being sad about it. You know, you learn to accept a shortcoming even if you don't consider it as such. I just went to church with a friend to offer a prayer of thanks in the midst of torrential rain. I was wet half through and I think of it as a blessing. I do not remember having to celebrate my birthday raining so it's a gift from above ( please don't berate me on the rain that fell on Parasite, lels). 


Also earlier that day, I received a gift from Chuvaness which made my jaw dropped and I cannot disclose it here but let us say it is sizable. Did I also mention that I am also not big on cakes? You heard it right. Since my grandparents could not afford to buy me cake growing up, maybe you would have thought that since I am earning already there should be a change of tradition. Never. I attributed my non-indulgence to sweets because of it. But of course when a friend ( her name is Fae and she has a monthly column in the longest running magazine in the country, you have probably heard of Liwayway) sent a cake, that's a whole 'nother level of gratitude. I forgot to take a picture of the cake because the Lalamove apologetic delivery guy mishandled it which I totally understand  It is my birthday anyway and it is my civic duty to be nice. Don't get me wrong, I blow off a steam once in a while but I am nice all the time. Do I need to add to all these negativities? 


I also got overwhelmed by the amount of birthday greetings I received and I definitely felt the love. I have to apologize because I was not able to reply to all of them because it will prolly take me full throttled 24 hours. But I read all of them and I thank all of you with as much gratitude and love. Pre-Facebook, I can only only count with my fingers the people who could remember my birthday so even if sometimes social media can take a toll on one's mental health, having friends to greet you is a serotonin boost and you know with this pandemic we could use a little mood uplift. 


Gifties from Chuvaness and Ubegail



My journal spread


Inasmuch as I tried putting out my writing to bigger spaces, 2021 is turning out to be a publishing drought for me. I have so many rejections this year I forgot to count 'em. But it's a long way to go until the end of December so I really have to do something to step up. So when Hiraya Media accepted my writeup about the pandemic education in the Philippines, I could not contain my happiness. And it is for a topic that I don't normally write. I hope as your birthday gift, you could take the time to read- and react- in my article cleverly titled, SY-2KNEW-2KNORMAL





I am dreaming of course to celebrate my birthday next year without the fear of worrying that a small crowd you dearly loved that you gathered would cause panic for just being there. If you come to this point, and if you still haven't, get yourself vaccinated so we can be like the rest of world where they get to travel out, attend concerts, watched movies in cinemas and ultimately because this is a must, make out, lels. 




Xoxo, 








Friday Night Movie Club

Friday, August 27, 2021

 





I have been mulling about this but just today, August 24, 2021, I finally subscribed to New York online magazine. Don't worry, it is the cheapest but their features and coverage are at par to the likes of New Yorker so you can be assured that not a day goes by that I will not open their website so I can be aware of what's hot and not in pop culture. Imagine paying 1 dollar for 2 months as its subscription fee? 




Anyways, one of the most interesting contents here is the Friday Night Movie Club where a member of the group of editors suggests a movie across all genre to watch together. Their first selection was the 1959 film, Some Like It Hot. Read the review here






So as inspired by New York, I am attempting my very own Friday Night Movie Club where, as its founder, I'll suggest a film regardless of genre that we all can watch to perfectly cap off the work week. Some of the films I will be including are personal favorites that merit a revisit or must-watch from the 90's or the early aughts, all interesting I promise. I will create a Messenger group where I will disclose the movie of the week and where I will also include where to find them. The members can have a short discussion about the film should they wish to. Nothing mandatory. The idea is to discover new gems which will be a potential favorite and they can pass on this recommendation to their own set of friends and yes, to bond over a piece of art that deserves new viewership. Plus, there is something so therapeutic about a fan club that shares its passion like no other! 


If this is the sort of things that interest you, consider answering the Google Form here. Let's all geek together! 



And oh, my first Friday Night Movie pick is Ruby Sparks. I think you should join our club. I promise my recommendations will be the highlight of your week! 


     



Cover photo by Myke Simon on Unsplash

Screenshots: https://nymag.com

Movie Poster: Pinterest





Xoxo, 






rlf