The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived: A New Classic Fairy Tale

Times has really changed.  Take a peek on how pumpkin farmer Cedric, turns out to be The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived.

Though written in such an upbeat and intelligent way, conservatives here in the Philippines would for sure protest, dispute and object in case this fairy tale of a book will ever be available on the shelves of Philippine bookstores.  For the severe conservatives, imagining Cedric sharing the same bookshelf-space along with The Happy Price, Thumbelina, Pinocchio, Aladdin, and other beloved fairy tale characters in children’s media would be quite difficult to endure and tolerate.

But have you ever wondered? Considering that Filipino children grew up reading and being read with fairy tales with straight/heterosexual characters, i.e., the price end up marrying the princess and lives happily ever after, there are still multitudes of Filipinos who turn up being gay?

This would only make you conclude that story plots of fascinating fairy tales has nothing to do with the development of a child in terms of sexual identity or gender preference.  Perhaps discussing about “sexuality-is-genetic” and the “born-this-way” principle would already be too much.

"often, we can find the answers back where we began" --- daniel errico

“often, we can find the answers back where we’ve began” — daniel errico

Times has really changed.  And I would like to believe that it has gone more accepting.  In fact, the writer of this new classic of a fairy tale, Daniel Errico the founder of FreeChildrenStories.com , happens to be a straight guy.

Though I am an adult who has yet to develop a more mature disposition, I can say that The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived being an absolutely charming fairy tale has nothing to do with sexuality.  For me, it is about receiving the ultimate reward from having a big heart and being brave enough to be true to oneself.

En Dey Libd Hapili Eber Apter…

My Brain Break Colored Pieces

Here are three additional art pieces that is the fruit of my recent brain breaks.

still can't believe i made this...

still can’t believe i made this…

love your own...

love your own…

i know my color wheel...

i know my color wheel…

The Secret Garden coloring book has definitely made my time and concentration within a relaxing bubble.  Choosing the right shade of green, avoiding going over the lines and slowly filling up the page has at least temporarily fades my intense concerns.  It shuts me off from the rest world and brings me to a different level of calmness.

And it is good to know that based on neuroscientific research, Art Therapy to human beings can physically change, grow and rejuvenate the brain.  Another benefit of this activity is that, it unplugs me and kept me away from the world of the worldwide web for some considerable time.

Pang myusiyum talaga ang peg!

Being So Immersed in Coloring My Secret Garden

My presence into the world of internet has been reduced for the past week.  This is because I have been busy utilizing my brain’s right hemisphere for the past few days.

No, I have not been reading a book but instead – believe it or not – I have gone crazy with a coloring book.  I know it sounds like another childish silliness, but this coloring book seem to relax me.

the book itself, uncolored, is gorgeous!

the book itself, uncolored, is gorgeous!

my first venture!

my first venture!

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford has so far been completely entrancing!  It has been the book that surprisingly calms me and at the same time enabled me to squeeze a lot of my creative juices.

I have yet to know or read an actual science that proves coloring in a coloring book makes the person happier or reduce stress.  But for me, it has been an effective tool for a blissful meditative escape from stress and pressures of daily life.

flowers and the "ipis" (as per nengkoy)

flowers and the “ipis” (as per nengkoy)

primary colors!

primary colors!

my next project...

my next project…

And after finishing three pages by simply coloring away to my heart’s content, I was chilled out to realize that there exist some creativity in me.  This book is so engrossing, it is like being so immersed in your own Secret Garden…

Aminin! Pang Nashonal Myusiyum ang gawa ko!

The Superbook Knows That Love Always Wins

A considerable amount of my time growing up during my pre and early teen years was spent by watching the original cartoon animation series The Superbook.  It is an anime series that chronicled the events in the Bible’s Old and New Testament.

joym chris and gizmo

joy, chris and gizmo

The Bible in its written form can be so intensely deep and enormously ornate in words, idiolect and terminologies.  Because of this, its thoughts, teachings and philosophies can be at times so difficult to understand.  Because of this, The Superbook then was my early basis and reference on how to understand the stories and teachings of the Bible.

And from among all episodes of this valuable anime series during the 1980s (including its re-runs dubbed in Filipino language), never did I saw Christian, Joy and their toy robot Gizmo encounter an episode that being gay and falling in love with a person of the same sex or gender is a sin.

Maybe it is because the creators of The Superbook series knows that it does not take a person to read, know and understand the Bible to realize that falling in love is not a sin.  I guess The Superbook creators knew that love is universal and that love is beautiful.  I guess The Superbook knows that there’s no book on “how” and there’s no book on “who” when in comes to love.

The same thought that this music conveys…

Ay lab Superbuk! Ang kumontra, Chaka!

Catching Fire (The Movie): The Long Wait Is Not Over Yet

catchingfireposterWhile I fell on queue to buy tickets for the movie Catching Fire, I grasped and recognized that finally the long wait is over for the release to the sequel movie of Hunger Games.  It was a long agonizing wait!  The feeling of patiently waiting for its commercial release here in the Philippines was basically the same when I was awaiting for the release of the book a couple of years ago.

The film is definitely entertainingly engrossing and absorbing!  I even wanted to press my left hand’s three middle fingers against my lips then raise it while inside the movie house when defiant revolutionary people of various Districts were raising theirs to show their opposition to President Snow and The Capitol.

peeta & katniss on their way to the quarter quell

peeta & katniss on their way to the quarter quell

I refuse to make a review of this movie since there have been tons of reviews and write-ups about Katniss Everdeen, Peeta Mellark and this entertaining film.  Let me just say which part of the movie that I like most.

The best part of the movie for me was actually the end part of it.  It ends abruptly which will leave you wanting for more.  After being so engrossed watching on how the turn of events happened, the end part would make you realize and be reminded that the movie is a sequel awaiting a sequel.  The ending will simply haunt you.

If you think that the long wait is over, you definitely are mistaken.

Pakibilisan ang pag syuting…

House Rules by Jodi Picoult: A Worthy Story With Sloppy Ending

house rules by jodi picoultI am  glad that my first Jodi Picoult is the House Rules.  For one, there are only few novels I have that in which the story was written from the point of view of several characters including a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, his brother, his mother, his lawyer and a detective.

The way the story ended for me was a bit of a disappointment.  It looks unfinished.  When I read the last page I thought there must be some page missing I even checked on the binding of the manuscript to see if some page were torn out.  Imagine after spending hundreds of pages learning and understanding the characters all of a sudden the author stopped and decided to abruptly end the story without patching up how an equally complicated scenario would be settled.

Nevertheless, the writing technique of Picoult is impressive.  Her switching into different characters after each chapter and her portrayals of these personalities in the novel were impeccable.  I particularly liked the character of Theo.  I liked him because he is the most human being in the story.  If Picoult would write a novel that concentrates more on this young man’s life, I would definitely read it.

Also, full credit should be given to Picoult for the superior research she has done on the topics the story tackled – asperger’s syndrome, autism, psychiatry, forensic science, law, litigation procedures, etc.  And the way she presented the details of these striking topics were also very impressive.  She was like peeling off the skins of an onion meticulously layer by layer.

Though with such a sloppy ending, House Rules nailed it in terms of being informative, entertaining and insightful.  I definitely was entertained because I would just toss it away (when my Asperger’s syndrome attacks) and would not finish reading it if I did not enjoyed it.

Nakakareleyt ako dun sa bida! Hahaha!

The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

thegirlwhoplayedwithfireMy super friend Karen has always urged and pushed me to read The Girl Who Played With Fire written by Stieg Larsson.  She is also the one who told me to read the equally gripping first novel.  She let me borrow a paperback copy that she also lent from the original owner who is her equally super good friend Buffie.  This borrowing affairs and urging to read has been more than a year and a half ago.

Yeah, that’s how long the book has been with me kept inside my book-filled cupboard.  All throughout those times, I wanted to read the novel but I could not push myself from starting to read it because I know from experience that when I start reading a Stieg Larsson I need to have a lot of free time since it would be very difficult to put the book down.

I should not be busy with anything else.  I know for a fact that I would need a lot of free time because when I read the precursor novel The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo my work schedules and house chores were messed up.  My house and my schedules has gone cluttered because I  cannot give in to the moment when I would stop reading and let my thoughts wonder what would happen next in that compelling novel.

I finally got the free time this week, thus, has finally finished reading The Girl Who Played With Fire.  And I was right when I said that I could not put the book down.  The novel was simply a precipitous cliffhanger!   Larsson’s technique of hooking you throughout the novel was just flawless.  His plots were truly unpredictable and had always been out-of-the-ordinary. The Girl Who Played With Fire is everything and more I expected after loving The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Kamanghamangha!

A Piece of Heaven At The Gates Of Hell

It was eleven thirty in the evening.  I woke up drenched in sweat for I forgot to switch on the air conditioning unit before I fell asleep.  It’s already the third week of May and yet the scorching summer heat still lingers here in Metro Manila.  With this roasting temperature, I am starting to believe Dan Brown when he wrote in his latest novel Inferno that found in Metro Manila are the gates of hell.

I tried but could no longer go back to sleep, I slipped into my old blue jeans and put on a freshly laundered singlet.  I proceeded outside the streets of “the gates of hell” to find anything that will cease the torridity off my body.

About a hundred meters away from my flat while walking through Vito Cruz Street I found an eatery.  It’s about to close but I begged the attendant to let me in for I want to order, guess what? Answer: Halo-Halo.

Yeah! There is a new Teresita’s branch here in hell-gate Vito Cruz!!!  It’s no longer just in the far away hell-gate Tomas Morato!!!

teresita's in vito cruz street, manila

teresita’s in vito cruz street, manila

alone inside this refreshment parlor, i did not hesitate taking these photos

alone inside this refreshment parlor, i did not hesitate taking these photos

these ladies must be canonized not as saints

these ladies must be canonized as saints or angels by the vatican

Of course I ordered the “Special” version, i.e. with “minatamis na langka” (sweetened jackfruit) only worth Php 95.  It’s not the generic Filipino halo-halo neither the typical Razon’s halo-halo.  Instead it’s of a grandeur version, that is, with heaps of chunky-to-the-bite banana, brutal portions of glutinous macapuno, the sweet viscous lumps of tasty langka, smooth shaved ice with super generous amount of the vicious and sinful leche flan.  I swear to God they have the tastiest halo-halo in all face of heaven, purgatory and hell.

don't be fooled by the lucid and incomplex look of this halo-halo.  heaven is lodged beneath those shaved ice

don’t be fooled by the lucid and incomplex look of this halo-halo. astonishing heaven is lodged beneath those shaved ice

After paying my bill and start to walk back to my unit, I realized that Tesesita’s Halo Halo is something that can be compared to a piece of heaven and that I am actually glad to be living here in the “gates of hell”.

Makasalanan sa sobrang sarap!

Looking For Alaska Is Inspiring

looking for alaskaThis is the second John Green book that I read this month.  Though it’s not as strong and powerful as The Fault In Our Stars, Looking for Alaska nevertheless is an inspiring work about life and death, about loyalty and friendship, and about the choices we must inevitably make during the tender ages of our life.

I like this book because of its uniqueness of not having a villain or bad person in the story.  Though this book is generally introspective, brooding and contemplative, the story is interspersed with fun hilarious episodes and laughable conversations among characters.

Aside from having normal human beings as characters, the compelling forces that made this novel very meaningful are the literary allusions.  John Green definitely was right in the money for every mention of dead yet admired and/or significant individuals’ last spoken words being mixed through the storyline.

Two connotations referenced in the book that truly stirred me were Francois Rabelais’ “The Great Perhaps” and Simon Bolivar’s “How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”  Readers at the end will definitely be left with something to think about regarding these two rousing allusions.  I won’t explain further for I don’t want this write-up to be some silly spoiler.

Overall, this book is excellent and is well worth my time.

Eksayting nga naman malaman kung ano “Ang Dakilang Marahil”

Defending Jacob Is Splendidly Exhausting

defending jacobDefending Jacob written by William Landay is such a compulsive read.  The great story telling technique of the writer will make you bone-tired and muscle sore yet you would still wish to continue reading because it is so compelling it will leave you guessing right ‘till the end.  You would think that the story has concluded and the author was just wrapping up but at the last few pages even more exhausting bombshell revelations would crop up.

Defending Jacob is much more than a superb mystery crime novel.  It is also about family battling and striving to hold things together for the sake of an accused child. It will compel you to question yourself on how far would you go to protect your child or what would you do if it happened to your family or how are you going to handle it. You will definitely ponder your capacity for objectivity as a parent while you read this novel.  Furthermore, the style of writing is so effective it will make you feel how devastating and haunting it would be like if you would be faced with such horrific circumstances.  These poignant thoughts that percolated in my brain add up to the exhaustion that I felt while I read this novel.

Defending Jacob may be quite a disturbing story but it is indeed an insightful, informative and enlightening novel as well.  Bravo! It was one terrific read, it definitely kept my attention!

Kanerbyos!!!