Sunday, June 17, 2018

Confessions Part 13: The One About Dad

Today's confession is all about my Dad because it is Fathers' Day after all. My Facebook news feed is full of Fathers' Day greetings and tributes of people I know to their own fathers both living and deceased. Sadly, my own Fathers' Day tribute now belongs to the latter category. It's been six years since I lost my Dad to cancer which came by surprise to us all when we found out and even more a surprise that the disease took him away so fast - just about a month after.

I was close to my Dad. I would even say that I was a Daddy's girl. A lot of the things that I liked are because of him. Let me just tell you a few things about him.

1. He loved reading. 

I would say that my love for reading is one of the things I got from him. I remember him having a lot of Readers Digest stacked neatly on a shelf in their room and when I was old enough to understand its contents, I would borrow from his collection and just read. My favorite part was the true stories which could be an inspirational one, a story about love or a survival story. I also liked the jokes section and the vocabulary.

When I was a teenager, my Dad used to take me to National Bookstore and Powerbooks a lot. We'd browse through different books and magazines and I'd ask him to buy me a book or two. He was the one who exposed me to reading mystery and detective story books like Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown and Choose Your Own Adventure books.

2. He loved, loved, loved movies especially the Hollywood ones.

He used to have a collection of movie VCDs and DVDs at home. In fact, watching movies was a favorite past time of ours. If there was a good movie showing in cinemas, you bet your boots we'd be watching and every night, when I get home, I would stay in their room and we'd just spend the hours watching a movie on DVD until my mom came in the room to say it was time for bed or until my Dad couldn't fight off his sleepiness anymore.

I think that my Dad could give Lorelai Gilmore a run for her money when it comes to making movie references or at least, he'd be able to relate to her quips more than I can. My earliest recollection of Dad taking me to the movies was when he took me to Greenbelt to watch the premiere of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and one of my last memories with Dad was us watching Mission Impossible 4 at Waltermart Makati which was the same day as the day we got the diagnosis from the doctors about how serious his condition was. I had to hand it to my father. If I was told I had only months to live, I don't think I would be able to bring myself to watch a movie pa. But he did.

I think if my Dad knew how to download movies and if he was still alive today, he would probably have a subscription to all the streaming sites available - Netflix, iflix, HOOQ and Fox+. I think my love for all things Hollywood is also because at such a young age, most movies I was exposed to were American made.

3. He was the strict parent.

Nope he didn't impose the no-boyfriend-until-after-College rule with me. But he was strict in a whole lot of ways! No going to the movies until College (but I did break that rule in high school! Ha! Ha!). If I was to meet my friends, I would have to ask permission days ahead and I normally had to chat him up for a while about things under the sun before I could get around to what I really wanted to say which was "Dad, could I go out with my friends?" And that comes with all the details - where; what; when; who; why. Also when I tell him I'll be home by 10PM, he's already texting me at 9:30PM to remind me and ask me where I was already. Mom's easy going. With her, it's more like "I'm going out ma. Meeting Ryan." Telling her. Not asking permission. Also usually can even do that when I'm already dressed to go out.

When I finally started entertaining guys, my Dad would always be asking me who it was I was talking to on the phone or chatting with over Yahoo Messenger. When I got a boyfriend, he would require him to pick me up at home. I used to dislike that because my then boyfriend disliked it too. He thought it was such an inconvenience that he had to go to my place first when his house was nearer the mall. I only realized as I got older that I was so wrong to dislike Dad for being so strict about that. I should have been angry at my then boyfriend for thinking what a hassle it was. I guess that's part of why he was not the right one for me.

Of course I also disliked that my Dad was so strict with me when I was growing up. I used to resent it. But again as I grew older, I began to understand where he was coming from. He was just being protective. He just wanted me to be safe of course because he loves me.     

4. My Dad was not a religious man. 

He's not. But he served God for half his adult life at church because he had good faith in Him. I remember him telling me that when my mom got sick he made a deal with God. Namanata sya. He told God if he cured my mother of cancer, he would join the people who annually does the Black Nazarene procession. But since he was claustrophobic, he didn't join the crowd instead he would walk barefoot from Quiapo to home to fulfill his end of the deal with God.

He was not a religious man but he always told me that he felt His presence in his life. He told me he knew it was God that also brought him and his father together. You see my Dad never knew his own father growing up and he had always been okay with it. But one day, it seemed like God was telling him to search for his father. Turns out, his father was sick and dying and it just seemed as though his Dad was praying to see him just before he passed away.

And even when he got sick, my Dad never blamed God. He never got angry at him or questioned Him as to why he would end up being so sick.

He touched lives when he was still alive because of his faith too. I know because there's a couple who was on the verge of splitting up then that he counselled and somehow, someway he was able to help them stay together, to remember not to give up on each other. There was also another guy who made us laugh despite our grief at church after the priest gave his final blessing of the dead. He came up to the podium, in tears just like most of us that day when we were about to bring my Dad to the crematorium, who stepped up to the microphone and said "Bakit sya pa? Marami namang iba dyan. Yung masasamang ugali." 

5. My Dad was my confidant.

I turned to my Dad for a lot of things especially for advice. When I was a kid and I was feeling lonely because I had no playmates (I wasn't allowed to go out to the streets then), my Dad told me I should use my imagination. When I had friendship troubles, he was the one I confided in him. When I graduated, he was the one who helped me look for a job. He accompanied me to every job interview, staying in nearby Mini Stops while I interviewed and when I had work troubles and worried I might never be regularized at work, he told me I would find the right job. When my boyfriend and I broke up, he was the first one I turned to. I went home crying to him and later that day, he came to my room with my favorite spaghetti from Pancake House so I could eat. He was also the one who told me there'll be other guys for me. No Mr. Right yet. But I'm sure my Dad's also helping Cupid now look for that guy.

This was us at the annual Ayala Triangle Lights and Sound Show. I have not learned how to put on make up just yet and so my eyebrows are hardly seen! Ha! Ha!

I was lucky I had a father like him in my life for 26 years. I miss him of course. And I wish we had more years together. That he'd be here to meet the guy for me and walk me down the aisle when the time comes. But I know he's in a better place now, looking down at us from Heaven.

To those who still have their Dads with them, I cannot begin to tell you how lucky you are. Treasure every moment you have with the first man in your life. Happy Fathers Day! 

Current List

Recently watched: Set It Up

Another Netflix original romcom! The story about two assistants who decide to set up their bosses so they could have a life outside the office. It's cute. Super love it. More than The Kissing Booth. I even like how they defined the difference of love and like. You like a person because... while you love a person despite of...

Also, just finished Queer Eye Season 2! What can I say? It's still fabulous! The Fab 5 did it again! And yes, still love Antoni so much and I adore Jonathan still! 

Currently listening to: Dancing on my Own by Robyn

I know it's not new. But recently just discovered it and loving it. Yes, I find it so relatable and think it's the soundtrack of my life right now.

I'm in the corner, watching you kiss her, ohh 
I'm right over here, why can't you see me, ohh 
I'm giving it my all, but I'm not the girl you're taking home


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Confessions Part 12: The Week that Was

And so I'm back after to sharing my weekly confessions! Where do I start?

Okay, so last week felt like a long weekend for me. Our office went to a resort in Laiya, Batangas for a last summer hurrah outing. The place was real nice I must say. There was a beach of course and a pool for those of us who don't want to swim at the beach (ehem me!).  There was beach volleyball and water sports activities for those who like sports and adventures (not me!). And the surrounding was pretty - real good enough for Instagram! Guess what I did?

Anyway so last week was also the first in a long while that I decided I'd go watch the sun set by the bay. I haven't stopped to appreciate the beauty of the setting sun since the fall out but someone I know has been posting sun set photos as a photo project of his so it reminded me of the days I used to sit by the bay to stare at the sun as it set in the distance. Well... it's still a beautiful sight to see.

Still made me sad to be reminded of someone who doesn't want to be part of my life even though I feel the exact opposite but it doesn't hurt as much anymore. There is still that part holding out - that part that secretly wishes he'd look my way. I mean really look my way and see me. Not just another face in the crowd. I still secretly wish he'd call my name. I still wish he'd talk to me again. But there are things in life that you can't get right? No matter how much you want it. Alangan namang pilitin ko di ba? Anyway, I'm just going to focus my efforts on spending time with people who actually want to be part of my life.

Relationships sure are tricky. And I mean all kinds! Even friendships! Recently, a friend of mine upset me real bad due to a commitment that was broken and an expectation that was not met. That's actually why I didn't get to blog last week. My emotions were at an all time high in a negative way and I knew that if I sat down and blogged that day as I usually do now on Sundays, nothing good will come out of it. I'm much calmer now as I have come to accept that it is how it is. Sometimes, people will disappoint you. Sometimes they'll hurt you whether they mean to or not and it's up to you how you'll deal with it. I know I've done my fair share of letting people down and hurting them too. In the case of my friend, I chose to forgive and move on.

Current List

Recent read: After Eden by Arnold Arre

It's been sitting on my desk for a couple of months now so finally about two weeks ago, I finally decided to read it! I only got to finish it yesterday though all thanks to this nonstop rainfall that's been going on since Friday that forced me to finally stay at home!

And so that puts another dent to my 2018 GoodReads Challenge. I have read 6 books out of the 12 books that I pledged to read this year. Also that brings me to my next current...

New blog post: What happens After Eden

After Eden is actually my first local graphic novel. It was given to me by a former work colleague who now (or is it used to by now?) works in the publishing house that carries this book. She asked me and Maila to write a review about it on our blog. Well since I was just at home yesterday, I figured I'd sit down and finally write that review. So you know, if you want to know what After Eden is all about and what I thought of it, click on the link above to take you to that blog post.

Streaming: Gilmore Girls rerun mostly 

I just love how the characters in this show talk especially Lorelai! It's my must-watch show every morning these days before going to work. When I first watched this show way back my teen years, I used to root for Lorelai and Christopher. But now, I'm really all for Luke. I now see how he is really the right guy for her. As for Rory, well, there's no changing my mind about being Team Jess! I wish Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino gave Rory and Jess another chance at love when they made Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I do not like that ending - that Rory ends up pregnant and a single mom! Full circle my foot! Rory deserved a better ending than that. I'd hold out for another season of A Year in the Life where Rory and Jess finally get that second chance at love but I read that the way that show ended was exactly how she envisioned it would.

But it's not to say I didn't watch anything else on Netflix recently! Actually, I watched The Italian Job. Charlize Theron so gorgeous! Mark Wahlberg sooo hot! That whole movie - an exciting watch. I know it's old but I didn't like action films back then. These days, while it's still not my first choice for a movie, I can be persuaded to watch one now.

Also watched Alex Strangelove which is a Netflix original film. It's a coming out movie of a high school guy who finally embraces his sexuality. I thought it was funny and nicely done. I could only relate to that part about Clare liking a guy who turns out to be gay because I briefly had a crush on a gay guy!  Luckily for me though, I didn't end up being in a relationship with the guy before realizing why we just couldn't be! Well I think now my gaydar is stronger so I can easily avoid going down the same road twice. What needs improvement is my asshole radar though so I can also stay away from guys who would bring me nothing but heartache.  

Anyway watch the trailer here:

Another film I recently streamed? Straight Outta Compton. This is a biographical film about the rise and fall of gangsta rap group called N.W.A (Niggas with Attitude). Most notable members of the group are Dr. Dre (yes that Dre of Beats by Dre) and Ice Cube (rapper, writer and now actor). The film was actually a box office hit when it came out in theaters back in 2015. It was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Also the movie soundtrack which featured music by N.W.A debuted at no. 1 on Rap Album charts and became no. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop charts. I'm not a fan of rap music but I have to say Fuck the Police was real catchy.

Anyway here's the official trailer of that:



Saturday, June 9, 2018

What Happens After Eden?

Love is always sweet in the beginning. But what happens to your world after you leave Eden?

This is the question that the story of graphic novel, After Eden, posed to its readers. If you've ever met someone and fallen in love, then you know that love can send you into a blissful state wherein you might feel like there's nothing you couldn't do especially when you're together and nothing and no one can ruin the happiness you feel especially at the beginning of the relationship.

That's how Jon and Celine felt when the two childhood friends meet again and get into a whirlwind romance. Suddenly their lives had color and more meaning to it. But keeping the love alive and getting their  relationship to last did not come without its challenges with angels and demons wagering who gets to control the world with the outcome of their relationship and their friends, Mike, Greg, Lea and Cathy not caring much for their new relationship as well. They wanted the old status quo back and they wanted their friends to stop playing matchmaker with them. So they conspire with each other to put Jon and Celine's relationship to the test.

After Eden by award-winning comic creator Arnold Arre is one of his earliest works. In fact, my friend, Ryan, told me when I posted a story on IG about me reading this graphic novel, that he remembers reading this in the school library back in College. He loved the story. And you know I did too - this 2016 version at least because I have not read the first edition. 

I like how creatively titled this was: After Eden. A colleague of mine asked me why it's called After Eden and I actually wondered that too when I first got a copy of this graphic novel. The garden of Eden is used as a metaphor for love. Eden being the wonderful place created by God for Adam and Eve where they know nothing but joy and life's simplicity. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and banished from Eden, they are introduced to life's hardships and negative emotions just like how one would feel when you break up with someone you love. 

It's a very relatable story as it's so close to reality. I think that's what I liked about After Eden the most. I felt the kilig as I followed Jon and Celine's blossoming romance and I felt so sad when they broke up.

I have to say I also liked Greg and Lea's story which is more of the more-you-hate-the-more-you-love kind. They cracked me up with their fights. But I also like how the story shows that while it seemed they were the kind of people who didn't care for love, they would find that they just didn't know better until love came knocking on their own doors. 

These are some of the lines from After Eden that struck me:

Love is the biggest mystery of the universe. But why try to solve it when one can simply view it for what it is and marvel at the wonders and strangeness it brings?

I was once a sleeping child. But now I've opened my eyes. I chose to walk the path of ignorance and  this is the price I must pay. I was seduced by all the songs and all the poems about love being a magical place. So I entered. I saw in that place a castle in the clouds. And a price waiting for me at the gate. He brings me a magical forest. H kisses my hand and we dance till dawn breaks. But no there is no prince. No magical forest. No castle. There are no such things. I was once a sleeping child but now I've opened my eyes. Love songs have lost their meaning. Sunsets their beauty. The stars have grown tired of shining. The flowers have all wilted. There's no more dancing. No more evening walks. No more staring at the clouds. No more wishing on the moon. No more birds flying overhead. No more soft whispers. No more laughter. No more embraces. No more. No more.

Out there is a season for you, but you'll only meet it once. It stays for a while, then goes away. So don't lose it. Hold on to it. Never let it go. Let it know that it's loved. Let it know that you long for it.  Because when you do it will have finally found a home. And you'll always have that season in your heart no matter what time of the year it is. Catch the season. Don't look for a reason. 

Maybe you've fallen in love and had your heart broken; maybe you're in a happy relationship right now; or maybe you're still waiting for love to come knocking at your door. In any case, I think you'll enjoy reading this graphic novel. Yes it's sappy and cheesy but well I'm hopeless romantic so... Seriously though, I recommend After Eden. You won't regret it. 

After Eden is available in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Books of the Month: Time of My Life, Postcard Killers and Cocktails for Three

As soon as summer kicked in, I found myself feeling the desire to sit down and read. In fact, I finished two books in March: Cecilia Ahern's Time of My Life and Judy Blume's Forever and two books in April: James Patterson's Postcard Killers and Madeleine Wickham's Cocktails for Three.

Now I'm finally sitting down to share my thoughts on the three other books I finished reading.  

The Postcard Killers

This is my first James Patterson novel lent by someone I know from the gym. Although I know of James already because of the Alex Cross novels that have been adapted to a movie - which I loved by the way - Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider

The Plot
The story centers on NYPD detective Jacob Kanon who's on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But it's not the sights that draw him in. He sees every cathedral, cafe and museum through his daughter's eyes. His daughter Kimmy and her boyfriend were murdered during their vacation in Rome and since then young couples around Europe have been found dead. The only connection of the murders is a postcard sent to the local newspaper precedent of each new victim.  Kanon teams up with Swedish reporter, Dessie Larsson who receives a postcard from Stockholm and they think they know where the next victims will be. 

My two cents:

I loved this book. I found it to be a thrilling read. The Postcard Killers reminded me of Bonnie and Clyde and as I followed the story through their perspective, I kept thinking to myself how twisted they were! Twisted but good. They committed a series of murders without the police catching up to them until Kanon that is. 

Kanon's probably a really good detective since he was the only one who could see the pattern. Didn't care much for Dessie though. In my head, I pictured I imagined who would play Sylvia and Mac Rudolph, the killers in a movie. 

Sydney Sweeney as Sylvia

Elijah Stevenson as Mac 

Both were actors in now cancelled, Netflix original throwback to the 90's film, Everything Sucks. They're both good looking just as The Postcard Killers were described in the novel and I liked them together in that film. They had chemistry. 

But a quick search on Google and I found out on IMDb that it's actually going to be turned into a film already called The Postcard Killings. Patrick Dempsey is set to play Jacob Kanon and Brittany Robertson from Netflix's GirlBoss is set to play Dessie. It's still in pre-production according to what I read but Liza Marklund, the co-author of the book is also writing the screenplay. I can't wait to see this crime thriller come to life! 

  Cocktails for Three 

This is my first Madeleine Wickham novel. Most people know her by her pen name, Sophie Kinsella. Surprised? Yup! Me too! I thought it was the other way around - Sophie being her real name and Madeleine her pen name. Anyway, her writing style in this book is far, far, far different from her style as Kinsella, writing novels such as the Shopaholic series. As Wickham, her characters are more mature. I didn't find myself being amused by the heroines of this book thinking about how silly adorable they are like I would have if this was a Kinsella novel and I know because I've read a lot of Kinsella books! 

The Plot

It's about three savvy young women who share secrets they own over monthly cocktails. Roxanne is a glamorous and confident woman but she has a secret lover who's a married man. Maggie is a capable and high achieving woman who finds herself with one thing she can't cope with - motherhood. Candice is honest and decent until a ghost from her past shows up. 

The story about Candice reminded me of the movie, Single, White, Female except there was no psychotic killer in this book. Just a vengeful one. Roxanne's story was the one I liked the least because well, confident and glamorous and yet she's in love with a man she can't have. I guess for me it's all black and white. If you love someone, you will be with her so I never understood why her secret lover just couldn't do that and still she stayed. If it was real love, then why was she kept a secret? As for Maggie, well I would have to say her life was is #goals. She had a successful career and a supportive husband. 

My two cents:
Anyway I liked it because of its depth and realism. The problems these women faced were very much relatable. I loved how it showed that even when the three women faced different struggles of their own, they still came through for one another when the need came. 

Will I read another Wickham novel? That is most likely. But I think it's safe to say that I still prefer her light and amusing novels as Sophie Kinsella. 

The Time of My Life

This is my first Cecelia Ahern novel. You might know her from her novel turned movie, Love Rosie. 

The Plot: (from GoodReads)

Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.

Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she's been ignoring it and it needs to meet with her face to face.

It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.

But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.

My Two Cents

Can you imagine having your life pay you a visit and to find out that the manifestation of your life is a disgusting, smelly old guy? That was Lucy's life. Reading this book made me reflect about life. 

I know some of us have the tendency to live on auto pilot mode. You know how it is - just going through the motions, never really acting on anything. Sleep. Eat. Go to work or school. Go home. Eat. Lose yourself browsing social media or watching TV. Sleep again. Repeat the following day. You're comfortable and safe in your own little bubble. But really you're dead inside. It's not the best way to live at all. I mean, if you look back in your life, would you be able to say you lived your best years? 

A few years ago, I found myself living an auto pilot mode kind of life. I was working and going out with friends after work. On the weekends, I would either go out again with the same set of friends or lose myself in front of the TV at home. I repeated that everyday and I was okay with it because I was comfortable. I guess if my life paid me a visit too back then I'd also probably be shock to find a stinky old guy as well. But thankfully, there's a leadership program I joined a few years ago that made me realize that really was not the way to go.  

This book is a good read. I think it will also make you reflect on your own life and make you want to grabbing life by the balls as they say.  

So those are my books of the month (BOM) and as it turns out, they're a series of firsts for me! They're also not going to be the last novels I'd be reading from these authors. As for my 2018 GoodReads Challenge, well I'm now four books down. Eight more to reach my 12 books goal for the year.