Jars of Clay and Gungor Manila 2014

The eve of my birthday was full of fun, great music and positive vibes. Shabby and I were back in Bonifacio High Street for Jars of Clay, who the people of Church Simplified brought back for this year’s Walkway. Gungor is with them this year.

The concert started off with the talented Church Simplied band, whetting the crowd’s musical appetites with upbeat and positive tunes.

Gungor was a revelation. I’ve been living under a rock so I haven’t really heard their music, but I was blown away by their performance. Michael Gungor, lead vocalist and for whom the band was named, said that they don’t believe in genres, and it shows. In their hour-long performance I’ve heard them do rock, country, blues, jazz and even some sort of dubstep mix.

Shabby and I were trying to figure out who he sounded like. I thought Chris Martin of Coldplay, but in most songs he sounded like Dave Matthews.

I enjoyed all their songs, and according to Michael it was a different sort because Lisa, his wife and music partner was back home (pregnant and ready to give birth soon. Wishing you the best!).

Favorite songs: I Am Mountain, Let It Go

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International Tabletop Day 2014 at the Appraisery

My mom and her siblings love playing board games and they had a collection of the classic games when they were growing up. Clue, Sorry, Monopoly, Scrabble, Boggle, Snakes and Ladders, and even the local titles like Millionaire’s Game. This love was transferred to me, my siblings and cousins, and we try to play whenever we get together (a rare opportunity these days, sadly).

Games like these are referred to as tabletop games, because, well, you need a table to play them (with a few exceptions). These include the pen and paper RPGs my friends loved to play back in college, as well as the card games like Magic and L5R.

Last Saturday, April 5, was the International Tabletop Day. What’s it about? As seen on the site the link above leads to:

On April 5th, 2014, we ask you to go to your favorite local game store, coffee shop, library, community center, or host a game day at your home and play more games.

My classmate Joscar is one of the proprietors of Meeple Power Games which has its HQ at the Appraisery in Cubao X. They were hosting a day long event for Tabletop Day, and he invited the rest of the class along. I invited some friends too, but only Drew was able to come.

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From 2 PM til midnight, we played as many games as we could. Points were given to winners, people who brought games, people who taught others how to play games and people who were voted “favorite player” by the people they played with. It was wild. Everyone was more than enthusiastic about the games they played, and I don’t think anyone was bored. New games were learned, new friends made and a festive mood prevailed.

Spartacus!

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Need your assistance

Hi blog readers (the five of you, or so hehe).

I just moved to a different host and I’m in the process of updating a lot of blog posts for the lost links to images.

If you happen to come across a post with broken image links or just codes, please comment here and include the URL to that post. I’ve got a few down already, but I might have missed some.

Thanks! I appreciate your help. :)

Booking Through Thursday: Fanfiction

What do you think of fanfiction? In general—do you think it’s a fun thing or a trespass on an author/producer’s world? And of course, obviously specific authors have very firm and very differing opinions about this, yet it’s getting more popular and more mainstream all the time. Do you ever read or write it yourself?

The first fan fiction I’ve ever read was of the anime series Ranma 1/2. This was back in the early 2000s, and I wasn’t happy with the way manga-ka Rumiko Takahashi left Ranma and Akane’s story as open-ended. I had stumbled across fan fiction quite accidentally, and while I have read many terrible works, there were still plenty of great ones that filled the gaps and what kids these days now call “feels”.

Over the years I’ve read fan fiction of the fandoms that I loved: Harry Potter, Danny Phantom, ​Sailor Moon… even encountering some zany cross-overs (Louis-Philippe Giroux​’s Lines of Destiny remains my favorite, even though the author as discontinued it and someone else has gotten his permission to continue it).

I have tried my hand at writing fan fiction too, particularly back in the days when I first started reading them. These stories were written in longhand, spanning several notebooks and various pieces of paper that I can no longer keep track of.​ After a time I’ve started writing on the computer, but none of these will ever see the light of day (mostly because I think they’re terrible and I haven’t got time to encode and edit them). However, I have published one very short Harry Potter fan fiction and an unfinished one over at FanFiction.net.

Obviously, I am a fan of fan fiction. That isn’t to say that I don’t respect what the writers who do not support it feel about it. If they don’t like their fans writing fan fiction about their work, they are well within their rights to say so and do something about it. I can also understand why they don’t want it, as authors tend to feel protective about their characters like they were their children, and take pride in how they wrote it. It’s also one of the reasons why I don’t publish my fan fiction, or when I do, I try to write them in a way I feel the author would.

For me, writing and reading fan fiction fills the holes that the original work failed to do. Not that I don’t love them any less, but I want more. The variety of fan fiction works gives me options that allow me to find what it is exactly that I want to fulfill. For example, I’m frustrated that Jo March and Laurie Lawrence (Little Women by Louisa May Alcott) did not end up together, so fanfics give me alternatives. Maybe they got together after a few years, or when they were older. Nothing will change the original story, but for a moment, I feel better about them.

Of course, there are many issues when it comes to fanfiction, particularly along the lines of plagiarism. It’s a pretty grey area, especially if the fanfic writers established that they do not own any of the characters or worlds, but have exercised some liberties but still acknowledge the rights of the original author. There are recent issues as well, particularly in the case of Cassandra Claire, which I won’t go deeper into. But for fun, I think fan fiction is all right. It’s good practice for aspiring authors. Just be considerate of the original author’s wishes and never ever claim others’ work for your own.

P.S. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl gives insight on the world of fan fiction and the mind of a fanfic writer.

Project Four Update

I’m on the third incarnation of the scarf. I began on Wednesday, using the colors that I already had. But on Thursday I found a better yarn and a better pattern, so I started all over again. I was able to reach about 10% of the scarf by Friday, which had me feeling pretty good about myself. Sure there were probably some dropped stitches, but it wasn’t bad for a beginner.

Saturday afternoon after class, I passed by an ukay-ukay shop that I frequent. On the way out of the store, I spotted a plastic bag full of yarn! Digging through it netted me unused skeins in the shades that were very close to what I need for the project. I asked how much it was and when I was told it was P10 each, I grabbed what I can. My friend Ivy said I should grab everything and she was willing to lend me money to pay for it. I regret now that I didn’t take her up on that, but then again, what would I need the others for?

*whispers* Future project, ano ka ba?

Yarns

Here be the yarns. The purple ones are made of wool, and the brand is Paton’s. The maroon-ish one is a Chinese brand called Si Wang. The Lego Minifig is for size comparison purposes, since I don’t now what is the size of this skein.

Comparing colors

The two yarns have a more muted color than the ones that I’m currently using and seems more appropriate for the project. This resulted in my dilemma on whether or not I should unravel what I have done.

After a day or so of thinking, asking other people’s opinions and asking other crocheters what they think, I ended up unraveling it and starting over. I like the colors better now… but I’m re-thinking of undoing it all again because I dropped a few stitches and it’s looking very uneven. But I’m controlling myself from doing that.

Here’s a pretty neat tool that shows my progress. I’ve done this much since I started over yesterday morning. I think that so long as I don’t run out of yarn, I should be able to finish this in two weeks. Not bad.

P.S. It’s also kinda addicting to go around looking for yarn and buying them even though I have more than enough… danger!

The great crochet project

Sometime during 6th or 7th grade, the girls in our class had to learn how to crochet (the boys learned how to hook rugs). My mom taught me the basics of how to do it, and she also gave me the tools I needed. While it was fascinating, I never really used this skill after that.

Fast forward to now. I am getting back to crochet for one thing: the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. My first attempt at making a Doctor Who related costume re-sparked the desire to create. As much as I’d like to have the official merchandise, it’s far too expensive for my current budget. Plus, it would be subjected to the wear and tear of actual use, so a handmade one would be a little less taxing on the pocket. The biggest investment would be the time and effort to make it.

Preparation
I had gone through many sites and blogs to look for tips and patterns on making the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. Most of the information was about knitting, but there were also those who adapted the patterns to crochet. Thank you very much to you guys.

Next thing I did was search for places to get the materials I needed. I know yarn can be bought in many places around the metro, but the problem was that if the stores would have the color I needed. Divisoria was the best place to go to (Tabora St., specifically), but it was too far and I was on limited time.

Blogs like gantsilyoguru (post is gone now, unfortunately), Digital Brew and Crafty Neko recommended VC Trading and Maning’s in Farmer’s Plaza Cubao, which was a much better option for me. But first, I thought, why not look around in my own backyard first?

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Everything is awesome with Lego

Last Monday my sister and I went to the premiere of The Lego Movie. The tickets were a prize that I won from 99.5 Play FM the week before. Inka, the DJ of the program I was listening to at the time, asked a question about what were our hidden talents. This was my answer that won me the tickets.

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Because I really am quite good at looking for things.

There are so many reasons why The Lego Movie is a must watch for me. It’s not just a brand or a toy. It’s a big representation of my childhood, and it being on the big screen now is a huge deal. Many fans around the world have made movies using Lego Minifigures and sets. Lego has crossed so many different borders, with games, apparel, home supplies, other kinds of toys, video games and more. When anything or anyone has been depicted as an official Lego figure or set, consider that as immortality. Still hoping for an official Doctor Who set though.

The story is pretty simple enough. Emmett is your average, everyday guy trying his best to fit in among his colleagues and peers. He knows everyone, but apparently, no one really knows him because he fits in so well. One day, he stumbles upon an ancient relic, starting the beginning of the prophecy foretold in the beginning of the movie, making him Special in no way that anyone could’ve imagined.

The rest is just pure shenanigans. Personally, I found the story simple and pretty much predictable. What didn’t count on was… wait, spoilers.
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Digitizing Filipiniana

The Filipinas Heritage Library recently launched their newest endeavour, the Filipiniana Online, last January 22, 2014. It is the digitized version of FHL’s rare Filipiniana collection. They have over 2,000 rare books, many of which are too fragile to be handled and lent out to their users. The idea of digitizing the books was born a few years ago and to date, they have around 500 books digitized and uploaded as flipbooks to the website, with many more in the works.

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Our class was able to attend through the invitation of our professor, and was considered to be part of our collection management and development curriculum. Prior to the launch, we took a tour of the Ayala Musuem and the Filipinas Heritage Library.

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The FHL was previously located at the Nielssen Tower along Makati Avenue. Personally, I found it a very picturesque location, and quite unique too. But times change, so the library was moved to its present location at the 6th floor of the Ayala Museum.

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Here we saw their collection, and in line with our studies, talked to the librarians who were in charge of developing the collection as well as digitizing it. As libraries in the Philippines go, FHL is one of the better ones, support and budget-wise, but that doesn’t mean they are without challenges. Still, it was very interesting to see their process of how they gathered the resources to purchase the equipment they needed to digitize the books.

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The Filipiniana Online is open to the public. However, only the preliminary pages are available for viewing and full access to the books requires a paid membership.

Congratulations to the team of the Filipinas Heritage Library for the successful launch.

Related links:
FHL launches Filipiniana Online
What is Filipiniana?

Hello, Goodbye.

Each year, I post a quote from Neil Gaiman as my New Year’s greeting. Wasn’t able to do something creative with it this year, but I’ll post it anyway.

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”

- Neil Gaiman

I wish you the best for the coming year. More books to read, more creative endeavors, good health and happiness for you and your kin, more opportunities to travel and discover this wonderful world of ours. More music to sing and dance to, more sunrises to wake up for and more sunsets to cherish. More laughter, more appreciation, more time with your loved ones. More hugs and kisses, more cheers and adventures of the good kind.

A blessed, fruitful, creative, happy, healthy, prosperous and all that is beautiful and good for your 2014!

Last Sunset of 2013... hidden behind trees.