Hey Little JellyFish ∞

One little something at a time.

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Tracing Infinite Words

Hi guys! I have started a new blog. Actually, I have been in the blogging sphere for around four years already, and I’ve tried various blog providers (Blogspot, WordPress, Tumblr, Livejournal, Xanga, Multiply, Typepad. Name it. Hahaha). However, I only keep blogs for my personal use (e.g. daily happenings, teenage rants, random babbles)

Now, I created a new blog for something I really want to do. It’s for my creative juices. Well, it’s dedicated for my original writings. I also intend to post my reading experiences there. So generally, my new blog is about my world of words. :>

Kindly drop by http://tracinginfinitewords.wordpress.com if you have time. :) My new baby is just a few days young so I’m just starting to publish my ‘words’ there. I’d appreciate if you’ll visit it. ;D

And I’m still keeping this one for my personal use. :)


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What Happened To My So-Called Long Weekend

You see, it was Andres Bonifacio’s 149th birthday anniversary last Friday. I was really excited, since Bonifacio is one of my favorite persons in the Philippine History (equal to, or even more than Rizal, actually).

And of course, that long weekend would be such a treat! I work in front of my office computer more or less fifty hours a week, writing various materials for our clients; and just imagine the eye strain and mental drain I experience every day! Usually, I still go to work even on holidays, but we didn’t have so many projects on that particular day.

So I was really looking forward for nice relaxation time for the long weekend that I even made a mental list: (1) relish my relationship with my bed and wake up late; (2) curl up in the couch and plunge into my reading list; (3) a bonding time with my friends on Saturday, perhaps; (4) and go around the neighborhood with my sister and her playmates. Really, I was expecting a nice, worthwhile weekend.

That didn’t happen.

I have two words to sum it all up: Fuck it.

[Really angsty post after the cut. Please don’t click it  if you don’t want to read a long rant.]

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Exactly a week before I turn nineteen

I like that sense of direction I had when I was sixteen; I knew my purpose in life back then. I yearn for the contentment I felt during the first parts of my seventeenth year; I experienced a different kind of happiness that time. And I desire—deeply—to restore all those things that seemingly vanished from my grasp as I was turning eighteen.

I want to find myself again.

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Of Jellyfishes and Balloons

Isn’t it ironic that my blog URL is named after an aquatic creature, yet the blog theme I am using is inspired by those inflatable bags filled with gas?

Yes, I think have to change my blog theme. I’m busy right now, though. /bricked


Okay, screw the last sentence. I changed my theme right away; I didn’t think too much (a rare feat, since I always over-think on most things) and chose the first one that I have clicked. There! This one is inspired by the sea!

And it’s pretty informal again.

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Book Review: Message in the Sand by Charmaine Aserappa

Message in the SandMessage in the Sand by Charmaine Aserappa

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“The sea roared up and washed away his words. It carried them to lands far away.”

The story’s main character, Miguel, exemplifies that even our simple acts could lead to great things. In a child’s untainted heart, Miguel believes that everything is possible. Every day he wakes up with a fresh spirit of perseverance to drive change.

I wish we—teenagers and adults alike—could have the same spirit of a child. Probably it’s because we have seen enough “reality” that we grew cynical about changing our community, or even the world. But I remember that particular story about driving change.

A man wants to change the world, and realized it would be too difficult. Then he decided to change his country. Realizing it would be too hard as well, he resolved to change his community. Alas, in the last hours of his life, he realized that if he could have started to change himself, he could have contributed to the community; and that could have led to change in his country; and who knew, he might have changed the world.

I have always been a keen believer that the transformation in our society lies within us. Not only the government, charities and organizations, and big corporations. But we could also drive change through our simple yet collective efforts. No matter how small these efforts may be, if each citizen does their part in the improvement of the society, we could live in a better “reality”.

The story was really good. I particularly liked the last line. The art was composed of darker shades, but colorful enough to catch a child’s attention. I believe it is a good book to read to a toddler.

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Book Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Originally posted as my review for the book  in Goodreads.

Warning: Might contain spoilers.

Hmm.. I’m still really pondering about my ‘official’ star rating. Anyway..
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Read from October 25 to November 02, 2012

Notorious worldwide for blurring the line between fact and fiction, best-selling author Dan Brown continued the adventures of Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon in this third book. The novel centers about one of the oldest and most mysterious brotherhood—the Freemasonry, along with its many “secrets”—making The Lost Symbol an enthralling and gripping novel difficult to put down.

Da Vinci Code created quite a stir when the movie adaptation was shown in the Philippines (and around the world, I believe), being a Christian country dominated by Catholics. Meanwhile, I have read the Angels & Demons nearly two years ago, and I could say that it was one of the most engrossing novels I have ever read. I have not yet read the Da Vinci Code though, but I have watched the DVC movie after reading A&D, and I pretty liked it (though I find some of the parts hard to understand, so I think it’s better if I could read it). Then, a friend let me borrow her hardbound copy of The Lost Symbol, and having had a good experience from Dan Brown’s A&D, I immediately immersed myself to it.

It took me over a week to finish the book—under normal circumstances, I could have finished it in three to four days; but my work makes it difficult for me to read. I read whenever I find time—upon waking up, while I was on my ride to work, when I got home, and before I sleep. This is really a challenging reading schedule. So after a week of following that kind of reading pattern and barely containing my anticipation for The Lost Symbol, I decided not to sleep last Friday night to finish the book once and for all. I still have work that Saturday, mind you, and I went to office with barely two hours of sleep, drank two cups of coffee, was alone in the second floor, faced my computer and wrote for work. And I could tell you, was really bangag that day.

Anyway, so much for my rants about my reading schedule. Time for the book review~!

In Angels & Demons, Dan Brown explored the secret society of Illuminati. Da Vinci Code is an international sensation because of its plot about Jesus’ alleged romantic relationship with Mary Magdalene. This time, in The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown crafted another compelling story by divulging the fraternal organization of Freemasonry. Being an old and exclusive brotherhood, Freemasonry—in reality—has a lot of controversies in its name, followed by countless conspiracy theories.

Probably one of the things I like about Dan Brown’s writing style is his characterization of Robert Langdon. As his fictional alter-ego, Mr. Brown manages to reflect his own perceptions with the character of Robert Langdon. He creates delicate stories that challenge the society and the perspective of his readers, and he could be easily accused as a heretic. However, taking a deeper view and analysis of his novels, I could say that Mr. Dan Brown presents different sides of the issues. He writes rather common conspiracy theories for the novel(s)—real-world suspicions of people about its society and government and organizations—but Robert Langdon’s skepticism and scholarly background throw in another angle in these controversies. He doesn’t make the readers believe in anything; instead, he gives different viewpoints about the issues. I don’t think Dan Brown’s books are really “dilapidating” the minds or beliefs of the readers; rather, his novel(s) encourages a stirring debate about one’s opinions and beliefs—which, for me, is a really healthy exercise for people’s minds and principles..

I was enthralled with The Lost Symbol, though I found some parts of it… mediocre. I like the way it is filled with genuine histories and academic concepts—though I’d have to check it again to know what are actually factual and what parts are merely fiction. However, there are a couple of times when the book sounded like a printed Wikipedia, the way it presents information. The dialogues of characters sometimes seemed mechanical, even.

The novel is written in non-linear narrative (please correct me if I’m wrong about the term!), which has lots of flashbacks. Honestly, this seemed like a simple writing feat, but I can’t pull this kind of writing, that’s why I’m fascinated with writers who could do this style effectively. The chapters were chopped into excellent parts, too. However, it feels somehow frustrating when these chapters end with cliffhangers, and another chapter would start with a different scene altogether. It feels like I’m riding in a bumpy roller coaster ride—an interesting act would be presented; I would be immersed in the scene; the anticipation would build; and I couldn’t wait to reach a gripping height; then poof! The chapter would conclude in a way that left the reader hanging. Anyway, I think it is fairly effective since the reader would keep on flipping the pages more to sustain their desire to know what happened/will happen.

I also found parts that didn’t quench my appetite for information, or left open-ended questions. Things like,
“If Freemasonry was an organization exclusive for men, what the hell was Director Inoue Sato doing in the initiation rites?”
“Is she really part of the Eastern Star, like what Warren Bellamy thought?” (I though think I was directly said?)
“Then why was she shocked to find the Freemason meditation room under the U.S. Capitol?” (A rather shallow question, but still..)
“What was the document doing in the director’s vault?” (I don’t know if this was actually made clear in the novel, I was really feeling sleepy and groggy in this part of the book)
And the Noetics Science! That was really an interesting plot device, but I think it wasn’t taken full advantage of. Sad. I wish the novel explored more of that field.

I still have other questions, though I can’t remember some of them, but I noted them in the margins of the book.

There are parts that I really found disturbing, especially the parts where Peter Solomon’s severed right hand was just lying in the Rotunda of U.S. Capitol. I was trying to imagine it, and like, “WTF there’s a hand on the floor!” And Mal’akh, jeez! He was really sick! I can’t imagine what kind of twisted mind he has. I had realized who he really was toward the middle of the novel, but I cannot grasp the kind of goal he has. Well, I do comprehend the goal, but the way Mal’akh wanted to achieve that goal was really, really twisted; and only a person with a twisted mind exploited by various drugs could come up with that perverted goal.

Dan Brown have this habit of starting his novels (well, with the Robert Langdon series) with lost/killed person that became the central struggle of the story and the characters. I was happy Peter Solomon did not die, because he seems a genuinely nice guy. And with all the tragedies that fallen in his family, it seems just fair that he survived. I mean, that man deserves it. He lost his right hand, though. But he and Katherine still have each other, anyway.

Speaking of Katherine Solomon, I have notice the subtle hints of a romantic attraction between her and Robert Langdon; although the woman was a bit older the guy. Dan Brown also made that move in the previous books: another subtle romantic notion at Da Vinci Code between Robert Langdon and Sophie Neveu; and a building romance between Robert Langdon and Vittoria Vetra in Angels& Demons (what happened to them anyway?!) Well, for a man in his forties, Robert Langdon is smexy. I mean, c’mon! The chap has looks and brains! For crying out loud, I’m attracted with his brains! ha-ha! ;) Just imagining the kind of scholarly stuffs he could discuss to me—because I’d just perhaps be listening (nah, I cannot give him something new, probably)—and the kind of academic debate it could stir, makes me want to fan myself because of raw hotness. Hahaha! Jeez, I can’t believe this. XD

Despite being accused as an anti-Christian, Dan Brown is said to be a Christian; and that identity was somehow demonstrated in The Lost Symbol. For instance, there are several points about afterlife; and Robert Langdon, while inside the tank, seemingly had an out-of-the-body experience. Mal’akh, after having countless shards of glass fallen on his tattooed body, died and even had a brief “limbo” experience as he saw his father grieving over his dead body. Afterwards,though he was expecting a godly welcome from the forces of evil, his ‘soul’ came to this dark and torturous place I perceive as Hell. This gave Dan Brown’s standpoint about what happens after death—much reflecting most Christian religions’ beliefs. There are also numerous parts in the novel referring to the church, and although it was not often deliberately mentioned what kind of church, I believe those as Christian church. Christianity—Catholicism, even—was also mentioned more in the book than other religions.

Overall, a really nice book, although there are a couple of down sides. But I’m actually thinking of placing this is my ‘Favorite’ shelf. Will borrow other Dan Brown books from my friend (because she collected it, haha!)

Oh, too long review. So much feelings. ;o;

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I Am a Reader

This is originally my introductory post at The Filipino Group in Goodreads. Check the thread here.

Reading has always been one of my intense passions even before I learned to read. Haha! Now, how was that? My relatives say that when I started to learn how to grip things and mutter incomprehensible babbles as a baby, I would play with my father’s collection of comic books. I would then hold the comics as if I could understand the illustrations and texts, and tell myself stories what I saw. My mother even had a big tin box filled with pocketbooks; and yes, I even play with those. Haha.
Because my mother is a private academic tutor back then, we have a lot of textbooks—most of them were old and tattered copies from her pupils—and I grew up reading those. And I mean ALL of them. Those were elementary, high school, and even college textbooks, and I could remember reading those since I learned reading when I was about three years old. Of course, as a child, I couldn’t comprehend some of the things I read—like a few of those high school and college textbooks—but I got at least the fundamental gist of those.

Reading has always been my passion, and I read practically everything—textbooks, dictionaries, reference books, encyclopedias, graphic novels, even maps and the back label of chips and other household products. I was an only child then, and I don’t go out often; I’m contented immersing myself in devouring those books. My mother was a reader too, though she was always busy with work so we weren’t able to bond about this hobby. My father, on the other hand, doesn’t like it when I read too much; he scolds me whenever he saw me reading and there even came a couple of instances when he would threw away the books. Haha.

So yeah, this interest was hardly cultivated by my environment. To top it all off, when I was a kid I don’t have too many friends who like reading. I was almost the only kid in the neighborhood (more or less) who likes to read. Even my elementary classmates weren’t readers. So honestly, I grew up thinking that there are really few people who like reading and adore books. Really.

Then I was introduced to the online world when I was in third year high school, thanks to our DSL connection at home. Little by little, I began to realize that there are people who actually like reading, people who really loves books.

And I felt that I am missing a big part of this reading sphere. We were not well-off (in short, ‘poor’, haha) so I can’t buy my own books; I could only sustain this hobby by staying at the library or by borrowing books from my cousins. So I was hardly exposed to fiction books and novels as a kid. Of course, names like Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, and J.K. Rowling ring a bell, but I did not have the opportunity to read their actual books. So it was really unfortunate. I felt… incomplete. Some sort of an “incompetent” reader for not being able to read much fiction during my formative years. *insert dramatic melody here XD*

That was before.

Yes, I still hardly have money nowadays. But I discovered people—friends—who are actually voracious readers; or some who does not read much, but have a couple of books sitting in their dusty bookshelves. I managed to borrow some from them, or hunt worthwhile books at BookSale. Sometimes, I read eBooks; but still, nothing beats the feeling of actually holding the spine of books and their papery leafs. And when I started earning my own money, I began filling my cabinet (I don’t have bookshelf, ;orz) with some of the titles that I like.

And then I discovered Goodreads!

Actually, there are some unfortunate events that compelled me to be on a somewhat “reading hiatus” since the middle of last year. I could/should hardly read, and I almost lose my interest in it. It was a good thing I decided to still pursue this passion. Actually, I started to be involved in social cataloguing books at Shelfari. I discovered Goodreads only this year. I could have engaged in a more extensive Reading Challenge. #sayang

So yes, I am on this mission to broaden my reading realm and read more books. I could read anything and I really like the feeling of owning a new book. And joining this group, I’m hoping to be more motivated in this lifelong ‘mission’.

For my reading quest, you may check my profile in Goodreads. Add me as a friend~! :D