Word of the Year: FINIFUGAL – 2014 Year Ender :)

Another year done! I was looking for one word that would summarize 2014 for me. I dabbled with ‘fear,’ ‘indecision,’ ‘bad luck,’ etcetera, etcetera, but nothing clicked right. Until I saw this word: FINIFUGAL (thank you, other-wordly.tumblr.com.).

2014 year end blog

 

That was the best definition of this year. I think being finifugal relates to being scared of starting over, of new things, of changes (drastic ones, to be exact). A quick check of my year-ender the past years led me to one conclusion: I was, kind of, reliving my 2012 all over again, because the same quotes that I quoted still applied, the same complaints, the same worries, and a heartbreak (thankfully, a different guy this time, but jeeeez I never learn, do I?).

I would quote the same John Green quote in 2012:

“You spend your whole life stuck in a labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” 

–John Green, Looking for Alaska

*sigh*

Let’s kick off this 2014 recap, shall we?

Continue reading

Everything, all at once.

It takes a holiday to take some time off to write. Honestly, this blog’s a bit… sad now that I’m not posting stories here anymore, but I do like the freedom that WordPress gives me in terms of formatting my stories. :(

Anyway, let’s kick this off, shall we?

Ripped Off. Those who have read my stories from the start, particularly Solace, will be familiar with this one. I have mentioned it a bunch of times there, referencing it as one of JJ’s best-selling novels. But Ripped Off is a real novel, something that I’ve got sitting in my laptop for a long time (like since 2011 long), written close to 70 pages of it, and parked it because I got stuck with the plot. Now I’m trying to revive it, as part of the writing goals that I told Ms. Mina. :) I’m revisiting the chapters I’ve written, smoothing out details, and posting them slowly. Please don’t forget to check out my Figment and Wattpad pages for it :)

Anti-bullying. If I had so much money, one of the movements that I will support will be this one. I don’t know if people realize how much being bullied changes people’s lives. To quote Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why:

You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything… affects everything.

Recently, 1D came out with a PSA, urging everyone to Live kind, love everyone, and move together against bullying. To be true, celebrate being original, courageous and unique, confident and successful. CHOOSE TO LIVE NICE. PSA below:

There is one comment that struck me though: the one by Bellasmee97: “Me: *buys 1D against bullying notebook* Me:*gets bullied for having a 1D notebook against bullying*”

Sadly, likely to happen :(

Music! I am late to the party with Imagine Dragons, but I’m enjoying their music so much. Like this:

And while we’re at this, can we discuss Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran’s music video for Everything Has Changed? TOO MUCH CUTENESS, I can’t even.

John Green. I am recently getting frustrated about not being read as much as I wanted to, but it only takes a little John Green to remind me why I do what I do.

2013-06-11-johngreen

Link to properly access photo, click here.

That’s it… I think.

Have a happy Independence Day, Philippines!

.xx,

Kessica

Life is a rollercoaster, just gotta ride it: Year-Ender Part 2

Like I said in the part 1 of my year-ender, 2012 was a rollercoaster ride for me. My favorite moments and lessons / realizations learned and had are what made it a crazy ride.

I’ll do this list in the best way I know how: in song lyrics, titles, or book quotes. Ready? Let’s dig into my 2012 “recap” of sorts, in which—if you personally know me—you try to figure out which 2012 events do I pertain to:

  1. More than This (One Direction) >> If I ever get a tattoo (which I really plan to do in 2013, let’s see if I have the guts to push through with it), one of my options would be these three words. I think if anything, 2012 taught me to be more than THIS, with ‘this’ being a number of things, to wit: insecurities, problems, issues. Plow through the problems and challenges. Face them head on. Do things that you don’t like because you’re probably still going to end up doing it in the future anyway (haha). Be more than your fears because you’ll never know when there could be an adventure. Be more than your insecurities because you have to start loving yourself more. Be more than your pride, because sometimes you also have to be humble and learn from your mistakes. Be more than your paranoia because worrying just kills the fun of things. Be more than all things negative, take them and twist it to make it positive. Be more than THIS.
  2. Live While We’re Young + Don’t overthink, just let it go (One Direction) >> I think in 2012 I did this less: live. But I made do with how I lived: bought and read a lot of books, watched tons of movies (I wish there are loyalty cards to cinemas too), watched concerts (David Cook and Maroon 5—jeez, they’re all I could remember), thoroughly got mesmerized by The Phantom of the Opera, and became a kid again by enjoying Disney on Ice: Princesses and Heroes. I fangirled like hell, with standout portions in my year when I did it on the Philippine Volcanoes. I met new friends. In 2013, I promise to live more (I didn’t just quote a brand’s tagline, did I?). Travel more (Ilocos and Batanes, I’m going to see you soon). Meet new people. LIVE.
  3. You spend your whole life stuck in a labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” –John Green, Looking for Alaska >> I will leave this realization be, because I think the quote pretty much explains it.
  4. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” –Stephen Chbosky, Perks of Being a Wallflower >> All-encompassing, really. It applies to my “love life,” to whatever I was referring to in #3 and to dealing with “difficult” people. If you can get out of a bad “relationship,” then do so. If you can’t, then suck it in. Stop gloating. We all have options—we just need to see them, and we just need to take that leap of faith. In terms of the difficult people part—well, same thing: if you can’t get out of it, suck it in. Be more than them and use them to sharpen your personality instead.
  5. “She has been hanging on to the hope of him for so long that she doesn’t realize there isn’t anything left to hope for.” –David Levithan, Every Day >> Well, I finally woke up. I was done hoping and pining for you, because—stemming from #4—whatever love you are offering is not what I deserve. I deserve better than you.
  6. “The world is not a wish-granting factory.” –John Green, The Fault in Our Stars >> I wanted to be published, and I am still not doing enough to get there. The world doesn’t grant wishes; we have to work hard for what we want.
  7.  [I can’t find a quote, a lyric, or a song title for this one, so I’m just going to flat out say it here.] UNEXPECTED THINGS. >> These are the best in the world. If 2012 was a rollercoaster ride, I’d say that December 2012 was the relief and satisfaction at the end of the ride—it packed some pretty nice things in this last month. I guess it’s true what they say: it does come when you least expect it (and I am not actually referring to love for this one).
  8. “Dear whoever you might be | I’m still waiting patiently.” –The Civil Wars, To Whom It May Concern >> Yup, I’m waiting. Hoping with all my heart that 2013 is finally the year that I’ll love and be loved in return. :)

So there. Thanks to everyone whom I have spent and shared 2012 with and to friends all and new. I am giddily excited for 2013. I know it’s going to be another tough year, but I can be more than you, 2013.

BRING IT. 

We’re gonna party like… well, it was 2012: Year-Ender Part 1

I skipped this out last year because it was a bit of hell. And it was just a strange year for me that I couldn’t think of how to sum up 2011. But this year, I’d say if I were to describe it in a word, it’ll be this: ROLLERCOASTER.

You know how when you get on a rollercoaster, it starts off real slowly as you climb all the way to the top, and then it drops you, and you scream and you raise your hands up to the sky to release all your emotions. Your heart is racing in your chest, and just before you catch your breath, you’re taken into another loop, another drop, another twist and turn, tugged in all directions—some of which you see and some of which you don’t. And then the ride slows and stops. At the end of it, you feel that satisfaction and relief—satisfaction that you survived such a tough ride and the relief that it was over. Those two emotions are almost immediately followed by excitement: when can I do it again?

That’s how 2012 was for me.

Since at the end of the year, there are tons of lists that come out (e.g., Best of, Worst of, etc…) and I love them, I’m making this year-ender entry of some sorts by lists. Please note that this will split my year-ender into two parts, because I’d like to save my favorite moments and my top lessons learned in 2012 in another entry.

FAVORITE ALBUMS: Order would be probably how they appeared in my iTunes or how I remember them. I will mark some of the albums as “2011” if they’re released last year, but I’ve gotten a hold of the album only this year or I’ve just learned to love it just this year.

  1. 21 by Adele (2011)
  2. Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
  3. Overexposed by Maroon 5
  4. Unorthodox Jukebox by Bruno Mars
  5. The Lumineers by The Lumineers
  6. + by Ed Sheeran (2011)
  7. Red by Dia Frampton (2011)
  8. Pitch Perfect (Movie Soundtrack) by various artists (I really do suggest that you watch the movie too!)
  9. Scars & Stories by The Fray
  10. Some Nights by fun.
  11. Take Me Home by One Direction
  12. Up All Night by One Direction (2011)
  13. The Truth About Love by Pink
  14. Once Upon Another Time (EP) by Sara Bareilles
  15. Red by Taylor Swift

I wouldn’t go into favorite songs because I think I pretty much gushed about them here or on Twitter, or used them in my stories (check playlists in the Little Things fanfic). But I would add some notable artists that you may want to touch up on: MidWest Kings, To Have Heroes, Lykke Li, and Florence + the Machine. And oh, yup… check out Augustana too.

FAVORITE BOOKS: Tough. Asking a booklover to pick her favorite book is like asking a parent to pick his/her favorite child. Almost unfair but necessary. Below are my favorite reads this year:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Now, who doesn’t have this in their list, please tell me. I can lend you my book.)
  2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (TWISTED. LOVED IT.)
  3. Every Day by David Levithan
  4. The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan (2011) [LOVE this book. Easy to re-read too, and it’s got some sort of continuity because of the Twitter account.]
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999) [Please do watch the movie too. Absolutely frigging loved Logan Lerman there.]
  6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (2011)
  7. Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth (2011, 2012) [This landed a movie deal. SO EXCITED!]
  8. Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler (2011)

Notables: The Serpent’s Shadow, the last book in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, and The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore. For the rest of the books that I’ve finished this year, click here.

FAVORITE MOVIES: Gah, they’re too many! I think I may just be listing movies that have stuck in my head or I have watched fairly recently. To my movie buddies, please remind me if I forget a movie that we liked and I didn’t list here.

  1. The Rise of the Guardians
  2. The Avengers
  3. The Amazing Spiderman
  4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  5. Hunger Games
  6. Ruby Sparks
  7. Pitch Perfect

And for the record: I really, really think that Anna Kendrick is an underrated actress.

As for TV series, I think Once Upon a Time needs to work a bit harder (I’m still watching it because of Rumple and Captain Hook, but otherwise, it’s a bit tempting to drop it). Arrow’s a good watch, while The Vampire Diaries may bore you a bit in the first few eps, but it picks up the pace. Criminal Minds and Bones are still so fun to watch. Grey’s Anatomy is CRAZY! And Hawaii Five-0 is getting kind of good too. And yes, I need to get back to watching Glee.

Now, that’s with the first part of this year-ender. Tomorrow’s list will be made up of my favorite moments in 2012, and the top lessons / realizations I’ve had this year.

What were your favorite albums, songs, books, and movies in 2012? :)

Quote of the Day: June 18, 2012

I’m telling you, Augustus Waters talked so much that he’d interrupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness. But I will say this: when the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.

Isaac, The Fault in our Stars, John Green

Book #6 for 2012: Looking for Alaska by John Green

I was in a freaking John Green reading mode after tearing through The Fault in Our Stars (read my review here), so I borrowed a John Green book from a colleague and she gave me Looking for Alaska. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book—honestly I passed up on reading this a couple of times already, but I have seen a lot of quotes from the John Green tag I had on Tumblr.

So aside from curiosity, I loved John Green, so I dug in.

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

Looking for Alaska brilliantly chronicles the indelible impact one life can have on another. A stunning debut, it marks John Green’s arrival as an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

RATING: Definitely 5 out of 5. If it’s possible, I’d even give it a 6 out of 5.

THE GOOD

  • THE CHARACTERS: They are all flawless (and by flawless I meant the way they were written, not how they are flawless in the perfect sense). Pudge, Colonel, Takumi, and Alaska. Even Lara. I loved how they bonded together, their camaraderie, the comfort they have with each other and around each other, the banter. The Old Man and how he makes you think about religion. The Eagle. [My favorite is Colonel—I just have to say that]
  • THE STYLE OF WRITING: PERFECTION. I tweeted this—John Green can make me laugh, cry, and think all in a matter of 200+ pages.
  • THE “PRESENTATION”: While I was reading it, I was thinking… one hundred something days before what exactly? I kept on wondering. And then I did something stupid (and I hate myself deeply for this): I was browsing through the discussion guide at the last portion of the book, and then I saw one question, which covered the main turning point of the book. And I don’t know now, had I not seen that question, if my reading experience would have been different. But I do know I still loved this book. [You should know that there is a section that covered the After, which was equally compelling as the Before]
  • THE PLOT: Someone who wanted something to happen in his life. And then he meets someone—let’s just focus on Alaska—who does just that and more. And then… *sigh*. I loved the After section, I loved how it was dissected, I loved how they tried to look for answers even if they didn’t know if there are any.

THE BAD

  • Wah, I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but since this one came before TFIOS, there is something vaguely similar with their plots—in terms of someone sweeping in to change your life and then… [yup, that’s really a dot, dot, dot]

FAVORITES [MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS]

  • At some point, you just pull off the Band-Aid and it hurts, but then it’s over and you’re relieved. –p. 7
  • You spend your whole life stuck in a labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present. –p. 54
  • I mean, it’s stupid to miss someone you didn’t even get along with. But, I don’t know, it was nice, you know, having someone you could always fight with. –p. 67
  • I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not f*ck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane. –p. 88
  • That is the fear: I have lost something important, and I cannot find it, and I need it. It is fear like if someone lost his glasses and went to the glasses store and they told him that the world had run out of glasses and he would just have to do without. –p. 144
  • More than anything, I felt the unfairness of it, the inarguable injustice of loving someone who might have loved you back but can’t due to deadness, and then I leaned forward, my forehead against the back of Takumi’s headrest, and I cried, whimpering, and I didn’t even feel sadness so much as pain. It hurt, and that is not a euphemism. It hurt like a beating. –p. 151
  • Pudge’s answer to the Old Man’s finals question in the last pages of the book
  • UPDATE: I like this line too!!!! >> I was fine with just me and last words and school friends, and you can’t just make me different and then die.

I still have one John Green book in my to-read list: Paper Towns, but I’m holding off on reading that because I want the John Green awesomeness to sink in first.

Book Review 2012 #4: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I first read about this book through The Vampire Diaries’ executive producer Julie Plec and one of my most favorite entertainment writers Carina Mackenzie. I haven’t experienced any John Green book, but seeing how much they were tweeting about it, it made me curious. I wanted to wait for the paperback version but when I visited National Bookstore and Powerbooks, the hardcover was assaulting me everywhere, so I had to give in.

So let’s dig in.

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

RATING: 5 out of 5. Jesus, this book made me bawl, made me laugh, made me question my existence. Essentially, this book is perfect.

THE GOOD

  • CHARACTERS
    • Augustus Waters. He is a compelling ‘leading man’ in the book, and I couldn’t ask more from him.
    • Isaac. He was equally lovable, and I liked it how he was Hazel’s friend too.
    • Hazel Grace (yes, I’m calling her that). She was witty, funny, and she matched Augustus equally well.
  • THE PLOT
    • Inasmuch as I wanted to say that I didn’t quite predict the ending, somehow, I realized it along the way. But that didn’t take away the juiciness of the story for me; in fact, it made me crave to see how it’ll all unravel.
  • THE FEELINGS
    • Oh gosh. This book had me laughing, had me kilig, had me crying (this was one was the most common reaction I had), had me feeling frustrated, had me thinking. And that’s what great about some books—they make you think, and then they make you do. This is one of those books.

THE BAD

  • Hmm… nothing really.

FAVORITES

  • And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can’t tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like a betrayal. (p. 33)
  • “Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them.” (p. 60)
  • “That’s the thing about pain…. It demands to be felt.” (p. 62)
  • “Okay,” he said after forever. “Maybe okay will be our always.” (p. 73)
  • “But I believe in true love, you know? I don’t believe that everybody gets to keep their eyes or not get sick or whatever, but everybody should have true love, and it should last at least as long as your life does.” (p. 75)
  • “I’m like. Like. I’m like a grenade, Mom. I’m a grenade and at some point I’m going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?… I’m a grenade. I just want to stay away from people and read books and think and be with you guys because there’s nothing I can do about hurting you; you’re too invested, so just please let me do that, okay? I’m not depressed. I don’t need to get out more. And I can’t be a regular teenager, because I’m a grenade.” (p. 99)
  • That whole exchange in pages 118-119
  • Pages 122-123
  • Gus’s first plane ride (pages 146-148)
  • “I’m in love with you… I am. I am in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”  (p. 153)
  • “It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.” (p. 176)
  • Amsterdam trip (except for van Houten), especially pages 203-208
  • The world is not a wish-granting factory. (p. 214) [Jesus, may I say I was crying SO HARD at this part]
  • “You used,” he said, and then took a sharp breath, “to call me Augustus.” (p. 240) [Basically, ‘breaking down’ isn’t just enough to term what I did when I read this line. At what point did you notice that Hazel wasn’t calling Gus ‘Augustus’ anymore? I figured it out quite quickly, and when Gus just said this line, confirming my thoughts, it was just too painful even for me, who’s just a plain reader.]
  • CHAPTER TWENTY. Effing prepare your tissues, folks.
  • “…You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” (p. 260)
  • Gus’s letter to Van Houten, page 310-313
  • I am so lucky to love her…. You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers. (p. 313)

I want you to know how much this book had made me feel. I was scanning it to fill out the Favorites portion of my review, and I am seriously crying while I’m doing it. Jesus, John Green. YOU ARE AWESOME.