30 September 2009


Tutor Tales: Volume 3

Classes have been suspended all week, due to the heavy rains and flooding over last weekend. Many roads are still inaccessible by anything but boats and many public schools are doubling as temporary shelters for families who have lost their homes. In the meantime, the Catholic private schools are doubling as relief centres with a volunteer staff of teachers and students.

Tutors, on the other hand, can work out of classrooms. For such "teachers errant," it has been work as usual.

When I arrived at Fire Storm's home yesterday morning, his older brother was headed out the door to volunteer at his own high school. He had begged his parents for years to let him study in a big traditional school instead of their Evangelical church's small private school. Since, in the Philippines, "traditional" means "Catholic," they resisted the move for as long as they could . . . before finally giving in.

As for Fire Storm, he's doing well. We've just started reading William Gibson's play The Miracle Worker; consequently, his homework for tonight is to eat his dinner while blindfolded. (Can you tell that we also took up conjunctive adverbs today?)

Sometimes I wish all my tutees were like Fire Storm. It would certainly make my job easier. On the other hand, if they were all like Fire Storm, then I never would have met Doctor Nemesis two weeks ago . . .

29 September 2009


Team Taylor Tuesday: Picture to Burn

I love the official video ("Gasp! She's driving the truck!"); but "embedding disabled, etc" so . . .

26 September 2009


Random Writing Exercise, Page 1

From What Colour Is Your Parachute? (2004 Edition) by Richard N. Bolles:

Write seven stories about things you did just because they were fun, or because they gave you a sense of adventure, or gave you a sense of accomplishment. It does not matter whether anyone else ever knew of this accomplishment, or not. Each story can be about something you did at work, or in school, or at play--and can be from any time period of your life. It should not be more than two or three paragraphs, in length.

Ideally, each story should have the following parts . . . :

I) Your goal: what you wanted to accomplish
II) Some kind of hurdle, obstacle or constraint that you faced (self-imposed or otherwise)
III) A description of what you did, step by step
IV) A description of the outcome or result
V) Any measurable or quantifiable statement of that outcome, that you can think of

Seven stories? No more than two or three paragraphs each? He's kidding, right?

Well, I don't know how many I'll be able to do, and I do insist on at least five paragraphs (to allow for style as well as substance).

Here's my first story . . .

A few years ago, I was a very active member of a certain actor's online fan club. I won't tell you who he is. Just know he was in the following ensemble cast . . .

22 September 2009


Team Taylor Tuesday

This is the video for You Belong with Me, which won Best Female Video at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

Cliched? Maybe. Cute? Oh, yes!

19 September 2009


Power Chords

Remember our old friend Justin? Here he is, bravely teaching me how to rock out properly on an acoustic guitar.

In case anyone is wondering . . . no, I don't bother with muting the first three strings. I just look down the whole time to make sure I'm playing only the last three strings. Yes, I realise that is impractical--not to mention bad for my posture--but that is how I roll (or do not roll . . . whatever).

Really, if my power chord practice song is by Taylor Swift, then I'm not exactly a rocker, am I?

17 September 2009


Tutor Tales: Volume 2

Remember when I was moaning about being nothing but a glorified homework attendant? Well, that's still the role I play in Peaches and Cream's fuzzy little life, but I happen to be billed much differently in the educational credits of my new student, Fire Storm.

Note that he's a student, not a tutee. Fire Storm (whose temperament is nothing like his G.I. Joe name) doesn't come to the centre for after-school tutoring homework coaching. He did once go to a different one, but it didn't work out at all. Now it's I who go to his home and help his parents homeschool him.

One week in, I confess I have mixed feelings about this arrangement. On the one hand, it's a really great gig. Fire Storm and I are doing science experiments, reading an epic poem at his own pace, and jamming together. (His drum kit and my guitar are a match made in homeschool heaven.) The benefits are also fantastic: his parents pay me a very generous rate, let me eat lunch with the family, and even gave me a new cellphone so that they could contact me more easily. And I get to play with their dog!!!

On the other hand, a little something known as family politics is niggling at me.

16 September 2009


Wednesday Night Trailer: "I'll Get All the Sleep I Need When I'm Dead"

Yes, it was Sam Elliot's line, but it still gave me chills when I watched the trailer again upon hearing the news of Patrick Swayze's death.

Requiescat in pace, et lux perpetua luceat in eo.

There will be no Friday Night Movie this week, and maybe also next week.

15 September 2009


Team Taylor!
EDIT: Taylor's age fixed.

I haven't watched the MTV Video Music Awards in yonks, but if I had caught this year's show, I would have been yelling the N-word at the screen.

Instead, I was informed of what happened by the blogosphere and had to watch bootleg videos of Taylor Swift's humiliation on YouTube.com.

So I ended up yelling something more toned down and civilised . . .

14 September 2009


Writing Diary, Sonata No. 9 in A Minor

[Am] These are my salad days, [FMaj7] slowly being eaten away . . .

It is official. I am deteriorating. My latest published article, Reaching Out and Reading Aloud, is the worst I've ever done; and everything I've submitted since (yet unpublished) was really half-assed--even by my own slacker standards.

I think I know what's wrong.

13 September 2009


Beyond Chocolate

Now for something a little bit different.

Despite all the baking I do, I'm not such a big fan of sweets. I am, however, a huge fan of children's picture books with detailed pictures of sweet shops, or sweet factories, or the sweet subjects of fairy kingdoms.

It's too bad that my almost compulsive bibliomania and my passion for card cataloging anything I have more than ten of had not yet met and fallen in love. You see, that means the only title I can really remember from that time is The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food, which, though a classic (or maybe just a "basic"), is hardly representative of candy artwork in children's books.

So I had to think long and hard before I could come up with a Top 5 list of favourite sweets. While I do love everything that made the list, I must say that I could never eat any of it "all day" or "forever"--or whatever the cliche is.

I also feel, in my heart, that butter popcorn, the kind that is so salty that you have to rinse your mouth out with a fizzy drink every few minutes, should have made the list. That it didn't qualify because it wasn't sweet is just sad, really.

My Top 5 Sweets

1) Macapuno Candy


I had a soft spot for macapuno long before I learned that it is basically the genetic gimp of the coconut family. After that, I only loved it more.

Coco planters can't plan a macapuno harvest. They won't know until a tree starts to bear fruit whether any of them will be macapuno, and even then, they won't know how many of its coconuts will be "rogue" rather than regular. Already adorably unpredictable, they also turned out to be a very versatile dessert ingredient, going in ice cream (or on ice cream, as topping), cake, pastries, and fruit salads.

09 September 2009


Tutor Tales: Volume 1

Well, you asked for it, my Bloggians! (Note the new poll in the sidebar as well.)

Imagine having to learn the names of the exotic animals native only to the Galapagos Islands, where you have never been. Imagine having to learn the names in Spanish. Imagine that the only images you see of those animals are the half-assed drawings in a government textbook. Imagine revising for a test on those Spanish names. Imagine that the test itself will be in Spanish so that you will have to memorise keywords in the definitions as well as the animals' names. Finally, imagine that you are eight years old and have only an after-school tutor standing between you and a failing mark on that test.

If you can do all that, then you have an inkling of what my little tutee is up against.

Let's call her Peaches and Cream. (It's a My Little Pony name. From now on, all my girl tutees will have My Little Pony names and all the boy tutees will have G.I. Joe names. It's an 80s thing.)

08 September 2009


TAGGED: Honest Scrap Award

The Rules:

- Thank the person who gave the award to you. (Done!)
- Post ten honest facts about yourself (See below . . .)
- Pass the award onto seven others (See even further below . . .)

Ten Honest Facts about Enbrethiliel

1) I've been obstinately playing the "lazy" G (XX0003) for so long that I'm pretty much back to Beginner level, now that I've been convinced to play one of the "real" G combinations (320003).

07 September 2009


Eleven Things about District 9

11. For the first time in my life, I feel less of a Literature major for never having read Kafka's Metamorphosis.

10. District 9 is E.T. meets Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Neill Blomkamp can now stand back and say, "Steven Spielberg, I have surpassed thee."

9. It is also The War of the Worlds in reverse. H.G. Wells may have put us in our place by creating a higher, more cruel rung on the food chain, but Blomsky damns our pretensions by keeping us on top and showing us being no better at the exercise of power.

8. Despite the actual combustion of several bodies, I can safely say the violence was never gratuitous . . . except, perhaps, that one scene with the pig. (Don't ask. Just watch.)

06 September 2009


Reading Diary: The Beauty of Colour by Iman
(Update: I have submitted this as an entry to the Book Review Party.)

Although my makeup was an inspiration for starting this book, that's not what the following pages are about. Instead, my hope is to offer a singular and original look at the beauty of skin of colour--in its various shades and origins.

Here, you'll find how to choose the right foundation for your skin.How to go from classic to vampy in minutes. How to come to terms with the high maintenance diva that you are. How to turn age-old makeup rules inside-out by wearing traffic-stopping glitter for day and a fresh, bronzy face at night. Anything and everything goes.

Make up your own rules . . .

I'll admit that the intellectual anarchy implicit in that last sentence seriously puts me off. So I'm imagining that it was translated from the Latin by someone who forgot to fix the syntax and accidentally typed a space in the single word "makeup." That makes the actual sentence, "Fucus tuum superat," which is much better indeed!

What better way to cap the most girly-girl weekend in Shredded Cheddar history than with a "review" of a book about makeup? (Cue girly squeals of delight.) I'm going to consider making this a monthly festival of sorts. Perhaps I'll start another poll . . .

04 September 2009


Friday Night Movie: Troop Beverly Hills

You know all that eye rolling I do at the expense of upper middle-class teenagers who create "angst" for themselves because they have no real problems and then claim that things are "hard all around"? (I'm looking at you, Cherry Valance!) I guess it's time to come clean and admit that my family was so wealthy when I was a little girl that my socks came from Marks and Sparks.

So there's more than one reason Troop Beverly Hills is nostalgic for me. Luxury cars, catered children's parties, wall to wall pastel carpeting, designer label everything . . . I lived it, you paupers!

For the sake of what I like to call my "Shred cred," let me also say that my family's current status is a respectable bourgeois. (Please don't ask; our financial woes are not blogworthy.) I mean, if I were still living like that, I wouldn't live blog a movie about it, would I? Of course not! I'd live blog my own life.

0:32 The Beach Boys are an odd choice . . . but I'm not complaining!
2:09 Interesting tidbit: Evian spelled backwards is "naive."
3:21 Hey, look! It's Tori Spelling!!!
3:25 I always wondered about that "marching" . . . It looks so hard on the feet.
4:24 "Marital Status: Shaky" So she's not a single mother. I can work around that. Don't worry.
4:55 I admit it: Phyllis' clothes were over the top even for the 80s.
6:36 "I started my new meaningful life today . . . and I bought a whole new meaningful wardrobe to go with it." Don't hate her for doing what every woman in the world would do, if she only could!
7:29 "Isn't that a mature approach to a relationship?" Ha! I'll bet they both secretly enjoy the squabbling.
7:52 Introducing Hannah. (Notice that the child has the upper ground here--literally.)
8:05 "I've got a great idea! Why don't you two just kiss and make up? Then I won't end up in therapy twice a week like Tessa." PREACH IT, KID!
8:11 "You're going to be less neurotic if your parents were happily divorced rather than unhappily married." LIES! LIES! BABY BOOMER LIES!
8:18 "I saw it on Oprah!" There's more than one way to wreck a marriage and Oprah has been aiding and abetting since at least 1989.

02 September 2009


Wednesday Night Trailer: "Beverly Hills! What a thrill!"

I'm sure you all agree that it's time for a girly movie.

I shall treat you to one of the girliest.