27 March 2010


Every Day a New Meme

Remember what P.T. Barnum once said about suckers? Well, I think I could say it about book-related memes . . . and perhaps also about suckers for book-related memes . . .

We all have characters we love.
Let's spotlight these fantastic creations!
Whether you want to be friends with them
or you have a full-blown crush on them,
you know you love them and want everyone else to love them too!

So after moaning in other people's comboxes about having to make a "Top Ten" earlier this week, I find myself a bit put out now that I have to limit myself to one at a time. The nice thing about my preferred numbers--three and five--is that I get to balance some odd choices against each other; nothing ever had to stand alone.

Anyway, it looks as if I'll have to break bend one rule of "Character Connection" this first time around . . .

26 March 2010


One of My Favourite Poems in the World

One good argument for starting a new blog each year is that I'd get to post this poem anew every 26th of March . . .

After the Annunciation
by Eileen Duggan

25 March 2010


The New Eve

I used to know an Anglo-Indian girl who didn't like eating apples because she thought they were the actual fruit Adam and Eve had been forbidden by God Himself to eat.

No matter how much I tried to explain that:

a) the use of apples in the artistic depiction of Eden is more due to a Latin pun (malus/sin and malum/apple) than to any ancient tradition . . .

. . . and . . .

b) even if apples were the forbidden fruit, any Catholic theologian in the world would say that it is all right to eat them now (though the explanation would vary according to each theologian's style) . . .

. . . she was determined never to eat apples or anything made from apples, or even drink apple juice, as a matter of moral discipline.

I thought of her this evening when I bought a whole litre of apple juice to go with my one-woman celebratory dinner for today's Solemnity of the Annuciation. For it is all right now. The New Adam and the New Eve have made it all right.

3 Depictions of the Annunciation
Which I Love

24 March 2010


A Tenner!

No, not this sort of tenner . . . unfortunately.

If I had money with David Tennant on it,
I'd hoard it and never spend it.

John Maynard Keynes would hate me,
but I think I'd have the whole Austrian School on my side.

Now, I don't really do Top 10 Lists (unless I get to twist them a little, like I do with my Alphabet Assignments). Yet ten is such a popular number among list makers that I can't really consider myself one unless I become more comfortable with the ten-point form.

So when a blog friend who has started a new meme has called to ask for a tenner . . .

Top Ten Picks will be a weekly post here in this blog that talks about just that--my top 10 picks! Every week, there will be a different and specific topic given. I will then choose 10 of my favorites from that given category, create the list, and post them up here!

For week one, the topic will be 'Book Series.'

. . . I realised I had run out of excuses.

A Tenner: My Favourite Series

23 March 2010


Speaking of the Old Songs . . .

I was supposed to go back to Book Blogging this week (because that is where all the money is all the comments are); but as usual, I turned my back for one second and all my good blogging intentions managed to scoot away from me to freedom.

So after totally throwing off my Book Blogging momentum with last week's halfhearted, if Haim-centric Horror week, and starting off this week with a Writing Diary Entry and a Tutor Tale which both had no more to do with reading than the vague vituperation of a local History textbook, I'm going to reveal that I haven't quite learned my lesson yet by publishing a musical post.

This post--and its siblings--have actually been cooking for quite a while, and were what inspired last week's metaphor about the writing of one's history being the singing of old songs in new ways.

My Top 5 Rock Covers

1) I Am the Walrus by Oasis

I really can't think of a band that covers the Beatles better. Indulgent guitar solo and all. Noel Gallagher has said that he likes I Am the Walrus because it is Nonsensical Lennon rather than Confessional Lennon--and I think that's a good point. It's easier to cover nonsense on the basis of a shared sense of humour than to cover personal confessions on the basis of a presumed deeper connection. And that's why this cover works so well.

(Listen to The Beatles.)

22 March 2010


The Last Day of School, the First Day of Summer
(Alternatively Titled "Tutor Tales, Volume 15")

During my interview with XYZ Tutorial Centre, I had to field questions about how good I am at Maths, Science and Filipino. (Apparently, anyone can teach my true speciality, English!) I admitted that while I hadn't tested my problem-solving skills or had to dip into my memory of high school Science lately, I'm good at understanding what I read and explaining things to others. That was, it turned out, the "right" answer.

As my boss went on to explain, after-school tutoring is not so much about knowing the subject well even before your tutee has to learn it, as it is about learning the subject again, side by side with your tutee. No matter how many students from the same grade level in the same school one has met, each new child means a new learning experience.

I learned how true that was when all my wrestling with Doctor Nemesis ended up building my own Singapore Math muscles . . . and when the sum of my mental slugfests with Doctor Decimator meant that I ended up memorising all the Presidents of the Philippines backwards and forwards as well.

Meeting that last Social Studies objective was particularly frustrating because Doctor Decimator's textbook is so dead. (I can't think of any other word.) Some of the most dramatic and intense periods of Philippine history were completely sapped of spirit by writers who wanted to boil them down to names, dates and places. So even though Doctor Decimator could, by the time his exam rolled around, name the Commander of the USAFFE during World War II, identify the country to which President Quezon and his cabinet went into exile, and trace the route of the Bataan Death March on a map . . . he didn't really get it. Heck, neither did I!

Then came last week's media launch at Corregidor . . .

21 March 2010


Writing Diary, Entry #16

Well, it looks as if I have another invaluable writing tip for everyone--though since it is one of those things I was the last to learn, I'm really just writing this for myself. (As usual . . .)

Invest in a good digital camera.

20 March 2010


Country When Convenient: Chapter One

When I started playing the guitar again, after about a decade of only singing in the shower, of course people were curious.

And when they asked, I always told them about working in an office, not getting home until after dark, feeling sorry for myself, trying to feel better by channel surfing, and thereby catching one live broadcast of Good Morning America when Brad Paisley happened to be on. One thing led to another, and after a few months of listening to him and other Country artists, it occurred to me that I couldn't properly appreciate their homegrown sound unless I had a guitar.

To this day, Country is a bright ray of optimism in that soundtrack of my life--even if the light only comes from my PC monitor when I'm listening to Internet radio. Yet it's also the anti-soundtrack. I love Paisley's songs precisely because they're about the unfamiliar.

19 March 2010


Friday Night Movie: Silver Bullet

0:18 Yes, Mr. DeLaurentiis, I still feel guilty that I haven't finished live blogging Conan the Barbarian yet. I'm sorry!!!
0:51 And just like that, we're back in the 80s . . .
1:42 Or in the 70s . . . whatever.
2:33 I talk to myself when I'm scared, too.
3:22 I had forgotten about the finding-a-very-strange-footprint tradition in werewolf lore.
3:23 Aww, s***. It's just so tragically hilarious that he knows exactly what the footprint means.
3:32 Interesting cut to the barber shop. (Pun not intended!) My Horror imagination has always associated barbers with decapitation.
3:52 An even better jump! We get the squish without the gore!
4:56 Reverend Lester Lowe, aye? Dare I ask my usual question?
5:11 Marty's a booger! That is something I never thought I'd hear Anne Shirley say! =P
6:27 That sort of stuff happened to Megan Follows in the Anne movies as well.
6:48 That's a lot of rage to feel over a stupid prank . . . =S
7:59 It's not his fault he's crippled, either.
8:33 Don't forget to help your brother. Do they like rubbing salt in her teenage wounds?

18 March 2010


Twelve Things about the 82nd Annual Academy Awards' "Tribute to Horror"

It's not the best clip in the world, but it's the only one that has consistently survived the copyright purges . . .

Before our "Twelve Things," let's have a bit of an introduction--because this clip has a bit of an introduction. The parody of Paranormal Activity was just great! But . . . Taylor Lautner and Kristin Stewart as presenters???
Although the most popular genre of film is Horror and although it gave a start to the careers of a lot of people in this room, somehow, it doesn't seem to command the respect it deserves . . .
I agree completely! And I note the irony here. =P (By the way, don't worry: We don't see Edward! Hahahahaha! We do see Zac Efron as another presenter later. The tween demographic must buy a lot of movie tickets and DVDs these days.)

17 March 2010


Wednesday Night Trailer: "Whenever the moon was full . . . it happened again"

I know I said I'd only live blog sitcoms from now on . . . but that was before I remembered how cute Corey Haim used to be . . .

Yes, that's right: before he fought vampires, he battled a werewolf. My kind of boy!

(The trailer is seriously awful, so I hope you don't judge the movie by it. See you on Friday night for the live blog!)

16 March 2010


A Horror Meme?!?!

If you've been reading this blog for some time, then you know that what I really, really want to be is a Horror blogger.

Last week, I was startled to see that "Book blogger" status had sneaked up on me . . . but I had to admit it made sense. The average Book blog has almost as many memes as it has reviews, and I had just participated in several local link ups.

If the Horror blogosphere had any memes, I'd be a Horror blogger by now. But I think that if an innocent meme wandered into a respectable Horror blog, it would be threatened with a chainsaw, cornered in a dark house, and dismembered in a fountain of gore.

You know what? Let me do that again--with pictures.

If an innocent meme wandered into a respectable Horror blog, it would be . . .

. . . threatened with a chainsaw . . .

. . . cornered a dark house . . .

. . . and dismembered in a fountain of gore!

Which explains why the one Horror-themed meme I managed to find wasn't on a Horror blog and doesn't seem to have gone viral . . .

Here are just a few horror-related questions and answers for those of you who might enjoy a little creepiness from time-to-time.

And now, in memory of Corey Haim, let the rest of this week be one more stab at Horror blogger status--even if it does involve a meme.

15 March 2010


Madeleine L'Engle Novel Smackdown, Final Winner
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2, Round 3A, Round 3B, and Round 4.)

A Swiftly Tilting Planet: 5 votes
An Acceptable Time: 0 votes

I hope you readers are happy now!

But remind me never
to let these things be decided
by popular vote again! ;)

14 March 2010


Just Punk: The Prologue

It has been a while since I've done a musical post, aye?

Now, some of my distinguished readers may protest that The Clash didn't play music . . . in which case this post isn't going to be their thing. Punk happens to be the current soundtrack of my life.

Just ask Christine . . .

[Em]London calling [FMaj7]to the far away towns
[G]Now war is declared and battle come down

Though Fmaj7 is relatively easy to play, it was a real challenge in this song. My hand has been so used to switching from Em to C, and Fmaj7 resembles C so much that my hand kept insisting on playing C for at least the first day. It would have been easier if I had had to learn a really different chord. (There's an allegory in that somewhere, which I will go back for another day.)

[Em]The ice age is coming, [G]the sun is zooming in
[Em]Meltdown expected, [G]the wheat is growing thin

Something I like to do when I have a quiet night at home and have an excuse to turn in early . . . is turn off all the lights in my room, play the current soundtrack of my life at Top Volume, and sing and dance along like a maniac. (If anyone has a better idea of what to do during an early night . . . I really don't want to hear it.)

11 March 2010


Shelf Share Thursday: Come and "C"!
(A weekly meme hosted at Bippity Boppity Book)

Last week was actually B week, but I linked up my A list because my collection of books I've yet to read didn't have any titles that began with B!

Just when I thought I wouldn't have enough C books, either . . . I happened to look in two unusual places and saw that I did!

I Should Get Started on Soon

10 March 2010


Reading Diary: Greek Gods and Heroes by Robert Graves

These myths are not solemn, like Bible stories. The notion that there could be only one God and no goddesses did not please the Greeks, who were a gifted, quarrelsome, humourous race. They thought of Heaven as ruled by a divine family rather like any rich human family on earth, but immortal and all-powerful; and used to poke fun at them at the same time as offering sacrifices.

In remote European villages even today, where a rich man owns most of the land and houses, much the same thing happens. Every villager is polite to the landlord and pays rent regularly. But behind his back he will often say: "What a proud, violent, hasty-tempered fellow! How ill he treats his wife, and how she nags at him! As for their children: they are a bad bunch! That pretty daughter is crazy about men and doesn't care how she behaves; that son in the Army is a bully and a coward; and the one who acts as his father's agent and looks after the cattle is far too smooth-tongued to be trusted . . . Why, the other day, I heard a story . . ."

If I weren't Catholic, I'd want to be Greek! And not Greek Orthodox, mind you--but Greek pagan!

For the Greek myths are resilient! Other ancient legends have been weathered over time, but those of Greece still have their immortal faces. After five thousand years, Zeus is still recognisable as Zeus . . . even though a time traveler from then might think we've dressed him up in funny clothes.

09 March 2010


The Book List: A Meme That Had Me at Hello
(A weekly link up hosted at Lost in Books)

The Book List is just a short and fun meme
that allows you to share books and make a list of books!

This Week's Topic is:
3 Books That Take You Back to High School

My list has three books that didn't "graduate" with me, but are still trapped in the time warp that is my high school library . . .

08 March 2010


Madeleine L'Engle Novel Smackdown, Round 4
(See Round 1, Round 2, Round 3A, and Round 3B . . . which, an expert later told me, should have had names rather than numbers)

L'Engle Planet4 vs. L'Engle AcceptableTime2
[New covers are] another indication that stories have a life of their own, and that they say different things to different people at different times. And [they are] an affirmation that story is true and takes us beyond the facts into something more real.

Madeleine L'Engle
Introduction to the 1997 editions of her Time Quintet
(not pictured above!)

After over a month of duking it out as only sister novels can, our two grand finalists finally come face to face.

Let's start by comparing their past performances, and seeing which novel did a more impressive job in each round . . .

06 March 2010


Shredded Cheddar and the Saturday Evening Blog Post
(A monthly link up party hosted by Elizabeth Esther)


Remember this linkup? The last time I joined, I nominated a Sancta Sanctis post. This time, I hoped, it would be all Shredded Cheddar, all the way.

And it will . . . but just not this month. You see, the link up is, in its hostess' own words, "a celebration of family-friendly art"--and February happened to be, as I didn't let anyone forget, "Women in Horror" Month . . .

05 March 2010


Some Quick Takes That Add up to Seven
(See the rest of this week's Seven Quick Takes at Conversion Diary)


To begin with the unvarnished truth . . . I wasn't planning on doing the Seven Quick Takes meme this week. I've said before (though elsewhere) that 7QT isn't the meme for me, though I like reading others' posts, and so I wasn't planning on linking up ever again.

Then Jen, our 7QT hostess, wrote this--

I received some complaints in response to my last quick takes post, saying that my writing of late is self-centered and has degenerated into, as one commenter put it, "pablum about inane things" . . .

--and I smelled a rat. Or should I say, a troll? A very familiar troll!

04 March 2010


Shelf Share Thursday
(A new meme hosted at Bippity Boppity Book)

Some memes are more fun than others. This one takes the usual "What's on your To Be Read pile?" question and gives it an alphabetic accent. You know that I love alphabetic accents.

(Hmmmmm. This reminds me . . . the next Alphabet Assignment is overdue, isn't it? Okay, okay . . . Let me just do this new meme first. I can make my own happy lists any time, but it's rare that I find myself perfectly able--and perfectly eager--to do someone else's happy list.)

I've Bought for Future Reading

03 March 2010


Three-legged Lists

Who knew that a list's character depended so greatly on the number of items in it?

The reason I like five-item lists so much is that they always leave room for one "wildcard" entry. Never mind sticking out like a sore thumb: the thumb itself, being the opposing digit, already sticks out by design. And what would the human hand be without the thumb?

It is not so with three-item lists, which, though I liken them to three-legged stools, are just not as balanced as their five-item counterparts. A Top 5 List is like a candy sampler, with a little bit of everything worth tasting; a 3-Legged List is more like a random handful of candy--like what you get casually tossed into your pillowcase at Halloween. It has its own charm.

Let me now casually toss my first random handful in your tolerant direction . . .

I've Read with My Students

02 March 2010


Etsy Dreams

Something I'll bet even my biggest stalkers readers don't know about me is that I have a grandmother who crochets beautiful things. If I were as a good with words and blogging as she is with thread and a crochet hook, then Shredded Cheddar would be literature.

I'd love to sell her stuff for her on Etsy (and not just because, you know, I'd get a cut). It would be really great if other people could appreciate her talent, too.

Now if I could only figure out how to direct a proper product shoot . . .

01 March 2010


Madeleine L'Engle Novel Smackdown, Round 3B
(Revisit Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3A)

The two face-offs among the "Final Four" should probably have been blogged together, but I didn't reread all four books fast enough for that. Heck, I didn't reread the last two fast enough for them to go head to head last week . . . obviously.

At least I'm finished now, aye?