Posts tagged: obsessions
Because we wanted to earn a bit, and didn’t have anything else to sell, we decided to sell what we had the most of when we were around 7. Stationery. We sold stationery for 1 peso each sheet, 50 centavos for the smaller ones. The Barbie ones were 3 pesos per sheet, higher priced because it was more valuable for us then, and because we didn’t want anyone to buy it. We peddled it on the streets of our baranggay in Malabon. Our total earnings amounted to Php3.50, placed inside a duck-shaped, plastic toilet paper holder. My cousin told me he’d guard it for safekeeping but I never saw it again.
My mom had this gift idea for my brother. She bought a huge spiral notebook, then wrote a ghost story for him. We then made the “book” interactive by creating pop-up pages. For several afternoons, we’d create collages using recycled gift wrappers and draw ghosts on the said book. In one page there’s a holographic Santa Claus, grinning diabolically from the window. In another page, there’s a ghost popping up to say “boo!” from behind a door. She had all these craft ideas when I was younger, like creating tiny pots and pans out of airdry clay, or using leaves as stamps for my very own stationery. We gathered different leaves from my grandma’s garden and she cut brown kraft paper into small rectangles. Using poster paint, we painted on one side of the leaves and used it to stamp unique leafbone shapes on the brown paper. She labelled it with my name after: Rean’s notecards, with a tiny drawing of me, smiling.
I was obsessed with pop-up books for the longest time. I was given a book about how it was like in the Wild Wild West, and I constantly played with pull-out dog from the second floor in that book, chasing after that kid in a cowboy hat. It also amazed me that the barrels outside the house contained different fruits: oranges and apples. The barrels were tiny, and the act of peeking inside it made me feel like a happy snooping giant.
There’s this book with stick figures that I found upstairs, photocopied and bound in red, called “Yoga for Children”. We had this neighbour from Romblon named Florence, around my age, and I’d call her and we’d go inside the bedroom of my parents and try out each pose. We were more bendy and flexible then, and with that kiddie naivete I’d wonder what was so special about the poses we just did, it didn’t feel like much of an effort back then.
At my cousin’s house, they had an endless supply of thick, A4 sized cartons, used for their “bibingka” business. They were brown on one side, eggshell white on the other. She’d get a huge stack, some pens, and we’d get ready for our drawing session. She had some Pinoy komiks like Fantasy and Nightmare, and some Archie comics, which we’d then use as our reference for drawing. I remember telling her how I wanted to draw something like that girl singing Vogue, Vogue because the girl there had long flowy hair which made copying it exciting. She had those pens that change color when you use the color changer pen that came with it. That was the first time I experienced coloring with gold and silver crayolas. My favorites were sea green and gold, so I often drew mermaids so I could have an excuse to keep on using those two colors.
Remember a few days ago when I tumblrd my favorite quote from Jonathan Carroll’s White Apples? Look what I found in his blog a few days after! :)
This is why I love Booksale. The other day I called all the major bookstores, looking for Jonathan Carroll’s The Ghost in Love.
Sadly, all of them didn’t have it. I went to my favorite Booksale branch, the one at MCS, where the staff is warm and friendly, and knows me by name and asks how I am and why I wasn’t able to visit them for a long time (because I had no moolah) and remembers that I told them the reason before.
I first saw the book “Glass Soup” by Jonathan Carroll. It was only Php50 and I grabbed it and I think I even kissed it in my excitement. It was followed by my other wonderful findings, at only Php20 each! (except for the Berg book and the Dream Girl book)
Here’s my loot:
Yup, a very merry Christmas indeed. Mmm, new books. :)
"A city presents many different faces, and it is up to the traveler to assemble the proper composite."
In “Are We There Yet?”, Levithan takes us to beautiful Italy, where he sets the stage for what seems like a bizaare love triangle between two brothers and a girl (who reminded me of Jean Seberg in Breathless). Elijah is a charming slacker, all artsy and laidback, while his kuya Danny, well, is a workaholic. And has control issues. And works in advertising. In accounts. (or so I think) Needless to say, they don’t get along too well. So their parents send them to glorious Italy in the hopes of them rekindling their lost brotherhooderism, where they get to have a lot of life-changing realizations and it sounds really schmaltzy and eat,pray,loveish? but in execution it is totally not.
See, Levithan sneaks up on you with the simplest of truths that he packaged so neatly and honestly, Levithan style (which means straightforward, but full of huggles and warm fuzzies):
"Although it is such a singular word, there are many variations of alone. There is the alone of an empty hotel room. There is the alone of being caught in a throng of people. There is the alone of missing a particular person. And there is the alone of being with a particular person and realizing you are still alone."
"We all want someone to build a fort with. We want somebody to swap crayons with and play hide-and-seel with and live out imaginary stories with. We start out getting that from our family. Then we get it from our friends. And then, for whatever reasons, we get into our heads that we need to get that feeling—that intimacy from a single someone else. We call that growing up. But really, when you take sex out of it, what we want is a companion. And we make that so damn hard to find."
He takes the standard cardboard character of the Jessica-Elizabeth Wakefield dilemma and fleshes them out, full of heart and compassion that I found myself changing my mind about them every chapter.
Reading this was sheer delight. You have the armchair travel aspect with different places in Italy seducing you: vaporettos in Venice, sunflower fields bright as the sun in Florence, the Colosseum in Rome. You have teen drama without much angst or pent-up rage or cockiness. The boys in this book are not boorish misogynists, which is very refreshing for a YA novel written by a guy about two young guys. You have delicious descriptions of museums! The two guys here are museum addicts, and Levithan describes in detail how the Annunciation differs depending on the pov of the artist with much aplomb that I found myself googling said images, amazed at how accurate his interpretation was. You also have that driving question: Who ends up with the girl? (Although I was really hoping that one of them would tell the other that he’s gay and everybody would be all happy and gay in the end with no hurt feelings).
I’m pretty sure that their outward exploration reflects their inner reflections as well metaphorically, but I’m rather satisfied with the plain good story that this book offers at the topmost layer. I love this book so much that I plan on giving it to my brother for his birthday, maybe as a metaphorical way of saying sorry-I-think-I-might-have-been-a-shitty-sister-here- have-a-touching-book-about-brotherhood-instead.
Here are the comics/graphic novels that I’ll never forget, some lumped together because of the awesomeness of the artist:
Rented comics My love affair with comics really started with those comics for rent at some enterprising neighbor’s house. Displayed like clothes on a clothesline, one can choose from these bestsellers: Nightmare, Love Stories and Fantasy (which was my favorite, since I was too scared of the gore in Nightmare). I was about 7 or younger then, and I saved up and sold stationery (which I also collected back then) so I could have my weekly fix. I can’t remember a moment when I read everything on display, which probably meant that they had a lot of comics for rent back then.
Funny comics and Bata Batuta The small neighborhood salon had a huge stack of these comics for their customers’ reading pleasure which would probably explain why I never had long hair, ever. They also sold it every Friday in front of our school, something I obsessively bought and looked forward to.
Archie comics! That was my fantasy, finding a soulmate who loved Archie as much as I did when I was about 8 years old. I loved them so much some copies have embossed marks, with me trying to trace them, putting a piece of carbon paper behind each page and tracing them to a coupon bond. I can’t stand how stupid both females are now, fighting over this wishy-washy playboy (who isn’t even kind or funny or cute), but I still have fond memories of my Archie phase.
Gospel comics What? I thought Gospy was cute. Hahaha. :) We were probably brainwashed by the weekly analysis and readings of this certain comic, but I somehow remember that I collected these too.
Pugad Baboy But it was so much funnier then. Remember that aswang chapter in Pugad Baboy 4? That was what I loved the most, those stories, but I can still remember how Brosia was asked to buy ‘de lata’ for pulutan, and she did buy something in can—“It’s de Liberty Condensed Milk!”
Free comics from Sunday newspapers You know, the ones that came with puzzles and trivia? I had a huge stack of them fastened together, unanswered, because I was too OC to write on the pages, haha.
Lynda Barry Part-Pinay, I love her unique, gritty drawing style and sense of humor. I forgot where I first saw her work but I’ve luckily stumbled upon most of her comics and books in Booksale. Oh, Booksale, thank you so much for these awesome buys, especially the comics by my beloved…
Ariel Schrag Her comics should be renamed into “The incredibly true misadventures of a budding lesbian in love”, because each time I read her graphic novels I am reminded of that movie with young Tina and some episodes of the L word. I found out about her through an issue of BUST and heard her name in Le Tigre’s girl power song “Hot Topic”, so I researched her some more and was really dying to buy her superpricey book found in Sputnik, Cubao X. It was around a thousand, which made me sad. But then I found a copy of Awkward and Definition and Potential at Booksale for only around a hundred pesos, which made me extremely jubilant (I almost hugged the ates there) and happy. Sigh, Booksale = ♥
I love how honest she is with her storytelling, how her art has also evolved (she made the comics when she was around 14 and sold it) and how she captures the rollercoaster of emotions teenage lesbians go through in a few frames. Are you reading this Ariel Schrag? Hi, I love you. :)
Y The Last Man Oh wow oh wow oh wow. Fantastic artwork, gripping storyline about how there’s this guy who is supposedly the last guy in the world, with lightning-fast pacing and snappy dialogue to boot? Yes please. I saw this in one of my National bookstore trips and was intrigued by the romantic storyline between the women characters. I wasn’t disappointed with the whole story, although I did feel that the ending was a bit rushed. It was still a great read though, and will probably be my second favorite, because I really really love:
Strangers in Paradise I think I might have obsessed about this with matching images a year ago in this lj. I find myself rooting for the Katchoo-Francine loveteam, being surprised by each issue with its where-did-that-come-from twists and just being um, touched by this heartwarming series. I don’t know if it was just me, but this was a really nice love story for me. The heartthrob also has a realistic figure, which makes me happy. I think my respect and adoration for Terry Moore is right there with my adoration for Joss Whedon. See this AfterEllen interview with him.
Buffy, season 8 And the Buffy love lives on! Long live the Slayers! Long live Willow with her adorable geekiness. I couldn’t care much for Kennedy though. I wish Willow ended with someone more…likeable instead. The recent issue was getting weirder and weirder though, but I still love this. Which reminds me of another Whedonesque series I love:
Runaways Kids with evil parents and superpowers? A lesbian character with alien metaphors? Witty witty dialogue, reads just like a Whedon show? Hurrah! I haven’t finished this yet. It’s so good i’m taking my sweet time, since this series is already finished.
Fables I think of this series like this: Fairy tale characters meets Gotham City.
Asterix series My family is a huge fan of the Asterix comics. I think we have the complete series, some hardbound, some in paperback, some mini-sized, some huge. We’re not really that OC with the collection. :) We love it so much my father bought home an Asterix stuffed toy in one of his trips. Obelix reminds me of him.
Dykes to Watch out for This was how I discovered this series. We were in Baguio, in the guestroom of my mom’s friend’s house. I found this comic book peeking from the side of the bed and promptly read it. I think it about changed my life. Alison Bechdel is a very hot genius.
Tammy Pierce is Unlovable Because there’s definitely a little bit of Tammy Pierce in all of us. How fascinating is it that Esther Pearl Watson based this on some teenager’s diary she found in some gas station?
I forgot your name, but it was locally-made and had this gay guy, this bisexual girl and this straight guy getting it on in the end. It appeared at the back of Pulp magazine. I cannot say I adore you, but you were pretty interesting also.
Kikomachine I have all the books, I love this. Manix, if you can read this, do you remember when your dad used to bring you to his office and my mom would also bring me and we were told to play? Remember those vague incidents? Did I just imagine them? Haha. Anyway, great work, man. I have a crush on that bald teacher. Plus, did a romance exist between that bespectacled girl and the ponytailed one? You know, when they were having this sexual tension and the other girl whispered why to her punk boyfriend? What are their names anyway? I need answers! I can’t sleep thinking about it!
I have a love/hate relationship with short story collections. On one hand, they’re quicker to read, offers variety for people with short attention spans (like moi), and showcases the author’s versatility. On the other hand, I personally haven’t found a book of s.s. which made me fall in love with all of the stories in the collection.
Until “How They Met”, that is.
Methinks I read a rave review or two of this collection of stories about falling in love by David Levithan of Boy meets boy and Nick and Norah’s IP fame. I saw an open copy in Powerbooks and proceeded to read the first story: “Starbucks Boy”, finished the story with a huge grin on my face and decided that this book is worth the original non-Booksale price. (If you know me, I rarely buy books that are not from Booksale, because I’m stingy—and practical like that, haha).
I cannot NOT mention the blurbs, because I am gullible and prone to reading it to get a taste of what’s in store. Here, Detroit Free Press labels it as “Pure reading pleasure.”
My feelings for this book have never been summed up more succinctly.
Created as a V-day gift for friends, the stories about love here are written by Levithan out of boredom, but then evolved into a yearly tradition. The story that started other stories was written during his Physics class, with references to laws of Physics, metaphors so clearly relatable to love.
Fast-paced and witty without being pretentious, I was able to read it in one night, promising to write down particularly meaningful passages, but I got too lazy.
Each story made me feel different levels of giddy. “Miss Lucy had a steamboat”, which recalls a meeting-liking-loving-pining after sort of relationship, is bittersweet, glimmering with wisdom one can only acquire after a heartwrenching breakup.
Levithan’s style is accessible, lyrical and sweet but not cloying. I am aware that this is a YA book, but his writing is sharp and smart enough to make you want to revel in these layers of complex emotions brought upon by adolescence and continuing to adulthood, if that made sense, haha. I imagined it as a queer-friendly movie in my head, an LGBT “Love, Actually”, with openly gay and happy characters sharing a snippet of their lovelife to the expectant audience.
The whole book reads like a movie, which isn’t exactly a bad thing for me, and I could almost imagine this scene in “The Alumni Interview” where Ian is interviewed by his boyfriend’s father for his requisite alumni interview:
"It also says you were involved in something called a Pride March?"
"Yes. We dress up as a pride of lions and we march. It’s a school spirit thing. Our mascot is a lion."
"I thought it was an eagle?"
"It used to be an eagle. But then our principal’s kid saw The Lion King and got hooked. You know how these things work."
It is noticeable how angst-free the stories are, despite the characters getting in trouble or getting their hearts broken over and over or or or. Levithan proves that you don’t have to be all cuss-y and whiny to express the intensity of how you feel. Is it possible to have stories with reckless abandon, raw and honest at the very core, but absent of cheese? Because I’ve encountered cringe-inducing sapfests, and I dove into this book, thinking I’d get maybe one or two of those, but curiously, there is none. I think that is where Levithan’s magic lies, in his ability to combine these short, simple words to create something much greater. Like so:
"I think one of the highest compliments you can give a person is that when you are talking to her, you are not thinking about the fact that you are talking to her. That is, your thoughts and words all exist on a single, engaged level. You are being yourself because you aren’t bothering to think about who you should be. It is like when you talk in a dream."
"We talked so much that we started to feel like we did know each other, as if every shared story could create an actual shared past."
The stories are compelling enough on their own, but read as a whole, this collection provokes and inspires the readers to open their minds and see variations of this thing called love (and its permutations) with rainbow-tinged glasses on.
If this book were a person, she’d be that bespectacled quirky girl who sings with reckless abandon while commuting. Maybe wearing a necklace she made herself, or reading some obscure book that you coincidentally like too. Someone so interesting and stalk-worthy, someone you can’t help but have a huge crush on.
I’d totally go out with this book.
1. We have this sort-of library room at home. Our house in Malabon is infested with termites and to our dismay, we find out that they love books as much as we do, which means we had to transfer books from shelves to huge-ass plastic rolling crates. Anyway, about that room: Apparently, the parents of my parents loved reading so much (My grandfather, a soldier, made it through the Bataan March through his knowledge of self-taught Nippongo through books, and his harmonica-playing skills.) that they created this mini-library found at the top of our stairs, before you can reach the bedrooms. It’s filled with old National Geographic and FATE magazines, and a lot of Booksale finds from my father, my mother and from me. My father got OC one time and catalogued it according to Classics, Bestsellers and such, and each time I pass through this room, with all its yellowing, dusty, termite-infested volumes, my stress is significantly lowered and I remind myself that I should be eternally grateful to the Universe.
2. When I was younger, my parents taught me to read and rewarded efforts with books. Before I got a book, I had to read it loud to my mom and answer some comprehension questions before she gave it to me. I think this was what made me love reading, for the family time, and rewards! :)
3. I was a huge Sweet Valley addict. I started loving young adult novels through Judy Blume, but I adored the Sweet Valley Series. I also read Fifth Grade Stars and some other copycat novels which made me have a twin fixation. I was so intrigued with the phenomenon of twins that every term paper I made in school centered on its magic and mysticism. I started to write (start is more like it) crappy young adult novels with twins as the protagonists, illustrating the cover with my ideal vision of how the twins would look like and describing them in detail for the first few pages, before quickly losing steam. This happened for more than 3 would-be novels. I think I still have them at home.
4. I am obsessed with the smell of magazines. I like book smells too, but magazines—ooh la la! It’s aromatherapy for me, in this fast-paced digital age.
5. In the library, when I was in grade school, my bestfriend and I would borrow these bound Liwayway magazines just so we could finish the Agua Bendita comic series.
6. Speaking of comics, aside from getting addicted to Archie when I was younger, I used to borrow almost everyday from our neighbor, who had a comic rental store. For Php2.00, you could borrow Nightmare and Fantasy comics, those grainy, cheaply-made ones, for a day. The neighborhood barber also had stacks of those comics, which made me really excited to get my hair cut and volunteer to accompany anyone who needed a hair cut.
7. Every Friday I would buy Funny comics at school, because I had a Funny comics collection, which I was obsessed with, then. I also collected those religious comics given at school called “Gospel”, even if I’m not really Catholic. I’m a Spiritist, by the way.
8. I was the only girl in our school service. They were all boys, mostly older than me, and I was educated about the world of boys when I was ten and reading a copy of Judy Blume’s “Are you there God? It’s me Margaret.” at our service. I was quietly reading and reached the part about menstruation, which my seatmate caught a glimpse of, and which sent them to hysterics.
9. When Jessica Zafra’s column was still appearing in the newspaper Today, I would cut up each article and put it in a binder. During my snarky, angsty teen phase, I would often re-read each article, dreaming of the day when I could write with such wit and candor. I loved her foodie pieces most of all. She shared how she ate tuna from a can, how she cooked dulce de leche from condensed milk cans, how she grilled cheese sandwiches using a flat iron, etc.
10. I’m seriously considering a career in bookfinding. I’m talking about cheapo finds here, from Booksale. Tell me about books you want, and I just might see them, and then maybe, if it’s cheap, I could buy it for you! :)
I think I might be in love with Ariel Schrag. She just exudes this clumsy, awkward aura that I find hard to resist. I’m not yet finished with this, but I am loving what I’ve read so far. It’s just so honest and real and funny without trying too hard and there are some parts where you just…feel for her. She documents highschool ups and downs, with L7 and Juliette Lewis-obsessed entries that I am reminded with how I made a Leonardo Dicaprio (don’t ask) newsletter and Angelina Jolie scrapbook and shrine to prove my love for them.
I had to read it slowly, since I didn’t want it to end, so I just savor a few pages a day, thinking about how miserable and laughable highschool was, and how glad I am that it’s over, thank God.
The one where I ramble about my favorite magazines
The very first thing I do when I get my hands on a book or a magazine, regardless of whether it’s new or old, is to open it to a random page and inhale the comforting smell of its binding.
It instantly transports me to a happier place, where there are no looming deadlines or other worries—just me and bound paper, with a smattering of words I have yet to get acquainted with. I particularly love the scent of our local magazines—a smell I’ve come to associate with “me time” and possibilities, owing this perhaps to my previous job at a magazine publishing company.
I cannot recall when my love affair with books and magazines started, but I do know that since I was small I have religiously collected young adult paperbacks, magazines found lying around our house like Food, or Parents, and obsessively filed those kiddie supplements found in our newspapers.
I had bad grades in elementary since I’d rather max out my library card than study. I think I was “Borrower of the month” in our library a bit too often. Instead of socializing, I hurriedly ate my packed lunch at my chair, and spend time at the library with those imaginary friends found between pages, who lived in far more interesting worlds, I thought then. I’d lug home those thick, hardbound books with a mishmash of stories and varying illustrations that are really for kids abroad, and ignore jeering comments of “Nerd” by my classmates and comfort myself with the thought that I could instantly escape school bullies and bad grades and friends who are not really friends the moment I open my books. This might be the reason why I am hooked on fairytales and happy endings and avoid the grittier Palahniuk-style works. Shallow as it might seem, my reasoning is simple—real life is already harsh sometimes, and I wouldn’t want to escape to something equally horrifying. Horror stories are different, though, since it’s equally comforting to just shut the book when things get too scary. Since I also have a short attention span, I could easily teleport from one fictional world to another, in just a simple flick of a finger as I open another book.
My short attention span is partly to blame for my magazine fetish, though. And my love for color and typography. There’s just something decadent about opening a newly-bought magazine on your favorite topic leisurely, taking time to absorb the beautiful photographs, or over-analyzing the profile interviews, or feeling that winkle of pleasure to know that someone is also as obsessed as you are with a particular topic as represented by that magazine.
I read magazines I love from cover to cover and relish even ads and letters to the editor. NYLON magazine readers are particularly creative, with handmade cards declaring their love for NYLON and for the NYLON mag lifestyle. Bitch zine readers, on the other hand, are a feisty, opinionated bunch. If you know me well enough, you’d know that I have plenty of tiny obsessions and these are encouraged by the variety of affordable mags on related topics found in my usual bookstore haunts. I obsess to the point of obsessing about my obsessions (if that made any sense) which led me to reflect on why I love each unique mag. (Plus I also love creating lists, haha).
My favorite magazines and why they rock my socks:
1. BUST- They always feature girls who deserve to be featured on the cover, and they have an extensive interview with thought-provoking questions. They contain articles about modern feminist movements all over the world and inspire me to start a revolution myself. Plus they have a DIY section, a well-researched review section, unique fashion editorials featuring real girls, funny comics and illustrations by modern up-and-coming artists. Bust, for me is the perfect blend of modern feminism (and ideals) and old-school nostalgia, if you ask me to describe it. As a bonus, also has that infamous “one-handed read” section that makes it different from your usual glossy mainstream mag.
Also see: Venuszine and Bitch - Venuszine is like a thinner version of Bust, since it has less pages but is equally enjoyable. Bitch is the angrier, less glossy, more informed version. Reading Bitch is like reading an investigative report on a theme, since each issue is focused on themes like “Genesis” or “The Wired issue”. There’s just so much injustice towards women discussed in Bitch, and I often end up angry at mankind after reading it. But still, you have to admit it’s a gutsy and very informative magazine.
2. Craft zine and Readymade- Both are craft magazines, but Craft is quirkier and funnier, with projects ranging from deconstructing shirts into skirts to japanese juggling toys. Readymade is more focused on industrial design/woodwork and construction themes, with lawn chairs from old crates, or lamps from cd cases etc.
3. Blueprint and Domino- They’re both sadly out of print, which saddens me to no end. Blueprint, from Martha Stewart publications is a mishmash of interior decorating tips, household tips and also appears like a catalog that revolves on a theme, a la Domino. Domino features cool homes, offers decor tips too, and is just like a dream house book, since most of the stuff here are pricey. I look at both magazines for decor inspiration, since both feature cheap decor ideas, like blowing up a picture of the simple things you love and framing it against a brightly-colored wall.
4. Martha Stewart Living- When Martha means “Good things” I believe her, especially since the diy ideas here are simple but lovely, inexpensive but impressive, proving that ‘good’ doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. The styling and photography within these pages amaze me, with its bold and effortless color combos.
5. Women’s Health- I’m not an exercise and fitness buff, nor do I engage in miracle diet plans. I do wish I could revert to my college weight though, only with more muscle. Women’s Health makes me want to devote myself to achieving my healthy ideal weight NOW. They have useful facts about which food and exercise combination suits you most and they suggest dishes that are tasty and easy to cook. All those buff toned women inside are great motivators too. I’m so glad they have the local version from Summit, with healthy food that you can actually buy here. Not so keen about the price though, the back issues from abroad are much cheaper.
6. NYLON- I first saw NYLON fresh from college, when I was filled with idealism and had high hopes for my future. A lot has changed since then, but I still love NYLON. Not as much as I love Lula or BUST, but love it just the same. The fashion spreads are glorious and very inspiring. Sometimes, however, I feel old when I read NYLON since it’s too scenester-y and indie—guess i’m not a part of that scene. haha.
7. Lula and Frankie- Already posted about my obsession with Lula and Frankie in a previous post. They give me sweet dreams, they’re modern fairytales in magazine format. If they were real girls I would be crushing on them majorly, maybe stalking them, like a creep. Big time.