08 July 2017

Temporary Set-Back

For years, I have shamelessly relied on my free photo-hosting account in Photobucket to accompany my stories here with photos. But apparently, Photobucket has changed its friendly terms and decided to capitalize on people like myself who rely on their products. Until such time that I can finally resolve this issue and find a new host, or finally do the right thing that any profited individual should do in the first place which is to pay, I'm temporarily putting this blog on hold. Well, until then, it's been so fun, enlightening, and and just rewarding communicating in such a personal level at such public way. Talk to you all soon!

Much love,
Gianella Peralta 

02 July 2017

"What I demand of myself, I cannot demand of everyone."

I know that when a supersexy older girl with hips and breasts and nice hair wants to take off your glasses and to paint you a smoky eye she's merely trying to enroll you in a beauty contest she's already won. It's a kind of slummy, condescending gesture, like when rich people ask poor people where they summer. To me, this smacks of a blatant, insensitive "let them eat cake" type of chauvinism.” 

I have recently read 2 brilliant novels, both of which I have rated with 4 out of 5 stars in Goodreads (by recently, I meant that I finished these 1st week of May). They hit the kind of humor that I strongly albeit secretly subscribe to: insensitive and unapologetic. Just kidding, the books were just really funny. And they’re both my first from each authors.

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Jacket with wool lining: Abercrombie & Fitch | Inner top: Zara | Pants and bonnet: Uniqlo | Boots: from department store in US | Sunnies: Oakley | Bag: Balenciaga City | Scarf: H&M

"It's my petty fear of personal rejection that allows so many true evils to exist. My cowardice enables atrocities."

I have read a few of Palahniuk’s quotes while browsing Pinterest. I’ve pinned some of them without having read the book whence they came from just because they were downright offensively funny, just the uncustomary straight-in-your-face rebuttal that I find hilarious (trust me, I’ve recently learned that not everyone appreciates this kind of humor. Or was it just my delivery that made the entire supposedly humorous situation overly offensive? Hmmm). Anyway. For my first Palahniuk novel, I bought “Damned”, the book where the cover looks like an inebriated evilmonger. Certainly the book wasn’t a conflict-resolved case (I read that 2 more are coming after?) and that it was more of a thrill-along-the-way kind of read but just the same, I loved it!

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"Few marriages sustain the high level of passion that exists between criminals and those who seek to bring them to justice. It’s no wonder the Zodiac Killer flirted so relentlessly with the police. Or that Jack the Ripper courted and baited detectives with his - or her - coy letters. We all wish to be pursued. We all long to be desired."

The premise was very simple: a chubby well-bred, well-groomed, well off 13-year old girl died and went to Hell. While there, she became overlord, besting out the likes of Hitler as she stayed longer. Instead of resenting the toxic place that was Hell, she started embracing it. Here comes the bummer: whilst enjoying her growing power, she was told that there has been a mix-up, that she wasn’t supposed to be in Hell in the first place. Bla, bla, bla. It’s a formulaic plot and the plot itself didn’t astound me. What made me decide to file it under the rest of my beloved 4-star books is that, I found it refreshing and amusing to read a novel that showcased a different type of humor. Yes yes, I quite agree that senseless, idiotic, and stupid jokes are funny. I even share them on an every hour basis with my colleague at work. I also agree that some smart jokes are funny too (of course I’m not discounting the fact that perhaps I only consider “some” and not “all” to be funny because I mostly do not understand smart jokes). And have you read my favorite book, Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray? That’s a treasure trove of funny insults. 

Aside from its humor, I liked how the book made its stand on religion:
“All the demons of Hell formerly reigned as gods in previous cultures. No it's not fair, but one man's god is another man's devil. As each subsequent civilization became a dominant power, among its first acts was to depose and demonize whoever the previous culture had worshipped."
It makes sense, doesn't it? I have long been trying to find logic and sense in religion until I've decided that I can classify it among those things under "To Each His Own". Believe in what works for you just as have respect for what works for others.

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"It is an old refrain — everybody agrees that the rats must be exterminated, but when it comes down to it, sympathy for the individual rat is huge. Only sympathy, mind you; there is no desire to keep the rat. The two must not be confused."

The 2nd book that I couldn't help myself from gushing about and sharing with everyone I know who reads, is Timur Vermes' Look Who's Back. Every now and then, I never failed in mentioning that among the stories that greatly interest me is those which happened during the Regime of the Nazis. But, it's not because I share the same ideology. My beliefs are far from it, in fact. It's just because the atrocities committed then, all in the name of upholding a racial belief, has always evoked the most melancholic thoughts from me. There's no logic that can be found in the most heinous crime ever committed against humanity. Hitler, by means of command-responsibility, is single-handedly the worst creature that was ever blessed with a brain. These are my quick two-cents about the historical Hitler.

"An idiot who does idiotic things is not funny."

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"Well, I was certainly planning to demonstrate my importance, but it was doubtful whether they would be able to handle it."

Now, on to my thoughts on the literary Hitler. I came across the book one afternoon when I was supposed to meet up with my college best friend. I arrived 30mins earlier than agreed upon so I went straight to Fully Booked. I saw the book, bought it, and showed up to the meeting place 23 minutes late. Well, what can I do, the book was surprisingly humorous. Tasteless, sure (if only because any attempt to downplay Hitler's crimes are considered as such). But it's certainly fun. Very briefly, the book is about Hitler who has woken up from his suicide in 1945 only to be met with the changes in 2011. With his rancour and wit in check, he rose to fame as a social media sensation. This book, just like Damned, is not a book with a destination in mind. It's a book that's meant to thrill its readers along the way.

The Hitler in this novel is witty, insightful, definitely not "the half-breed of indeterminate lineage", and quite possibly "the choice of Fate herself". If anything, I'd say that this novel could be the humorous novel counterpart of Machiavelli's The Prince. Or fine, it could be the lighter brother of historical Hitler's Mein Kampf. In short, I was highly entertained with the Hitler in this novel. I can even go and say, I share plenty of similar beliefs with this literary Hitler. What Vermes succeeded in doing is that, more than making the reader think about what-ifs, his novel has somehow blurred the line that divided the evil historical Hitler from the endearing literary Hitler.

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"I am the ambassador for uncompromising opinions."

The book was well-researched too. Its nuggets of historical accuracies added to the few facts that I know of about the Holocaust. I never bothered knowing about Goebbels, Himmler, Goring, Bormann, and all those other SS officials. It doesn't matter if the Holocaust began because of Hitler's desire to purify the German race and was only blown out of proportions because of the likes of Himmler. It doesn't matter if in the future, evidences could prove that Hitler's role in it was only in planting the seed of idea and that his officials were the ones who interpreted and acted on this idea thus commanding the genocide. None of these would matter because as literary Hitler said, "the Fuhrer's unique talent is not the accumulation of dry facts - his unique talent is rapid decision-making, and assuming responsibility for those decisions". I guess it's because rarely do people assume accountability for their rash decisions that when I see someone do it, I end up admiring him. 

"I liked that. No prevaricating, no excuses, just an unswerving acknowledgement of one's errors, and a promise to make amends for these autonomously."

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"And to all you romantics and gullible souls, who imagine that these devious parasites possess an extraordinary astuteness to match their allegedly superior intelligence - well, I'm afraid I have to disappoint you."

All photos were taken last December 2016 when the family went to Washington DC. All quotes were lifted from the 2 books that were discussed. 

18 June 2017

Red Riding Hood

I've been trying to update the blog since last week but my attention was caught elsewhere. You see, I was trying to piece my thoughts on the books I've just finished reading last month when 'less pressing matters', namely work, demanded my full attention and so sadly, my supposedly enlightening book-related post has been temporarily sidelined. What a bummer (also, yes, I was writing my thoughts down while at work). I'll post that before the month slips away.

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Cap: Adidas| Shoes: New Balance 501 | Scarf: H&M | Bag: Balenciaga City | Gloves: Uniqlo | Heat-tech Leggings and tights: Uniqlo| Red coat: from a local store (gotten either in Hong Kong or in Seoul. I can't remember from which city but I'm sure it's from a local store)

For this post, let me begin with narrating that a couple of hours ago on this fine Sunday Father's Day afternoon, I was catching up on the last few episodes of season 10 of Big Bang Theory when I realized that Sheldon's new laptop resembles my younger brother's laptop! Forgive me should I in any way offend anyone's technological-sensibilities but when I first saw Gio's black Alienware laptop last December, I thought it was cute in a novelty item sort of way and so I didn't really look at it with the proper eyes that I should have had. Now I'm impressed beyond words just because one of my favorite fictional characters is also using it. I borrowed the said laptop as I'm typing and transferring photos now as my way of apologizing for the technology snub I've committed last December.

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Fully 'schooled' by Sheldon Cooper no less, let me proceed with what I was supposed to write for today. My favorite type of vacation is going someplace with my immediate family. I'm very close with everyone at home, from my parents to my 2 brothers, and even to the Ates so it's no wonder that when in an unfamiliar place, I feel most comfortable with the people I am with on an everyday basis. Of course it doesn't hurt that vacation with parents means that it's an all-expense paid for trip so I don't have to worry about subjecting my savings to agony again Hahahahaha. Kidding aside (was I?), it's true. I always look forward to going away with my family. Trips with them always end up being the best trip of the year. Photos in this set were taken in Great Falls Park in Maryland USA.  My Mom's brothers and their families were also with us as well as the 3 Grandmoms. 

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(we were joined by the park rangers who patiently took our family photos)

There's one more thing that I want to briefly talk about here. Superhero movies of late have been very impressive, haven't they? I watched the last full show of Logan on its first day as I've been anticipating it since Marvel released its trailer with the Johnny Cash song playing as its background music. I'm probably echoing the sentiments of the thousands of reviews of the movie but let me add in those who praised the script and agreed that it's been the most succinct and poignant way to bid farewell to Jackman's Wolverine. I've enjoyed my English classes as a student. I clearly remember the many times that my teachers drilled into my mind that stories have this Story Arc where each part of the story can be categorized into. My favorite has always been the Rising Action part or the Chase as it's always served as the most thrilling part. I love a good build-up, where there is confusion but it's the good and exciting type. Understandably, I hated the Falling Action part as it's where the remains of uncertainty lie. If I were to chart X-Men's timeline into a Story Arc, I would say that Logan is in the Falling Action part. The story just showed that after the heyday, the glory, and the power, there will come a point where all of it will end. We've seen a Wolverine with debilitating health and a Professor X who's on the onset of senility. It was painful to see them reduced to the characters in Logan when you have always associated them with the group that saves the world while in leather. It was quite a leap. And for that reason, the characters have become more human, more prone to bursts of emotions. The film was great. Brilliant even. It was worth the remark on my tardiness the following day when I reported to work a solid 1 hour and 30 minutes late.

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And then there's Lego Batman Movie. In a 2014 post, I mentioned that Batman is my favorite superhero. I would always love Nolan-Bale's rendition and their trilogy would perhaps be among my favorite trilogies of all time but I've a new favorite Batman movie. Now, it's the Lego movie. It was just so funny and punny that it's been such a refreshing version of Batman. Finally, here came a version that pokes fun of his character's aloof, anguished, sad rich kid's persona; and was brilliantly funny at it too without sacrificing the nuggets of emotions that can be sipped off of the stoic playboy. The film was funny but never stupid. 

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Both films revolved around the idea that no matter how great an individual is, nothing would compare to having others who have your back, who would understand when your mood doesn't quite fit into the current situation, who would see past your transgressions, who would call you out when you're being too stubborn or too illogical or too snobbish, and who would want to have you in their lives for as long as possible. That's quite a long description which I guess could be shortened to 'family'.

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The alien button of the laptop is blinking. Perhaps to signal that the battery is draining? Oh well, that's it for now. I've posted entries that are connected to this one HERE, HERE, and HERE

29 April 2017

A New Set of Eyes

I want to travel. I mean, who doesn't? If I were to chart where my salary goes to, I would probably say that a good portion of it goes to travel. I would happily burn my cash if it's for travel. Besides I always learn something new, not necessarily a good thing (fine mostly, I discover even more negative aspects), about myself in each new place that I stay in for a couple of days. Well anyway. There are plenty of countries that I'd want to visit. Probably once would be enough. I just have to see them for myself. And then there are those which I would want to repeatedly go to just because they've slowly felt like home. Such has been the case with Hong Kong. 

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Sweater top: Ralph Lauren | Pants: Old Navy | Cardigan and flats: H&M | Bag: Michael Kors | Sunnies: Oakley

In 2016 alone, I went to Hong Kong thrice. In each time, I've went to a different place that I haven't been to previously. This set of photos were taken in February 2016 at Tai O Fishing Village, located in Lantau Island. 

Disclaimer: This is purely a word vomit blog. I can't write a good travel post to save my life so I apologize in advance if this won't be in any way helpful to whoever will chance upon this post, in hopes of reading reviews about Tai O. In my case, that's what I normally do when preparing the itinerary. I read reviews found online first to gauge if the destination would be worth the trip. Especially if it'll take hours just to reach the destination. Another disclaimer: it was my friend who wrote our itinerary at that time so it was really her who researched about Tai O.

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Prior to this trip, I've been going to HK for just a quick breather. Granted that I love going to cold places, I mostly used to go to HK only during the month of December, when the temperature is around 15 - 20C. A quick 3-day trip used to be enough for me to enjoy the cool climate and eat a good roast goose or duck. And go to Disneyland, of course. And to some other tourist-filled place. Yup, I've never set food outside of the usual HK-tour that my conservative parents highly approve of! So in a way, this trip to Tai O has been a good start to discover more of my beloved HK. Of course, we still had goose. As a matter of fact, we didn't have just any goose; we patiently waited until a table clears out so we could have roast goose in the Michelin-starred restaurant Yat Lok. 

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I am at a point where I'm stuck at my comfort zone that's why I feel like I'm not going anywhere. So to divert the direction where I'm headed to, a big change has to step in. Where does one get the courage to act on what she thinks would work despite all evidences at hand that contradict her conviction? How does one keep her one foot in the safe side while the other wants to jump into the Great Perhaps? I used to think I'm good at making calculated risks but now, I'm seriously considering doing something different with nothing but gut feel to rely on.

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04 February 2017

Once Every Generation

On my way home from USA to the Philippines, I did my best to elude sleep so as to correct my body clock thus eventually evading jetlag. I ate the free Hershey's and Kitkat chocolates offered every now and then by the attendants, and used the entertainment provided. In those long hours, I listened to the audiobook of Ashlee Vance's biography about Elon Musk. I've first known of Musk when he guest starred in one of the episodes of my favorite Big Bang Theory. Wolowitz was happy to eat off of the left over while washing the dishes all because it was with Musk that he did his charity deed. Right after, I Googled who Musk is. Then began my obsession about the enigma that is Musk.

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Top: ARKIPELAGO | Shorts: Topshop| Knitted cardigan: Charlotte Ruse | Gold shoes: Steve Madden | Bag: Goyard St Louis 

For Holy Week 2016, I was able to pester my parents into allowing me and my brother Gian (our youngest brother Gio was in USA then) to accompany both our paternal and maternal Grandmoms in the cruise. We flew to Shanghai, China a day earlier than the sailing of Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas then flew out of China a day after our embarkation from the ship. It's been a very enriching one-week trip filled with experiences, relaxation, and food indulgence. I absolutely love going on cruises. It always feels like I'm in a different world where food is never ending and the activities are non-stop. It's the ultimate dream bum life: to just wake up, eat in any of the numerous restaurants (so numerous that you won't even have to repeat a restaurant), select any activity from the day's list of activities, shop in the Galeria, swim in any of the pools whether indoor or outdoor, attend art auctions, wall climb, try the iFly, party in the roofdeck, ask for the free champagne, wine, beer, and other alcoholic beverages that I didn't have the chance to try although I made sure not to repeat any beverage I've already tried, watch theater productions, select books to read from the Library, or just veg out in the cabin while lazily sipping your choice of beverage.

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Back to Musk. He iterated on a point that I've always been asking: how come greatness only happens once in every generation? During the time of our national hero, Jose Rizal, a lot of Filipinos stepped up and claimed the title of a hero. Years later, new batch of heroes emerged. This time, they were the forerunners of various industries. I’ve watched the 4-episode documentary on History Channel entitled The Men Who Built America, which was very timely because I was still in College then and my Professor in Political Science asked the class something that has to do with Ford and Vanderbilt. Having watched the series, I was able to answer. I digress. These men, who supposedly have built America to the Superpower that it is now, also lived in the same time. So then it makes one ponder, does a generation produce greatness because the time demanded for it or simply because a lot of the men of the time are inherently remarkable?

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With the vast history of mankind, I guess we could all agree that Greatness  or Innovation springs forth because it’s been necessary for the change to happen. The world demanded that its inhabitants cope up. Then again, what propels the world to move forward? Isn’t it mankind who dictates that change should happen? Isn’t mankind supposed to ensure that progress is consistently present?

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This has been among the foundations on which Musk’s brilliance stands. There’s a part in the Audio Book where the author mentioned another scientist who’s been asking why there hasn’t been a big change in the field of Technology in recent years. After Gates and Jobs, what has happened between mid-2000 to now? How come no one’s stepping up with ideas that can move us closer to the flying cars that the past generations have envisioned 2010s to be like? What has happened to the esteemed Silicon Valley whose residents have been well-lauded for their contributions? Enter Musk. I’m in awe of people like him. People who start questioning their sanity because they think differently from everyone else. No, really. How come everyone I’ve met so far is either trying to fit in or desperately trying to be seemingly different when they’re just another echo? (I’m in the 2nd group, unfortunately but oh well) How come I haven’t met anyone who can actually change a thing or two about the norm?

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Musk is different because he sees problems where the rest of us would think is fully functioning as is. He finds solutions in problems that we don’t even know exist. That’s the trick, I guess, in weeding out Innovators from simple-minded people like you and me: seeing beneath what exists. Perhaps in a couple of years, another hero would rise up. She will be taunted as crazy, and she would perhaps think she actually is for quite some time, yet hopefully, she’ll be the next Innovator to take the next big leap.

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