I will always love you like a love song.

Y’all probably know by now then when I’m blogging, I’m either procrastinating or so overcome with emotion that I  need to get all the word gunk in my head out of the way before I can talk properly. Tonight, it’s a little bit of both, except replace ‘emotion’ with ‘weird events all in one day.’ Haven’t had a day that was worth blogging about in the longest time.

So it’s Monday the 13th, dreaded day before Valentine’s Day. It’s also the day of the Grammy Awards. Woke up on time for once so I caught the second half of it. Guess I should’ve figured that I wouldn’t find it all that interesting, seeing as I’m a hipstahhh and all that, but I didn’t want to break the Award Show Monday mornings I’ve been having. I’ve already seen this year’s Golden Globes and SAG Awards, why stop now? (Random anecdote: when I was a kid, I always wondered whether the Grammy was an award given to old people or it was just a really awful name. Then came the SAGs.)

Anyway, the Grammys were kind of a waste of time and Nicki Minaj’s performance was FREAKING DISTURBING. The part of me that spent a good part of the weekend reading and watching the movies clunking up my laptop knew that watching it was a bad idea, but did I listen? Weekday!Shaniqua never does. Thus, I wasted my morning.

Which was the only free part of my day as later in the afternoon, I had to go to my own award show at school for the ninja-College Scholar award thing that I didn’t even realize I was eligible for. I didn’t really want to go because it’s actually my first free Monday in weeks. Also, I thought it was kind of unfair for me to get this thing as a Math student, because it’s been a year since I actually took a Math class and honestly, I don’t really want to be associated with the College of Science anymore. Too many horrible memories.

My parents thought it was a pretty big deal though, even if the first time that I get recognized for something in college turns out to be everyone else’s moment of victory as well. I shot my Monday vlog right before we left so I’d look nice in a video for once and also, because I figured I’d have time to edit when I got home. Oh how wrong I was.

Dad drove us to school. Mom kept talking to her sister from the moment we left the house until we were in the parking lot. I was being sullen. As usual.

The event was supposed to be held in this outdoor amphitheater that was still in construction the last time I saw it. The framework made it look a bit like a roller coaster. I would’ve preferred to receive the certificate while riding on a roller coaster, definitely. That would’ve made for an interesting afternoon. But meh, what actually happened was pretty interesting as well.

So like I said, I didn’t really want to be there. In addition to what I said before, I have a semi-pathological fear of people. Just being in the midst of a huge group of people I don’t know and am forced to interact with or share air with makes me cry. Literally. I’ve cried on each and every first day of each and every school year. That includes college and high school, yes.

I hate not knowing where to go or who to talk to. When I got to the venue, I saw some of my friends from my first year in Math milling around but none I was particularly close to, so I stuck with my parents like the scared little girl I am.

It was good, though. Sitting on the benches and watching the grass sway. The fresh air. People not noticing me. (No sarcasm, I swear.) It was nice to just sit and watch things. Like when we go to the cemetery and I lie on the grass and watch the clouds. It was that kind of nice. I still wanted to go home though.

But hey, as luck would have it, I didn’t have to stick around there for long. See, there’s nothing like seeing a crowd of well-dressed people get drenched and that’s exactly what happened. For a moment, I entertained the thought of going home, editing the video and getting another few hours of sleep, but of course, you don’t go to a field full of scholars and not expect someone to come up with some brilliant idea. So off to the Physics building we went.

People were fun to watch when they’re drenched and miserable in their high heels and slacks. They were the witches, melting, and I was, I dunno, a flying monkey, I guess. Anyway, it was amusing to see people so dressed up. One family had this purple ensemble thing going on. They were my favorite.

When we got to the Physics building, there was that air of mud and damp going on, the kind that triggers the neon SUSPENSION sign in block letters in my head. People were all packed together and it was…ugh. Not that they were disgusting and sweaty or anything. It was just…so many people. Talking to each other. And my parents had to go into the auditorium and I was lost again. So many people. It was crazy. There was someone in front who was trying to get us to fix ourselves but I couldn’t hear.

So I looked around and I saw someone I knew, but unfortunately, not exactly someone I wanted to see, but I was sort of expecting to see. What.

Let’s just put it this way. Question: What happens if the most awkward girl and the most awkward boy become classmates for a whole year? Answer: NOTHING. And that’s exactly what continued to happen.

Awkward!boy was alone at first. Then much awkward staring ensued. Or maybe it was all in awkward!girl’s head. (But I swear, there was a moment when I passed in front of him, trying to see the signs in front and not even five minutes later, he suddenly has to pass in front of me to go to the bathroom in the back? I mean, seriously, what the hell was that?) And then his friends came and awkward!girl stood in the back, trying not to cry, because crowds make her cry.

After years and years, the world fixed itself and I found myself standing in line (the right one). Lines are good places to not look awkward. Or rather, they’re the best places to look awkward, because nobody can’t not look awkward if you’re standing in line. Awkward!boy was far away, people were quieting down and best of all, I found my friends. Insert numerous silent cries of relief here. (Not sighs. Cries.)

Well, they kind of found me because the line was in alphabetical order and our last names were together. Anyway, everything after that was much better. Life lesson: Things are always better with friends. Friends are a different class of people. The kind that make you smile and know the right Taylor Swift songs to not sing. Found out that all of my friends had shifted courses or will be shifting at the end of the year. That says a lot, I think.

The auditorium was packed with our stage parents when we were finally let inside so we had to sit on the floor. That is not a joke. Imagine all the heels and skirts.

Then some impressive scientist made an impressive speech that I would’ve cared about more had he been talking about the history of cheese or something. (Not to say that he wasn’t impressive. He was. Just not to me. He was impressive in the cool-story-bro, kind of way.)

Then awarding, pictures, everyone and their mother (and father) leaving early, eating a full meal in the car. Do I really need to narrate an award ceremony?

Anyway, when I got home, I edited the sloppiest-ly edited Valentine’s Day vlog ever. Then I wrote this blog and typed the word ‘sloppiest-ly.’ Adventures in Vocabulary!

So I think I’ve procrastinated enough. I was supposed to write half a page on a book I’m not done reading, but look, I wrote like…several pages on a day that I’m done experiencing. Yay. What. I need to sleep.

Shut up and play the hits.

When you start a band, do you imagine how it will end?

Probably not. I dunno. When the thought of starting something crosses my mind, it’s just that thought, you know. I usually skip the starting and think of the part where I’m into it, thinking about it’ll expand, how I’ll talk to the people who were involved, my various acceptance speeches. You think of the peaks and not much else. You forget the level of impossibility you need to overcome. You forget the laziness that you inherently have. Nobody thinks about the repercussions or the heartbreaks. We’re all so consumed with the idea of the great big something that we end up getting nowhere. Nobody thinks of what’s going to happen when it’s over before it’s even started.

Why am I giving so much thought into this?

Well, as of the creation of paperbackretreat and thingsthatsoundnice, I have officially started my projects for the year. Crazy. I always flake out and really don’t want to this time. I’ve started both projects with different people so there’s less chance of it dying because we both need to decide to end it for it to die completely. But what if that day does come? What of the things that I imagined and thought about and worked for? Why are we starting these things if they’re going to end one day?

There’s a meaning of life metaphor in all of this musing, but for now, I choose to take one thing away from this sudden unedited burst of blog-itude: In the immortal words of Death Cab for Cutie, ‘everything, everything ends.’ And the journeys that I choose to take, be they academic or personal, will one day disappear by some random reason, better enjoy them while they last.

And with that comes a half-assed try at trying to convince myself to study Philo while I still have the chance.

Shaniqua on LCD Soundsystem: I only know one LCD Soundsystem song and that’s New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down. I found this while YouTube-ing trailers for Sundance 2012 movies.

Wiz aketch masabi: Thoughts on ‘If on a winter’s night a traveler’

Oh may gawd.

I just finished reading If on a winter’s night a traveler (aka Inception in a book) by Italo Calvino and oh mah gah. Please forgive the weird language (the title is beki btw. It felt appropriate and I always wanted to say that out loud.)  that I am inclined to use while composing this post because I just can’t, oh Lord, there is so much to say.

This is going to be less about the book and it’s content–because holy hell, I have no idea how exactly to write about that–and more about my reading experience and its implications about my reading life in 2012.

My mother always said that you had to start things right, so you’ll set the pace for the rest of that…thing which you are starting. That hasn’t worked out for me all the time, because more often than not, I end up flaking out on things in the middle of doing them. I lose interest or attention or circumstances get in the way. So I’ve edited my mother’s wise words into something like: You have to start things right so even if you don’t finish, at least you got the first part done well.

So that’s how I’ve decided to look at the future of myself in relation to If on a winter’s night a traveler, which is the first book I’ve read in 2012. And what a book it is.

Quick summary (without spoilers because I don’t know how to spoil this book): It’s written in the second person and it describes ‘you’ while you’re reading. That’s how it goes in the first chapter. Then you get to the next chapter and you think, hey, okay, this is where the actual story starts. So it does. And then it ends just when things are about to get interesting. Then ‘you’ start looking for the rest of book and then you find another book and start reading that. And that ends prematurely too.

And so it goes.

One thing I really like about this book is that when people ask me what it’s about, I get to give a really interesting answer without even trying. I always feel obligated to justify that what I’m reading is interesting even if I’m only reading it for school. And it’s not like I have the responsibility to convince them to read the same thing I’m reading so I don’t have to play the book up or anything. Also, it’s hard to say what the book is about when you’re still in the middle of reading without telling the whole story like a bad movie trailer.

Hm, this is probably why it’s on Shortlist’s 50 Coolest Books Ever. Honestly, I just felt a bit pretentious lugging a book with a cover like this around. And I think I should’ve gotten more street cred for finishing this, but hey, that’s what you get when you live in a city where the bare minimum that anyone’s read is Precious Hearts Romance. (It’s like Mills and Boone, only, like, bad.)

I’ve mentioned that I’m reading this for school. It’s for my English 12 class, World Literatures it’s supposed to be. This is also the first real novel we’re discussing in that class. Previously, we’ve talked about The Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno and Gawain and the Green Knight, none of which I’ve actually finished reading. Oops.

Okay, I did read Gawain and the Green Knight. In one day. You know, the day before I had to go back to school and discuss it. And I did read Inferno. In high school. So what do you know, this is also the first novel I actually read for English 12. And I do indeed feel that I am a much better person for actually pushing through it and not giving in to the pull of the fifteen unread books that lie in wait on my legendary To-Read pile that may or may not include John Green’s The Fault in our Stars.

This summer, my lovelies; this summer, I promise.

And because of that, If on a winter’s night a traveler has joined the ranks of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude in the land of ‘Books I read for school that weren’t a total waste of time,’ making another personal record for being the first non-Latin American author to, well, not be a waste of time. Yay.

I will say this about Calvino though: The man knows to how to shake things up. If he were still alive, he and Christopher Nolan would probably be BFFs and they’d create Oscar-Pulitzer-winning movies within books within movies or something. My English 12 prof showed us a picture of Italo Calvino and he had that mischievous grandpa look about him, like he lived a life infinitely better than mine ever will be, but not in the nasty you-are-inferior-because-you’re-so-boring sense. More of the let’s-have-tea-together-and-I’ll-teach-you-how-to-write-like-a-badass.

Did anyone else get that? Just me? Okay.

Lastly, I’m undertaking various projects and activities this year. Yeah, I’m surprised, too. For a girl who didn’t even bother making a concrete set of resolutions, I’m kinda swamped with things to do, thing that might actually turn me into a better person. Among these things are the remodeling of my room, learning how to bake and/or knit, (hopefully) my first concert to a band that I really really like, a weekly vlog and–da-dada-dah–a book blog.

Onomatopeia fail aside, I’ve been thinking about starting a book blog ever since I found out that the people who run book blogs get free books. And you know, do cool bookish things. The Philippine book blog community seems pretty interesting actually. They seem like the kind of people I want to go on adventures with.

The only thing(s) stopping me from starting a book blog are

1.I am a very slow reader (took me two weeks to get through If on a winter’s night a traveler) and I highly doubt I have time to write reviews on all of the books I read in between my various procrastinatory scholarly activities.

2. I’m thinking of doing this on Tumblr (sorry WordPress) because more followers –> more recognition –> more free books, but Tumblr’s still mad at me for leaving it behind in favor of (not doing) schoolwork and thus refuses to let me customize blogs.

3. I’m not entirely sure I’ve completely gotten the hang of this blogging thing. I mean, I’m barely coherent here.

I have chosen to ignore all that though, because if I can get through all that mindfuckery and write a blog entry currently at 1094 words long, I can do anything. Thanks for the push, Calvino.

My book blog will most likely be launched this summer, when I’ve gotten through all the tricky sticky sick-y that is school and I’ve started on that precipitous book pile. I’ll probably start by reviewing authors who are still, you know, alive. It feels weird, judging a dead guy’s work, like saying I love you to the sea. It shows signs of life, but it’s not really alive…so. /Ooh, profundity./

Shaniquasparkles will still be updated because well, no one reads this anyway and I like that.

Wow, that was one monster of a blog entry. Apparently, marami pala aketch na masasabi.

Hey, yo, off to study Philo. (Not happening.)

Mating season

If you sliced my brain in half, the inside surface (what do you call that, the underside of the surface?) would probably look like the view from speeding train. Or like a film projector on the fritz. Or like this.

It’s been hard for me to get to sleep lately. There are so many things to think and when the time comes to think them properly, the thoughts go away and get replaced with more more more thoughts. I now know what my To Read pile feels like. I don’t know. Things are too much.

I don’t know whether to attribute it to the holiday hangover or just the fact that is the New Year and I don’t feel any different. I’m finding it hard to accept the latter. I don’t feel like I’m supposed to feel. In fact, I feel like I’m already failing 2012 three days in. But I dunno. Isn’t not feeling the way you’re supposed to the story of our lives? Or at least the side of it that gets broadcasted on afternoon teleseryes.

Also, my impromptu resolutions aren’t working out too well. Figures. I’m not all too disappointed about this.

Last year, I only got one resolution done but it was a big one and I did feel like I lived a better life because I fulfilled that one resolution. It was ‘be nicer to my brother and sister.’

Maybe I should try that this year and make the others…side resolutions? In any case, I’ve narrowed my list down to four three: Read 50 books, talk to people better, lose weight and stop judging people. Of course, with the three of these come the standard save-money-live-a-better-life-help-the-needy spiel. The first one is more of a goal and the last one is more of an impossibility.

Social betterment it is.

Now that that’s decided, I’d like to tell the tale of two things that have haunted me on my first day back.

One. If I’m interpreting the signs correctly, I think I’m finally going to Hogwarts.

My first class for the year was English 12, where we’ve started discussing Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Turns out, my prof is an all-out Game of Thrones, cosplaying, Age of Empires playing geek and I think that is absolutely freaking awesome. (I also found her deviantArt a few months back and her art, too, is incredibly freaking awesome. But I digress.) Anyway, she started connecting the Gawain mythology with all that mystical Arthurian cheverness, and of course, being the pretentious little English geek, impressing English teachers is very important to me. Let’s just say much drama has been had because I wanted to the best at English.

Obviously, I don’t know anything even mildly Arthurian except The Great Tree of Avalon (I love this series but it’s a spin-off from the author’s original Merlin books), Merlin and Harry Potter. Maybe I should’ve spent my break watching Merlin and Game of Thrones and The Sword in the Stone and Quest for Camelot.

I dunno. Impressing English teachers means a lot to me. It was also the first class of the year. My mom always says that you should start everything well so the rest of it will turn out well. Well, well, well.

Oh and also, a Creative Writing classmate wrote a poem that is possibly most likely about Harry and Ginny. You can see how hard it is for me to do that judging resolution. Fandom is an entirely different matter.

Maybe Hogwarts is a bit of stretch, but I just wanted to share.

Two. I recently found out about Zooey Deschanel and Ben Gibbard’s divorce. (WordPress, y u red underline Gibbard but not Deschanel?) I am ashamed to say that I belong to the clan of the secretly happy. Maybe not completely happy, but the amount of happiness is definitely enough to be ashamed about.

Let me start off by saying I am a fan of those involved. I am a fan of Death Cab for Cutie. I enjoy New Girl very much. I also enjoy watching this video. I AM GREATLY ASHAMED OKAY.

I feel so icky for enjoying someone’s break-up, but blogs exist so the blogger can defend his or herself. Even if there is not much to defend and nobody’s accusing her of anything. She just wants to get this out of her system.

So here’s my theory as I recounted to a friend over a free cut from French. For those who may know of my echoserang babae theory thing, this is related to that, but I guess in a more forgiving light, since this time I am actually sympathetic for the dude.

The theory is this: Some people are just meant to be together, but for some reason, they have to break someone else’s heart to realize that. They have to meet other people for God knows what reason. Maybe they don’t think it’s the right time, or they’re not sure about their feelings, but whatever it is, there will be that someone else. Ang echoserang babae o echoserong lalaki sa love story nila. But then, because echosero/a is not someone, but someone else, the relationship will disintegrate and the true love will go on as planned.

After telling my friend this, she asked, ‘So you believe in soul mates? What if your dude’s like in Antarctica or something?’

To which I replied, ‘This theory only applies to celebrities.’

I mean, after being linked to a few guys, Marion Cotillard still ended up with Guillaume Canet, didn’t she? Robin Scherbatsky and Barney Stinson (not celebrities per se, but they count because this is my blog) haven’t technically gotten back together but they will, obviously. And the clear clincher: Tom Felton and Emma Watson will get married one day, duh!

We all knew it was headed there.

Looking back at this entry, this may be less about love and more about my personal shipping biases.

Again, I am ashamed.

Resolution list:

Blog better. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

So this is the New Year

I’m thinking of marriage.

When I get married, my bathroom will always be clean. The house will have blue walls and wooden furniture.

When I get married, I will always have someone to talk to during awkward family gatherings. People will stop asking me whether I have a boyfriend.

When I get married, the Fratellis will get back together.

I also have a wedding playlist ready made inside my mind, but I won’t share it because weddings are for fake superstitions and mine is: Sharing a wedding playlist before you’re actually engaged (or before you’ve actually had a boyfriend for that matter) is bad luck.

Last night, while I was cleaning out the attic (top shelf) and basement (bottom shelf) of my room, I pronounced that I would have an amazing year with or without anyone else. And here I am, already dreaming.

I didn’t really think of any resolutions for the year. I never change anyway, and I’m always trying to. This year is just a continuation of that effort, as is everyday.

That sounded horribly pessimistic. On the other hand, I find it freeing. I won’t feel disappointed in myself for not achieving ridiculous goals. And anyway, I think we’re past the point of dreaming and promising change, don’t you? We’re not politicians.

I think I’m ready to actually get somewhere this time. And so in the interest of making resolutions that involve actual resolve, here I go.

–Read 50 books.

–Discover more bands, watch more movies, attend at least one concert that you really want to go to.

–Find a better workspace. You always fall asleep in your room.

–Spend less. Sleep less. Place less importance on the internet. It’s so mainstream.

–Learn to drive. Get license. Whichever comes first.

–Be a better Christian.

–Homework is a lost cause. Don’t even try to make things better, there are far more worthwhile things to worry about.

–Write better blog entries. Think more. Be more coherent. Stop explaining where you get your titles.

–Go places.

–Weigh less in December than you did in January. A pound less is an achievement.

–Write what you mean. Learn to edit. Focus your powers of judgment on yourself.

–Say what you mean. Do what you say you will. Get things done.

–That thing you do where you like stop yourself from telling the whole story because you assume you’ll remember it years later when you read through your past entries? You won’t remember what the hell you were talking about. Tell the freaking story. Things aren’t as memorable as you think they are.

–You could very well be dead by the end of the year. Get published. Finish a novel.

–Be nicer to people. They have just as many issues as you do.

–Do not let other people’s opinions stop you from reading, watching, thinking, doing what you want.

Well, that’s all I’ve got. The other things are more technical. (eg. Be-shelve your room. Make a music video. Finish a glass of water. Watch Spiderman. Turn 18. That sort of thing.) I know you should keep your resolutions precise and  achievable for a distinctly happier life. But nah, those end up sounding like to-do list entries and God knows I have more than enough of those. My rule in making resolutions: They should sound nice so I don’t get sick of hearing them over and over.

Anyway, that’s it.

Marriage or no, let’s have a beautiful life.

PS. In case I do get bored with my resolutions, here’s a handy site to look at. “IN 2012, I WILL TRY MAKING UP MY MIND FOR MYSELF, INSTEAD OF USING RIDICULOUS WEB-BASED GENERATORS.”

Running Bunnies

I might just be saying this because I’m a time of the month tiger cub right now and I just finished a heart-wrenching book, but I’m definitely not saying it because I am sentimental about the loss of the year. I want to say this because it’s time to move on, but credit must be given where it is due.

Frightened Rabbit deserves all the love that hasn’t been used up this year. They’re not getting the leftovers. They’re getting the part that I’ve been saving, choice cuts of my heart. That’s a bit morbid, but there you go.

I just feel like they’ve been singing my theme songs for the most part of the year and without their words, I would’ve been a wreck right now. Instead, I was a wreck earlier, when no one was watching, which is great because sometimes you have to be in pieces to figure out which ones to throw away.

I discovered them in a fanmix for Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Through The Modern Leper, I was inducted into their cult, but it was more of a private cult that only included me and my room and my playlist and (occasionally) the stories I write.

The Loneliness* speaks of my soul, Things of the sold and Not Miserable of the trailer that I am secretly making on iMovie.**

It also helps that they remind me of Where’s Fluffy, the fictional band from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and that frightened is my favorite way of saying ‘scared.’ It’s a word I save for the good sentences and because of this band, every sentence gets to be a little better.

So here’s to you, Frightened Rabbit, my love, my heart and my year. Thanks for the lot.

(Special mention goes to Freelance Whales, who have also helped me in a few writing spots and have helped me to realize that oranges and generators are important things, but that’s for another day and will probably include a profession of devotion to a fellow hipsterdork.)

*Apparently, the title is The Loneliness and The Scream. Huh.

**Said trailer of my unfinished novel for NaNoWriMO 2011. It’s a comedy about suicide.

I was not meant for here.

So it’s Christmas, And I didn’t get a lot of gifts this year*, which is totally fine as the ones that I did get are top quality. (17-disc Harry Potter DVD collection, a pretty bag, a planner that didn’t cost me a single cup of coffee to name a few. Not to mention the stacks of books that I ‘gave to myself’.)

But the thing is.

I have SO many things. It’s alarming. I keep asking myself whether I need more and the answer is always a whopping YES.

Also, I can’t get this song out of my head.

I didn’t need these things, I didn’t need them, oh.

Took them all to bits, turned them outside in,

And I left them on the floor

And ran for dear life through the door, oh.

I never considered myself materialistic, but at the end of the day, books are still things. Things that–I was told–wouldn’t get me to heaven. Things that I could give away to people who need them more. Things that gather dust. Things that burn holes in my pockets. Things things things.

Is it possible to love things?

That is a question for CW100 poetry to answer.

I won’t explore the finer points of this thought (chase it to the badlands as it were) as I have other responsibilities to attend to, but it’s a thought that needs to be blogged before Christmas is officially over. It ends in about half an hour, and then the dead days begin. We transition from the fire to the fireworks. Six days to leave this year behind.

Merry Christmas. Hope you’re having a good one.

*It’s Perfume Year (perhaps a shout-out to that book I didn’t finish) Four bottles of perfume. Last year was Bag Year (shout-out to my bag lady habits?) Four of those bags that can be folded into compact rectangles.

This blog post was intended to be the first post for another new blog, hence the title. Will the newness never stop?

Anyway, I was going to go ahead and make that blog but then my old nemesis came to greet me: the username. And so the blog died before it was born. (That was a bad metaphor. If there are any expectant mothers out there, I’m sorry.)

I don’t know if that other blog is going to come true (like a dream) or to fruition (like a plan), but one thing is for sure: New Year’s Resolution: Be more decisive. I mean, I’m all for spontaneity, but I really have to plan these things more.

I’m also planning a book blog? If I can do that sort of thing.

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