A-Z Challenge: Zeus

For the most powerful god in Greek mythology, you’d think Zeus would be invincible. The truth, though, is that his one weakness is the same weakness of every common man: a beautiful woman. I wonder what that says about him, or of the common man?

Zeus is my least favorite god. He always seems so petty and eternally horny in stories, and it gets old quick. It’s very refreshing then to see him in movies as this seemingly wise old man burdened with saving mankind. Well, I’ll give him that; he does seem to care deeply for humans, provided, of course that we don’t offend him.

Gonna go slightly off course here and share with you this little anecdote. One time in college my friends got into a conversation about what they’d name their first-born boy. They threw around names such as Agamemnon and Achilles, but I don’t know why they all suddenly settled for ZEUS as a second or maybe even third name (like Emmanuel Zeus or Robert James Zeus). I think they were high or something. What the hell, right? Why name your kid after the god of womanizers? Are you dooming your kid to a lifetime of power but of a disreputable one? I remember hearing about this “deal” much later on and promptly told them I was lucky I was never around to agree to such a thing. You know what they did? They all pretty much screamed at me, claiming I was there and that I agreed, too.

As if.

Thankfully, the friend who gave birth first in our circle of friends broke the “pact” and named her son something much better. The rest of us, not to mention our first born sons, have been saved. 🙂

Advertisements

A-Z Challenge: young adult fiction

Warning: very rough draft. Too exhausted to edit/revise

————-

High school never ends.

No truer words have been spoken.

Adults spend too much time quarreling over petty things that are pretty reminiscent of high school, don’t they? I must admit I’m guilty of doing so sometimes, but this honestly wasn’t my point when I mentioned the first line.

I was referring to people’s fascination with young adult fiction. I have a lot of friends who are still avid readers of YA lit, and they’re not apologetic about it (like me). YA lit in all its subgenres either takes us back to the glory of our younger days or forces us to face the demons we thought we’d left behind. Even though that glory has passed or our demons have taken the weekend off, we still crave for young adult literature because with what we have now, the fiction is still preferable to reality.

If you argue that this is true with ALL fiction books, the beauty of YA lit is in the demographic of the characters. ALL of us can relate to one or the other character in a book because we’ve all been through that adolescent phase in or lives right? Even with the supernatural thrown in with Percy Jackson, for example, the issues faced by the main such as estrangement from a parent, coping with a learning disorder, budding relationships, sibling rivalry, weird family members, etc are ones familiar to any person reading the story, and we become engaged and even emotionally invested more than we do with general fiction.

So here’s to yung adult books, the movers and shakers of today’s literature.

My personal favorites:
1. ……..
2. ……..

———–

I’m seriously wasted. I’m half awake writing this so I’ll have to get back to this in the morning because I can’t think straight anymore .

Good night, world.

A-Z Challenge: Xena

The first time I ever “shipped” two fictional characters was when I watched Prince Lotor try to get Princess Alura in Voltron. The next time I remember shipping another non-canon couple was when I watched Xena and wished she would hook up with Ares, the god of war (which turns out to be slightly incestuous since this Wikipedia article says that it was implied he might be her father, not her lover).

Anyway, Xena was the first badass chick I’ve ever admired. Sailor Jupiter (Sailormoon), Linka and Gi (Captain Planet), Storm of Xmen were some other female heroes I liked, but for me they were sissies compared to Xena. The woman was a female war machine, and, as amazing as I think those other ladies were, I doubt they could beat Xena in combat without the aid of any of their powers.

A-Z Challenge: Watsons Go to Birmingham, The

Christopher Paul Curtis tells us the story of Kenny Watson and his family who travel to Birmingham in the early 60s at the height of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Their family had been living in Flint, Michigan in peace, i.e. they weren’t bullied because they were black. Why travel to Birmingham, Alabama, then, which wasn’t as friendly to African Americans as Michigan was?

It was all because of Byron, Kenny’s punk ass older brother who was growing up to be quite a juvenile delinquent. The parents figure that Byron needs to be taught a lesson and bring him to the one place where a black kid like him wouldn’t have been able to wield as much power as he did over fellow students (yeah he was a big bully).

You’d think that Byron would be the protagonist here, but he’s just the catalyst for Kenny, and consequently the reader, to understand the issues of that time. Because this was told from Kenny’s point of view as an eleven-year-old, the issue of discrimination is explained simply but not made light of. The author, Curtis, is able to bring to the level of young readers the gravity of the issue without confusing them. Although, I must admit, the chapter about the Wool Pooh monster was a bit difficult for me and my students to initially understand.

In any case, even though the context was American, the issues of discrimination and bullying hit a chord in the students because they’ve all experienced it in some way, but this time they become aware that these things happen on an international level, too, and not just in their homes or classrooms. Along with Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, The Watsons Go to Birmingham is an excellent text to bring awareness to the students and get them to think critically about the idea of fairness, acceptance, and equality.

A-Z Challenge: Vriska Serket

Vriska Serket, Patrol Troll of the Scorpio sign

Vriska,_God_Tier,_Hood_Down

god tier Vriska

I was introduced to this online web serial (comics?) called Homestuck (<–click to start reading) by my former student and later on by my own sister. Simply put, it tells the story of four human kids and their quest to save the world through the help of 12 aliens (representative of the 12 signs of the zodiac) who want to help them because apparently the 4 kids fail if they proceed on the mission on their own. (This is an oversimplification; best if you just discover the story on your own.)

Vriska Serket, 8th troll (the alien race) to be formally introduced, is the patron troll of those born under the Scorpio sign (like me). When I first got to her story, I hated her, and I felt bad that my patron troll could be so cruel. Then again, given the general character traits of Scorpios, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Vriska was like that. What I couldn’t understand, though, was how my sister thought Vriska was one of the coolest trolls among the bunch. Apparently, I wasn’t even halfway through the story so I had to shut up about it.

As I slowly unraveled Vriska’s story (and you know what, I’m still not done), I began to realize that she wasn’t being cruel for the sake of it; she actually had a purpose–a noble one at that. You just think that her methods are very…hinky and evil. Then I got to thinking if I were anything like her. She seemed cruel in the way she treated her friend/s, but she was actually pushing them to learn to stand up for themselves (I never said her methods were perfect. hey.) because they were pushovers. On my end, I’ve been accused of being a bitch, but anybody who really knows me the fangs come out only in defense of my friends or if I’m pushing my whiny students to do and be more than they thought they could. (I’m really a softie; I cry at commercials.)

One thing’s for sure, though: I realize I had a lot more in common with Vriska than I had initially thought, and I guess I’m cool with that.

The series is impossible to finish in one day. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’m still not halfway through… I think. I’m at the part where someone just went grimdark – is that halfway through already?)

A-Z Challenge: Undead Series, The

Book 1: Undead and Unwed

Book 1: Undead and Unwed

I lasted for all of four books before I decided this was going the same direction as Kinsella’s Shopaholic series.

Let me backtrack.

In my quest to find a no-brainer book to get my mind back to normal thinking mode after checking mountains of student papers, I visited my then neighbor, National Book Store in Katipunan Avenue, my favorite place in that stretch of land I called my second home. I browsed and perused, trailing my fingers over the spines of the local offerings, the international best sellers, the YA books, the classics, the movie tie-ins until at last my fingers tingled upon reaching the CHICK LIT shelf.

Before my eyes lay hundreds of books by Kinsella, Ahern, Keyes, and a bunch of others I hadn’t heard of or read until that day. Kinsella I easily ignored after the trying time I had with her third Shopaholic book. Ahern was chick lit, alright, but more serious, and I wasn’t in the mood for that. Keyes was in the same boat as Ahern, but less dreamy and more realistic and practical, in my opinion.

Ah, but there somewhere near the bottom* a colorful cover caught my eye. Squatting down, I grabbed the book, turned it over as my hungry eyes devoured the summary. Vampires? Check. Hunky ones? Check. Ditzy but potential to become a femme fatale protagonist? Check. Sexy? Check and mate.

Before I could change my mind I stood up, went to the cashier and paid for my book. I went home, plonked down on my bed and started reading. It read like a Sophie Kinsella book with a hint of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the steamy romance of a Harlequin novel. I was, to put it mildly, surprised, and left wanting for more. In time, I bought the next three books until I felt the same way I did when reading Shopaholic Ties The Knot (Book 3 of the Shopaholic series if you haven’t caught on yet). It was exciting and interesting and FUNNY. More than Kinsella’s, as far as I was concerned. But yes, it felt… redundant. It felt like the author was just playing around with some individual that made the first few books work and then just changed an element (like a new villain), but the way in which the problems were handled felt the same.

Of course, since I stopped at book 4, I can’t say for sure that she continues in the same vein for the rest in the series. (She has 11 already, can you believe it? 12th one’s coming out this August.) All I know is, it was fun while it lasted. Who knows, maybe I’ll pick up the other books eventually when my brain needs a break again.

——-

*for the sake of voice and dramatics i put the book as being somewhere in the lower shelves but i vaguely remember it was actually somewhat eye level (or at least in the middle shelves). author’s name DID start with D, which put her books somewhere in the upper shelves.

A-Z Challenge: Trese

Reblogging a blog post I wrote last year when I realized I wrote about this already.

I read the latest installment in the series last January, and I must say, it just keeps on getting better. 🙂 If only I could use this for class for cultural appreciation…

hear me out

I was never really a big fan of comics. I remember reading the comics of my brother when I was younger, but that was mainly because I had run out of interesting things to read at home. A classmate gave me a quasi graphic novel in the 6th grade, I think, and I say quasi because it was the size of a Sweet Valley Twins book, drawn in black and white, but ended on a cliffhanger. Google informs me that graphic novels are like novels but with images, so that book/graphic novel was part of a series like comics, but it was as long as a novel. Uh, I think that was a bit confusing even for me to explain. I sincerely apologize for my ignorance of proper terminologies here. I’m trying hard to understand, and I think I do, but I’m doing a terrible job of explaining in my…

View original post 290 more words