Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What I would Write on my Moleskine (assuming I have one :))

Assuming I have a moleskine notebook, it will be the repository of the story ideas teeming in my mind which is no longer the reliable instrument it once was (hello, memory gap!). A moleskine will make a very fine storage for my story ideas - no viruses/bugs/worms/malwares to worry
about, no stml (short-term memory loss), no power interruption, no blue screen of death, - just add one finepoint pen. :)

Thanks Wifely Steps for the chance to join the Bloghopping Moleskine Giveaway!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My fave library scenes in films/books

As a bookworm, I have always considered the school library as my sanctuary and haven. It is at the library that I learned about the birds and the bees (notwithstanding that the references were scanty and withheld from general circulation) - starting with looking up the definitions of sexual terms in the gargantuan Webster's Dictionary up to finding (to my raging hormones' delight) sexy passages in R-rated books by Harold Robbins, et al.Not surprisingly while reading Atonement by Ian McEwan, the scene that got my pulse racing was the pivotal library encounter between the two lovers which was misinterpreted by the young Briony. I still have to see the movie version of this novel to find out how this scene was interpreted by the director. At the UP Main Library, one of my pet peeves was finding lovers making a lovenest in between library shelves where I needed to find a book for my research. I'm sure that if these lovers ever saw the film, they might have ended up necking and petting inside the cinema! The good ole days indeed! :D
While other movie viewers noticed clothes and shoes among other things, I salivated at the sight of the extensive (wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling) library in Lex Luthor's yacht in Superman Returns. Never mind if someone told me it was just a SFX. How Luthor can have that library and still be a villain is beyond me! One of my favorite Ray Bradbury books, Something Wicked This Way Comes, has a library scene where Mr. Dark confronts Mr. Halloway. I just couldn't put this book down and I revisit it like an old friend. My teenaged imagination was fired up by this book.
Belle in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, finds herself in bookworm heaven in the Beast's library. Never mind if this library is just a product of animation!I l-o-v-e both Yentl the Yeshiva Boy, a short story by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Yentl, the movie starred in and directed by Barbra Streisand! Orphaned, Yentl had to disguise herself as a boy to enter a school where/when women were not allowed to study the Torah. Yentl spends her time with tomes until love comes her way.
The library scene in The Mummy with Rachel Weisz as the librarian amidst the mayhem and the harassment of her boss made me remember all the school librarians I have met and befriended who served as my guides in the labyrinth of books under their care.
While others were turned off by a suspense thriller set in a medieval library in a monastery, The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco presented itself as a challenging read to me because of the pidgin English, Latin and French sentences in it. I had my Latin and French dictionaries on hand while reading it. In the end, it was a satisfying read. So satisfying that, when I finally saved up enough to buy a DVD player, the film version was one of the first three videos I bought and watched.

What Scene in "Day After Tomorrow" Frightens Me

No, it is not the global warming/ice age plot of The Day After Tomorrow that frightens me the most. It is this scene:

Snow/icebound with others (including some whiz kids) in the New York Public Library, the character played by Jake Gyllenhaal suggests that they burn library books to keep them warm. Never mind that they are in a room with wooden walls and wooden bookshelves (and wood gives off more warmth than books when burned!). Then some whiz kids engage in a debate on which works by whose authors to burn!

The horror! The terror I felt as I watched those precious being burned! Up to now, I still remind myself - It's ONLY a movie!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Too Many Saviors on My Cross: Rediscovering Richard Harris' Poetry (Blog Action Day 08: Poverty)

In support of Blog Action Day 08 with its theme on Poverty, I am posting this Youtube video of a Powerpoint of Richard Harris' Too Many Saviors and the poem below which I first heard on his long playing album His Greatest Performances in the 70s. I think this poem was composed by Harris with Ireland as its context; however, the words resonate with relevance to the present conditions here in the Philippines:

There Are Too Many Saviors on My Cross

There are too many saviors on my cross,
lending their blood to flood out my ballot box with needs of their own.
Who put you there?
Who told you that that was your place?

You carry me secretly naked in your heart
and clothe me publicly in armor crying “God is on our side,”yet I openly cry
Who is on mine?
Tell me, who?
You who bury your sons and cripple your fathers
whilst you buried my father in crippling his son.

The antiquated Saxon sword,
rusty in its scabbard of time now rises—
you gave it cause in my name,
bringing shame to the thorned head
that once bled for your salvation.

I hear your daily cries
in the far-off byways in your mouth
pointing north and south
and my Calvary looms again,
desperate in rebirth.
Your earth is partitioned,
but in contrition
it is the partition
in your hearts that you must abolish.

You nightly watchers of Gethsemane
who sat through my nightly trial delivering me from evil—
now deserted, I watch you share your silver.
Your purse, rich in hate,
bleeds my veins of love,
shattering my bone in the dust of the bogside and the Shankhill road.

There is no issue stronger than the tissue of love,
no need as holy as the palm outstretched in the run of generosity,
no monstrosity greater than the acre you inflict.
Who gave you the right to increase your fold
and decrease the pastures of my flock?
Who gave you the right?
Who gave it to you?
And in whose name do you fight?

I am not in heaven,
I am here,
hear me.
I am in you,
feel me.
I am of you,
be me.
I am with you,
see me.
I am for you,
need me.
I am all mankind;
only through kindness will you reach me.

What masked and bannered men can rock the ark
and navigate a course to their annointed kingdom come?
Who sailed their captain to waters that they troubled in my font,
sinking in the ignorant seas of prejudice?

There is no virgin willing to conceive in the heat of any bloody Sunday.
You crippled children lying in cries on Derry’s streets,
pushing your innocence to the full flush face of Christian guns,
battling the blame on each other,
do not grow tongues in your dying dumb wounds speaking my name.
I am not your prize in your death.
You have exorcized me in your game of politics.

Go home to your knees and worship me in any cloth,
for I was never tailor-made.
Who told you I was?
Who gave you the right to think it?
Take your beads in your crippled hands,
can you count my decades?
Take my love in your crippled hearts,
can you count the loss?

I am not orange.
I am not green.
I am a half-ripe fruit needing both colors to grow into ripeness,
and shame on you to have withered my orchard.
I in my poverty,
alone without trust,
cry shame on you
and shame on you again and again
for converting me into a bullet and shooting me into men’s hearts.

The ageless legend of my trial grows old
in the youth of your pulse staggering shamelessly from barricade to grave,
filing in the book of history my needless death one April.
Let me, in my betrayal, lie low in my grave,
and you, in your bitterness, lie low in yours,
for our measurements grow strangely dissimilar.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
sullied be thy name.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Finding 3 Lynne Truss books in less than 30 days

The local branch of National Bookstore displayed Lynne Truss's Eats, Shoots and Leaves in August so I decided to wait for a few more weeks so I could buy it at a marked down price during the September price-cut anniversary. And sure enough I was able to buy it at less-20% price. Its subtitle says: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. This is one book I wish some bloggers would buy because their blogposts give my headaches - Its my blogpost! It's grammer n punctuation is no business of your's!

The following week, I found Truss's Talk to the Hand (The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door) while browsing through the newly-arrived stocks at the Booksale branch here. This book I wish the younger people (and some older people too!) would buy since their rudeness and meanness is sooooo appalling these days you'd think they are worshipping at the altar of the Justice Secretary who is the epitome of an unrepenting Scrooge undaunted by hauntings of Christmases past, present, and future!

Finding The Lynne Truss Treasury on ebayph last week was serendipitous as I was looking for another book. It contains three comic novels and compiles the published column items of Ms. Truss. And so this book should occupy my time for the rest of this month.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

St. Francis Feast Day

All around the world today, Catholic churches celebrate the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi by blessing animals and their owners.

St. Francis, born Giovanni Francesco Bernardone in Assisi, Italy, is the patron saint of animals and the environment.

After spending his early years as a wayward youth, St. Francis became a soldier and was a prisoner of war. After his release, he became sick for a long time. He began having visions and heard God's voice in a church in San Damiano telling him to go and repair His house which going to ruins. He also rebelled against the riches that surrounded him and refused to join his friends' carousing ways.

At Mass, he listened to Matthew's gospel (10:7-10): And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. It was then that he decided to live a life of poverty.

Leading a life of penance and prayer, he began to preach about peace with God, peace with others and peace with oneself. He treated God's creations as his brothers and sisters. In 1210, he was given permission to start a new religious order named Friars Minor by Pope Innocent III.

The life of St. Francis was filled with hardships and challenges. He had to turn his back to his parents and family members. In 1219, he and his band of brothers went on a pilgrimage of peace to Egypt where he was allowed by the sultan (after much debate) to preach his message of peace.

One of his first recruits was St. Clare who would later found the Poor Clares and be declared by Pope Pius XII as the patron saint of television.

Two years before his death in 1226, he received the stigmata (five wounds of Jesus Christ).

His life has been written about in several books; the latest two were written by Donald Spoto and Robert Kennedy Jr. Also several films were made: Brother Sun, Sister Moon directed by Franco Zeffirelli and the TV film version of Spoto's book.

With the world in the grip of global warming and terrorism, St. Francis' intercession and examples are much needed to help us get through these times.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

One Year of Ebay.ph Buying!

October 2 this year marked my first year of buying at Ebay.ph. It was quite a learning experience for me. I learned how some ebay buyers "snipe" at an item on bid in the last few minutes (and thereby winning it instead of me who bid for it earlier and waited for the bid to end in a week's time) and this is considered "legal" at ebay. A Smart subscriber, I also learned to pay through Globe's gcash (aside from making bank deposits to pay other ebay sellers). I have saved myself quite a bundle of cash because of the l-o-o-o-w prices at ebay.ph.As a buyer, I learned to start small. Since ebay transactions are based on trust between the buyer and the seller, I had to establish that with the sellers because I began with a 0 (zero) feedback. At first, I bought a book (The Global Soul by Pico Iyer) whose price was less than the shipment cost. Then a comic book (Superman). Coincidentally, I also bought Wisdom of St. Francis (of Assisi) on his birthmonth.

Slowly, I built up my feedback positive rating. The first 10 sellers who gave me their trust are the following:


A toast to the above sellers, many of whom have become my good friends. Alana trusted me enough to sell me Oprah Winfrey Show DVDs and books Oprah endorsed. Rolf would tip me off whenever he has interesting books and Shakespeareana for sale. Cthulhu has the most stimulating books (and heaviest too, if I may add :) ) Shoshoink is one bookseller friend who went out of her way to buy the Star Wars Vault book for me. The others had books for which I had been looking for years and promptly bought from them to add to my collections. They are most accommodating and understanding. Whenever payment had to be done before payday (in ebay, payment has to be made 3 days after the bid is awarded to you), I would ask them if I could make the payment on payday or the next day and invariably, they would allow me.

As a buyer, I am surprised (delightfully) when a buyer encloses a freebie (bookmark, another book, etc) with my ebay purchase. I have read though that one pet peeve of ebay sellers is buyers who are in the habit of asking for freebies. I did ask once my suki-ebay sellers for freebies when I made some purchases last December and they did play Santa Claus to me.

I did have some skirmishes with anally-retentive and Alzheimer's diseased sellers. This one seller had some books I really coveted to have. After several purchases from her, I had to ask her if I could make a late payment (since it had to be made a week before payday) to which she agreed. But after 3 days, she reported me to ebay.ph for non-payment of the item. When I asked her why, inspite of the agreement, she just said it was in the ebay rules and had no bearing on my feedback rating. Why she would subject me to this hassle, only she knew. Needless to say, I deleted her from my list of favorite sellers and hasn't bought any book from her since.

Since I am based in Gensan, I have to include the shipment cost in my payments to ebay sellers based elsewhere in the country. Of the couriers here, Air21 is the most prompt and accessible to me. Well, there is one nearest to my place of work, but it takes its sweet time to deliver packages (48 hrs after they receive them). Another courier delivered a package addressed in Makati to me! It took them more than a week to find my package and retrieve the misdelivered package.

In one of my recent purchases, the item description of the seller specified shipment through Air21. After paying her through gcash 2 days after (still within the 3-days allowed by ebay), I texted her about it and reminded her to ship the books through Air21. In the next hour, she texted me that she shipped the books through another courier (which charges lower rates). When I asked why she did so inspite the specified courier and told her my bad experiences with the courier she used, she crankily sent me a barrage of texts that I paid late (!) and she shipped promptly (!). She also added that I had no respect for her despite her age (I didn't even know how old she is!). She also said she did me a favor because of the savings I had from her courier's low rates. Anyway, she said she would follow up her shipment and got the courier to promise to deliver it within 24 hours. Even if the package was delivered promptly, I couldn't give her an honest-to-goodness positive rating, so I decided to give her a neutral one instead of a negative one. And she went postal! This from a self-confessed 60+ year-old grandma! Whew! Such unpleasantness! Luckily for me, her rants were published by ebay in HER ratings page only.

And here I am, with 111 positive feedbacks and an enriched library (I added two bookshelves to house my burgeoning collection). But I feel richer knowing and having friends who also love books and reading. My one year in ebay.ph, I am sure, has been mutually beneficial to me and my seller-friends. So here's a toast to another year!