Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bookmooch: An Interesting Concept --

Char pointed out Bookmooch to me quite a while back. I checked it out but didn't sign up for it.

We're currently taking stock of all of our things and we are hopelessly overrun by Johann's books (also my books -- but my books are stored neatly while his books are EVERYWHERE O_O). I don't mind having a lot of books but many of his books are the type he reads once/twice and then sets aside forever.

So I finally signed up for Bookmooch in the hopes of getting rid of some of his books and getting some harder-to-find ones from other people.

Here is our (mostly Johann's) inventory.

The system is interesting -- every time you give a book away, you get points which you can use to ask for books from people. The catch is, you have to pay to ship your books. Sending a paperback to the US runs to about PhP288++ so that's basically the "cost" of whichever book you are mooching from others. (You can, of course, choose to restrict yourself to sending only within the Philippines. ^_^)

The best thing about Bookmooch is the selection of books you find from all over the world -- it really is an excellent opportunity to get those out-of-print/hard-to-find/uber-expensive-to-buy-in-the-Philippines books.

(Wow, I sound like a testimony from a Bookmooch ad. O_O)

* * *

Movie Date --

Last night, Johann and I watched No Reservations at SM City-Iloilo. I really enjoyed the movie. I loved the food aspect as well as the "human drama" involved in a kitchen.

Plus, Aaron Eckhart is such a cutie! I love him! >_<

I discovered that ice cream is very good movie theater food. We had dinner before the movie so we got ice cream sundaes from Jollibee to cleanse our palates.

Monday, October 22, 2007

For some strange reason --

I've been wanting to eat ensaymada -- it started when my mom brought back some mongo ensaymada a few days ago. That's the first time I've eaten ensaymada in a long while --

And then the next day, I dragged Seth and my sister to Tinapayan (very good bakery) in Atrium and bought ube ensaymada and cheese ensaymada.

We were at Atrium and I was resisting the urge to buy more ensaymada. We bought pandesal instead.

Now I wish I had ensaymada!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Girl in Hyacinth Blue --

I now understand why Susan Vreeland is a medyo big deal. While I wasn't so impressed with her Artemisia, I was blown away by Girl in Hyacinth Blue -- her "first" novel.

When I first heard about Girl in Hyacinth Blue, I thought it was just riding on the success of Girl with a Pearl Earring (the whole Vermeer connection) but Vreeland's novel is very, very different.

It was very bold of Vreeland to create a painting and to attribute it to Vermeer. It is a simple painting, described as that of a girl looking out of a window but the painting has a very complicated history which is explored in Vreeland's novel.

The novel begins in the "now" where the owner of the painting shows it to his friend and the question of its authenticity and author are asked. Is it really a Vermeer? How/Where did you get it?

And so it began -- with each succeeding chapter, we are taken further and further into the painting's history and we get a glimpse of how each of the painting's owners viewed her -- the Nazi who "saved" it from Hitler's Department for the Appropriation of Household Effects; the Nazi's son trying to reconcile the two halves of the painting's story: his father's part in the atrocities and the beauty of the painting; the man who bought it to remember his first and only love (and his wife who thought it was his anniversary present to her); the daughter who posed for the painting, etc.

It brings about another question -- what is the purpose of Art? Vreeland provides different answers to this question -- ranging from purely commercial to deeply personal but the common theme in all the chapters is that Art is valuable.

One of the central questions of the story is whether the painting is an authentic Vermeer because it was never signed. I think it makes a wonderful point about Art -- does the artist really matter or is the work itself enough? Will the work be valued less if it weren't a Vermeer? Vreeland explores this question in the chapter "Hyacinth Blues" --

"There is no signature. If there was any chance those papers said a van Mieris, I'd give you two hundred guilders, but for only a Vermeer, phugh."

I wrapped the painting again and left without a word more, took it to a second dealer and said it was a van Mieris.

"Are you sure it's not a Vermeer?"

"I'm certain."

Near the end of the novel, Vreeland reveals that it is a Vermeer but, by then, it doesn't matter anymore. For me, the painting has come alive and has become very real before this revelation. What this does is add yet another dimension to the painting -- why did Vermeer "paint" it? What were his circumstances when he "painted" it? In the chapter, "Still Life" we see Vermeer the painter but also Vermeer the man. While his works are beautiful, his life was a constant struggle with poverty, society and his family.

Vreeland's novel is a thought-provoking exploration of Art. She invites her readers to engage in a moment of quite contemplation, as though one was viewing a painting and not a novel -- and to ask the questions the novel presents.

"Why does the world need another painting of a woman alone in a room? Or a hundred more paintings?"

"The world doesn't know all that it needs yet..."

My copy of the book has a reader's guide at the back and one of the points for discussion is how we imagine the Girl in Hyacinth Blue. I searched the Internet for the covers of the book and here they are:

The cover that I have

Another cover

A guy actually painted his version of it ^_^

Interesting --

October 20 (today) is National Thank You Day in the Philippines.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Found at Robinson's Supermarket --

Dream Cacao Plus Lotte Choco Pie =

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I tried one today and it was yummy but, then, Lotte Choco Pie is yummy as it is.

* * *

This is how small Iloilo is --

and why I am one of the few people who actually buy books from National Bookstore here:

Yesterday, Johann and I watched Shoot Em Up. After the movie, we decided to walk around SM. While walking around, we bumped into one of the managers of National Bookstore and she recognized me and said hello.

Now, this isn't the first time that has happened. When Gabby was in Iloilo, I was telling her that I'm a bit chummy na with a manager of Natio. While going up the elevator, said manager was on her way down. She saw me and said hello -- Gabby was so surprised. ^_^

* * *

More on books --

I think I visit the Booksale branches too often. Yesterday, we decided to swing by the SM branch for a quick look at their stock and the cashier approached me and told me that they have a new stock of paperbacks in their Robinson's branch.

I like this development -- maybe I can work my way into having them weed out the authors I like and setting them aside for me. (Crossing my fingers. ^_^)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

For sale or for trade --

We have a "used" copy of Animal Crossing: Wild World for DS which we aren't playing so we've decided to put it up for sale.

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We bought it because it got very good reviews and is a very playable game but neither Johann or I have that kind of time or dedication to play it (with WOW and Seth and books, etc).

We're selling our copy for PhP1200.

OR if you have DS games which you aren't playing with anymore, we also welcome trades. ^_^

For reviews and more information about Animal Crossing, clickety click!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More pics from Wicked Japan ^_^ --

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Loot! --

Johann and I were able to sell his old DS (handed down from my brothers) so we asked my youngest brother to get a used DS Lite for us in Japan. We were able to get this one. ^_^

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It's second hand but the Japanese are very careful with their things and this one still looks new. ^_^

I also asked my brother to get me this 2008 pocket planner for 2008 in red.

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When my youngest brother finally sent the package, I was a little surprised that he was secretive about the contents of the package. He just told me it contained the DS and some "stuff" --

Imagine my delight when I saw what he sent to us --

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Two shirts from Wicked (the musical), some file folders and the programme. He watched it a few weeks ago. (He almost didn't because it was very expensive -- but we encouraged him to watch it because it was a chance of a lifetime.) The show was in Japanese and he said it was really nice.

We browsed through the pictures and the actors are sooo cute! >_< It's like live-action chibi. =^_^=

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(We will scan more pictures of this and will post them later. ^_^)

He also sent me some copies of Metropolis -- an English-language magazine published weekly and distributed for free in Tokyo.

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Yesterday was a happy day. ^_^

* * *

Curious --

I never imagined a candy to have such a name.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

They must think I'm crazy --

Last Sunday, I woke up with a monstrous migraine -- I really didn't think much of it because I slept late the night before.

But as the day progressed and after a tablet of Biogesic didn't do anything, I started to see it as a more serious problem.

The next day, I went to an optical shop to have my glasses fixed because they were tilting one way (Seth grabbed them) and to have my eyes checked.

After the check-up, the doctor told me that my grade had gone up by 25, which is very low. He suggested that I wait a week to see if the migraine would go away.

When I told the shop assistant that I would not be buying glasses that day, she had this look on her face -- surprise, disappointment, and maybe even irritation that I had wasted her time.

Tuesday, I still had a migraine so I decided to go back to the optical shop to get a new pair made. When I arrived and asked for my record, a different shop assistant looked for it and couldn't find it so she asked me to take the eye test again. It was a different doctor and was more thorough --

The result was different. Only the grade of my right eye went up (by 25) and I also had astigmatism in that eye.

Now, here's something you should know about me: I'm very good at spending for little things but, when it comes to the big things, I waffle and waffle until Johann or my sister decide for me.

I saw this as an opportunity to waffle so I told the doctor I would be back on Saturday during his shift to take the eye test again -- just to confirm the latest result.

I walked out of the store, leaving another shop assistant with the glasses that I picked out but hadn't bought.

On my way out, I realized that the people at that optical shop must think I'm some crazy woman/compulsive eye test taker --

* * *

Booksale Iloilo --

Last weekend, SM City-Iloilo had its 3-day sale. We didn't have work last Friday so we decided to go early in the morning. We paid our bills and stopped by Booksale, which is (seriously) the only place in Iloilo to get decent books (our National Bookstore branches sell mostly school and office supplies).

When I went in, there were three sisters there and between them was a stack of books -- the mother lode. They were all the romance titles that I've been looking for --

And they had gotten to it first.

I was quietly and discreetly moving about them, hoping they would leave one or two books but they didn't.

They took the stack and went straight to the counter.

I was able to buy some books -- and, in hindsight, I realized I didn't have enough money to buy the stack of books those sisters bought.

The next day, we decided to go to Booksale in Robinson's --

They didn't get a restock because that week's shipment was all diverted to SM City (where there was a sale) --

I found a really good copy of Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl and Johann was able to find a hardcover version of Jonathan Carroll's White Apples.

When I went to SM on Tuesday (*points to entry above*), I stopped by Booksale again. They were putting new books on their shelves -- mostly hardcovers and coffee table books. I was told by the shop assistant that they didn't get a lot of new paperbacks.

I was able to find a copy of Susan Vreeland's Girl in Hyacinth Blue, which I bought. ^_^

* * *

I meant to blog about this earlier but I kept forgetting --

What happened to National Bookstore-Cubao?

It was one of our stops when we were in Manila last month. It went through a massive renovation (which I knew about) but I was surprised to see that the layout had changed drastically.

We went directly to the 4th floor, which used to hold the "bargain" books but were surprised to see that they weren't there anymore.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I got a phone call yesterday from the owner of Sebastian's Ice Cream --

I won the GRAND PRIZE for their Podium branch raffle!!!

It means I get a year's supply of ice cream from Sebastian's!!!


(I had to restrain myself -- I wanted to type in all caps and pepper this entry with exclamation points galore!!!)

I've only won twice in my entire life and both of them good ones --

The first time was for the Fully Booked promo and I got a copy of Jamie Oliver's cookbook.

This is the second time. I couldn't believe it at first so I asked the owner to email me the details --

You have won a year's supply of free ice cream from Sebastian's, consisting of one pint of the flavor of your choice (from the current display) every week for one year.

After I found out yesterday, I was jumping up and down. I wanted to call everyone I knew and text everyone of my amazing windfall.

... when I told my dad, he said that I should move back to Manila for a year just to enjoy the ice cream. I am seriously tempted. ^_^

I am a happy Tin. ^_^