BOOK REVIEW: 50 Shades of Grey by E. L. James

photo not mine
Eric wasn't joking. The story was R18. Erotic scenes between Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele were painstakingly detailed and it would - no doubt - totally sidetrack you from the main story. One who has been exposed to smut genres surely would not help but grin as s/he reads this book - in private or in public. But while I sound so much into all these 'perverse' thoughts, I have to say that setting aside all its artistic sexuality, the first book from E. L. James was a good read. 

I won't be spilling anything but as I owe my Ate Jorlette a review of this book, I am apologizing in advance if I would unconsciously do. But if ever I did, I hope it would just make you more curious and motivate you eventually to read it.

Okay, so here it goes...

Frankly speaking, the general plot line was common to me. Having been exposed to several Rated M fan-fictions (and as I am writing one), a sexual relationship between a multi-billionaire and an ordinary young woman is a very usual ordeal. However, it has brought upon a tinge of distinction to my playful mind. 

Indeed, the concept of BSDM relationships is something new to me. Sure, I have heard about the top/bottom thingy, but I never took it seriously because most times I come across it, it's an inside joke within my KPOP fandoms; or it comes from a very personal conversation between me and my homosexual friends.

So yeah, Fifty Shades of Grey was generally old yet unfamiliar to me - which thoroughly makes it exciting. I particularly enjoyed it (as I've noted earlier). Kindly set aside the thought that I am for the sexual parts though because while I should admit that I found it a little fascinating, I was more inclined with the attempt of the author to add wit to the story. The e-mail exchanges between the two protagonists were really something to look forward to; and as you read, never forget to take notice of the email subjects. These little things play a great role to the comic, I swear.

Putting it simply, I find myself attached to the book. Once again, it's not because of its general nature (I am desperately being defensive, obviously) but because for the first chapters, I have seen myself in Anastasia Steele. Like her, people think that I am something while here I am, mocking myself for being a nobody. Most importantly, I am in love with a man who is very much out of my league.

But then, of course, the comparison ends there.

Basically, 50 Shades of Grey opened up a portal which exposed me to a bigger reality about sex, relationships, and the people who do it. If there is one thing that I have managed to pick up from the story, it's about having the determination to make things work if you want to stay in a relationship. Partners must adjust to each other, and compromise is the key. 

And oh, I learned that baby oil is the best make-up remover. It will surely save me money.

The book is a first of a trilogy. I am currently reading the second book and there is an external conflict now. Things are getting interesting; but in a way, it's becoming more and more predictable. But there are questions yet to be answered, so I'm sticking with it.

As for the characters... You see, I need to have a mental image of the characters in the story so I could appreciate it more. While I am honestly having a hard time imagining how Anastasia Steele looks like, I couldn't fathom why Christian Grey came off easy. And no, it's not Ian Somerhalder. In my imaginations, it's James Lee, the hot and lovely bassist of a Korean band called Royal Pirates. 

AND I SWEAR I HAVE NO IDEA WHY HE'S THE FIRST PERSON TO INVADE MY THOUGHTS. BUT PERHAPS JAMES WOULD LIKE TO AUDITION FOR THE ROLE? He grew up in the States, anyway, and all you judgmental people, he can speak English better than anyone else I know. *winks*

So okay. I don't think this came off as a decent review; but I wish this somehow intrigued you to read the book. It wouldn't topple Harry Potter on my list, of course. But I sure prefer this over the saga which practically inspired this one.

Meycauayan Spots: Parish Church of St. Francis of Assisi

It is not a secret that I have been serving the church for more than 10 years now. I am no saint but I know my spiritual needs. And as a writer, I think I am in dire need to allot even just a small space in this blog for a church which I have long been so fascinated, the Parish Church of St. Francis of Assisi.

It's Never Too Dark

DAY 1 / August 7

It was 4AM. I was awakened by the strong pouring of the rain on the roof beside my window. I felt really uncomfortable so I jumped out of bed and took a glimpse of the situation outside. There was no lights on but I could totally distinguish the unusual water level. It has gone deeper.

Flood level around 10AM, August 7
At first, we were in-denial. We even got to watch the live coverage of the Olympics and I was able to go online and found out that James Lee replied to me. However, the rain poured harder and my gut feeling that we will be flooded prevailed.

Soon enough, the water level increased and the next thing I knew, our house was once again submerged in water. It was Ondoy 2.0. Worse, though.

My lola
What we did first was to bring my 86-year-old grandmother upstairs. We then moved to secure the refrigerator and other things which may be reached by water. It was pure panic, I tell you.

As the water level gets higher, I kept on praying. I couldn’t stop crying either. I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by fear. My paranoia was killing me. It’s currently 2012 and December is fast approaching. What if it’s the end of the world already? I don’t want to die yet.

Such thought ran on my mind that I really was shaking. I couldn’t sleep nor eat properly. Even though we have our dad with us this time, I can’t help but still worry. My phone’s battery was running out. I couldn’t work because aside from the fact that we don’t have electricity, Sun network’s services were dumb (more to this soon!) so I couldn’t connect to the internet. The rain was continuously pouring hard.

Although I know some had it worse, I was starting to feel devastated.

Who's to Blame?

We are God's stewards here on Earth. I've learned that on high school. We, as his prime creations, were given the supreme task of taking care of all other things He mad, and that includes nature.

But did we?

Sure, not all of us are illegal loggers. But I'm sure all of us had once littered on the street. That, alone, is a huge mistake. Imagine if more than 7 billion people would throw recklessly even just a piece of plastic trash. The pile of garbage we're gonna come with up could probably block a length of drainage already, or maybe a river, and eventually lead to flash floods.

Mind you, we don't just throw candy wrappers, and we've been destroying nature since God knows when.

I don't know about the statistics but in Meycauayan alone, I could see piles of garbage improperly disposed. That is why one strong rainfall, and it's difficult finding dry land to walk on. I find it unfortunate and definitely annoying, but who's to blame?

We constantly blame the rain and the abnormal weather turnouts whenever there are calamities; but what we fail to realize is that instead of blaming the natural occurrences, we should blame ourselves.

Maybe, this is becoming a religious blog again, but I strongly believe that the constant submerging of our streets, and our homes, is a call from God. It's a tap on our shoulders, telling and reminding us that we were not doing our responsibilities well.

I always find fault in our government officials. Instead of spending time going to beauty clinics for cosmetic surgeries or going for unnecessary photoshoots to boost popularity, why can't they just spend their time thinking of solutions to deepen the river? It was made possible in Tullahan in Valenzuela, why can't they do it in Meycauayan? Instead of using the public funds on senseless tarpaulins and tents infested with their annoying names and faces, why can't they use it for better purposes like drainage improvement?

But then again, are they the only ones to blame?

The residents who would thrown their plastic and chemical wastes on the river, the rascals who would throw everything on the street even when there's a trashcan in front of them already, the street vendors and sweepers who - instead of picking up the trash they collected - would just dump it on drainage holes, and the people who wouldn't care...

Aren't WE the ones to blame too?

The rain is a natural occurrence as we are a tropical country. August is a rainy month so this kind of weather should have been expected. But flood is not typical. Although we always encounter it, it doesn't mean we should get used to it. We have to take actions. We have to do our part.

So please, let' stop destroying what we all should be taking care of. Not just in Meycauayan, but everywhere else in the country. Discipline is the key, and it's never too late. Whether one finished schooling or hasn't even stepped on a school does not matter in this issue, it's about growing some conscience and finding ways to be better people to this land.

God bless Meycauayan.
God bless the Philippines.

Lord, keep us all safe.

A Very Late Post: Singapore Trip (Day 4)

Ah, finally! The last day in Singapore. Our departure flight was at 12NN and we checked out early from the backpacker's inn because we wanted to go to the church since it was a Sunday. Too bad that the mass will start at 10AM, and we had to be at the airport by 10:45AM. We didn't want to be rude and leave the mass early so we decided to just pray and off we went to the airport.

We walked around the streets and found ourselves getting lost. LOL But while Ate Yan and Ate Tin were finding our way to the train station, I took the opportunity to snap some photos of the different attractions around me that time.

This was the church we visited. I think the name's Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

A Very Late Post: Singapore Trip (Day 3)

The third day in Singapore is the highlight of our trip! Why? Of course! It's Super Show 4!

The day began with us meeting a new Korean whose name I forgot, but she looked like Moon Geun Young and she was really happy to hear that from us, Filipinos. It was quite a funny experience because as I was fixing my things, she suddenly came up to me and showed me an owl lamp. Clueless, I just said 'LAMP'. LOL. And I guess, just so I wouldn't make her feel bad, I talked to her and yeah, we had a really short but cute time talking.

Anyway, Ate Yan had to fetch Shane from Little India so Ate Tin and I went first to Singapore Indoor Stadium. I tell you, it was freaking creepy when we got there. As soon as we got out of the stadium, IT WAS SO DARK! Rain clouds were really hovering above us, until it finally began to rain. Super Junior aren't called RAIN GODS for nothing.

Since we have our own seat numbers (Thanks to Weiling for getting us the tickets!), we needed not to fall in line. And then we met up with Sai (a very nice and beautiful Indonesian friend) and Shane came as well.

Frankly, the highlight of our waiting was meeting Camel, the master of (YOU'RE UNNIE!) She's so cute, I was literally stuttering when she was talking to us. I can't reveal her pictures here, but if you wish to know how she looks like... imagine Lee Jaejin from FT Island. ^^

So after a while, we went inside the concert hall and it was so small. Araneta Coliseum is way bigger but no doubt, I would still choose my hometown venue. We were seated at the 8th row of a good section and it was a nice experience. No fan accounts though, because although it's kinda weird, I didn't enjoy that much. Probably because it's still better and more fun when it's held in the Philippines.

But then, I just can't resist stating here one thing which I really, really hated. During Zhoumi's solo, people one by one stood up from their seats and left the stadium. This mass walk-out was really rude. The stadium lights were on and the man was standing in the middle of the stage, and you can really see people leaving. Fuck. Until now, it makes me feel so mad. It's the first time I've seen something like that, and I think that's worse than a black ocean.

Geez. People just have to learn how to play fair. And then people said that they just went to the restroom? WHO ARE THEY FOOLING? They started coming back as soon as Siwon's solo began. Come on. For what I know, you would need like six songs to finish before you could go and back the CRs. The one is in the station. The other's in the mall.

But then, it's their choice. It just felt better that they didn't do that to Henry... or I would have probably gone berserk.

Tsk tsk. I really wish SS5 would have Manila on their list.

No pictures during the concert too because freaking guards were so strict. They were literally taking our cameras. Goodness. Camel was disappointed. We were too. Luckily though, we were able to snap some photos during the ending for memories' sake.

Shot before the concert. I was that close to the stage, and I looked stupid. Yes?

A Very Late Post: Singapore Trip (Day 2)

Our Day 2 in Singapore was pretty much an exciting one. First, I met my lovely Yuxing UnnieSecond, I met up with Mook, Zhen and Weiling. And last, we literally walked around Singapore City so much!

The day was very tiring that I ended up with blisters on my feet, but it was sure worth it. Although it drizzled a little (because Super Junior arrived at Singapore), it was a fun and enjoyable experience.

Yuxing Unnie and I, at the walkalator to Sentosa Island. We used the Boardwalk because the tram is a little expensive.

Welcome to Sentosa Island!!!

A Very Late Post: Singapore Trip (Day 1)

This is so late but I just want to share my experience with my first out-of-the-country trip; and my destination? *drumroll* The beautiful city of Singapore!

It was actually an impulsive decision. Due to the fact that Manila won't be a stop for Super Junior's Super Show 4, we decided to go to Singapore to watch the concert. It was a pretty stupid thing to do, for some. But for me, who had been a fan of Super Junior for five years now, it's worth it.

Tiger Airways had a promo back then and Ate Christine (a good friend from Olongapo City) helped us book tickets. We departed from Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga; and it was really a nice experience.

Here are some of the pictures we took on the first day:

It was quarter to 5AM when we reached the airport from Olongapo, and imagine how pissed off we were when we were told that our flight was delayed. Anyway, while waiting, we paid our Travel Tax (1,200php) and Terminal Fee (600php) which we believe were unnecessary because 1) it's only in the Philippines, and 2) our airports are considered some of the worsts. >.<

Anyhow, it feels good to have my passport stamped.