Pop Culture Recommendations #1 (2015 Edition)

The Librarians

It’s not the most intelligent show, it’s not that well-scripted (although it has potential) and the acting is campy at best, but there’s something about a show about magic, artifacts, and adventure that just gets to me. If you’re one of twenty people who loved Warehouse 13, then you’ll love this one too. Basic premise is that Noah Wyle is “The Librarian” (it actually started as a series of made-for-tv movies) and his duty is to collect artifacts from around the world to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. Hijinks and fantasy characters and (sometimes not so) witty one-liners ensue. It stars Rebecca Romijn, Christian Kane (Angel, Leverage), Lindy Booth, John Kim (I crush Ezekiel Jones!), and John Laroquette. Favorite episode so far is the Christmas one where cult hero Bruce Campbell plays Santa Claus.


A-Babies vs X-Babies #1
This actually came out back in 2012 but I recently re-read it and I still squeed and gushed over it like crazy. All you need to know is this: baby versions of the Avengers and the X-Men go to battle over a teddy bear (Bucky bear!). It will just take you 10 minutes (or less) to read it, but it will take you longer because you’ll just “aaawww” and “wheeee” so many times. You can buy the digital comic here for just $1.99.
Brutal Romantic by Brooke Fraser
It’s hard to define the exact genre of her latest album because her music has evolved so much from her What To Do With Daylight. Suffice to say I still enjoy her music even though I probably won’t be able to sing along to her songs in this album, since it’s more atmospheric rather than melodic. But her words still get to me, particularly these lines from Brutal Romance (not to be confused with Bad Romance okay?)
“And I want to sing
Over you and into you
What can’t be unsung

Love and death, and death and love
Brutal romance
A silver thread, a sharpened knife
A spinning slow-dance”

Louisa Wendorff’s mash-up covers
I first came across her because Taylor Swift recommended her excellent mash-up of Style and Blank Space (she didn’t sing Starbucks lovers!). I got curious about her so I explored her YouTube channel and discovered her other excellent covers. Her voice is haunting and the camera just caresses her face. Hope she uploads more videos soon!
TV Show Tracker 3
Y’all know that I watch and follow a gazillion TV shows. I’ve been looking for a simple app that can help me track all these shows and remind me when they’re already available to “acquire”. Finally found this app (iOS only, sorry) that is simple and efficient. I also love that it can adjust to our time zone so that I don’t get confused (which is fairly often) with the time difference. It also lets me check which episodes I’ve missed or haven’t watched.
Things I haven’t watched or read or listened to yet but I plan to this week
  • watch English Only Please
  • check out new show Galavant, a fairy-tale musical comedy
  • read Philip Yancey’s Vanishing Grace (shameless plugging!)
  • read My True Love Gave To Me (yes Christmas is over but I saw Mina Esguerra post about it, so voila, book envy)
  • read Naermyth by Karen Francisco, which Stef recommended and lent to me
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Posted by on January 5, 2015 in Pop Culture Recommendations


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Schools and Parents: Please teach kids to be better commuters

Things I wish (and hope) parents and schools would teach children so somedy they will be better commuters

(Honestly, I really don’t know whose fault it is why there are a lot of inconsiderate and horrible commuters in Metro Manila)


1. Keep right when walking up the stairs or riding escalators or just walking on the road. And maybe explain why we have to do that.



2. Follow the arrows painted on the MRT/LRT platform. They are not there for decoration.



3. Let people get out of the train first before rushing in. Same applies for elevators.



4. If there’s enough space to breathe or move (which rarely happens), respect other people’s personal space. Unless close talaga kayo.



5.  Don’t lean or embrace the poles. They’re there not just as part of the train’s physical structure, but also so verticallly-challenged people who can’t reach the hand rails have something to hold on to.

Huwag tularan ang mamang ito (pero tularan niyo yung Mama ko, ang ganda niya eh)


6. Kung malayo pa ang bababaan mo pag sakay mo ng jeep, okay lang maupo ng malapit sa driver. Di naman siya nangangagat. Sana.


7. Same applies kung marami kang dala na ipapatong mo sa gitna ng jeep at makakaabala sa mga sasakay.


8. Kung may makikiabot ng pamasahe, iabot mo na kaht di ka naman sinuswelduhan ng driver na maging assistant niya. Pag yung nakikiabot ng bayad ay di nagsabi ng “paki” or “please”, mag thank you ka sa kanya para maguilty naman.



9. Kung ikaw naman ang magpapaabot ng pamasahe, mag thank you ka sa nag abot. Pag walang gustong mag-abot, tumayo ka at lumapit sa driver (tapos pag nag preno bigla, upuan mo yung ayaw mag abot ng pamasahe mo. joke lang)


10. Mag deodorant bago umalis ng bahay lalo na kung alam mong makikipagsiksikan ka sa MRT, LRT, bus, jeep, etc. In fact, kahit hindi, mag deodorant ka pa rin.




Anything you’d like to add to this class called Commuting Ethics 101?

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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in This city


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5 Things I Want My Students to Remember After This Term (aside from academic stuff of course)

I always promised myself before that I would write a blog post at the end of every term, but in the 3 years that I’ve been teaching, I may have done it just once. And hurrah, now is the second time!

This time around, instead of just talking about the funny and frustrating things that happened this term, I would want to share with you (and with them) the things that I would want to remember (aside from the academic stuff of course) and later on, what I have learned from my students as well.

Caveat: I may bitch and moan at times about having to get up at 4AM every Saturday and the annoying things that my students do, but really, the 12 hours that I spend at the school are some of the most humbling, interesting and fun times at this stage of my life.

1. It’s never too early to start acting like you’re a professional

Most of you are in your third or fourth year so you’re a bit nearer towards entering the corporate or professional world. So as early as now, I want you guys to learn how to create a proper email address (no please), how to properly write an email (you need to put something in the body, not just attach a file and send), how to edit and re-edit everything that you submit in class (typos will kill your career). Now while these things of course are just a tiny part of your life, it speaks to a disciplined mind and a commitment to excellence that you’ve mastered these things as early as now.
2. Stop expecting the world to spoon feed you

I really hate having the “Kami nga noon sa UP eh” mindset because MCL and UP are two vastly different creatures. But I can’t help but think sometimes about how being trained to fend for yourself helped turn me into an independent person and a critical thinker. And this is something I want to impart to you in small doses. The teacher doesn’t give you readings? Go out and read on the topic yourself. You didn’t understand some things during class? Research on your own or ask your classmate or even teacher to clarify things. You don’t agree with what the teacher said? Approach him/her and engage him/her in a discussion. Believe me, we will not turn you away. In fact, we welcome it. The “real world” will not give you everything you need and want and you need to start learning early on how to deal with that and how to go out and find things on your own.

3. Learn to speak your mind but be prepared to explain

I always tell you that I will not accept a “I liked/hated it” or an “I agree/disagree” answer. You need to be able to explain why or why not. It develops your critical thinking and it will make you appreciate things more than you originally thought. Opinions are always welcome. I never tell anyone you have the right or wrong opinion about something. But you need to be able to justify or just even explain your opinions. So no, I don’t accept “witty” one word answers to essay questions.

4. But also be prepared to listen (especially to those that you don’t agree with)

The danger also with having a lot of opinionated voices in one class is that there are no more people left to listen. So you need to train yourself to express yourself but also to pause and listen to other people. It’s even more important to listen to those whose opinions you don’t agree with because, who knows, you might learn a thing or two about the issue, about your classmates and even about yourself. Listening to someone from the “opposite camp” doesn’t necessarily mean giving up your stand. It just means you expand your horizons even more. Which leads us to…

5. The world is so much bigger than the ___ corners of your school or the four corners of your computer/laptop/mobile device

I cannot emphasise enough how important this idea is, especially in your development as an artist, a writer, a media practitioner and a human being. I have been frustrated so many times when I ask “Have you watched this?” “Do you know this person?” “Did you read about this?” and I get blank stares or just one or two raise their hands. There is a whole wide world out there, ready for you to discover and explore and dissect and examine. You don’t even have to travel (although traveling is also so important) to be able to discover them. Read. Watch TV. Talk to people. Go around your town. Or okay, if you don’t want to be parted from the Internet, browse the world wide web (not just FB or Twitter or Instagram). Go beyond what you are used to or even what you just like. You are still young enough to not be set in your ways. This is the time to figure out what you like, hate, are obsessed with, will give up forever. I’m not that young anymore but everyday I’m still discovering and studying things. And it’s not like I’m asking you to study math (but you could, if you want to) or memorise scientific formulas. You are media students, artists, writers. Go be that.


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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Adventures in Teaching


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How do I love Tolkien? Let me count the ways

Today is the birthday of my favorite author JRR Tolkien. Non-readers and non-fantasy book readers are more familiar of course with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (3 movies out of 1 short book still confounds and amazes me). And while I love those movies to death of course (the LOTR trilogy is my all-time favorite movie. Yes, I consider them just one) I have a different kind of love affair with his books, his works that were put together by his son Christopher after his death, and just the world he created in general. So why do I love him and his work so much?

2014-01-03 23.22.23


I got my non-Bible life verse from Fellowship of the Ring

From the moment I read this passage from the first Tolkien book I read, I fell in love with it, and since then “not all who wander are lost” has been my “tag line.” While of course the poem pertains to Aragorn (who of course happens to be one of my favorite characters), that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to it. Being an emotional nomad, my heart is prone to wander here and there and so the line really speaks to me.

Not all who wander are lost

He tells the stories of Middle Earth like it was a real world

When it comes to world-building, I haven’t read anything yet that can compare to Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Each race (and sub-race) has its own detailed language, culture, history, characteristics, story, etc. I’ve probably read The Silmarillion, which talks about the whole history of Middle Earth, from its creation up to the time when the events of The Lord of the Rings transpired and even beyond. If your only exposure of Tolkien is LOTR, believe me, it is just one part of a very large picture. Too bad Peter Jackson can’t touch Tolkien’s other works, it would have been awesome to see some of the stories in the Silmarillion and the Histories of Middle Earth and The Lost Tales come to life on the screen. I will not trust any other filmmaker to touch that, but alas, the Tolkien estate will not let him. So until then, these stories will have to stay in our heads, and you will not hear me complaining.

Not my collection, but i wish it was!

Not my collection, but i wish it was!

He created some of my favorite fantasy characters

Varda. Lorien. Tulkas, Nienna. Arien and Tilion. Fingolfin. Galadriel. Gil-galad. Earendil. Melian. Beren and Luthien. Turin Turambar. Thorin Oakenshield. Aragorn. Eowyn. Faramir. Theoden. Pippin. Samwise. Whether their characters’ stories were short or epic, I will forever treasure having been privy to their journey, their pain, their triumph, their tragedy. I feel like I went through everything with them, and when their respective chapters came to a close, i felt like I lost a friend. And yes, I’ve named a few toys or gadgets after some of these characters.

Trivia – their joint tombstone refers to Tolkien and his wife, Edith Mary as Beren and Luthien, which is probably the best “love story” in his Middle Earth. Altogether now…”Aaawwwww”. If you don’t know the story of the ill-fated (somewhat) and star-crossed lovers, that is one incentive for you to read Silmarillion.

2014-01-03 23.23.32

The women are few but memorable

Tolkien has often been accused of “hating” female characters as most of the stories, especially in The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy are testosterone-filled escapades. But the few women he was able to flesh out were memorable indeed. Melian used her power to protect those she loved. Galadriel is one of the oldest and most powerful elves still in Middle Earth. Luthien is no damsel in distress and she dared to go against the greatest evil. Eowyn uttered the classic line, “I am no man!” Arwen was….well she was pretty. Haha. Yeah, he could have written her better, but hey, Aragorn saw something in her, so maybe she wasn’t all that bad.


Evil is not ambiguous and good triumphs in the end

While I do love modern stories, sometimes there is just too much ambiguity when it comes to the nature of evil. The rise of the anti-hero is exciting for storytelling, but disturbing for my peace of mind. In Tolkien’s world, the villains (Morgoth/Melkor, Sauron, the orcs) were not mistreated or abused that’s why they rebelled and became evil (okay, maybe the orcs had no choice but you don’t hear of an orc who suddenly chose to become good). They just were full of hatred and malice and lust and greed. They say he wrote the LOTR trilogy as an allegory for his experiences in World War I and obviously, his view is that there is no justification for war. It is just evil. But in the end, goodness will always triumph. And in a real world that sometimes doesn’t always reflect that, his stories and his own world are a comfort and a reminder that at the end of it all, it is not the most powerful or the proudest or the strongest that will win the battle.

And of course the quotes, the wonderful, beautiful quotes (not my art, click here for source)

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Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Books


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Random thoughts while watching The Desolation of Smaug (no spoilers I think)

No spoilers. Maybe

  • Ayala Cinemas you suck! A lot of ads and no trailers at all? Dont you know that trailers are part of the moviegoing experience?
  • Wow that’s an early cameo by that person who always makes a cameo in all Middle Earth films
  • I still catch my breath whenever I see Thorin Oakenshield, especially when it’s a glamour shot


  • People eating noisily in a movie house, I hate you with a fire of a thousand dragons
  • Thranduil, showing us that he’s way prettier than his son


  • Ooohh a pretty elf may just have been friendzoned
  • Kili showing us that height doesn’t matter


  • Where’s the dragon? I wanna see the dragon!
  • Why is there a crying baby in this cinema? Isn’t this supposed to be not suitable for young children? Creatures get killed and decapitated and worse!
  • My arachnophobic JDP boss will never be able to watch this film
  • All I can think of now when I see Radagast (you know the fellow with bird poop in his hair) is this Dr Who short film


  • “You made me nosebleed, you’re going to pay” said a pretty elf
  • First Cumberbatch audio “sighting” *shivers* but still not the dragon
  • Bard has got the scowling down pat


  • Wait, orcs cannot be that lithe and stealthy!
  • Dragon! You can never have too much dragon! I am fire and I am death!


  • Is it so wrong that I am going gaga over Smaug’s voice? I think Cumberbatch can voice the animated version of Twilight and i still would not hate it/him

cumberbatch baby

  • Oooohh shiny! I want the shiny!
  • Thorin, I have the lack of height to be your dwarven queen! Pretty please
  • Okay, I dont hate Tauriel at all


  • What? I have to wait another year???
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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Movies


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What’s your song of 2013? Mine is Daughter’s “Youth”

Halfway through the year, I already knew I found my song of 2013. From the first notes, the plucking of the guitar, hearing Elena Tonra’s voice, the drums suddenly soaring into the song, the beautiful but dark and pained lyrics, I knew that Daughter’s Youth perfectly encapsulated my journey in 2013.

But don’t take my word for it, listen to it (if you haven’t yet) and maybe you’ll understand why I can’t remove it from my playlist and why I keep talking about it and why I keep telling people to listen to it every chance I get.

Oh, and the rest of the album is utterly brilliant as well.

How about you? What’s your song of 2013?



Shadows settle on the place, that you left.
Our minds are troubled by the emptiness.
Destroy the middle, it’s a waste of time.
From the perfect start to the finish line.

And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones.
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs.
Setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong.

We are the reckless,
We are the wild youth
Chasing visions of our futures
One day we’ll reveal the truth
That one will die before he gets there.

And if you’re still bleeding, you’re the lucky ones.
‘Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone.
We’re setting fire to our insides for fun.
Collecting pictures from the flood that wrecked our home,
It was a flood that wrecked this…

… and you caused it…
… and you caused it…
… and you caused it…

Well I’ve lost it all, I’m just a silouhette,
A lifeless face that you’ll soon forget,
My eyes are damp from the words you left,
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest.
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest.

And if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one,
‘Cause most of us are bitter over someone.
Setting fire to our insides for fun,
To distract our hearts from ever missing them.
But I’m forever missing him.

And you caused it,
And you caused it,
And you caused it

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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Best of 2013, Music is My Life


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Emmy 2013 Nominations: Initial Reactions

Because I count obsessive TV watching among my many pop culture hobbies and because Twitter is an inadequate place to say everything I want to say without flooding their timelines, here are my initial thoughts on the 2013 Emmy nominations. And remember, these are just my opinions as a regular watcher of most of these (and those who aren’t here) shows.


The Big Bang Theory • CBS
Girls • HBO
Louie • FX Networks
Modern Family • ABC
30 Rock • NBC
Veep • HBO

Glad to see Veep up there, but sad that Happy Endings failed to got the nom that is so deserved, especially now that they cancelled it. I expect 30 Rock will get a farewell love letter for its last season, and I’m glad they will. Also, no Parks and Rec, which is consistently one of the funniest shows on TV. And nope, still not a fan of Girls (the show. I’m a fan of my own gender, thank you very much)


There wasn’t a happy ending 😦



Breaking Bad • AMC
Downton Abbey • PBS
Game Of Thrones • HBO
Homeland • Showtime
House Of Cards • Netflix
Mad Men • AMC •

The usual suspects, with House of Cards getting the new kid on the block nod. All of them deserve to be there, but would have loved a The Americans or Scandals nod. Plus, Fringe gets no love in any category so sad face. But of course you know where my heart lies. Valar Morghulis!

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The more you try to decapitate, the more you love 😛


Bryan Cranston as Walter White
Breaking Bad • AMC

Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham
Downton Abbey • PBS

Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody
Homeland • Showtime

Kevin Spacey as Francis Underwood
House Of Cards • Netflix

Jon Hamm as Don Draper
Mad Men • AMC

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy
The Newsroom • HBO

Replace Jeff Daniels with Matthew Rhys as Philip Jennings in The Americans then I’ll be happy with this category. As much as I (sometimes) adore Will McAvoy, his acting isn’t on the same level as the other actors here.

You were robbed, Philip baby :(

You were robbed, Philip baby 😦


Vera Farmiga as Norma Bates
Bates Motel • A&E

Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley
Downton Abbey • PBS

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison
Homeland • Showtime

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood
House Of Cards • Netflix

Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson
Mad Men • AMC

Connie Britton as Rayna James
Nashville • ABC

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope
Scandal • ABC

Sooo happy for most of the nominees here (Rayna! Olivia freaking Pope!). But Keri Russell had to be here for The Americans and more importantly, where’s the love for Tatiana Maslany who played seven different characters (and played them really well) in Orphan Black???

Playing seven clones is hard work!

Playing all these clones is hard work! 


Jason Bateman as Michael Bluth
Arrested Development • Netflix

Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper
The Big Bang Theory • CBS

Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc
Episodes • Showtime

Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan
House Of Lies • Showtime

Louis C.K. as Louie
Louie • FX Networks

Alec Baldwin as Jack Donaghy
30 Rock • NBC

I’m still dancing coz Michael Bluth is here!!! And Joey, I mean Matt LeBlanc is getting some love for Episodes (although haven’t watched that in a long time and I didn’t know it was still on). Other noms, meh

Me too :)

Me too 🙂


Laura Dern as Amy
Enlightened • HBO

Lena Dunham as Hannah Horvath
Girls • HBO

Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton
Nurse Jackie • Showtime

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope
Parks And Recreation • NBC

Tina Fey as Liz Lemon
30 Rock • NBC

Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Selina Meyer
Veep • HBO

Gonna be so hard to choose between besties Tina and Amy! Please no Lena win this time around (really can’t stand that Girl). And Zooey for New Girl probably deserved a spot as well

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Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti
Boardwalk Empire • HBO

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
Breaking Bad • AMC

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
Breaking Bad • AMC

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson
Downton Abbey • PBS

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Game Of Thrones • HBO

Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson
Homeland • Showtime

Tyrion Lannister! Enough said. Although Jamie Lannister’s (Nicolas Coster-Waldau) acting has been top-notch this season as well

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Anna Gunn as Skyler White
Breaking Bad • AMC

Maggie Smith as Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham
Downton Abbey • PBS

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Game Of Thrones • HBO

Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart
The Good Wife • CBS

Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody
Homeland • Showtime

Christina Hendricks as Joan Harris
Mad Men • AMC

Of course Khaleesi!!! And Joan Harris is still my favorite Mad Men character so I’m really happy. But being the mother of dragons should trump everything else 🙂

Fierce is an understatement. Bow to the queen!

Fierce is an understatement. Bow to the queen!


Adam Driver as Adam Sackler
Girls • HBO

Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell Pritchett
Modern Family • ABC

Ed O’Neill as Jay Pritchett
Modern Family • ABC

Ty Burrell as Phil Dunphy
Modern Family • ABC

Bill Hader as Various characters
Saturday Night Live • NBC

Tony Hale as Gary Walsh
Veep • HBO

What, no Howard Wolowitz? I am disappoint. But Bill Hader should have this for Stefon alone!

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Mayim Bialik as Amy Farrah Fowler
The Big Bang Theory • CBS

Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester
Glee • FOX

Sofia Vergara as Gloria Pritchett
Modern Family • ABC

Julie Bowen as Claire Dunphy
Modern Family • ABC

Merritt Wever as Zoey Barkow
Nurse Jackie • Showtime

Jane Krakowski as Jenna Maroney
30 Rock • NBC

Anna Chlumsky as Amy Brookheimer
Veep • HBO

The usual suspects of course, but glad Anna Chlumsky and Mayim Bialik snuck in there. Would have been nice to see any of the Happy Endings gals here though



Other thoughts:

  • Wow, American Horror Story: Asylum got the most noms? It’s good but not that good
  • Of course thrilled that So You Think You Can Dance and Cat Deeley got noms, but of course they never win, so yeah
  • The Bible got an Outstanding Miniseries nod. Yey!
  • The already canceled Political Animals got nods in the mini-series categories. Now can we get them back?
  • Benedict Cumberbatch baby! Have not seen a single episode of Parade’s End but I’m sure it must be awesome 😉


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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in TV Lufe


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