Saturday, October 25, 2008

Through Me: Character Pics - Anonymous

Thanks to Anonymous for taking the time to offer some pictures of Through Me's main characters! As with the previous post for girlgamer112, I just wanted to post some of them up here for certain curious readers' viewing pleasure. Have I mentioned how I love to receive comments? Getting pictures are like extra bonuses. :)

Adeline Bradbury - Song Hye Kyo (S. Korean Actress)

Tristan Harland - Alex Pettyfer (Actor)

Once again, much thanks to Anonymous for these pictures!

Regarding the next chapter of Through Me, I'm halfway through it. I'll see if I can get it out soon.

Friday, October 24, 2008

American Comfort Food

I've been eating too much outside. Or so my mother says. She thinks I'm going to eat my way into destitution and won't be able to pay for my med school expenses.

This past Wednesday was a friend's birthday and we went to this American soul food southern comfort cuisine type of place. The decor was really nice with cute miniature salt and pepper shakers (those artistic types where you can probably shake out fifteen flakes and call for a refill) and round glasses holding candles on each table. As a group of twelve, I think we took over a quarter of the restaurant.

I had their Tres Macaroni and Cheese with turkey flavored collard greens and garlic mashed potatoes on the side. A friend got the restaurant's famous Chicken and Waffles dish with maple syrup. Don't knock it. Pieces of fried chicken dipped in maple syrup are oddly yummy.

I could practically feel my arteries clogging with each bite, but it was good. Friend's waffles came with strawberry butter. Gasp. It's like strawberry ice cream since its sweetness just melts in your mouth ... but it's butter. And will melt its way toward your arteries.

Halfway through the meal, friend and I swapped plates. We seem to always do this. He eats my food. I eat his. I think we get tired of working on our original food after a while. Thank goodness. I didn't think I could survive the Mac and Cheese.

Then another friend of mine split a homemade green apple sorbet with me. We nearly swooned.

Said friend with her deep, creative expression: "It tastes like I just bit into a real apple!"

Seriously though. It had pieces of apple peels in it!

Okay, now we just sound dorky.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The World Wants Me to be a Public Speaker

My genius French professor decided on Tuesday that we should give short presentations on various cities in France for sometime next week. This isn't so bad because it seems short and relatively easy.

Then I received an email from one of the editors of the literary magazine that had published a short story of mine a while back. Short and brief, it was a simple invitation for me to read sections from my story at one of those cafe reading nights. Then she emailed me again with more details, stressing that she and the other editor hoped that I will accept.

My throat closed up.

I've realized that I'm an intensely private person. I like to think things through - sometimes, I tend to overthink things to the point where my friends and family want to smack me. I regret moments when I post things or say things too rashly and I can dwell on mistakes for days.

But all's well when I'm still relatively hidden. I can accept all kinds of harsh comments or pointedly cutting reviews. I can nod and take it in stride, accept everything as tidbits on how to improve my writing.

To stand out there in the public though ... all my senses seem particularly heightened. Everything seems brighter, hotter, more suffocating, more painful.

I remember, way back in high school, I had received Honorable Mention in the Bertelsmann Random House, Inc. Creative Writing Competition during my senior year, but it was during a time when writing was still mainly my secret and I had no courage to attend the award ceremony by myself.

Only later, when I received my gift package and award by Fedex, did my parents find out about the details. They weren't exactly pleased, but I think they'd been pretty much resigned to the fact that it's the way I am.

Even last year's fiction award ceremony featured me sitting nervously in the back row with my friends prodding me up on both sides. My presenter had to search for my presence in the audience before making his speech and I just made a beeline up - shook hands awkwardly - out the doors.

I'm a wimp.

I think that my short stories have always held more pieces of myself than anything I'd ever attempted to try to voice out loud. For some reason, they've been the places where I'd more often than not laid out my heart and tears, but I don't believe they will ever see the light of day unless it's for a professor or a judge's remote eyes. Even now, my Fictionpress postings aren't something that I'd necessarily wrenched out of from somewhere deep within me - they're the types of stories I jot down for shameless fun and what I feel can be sent forth in the world without worries about people plagiarizing an extremely personal account of mine. Like some weird form of protective device?

Then False Facades was plagiarized. Several times.

And I quickly realized that no matter how rough my writing can get, I can't relinquish my hold on these stories. To me, taking an awful draft of mine is no different from stealing one of my more polished works. Is it like a mother loving all of her children equally, in spite of the fact that some of them may drive her completely batty and she's just counting the days until they fly the coop?

Either way, I think I'm losing my zany, flighty spirit I've set aside for Fictionpress fun.

I'm more wary now.

And I think it affects my writing more than I'm willing to admit. I'm not sure if it's necessarily a good thing. I may be obsessed with trying to write better these days, but is it good for my mental health to lose the remnants of my freewheeling, unrestrained style that I'd kept solely to let loose?

I need to get back to just simply enjoying writing again. I've signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year solely for this purpose, but I hesitate to say this out loud. With my sleepless schedule, I may not finish, but I hope the deadline challenge will allow me to just freewrite what I've been thinking too hard about these days. Hopefully. Maybe. I don't know. I do have some new ideas though and it'll be nice to use this time to test new waters. I'm thinking since the whole point of this month is to basically bang out as much words as possible (though they offer 50,000 words as the finish line), this can be a freeing experience and I need not spend so much time obsessing over each word and sentence structure. Maybe. In these recent years, I've been getting really anal for some reason and to let go of this anxious controlling instinct I've developed, this might just add to my burden rather than offer relief. I picture fingers itching and skin crawling.

Wow, how did the topic of presentations get to this long reflection on writing? Huh.

I think school's been getting me down. I have quizzes and exams coming up again (yeah, when did they ever stop again?) and I feel so drained these days. So blank.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Prader Willi Syndrome

Mission completed! I got through my presentation better than I expected. I'm always deathly nervous about presentations before a large bunch of people and I told some friends not to stare directly at me. One guy said he'd make funny faces and another nodded and told me he'd sit in the front row then and glare at me without blinking so I made some weird, hopefully intimidating face at them and then clutched my pages feverishly while I staggered off to the back row to wait my turn.

I had prepared a bunch of notes, but it turned out, once I got up there, my mouth went on automatic and I didn't need to refer to my papers after all. Plus, my professor's clicker is really cool - flips through slides and it comes with a laser light too. Whoa, be mesmerized.

It took forever for my nerves to settle though because my group was the last one of the day and we had to sit and wait through the others, pretending to jot notes and be all attentive to what they were saying.

But it's all over now!

I just need to get through two papers and another upcoming exam now ...

While I'm here though, allow me to list some general aspects of Prader Willi Syndrome just to enhance your erudition. (Hey, not everything can be about awesome, hot guys and romantic antics. Unfortunately.)

Prader Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a genetic disorder on chromosome 15 and its main characteristics are hypotonia (low muscle tone), hyperphagia (abnormally increased appetite), and hypogonadism (defective sexual reproductive organs), etc.

PWS patients have characteristic features including small hands and feet, short stature, almond shaped eyes with a triangular shaped mouth and a thin upper lip. What's most interesting about PWS patients is that they're overwhelmed with a need to eat and can never satisfy their appetite. They're typically really friendly people, but they may resort to all types of food-seeking behavior, including foraging, hoarding and stealing. Think you have it bad when your kid steals from a cookie jar? Families with PWS members must keep food locked away safely and keep fridges bolted because PWS patients are unable to prevent themselves from raiding the cabinets for any sort of food.

This leads to morbid obesity and can, in turn, cause complications such as diabetes and heart problems. There are general treatments for these patients, including a special group home geared for PWS, but as of yet, there's no real cure for the disorder.

Not to be biased, but I think I had one of the more interesting diseases of the day. :) The class seemed more inspired to ask questions about its aspects anyway.

That, or my group just got them incredibly confused.

For more information about Prader Willi Syndrome, this is the association's site:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Through Me: Character Pics - girlgamer112

This is all for girlgamer112 and her herculean efforts to get the image links to work. :) She sent a bunch of pictures of her ideas for Through Me's main protagonists, Adeline Bradbury and Tristan Harland. I've selected some to post here along with her comments. Thanks, girlgamer112! You're the best.

Adeline Bradbury - Maggie Q. "Well-known actress and model. She is eurasian and is half-chinese. I am aware that she is in her late 20s/ early 30s, but her pics of when she was younger are like the perfect comparison to Adel." - girlgamer112

Tristan Harland - Doug Pickett. "One of Ralph Lauren’s prominent male models. He is regarded as a younger version of Leonardo Dicaprio, due to some of his pictures. Not the ones I’m posting though. Last picture is the perfect picture for Tristan! =)" - girlgamer112

Once again, much thanks to girlgamer112 for her efforts! I adore the pictures. :) It's always lovely to see other people's ideas of representation for certain characters and I'm forever looking forward to readers' feedback.

News regarding writing, I'm working on the next chapter, but I have a presentation to prepare for on Monday. I've emailed the slides and the handouts to my professor already so now's all about the matter of preparing in detail what I'm going to say. There's also supposedly going to be a 5 minutes Q&A section with some visiting professors so I'm really tense right now and feeling sick to my stomach. I wish I'm one of those people who can get up there and just wing it.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I'm absolutely exhausted. I have a splitting headache.

And I come home to my parents belting out songs to their karaoke dvds. What they lack in pitch and talent, they make up with enthusiasm and decibels.

Today, I was supposed to have two exams: French and Epidemiology.

Except, when I straggled into French class after staying up til 3am last night going over Epi, my professor announced that she had a "plan".

She postponed the exam for the third time. Normally, I wouldn't complain about getting a reprieve, but it's gotten to the point where I just want to get it over with. It's the second time I've crammed for her nonexistent exam when I should have used my time to better focus on my other exam.

But back to her genius plan: so she suddenly had the impulsive notion to skip the exam and go see a movie. Her reasoning? It's in French and it's a good movie and plus, it's a thriller so she claims that she's too scared to watch it by herself. Nice that she's in charge of a whole class that can accompany her now then, isn't it?

Most students would be "Nice!", but most students don't have a second exam later in the day that they can't miss. Normally, I would have looked forward to these events, but I just wished that she would just plan out things more thoroughly. If you're not going to give an exam, email us so we don't have to study needlessly. If you want us to see a movie, tell us so that we can just meet at the theater instead of wasting time coming to campus first.

Another girl was even more annoyed. She not only had another exam later, but to make matters worse, she took a taxi this morning just to get to French on time because she was afraid she might be late for our so-called test. Two other kids had work and other classes.

We were very disgruntled. The partypoopers of the class.

Professor zeroed in on me because I had a very "Are you for real?" face on.

She said: "Oh, you have an exam at 2? It's okay. I think the movie ends at 1:15."

Me: "I don't think I can get back to campus on time though."

Professor: "It's fine. Take the A train - it'll be fast."
(What world do you live in where public transportation runs so smoothly?)

Me (tight smile): "I don't think so."

Professor: "We'll leave now."

Me: "Actually, I think I'd rather study for my second exam now, you see. Since I spent time studying for French instead."

Professor: "Oh."

Me: "Yeah ..."

Professor: "Well, can you go see it later in the day then? We'll make this an assignment. Okay?"

Cursed life. Fortunately, four other students couldn't go either so we decided to try to set up our own movie date for tomorrow. Then this kid Googled the movie and he found out it was up online so we can just watch it for free. Score.

So I spent two hours reviewing for Epi again in between nodding off in the library and ... the exam was ... okay. Epidemiology is a really conceptual subject and since I'm not a math fan, the calculations make me too sad.

Now I have to ... watch the movie, restudy for French again ... and prepare for Genetics presentation next week. Who finds the idea of explaining the biochemical basis of a genetics disease with a Powerpoint presentation in front of 80 people fun?! Yeah?

If so, please come replace me. Please. I'm one of those people who can't even recite a sonnet in front of the class without quavering.

Oh! I think the wailing downstairs has abated. They're only mumbling now. I think they must not know the song.

My eyes feel so dry - so very tired. :(

Monday, October 13, 2008

Through Me Chapter 22

Through Me Chapter Twenty Two has been posted!

My cousins are here and they've brought me curry. I must say "Mmm" and rub my belly.

The things I do for free food.

I'm so dead for the upcoming exams. Not even funny. :(

Epidemiology = readings+calculations = incomprehension.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Twilight Trailer

Speaking of Twilight, I just happened across the latest, final movie trailer. For those of you who still don't know (pfft, yeah right), Stephenie Meyer's Twilight has been adapted into a movie to be screened on November 21, 2008.

Twilight HD Exclusive Trailer

My friends and I will never be hardcore "Twilighters", but we've been curious enough about the spread of Meyer's Twilight franchise. Anything that is claimed to almost rival J.K. Rowling's success is naturally an attention grabber, isn't it?

So the news about a movie coming out for the book didn't exactly thrill us nor did it give us nausea. Just your general apathetic sideline viewer appreciation. Honestly, movies are a lot of fun, but most adaptions of novels generally turn out to be major disappointments anyway so I've never really held high expectations for book-turned-liveaction stuff.

From this trailer though, I've noticed that they've pretty much wrapped up the whole book in just this brief clip (again, no one has ever said Meyer packed a whole lot of plot points in her series) and while I didn't feel the urge to drool over any particular characters, my heart did skip a beat at the backdrop. I love the way it opens up with a view of clouds rolling across a peninsular view of "Forks". I don't know, but for some reason, I really like the colors. Stark pale white and then dreamy sequences of lush green and foggy skies. Nicely done, production team.

Some of my friends already have bad feelings about the movie since it's kinda reminiscent of that small movie that came out a while back, The Covenant, was it? Pretty much about a bunch of ... mysterious, magical teens and ... I think the premise was that they meet a new gorgeous girl and magical fights break out as they try to ... fight for powers. And not go over to the dark side. I think.

Like I said, it was pretty ... not well received. But the past Twilight clips (Emmett: "This is wrong, Edward! She's not one of us!" Cue snickering.) have given off the same dark powers vs. good love angsty vibes as that movie so my friends are pretty much eh.

That being said, from a more objective point of view, I don't think this new trailer's bad at all. It shows enough action to hook a viewer's interest and then ... the whole apple catching trick thing Edward did and his last growl, "You are my life now", probably seduced enough fangirls to start a riot at the theater doors.

Here's to Twilight and more pretty, ethereal colors.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ocean Wavey Thing!

I asked my friend to "Quick! Come check my blog and tell me if it looks nice!"

Her reply was: "It's the same."

"It's not the SAME! It's blue now! And there's an ocean wavey thing!"


"I am going to shower now and when I come back, I expect proper enthusiasm."

"You changed your banner. How exciting can that be."

People fail to understand how technologically challenged I am. And how much technology abhors my existence. I swear, my brother won't let me touch anything without careful supervision because the last I did, we had no internet for a week and his screen blew up. (Really, it's not my fault. Just because it was in my room doesn't mean I automatically contaminated it. Of course not.)

My Future GPS (xkcd)

So when I get embarrassingly giddy over something I put up that actually looks somewhat right, damn it, I expect loud applause.

I'm a sad person.

I'm working on the next chapter for Through Me. No promises, but I'll try hard and we'll see if it comes out by Monday. Maybe? Maybe?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Some FAQs

I sit here before my laptop, two shirts on underneath another white sweatshirt with my hood pulled over my head and my feet shoved in my pink fuzzy slippers.

My brother came home a while ago and stopped in the doorway. "Why do you look like a marshmallow?"

"Because it's cold," I snarled, hunching forward and shifting my epidemiology papers, trying to look busy even though I've been comatose for the past few hours with a cup of hot water by my side.

I can't focus on anything. I swear, I must have been a bear in a past life. Hibernation in winter, go!

Except it's autumn now. So I must have been one lazy bear.

Anyway, there were just some common - and not so common - questions that I forgot to answer so I thought I'd get to it here:

Have you read the Twilight saga (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) by Stephenie Meyer? Just curious... :D

Yes, I did. And I also read her other book, The Host. Of all five books, I believe I prefer The Host.

Can you post up some character pictures?

I know that it's getting to be a popular thing to post up pictures for characters, but I'm still thinking about it. Maybe it's because I'm a bit wary of the limitations they might set on readers' thoughts. Maybe it's because sometimes, I'm not actually certain myself how my characters look like specifically (I shape characters more through dialogue and interactions usually) or that the colors I think of can get so vibrant, I'm not sure yet if they're actually veering off into paint, photography or cartoon for that matter. And it feels funny to me to post something and give it my blessing as "This is now Tristan. You may dream of this face now."

However, I'm more than open to seeing your ideas for characters (actually, I'm extremely curious) so if you have pictures, please feel free to email links or post images in comments, if you can. I may compile pictures in a future post if some of you really, really wish to see character pictures.

And a more recent question:

Why did you leave out a description of Adel at the party?

No worries, I just decided that I'd rather wait for the next chapter since no one there was getting a clear look at Adel in Chapter 21 anyway.

By the way, I thought it was kinda cute the way most of the reviews for Chapter 21 started out with either WTF!, OMG! or other variations with Oh!

When will you repost False Facades?

When I'm done with revisions, which is turning out to be a major rewriting of the story. And with my schedule these days, it's going into the backseat right now. It's schoolwork at the wheel and Through Me buckled into the passenger seat at the moment.

I have a midterm floating up, an exam next week, a Genetics Disease presentation in two weeks, and two papers to write. In between, I'll try to see if I can get some writing done.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Lost in Austen

I'm back to work and it's not going too well. So in between readings for school, I did what every student does in times of studying: procrastinate.

Somehow, I happened upon Lost in Austen, a four-episode British show based on Pride and Prejudice. I'm a big fan of Jane Austen's writings, particularly Pride and Prejudice (of course) and Persuasion, so naturally, I had to check the show out.

The basic premise is that Amanda, a big-time fan of Pride and Prejudice, finds her way into the novel's world through a mysterious door in her bathroom. Elizabeth Bennet goes into the modern world while Amanda gets stuck in the Austen novel and wreaks havoc upon the plot (Bingley falls for Amanda? Jane marries Mr. Collins?!) as well as learning interesting new tidbits about the characters (Wickham is actually a good guy? Caroline Bingley is a lesbian??)

Amanda at Pemberley

So the rest of the show consists of Amanda running around, trying to piece the original plot back together and somehow making things even worse. It's a cute, entertaining affair that plays on every fangirl's fantasy of stepping into the role of Elizabeth and being able to latch onto Mr. Darcy and it helps that the male characters, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, are very easy on the eyes. :)

Doesn't Elliot Cowan, the actor who takes on the famous Fitzwilliam Darcy role, look a lot like the late Heath Ledger? Here's a brief clip for you to decide. This shows the part when Mr. Darcy declares his love for Amanda (though I could do with the excessive gasping on Amanda's part) and a little twist on the famous Colin Firth "Darcy in a wet shirt" scene from the BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice.