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[Life and Books] and i'm keeping my lungs and holding my tongue this time
books on my head
I fell into a three-week hole of work, so I wasn't really able to read anything other than journal articles and old fanfiction. The fanfiction was more of a restorative than anything else; I ended up going through my favourite authors' backcatalogues and trying to rekindle some of the essential fire from younger and more energetic days. Like I said in my last blog, I ended up trying to regain some structure (and moisture) in my life by embarking on a sidequest of skincare improvement. I'm starting my third week of treating my body like a part of me and not like a brain canister that helps me catch animals for research, and I have to say that soft, moisturised skin is its own reward. Very interesting.

Since I was the MC (Master of Ceremonies, not main character) for a professional dealio, I had to wear make-up again after months of just hissing at my reflection and hoping for the best. There was a marked difference in application from prior to skincare and post-skincare. I was worried that the 10-step Korean skincare thing would be too intense for my unpampered skin and that I would be too lazy to actually keep it up, but I've found myself looking forward to it.


Okay, I started writing this blog entry a week ago, but I promptly fell into another work hole. I've slept six hours in the past 72 hours, but the good news is I've finished 3/5ths of the stuff I'm supposed to submit this term. There's a little less than two weeks left until finals, and I'm hoping to have everything done and submitted by April 5. I've got a few other pressing, non-doctorate deadlines, and those might have to fall by the wayside unless I finish everything to my satisfaction.


Back to skincare: for Sunshine's birthday, we I decided to celebrate her aging by helping her build her own ten-step Korean skincare routine. Hakkai, Sunshine, and I hit Etude House (2), Missha (2), Body Shop (2), Banila Co., Skin Food, Tony Moly, Holika Holika, and Watsons. :))) It was pretty cool, if tiring, but Sunshine seems to be enjoying it so far. I added a few bits and bobs to my own routine, and I'm fairly sure that I've got it down.

I'm going to put my routine here because... why not.

I'm thinking of transitioning out of the Clinique cleanser, toner, and moisturiser because I think my skin likes the Etude House AC Clinic line more. I might look for actives in the near future though: Vitamin C, and AHA and BHA toner, when my skin's used to everything.
Finished Reading:

The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin by Charlotte Cho of Soko Glam
I really haven't read much in the past month, just five books because of the submissions I mentioned earlier. I was a bit worried that I'd lost the taste for reading, but when I was researching about Korean skin care I found a lot of people recommending this. Cho's book is exactly what it says it is, but through the perspective of her own experience with Korean skin care. Charlotte Cho is a first generation Korean-American whose upbringing was mostly American. She decided to move to South Korea to work with Samsung, and she was jarred by the culture clash between American and Korean standards of beauty and skin care. The book is elegant in its simplicity: since the information is delivered to us through the story of Cho's introduction to Korean beauty culture, and her subsequent education, it unfolds in a very natural progression. Another reason I liked it is because this book provided context and synthesis for all the disparate articles and forums I'd been reading through. I really recommend this one to anyone who wants to dip their toe into Korean skin care.

Korean Beauty Secrets: A Practical Guide to Cutting-Edge Skincare & Makeup by Kerry Thompson & Coco Park I finished Cho's book and immediately craved more of the same. So I dug around a bit and came up with this book. I didn't enjoy it as much though. It could be because of my expectations, but I didn't care for Thompson and Park's writing style, in the way that it didn't have much character. It felt more like a text book to Cho's creative non-fiction. I did like that it had pages dedicated to real women's routines for different skin types.

Check, Please!: Year One and Two by Ngozi Ukazu Ngozi released the digital files of the first two volumes of Check, Please! to Kickstarter backers, so I took advantage of that to read the entire series all over again. Check, Please! is a webcomic that my friend, Josh, got me into a few years back. The main character is Eric Bittle, Bitty, a former figure skater-vlogger-university hockey player-baker-all around good boy. Ngozi's written a very compelling bildungsroman populated with a very loveable and well-developed cast of characters. The frame of the story is transmedia, Bitty's vlogs, pictures, and tweets are integral vehicles for plot and character development. I'm afraid to go further into it because I don't want to inadvertantly spoil the experience for y'all. Prepare to have intense cravings for baked goods though.

Jughead, Volume Two by Chip Zdarsky, Ryan North, and Derek Charm Zdarsky and North's Jughead has finally come into his own. Volume One was a bit too shaky for my taste, but Volume Two is utterly charming. There's been a lot of online discourse regarding The CW's gritty version of Archie, Riverdale, and how Jughead's canonical asexuality has disappeared into a puff of hormones and love quadrangle (note: I haven't watched it but from what I've seen I would ship #bughead too). Not only do we get more personal development and insight into Jughead's characterisation, but we get Sabrina! Magical witch Sabrina! in this volume as well. I've really enjoyed the contemporary take on the Archie comics, and the Jughead series is a solid part of it.


That's pretty much it for this post. I still haven't gotten around to posting my February Bujo vlog. I shot two videos, they were both terrible. I didn't notice that half the journal was obscured in the first video, and I accidentally switched my phone's camera to slo-mo in the middle of the second recording. I think I'm a bit hopeless with vlogging. I'll probably just do February and March in one go since the month is almost over anyway :))

See you all soon!

[Life] sneak a beer and watch TV
books on my head
We're in the last few weeks of the term, and I honestly feel like crap. I doubt anyone feels good this far into the term, but it's gotten to the point that I felt that I needed to include some kind of feel-good-treat-yourself ritual into my life so I've started a skincare regimen. The concept of a skincare regimen was totally alien to my careless ass, tbh, considering that on a non-make-up day I washed my face once a day and didn't moisturise at all.

The Korean skincare regimen seemed way too daunting with TEN steps, but through the intercession on my more skincare knowledgeable friends, and some very patient Clinique counter ladies, I was able to find a more manageable alternative... with eight steps. Ridiculous, but I did kind of feel soothed and happy when I was moisturising this morning. I can't seem to reconcile with putting sunblock on my face EVERYDAY, but I have to admit it saved my ass when I was in Laguna this week. Even though I managed to sunburn the ear with my still-healing piercing and that is not delightful at all.

I spent the past three days in Laguna, sampling and generally making a nuisance of myself, scientifically. Leanne, Matthew, and Sunshine were kind enough to spend time with me during my off-time, and we had a lovely dinner with mum in Balay Dako in Tagaytay.

Other than so much working, so much sunburn, and so much crying and vinegar, I have nothing much to report. I haven't read a book this entire time, but I did get to watch Hidden Figures, which was so wonderful and lovely that it broke my heart and mended it all over again. Instead of reading anything new, I've been self-medicating with old, beloved fan fiction, like a proper adult. I probably won't be able to read anything new until March ends, just because I've got so many scientific deliverablessssss. Augh. So the only thing I'll be able to blog about next week'll be my February Bujo wrap-up. Which is, by then, going to be two weeks late. But whatever, at least I am alive and moving forward.

I feel as though I'm also trying to have an emotional crisis somewhere underneath all this business but that will have to wait for a better time. Like Holy Week.

Attending a seminar later from 1800-2100, and then emceeing for and getting to attend the Philippine Society of Parasitology tomorrow and Saturday, so I have that to look forward to this weekend. One of the scientists whose articles I've been reading a lot of is going to be there, so I'm pretty excited to hear him speak. :)
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[Life and Books] Hindi na aasa/ Ako'y maligaya
books on my head
I thought that I wasn't going to be able to blog this week, but it's 1AM and I'm still awake because someone started ringing our doorbell at midnight and I'm trying to write the nerves out. I tried working but I couldn't focus on it anymore, so here I am. A friend and I were talking about my blog over the weekend, and she was giving me lots of feedback about the design and style of it, and I hope that she'll help me make it more "me" because now that I'm looking at it again it kind of looks really dated. I mean, how many people are still on Livejournal anyway? I bet they make and use custom themes and have catchy branding. Meanwhile, mine looks as worn as an old handkerchief someone put through the wash too many times. Sigh.

So I went to Komiket [FB LINK] with my friends. We only stayed for a few hours because I had a meeting in UPD in the afternoon. But those few hours were enough to completely devastate my wallet. I would have bought more, I really, really wanted to buy more, but I'd only brought a specific budget to protect myself. At one point, my friends and I formed a human chain, swearing to stop the others from buying any more merch. Three of us got to the door only to realise we'd lost half of our human chain to shiny stickers. SO MUCH GOOD SHIT. SIGH AGAIN.

Speaking of stickers, Komiket had more stickers than comics this time around. I think they figured out that stickers are very, very marketable, and designed their merch around them. I did get a few prints, zines, and comics, but majority of my haul was composed of stickers. Most of the comics there were ones I'd already seen or purchased at Komikon a few months back. I'm not complaining because Summer Komikon: Komiks Karnibal is coming up on April 1. I don't think my wallet will have recovered by then, so I might sit that one out, even though I'm sure there'll be a lot of new releases coming out then. 3X SIGH COMBO.

I got to see a lot of friends at Komiket! There were two tables that were mainly comprised of artists that I had met through Homestuck: Draft Party and Illuminartists Collective, and other old friends scattered throughout the con itself. I always love seeing my friends in geeky settings, and I also love to support their endeavours, so it was super cool all around.

My Komiket 2017 loot! Lots of stickers, but six prints, four comics, and three zines as well. BUDGETING AT KOMIKET IS HARD.

Went to UPD afterwards, where Addie and I had another interview while riding the UP Ikot. It was a really good interview, I think, and Addie and I were musing about our place in the greater scheme of current events, our teeny tiny place in this whole mess, over the taho the interviewer gave us. Rather, I bullied him into drinking taho because he looked tired and pale, and then he ended up getting everyone taho. The poor man clearly needed a good night's sleep, bless him. He was telling me about coca plants and the pesticides they'd used to try to get rid of the crops in Colombia and how that had failed them and hurt their people and their ecosystem. Very interesting stuff considering my research goals.

Addie and I had a lot to think about considering that the entire week had been building up to the 31st anniversary of the EDSA revolution that was happening on that Saturday. It's already Monday and you can still see the effects of the celebrations and protests that happened on that day. Lots of shit being talked by the people in the administration and their allies, and lots of bitterness from everyone else. The reporter asked me if I was optimistic about the future of the Philippines, and I was surprised to be asked that question, because the answer's always been a firm yes for me. I am optimistic about the future of our country, no matter what happens in the present. No matter how shitty things are now, there's always room to improve, to breathe and grow. I think that the Philippines needs its people to be great, individually, before we can be a great nation. We need our people to be good at what they do, to be passionate, to have their dignity and value themselves.

You can love your family, your lover, or your leaders as much as you want, but no person is worth not choosing yourself first. It's really only when your objectives align that you can be with someone. Otherwise, you'd just be kidding yourself, I guess.

On that note, I'm going to be copy-pasting something I posted on FB under the cut. I'm going to be posting a long thing about general education under the cut. This is mostly a reflection thing, so there will be no citations. Read at your own risk of rambling.

Read more...Collapse )

Finished Reading:

Yozora no Sumikko de (Yozora no Sumikko de Vol. 1) and Kurayami ni Strobe by Nojiko Hayakawa I was feeling a bit maudlin last week, so I decided to read some good old boy's love manga. Nothing raunchy, just a little romance heavy on the angst. I was puttering around online when I saw Hayakawa's beautiful paintings and decided I had to check her work out. The first thing I read was Yozora no Sumikko de, a lovely comic about former schoolmates who meet again because one is the teacher of the other's adoptive son. The characters have to confront old feelings and work through them. It's beautifully drawn, and the emotions that Hayakawa brings into play are poignant af. My only complaint about it was that we really don't get to see who've they've become as adults, it's as though they stopped developing after they graduated from high school. Or maybe that's the entire point of the manga, where certain people can just bring us back to a strange point in our lives. I mean, I've been there. It just takes one person and suddenly you're a teenager all over again, with the same pains and challenges. I thought that it would be a one-shot but I discovered that a second volume, set several years in the future and focused on that adoptive son I mentioned earlier, is currently being serialised. Kurayami ni Strobe is a little more straightforward, with the entire story set in high school. It was a really good read, with both characters serving as perfect foils for the other. The story was simple enough, boy loves boy but keeps it a secret when suddenly he finds out that the other boy loves him back!!! The conflict in this comic lies in the first character's inability to accept his good fortune, always questioning their relationship even if his boyfriend keeps trying to reassure him. I could have done with a few more chapters of this, but alas, it was a bit open-ended, if happy. Going to keep up with this author and check out her other

My two other reads this week are very recent releases.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman Unfortunately I came into this with high expectations and felt let down after I read it. I mean, it's a good and very readable primer for Norse mythology, and Gaiman's artistic flourishes were very welcome, but I felt that it had very little to recommend it in terms of uniqueness. Other than being a recent compilation, I suppose that it is very accessible? It's probably my own fault for expecting something else when the entire point and objective of the book is right there on the cover. If you're already familiar with Norse mythology you can go ahead and skip this book, otherwise go ahead and immerse yourself.

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley I've been anticipating this release ever since Hurley announced it, even though I was surprised that she was releasing a standalone novel in between the second and third, and final, book of the Worldbreaker Saga (which is coming out in fall of this year). Hurley's a big fan of biopunk, bloodthirsty women, and war, so of course this book has all of those elements. She's marketed this book as "Lesbians in Space" and while that isn't wrong, it's a very, very small part of the whole picture. I was actually very underwhelmed by the relationships between the characters in this book, I mean there's a plot-relevant reason why this is so, but there are some points where the character interactions feel a bit stilted to the point that they just seem like vehicles for the plot instead of actual characters. The plot itself is very interesting, but the pacing's a bit off so the book feels unbalanced. For me, the real star of this book was the worldbuilding that Hurley gives us. Hurley's always been good at worldbuilding around biopunk technology, and her living space colonies in this book BLEW MY MIND. We really get to enjoy it in the latter half of the novel when the MC and some other characters (the tinman, cowardly lion, and the scareceow) go on this odyssey through the innards of the world, and the sheer imagination she invested in writing about the "world" of the book was amazing. It was fucking wondrous. Hurley also gets a few good emotional knocks in, so hold on to your heart when you read this.
My next blog will probably be a vlog about my bujo in February. See you then!

[Books & Life] Since we met I feel a lightness in my step
books on my head
So, like I said in my last blog entry, I went to this year's Art Fair on Thursday with my cousin, Leanne, and our newly "adopted" cousin, Joshua. She decided to adopt him, I just stood by and rolled with it. I spent the morning with Feminist Futures in QC, and then rushed over to Makati so that I could make it. The Art Fair itself was a bit overwhelming because this year's fair took over three floors of the Link, as well as the Roof Deck for lectures. So. Much. Art. to the point of overstimulation. I actually got to go to the Art Fair twice this year, because my best friend, Sunshine, was only free on the last day of the fair, Sunday, and there were easily four times as many people as there had been on Thursday. It was a pretty cool experience, and I'm definitely attending next year's.

Fig 1. L: Art Fair 2017 swag with a crocheted keepsake I got from the Feminist Futures meeting. R: My Art Fair wristband from Sunday, as well as the chopstick cover from Unakichi, an amazing unagi restaurant.

Fig 2. A shitty video of my Instragram story of that day with all my favourite pieces from the fair.

I also ate a ridiculous amount of delicious food over the weekend since I was surrounded by close friends: Tim Ho Wan, Wildflour, Mendokoro Ramen, Your Local, and Unakichi, and oof, that was probably not good for my heart. I'll need to find a way to make it up to my body. Speaking of my body, another fun thing that happened over the weekend is that I got a cartilage piercing on my right ear as a bonding experience with my two cousins, Leanne and her sister, Ina. It was a pretty positive experience, despite the pain (literally broken into a sweat even though it was just a 2 on the pain scale), since we had our piercings done in P&P. It's been three days since I got the piercing and it's already a lot less sensitive to touch. Pretty cool, and I'm definitely going to do a few more in the future.

Komiket's going to be on the 25th, and I think I'm attending that unless deadlines prove too strong for me. I'm excited to go for the usual reasons, great comics, fun merch, breathing the same air as other comic lovers, but also because some of my friends will have a booth! Hope to see y'all there.


Finished Reading:

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay I saw that Gay's new book of short stories, Difficult Women, was coming out this year, so I decided to finish this already. The essays are readable, if a bit painful to read, because of how relatable they are. A chunk of them revolve around pop culture and how she views them from her feminist perspective, albeit a very personal version of it. She considers herself a bad feminist because of that personal perspective, because she, like many other women, is inconsistent, biased, and flawed, in her perception of what is acceptable and unacceptable and the actions that arise from those perceptions. It was refreshing to read that she was so upfront about what she considers her failings since I have been struggling with my own "bad" feminism. Some of the essays feel a bit too personal, but all in all I enjoyed the collection. Looking forward to reading Difficult Women when I get around to it.

Black Magick, Volume One: Awakening by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott is comprised of the first five issues of the series, and I am sorry to say that there don't seem to be more coming. Both Rucka and Scott are favourites of mine, mostly because both they illustrate complex female characters, albeit in different ways. Black Magick is a straight-up fantasy, where the main character is a literal witch with literal magick, yes, with a "k", powers, who also happens to be a police detective. Because we've only gotten five issues of this series, a lot of it is Rucka laying the groundwork for what I could tell was going to be an epic story, but as a single volume, I kind of just felt cheated by everything we'll never get. Majority of the comic is done in grayscale, except for when magick is being performed: you then get bursts of colour that really highlight the difference between magick and the mundane. So much potential, but no pay-off. SIGHS.

Lazarus: The Second Collection by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark Thankfully, Lazarus is still going strong. I read the first ten issues of Lazarus a couple years back in the first collection they released, and I really enjoyed it so I was pretty pleased to find out that issues 11-20 were released in another collection. There are only 25 issues out so far, and the current story arc will finish in the 26th issue, so I'm really excited (and terrifed that Rucka's going to kill some of my favourite characters). The world of Lazarus is a dystopian one, where countries and regions are ruled by businesses. The world is divvied up between different business families that came to power when various governments failed and economies crumbled under the strain. Each of the ruling families has a "Lazarus", a genetically-modified super soldier that acts as their champion in interfamily disputes as well as handles the security of the family within their respective demesnes. The MC of the comic is Forever, the Lazarus of the Carlyle family, and in the current collection she's dealing with a lot of problems, both from inside her family as she struggles with her role in it as well as her personal identity, and also because of interfamily dynamics. The world is pretty well thought-out, and I have an especial affection towards the Lazari and how they interact with each other when they're off-duty. It's a pretty brutal system, all-in-all, and Rucka manages to touch on a lot of topics as he writes the greater story.
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[February 2017 Media] Farewell, bystander! We'll start walking from here.
books on my head
Slim pickings for reading last week. I spent the 8th to 10th at this amazing lecture series on ecotoxicology by a visiting professor, so my brain was subsumed into stuffing my mind full of that. Everything else fell by the wayside, but I did get to do pretty well in Latin, finishing up to seven lessons, but haven't studied since Saturday. :[ oops

Mum, Sunshine, and I got to watch the Philippine Madrigals at a concert in Ayala Museum last Thursday, so that was my dose of culture for that week. :)) It was beautiful, and I should probaby go about finding all their CDs when I've got a spare moment to use it as my vehicle of procrastination.

Fig 1. The ticket for the Philippine Madrigals, and the pretty flaps from the Valetine Breakfast tea from TWG.

It's Valentine's week now, because let's be honest, all of that luuurrrrve can't be contained in a single day. I'm sailing on the background radiation of everyone's affection and I've found that it's put me in quite a romantic spirit, so I'm listening to this really BALLER PLAYLIST of Rachmanimoff's complete works on Spotify as I drink a rose milk latté and flip through torrid fan fiction. I should be writing something relevant to my doctorate, but I am letting my brain decompress. I spent the last 48 hours in a sickening anxiety spiral because of my studies, but I've come out of it with a tentatively positive attitude. My psych took out my evening sedative so that helps. Something really cool happened on Monday afternoon as well, but I'm waiting for things to develop there. I got a compliment I could dine on for years, and the possible promise of something based on that compliment. *finger crossed*

I'm going to be attending a lunch meeting about Feminism tomorrow in QC, so I'm really excited to meet new people and get some of the Good Work done. My cousin, Leanne, is coming down from Tagaytay and spending the night! We're also going to hit the ArtFair with Josh, which is opening tomorrow until Sunday, in the afternoon, and that'll be my hit of culture for this week.

Still reading Atonement, which I've had to sideline because it is way too heavy for my already anxious ass, but I'm hoping to get back to it as soon as my mental mood lightens. I've been unable to find a copy of Sans Moi, but I'm going to try bugging M about it as he's the one who recommended it to me. Mum and I have been lain low AGAIN by a cold we seem to have caught in Makati Med, but I'm hoping to throw it off ASAP.

I just want to take the moment to show off my laptop case, which I have washi-ed within an inch of its life and slapped a Hamilton sticker from Fandom Feels PH in the center. It's so cute, but more importantly, I can now stuff my laptop in my backpack without (less) fear.


Finished Reading:

Titans: Scissors, Paper, Rock by Adam Warren was one of the formative influences of my youth. I remember reading this in Powerbooks, Arnaiz, when I was a wee thing who didn't have enough parental supervision. I never got around to buying it because the next day it was gone :c And I never saw a hard copy again. Thankfully we live in the age of the Internet, so I got to track this down last week. I wasn't really sure about what the title was, and I really only figured out who the author was when I was re-reading Empowered late last year. Thank goodness for artists with distinctive art styles. I didn't remember much about the story other than it was an AU of the Teen Titans, so it was really great to read again. The early 00s cyberpunk talk was so jarring, bless it, but I still love the whole metafictional aspect of the Titans' in this iteration, and the DAYGLO COLOURING. The ending still made me really upset :c which goes to show what a good one-shot can really do. It's such a product of its time though, bless it again. I hope that I see a hard copy of this one day so I can add it to my hoard.

Bookburners by Max Gladstone, Margaret Dunlap, Mur Lafferty, and Brian Francis Slattery should be a TV series. This book contains the 16 "episodes" of the first "season". The whole thing is an urban fantasy serial, where you have a group of operatives from the Vatican trying to stem the tide of demonic magical books getting into the world. All of the characters have their own backstories and motivations, something I am sad to have to highlight in 2017, and I really appreciated how these backstories came into play with the overarching plot. What I didn't know is that Bookburners is a serial fiction series being released on Serialbox, and that one can follow it there for a small fee. They're currently 13 episodes into Season Two and, if the first season is any indication, it is nearly done. That's really a good thing because Bookburners ends on a cliffhanger :CCC I mean, it was a relatively respectful cliffhanger, where the whole thing managed to tie up the plot of season 1, and I wasn't really left hanging per se, but that sequel hook was a good one. Can't wait for S2 to finish so I can binge on it.


March Comes in Like a Lion / 3-gatsu no Lion by Chica Umino. I watched episode 1 - 17 over the course of the previous week because April, a good friend of mine, has been saying really good things about it. It's still unfinished with five episodes to go, and I'm kind of upset about that. If the art style in the poster is familiar, you may be familiar with Honey and Clover / Hachimitsu , Umino's earlier work. I remember watching Hachikuro back in university and feeling heartbroken about THOSE MISFITS in art school, so I was really pleased when 3-gatsu started. No-one really knew anything about what it was going to be about, other than the fact that the MC was a shogi player, and my Go-loving ass was doubly interested in it. However, the serialisation took too long to pick up and I forgot about it. April started posting about it in the wake of YoI, and she was so eager and excited about it that I decided to pick the animated series up and see just how devasted Chica Umino could make me now that I'm 30 and possibly more jaded.

SO, let me tell you that I am not jaded enough to not be affected by this series. Not only is it a wonderful slice of life anime, but it discusses anxiety and mental health issues in a stirring and recognisable fashion that just calls to me. It manages to balance the sweetness and sourness of life in an elegant mix that'll be familiar to fans of Hachikuro, and manages to delve into some pretty heavy interpersonal drama between the characters without succumbing to the weight of its message. AND it has really cute animated cats that'll teach you how to play shogi. MMM. It deserves all the accolades it has received online, and I'm waiting for the end of the series with much trepidation. There's also going to be a live-action movie coming out in March, of course, so I'm also excited for that!

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