2011 Wrapped Up In A Pretty Little Box (With A Bow): Part 1

Okay, now I remember.

To make up for the long hiatus in bloggerage, I’ve decided to post a few photo highlights of how I wrapped up my year. But because I’m a bit of a cheater, this is just the December bit. Hee. Enjoy.

1. THE CLOCKWORK PRINCESS

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No, I did not actually construct a princess out of clockwork. Did the next best thing instead- I got involved in a Steampunk musical project. When I say involved – I mean I wrote the script with my lovies, Vince Gaton and Jem McYorker (check out her blog at http://selenografia.wordpress.com), who both happen to be very creative people.

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The Storytelling Team

I then collaborated with Peewee Senining and Paco Serafica for costume design. Finally, I joined my Very Dear Friends Yemma, Ainee, Nana, Jeo, Leomar, Graeme, Miko, Jem again (who also arranged one song) and Vince (who did the choreography) in the performance. Alex Uypuanco, our Director, also played Narrator.

Here we all are:

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The Cast of "The Clockwork Princess"

The whole shindig was for the Chaine des Rotisseurs annual banquet at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel. It might seem a bit odd, having a musical play at a dinner. Well, why not? (It was odd. But also a lot of fun. We emerged in between each course.)

Here are some bits of the performance to munch on:

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To find out more about our musical Steampunkery, Cattski, who was our musical director and occasional proxy princess, also blogs about it here and here.

It’s getting late, but I’ll give you parts 2 and 3 soon. I promise.

If I remember.


The Prodigal Blog

If I have one solid talent, it’s the ability to lose absolutely anything. I’d lose my own body parts if they weren’t erm, attached.  This time, I misplaced my blog. Yes, this one.

Recently, I immersed in pictures of abandoned places, which made me realise that my cyber-journal was going in pretty much the same direction if I didn’t try to remember where I put it. At last I finally remembered it was a WordPress blog, and after many attempts, rediscovered my log-in name. (I don’t have much trouble remembering passwords, but my usernames are basically one thing now and its polar opposite in twenty minutes.)

Obviously I remembered it, or you wouldn’t be reading this.

The next tricky step- remembering why I wanted to write one in the first place.

(I’ll get back to you on that.)Image


Fancast: Wicked, the Musical Movie

In a parallel universe somewhere, I am probably responsible for casting things. Unfortunately, in this one, that doesn’t happen too frequently, and when it does, it certainly isn’t Hollywood. But one can dream, right? And dreaming’s what I do, so one of my fave pastimes is coming up with an imaginary cast for a hypothetical live-action movie adaptation of basically anything (usually books or musicals).

Anyhow, here’s my current imaginary cast for Wicked (the musical) if they make a movie adaptation:

Lea Michele as Elphaba

Found on missleamichele.net

Found on missleamichele.net

Come on, you guys, Lea Michele looks like she could be Idina Menzel’s daughter. (See: Glee.)

Kristin Bell as Glinda

Found on kristenringsmybell.tumblr.com

Found on kristenringsmybell.tumblr.com

It’s about time Kristen Bell got a live-action singing role. Also, she’s tiny (though not quite as tiny as Chenoweth) and probably could do our perky, pink-wearing popular witch justice.

Sam Claflin as Fiyero

Found on panempropaganda.com

Found on panempropaganda.com

Finnick as Fiyero! If you’re wondering about his ability to sing, Sam played Enjolras in a Norfolk Theatre production of Les Mis (check it out here), and his performance was well-received. But mostly it’s that innate cheekiness he has, that winning charm.

Daniel Radcliffe as Boq

Found on thedapperproject.com

Found on thedapperproject.com

Our Danny Boy has, er, the right height for a Munchkin boy. Plus he’s done the musical “How to Succeed in Business.” I just hope he’s not sick and tired of going to magical schools . . .

Anna Kendrick as Nessarose

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Sure, Kendrick has been in every other movie musical these days, which could be a tad annoying, but Nessarose herself is supposed to be a tad annoying anyway.

James McAvoy as Doctor Dillamond

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I briefly considered Johnny Depp, seeing as he loves costumey things and musicals, but due to McAvoy’s extensive goat-playing experience (see: Narnia), he wins this one.

Meryl Streep as Madame Morrible

The Hollywood Powers-That-Be have issued a decree saying Meryl Streep must be cast in every significant movie-musical from now on. Done.

Robert Downey Jr. as The Wizard of Oz

[couldn't find photo credit for this one, sorry.]

[couldn’t find photo credit for this one, sorry.]

Don’t you think this is a more inspired choice than James Franco? RDJ is made of awesomeness.

Idina Menzel as Elphaba’s Mother

Found on ca.askmen.com

Found on ca.askmen.com

Customary Original Broadway Cast cameo. Also, hel-lo, Lea Michele’s mother? Obvious answer is obvious.

* * *

That about sums it up! Next up, probably The Night Circus, which I’ve just finished and absolutely love. I’m also willing to take on any requests. Cheers!


Bah Humbug, Another New Year

Already?! Thus far I have . . .
1. Failed at all resolutions, particularly the one that had to do with reading 100 books. Obviously I’ve read a lot more than a hundred this year, but because I specifically stated I would only consider those I read for fun, this excludes all but twenty or so.

2. Written a new story, possibly the only one this year. You can read it here.

3. Learned a bit of Muay Thai and other martial arts. While far from an expert, I did drop about twenty pounds or so. Could I kick your ass? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

4. Donned a red hood and skipped into the woods . . . well, for a photoshoot.

5. Beach-bummed in Bohol, Camotes, and Boracay.

6. Taken part in two plays: The Vagina Monologues and Emotional Creature.

7. Grown older. Drat.

8. Been stuck in this (for want of a better term) quagmire of inertia. Double drat.

9. Posted food photos and selfies, played games, fangirled, and engaged in every single unnecessary, unproductive time waster you could possibly imagine . . .

Right. This is getting depressing. I really don’t want to talk about this year anymore. I can’t even bring myself to say ‘Happy New Year’ with conviction. Instead, I’ll focus on one thing that DOES make me happy: In Scotland, an annual Hogmanay (oh, Google it, you lazy git) tradition includes the burning of a Viking longship.

Better than fireworks any day.

Suddenly fireworks seem pretty lame, huh?


A Ransom Note by Four Bored Girls

Yesterday, I attended my very first mall book signing. The authors in question were Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi, and Veronica Rossi. Now I have to confess, Riggs was the only one among the three I’d read, and the main reason I was there. Simply because I’m not terribly familiar with recent YA, and not because I’m prejudiced against it. (Am not an author myself, but if I were, I’d choose to write for ten- to twelve-year-olds. That point when a child is at his most intelligent and still likes to go on adventures; that is, before the sudden limits of teenagedom.)

 

Still, I edit for a living and reading for pleasure has become a luxury. But two years ago, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children caught my eye in a bookstore, and my little brother gifted me the book for Christmas. I’m not about to launch into a book review here, so suffice it to say it may have been my favorite gift among that year’s stash. I particularly loved the idea of using a collection of vintage stories to tell a story, and the cliffhanger meant I had to get my hands on the second book as soon as it hit the shops. So when I did go and purchase the second book, the salesladies were kind enough to tell me about the upcoming book signing.

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I thought, Well, why not? The author seems an interesting person. It wouldn’t take long. He’d be sitting at a table with two other authors. I’d get in line for a few minutes, say hello, probably ask a question or take a picture, and thank him and move on.

 

See what a noob I was?

 

The mall opened at ten a.m., the schedule for registration. I calmly strolled towards the venue, glancing at shops here and there . . . and a teenage girl RAN past me. Er. Okay. I resumed my stroll and ANOTHER teenage girl did the same. And a third, and a fourth . . . wait. Was I missing something here? We were all headed in the same direction, it seemed.

 

Culture shock. Was I at the right place? Had I accidentally walked into a One Direction concert instead?

 

First of all, despite the mall having just opened, I was the 161st person in line. A quick look around revealed I was probably also the oldest. Teens, teens everywhere in T-shirts with the authors’ name on it, carrying banners and fan art and literally (yes, I know how to use the word) hopping and flailing. Every so often a cluster of them would combust into a random scream. (Note that the authors in question were due to arrive at two p.m. yet and were nowhere in sight at this point.) I stifled the urge to pipe up in a creaky voice, “Back in my day, young lady, we only did this in boyband concerts.”

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Then I found my equally traumatised friends, and we gathered for coffee and relative sanity and thought of how we could possibly navigate this madness.

 

Oh right. With more madness. Here are the fruits of our brainstorming, by four bored girls:

 

Plan A (scrapped)

Pedobears

One friend, Fritz, lamented how he felt like a pedophile. So I thought, Why not wear pedobear masks, go up to Ransom’s table, and say with a twisted grin, “I love your book . . . about peculiar children.

 

Plan B (scrapped)

Blend In

Since there was an awful lot of screaming, we figured we could step up to the signing table, let out a bloodcurling scream, and hurl the book at Ransom, after which, we also figured, he would probably start screaming himself.

 

Plan C (scrapped)

Make Him Cry

 

Now one of our friends sings so beautifully she makes grown men cry. Ransom, going by his picture, was a grown man, which suited our purpose. The plan was to have her suddenly sing, after which we would collect Ransom’s tears in a vial for future use in potion-making. (It is known that nerd tears are able to cure a variety of ailments.)

 

Plan D

The Ransom Conspiracy

As all the previous plans would have ended up with someone calling security and our tiny selves being muscled off the scene, this is what we ultimately went with. But this is a longer story, and for this, I must now return to the scene of the signing.

Upon arrival, the number of excitable fangirls and boys had quadrupled dramatically. There were now groups of people squatting in every conceivable square meter of space in the vicinity. Each time a chair was so much as moved by one of the organizers, the screams became louder and more persistent.

One of the bored girls wisely proposed we go one floor higher and watch the proceedings from there. It was an inspired choice. Not only were we a safe distance from the hullabaloo, we had a fantastic view. It was like watching a people aquarium.

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The best, it turned out. Ransom, Tahereh (Mafi), and Veronica (Rossi) actually walked past us. This gave us a good look at their shoes. They had very pretty shoes. Tahereh was quite possibly the loveliest author I’d ever seen.

 

Then they went backstage, and from our vantage point, we could see them there. They emerged with Riggs taking a video of the very enthusiastic crowd.

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Patience, Padawan. I’m just getting to Plan D.

 

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Photo by Jessica McYorker

While Q and A was happening, Kring started sketching Ransom on one of the pages of her little notebook. She noticed that he didn’t have much in the way of a chin. Based on that and an ingenious fan banner, we shook with giggles as we imagined actually telling the guy, “Ransom, y u have no chin? Did someone . . . kidnap it for ransom? Is this why you’re so handsom?”

 

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Photo by Jessica McYorker

No, we didn’t actually tell him that in person. We did, however, write it on the note. Since there was still space on that small piece of paper, we added a few more drawings (thanks to Kring) and messages. One had him smoking a Holmesian pipe with a really bad Sherlock-related pun. Another had a squirrel we named Random Riggs. And on the back page, a formal letter from Charles Xavier discussing possible collaborations involving the educational prospects of these youngsters and a feisty old lady who begged for an erotica book because she “had her needs” and children just wouldn’t cut it. You get the picture. Perfectly horrible stuff.

 

 

 

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Photo by Jessica McYorker

And yes, though we didn’t really get to have a nice, long chat with him (pity, he seemed like a fun sort of person), we did get to say hello and get a picture and our books signed before we were moved along. Kring got to ask him if he liked Doctor Who (apparently he’s not a Whovian, which is okay) and most importantly . . . we got the message delivered.

 

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Photo by Jessica McYorker

Also, when they were taking a selfie with the crowd (it really is a thing nowadays, isn’t it?), Ransom happened to look up at my perch in Mount Olympus, and this happened:

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We called it the Ransom Conspiracy.

 

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Photo by Jessica McYorker

While it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever respond to our nonsense, we did have quite an experience. And this morning, the same Mr. Riggs posted a tweet about reading everyone’s messages and how the people at his Philippine book signings were “insanely creative.” I’d like to think we contributed a fair bit to the “insane” part of it.

 

And there’s something else that tickles me about all this: These days, authors seem to be the new rock stars. Kids are getting genuinely excited about books and the stories in them. Reading, for many of this generation, is no longer something they’re forced to do at school. No sirree, they now throw themselves into it willingly–fan art and fan fiction attached–and wear the T-shirts proudly.

 

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You may roll your eyes, but if childhood fans of Conan Doyle can end up creating (and, in Gatiss’s case, acting in) my favorite modern take on Holmes, I say this is all bloody awesome.

 

Now I’d better read his second book.


Sentiments of a Former Stage-Door Virgin

Believe it or not, even as a multitasking fangirl of an assortment of things and people, I don’t know how to ask for photos or autographs, or linger at a place to wait for people to make an appearance. Truly I don’t and never have.

And that’s something else I’ve learned from the musical Wicked. Before the show began, we happened to catch the tour bus arriving at the artists’ entrance. Did I approach the cast, take pictures, ask them to sign anything? Nope. I just stood there. (To be fair, though, I know all about the hustle and bustle involved to prepare for a show and figured they shouldn’t be bothered.) One of the actors walked past me, nearly bumped me, and apologized. I mumbled, “That’s all right.”

After the show, when one of my favorite friends suggested we meet the cast at the stage door, I didn’t know what to do. I had no camera on hand, no pen, no confidence (mostly this) . . . only a measly programme. I nearly ran away twice.

At this point my friend had to intervene and approach a girl gripping a pen (aha!) and also hesitating. He asked her if he could help by making sure she got the Wizard’s autograph . . . as long as she also lent us her pen. Haha! It worked! The Wizard, Jay Laga’aia (screen credits: Star Wars Ep. 1 & 2, Xena, Legend of the Seeker) turned out to be a very accommodating man, and he even asked for my name.

This gave me renewed hope and though most of the cast had already, by this time, gone into the tour bus, Galinda and Elphaba were still due to emerge. Obviously, they were what most of the crowd were lingering about for. But anticipating it would take some time, I started eyeing some of the relatively low-profile (in that nobody was asking for their photos/autographs) dudes coming out of the stage door. I spotted a very tall young man, and thinking he might have been in the ensemble, I approached him (anxiously) with that question.

He laughed. I relaxed; he had kind eyes. “No, I’m the sound guy,” he said. I congratulated him on the quality of sound during the show and meant it. I suppose because there was no pressure, him not being one of the “stars” to get starstruck by, I managed to get a conversation going. I found out that they were the same sound team from the Phantom of the Opera, which I’d seen the previous year. A lot of this cast (mostly ensemble) were the same people in Cats (which I’d also seen) and Love Never Dies.

We kept on chatting until the tour bus arrived, at which point I realized I’d never asked for his name. It occurred to him first (see how nice he was?), so after introducing ourselves I wished him a merry rest-of-the-tour and that I hoped to see more of their team’s productions, possibly next year. (His name was Nick—Nicolas Hammond, Head of Sound, has worked in this field in musicals since 2006. Thanks, Internet.)

This encounter with such a pleasant person warmed me, and just in time. At this point, also, the actresses playing Elphaba and Galinda were finally emerging from the stage door. I found it in me to approach and ask if I could shake their hands. They were sweet and equally accommodating to the waiting crowd, especially to their younger fans. I was relieved and delighted to see this. Not that it would have taken anything away from the beauty of the musical if they’d turned out to be stuck-up divas, but because they were not, my first real “fangirl” experience was in all aspects rewarding.

I suppose, like everything else, fangirling only takes practice. I can’t wait to do it again.

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Fantasticalacious, Stupendifying! [My Wicked Experience]

The magic will never wear off, but my memory isn’t as reliable. So hear ye, a blog post. Wait, let me turn up the Wicked soundtrack first. There. Perfect.

I have loved Wicked the musical for a good many years now. But it wasn’t until two days ago that I fell in love with it.

Let me backtrack a bit. Ever since obtaining a (pirated, teehee) copy of the soundtrack in my much, much, MUCH younger years, I’ve listened to the songs a lot but never actually got to experience the play in a visual sense. So how the play appeared in my mind existed completely, well, just there—in my mind.

I sort of got to perform a bit of it once, at a friend’s debut. We had this (dare I say it myself?) clever idea of tweaking the eighteen-candles tradition into something infinitely more fun—eighteen Broadway excerpts! A good friend (Nina, who’s now singing in operas in Middle Earth) and I sang “What Is This Feeling?” (the one with a lot of loathing in it). I was, of course, Galinda, who remains my favorite character, and to sing “Popular” remains on my bucket list.

I digress, as always. Back to Oz-Manila.

When I stepped into the theatre, my jaw dropped. The stunning mechanical time dragon. The stage itself, made up as giant cogs and gears. That very steampunk stage design. The costumes—oh Holy Mother of Cthulhu. My drool spilled into a bucket, which I luckily happened to have on hand. (Not really, no.)

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[Yes, I took that one picture before the show, but none while it transpired. I can’t help feeling that taking photos at shows is a lot like tourists spending their entire tour looking for good photo opportunities. You forget to relish the present in your frantic attempts to create souvenirs of what is soon to be the past.]

The main characters kept up the essence of the original Broadway cast, which was at the same time, I believe, a combined feat of casting and study. The actress playing Galinda, especially, was very Kristin Chenoweth in voice and mannerisms. From afar (our seats were far) we could make believe it was actually Kristin out there, not to take anything away from the Aussie actress playing Kristin-playing-Galinda, who was excellent in her own  right in spite—and because—of this.

The ensemble, too, was brilliant. It was only when I began flying off to watch these touring shows that I noticed what a lot of local productions I’d seen lacked. Oftentimes, the ensemble is just that—a chorus, a faceless unit in charge of the background songs and dances. But that’s not the way it’s meant to be. Every face in that “crowd” is important; in fact, every one of them should be an individual character, never mind if this character is not named in the programme. And when they’re effective, you can look at them one by one and know who they are in terms of the story. They sing and dance and interact completely on their character’s terms without compromising the collective choreography and blocking.

[Allow me to digress a little. Having my eyes opened to that is precisely why, in my real-world theatrical pursuits, I’ve always stressed that the cast in the chorus take on their own characters, whether assigned or of their own creation. In The Clockwork Princess, I gave them designations, descriptions: the Investigator, the Law Enforcer, the Time Agent, etc. In Facebooked! I pushed for the chorus characters to be based on Facebook prototype profiles: War Freak, Gossip Girl, and more.]

I like to kid that watching these international musicals isn’t relaxation; it’s research. In all honesty, it’s both. Both a wonderful way to unwind and a complete learning experience. This, folks, is what education should be like. If you live where I live, love musicals just as much, and have seen nothing but local shows, I recommend doing what I do. Save up for it. Plan for it. Make it an event.

Well yes, you might not be able to eat for a month (if you live from paycheck to paycheck like I do), but I guarantee you will not regret it. A bonus: you’ll probably even shed a few pounds from the imposed starvation.

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Do You Want to Solve a Murder? by Disney’s Sherlock

Little Sherlock:
Mycroft? *knocks*
Do you wanna play detective?
Come on, let’s go and play
I don’t see Redbeard anymore
Well, since 9:44
It’s like he’s run away
We used to be best buddies,
and now he’s gone
I wish we could find out why . . .
Do you wanna play detective?
You can be my boss detective!

Little Mycroft:
Bugger off, Sherlock. (Idiots can’t be detectives!)

Little Sherlock:
Okay, bye.

Teen Sherlock:
Do you wanna see a crime scene?
There’s been a robbery at the mall
I think investigation’s overdue
I’ve started seeing clues
Like pictures on the walls
It gets a little lonely
My mind-palace rooms
Just watching the words rush by . . .
“terminally single. sleep-deprived. secretly gay. likes umbrellas.”

Teen Mycroft:
Brother dear, must you ANALYSE me!

Adult Sherlock:
*knocks* Mycroft?
Brother, please, I know you’re in there
Working out, I can deduce
But I wish you’d stop ignoring me,
You see it’s boring me,
There’s really no excuse!
See, Lestrade is being useless,
John’s on a date,
There’s no one I can impress!
Do you want to solve a murder?
It doesn’t have to be a murder . . .

Mycroft:
Go play with your FRIENDS, Sherlock.

Sherlock:
Prick.

************
I saw a post on Facebook with the same idea (but as a text conversation) and couldn’t resist writing the full version. I kept its title (do you want to solve a murder?) as well as the boring-ignoring bit and the final “Prick.” So whoever came up with that, thank you, you’re brilliant, and you’ve kept me amused for minutes. (-Minutes? You’re slipping. -Twenties, dear readers. Comes to us all.) The rest I made up, most of it while giggling to myself.

Seriously, though (or less so), sing to the tune of the Frozen song and with BBC’s Holmes brothers in your mind palace. Enjoy!

PS. I wish there was something I could do to actually have Cumberbatch and Gatiss sing this together. Then I can die happy.


Of the Holmesian Undead and Enjoying TV Shows in General

Before anything else, as an audience member of, well, anything (but particularly film and TV), here are my priorities:

 

  1. To be entertained
  2. To feel things (more points if these are good things)

 

Not on the list are pointing out what writers did wrong, whether or not there were plot holes, if my chosen form of entertained adhered to a recommended format, or if it met the critics’ standards of quality television.

 

And this is why I can watch Robin Hood: Men in Tights hundreds of times and laugh every time, and why I’ll never watch August: Osage County again (I did feel things—irritation mostly—but was definitely not entertained).

 

I judge subjectively. Because, in truth, that is what we all do, whether or not we choose to chocolate-coat (I prefer this to sugar) the fact with fancy explanations.

 

This brings me to BBC Sherlock’s third series, which I’d been waiting for for two years. And you know what? In my subjective view, it was well worth the wait.

 

Self-referential and plenty of hat-tipping to the fandom? Possibly, and yet I don’t think this would really affect the understanding of viewers not familiar with the show. The same goes for its multiple winks and nods to the original Conan Doyle books. Sure, they’re inside jokes in a way. And if you’re familiar with the references, you’ll delight in them. At the same time, if not, nothing’s amiss. That’s why they’re Easter eggs.

 

If you’ve been following the show since it began or feel the affinity that I do, these things mean a great deal: That Mary Morstan was played by Martin Freeman’s real-life partner. That Sherlock’s parents really are Benedict Cumberbatch’s parents. That young Sherlock was played by the son of the writer and the producer. And so on.

 

In fact, if you’re a fan of Gatiss’s or Moffat’s other work, you’ll find a lot of other little gems to grin about, intentional or not.

 

And all that’s a huge part of the point, though it’s not the point at all. The point is that all three episodes with their varying tones took me on different carnival rides of emotions. The first was mostly the excitement of reacquaintance, like bumping into best friends who were abroad for two years. The second was squishy stuff—feels and feels and laugh-out-loud humor, a romcom for those who prefer their romantic heroes sociopathic. And the third was THAT ride, the king of the carnival, the one you save for last, the rollercoaster.

 

After all the episodes (why, even in between) comes the speculation. Theories and arguments about theories, all of which manage to sustain the fandom for the next two? three? years of wait. Are all these theories logical? Does anyone even get it right?

 

Well, no, because the answers never are thoroughly logical either. The writers like to throw the show’s viewers tasty tidbits every now and then, knowing how we fancy ourselves little detectives. While I’m delighted when I make the right guesses, I always prefer being wrong. Am I disappointed that not everything is explained satisfactorily? No. Sherlock Holmes, in all his incarnations, was never predictable. He was always one step ahead. It may occasionally look like a cheat, but there are only a reasonable number of possible explanations to every phenomenon. And because of that, I often feel this “cheating” is essential. How dull he would be if we could second-guess him all the time! How ordinary he would seem if his mind-palace were identical to our own!

 

(Apply this same suspension of disbelief to Moriarty, Magnussen, Mycroft, and everyone else that matters or begins with an M. Hell, even Moffat. There.)

 

On the very opposite end of this scale, I’m glad when someone outsmarts Sherlock Holmes once in a while. And I’m glad we’re seeing his human side. Because without a human side, and without people who equal or surpass his brilliance, there would be no sense of jeopardy. If he were infallible, would there be any real threat, any sense of danger?

 

(That said, I wish they would stop resurrecting people. As much as I am able to suspend my disbelief to the high heavens, I’m starting to take any character’s “death” less seriously than I’m supposed to. I’m not that big a fan of zombie shows . . .)

 

But the thing is, I’m grinning from ear to ear. I enjoyed the ride. I did. I will now proceed to bask in this enjoyment for the rest of the week, or month, or year.

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A Challenge: 100 Books in 2014

As I recently posted in Facebook, one of my resolutions this year is to read and finish one hundred books. One hundred books because I am not—and you may be surprised to hear this—as well-read as I could possibly be. This probably owes to my rather long literary hiatus back in my nursing days (yes, yes, I used to be a nurse, but it was a past life I don’t intend to revisit).

Digression aside, here are my conditions:

  1. They don’t have to be critically acclaimed books. It being touted as “good” doesn’t always mean I’ll enjoy it, and vice-versa.
  2. I will, however, try to ensure that a lot of these are the classics I’ve missed out on or haven’t finished in their complete form for one reason or another.
  3. I’ll try to keep the mix eclectic. There might be some genres I’ll visit less than others—personal preference and all that.
  4. I’ll post one memorable quote after each book I complete. I draw the line at reviews, though I might do so sporadically.
  5. After completing the magic one hundred, I owe myself a literary tattoo.

Why am I doing this? I feel my literary education has been shamefully lacking, but most shameful of all is not doing much to remedy that. We all have precious little in terms of years in this world, and time not spent thoroughly examining the beauty of it is wasted time. Granted, we all have our own ideas of beauty. Words when properly weaved is one of mine.

Also this—I spend a lot of my time reading messed-up attempts at literature because . . . well, because that’s my day job. And you can never discount the amount of influence reading material has on you. You are what you read. The rhythm, the patterns of the words—you may not be conscious of it, but they become your rhythms, your patterns. Often you’ll find authors criticised for “imitating” their idols. It is not imitation; it’s inevitable. You write what you read. You become what you read.

And I don’t want to turn into a bad book. There are enough of those. This will help in terms of balance.

I’ll post my list here. You’re all welcome to join me; let’s celebrate our progress together.

UPDATE: Here, it has begun:

1. The Light Fantastic – Terry Pratchett

2. Coriolanus – William Shakespeare

3. Odd and the Frost Giants – Neil Gaiman

Photo by Maxbeth Bolongaita, who inspired this challenge. This is OUR challenge.

Photo by Maxbeth Bolongaita, who inspired this challenge. This is OUR challenge.


The Extroverted Introvert (Also a Squid)

Introvert, extrovert.

Not that there’s anything wrong with labels; that’s why we have language—so we’d have words for things. But it gets tricky when I check the (Facebook) feed and there’s yet another post about Twenty-Five Ways to Deal with Introverts, and every item on the list makes me grin (or cringe) in recognition—yep, that’s me.

And then I embark on another day’s adventures that involve animated chats with friends and my enthusiastic participation in, well, nearly everything, and this restless energy even drives me occasionally to strike up conversations with total strangers. Perhaps they’re wearing a Doctor Who shirt. Perhaps there’s something going on that I’m curious about (often the case). In any event, my day is sprinkled with these random interactions, and I rant and rave as wholeheartedly as any extrovert on caffeine.

But my social meter is limited, finite, and when that point is reached, there’s only one person in the world whose company I crave.

Mine.

I remember this most especially when I’m finally alone, and it feels like I’m casting off my back weight equivalent to a certain Shutter ghost or a very large . . . squid (I don’t know why; I just have this visual picture). When the space is my own, and the time is my own, and I have only my silence (or music filling it beautifully) and my imagination, I feel sublime.

And therein lies the problem.

Photo by Hannah Creencia, who is probably an actual bunny.

Photo by Hannah Creencia, who is probably an actual bunny.


Sonnet Eighteen and Three-Quarters

They say we should find new challenges for ourselves each day. I agree. And what bigger challenge than to combine Miley Cyrus and Shakespeare?

So look here, my friends, for I have risen to the challenge. I chose Sonnet 18 (because it’s a probable pop single among the Bard’s sonnets) and mashed it up with the basic gist of lyrics from “Wrecking Ball.”

Honestly the iambic pentameter stumbles,  and the “Elizabethan” grammar is lamentable. I still managed to maintain it in sonnet form, though; you can count. Anyway, no more disclaimers.

Ta-daa!

Sonnet Eighteen and Three-Quarters

Miley Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a wrecking ball?

Thou hast not hit so hard in love (or hate).

Yea, thou wert so inclined to break my wall

Thy wrecking lease hath all too short a date.

Sometimes we jumped whilst never asking why

And oft we clawed; we chained our hearts in vain

A love a wand’ring Death dare not deny

Emblazoned till our ashes fell like rain.

But didst thou say I runneth from thy midst?’

Forsooth! I walketh like an elephant!

Verily thy breakage shall desist

Thine balls of wreckage I shall always want.

So long as Miley breathes and I can see,

So long lives this: thou hast wre-e-ecked me.