Books! Books! Who Wants 'Em?


As promised, here is the first batch of books that I'm going to give away. 

(1) As you may see in the pictures, they are pre-loved by me and god know how many others. The pictures below are the actual books in their present condition, creases, tags, and all. There's National, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, Alimar's (or have they folded up?), Goodwill (them too?) if you want new books. I am not a bookstore. Lovely banig background not included.

(2) I am giving them away because 
  • I already have an electronic copy of them, 
  • I have already read then,
  • I am getting rid of clutter in my room/life,
  • I have duplicates. Yes, I am that Booksale person who just buys and buys, and on the way home realizes I may have a copy of a book I've just bought.
(3) I am not hearing arguments re: "But books are better than e-books," "You're not a true bibliophile if you don't keep books," "E-books are not real books." SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE. Find somebody else to talk to because I ain't listening.

(4) Get them from me. You know where I am. Otherwise, comment, text, email, Twitter, Facebook me to meet up. Cubao, Makati, Ortigas areas are best. You most definitely can just meet me, get the books, and literally run/walk away. No small talk needed. You should know that I appreciate silence better than awkward attempts to strike up a conversation. Free coffee and other tokens (keychains, external hard drives, Amazon GCs, money, hot guys into books and foreign films, prayers) much appreciated though. Seriously.

(5) For lazy people, give me a compelling argument as to why I should spend on a delivery service to give you my books. This does not guarantee anything at all. Just to exercise your debate skills

(6) Try to choose two books at most. Huwag swapang. 

(7) For those looking for e-books, what have you been waiting for? Message me of book you've been looking for. I have quite a satisfied stable of "clientele" asking me for e-books. 

(8) There's the comments section if you want a book for yourself. Also gives other people an idea of what books are still available, no? F.C.F.S. 

That's all for now. More books later, promise.Now, on to writing about the benefits of drop shopping.

P.S. By the way, click on the pictures to know more about the book (and what Goodreads folk them about them).

Sin mirar atras in Eight Points

Sin mirar atras

Artist: David Bisbal
Released: 20 October, 2009
Genre: Latin pop, pop rock
Three tracks: Mi princesa, El ruido, Al Andaluz
In one sentence: A letdown after the promising Premonicion

There are some albums that require you to listen to them dozens of times before you acquire a taste for them. There are also albums that get old because you've listened to them too may times. Then there's David Bisbal's Sin mirar atras, an unfortunate waste of talent of the reality show success story.
1) The sound of Bisbal has not seemed to mature despite four studio albums (three Spanish ones and one repackaged album which contained previously released tracks from the first two with three English songs thrown in) and two live concert albums. The maturity of Bisbal's material that was beginning to be heard in the third album, Premonicion, has been erased. The sound of this album is no different from his sophomore effort, Buleria, which had more radio-friendly tracks.

2) I felt Bisbal's third album Premonicion was a step in the right direction, with a good mix of fast songs and ballads. The ballads were executed beautifully, and the fast songs, though still bears a healthy dose of cheesiness, displayed the strength of his voice.

3) I really wanted to like the album, as I want Bisbal to continue selling records and keep the Spanish music industry afloat. I am aware that it might be the type of album that would require multiple listens before it grows on you, but alas, it has been months since I downloaded the album and I still find a lot of tracks boring.

4) The first half of the album is really weak. In my repeat listens, I usually found myself looking forward to Al Andalus, the 7th track, which meant I had to go through six songs lest I hit on fast forward, which I almost always did. After the 1st track, the upbeat, first single Esclavo de sus besos, the album suffers a lull, as the songs coming one after another sound alike. Even the album's title track is ho-hum.

5) Things start picking up, as mentioned, in track number 7, the flamenco-tinged Al Andalus, followed by Cuando hacemos el amor, which more or less holds the momentum. In the next track, Bisbal's vocals finally soar in El ruido, a song penned by another Operacion Triunfo alumna, Vega.

6) The next track is the latest single of the album, 24 horas. The '60s feel of the song is a bit weird for me. Not as ghastly as the songs in the first half of the album, though .

7) After another cannon fodder track comes the second single to be released in the album, Mi princesa, a very beautiful song with the sweetest lyrics. I don't know why, but I kind of noticed some weird phrasing/breathing bits by Bisbal in some portions of the song. Anyway, it should have been the last track of the song, just to ensure that the album leaves a good taste in the mouth (or some good notes in the ear).

8) But no! There is a bonus track, Sufriras, a duet with British singer Pixie Lott. I do not really know what to feel about the song. It sounds like a song being played in a really cheesy Eastern European discotheque. What the heck were the record's producers thinking of when they included this bonus track? Couldn't they have let Bisbal work with David Guetta? Or one of 'em Dutch DJs? Totally unnecessary waste of 3 and a half minutes of the listener's time.

This so-so effort led me to the conclusion David Bisbal's best album is still his third, Premonicion. Two or, at my most generous, four songs may qualify as tracks to be included in a David Bisbal Greatest Hits compilation in the future. The more interesting tracks are few and clumped together in the middle. Sin mirar atras is NOT one of those albums you would really like to listen to over and over again. It doesn't even reach a point of some songs sounding old fast. Some of them are just plain boring no matter how many times you've listened to them.

Final verdict: The guy is infintely talented, no doubt. What he needs is a good album producer.
My rating: Obsessed / Love / Hooked / Like / Ambivalent / Irritated / Hate / Avoid at All Cost

Background on the singer:
David Bisbal, known for his curly locks and powerful belting voice, started as a contestant in the first edition of Spain's Operacion Triunfo, Endemol's version of the Pop Idol franchise. He eventually became the runner-up of the competition, and went on to sell a million copies of his debut album, Corazon Latino, making everyone ask who the hell Rosa Lopez is (the winner of the aforementioned competition). He became the latest member of a select group of Spanish male singers (Serrat, Sabina, Miguel Bose, the father and son Iglesias and Alejandro Sanz to name almost all of them) who have established a career across the Atlantic. His latest album, Sin mirar atras, is, as of press time, holds the 10th spot in the Spanish album sales charts, having been there for 47 weeks now. He has, so far, sold over 4.5 million copies of his seven albums worldwide.

(I Feel Like Such a) WHORE!

(That was so liberating!)

When I got into blogging like eight years ago, the thing to do to generate traffic in your blog was to blog hop. That'd mean go to Blogger or Typepad, look who just got something published, click on the link, read through the blog, decide whether you liked the blog or not, leave a message on the blog and hope and pray that the owner of the blog you visited will return the favor.

Well, apparently, times have changed. My old blog which should have contained so many entries already got into a lost-in-translation accident in a web cafe with only a Korean operating system. I accidentally deleted the whole thing. Fast forward to this current blog, which is only a few years old and is rarely updated. I used to have really good blogs in my blog roll, as in blogs that you'd really spend a lot of time reading and lose track of time eventually. So, I am currently re-building my blog roll and my blogging mojo (years in the making).

Facebook has this blog community and I joined it because I want to lurk around good reads and hopefully get the people who write these blogs I frequent come visit my blog too (long shot, but hey). The latter thought is really not as important as the former one, knowing that the visitor to my blog may be bored because of the lack of updates. So I joined Networked Blogs with that mindset. after going through the registration and all, I discovered that there is a discussion board filled with people who start topic threads about their blogs, promoting them and promising to return the favor of following the blog of someone who has followed them.

I was uneasy with the idea from the start, knowing that the whole arrangement can be tricky in a number of circumstances. For example, what if somebody is following you and is expecting you to return the favor, with the other person having a blog that's entirely an SEO marketing tool? Or a blog full of religious entries? As much as I fully respect the reasons behind having an SEO blog (I am a ghost writer for SEO articles, for goodness sakes) and I feel it is any one's right to use a blog to spread religious platforms, I am not really comfortable with following them.

I follow blogs because I actually enjoy reading them. Through the whole follow-my-blog-and-I'll-follow yours process, I also felt like I was cheating some people who were expecting me to follow their blogs when I didn't really appreciate the content of theirs. Honestly, it doesn't take much to make me want to read your blog, just as long as I don't see misplaced widgets and fonts of different sizes and colors (I'm a bit obsessive-compulsive when reading) and the content doesn't read like it was copied and pasted from something I can read in Ezinearticles. If I had the urge to read an informative article about how to lose weight with the help of a miracle drug or how to monetize a blog, then I would go read e-How or Ezine, thank you. Other than that, there is a 95% chance I'll read (and eventually be compelled to follow) your blog. The chances of that reaching a 100% will happen if you keep a blog on books, movies, pop culture or current events.

Anyway, going back to that FB blog community, I got to read some blogs that were in those discussion groups and have actually followed some of them. I also felt like I did some subtle (actually, obvious) whoring of my humble blog, just to get into the "I'll follow you if you'll follow me" bandwagon. I have to say I felt a bit icky afterwards. My only consolation(s) is (are) that I did find some blogs that are really fun to read in these discussion threads, and I feel they are really worthy of a wider readership.

So I think I'll go ahead and click on some more of those threads and those blogs, but I won't be doing the vice-versa-following deals anymore. It just doesn't feel right for me. No judgement here; some people have to do what they feel they need to do. As for me, I feel the need to write more.

Epic WTF of the Week 06-11 September: Stuck in a Hole He Can't Get Out Of?

The John Lloyd - Shaina "thing," bow.

I'm sorry, but am I the only one in the Philippines immune to John Lloyd Cruz's (from hereon to be referred as JLC) charms? Sorry, but before I get stones hurled at me, let me rephrase that: I like John Lloyd Cruz as an actor. The looks department... OK, I guess? He looks neat all the time. Not neat as in swell, but neat as in literally neat, as in clean, as in no matter how many hours he spends in that bicycle of his (his chosen sport), he'd still look fresh. What I'm not getting is JLC's ability to turn almost all Filipina women (or at least those I know) into dangerous lionesses ready to pounce at anyone who dares to say even the slightest not-so-nice remark about him. I dare anyone. Go tell your Filipina friend that John Lloyd Cruz is ugly. The easiest you can get away with is a 'how-dare-you-say-that' glare and a hissy fit to last an hour minimum. That I do not get. I really find him rather vanilla.

Which leads me to Shaina. Amidst intense speculations months ago, the two finally admitted they are in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, leading some people to ask about where Ruffa Gutierrez is in the picture. The 1993 Miss World 2nd Princess and JLC were apparently an item after the latter's split with celebrity stylist Liz Uy and while together in the series 'I Love Betty La Fea'. Pu
blic opinion was a bit muted with the JLC - Ruffa affair because a) the two never admitted to any romantic relationship, b) Ruffa Gutierrez is a giant, and c) any disparaging remark against Ruffa will catch the ire of her mom, Anabelle Rama, someone who, according to an informal Facebook survey, Filipinos would not want to get into a bar fight with (after Manny Pacquiao and along with Dionesia Pacquiao).

With the truth coming out, mouths silenced during the time of the JLC - Ruffa non-relationship went wild, returning to their lioness modes and lambasting the not-so-poor Shaina, with comments ranging from "Lucky beyotch, I hate her!" to "Mamatay ka na, makating babae!" (lit. trans.: "Die already, itchy woman/harlot/whore!") As much as I do not understand the JLC adoration, I also do not understand the Shaina hatred. I mean, I understand how all gays and girls hate her guts for snagging THE JLC (with me going, "Big effing deal!"), but can't they give her a break? I guess she all the Shaina hatred is justified because noone really hated Ciara Sotto, JLC's first boyfriend because at that time JLC hadn't reached the LPIB (laglag-panti-ikot-bra/panty-wetting-bra-twisting) level of matinee idol-ism yet. Liz Uy is too alta (literally high, figuratively high-society, classy, well-bred) for anyone to bother with, and Ruffa, well, I've already mentioned the reasons earlier. It appears that Shaina is the most accessible JLC girlfriend so far, so people think that it's fine to hate her. Therefore, I conclude she needs an image consultant, stat.

Last weekend, the WWW was ablaze with word that after a night of debauchery, John Lloyd and Shaina got it on and because of fatigue and alcoholic intoxication, JLC's member got stuck in Shaina's female parts.

Yes, whoever you are, if you aren't familiar with Philippine showbiz and wondered if you read what you just read correctly, well, yes, YOU READ IT RIGHT!

Mr. John Lloyd Cruz, who will always be Rovic to me (his breakout TV role), had his penis stuck in Ms. Shaina Magdayao's vaginal cavity, or so the rumor went. While I just couldn't help but laugh uncontrollably at the entire thing (pardon the immaturity), self-proclaimed insiders have added details to the rumor. As with any urban legend, it starts with a doctor, who happens to be the friend of the neighbor of the cousin of the second wife of the aerobics instructor of the insider, verifying that JLC and Shaina snuck in a hospital (Makati Med? St. Luke's? QC or Global City?) with only a blanket covering them, the guy on top of the girl, to have a medical procedure done for them to be separated. More insiders poised to quash any cynical thoughts were quick to point out that what happened is an actual medical condition known as (drum roll please...)

vaginal captivus
an occurrence wherein the vaginal opening of a woman closes, perhaps due to fatigue.

And yes, to strengthen their case, insiders point to an episode of Grey's Anatomy which has featured such a case. Apparently Grey's Anatomy is now the paragon of truth in anything medical (sorry, cannot confirm the episode, stopped watching the show after its second season; besides, my medical show is House). Everyone involved has denied what happened, and I hope people will leave it at that.
I mean, really? Penis captivus whatever? WTF. Epic wow.

Ironies and Surprises

How ironic it is for my dad to pass away when my last entry for this blog was about dads!
Speaking of irony, because of my dad's passing, I shall go home again this Saturday, the second time in a month. Which is weird because the last time I went home prior to two weeks ago was in 2007. So, yes, I have spent 2 Christmases and New Years away from home. And now, suddenly I'm going back and forth to Bacolod like some carefree jet setter, which is of course, farthest from the truth (being carefree and a jet setter).

Anyway, my dad's death and the impending event (as early as Monday I thought something was going to happen this week) had me on a purging mood. Aside from over-consuming food rich in fiber (to good effect), I had cleaned my cabinet, bookshelf and cupboard. I have also "streamlined" my web persona which had me deleting my Friendster account. I know, Friendster is so 2007 and everybody's profile there hasn't been updated since last year, so what's the use. One social networking persona down, less chances of identity theft, and what I have left are my Facebook, Twitter and Blogger accounts.

I have a LiveJournal account which I keep so that I could comment on LiveJournal blogs. Next subjects of my cleaning itch were my 4 email accounts. I actually have 5, but I'm letting the 5th account die a natural death, meaning let that account be filled with spam and offers from Chinese DVD pirates and Canadian pharmacies for Viagra. I painstakingly deleted three and four-year old e-mails, most of which were e-mails of the "pass this forward of you'll die" variety. yes, I was a bit gullible to those things at one time in my life. But there some of those e-mails that I didn't get to forward to 20 or so people because some of the instructions on them were rather impossible to do, or simply stupid.

For the past four years, a toilet sink has fallen on my foot, I have been stitched below my chin because I stumbled on an escalator that suddenly stopped, some friends have decided to un-friend me and a motorcycle has hit me while I was crossing a street. But obviously, I'm still alive and I have outlived my dad who doesn't have an e-mail account, and thus wouldn't have been a victim of these e-mail scams. So screw those people who pressured me to email something or I die. Burn in hell together with those Liberian people who asked for my bank account details in exchange for me being a keeper of their ill-gotten wealth. This world is full of weirdos.

Just this morning, while I was purging my e-mail accounts of filth, I chanced upon an email from Blogger notifying me that I had a comment to be moderated in my blog. SURPRISE (ala Chris Daymon)!!! The comment came from an Edward Copeland, whose name I somewhat found familiar. True enough, he has a film blog I follow and apparently, he has given me the honor of a Versatile Blogger Award. Part of me wanted to erase the comment, thinking it was one of those spam comments that lead me to chat with topless blond girls in my area. Duh. Thank God it was not.
So, OK, I'll participate, which demands me to follow these rules (up until this time I was a bit irritated. An award with rules to follow??? Geez. But then...fine.):

• Thank the person who gave you this award
Thank you, Mr. Copeland for this honor. I do try. I am as versatile as anyone can be and I am really trying to be a more active blogger. I try, I really do. I will try my best to be worthy of this honor.

• Share 7 things about yourself

1. As mentioned earlier, I just lost my dad. So, that makes me a semi-orphan. My mom is still very much alive and is hinting on a Hongkong vacation to ease her mind off things after the pressures and preps of putting my dad to eternal rest.
2. I love movies. I do not hold myself in high regard as to my taste, but I love foreign films. I love that by watching these movies, I get to live vicariously through the characters in more interesting places and times without leaving the comforts of my chair.
3. Aside from films, I also love watching reality talent shows. I am constanty irritated by how the more talented ones get eliminated early on and how the ones that come out victorious eventually get endeared to the viewing public, eventhough the fact remains that they weren't as talented as their fallen comrades (e.g. Jasmin Trias [over JHud???], Kris Allen [over Allison and Adam???], Virginia Maestro [over Chipper???] and Lee Dewyze [over Mamasox???]).
4. I know of a friend who doesn't eat bananas because a teacher once told her bananas are food for monkeys (Jenny Araojo alert!). What I haven't told her was that I was once traumatized by a teacher too, and that teacher was to alter my diet forever. When I was in kindergarten, a classmate asked our teacher where fishes pee and poop. Dearest teacher answered in the water. Inquisitive classmate retorted, "But that's where they live!" Dearest teacher answered, "YES!" with a matching squirm, obviously realizing how disgusting her answer was. 24 years fast forward, I haven't eaten fish. I eat crab, shrimp, and lobster, but no fish. Damn teacher.
5. I am interested in anything Indian and anything Hispanic. Thus, I know which ecdl video footballer Fernando Torres starred in (Ya Nada Volvera A Ser Como Antes[ecdl is el canto del loco]) and who that woman in the Olay Total Effects ad now showing on Philippine TV is (that's Bollywood star Kajol [wife of Ajay Devgan and cousin of Rani Mukherji] - the gesture in 0:10 is a giveaway).
6. I just realized that I've been living in Manila for 14 years already. That's almost half my life.
7. I love reading too, or rather shopping for books. Last year, I bought 43 books and actually read 4, two of which I actually bought in 2008. The rest, as of presstime, have been collecting dust. That must change.

• Pass the award along to 15 who you have recently discovered and who you think fantastic for whatever reason

• Contact the blogs you picked and let them know about the award.
OK, I shall choose 15, but I have to violate the earlier rule. I haven't discovered great blogs as of late. So, I shall bestow the awards to 15 blogs I follow but haven't been given the award. I hope that'd be just fine. But this will be done in the coming days, OK? Getting 15 blogs and informing them would just be a lot of work, considering I still have 5 essays that needed to be finished for work. AND I'M A SEMI-ORPHAN!!!

* * * * *

P.S. I hope no one gets offended with the way I "handle" my dad's death. I am mourning, but I choose not to be heavy or dramatic about it. My father was never one who was sad about things. I'm thinking he would be so weird-ed if he sees me, my mom or my sister hysterical over his passing.