RN | grad student | Filipino | centrist | writer | copy editor | bookworm | philomath | evolutionist | conservationist | aspiring veterinarian | Ravenclaw


Books | Animals | Nurses Notes | Thoughts and Essays | Facts and FYIs | Rants and Random Stuff | Everything Personal | School Stuff | Art Stuff | Poetry


JD's Bookshelf

The Alchemyst The Amber Spyglass The Amulet of Samarkand Angels and Demons The Arctic Incident Artemis Fowl

More of Jan's books »
Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Hogwarts, teach us something please.

These Hogwarts house banners cost me tubs of acrylic, three abused brushes, and very achy feet and ankles (I do not have a proper worktable; sorry, bedsheet). I am lucky to work with the nerdiest, geekiest, weirdest people on earth. Plus I have new curtains. Yay!

I have been fanboying with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman especially after Joseph Gordon-Levitt showed interest in the movie adaptation of this epic series (“showed interest” is putting it lightly, really). 

I was never a fan of comics (or “graphic novels,” whatever you wanna call them). I’ve always preferred imagining the characters’ personalities, gestures, voices, and so on, inside my head as my eyes and fingers trace the words of a good-smelling book. The only publications that make me yearn for illustrations are books on natural history and health science (unless, of course, if you’re reading Dawkins, Sagan, or Darwin). But the Sandman series is different. It’s not one of those “protagonist meets antagonist, then protagonist beats antagonist, with the optional plot twists that would make things difficult for the protagonist and with the unnecessary retcons and backstories that would make readers yawn” type of comics. Gaiman’s Sandman is visual poetry at its finest. His characters are deep, intriguing, saddeningly beautiful, and sometimes beautifully cruel. The great and sometimes overwhelming art is tempered with dialogues that engage the readers and describe our collective unconscious. Like other great writers, Gaiman weaves cultural themes, various mythologies, and many historical figures into his stories. It’s simply enchanting and addictive, one of those of stories that keep you awake at night for hours.

Normal Mailer wrote that Sandman is 

a comic strip for intellectuals, and it’s about time.

Damn right, it is. I just hope they don’t screw up making the film adaptation(s). Gaiman’s characters are highly complex and difficult to envision, almost abstract but just tangible enough to imagine vividly. Casting alone would be hard work, I would imagine. I hope the filmmakers would maintain (or even improve) Gaiman’s visual magic that has captured many readers.

Art by KidNotorious

First goal for 2014: Train them all. These are my favorites, one for each type.

Best things that made my 2013 rad:

  • Becoming full-fledged atheist. Agnostic atheist, to be exact. I’ve never been this free and sure about myself and my worldview. It’s awesome being an atheist—not because I get to bash religionists (many decent people I know are believers, not extremist nutjobs) but I get to explore the areas of science, philosophy, and human behavior more critically.  
  • Meeting Tumblr people outside cyberspace. As you’ve noticed, I am not that active anymore, but seeing the Tumblr-awesomeness in the flesh (i.e., actually meeting the bloggers) has been rewarding. New friends are made and my hunger for geekiness is satiated. 
  • Acquiring more books. And I’m planning to buy and read more next year. Keeping my shelves tidy is a bit challenging, though.
  • Exploring new hobbies and revisiting old fandoms. I’m a bit of an art enthusiast (calligraphy, acrylic, watercolor pencils), and this year, I was engaged in several projects pertaining to fandoms: Harry Potter, Charmed, and Pokemon, to name a few. In 2014, I’ll try learning how to use Illustrator and Photoshop. Noob. Haha.

I think that’s it. I hope there are more awesome stuff in store for me this 2014. My spaghetti is getting cold and the ham slices are flirting with me. Who am I to resist? Hahaha. Happy New Year!

Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.
Nora Ephron (via afternoon-tea-and-books)

(via psych-facts)

Lights off.

The tiny blinking fires of the dark sky leave a sense of wonder and awe. The rhythmic hums of the crickets, accented by the bats’ ominous chirps, set the brain’s gears to turn. Nighttime inspires the writer to pick up his pen, sings to the composer the tunes that never were, compels the painter to brush of the dust off the box of acrylic layered with years of abandoned dreams … A quiet night is very potent, one of Mother Nature’s most powerful agents. It breeds fear and brings inspiration. And it also forces people to reflect.

I don’t feel so awesome today … I should have talked to her … Why didn’t he say hi? … My boss is going to kill me tomorrow … I wonder why anthropology isn’t my major … Fifty pages more, and I’m done with this term paper …  I wonder if Mom’s okay … People might think my design is too derivative … Why isn’t Dad home yet? … Oh, Lizzie, why aren’t you replying? … Maybe I’ll be a loser forever …

Invasive thoughts stress out the mind, forcing it to worry more, to think more. But the brain would soon succumb to sleep. As the sun rays extinguish the gloomy glow of the stars, the cares of the burdened mind evaporate, too. It is a new day of endless opportunities to be awesome, to talk to her, to finish that term paper, to revise the design, to say sorry, to feel love, to share joy. To live life as should be lived.

And then, lights off.

Cheshire Cat: If I were looking for a white rabbit, I’d ask the Mad Hatter. 
Alice: The Mad Hatter? Oh, no no no… 
Cheshire Cat: Or, you could ask the March Hare, in that direction. 
Alice: Oh, thank you. I think I’ll see him … 
Cheshire Cat: Of course, he’s mad, too. 
Alice: But I don’t want to go among mad people. 
Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can’t help that. Most everyone’s mad here.  

Cheshire Cat: If I were looking for a white rabbit, I’d ask the Mad Hatter. 

Alice: The Mad Hatter? Oh, no no no… 

Cheshire Cat: Or, you could ask the March Hare, in that direction. 

Alice: Oh, thank you. I think I’ll see him … 

Cheshire Cat: Of course, he’s mad, too. 

Alice: But I don’t want to go among mad people. 

Cheshire Cat: Oh, you can’t help that. Most everyone’s mad here.  


No, I’m not one those purist Pokemon geeks who owe their very existence to generation 1 (though gen 1 is really nice). Ever since Pokemon X and Y was announced, I have been puking rainbows and visiting Bulbapedia every day. I was excited probably because generation 5 was released just last 2010—and also because Xerneas looks really cool and classy and Yveltal looks very badass. I decided to post something about generation 6 now that the game is released worldwide and officially. (Not that I didn’t like the leaks.)

This not going to be one of those very lengthy reviews, but I just want raise some specific aspects about generation 6.

3D: Need I say more?

Fairy Type: Awesome. There has been an outrage about the new type’s name. But come on, guys. Light type? Magic type? Seriously? Total cliche. And haters seem to forget that faeries like banshees, trolls, merfolk, unicorns, treefolk, and so on could take down dragons with a spell or two. (NB: Some mythology and folklore books classify beasts such as unicorns, dragons, manticores, and krakens as faerie animals.) And not all faeries are Tinkerbellish pixies, people; the entire world’s faerie mythology is not confined in Cornwall, England. It’s good that Game Freak still do their homework for their Pokemon mythos and designs (but some critics apparently did not).


Sylveon: Cool, but not that cool. I love the new type and all,  but Sylveon …  I guess Sylveon just has too many ribbons. Its body build and color look really great, in my opinion, but those ribbons just don’t look right (especially the bows on its head). I am not against the whole “feminine” design (who would ever hate Gardevoir’s design?), but the ribbons are overkill. However, it’s an Eeveelution, so I still love it. Bitches love Eeveelutions.

New Pokemon: I feel ambivalent about the number of new Pokemon. I was expecting at least 150 new species (and another Eeveelution or two), but so far, only around 70 (non-Mega) Pokemon have been revealed. Perhaps they’re just testing the waters for generation 6 and plan to release some event-exclusive and Pokemon Z species (of course there is going to be Pokemon Z).

And honestly, I like the starters and their evolutions. But they could have done better with Quilladin (it looks like a negligibly improved Pignite), and Greninja’s tongue scarf could have been bubbles. Just saying. I particularly like Talonflame, Gogoat, Pangoro, Skrelp, Malamar, and Aurorus. But the new bunny, goo-slug-dragon, and barnacle Pokemon designs are just … meh.

Meh: a polite expression of disappointment when I see Nosepass and Probopass, Lickilicky, Ludiloco, Rotom (all forms), the Vanillite line, Amoongus, Hippotas, Magmortar (ugly and creepy), the Gothita line, Pignite and Emboar, Vullaby, Purugly, Togetic, Electrode (an injustice to Voltorb’s design), Dugtrio (not as “good-looking” as Magneton and Dodrio), Magnezone, and Dragonite (yes, I hate its design; don’t judge me).


I’m not biggest hardcore Pokemon fan in the world, but ever since I found out about its species diversity and its concept of evolution (it’s more of a metamorphosis, really), I was hooked. Nope, nobody’s too old for Pokemon. And I’ll probably never stop playing and watching it until they straighten a couple things that never really made sense to me (e.g., re-typing Gyarados to Water-Dragon and Noctowl to Psychic-Flying and revealing Genesect’s prehistoric form [the bionic design sucks, and I don’t buy the Kabutops hypothesis].)

Now, excuse me while I attempt to catch ‘em all. 

Images not mine. Click the photos to be directed to their sources.

I found this little guy who was kind enough to keep still for me to take a picture. I think this is a carpenter bee, a pollinating and wood-boring insect. Many people are terrified of bees (especially those who cannot tell the difference between a bee and a wasp), but I think they’re fascinating. 

No, I didn’t forget I had a Tumblr account. For the past two months, I occasionally check the dashboard to view blog posts (awesome as ever). Sometimes I have the urge to post something too, only to be held back by writer’s block. It’s surprising that my number of followers didn’t decrease, but I think that some of them might be (semi-)inactive like me. Posting on Tumblr seems like a chore now that work, grad school, and booze is slowly taking their toll on my fragile brain. 

Fortunately, life outside the confines of the cyberworld is relatively cool too, especially in my own holy sanctuary (i.e., the bedroom), where all the magic happens.


No, my bedroom has no porn (a tragedy, TBH). I mean actual magic, like this Book of Shadows I made. I’ve been planning to remake my old Charmed BOS, after watching these awesome DIY videos on YouTube, and now I am halfway done (or perhaps not quite). The pages are still empty (I had to dispose the old ones and still need to stain more book leaves). I am also reconsidering using acrylic paint instead of watercolor pencils. The contents for my grimoire will contain elements from Charmed, mythology, folklore, and popular fiction. This will take a lot of time for research and outlining before I could set my pen on the pages.


I found my dad’s old Speedball nibs. I was reluctant to use the more traditional India ink (I have been comfortable with felt-tip calligraphy pens), but it’s surprisingly great to use (albeit messy for newbies like me). I couldn’t find colored inks anywhere, but diluted acrylic paint works fine.


To keep me company when I do not dabble with arts and crafts are my babies. Evidently, I need new shelves for my fiction books (most of my nonfiction, reference books are on other shelves). I haven’t some of them yet even after all the book sales I’ve squandered my money on. For months I had a rare “I’m not in the mood for anything” episode, but after reading Moore’s Practical Demonkeeping, I am back being a bookworm. (Now I don’t have to hear the imaginary protests of my unread, dust-laden, susceptible-to-termite-attack books.)


Ah, my old, reliable work space, where I usually draw, read, doodle, write, paint, drool, daydream, bang my head, cast spells, and whatnot. This and my bed are the silent witnesses of all the nerdiness I do not usually show to the world (trust me, my über-nerd mode is not something you’d like to see).

Catching Up with My College Best Buddies

Even the oldest of friends may grow apart, but some friends remain close to my heart even if our minds, pretending to be teenagers, are now overwhelmed by the challenges of the real world, where we are expected to act as adults. But some things remain the same even if the rest is changing for better or for worse.

These moments with my college buddies are few and far between, but every moment is worth it. Just like last time, we spent our time together with booze, snorkels and goggles, and good ol’ chitchat.

Back to the real world, I guess. -_-

Cebu Back-to-School Tumblr Meetup. They reaffirmed my almost-inexistent perception that Tumblr peeps are awesome. :)

It was supposed to be a sunny day …

I prefer the Clow Cards, but these pink girly-shit Sakura cards are still handy. 

There’s that nostalgia I feel every now and then when I visit my almost-deserted Tumblelog. I’d like to echo a fellow Tumblelogger (hi, codebluealert): my Tumblr status is not as active as it used to be.

I miss the times when I consider a day incomplete when I do not visit Tumblr. It was part of my daily routine: Tumblr, school, lunch, Tumblr, school, [booze,] Tumblr, reading, bedtime (?). Non-Tumbleloggers may find this to boring and mechanical, but Tumblr always has something fresh, something uplifting, something inspiring. (And of course, there are memes, animated GIFs, and fluffy beasts.) Tumblr was my daily dose of [in]sanity, a temporary cure for the unflattering influence of reality.

I miss the bloggers I used to frequently communicate with, bloggers I do not know personally but with whom I share the same (and sometimes intimate) interests. Bookworms, animal lovers, photo hobbyists, couch potatoes, artists, poets, surprisingly awesome hipsters, immature kids with mind-blowing philosophies and social critiques—you’ll find them all here. It’s comforting to know that in some geographically inaccessible place, a blogger exists to touch and (somehow) influence me. It’s nice in a freaky kind of way.

I miss the times when I make Tumblr an excuse to delay making my homework and school projects. I think a lot of bloggers can relate with this. Such procrastination often happens when I write, edit, reedit, and reedit (and reedit) my text blogs. Waiting for followers to like and comment on my posts also contribute to this form of juvenile irresponsibility. “But fuck the exam tomorrow,” I used to say, “this shit is Tumblr!”

Oh, the good ol’ Internet days …  Sometimes I am seriously considering abandoning my blog altogether, but my conscience tells me no. A lot of great memories were made in this blog site. It’s one of the very few places in the cyberworld that I consider worth the time. I can still vividly remember the day Ryann Reyes introduced me to Tumblr and I nonchalantly registered. The rest was history. Maybe one day I’ll be childishly hooked with Tumblr again. Maybe. But maybe I’m living my young adult life way too seriously.