September 25

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The-Unbreakable-Kimmy-Schmidt
Source: TUKS Official Facebook Page

I’ve been wallowing in the pits of despair for weeks and word vomiting in this blog for what seems like an eternity. Until one of my board exam tip readers Eric jolted me to back into, well, living again. My friend Jehz again recommended Netflix therapy at a time of my life where everything is just going wrong. He is a very strong person and I value this piece of advice.

It just so happened that I needed to research on comedy shows on Netflix for an article I am writing. So I ended up getting to know The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It was the best 8 hours of binge watching that I have done in this abnormal life. I was only supposed to preview it for a few minutes but ended up binge watching until the second season. And I will continue to do so until my PTSD normalizes itself.

Plot-wise, there was not much to it. It’s just a funny watch and highly encouraging. I know. She’s a fictional character of someone who got trapped by a lunatic preacher in an underground bunker for 15 years and survived to make her way in New York City after. And maybe taking inspiration from a fictional character is not the soundest of methods, but hey, it works.

I liked the fact that she had PTSD symptoms and continued to function and exude positivity. At this point, I need that kind of pick me upper. Her horrible situation did not keep her from reaching her full potential or hinder her ability to believe the very best of people. She is strange and she embraced it. And even though her excessive smiling annoys me during my low mood, I think she is a cool companion for a depressed woman who had just experienced having her entire world turned upside down and having one of her life’s supposedly happy chapters robbed of the usual joy it carries.

Anyway, I am living again. Tangina, these past few months were hard. But I am living again. I am not yet dead so that must count for something. This must mean there are still better things coming or something. Whatever. I truly hope that IRL, I can be as unbreakable as Kimmy Schmidt was in her world.

 

June 16

The Beauty of Black Mirror

Black-Mirror-Netflix

At my good friend Jehz‘s recommendation, I watched all 7 existing episodes of Black Mirror show in one sitting through Netflix. For days, he kept telling me how I should watch Black Mirror already because it’s full of those ultra cool science fiction nerdy things that I usually enjoy in shows like Sherlock, Orphan Black, and Doctor Who. What he did not tell me, however, was that it also shared the super somber mood of Mr. Robot, in a the-world-is-super-evil-and-twisted kind of way. So I opened my computer early in the morning and began binge watching the show. In hindsight, I should have watched it with my husband because it was gripping and really seriously twisted.

I found myself weeping during the first four episodes (thanks, pregnancy hormones!) or so. But it was brilliantly written, thought provoking, and worth watching despite the immense emotional investment it requires from hormonal pregnant women like me. I just felt the need to look for TV shows and movies with rainbows and unicorns after the 7th episode, understandably. I needed sweet dreams for my baby after all.

All my feelings aside, I highly recommend it. If you do watch it, just make sure that you do not mind some serious entertainment or you are not particularly desirous of harming yourself. The humor is morbid. Best to watch this during the days when you can manage your ennui.

Don’t tell me I did not warn you. ūüėÄ

 

 

 

June 10

The 4Chan Rabbit Hole 

Down the rabbit hole we go with 4chan and Reddit. I only got to know 4chan this week after watching an interesting documentary on Netflix. Curiosity substantially piqued, I found myself browsing through ebooks and music files, particularly this Mozart collection with lossless audio quality. It’s not the world’s most filtered place; I had to scroll through an assortment of, eherm, really colorful stuff. But after years of seeing nastier people on Facebook, I think I have developed a steel stomach for the other visuals and used the site to sift through intellectually engaging materials. 

I am still amazed by the number of things the internet can allow me to do during my bedrest for hyperemesis gravidarum and delicate pregnancy. It’s so rich with information but you need a good eye to filter it out from the filth. Through the years, I have learned to dig digitally and I thrived in this modern form of hermitage. 

I am restricted at the moment physically but that’s no reason for me not to enjoy this phase of life.??

April 18

Spotlight (2015)

My husband and I have been wanting to check out this film for months. I was really intrigued with the Oscar-winning performance of Mark Ruffalo in this film. And with serious actors like Michael Keaton and Rachel Mcadams in the group plus a plot that zeroes in on a publication (The Boston Globe) and a controversy, I just knew that we had to watch this as soon as possible.  The film got a 96% rating in Rotten Tomatoes and with good reason.

Ruffalo’s acting was organically astounding. He was a natural. He was really deep in this character and you kind of find yourself rooting for him, feeling his anguish and struggles, and hoping for the best for him and the rest of the team of journalists who got affected by the scandal of clerical abuse. It was not overdone. There were no heroics in the film, as it should be, given the theme of the film.

The compelling storyline drives the movie. With no distracting¬†visual effects or heroics, the film relies solely on the strength of the plot itself. And this is what makes it really brilliant. If I were to liken it to a book, it’s the one with a fairly regular setting but remains to be a gripping page-turner.

The film made me think about my faith, too. It was based on a true to life turn of events that spanned decades before it unveiled itself as one of the biggest news scoops in the century. The birth of a very well-done news expose plus the tenacity of this team of journalists is something that I found highly admirable and worth emulating. All I had during the entire time was respect for the characters represented in this movie. They are amazing people who did their jobs in the face of massive adversity.

The reel became really real for me when I watched this film. I really hope that I can watch more high quality films like this in the future.

 

 

February 23

Random Acts of Liking Kindness

One of my recent discoveries online are two apps that allow random acts of liking kindness: Forgotify and No Likes Yet. Forgotify finds the most neglected Spotify songs and then plays them. The rarely played tracks make for a very fresh listening experience and discovery of new music. No Likes Yet, on the other hand, curates all the Instagram photos that have zero likes yet and encourages the user to like them as a sign of good will.

These are really nice tools. I prefer paying things forward anonymously and showing love to unloved tracks and unrated photos. It also allows for better discovery and a break from the usual quality of virality perpetuated online. So far, I have discovered one good artist from Forgotify and a lot of fairly nice photos in Instagram that improved my eye for relatively unexplored photos.

I also find it deeply interesting that derivative apps like Forgotify and No Likes Yet serve to leverage its features to that of a well-established app. The only downside to this kind of product development is that it is highly tethered to the original app where it derives its features; a change or update in Spotify or Instagram, for example, will potentially make or break the derived app. But it’s a deeply interesting concept that many web and app developers are now adapting.

 

September 22

Mr. Robot

I am not sure if binge-watching is the way¬†to go with a dark-themed TV series like Mr. Robot, but that’s precisely what I did in my woman cave (or she shed, as most people would say these days). I found the show insightful, disturbing, and entertaining. It’s quite hard to find a quirky show that will combine all of those adjectives well, but I found it in Mr. Robot.

A walking hero and anti-hero, Eliot Alderson is one of the oddest people we can root for on the reel screen. But I rooted for him just the same.

I found his voice and unorthodox views resonating like sound prose in this digitally commanded society. It relates to timely events with the eerie quality of a seer. It owns up a brilliance in its plot. I had moments at the end of the first season that I did not see coming, something which is pretty difficult to achieve these days. It’s really like a well-thought of puzzle, immensely difficult to crack but worth all the effort for the eyes.

(I watch another show with my husband but watched this one alone, because the friends I know who dig these sorts of things are quite far from me physically. Oftentimes, I miss hanging out with these people and I wish I can take them to my cave for a weekend or two. Schedules and locations are pretty bad, though.)

I really can’t wait for the second season and hope that there will be more shows like this that “wake me up” from slumber. ūüôā

 

August 22

The Recreation Pentagon

beautiful-Manila-Bay-sunset

Apart from my relationships, life now basically revolves around 5 major activities: my diverse reading list or learning pursuits, writing, photographs, coloring books, and computers. I may add in a sixth for travel and seventh for personal investment but growth has been slow on that department for a while so I’ll put that on hold.

I joined in the bandwagon of coloring book addicts as a supplement to my therapy. It’s quite effective. I interviewed some of these Instagram sellers for a feature article¬†2 weeks ago and two or three of them responded extensively. One, in particular, was quite generous with her answers. The owner of notyourordinarystuff Instagram store gave a lot of tips and she shared an inspirational story on how she became an entrepreneur out of a hobby.

geometric-adult-coloring-book

I ordered two coloring books from her which was swiftly delivered at my doorstep plus she gave me this geometric design as a bonus, which I tackled with much difficulty. Thousands of concentric circles forming a triangular prism lattice is not exactly the best for beginners.

But I got sucked in and I went completely offline or dead to the rest of the world while I was doing it. (I did not have my sister’s sketching talent but I kept the pencils and other writing tools on the side,¬†just the same.)

writing-tools

 

According to the owner of the Instagram account, what sets her apart are her friendlier rates (as compared to other IG competitors), availability of the books, regular sales, cheap shipping fees, and a very quick reply to her customers. And I believe these are the ingredients of a good Instagram store seller. The last one, in particular, is a deal breaker, considering that customers can opt to buy from other sources if you do not reply to them immediately.

Apart from my not so expert but ultra relaxing coloring activities of late, I maintain my diverse reading list. This was a hobby of mine since the age of 4 or 5 years old. I was already reciting numbers and letters when I was 2 years old. I was 5 when I started to read and I marveled at those large colored hardbound Time Life books. That was long before Wikipedia phased out all the bulky encyclopedia series like Britannica.

diverse-reading-list diverse-reading-list-2

 

When I am not rendering my personal color expressions on paper, I take photos of things that capture my attention.

photographs

Not a pro, definitely. But it’s just a way for me to see the world in a different way. I never imagined myself to be behind a camera lens some years back. I was fascinated with people who knew how to tinker with such a daunting machine. I did not dare touch it out of fear. But it was one fear I conquered this year and it really makes me happy when I get lucky with a shot. By lucky, I mean sunset shots like this from the 19th floor of a hotel suite:

beautiful-Manila-Bay-sunset

That is one of the times you thank yourself for having a camera. You capture that moment because that moment just passed by and it’s the only proof that it actually happened in all its glorious beauty.

While the computer has opened a lot of doors for me and I am lucky for the opportunities, I find myself substantially retreating towards forms of recreation that enforce me to be offline or away from the computer. I am quite convinced that tinkering with things with the laptop closed can lead to an open and rejuvenated mind.

desk-laptop-closed