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My Sherlock DVD finally arrived, thanks to my aunt who flew in from LA this morning:

The Philippine Bureau of Customs is one of the most idiotic and corruption-rife departments in the government. They once tried to extort charge me P10,000 in taxes for an iPod and the Criterion Collection Withnail & I DVD because "they were not declared as gifts" (which begged the question of who was supposed to declare them a gift anyway, my cousin Beverly or me? I was ready to scream "THEY'RE GIFTS!" right in the middle of the Customs office). Given the Great Book Tax Debacle of 2009, is it any wonder that sensible Filipinos avoid sending parcels by post as much as possible and instead choose to send home gifts and other packages through their expatriate relatives's balikbayan boxes?
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I've been feeling progressively dumber this past year, so this Christmas I'm unearthing all my old lit crit books, lecture notes, etc. from storage and studying all over again. So, basically, I'm going back to school.

NO, [livejournal.com profile] freehold, not literally! Of course, I may need to take out a few books from the University library (thank you, University of the Philippines Alumni Association Lifetime Membership Card!) sometime in the process. But wow, I'm so badly out of practice at this lit crit gig, I'm not even sure where to start anymore.

Now, where are Professor Aureus's class notes again?
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Metro Manila is '7-11 of disasters', says the regional director of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

So, of all the cities in Southeast Asia, Metro Manila is the most vulnerable to typhoons, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, epidemics, landslides, droughts, volcanic eruptions and forest fires. Gosh, I hope not all at once.

Part of the blame falls on a laughably inadequate drainage system, barely-enforced anti-logging laws, and a badly-designed water collection system. Regarding the latter--seriously, every single fucking year the La Mesa Dam dries up to near-catastrophic levels, and no one has yet hit upon the very simple idea of a decentralized cistern network to collect the tons of rainwater 20+ typhoons dump on us annually?! And don't get me started on the corruption rife in the bureaucracy, we'll be here all day.

At least the building codes are pretty redundant. And our unfortunate geography isn't our fault. (Stupid ancestors.)

Well, I've yet to tick tsunamis, landslides and forest fires off my Personal Danger List.
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I have a serious weakness for what the fandom calls BAMF!John stories, and Apotheosis, by mad_maudlin, is one of the better ones out there. In an interesting twist of "The Adventure of the Empty House" it's John, not Sherlock, who disappears for three years.

"Moriarty," the colonel behind the brigadier said, when John clearly wasn't processing. "He's been categorized as an international terrorist and a threat to national security."

"We are doing what we can by conventional methods," the brigadier continued. "But as you've probably guessed by now, taking down Moriarty will require unconventional methods as well."

"Why me?" John thought to ask.

The brigadier tilted his head to one side, oddly dog-like. "Because you have had three months of training in the methods of Sherlock Holmes, but none of his flaws," he said. "Because you have an uncomplicated love of country and a strong moral code, which allow you act independently and reliably. Because you have a personal investment in making Moriarty pay for what he's done."

"How long do I have to decide?" John asked, because he was alert enough to know he really wasn't competent to be making these decisions on this much medication.

"Forty-eight hours," said the colonel.

While I would like to see a sequel to this, perhaps about how John tries to re-integrate yet again into civilian life given everything he's experienced, I would love to see a parallel fic from Sherlock's POV. Someone has to explain Geneva.
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I'm not entirely sure how this happened, but I have developed an inordinate, ridiculous love for Merlin/Arthur modern AU fics. And I haven't even started on Series 3 yet.

Timshel, by ems
Merlin is definitely supposed to work for Arthur, but spends most of his time mocking Arthur's dress sense, berating him via IM with Morgana, sending Gwen capslock-filled emails about him and, most of all, trying not to fall in love with the shiny-shoed ponce. Arthur, meanwhile, is definitely supposed to be taking over his father's company some day, but instead spends most of his time scowling at Merlin, making lists about him, trying to find excuses to fire him and, most of all, trying to pretend he is totally not head-over-heels for the jumped up little upstart. Someone's got to make some difficult choices eventually, and this can only lead to one thing: angst. Or hilarity. Or, embarrassingly enough, self-discovery.

Note: Set aside a weekend for Merlin marathon.
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[livejournal.com profile] sherlockbbc_fic can be a really, REALLY scary place sometimes.
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I'm back from the beach, not so much tanned but blotchy red and still a bit itchy in certain places. Also discovered that I had lost about 10 pounds before I got there, but then quickly gained them all back thanks to The Most Evil Chocolate Cake In The World.

Pictures (and gory details) as soon as the communal photo pool has passed muster and posted on Facebook, and then stolen for LJ
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(Oh, that's right. Because I got dragooned into it by well-meaning friends.)

Hotlinked like whoa. Credit http://boracayphillipineisland.blogspot.com

I'm really not too crazy about Boracay. Everyone and their second cousin's neighbor's dog goes there for the beaches, which really does not bode well for the state of said beaches, to be honest. Give me Rizal Beach in my mother's family hometown of Gubat, Sorsogon with its mainly local (read: family) habitu├ęs, or Honda Bay in Palawan, which is utterly utterly gorgeous and I'd go there in a heartbeat if not for my lunatic uncle who's parked himself there a couple of years ago and shows no signs of budging one inch.

Thing is, I'm not really going for the beach. I shall be (wo)manfully enduring the sand that stubbornly clings to one's toes and the sticky residue salt water leaves on the skin, and dumping gallons of conditioner on my hair each night to save it from looking like fodder for the local Wicker Man, because the photographs will be EPIC I like my friends and they really are a bunch of certifiable hooligans who definitely know how to have a good time.

Well, good night. Early drive to the airport tomorrow. Back on Tuesday night.
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by trawling through [livejournal.com profile] sherlockbbc_fic and lo, I found this anonymous gem of hilarity:

Narrative Causality (A Sherlock/Discworld fic; in which Stamford plays an unappreciated part and Mycroft presumes the laws of gravity are laws for everybody else.)
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This is mainly for [livejournal.com profile] runefrancisco's benefit, but what the hell.

Why yes, that eye-searing bedspread is mine. I know, how could I sleep on it? But my nephew ADORES it so much, and loves pretending to be a caterpillar on it. Eating the butterflies, and whatnot.

Three Two more days to work on this, as I'm going to the Hard Rock Cafe Heroes and Villains party in Makati on Saturday. Busy fingers!
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Tried baking meringues for the first time today. MASSIVE EPIC FAIL that look like miniature white dog doings. Nicely chewy, though. Note: must track down electric whisk I'm sure we have somewhere in the pantry, or something.

At least I got the sweetness right. Kailangan ko talaga ng electric whisk. Grr.
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No, it's not a holiday, but this day's supposed to commemorate something. Damned if I can remember what it is.


Oh. It's the day the country got royally fucked.
pssst, Wikipedia, you've got your dates wrong.
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So a week or so after my bout of pneumonia (and a bit of dengue fever scare -- honestly, that rash!) my nephew and my sister are now feeling poorly themselves. Uh-oh.

Meanwhile, gave yesterday last Monday night's GeekFight! a miss. Naturally, am now a bit leery of crowds.

(also wasn't pleased that the last one started TWO HOURS LATE. Susmariosep talaga.)

Do I want to go to this?

Click to embiggen

David Henry Hwang! On a Thursday night! At the Ayala Museum in Makati! Filipinas Heritage Library pala. Still, in Makati. And near Ayala Avenue anyway.

(Ugh, Makati. Loathe the place. It's a corporate behemoth.)

On the one hand, need to polish my now-admittedly-rusty English Lit. major skills. On the other hand, baka tamarin ako. Le sigh.
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...and thus a non-working holiday. Good thing I'd run over to the bank yesterday and paid the credit card bill.

So today, blew off work (because, again, non-working holiday, so even though I work from home, hello holiday) and blew chunks out of my savings account with lo, many, many books.

A couple of the really interesting books I picked up:

   (From the Introduction) Clearly, one of [Chesterton's] chief strengths as critic is a wit that matches Dickens's own. The book is full of memorable expressions. To give a few examples:
[Dickens's] art is like life, because, like life, it cares for nothing outside itself, and goes on its way rejoicing. Both produce monsters with a kind of carelessness, like enormous by-products; life producing the rhinoceros, and art Mr Bunsby. [p10]

If Dickens learnt to whitewash the universe, it was in a blacking factory that he learnt it. [p21]

Other people's lives may easily be human documents. But a man's own life is always melodrama. [p101]

(From the cover) In our zeal to embrace the wonders of the electronic age, are we sacrificing our literary culture? Renowned critic Sven Birkerts believes the answer is an alarming yes. In The Gutenberg Elegies, he explores the impact of technology on the experience of reading. Drawing on his own passionate, lifelong love of books, Birkerts examines how literature intimately shapes and nourishes the inner life. What does it mean to "hear" a book on audiotape, decipher its words on a screen, or interact with it on CD-ROM? Are books as we know them dead?

At once a celebration of the complex pleasures of reading and a boldly original challenge to the new information technologies, The Gutenberg Elegies is an essential volume for anyone who cares about the past and future of books.

My bedside table pile, it is teetering.
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One of my favorite Flight of the Conchords bits. We've all had this sort of conversation before, hadn't we? Well, maybe not exactly this sort...

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I'm back. The pilot for my plane back to Manila is apparently a speed demon, because even accounting for tailwind he squeezed a 70-minute flight into 25 minutes. My mother felt oddly cheated.

Anyway, I met a bunch of new relatives -- my grandfather's family. They're all awfully lovely and funny and nice and madder than a box of frogs and so very, very Waray. Fortunately my working knowledge of Bicolano (which is a pretty closely-related dialect, and one I was exposed to very early on thanks to my grandmother's family) served me well. Still, felt a bit like an interloper at times. Which is only natural, I suppose.

Reunion is still in full swing back there, however. I think it's a dinner-dance tonight.

*should've used a River Song icon. Why don't I have a River icon?
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I'm off for the next few days -- family reunion in Tacloban, Leyte. I personally prefer not to go at all, but there is absolutely no way I am letting my mother toddle around in the wilds of Leyte all by herself. She might get lost. Or set something on fire. Possibly both.

I'll be back to play catch-up on Sunday. Tootles!
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I was doing my laundry and I turned around and got a faceful of fried spinach.

It was good. Unexpected, but good.

I wish my mother would stop these ambush force-feeds, though. She's like an overexcited Luftwaffe squadron jumping the gun on the Blitz.

(At least she's stopped looking at me as if I was about to keel over. I'm fine, Ma!)

Anyway. Today's Sherlock recs are two very well-done adaptations of the classic ACD stories "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" and "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" by [livejournal.com profile] buffyaddict13:

The Adventure of the Spotted Ring, Part 1 and Part 2

"I was wrong," Sherlock said. "This is more of a two patch problem. We have several clues to focus on. The whistles, the fact Doctor Roylott doesn't want his stepdaughters to marry, the sudden house repairs, various homeless people traipsing about, not to mention Julia's reference to a ring and the fact Helen heard a metallic clang the night her sister died." He stabbed the air with a finger. "Maybe the noise was a shutter falling back into place."

"Or a murderous robot climbing down the chimney."

Sherlock looked at me, confused. His face brightened. "Oh. You were joking."

The Adventure of the Girl in the Attic, Part 1 and Part 2

Sherlock pushed himself into a sitting position. He pulled his dressing gown closed and regarded me with a look that said I was to be pitied.

"The days of my great cases are over, John. The criminal element has lost all ingenuity. Even Moriarty has let me down."

My eyebrows lifted. "You consider
that a problem?"

Sherlock ignored me. "Any day now,
The Science of Deduction forums will be rife with nothing but questions from hapless teenagers who have misplaced their iPods and mechanical pencils. From little old ladies who have lost their Siamese cats and reading glasses."

My friend's head rested on the back of the couch, he stared blankly at the ceiling. "I'm telling you, John. You are, right now, witnessing my final descent. I can already feel my brain atrophy. I am in the depths of endless boredom and despair."

He was certainly in the depths of
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I can't stop watching The Thick of It and In the Loop. All that profane yelling in thick Glaswegian accents, it's mesmerizing. And oddly hot.

And that's just Malcolm Tucker. Here's his assistant/second-in-command/feral rabid dog Jamie:

"You take the piss out of Jolson again and I will remove your iPod from its tiny nano-sheath and push it up your cock. Then I'll put some speakers up your arse and put it on to shuffle with my fucking fist. And every time I hear something that I don't like--which will be every time that something comes on--I will skip to the next track by crushing your balls."

That's a masterclass, right there.
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I just realized what it is about Glee's Lea Michele that makes me want to punt her face-first into a door: it's not just the (ugh)Broadway acting and singing style, it's her DISNEY SMILE. It's a wall of teeth. Only Keira Knightley has a creepier smile than hers.

(hotlinked because I don't want copies of their pictures on my hard drive or on my Photobucket/Flickr account. Also, I actually wanted to use a picture of Keira Knightley from Pride and Prejudice because I swear there was one shot there where she's leering up at Matthew MacFadyen with her creepy grin. Alas, I couldn't find it.)

Would you WANT to survive a plane crash in the Andes with someone who looks like they could sneak up on you and rip your abdomen apart, smiling the whole time?

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