Theme Change: 2015

I am reading The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco, right now. That’s why I have that quote:

Sun of my shadows, light of my darkness.
— Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

What can I say? It is the most (hyperbole) pretentious book I have ever read. The term that a review from The Guardian used was “built-in sopor”, which I think is quite apt. I don’t feel so critical of it to say that it puts me to sleep, exactly, but perhaps this will take a long time to read.

It’s still less dull than Middlemarch, at least! (That name, why did I even pick it up!)

On another note, I changed the theme, once again. Feeling like I liked the last one more, but this is the 2015 WordPress theme, so I feel obliged to try it out for a while.



I just wanted to make a post addressing something that I’ve noticed for a long time. Blogging is supposed to be organic, natural. To me, it’s an accumulation of thoughts and a release. My blog is supposed to be a place for my emotional catharsis. But really, and I’m ashamed to say this, I’m self-censoring and filtering my words before they even come out.

Instead of talking about interesting things that I want to talk about, I’m restricting myself to a few topics, or otherwise making this a boring exercise.

So my resolution this year is to give this a serious go again. Hopefully my courage will carry me through and I will be less reticent through 2015.

To this brave new year!

“The Gift of the Borgias”

Apparently I’m not very good at writing poems about things.

Where is the little corporal
— Who bound in law the West?
Where is the Wonder Horse,
— Australia’s Big Red?
Where is the Guangxu emperor,
— Who died before the last?

Along with Toffana’s men,
And those of Spara’s followers,
They drank the gift of Lucretia
And now lie cold and dead.

Where am I now?
In the gardens of yesteryear,
Where the walls are covered in flowers
And the snow’s a silky smear
How can I help it?
Life’s wine is just inferior.

Divergent Series

I read the Divergent series in the last 2 days, and it was as bad as I expected. Confirmation bias? Maybe.


Anyway, here are my thoughts.

Tris reminded me of a line in the Scottish play, said by Malcolm after the death of the traitorous previous Thane of Cawdor:
“Nothing in his life became him like the leaving it.”

Unfortunately, her death was stupid because there was no purpose to it. It was incredibly contrived, and did not provide any meaning to the ending of the series. If I think hard enough, it’s possible that Veronica Roth had set it up so a super Type A character could not survive, and she was actually trying to tell us that redemption for the narrowminded only comes after death.

She was also kind of a nasty person in general, who expected other people to forgive her all the time, when she obviously would not forgive them in the same situation.

Four was a little better, but he got weird after Insurgent.

Every character other than the ones Tris liked were automatically “evil” or misguided, and they always ended up on her side if they had a decent motive.

I hate to say this, because The Hunger Games was a blatant and inferior ripoff of Battle Royale and every other dystopian novel out there, but HG is still better than Divergent.

Also, putting milk in peppermint tea is apparently “sickening”.

End of November

This month really went by fast. I actually had a different post planned today, but I also wanted to talk about NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, so here it goes.

Unfortunately, the group NaNoWriMo I did this year was not a success. Lesson learned? If you’re writing with other people, you need to plan in advance. At least a month in advance, work out characters, plot, etc.
Two shocking discoveries are:

  1. I can write a lot faster than I thought I could.
  2. I really do suck at dialogue. Compared to other people who also write.

NaBloPoMo was a success! Time made me pretty nervous, because I always procrastinated and ended up doing it in the middle of the night (the next day), but eventually I just allowed myself that freedom. I probably should have followed my posting plan though, because I did way more haikus (haha cheating) than I wanted to. Below are all of my posts from this month:

Youth lives before humor

Note: This was supposed to be a poem. Somehow it came down on paper as prose, but I still split it by line. As you may be able to tell, these were the words that accompanied my sketch of Tadzio.

Youth lives before humor
Before cowardice
Before contempt who kills

Amongst boys who play
Over wanderings
And over streams
With shaded faces
Etched in river mud
And all of life’s seriousness.

A Sketch of Tadzio


Björn Andrésen as Tadzio

Something that I drew yesterday (well, by my standards, yesterday), but forgot to post.

This is the original bishie, Björn Andrésen, playing his most famous role as Tadzio in Death in Venice. Explains why many of those old anime bishonen characters have stylized flaxen curls and that fluttery long-lashed look.