Wednesday, May 24

A yellow-orange day

This morning, sipping an exceptionally good espresso, reading Delpher Trader Corp v IAC, listening to Rico J sing Ang Huling El Bimbo on my Shuffle, I felt alive and at one with the Universe. The rest of the day felt almost mystical, the way I just kept stumbling onto one lucky break after another. Best day I've had in months. Everything is looking up.

Wednesday, May 17

Fun forward

With classes starting next week I’m trying to cram as much fun-time in my few remaining free evenings. So far I’ve managed to—

Finish watching the latest season of Spooks, a series about a group of MI5 agents doing post-Cold War spywork (i.e., anti-terrorism). I like it because it makes being a spy almost seem like an ordinary day job, though the official MI5 website contains a disclaimer of sorts as to how (un)realistically the Agency is depicted in the show (heh). Plus, I just find the British talent for understatement infinitely amusing—who else would classify such things as treason, civil unrest and terrorism as only so much “unpleasantness?” :P

Become completely obsessed with Veronica Mars. “Nancy Drew meets Philip Marlowe” is how Stephen King describes this show, and I emphatically agree! My favorite character is Logan Echolls (played by Jason Dohring), their resident poor-little-rich bad boy. And Enrico Colantoni is so cool as Keith Mars, VM’s dad. Not surprising since he was also great fun as Elliot in Just Shoot Me. Love this show! Can’t wait to get the 2nd season on dvd!

Read The Human Stain. This is my first encounter with Philip Roth and I’m dismayed that it’s taken me this long to get around to reading him. Some find Roth a bit long-winded (a reader once counted 100+ words in 1 sentence!), but I find his style completely absorbing and stimulating. Now I’m in trouble ‘cause I’ll be compelled to collect his other novels! At the top of my list: American Pastoral and I Married A Communist, his two most recent Nathan Zuckerman books.

Tuesday, May 9

Penguins, please

A beautiful book is a beautiful thing.

The line above is from a piece by Rachel Cooke in the 16 April Sunday Observer to mark the death of Germano Facetti, art director at Penguin books from 1961 to 1972. Rachel Cooke and I apparently have something in common: we both collect old Penguins. Then again that’s not so unusual. Old Penguin editions are hard to resist—they are among the prettiest books there are—so I frequently end up picking up titles I already have if I come across a nice Penguin edition. What a sucker.

Friday, May 5

No place like it

Ahh home at last! Was away close to two weeks working and freezing my ass off in chilly Oz. (It's only autumn but still cold by tropical country standards.) Well OK, the weather was nice in Brisbane, and even in Sydney, amazingly, but it was the pits in Melbourne. Brrrr! Then again, even if we had beautiful weather all the way I would still bitch about it. I just hate being away from home for so long, and I particularly resent this trip for eating up two whole weeks of my precious summer vacation. Kainis!

But I suppose there are some things I do enjoy in Australia (and I admit this grudgingly), such as—

1. Bookstore hopping! This trip I was able to browse in Dymocks in Brisbane, Borders and Kinokuniya in Sydney, and other small bookshops in Melb. There were so many nice books (sigh!) but I had to content myself with just one purchase: The Presidents (The Transformation of the American Presidency from Roosevelt to Bush) by Stephen Graubard, which I've already started reading. Good one.

2. The coffee. Anywhere you go in Australia the coffee is almost always superb. They claim to take their coffee very seriously over there, and so far I have to agree. Brought home a kilo of a particularly good blend so we can enjoy some at home.

3. Watching TV. Cable's not very common in Australia, and what few channels there are broadcast mostly sports and news and sports. But there are still some good shows on, and I was able to catch new episodes of CSI, Boston Legal, House, and NCIS. Saya!

4. Shopping for pet stuff. Have lots of pasalubong for Rory, my pretty rottie. So many nice doggie accessories in Oz. Too bad they're all so expensive!

5. Walking. I can actually walk long distances without getting an asthma attack—the air's so clean!

But the best thing by far about going to Australia is the part where I finally board a plane headed back to Manila. Feel that hot sun, breathe that humid air. So good to be home.