Thirteen Reasons Why (by Jay Asher)

I was resolved to writing everyday, but in the end I broke my promise… and it didn’t even last a week. I was working on another entries, but it was so long (I still haven’t finished it yet) that it took me a couple of days just to get halfway through the story. I just decided to postpone that problematic post and start writing again. 

I was supposed to read something about Bertrand Russell for my philosophy class, but when I checked my laptop, I realized I wasn’t able to download the text. Mind you, I did this while having breakfast at a fast food joint; I didn’t have access to the internet. Since I already ordered something, and for the lack of something better to do, I revisited my downloaded e-books and found this gem. Thirteen Reasons Why was recommended by my friend, reading it after seeing her friend’s tweet about it. Well actually, it was in her list of books to read and her brother already owned a copy so everything was set. After talking about it for a while, I decided on obtaining a copy. The pirate that I am, I’m quite satisfied with just searching for a .pdf file. Distractions came and went, and I kept the file hidden within the labyrinth that is my downloads folder. Probably because of boredom and lack of internet connection earlier, I remembered having the said file. And so I started reading.

Thirteen Reasons Why revolves around seven cassette tapes circulated by Hannah Baker, the protagonist, posthumously. These seven tapes contain thirteen (two per side except for the last tape) interconnected stories as to why she decided to end her life. There are two rules:  the person who has the tapes must listen to what Hannah has to say, and should pass the tapes to the next person mentioned. The novel starts from the eight person sending the set of tapes to the ninth, which is Clay Jensen. The whole thing happens literally overnight, with Hannah’s story simultaneously told with Clay’s present, and it makes for an interesting read.

First of all, I would like to commend the author for coming up with a unique way of telling the story. Okay, the uniqueness is a point of contention. But really, I appreciated its unusual format. And I think it was most appropriate for the overall theme. The thing is, Asher wrote it in such a way that every other paragraph belonged to Hannah and her story, the rest narrating everything else Clay is going through that night. There were also flashbacks, with certain events Clay experienced or witnessed that can be traced to Hannah’s story. I just think it must have been torturous for Clay to hear all those things, especially because he didn’t really do anything wrong. Which Hannah cleared up eventually, but still.

The moral lesson of the whole shebang is that all of us should be mindful of all our actions, because no matter how minor we think they may be, they can leave a great impact on other people’s lives. Hannah talks about the snowball effect those thirteen people involved in the stories caused her; if you take them individually, most would seem petty – even I’m not convinced that it’s not worth killing yourself over for. But with her logic, and the reader’s assumption that she has depression, I think it all makes sense.

I’m just going to add a bit of Catholic lexicon here, since I HAVE been studying in Catholic institutions all my life. The Catholic faith believes that there are two kinds of sin: sin of commission, and of omission. The former is more familiar to us, because those are the sins we do, deliberately or not. It’s impossible to commit this kind of sin without active participation from the sinner; meaning to say, that person did something bad, and there can be no excuses for it. The latter though is a bit trickier to pinpoint. Sin of omission is the act of not doing anything, even though the person knows that taking action is the right thing to do, and submissiveness would lead into catastrophe. For me, not only does it mean you’re a sinner; it also means you’re a coward. In connection with the book, there was a bit in the end where Clay was convincing himself that he didn’t do anything wrong, and his friend (it’ll be too bothersome to mention his role in the greater scheme of things, so just read the book) egging him on. While I initially agreed with him, I realize that Clay’s character might have had the biggest hand in Hannah’s fate. Sure, he didn’t do anything wrong – but that’s the problem. He didn’t do anything. It’s hard for me to sympathize with him because he could have changed the outcome of Hannah’s fate, but he succumbed to his cowardice and admired the girl from afar. The same girl who needed all the love she could get at the time. Sure, Clay couldn’t have known, and everyone else was clueless about the real situation, but even so.

P.S. Wow. Didn’t expect my entry to turn into a rant. I wonder what my Psych friend would say about this, considering she’s probably the only friend I know who constantly reads my blog. Hmmm.. maybe I was referring to myself then? While talking about all the what ifs? I don’t know.

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January 4th (The Post I Had Trouble Finishing)

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I started writing this post last Friday, but was distracted with fangirling over kpop boys other stuff. Also, since it was already 11 by then, my brain isn’t functioning lucidly as I would’ve hoped it would. And I wanted to tell a cohesive and comprehensive story to the best of my ability (coming from a self-confessed bad storyteller), so I thought: might as well continue this tomorrow. That carried over to Sunday. That will probably be posted now on Monday Tuesday Sunday, January 27th. Side note: I want to discourage you from reading this lengthy diary entry, so I’m making it extra long.

I was originally going to write about One More Try, a movie entry into Metro Manila Film Festival because I watched it today, but I don’t think I’d be able to compose a proper review. You see, my companion kept making side comments and asking me irrelevant and random things, that I gave up focusing on the emotions the film is trying to invoke and just concentrated on getting through the movie. Eh.

Instead of talking about that movie alone, I’m gonna talk about my day instead.

I woke up at around 9:30 a.m. For me this information is significant, because CJ (a good friend of mine, will probably talk about him one of these days) and I wanted to watch a movie, and he we picked the earliest screening time (which was around 11:40 a.m.). A few days ago I asked my mom for permission, and she insisted that I watch specifically on Friday, so I obliged. Anyway, when I came down the stairs to brush my teeth, I reminded my mom of this. She looked preoccupied, and was busy washing the dishes. She told me that I should forgo my earlier plans and switch to watching the movie the next day, so I can watch it with my cousins (who are coming at Saturday and staying at our place until Tuesday). Also, she said that some of my dad’s office mates are having dinner at our house, coming from a wake nearby – so it’s going to be more convenient if there are extra helping hands. When I said that I’m going with CJ, her expression changed. I don’t know how to describe it, but it gave me the feeling that she doesn’t want me to go all the more. I told her I couldn’t change my plans that quickly; she argued that I didn’t tell her beforehand that I’m going with someone (admittedly, I didn’t; she got used to me watching movies alone). She then assigned me the chore of ironing curtains. When I saw the bulk of it, I complained that I wouldn’t be able to finish in time.

And so, my prediction was right. It took me 20 minutes to get through one piece of curtain; there were eight pieces stacked beside me. And my mom asked me to get more. It was already 10:30 but I have yet to finish ironing the third curtain; by then I was hurrying. My mom took over after she finished whatever she was doing downstairs (I was in the second floor), so I thought I was out of the chore… but then she asked me to replace the curtains in our living room. Which ultimately took a lot of my time; by 11:20 I was only done with one window, the curtains for the other one not yet ironed. I said this to my mom, and her reply was ‘So what?’. I was surprised at the sharp comeback, but luckily she let me go a few minutes later. I looked at the clock: 11:23 a.m. Shit. It would take me at least 10 minutes to get to the mall (with minimal traffic interruption), leaving me an extra seven minutes before the movie starts (which I have to fit in bathing + getting dressed + prepped). Even though it’s not a date, it’s still a girl’s nightmare. I enter panic mode. In the end, I made CJ wait for 30 minutes with the tickets in hand ( he arrived at the mall at around 11:30-ish, based on his text). I jokingly said that I made him miss the scene where Dingdong’s butt was shown :)) Honestly, though I read a lot of raves about the film from friends and critics, I felt that the sex scenes were too much. Every other scene was a sex scene involving the main characters -_- Among the four people, I think Zanjoe was the only one who didn’t get any action. Well, if you count the semi-rape scene he had with Angel, maybe so. But that only deserves half a point. And his kissing scenes were chaste… poor guy. As for Dingdong, well, I believe he took the role partly because of the asses he’s getting. I initially thought it’ll be awkward between the two of us, but we got through it. Probably because as I’ve mentioned earlier, we didn’t really immerse ourselves into the story. Plus we went in thirty minutes after the film started. (Note: I was surprised with Angelica’s butt-biting scene. Never in a million years would I have predicted that that was what my friend was talking about when she mentioned Dingdong’s butt.)

Afterwards, we chatted for a bit over lunch and caught up with what each other has been busy with. I can’t really tell the details of our conversation here, since some of them are confidential, but let’s just say some of our speculations were proven true. Then we wandered for a bit, me buying chocolates (yipee!) and we were off. Back in the movie house he and his friend were bothering me because his phone’s battery is drained. That friend (also my high school classmate) got my number because CJ called me using his phone the night before. I thought something fishy was going on when CJ requested that we watch the movie on the first slot available; I expected him to suggest watching towards the afternoon and then having dinner at our place, just like the last time. Well, maybe not the dinner; it was awkward for him because he was kidding and I took him seriously, my dad even making him drink a few. But I digress. Back to the fishy thing, I immediately thought that he has plans in the afternoon. And I was right; when I asked him about it, he did admit that he made plans the same day we agreed on watching the movie, him together with our high school batchmates. One of his friends suggested inviting me over, but I told CJ that I’d just feel out of place as I’m not really part of their circle of friends; later he told me that he thought the same way and already declined the offer for me. In hindsight, this bothered me, but then again his hunch was right about my reaction so why bother pondering about it?

The afternoon was spent preparing for dinner. It was pretty chaotic, with my mom firing errands all at the same time and then herself going off to buy more ingredients. I think that was the most rushed dinner my parents have ever thrown. What’s funnier is that my dad texted my mom that they’re on their way… a minute before the arrived at our house. Go figure. We ended up feeding them seafood first, grilling the barbecue while they’re eating. Then they started singing. My dad loves music, so ever since I can remember we always had a home theater system in our home. Whenever he entertains guests, he turns on the karaoke system and makes everyone sing to their heart’s content. Even before dinner started everyone was excited hearing each other sing, and they were playfully teasing each other about it. However, when they began everyone was reluctant to sing. So I started it off by singing “Because You Loved Me”, to get the mood going. Swear, after that I don’t know what happened but they started volunteering and lining up for song selection. I was expectant, with all the talk I’ve heard earlier in the night, but then… I shouldn’t have expected much. There were off-key, screeching sounds that even my mom can’t hold back her laughter to. You get the picture. I didn’t want to listen to the mayhem anymore so I headed up the stairs and started writing this journal. Which was only published a few weeks later.

After all the trouble of writing this, I don’t feel accomplished. Added to that the dilemma of ending this piece. Let’s just end it on the note that I had an interesting day.

Fitting. With the way the climate’s been… I am fidgeting as I type. Okay, that’s a pretty stupid thing to say, since I’m inside the library. But really. I don’t even understand whether the weather has a pattern or not; one moment it’s blazing hot, the next I can’t stand not being wrapped around my blanket. Ugh.

Hurt

This doesn’t make sense to me, but… I felt a pang of jealousy when I saw a picture of two of my high school classmates on Facebook. Right now I’m feeling as if there’s dead weight in my chest and I can’t properly breathe. I didn’t care when I saw them looking all sweet in the photo; I didn’t really mind it. But the use of the term “Frenemy” – that’s the thing that really got to me. “Frenemy” is supposed to be our thing. We called each other that because we didn’t know how to define our relationship. Huh, called. Fancy that. I didn’t realize right away that we don’t do that anymore.

I mean, this is the guy I’ve known all my life, but I’ve never felt as if he treated me the same way. One of my complaints is that we didn’t have a single photo last year; although he claims we did, just that it got erased, I laugh when he make light of it but I mind it a lot. I sometimes feel he’s ashamed to be associated with me, ever since we were young, only treating me as a friend when there are no spectators around. I remember when we were in grade school, he would always make me cry when we’re at school but would enthusiastically play with me when we visit each other’s houses. I also feel like I put in more effort to keep in touch, and he just entertains me because he doesn’t want me to feel bad. For this to make more sense, I’m referring to the guy in my entry titled January 4th that I’ll be posting a little later. Whoever is reading this, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not interested in him romantically; I just… I wish he doesn’t take me for granted. Just because I’m always here for him doesn’t give him the right to make me feel this way.

P.S. For added context, the girl was the one to post the picture. NOT the guy. Hope I made it clear.

Read a post about this a while ago.. I’m not claiming to know him, nor a fanatic, but this is sad. And the suicide kind of makes sense now, with his depression and recent events triggering it.

Business & Money

Aaron Swartz, the brilliant young software programmer and Internet activist who inspired awe and reverence from leading figures in the technology world, died in his Brooklyn apartment on Friday, his family said in a statement. New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled the death a suicide by hanging. Swartz was 26 years old.

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Hmmm… I still have six years left, then. I want to try the traveling bit; it’s the thing on this list that I don’t think I’ll be able to fulfill immediately. Also the kissing bit; I don’t know, but I tend to over think about things. I won’t be able to pull it off without thinking about it over and over the next day. Probably the next month, too.

One Year Later – Jessica (SNSD) feat. Onew (SHINee)

Very recently (like, a few hours ago), I’ve been obsessed with YouTube surfing for Onew’s singing clips. When I started my addiction with Kpop, it wasn’t really about their songs; I mean, I couldn’t understand a word, so why bother? This has been my mindset since high school. Rather, I’m more attached to the variety shows that most idols join. But then I tried listening to SHINee songs, and I was intrigued by their leader’s voice. It’s distinct because it’s not the usual boy band voice; his voice sounds like a balladeer’s, but he pulls off pop songs all the same. So I started searching. Anyway, I came across this and thanks to the subs, I appreciated the song fully. I think I fell in love with Onew’s voice more because of this. Lovely singer. Sorry if you’re a Jessica fan, and if you’re reading this, because I couldn’t care much about her parts. But she sings the song well, too (I had to give her credit, even if I’m solely listening to this because of Onew).

The song is about an ex-couple  meeting each other coincidentally after one year of separation. All the painful memories come back, with regrets of how the relationship turned out. At the end, they agree to forget everything and just go back to being strangers. I’ve never been in a relationship so I can’t say I can relate to this, but the song is seriously moving. Add to that that the melody is simply killer. Its charm is in its simplicity; everything feels much richer because the emotions are given the chance to shine. I’m trying to look for the chords, but all in vain. I wish there’s a similar English version for this one, it’s just too good.

I know I’m late by a few years, and this is not new, but still… I’m a recent KPOP convert. So there.

And if you’re here just because you wanted to listen to the song, feel free to do so. Just ignore my (tame) fangirling.