Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Book That Changed My Life

Book title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Summary: Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies. But now Cassie is dead. Lia’s mother is busy saving other people’s lives. Her father is away on business. Her stepmother is clueless. And the voice inside Lia’s head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less. If she keeps on going this way – thin, thinner, thinnest – maybe she’ll disappear altogether.

Wintergirls was unlike any other book I've read. It's not just the author's unique writing style or the brutally honest narration from a self-destructive girl that held my interest. This novel just really made me think. It led me into the mind of a person like Lia, and this changed my opinion on people who are victims to such eating disorders. I have read reviews of this novel criticizing Lia's character, stating she was too selfish and pathetic. But she's supposed to be human, people need to accept that not every main character will be likeable and heroic.

Wintergirls was everything from creepy to inspiring. I spent hours staying up at night, reading and taking it all in. It was hard to put down... I had to know Lia's ending. She suffers from anorexia, she wants to be the skinniest girl in school, skinnier than her best friend Cassie, who herself is a bulimic. What intrigued me was that in normal circumstances a friend would try to help you out of your disorder but here we have two girls who are practically competing to see who can turn into a bare skeleton before the other.

If you read it over, you'll realise the only thing Lia has her mind on is her weight. She's not living her life. She's simply trying to shed the pounds one day at a time until she reaches what she calls 'Dangerland' (her ideal weight goal). But it doesn't stop there, once she reaches her ideal weight, she'll want to take it further.. a few more pounds.. then some more until she's size Zero. She's so good at hiding the disorder, that her parents don't realise how bad her condition has gotten until it may be too late.

It's a little freaky how her friend Cassie's ghost is always haunting her, cheering her on to lose the weight so Lia can join Cassie in death. I think one of my favourite parts of this novel was their friendship and the irony behind it (won't ruin the plot for you).

Basically, this novel changed my life because I learned to sympathise with people who suffer from these disorders. There's always a story behind the scars and the visible bones. Lia had a story too, so did Cassie. There's always a reason people feel the need to starve or cut or whatever. We shouldn't shake our heads at them in disappointment, we should try to get through to them. Wintergirls really made me want to reach out and it inspired me into believing that there is hope for these people who are slowly killing themselves.

We turned us into wintergirls, and when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.

Wow that was a long post. But anyways, have you read Wintergirls? Are you going to read it?
Is there a book that changed YOUR life? :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tree Man (Half human/ half tree?)

Note: I'm going to try to make this post as interesting as possible because I don't know if other people will find it as fascinating as I did...

A few months ago, I watched a documentary about an Indonesian man, Dede. Long story short, he looks like this:

He has a skin disease called Epidermodysplasia verruciformis, people often refer to him as Tree Man, because his physical features are half human and half tree. There are only two others like him in the world.

Dede Koswara is a 35 year old fisherman in Indonesia. As a teenager, he cut his knee, and ever since then strange growths have covered his body. The growths on his hands and feet look especially like tree roots, and the large patches on his skin resemble the bark of a tree. As such, he’s simply called Tree Man.

Unsurprisingly, Dede has difficulty functioning, since he can’t use his hands and his feet are often a hindrance. He lost his job and his neighbors shunned him. His wife abandoned him, despite their two children. To support them, he began working at carnival freak shows.

I felt terrible after reading that! Here's another picture:

Doctors in the United States believed they could treat Dede. After months of negotiations, Dede was finally treated. He underwent extensive surgery, and 13 lbs (6 kg) of overgrown warts were removed from his body. The surgery had three parts. Firstly, they removed the thick layer of wart tissue and the immense “roots” from his hands. Secondly, they removed the smaller patches of warts from the rest of his body. Thirdly, they grafted skin over his hands, where the skin was removed. The hope was that his growths would not return, or would at least return very slowly.

This, sadly, was not the case. Though 95% of his warts were removed, they grew back, and doctors estimated that it would take two surgeries a year for the rest of his life to keep them away. However, the surgery was far from a total failure. Though he will never be fully cured, Dede regained much functionality. He could feed himself, use a cell phone, and hold a pen, for example – all of which were things he could not do before. From the hospital, he remarked: “What I really want first is to get better and find a job. But then, one day, who knows? I might meet a girl and get married.” It’s reported that he has become a fan of Sudoku, since he can now hold a pen.

This is just so unusual and things like this really interest me. It really sucks that not many people know about this skin disease and how the people who suffer from it live their lives struggling. So I guess you could say I posted this on my blog to create awareness.
What do you guys think about this disease?
Personally, I feel bad for the people who have it and the fact that Dede is looked at as a 'freak' in a circus is very disheartening. I hope they find a cure!

Click here for further information and more pictures and videos!

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I like to observe people. I don't know why but somehow the way certain people react to certain situations is intriguing to me.

That said, often times I look around and I realise what a prejudiced world we live in. People here can be so judgemental and biased. Now, you might be thinking 'I'm not like that', but more likely than not, you are, whether you realise it or not. In my opinion, society nowadays runs on stereotypes.

I'll be the first to admit that I can be judgemental at times. If I see a big guy wearing dark clothes with tattoos and piercings everywhere, my first thought would be that he looks scary and unapproachable. Similarly, if a guy's wearing bright pink pants, carrying a shoulder bag, I will find myself immediately make judgements on his personality. But that's the thing, we've grown up thinking that people have to be a certain way.

Whether it was from our parents or group of friends, as we grow up, our brain categorises how society runs, what is acceptable and what isn't. Often, I find myself not doing or saying things because I'm afraid of how people would judge me after seeing that type of behaviour.

Not many people realise how their judgemental actions can have effect on how a person behaves. For example, I came across a poet online who wrote amazing dark poetry. She literally managed to paint a picture in my head with each stanza. But she felt the need to add a little note at the end of some of her poems telling the readers that she is not emo or depressed or anything, she simply feels comfortable with writing this genre of poetry.

I could go on with this topic forever, but my main point is that we should all try to break through these stereotypes. Think a little before judging someone at first glance.

"Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful."
- Margaret Mead

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My NaNoWriMo Experience #4 (Final post)

A week ago I thought there was no freaking way I could reach 50k. I was far too behind my word goals.

But guess what?


I'm so happy that I can't stop looking at the NaNo site and forums because to be honest, I still can't believe that I actually did it. I guess staying up all night just staring at the laptop screen and typing furiously without any distractions really helps!

This won't be a long post so moving on...

There were so many things which discouraged me but something I did to keep myself motivated was change the wallpaper of my iPod screen so that it reads my word goals for the day. As silly as it sounds, I think it actually helped. Here are a few of those wallpapers:

I know I went a little crazy with the last one. But it was 50k, I couldn't help it!

Anyways, now that this crazy month is over I'm just so relieved. Congratulations to all Wrimos who won and to those who didn't, you should be proud of yourself for trying! A gigantic thank you to all my followers who commented on my blog to wish me good luck and gave me great advice. And of course all my friends who helped me stay on track!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My NaNoWriMo Experience #3

9 days left and I'm 7840 words behind.

As you would've guessed, by now I feel like I can't make it and everyone around me is telling me to just forget about it. But then I came across something on the NaNoWriMo website. Here it is:

I don’t know what it is this year. Maybe people are just really stressed out in their personal lives, which I can understand with the economy and all, but there just seems to be a lot of haters out there this year.

People hatin’ on NaNoWriMo. People hatin’ on your efforts to participate in NaNoWriMo. Maybe even you hatin’ on yourself.

Well I have a message to all the haters.

Stuff it.

You may have heard about an article on Salon that lambasted NaNoWriMo and people who participate it. Well, that hater can stuff it.

Over in LitFic, we have people saying don’t even bother trying to write LitFic because trying to write fast is the antithesis to LitFic. This could very well be happening in other regions too. Well, those haters can stuff it.

There very well might be people in your life right now questioning why you should even bother writing. Especially if you don’t even want to publish (“Well whats the point then?”) Well, those haters can stuff it.

There might be a little voice, or a big voice, right now inside of you yelling that you’re silly for even trying to do NaNoWriMo because you don’t have the talent or there are other things you should be doing. Well, those hater self doubts can stuff it.

I’m here to give you permission. I give you permission to hit your dream. I give you permission to write a novel when everyone else is hatin’ on you for it. If there is any one person, even if it is yourself, that’s demotivating you, tell that hater to stuff it. I refuse, absolutely refuse, to let any Atlanta NaNoWriMo participant get demovitated from hitting your goal, hitting your dream. If you’re hearing people telling you to quit, or that you shouldn’t even try, or its useless, I want you to close your eyes and picture this:

A six foot six huge panda bear with a sign saying “You can do it.” And then imagine that panda running after whoever is hatin’ on you and yelling at them to stuff it. And I’ll be there to help you as much of I can.

I’m declaring this an open thread. If you’re getting down on yourself, post here. If others are hatin’ on you, post here. And if you want to counteract that hate with some love and support, post those messages here too.

This made me feel so much better. Yes, I'm far behind on my word count and yes it's becoming more and more likely that I won't write 50k by the end of the month. But the point is, I've done so much better than a lot of people would in their first year attempting NaNoWriMo. So instead of getting demotivated by all those telling me to give up, I just have to keep going and at least try my best. After all, I've already written so much more of the novel than I normally would. I should be happy about that.

I'll shut up and get back to writing now.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My NaNoWriMo Experience #2

12 days left until the end of November.

12 days left to write 24,622 words.

Yes, I'm panicking. Yes, I feel like I should quit. Yes, I think it's almost impossible. Yes, I should be writing right now.

After reading a number of forums and discussions, I noticed that everyone seemed to be dreading Week Two of November. Now I know why.

I wrote around half of the number of words I was supposed to. Now I am way behind. According to other participants who are also undergoing similar difficulties, I have been "Week Two'd"- they make it sound like some sort of a curse, which is exactly what it is.

This is how Lindsey Grant (Program Direct of NaNoWriMo) described it: Week Two has a bad reputation. Heck, we even capitalize it! A couple days ago, I saw that a Wrimo had posted, "I've been Week Two'd" as her Facebook status. Sounds painful doesn't it? For participants everywhere writing a novel this November, this has become the week to survive.

So, did I survive it? In some ways, yes. It's not like I completely stopped writing. In other ways, no, I didn't manage to reach the goals I had set for myself. However, now that we're on to week three, I feel like I've found where this story is going, and I'm ready to get back to writing.

Current Stats:
Over-all goal: 50,000
Words so far: 25,378
Words remaining: 24,622

Words I need to write to catch up: 4622


Sunday, November 7, 2010

My NaNoWriMo Experience #1

I began my NaNoWriMo journey more than a week ago. I had planned to write a blog post at the end of each week so I can keep you updated but the whole rushing-to-reach-the-word-count thing is a lot more stressful than I imagined.

So I decided to fill you in on my progress right now since I'm procrastinating yet again. I've learnt that people have tried different ways to approach this challenge. Some write a little bit on weekdays, then a whole lot more on weekends. Which seems like a pretty good idea for people who have school/work to attend. But I'm free from all that this month so I'm going for the equal daily goal approach.

In order to get 50,000 words by the 30th of November I need to write at least 1667 words everyday. I've had some ups and downs so far but it's going great. That is, if I don't count the fact that I haven't even written 500 words today. Hopefully since it's only around 1.30 a.m right now and I woke up pretty late, I can stay up and get to my today's goal which is 13,336 words. Sounds like a lot but hopefully I'll get it done tonight!

A good website which I came across to avoid writer's block (especially during NaNoWriMo) is Write or Die. It really forces you to write without going back and editing. Try it!

Anyways, I should stop talking and get back to the novel. Next post will be published when I get the time!

Current Stats:
Over-all goal: 50,000
Words so far: 11,912
Words remaining: 38,088

Words I need to write before I sleep or else I will feel like shit tomorrow: 1424
*Bangs head against wall*

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Starting Over

I don't think many people out there actually read my blog. However, for those of you who do, you'd know that I was taking a blogging-break. Okay, that was a lie. I wasn't taking a break, I down-right abandoned my blog. I kept coming up with excuses about why I shouldn't write another post. My most frequent ones were that:

1. I didn't have anything to write about.

2. It's no point writing because hardly anyone is even reading it, so it will just be a waste of time and effort.

Now I'm glad to say that I'm over those lame excuses and I've promised myself to get back to blogging. I might not always have a particularly interesting topic, or many followers, what matters is that this helps me put my thoughts out there. So I'm starting over.

I had a good look through my blog to see what sorts of things I used to post, just to remind myself (since it's been so long) and I noticed a pattern. At the beginning I had more innovative and thoughtful stuff to write and then it just went down hill from there as I stopped blogging and just updated the 'Currently Reading' section. Now, I COULD say that was because I didn't have anything else to write about or I could just admit I was being lazy.

And then I looked at my blog title and thought about why I started the blog in the first place. It was mainly because I needed something to do all those nights I was up, unable to sleep. But now that I think about it, I haven't even posted anything related to insomnia or my bizarre sleeping habits in here, which is pretty stupid since that was the original purpose of the blog.

So, now that all the confessions and apologies are over with. I'd like to update you on stuff which has been going on. Something I'm really excited/nervous about it NaNoWriMo which I've decided to participate in.

For those of you who don't know what it is, here is a short summary from it's official website.

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

I'm excited because the idea of rushing yourself to write a novel in a month is thrilling. I'm nervous because I know people who tried this last year and barely passed the half way mark to 50,000 words. I guess it's not as easy as it sounds. But since I have the time and the interest, why not give it a go?

This time next year, I might be too busy to even think about doing something like NaNoWriMo. And the year after that I'll probably be even busier. And so on. I suppose as you get older, your life becomes more hectic. If you have the time to take on a challenge like this right now, then why not?

So, after pondering over the idea for ages, I've decided to just go ahead and at least give it a try. 50,000 words is a lot for a month. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Currently Reading: Fade by Lisa McMann

As you may know, I was reading the WAKE series a few weeks ago and this is the second book in the trilogy.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open--but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability. And it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd even feared...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rant: Squeaky shoes

Don't you hate it when you're out in a crowded place and there's a hyper kid running around in his/her squeaky shoes?

For those who have no clue, by 'squeaky shoes' I mean the kind which make that 'squeak' sound every time you take a step. If you STILL don't know what i'm on about, take a look at this short video.
Add Video

Anyways, so I was at this mall the other day, queuing up at the cashier. I had finally completed all the shopping for the occasion and I was ready for a relaxing day ahead. The queue was quite long but I was feeling content and satisfied. But then... I heard it.

I turned my head slightly towards the direction it came from, already fearing the worst. And there it was, a disgustingly cheerful looking toddler, stumbling in those annoying squeaky shoes. The worst part was that I had to wait a full ten minutes in that queue until it was my turn to pay. Each minute was a new kind of torture.

The toddler kept walking and tripping, waking and tripping. His effort was so pointless, he couldn't walk far without stumbling. Of course, his parents very conveniently didn't even notice any of it. So he kept getting back up to his feet every time he fell, and then his shoes began squeaking, and then he fell, got back up and so on.

So my point is that whoever thought of inventing these squeaky shoes is a moron. I mean, what's the purpose of them anyways? The whole idea is so tacky and plus, there's nothing wrong with wearing normal, 'silent' shoes.

It's these little things in life which piss me off, and one of them are the 'squeaky shoes'. Seriously, they're NOT cool.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Currently Reading: The knife of never letting go- By Patrick Ness

Todd has grown up in a village of men, believing that everyone else in the world, including all the women, were wiped out in a biological war with the original alien inhabitants of this planet. The world is filled with Noise, as the thoughts of all, human and animal, are constantly broadcast to all. Now, about to reach the age of manhood at thirteen, he discovers that nearly everything he has been told about his world was a lie. Forced to flee with his talking dog and a girl who has crash landed nearby, he is pursued by an army bent on conquest, and an insane preacher bent on murder.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rant: Motivation

You may have noticed I haven't been posting much lately. Well, that's because i'm feeling de-motivated. I have a few drafts saved on various topics which I was SUPPOSED to complete and post last week. But of course, I didn't.

And that brings me to this point. Motivation: how to gain it?

To be honest, I have no idea. I guess you can't exactly force yourself to do something. You need to have that 'want' to complete the task, or the 'urgency' to do it before the deadline arrives. However, I have neither of those. So for now i'm simply procrastinating by making up excuses on how there is no hurry to publish another post.

Yes it's lame to just rant about my laziness while writing this post, but it's also good because at least now I have something to publish and you have something to read.

Anyways, I can't think of anything else to ramble on about, so that's it for now. Next time I publish something will be when I can be bothered to.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Short-Story: Sophie

A short story I wrote yesterday.
NOTE: I challenged myself to only use sentences with 6 or less words.

A loud creak. And another, even louder. One more. It was approaching fast. The crowd backed up slightly. Just a few steps. I listened closely.


It must have heard us. Someone behind me gasped. A woman shrieked softly. Her voice hoarse. But full of terror. Realisation was setting in. We were going to die.

Little Sophie clung onto me. She was scared. We all were. But Sophie was younger. Much younger than the rest. She was only a child. She shouldn't be here.

I watched the forest closely. Staring in the same direction. Suddenly I realised something. Sophie wasn't tugging my shirt. I panicked. I looked down towards her. And there she was. In the same spot. But sitting on the ground.

She played with the grass. The rest of us were afraid. Afraid of death. But she saw it differently. We were wasting our time. We could be dead soon. Sophie wanted to die happy. And so should we. I sat down next to her. And plucked the grass.

Sophie turned her head slightly. Smiled. And went back to playing. She was so peaceful. Content. I glanced behind me. Others were mimicking us too. As we were all settling in... We heard something. It was a bark. Or maybe a roar. My heart skipped a beat.

I looked at Sophie. Ready to comfort her. But she seemed oblivious. Still pleasantly plucking the grass. Waiting for the creature's arrival. As if it were her friend. I mimicked her. And they mimicked me.

The creature was close. Very close. But I didn't look up. Just plucked the grass. And then before I knew it... I was being pulled. It was like a magnet. People were flying in the air. I tried to find Sophie. And there she was. Her hands stretched out. Her legs apart. As if she was a bird. She was still smiling.

She met my glance. The smile widened. I mimicked her flying. It was fun. We were facing death. But it was fun. It was over too soon. We were helplessly sucked in. And then there was darkness. The image of Sophie remained. In my head. Her unique thinking. And her angelic smile.

And then I stopped feeling. Remembering. Smiling. I felt numb, gone.


This proved to be harder than I expected. Hope it wasn't TOO much of a fail. You guys should try this!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Currently Reading: Wake by Lisa McMann

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people’s dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow student that she discovers her true power.

What have YOU been reading?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Where's the good in goodbye?

"I quit, I give up, nothing's good enough for anybody else, it seems... When I'm all alone it's the best way to be. When I'm by myself nobody else can say goodbye. Everything is temporary anyway."

At some point in our lives, we have to say goodbye to people we love. It's hard, especially when you spent countless hours sitting in a packed classroom with them! Yes, I'm talking about leaving high school. During exams, all we wanted was for it to end. We wanted to run out of the study room and do anything but sit huddled together with friends, books scattered all over the desks. Believe it or not, I actually miss those times. Even though we had the pressure of an upcoming exam, meeting up early to 'study' gave us a good excuse to spend more time together. It's funny how the same people who were so desperate to be over with high school are now missing it so much.

Whether it be to high school friends, or just anyone who means something to you, we've all had to say goodbye some point in our lives. Sometimes it's to people we won't be seeing for a few days and at other times, to people who we'll most likely never come across again. Some goodbyes happen overtime, and some are so sudden that you really wonder how time flew by so fast. No matter what, it's just one of those unavoidable aspects of life.

So where is the good in goodbye? I think saying goodbye to people is what makes you appreciate them. Besides, just because someone lives far away doesn't mean you can't be friends anymore.

"Can miles truly separate you from friends... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there?"

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Beginning

Reasons for starting a blog:
1. I'm bored.
2. I have nothing else to do.
3. It seems interesting,so i'm giving it a go..
4. I need a place to write my thoughts.
5. I'm bored.
6. Blogging is cool =D (I think..)
7. Did I mention I'm bored?

..So here I goooo!

(Apologies for my lameness.)