Monday, October 31, 2011

Today's Dispatch: Yet Another NaNo Preview

This post is brought to you, again, by the folks from National Novel Writing Month.

Last Friday we introduced you to Veronica San Luis, the titular main character (and reluctant heroine) of this year's novel, Her Name is Veronica. Today we continue with the question-and-answer portion with our main male character Dean Harper. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today's Dispatch: The NaNoWriMo Preview

This post is brought to you by National Novel Writing Month.

Being the crazy-compulsive writer that I am, I've decided to take the plunge and write my third novel this November, while putting the finishing touches on my July novel. (That one is 85% finished, by the by; the endgame is there, and the only thing left is to set up the big fights and other intense scenes in proper chronological order.) It's actually not too bad, since we have two long weekends this month to get cracking - one for Halloween/ All Saints/ All Souls, and another for Eid-al Adha - not to mention that my admission to UP Diliman is now... ahem... pending. 

Until then, here's a little primer on what to expect from this year's novel, a murder-mystery thriller called Her Name Is Veronica. This interview is basically a modified version of the Proust Questionnaire, but with a few creative edits. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Today's Dispatch: Party on the North Side, Y'all

This post was brought to you by the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, where I may (will?) be spending the rest of the year now that I have received the go-ahead to start my PhD course work at the College of Education.

The Oblation says "Heeeeeeyyyy!"
Photo source:
Yep, it's been a crazy day at Hacienda de Meimei right now, ever since I received my acceptance letter from the big ol' State University campus up in the QC. On the one hand, I am on par-tay mode (or as close to it as possible, considering that I still have one final exam to give before the weekend), because I could not be happier. 

On the other hand, there will be... changes. 

At this point in time, a full-time move to QC may be inevitable, especially since I will not be teaching next semester and there's no way I would want to commute several times a week to and from the Hacienda. (At the very least, I just want to do a one-and-done deal where I can go home and do laundry on the weekends.) But I'm also scared - for good reason - because this means I have to be at the top of my game, all the time. That will require a lot of changes of routines, of scheduling, of... everything else, come to think of it.  And I'm scared that a lot of things that have kept me sane all this time - especially my writing - will end up falling by the wayside. 

I try to be optimistic, though. I have friends up in the North who I'd love to meet up with again. I may have the rest of Metro Manila to explore on my own, possibly with a little courage. And who knows? I may end up loving it after all. 

Until then, I'm looking forward to what the rest of this moment will bring for me. 

Are you, or have you ever been, in the middle of a major transition similar to this one? Do you have any words of advice to share for a girl in the middle of a crazy career change? Share the love by following @stella_meimei on Twitter, or leave a comment below!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Today's Dispatch: Sorry, Potatoface

This post is brought to you by the following movies that came to mind while watching The Town with Bakeks, because - as good as this movie was to us, though a little less than epic -  it also reminded us that we were better off watching any of these movies instead of sitting through The Town.

First and foremost: Blood Simple

Which was also remade by Zhang Yimou as A Woman, A Gun, and a Noodle Shop. 

Also: Out of Sight.

And... Reservoir Dogs.

(Seriously: As much as I love The Hotness and his movie-stealing ways, I'm beginning to wonder if Steve Buscemi should sue him for unlawful impersonation.)

Though I must say, to be very honest with you...

Friday, October 07, 2011

Today's Dispatch: Writing and Attribution

This post is brought to you by Jessica Zafra and her ongoing coverage of Gaz Holgate in the Philippines.

Screen capture: mine; original photo source, JZ and Team Gaz.
You want Gaz, I'll give you Gaz:

Screen capture: mine; original photo source: JZ and Team Gaz. 
All pictures screen-capped from this entry on Jessica Rules The Universe.

- I mention Jessica Zafra here because we just had the most interesting discussion about the attribution of sources on her blog. This hits close to home for me, both as a teacher and writer, because I take attribution seriously; in my opinion, without the proper citation of a source, you are basically stealing somebody else's words and passing them off as your own. It doesn't matter if you're sharing a puff piece, a legal document, or an academic paper; all of your sources must be cited. I've learned this the hard way as a graduate student, and it pains me to see anyone cutting and pasting words without even thinking about the consequences, especially young people.

(As it goes, I am currently looking at all of my kids' term papers, and you won't believe how many of them I've flagged for not citing sources properly.)

- Since I'm on a roll, I might as well go ahead and mention that even fiction writers have to cite their sources too. My favorite attribution comes from David Mitchell in Cloud Atlas (one of my favorite books right now) who wrote in the credits that one of his characters "quotes Nietzsche more freely than he admits." In my case, I recently took out the lyrics to "Give A Little Bit" from one of my manuscripts after realizing that they had taken over an entire scene. (Which is funny, because I also left in a few lines of "Like a Virgin" because it's supposedly sung off-key at a karaoke bar.) My philosophy is that leaving quotes wholesale in a manuscript have the tendency to take a reader away from the action itself, much in the same way that an annoying pop song in a movie can take you away from an otherwise good scene.

- And because I must post about makeup: Swatches from the Bobbi Brown 1991 Lip Palette on Makeup and Beauty Blog. Want.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Today's Dispatch: In Which Meimei Won't Stop Talking About Hot Guys, #5487

This post is brought to you by the young Robert Downey Jr., before he did drugs and went crazy and then came through in the end as a better person.

(For perspective: this picture was taken in 1988, which was probably around the time I first crushed hard on him. That means I was probably 11 years old around this time. )

I promised hot guys, so I will talk about hot guys.

- So Gaz Holgate - who just happens to be one of my favorite players from the Philippine Volcanoes rugby team - is in Manila right now, and will be staying in the country for the next two weeks for a working vacation. I'm too old for him, so I'll have to crush at a safe distance (or at least through Twitter and Jessica Rules The Universe), but there are two reasons why I'm in full swoon: He bears a passing resemblance to Colin Farrell, and speaks with a lovely Welsh accent.

- On the other hand, I just found out that Bakeks has a copy of The Town lying around in her house. This means we'll have to watch it, which also means that poor Bakeks (and possibly Mr. Bakeks) will spend a good amount of time restraining me so I won't scream and throw shoes at the screen whenever The Shortness Hotness shows up and speaks in that unconvincing Boston accent. Seriously, Hotness: You owe me that karaoke video now.

- And since I have to write at least one thing about my writing projects for this entry, I might as well bring this up: What is up with me and putting my male characters in flannel lumberjack shirts?

Image source: lovetoknow men's fashion
Yes, flannel shirts are versatile for most seasons, and wearing them over a T-shirt - especially in a fitted cut like the one above - is a lot less cliched than a leather jacket. But I have to wonder why I keep doing this: Is it nostalgia for the grunge years? A subconscious need to shop at LL Bean? Or maybe I love flannel that much in general? Strange, but true.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Today's Dispatch: Breathe and Stop

This post is brought to you by Q-Tip.

- The crazy rainy weather this time of the year has prompted me to take my workouts indoors and start doing yoga once again. I have to admit that I don't seem to burn as much with yoga as I do when I go running, but ever since I've started doing it regularly I feel like my mind is clearer and my posture isn't as tight as it used to be. Not to mention that I've been seeing a little muscle definition here and there, too, which is nice after having to live with a lot of flab for months.

- On the other hand, I've been quite edgy lately because this week is the last week of instruction, and I'm supposed to find out when my finals are any day now. It's nerve-wracking, because I've been calling the office almost every day to find out if the schedule has been released and I'm still not getting any answers on the exact date and time for them. The only thing crazier than this is the fact that I've got another week to wait for some good news coming from Manila, regarding a major career change (and possible move) that I'll have to keep under wraps until it is confirmed for sure. Either way, I'm just dying to get some time off after this crazy semester!

- In terms of my writing: After three straight months of working on Nominated, I've decided to put it on hiatus in favor of revising last year's NaNoWriMo novel, World on a Plate. (You may remember this as the novel I wrote in my attempt to work out my feelings towards the Smug Canadian Bastard, only to find out halfway through that The Hotness was not tall enough to play him in the film adaptation.) My decision to revise Plate has a lot to do with the fact that this novel, to me, would be easier to market for publication than Nominated, since it's a book written by a Filipino about the Philippines... but with a little humor, and a lot to do with food, travel, and relationships.

- In shallow showbiz news, I've gotten quite hung up over this blind item about someone on a social-media site who's about to change her handle. I don't know about you, but the social-media site in this story is soooooo obviously Twitter.

- And if you haven't seen my current writing-inspiration board on Pinterest yet, here it is. (And I'm also working on more boards for style inspiration, too!)

Got any style tips, advice, and possible blind item material? Show us some blog love by following @stella_meimei on Twitter, or leave a comment below!