May 31, 2016

Pilates and Fitness in May 2016

Filed under: Health, Pilates — Tags: , , — rvchua @ 4:15 am

I also tried a free Krav Maga session!

gym and pilates may 2016

May 30, 2016

Books I Have Read (May 2016)

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:19 am

1. The Bat by Jo Nesbo – This is the first book of the Harry Hole series and all I can say Harry was an asshole in the beginning. The story is a bit dated (cellfone triangulation) and I kind of miss the Norwegian landscape. Also the murders were not as creepy as in The Snowman but still a fast, easy read.

2. Rat Queens Vol 3: Demons by Kurtis J. Wiebe – l don’t know where the story is going though in this volume the focus is on Hannah. Less on the sex and violence but there were fun times like the candy eating dragon. Also, I prefer the old illustrations.

3. 4 Kids Walk into a Bank Issue#1 by Matthew Rosenberg – Kids get involved with ex-convicts. The art is quirky. It shows promise but I don’t know when the next issue comes out.

4. Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh – Coming out is not a story that I am normally interested with but this was handled beautifully in this graphic novel. The illustrations are surreal and I could almost feel the movement of the characters.

5. An Age of License: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – I just love Lucy Knisley’s work, those that I have read are a combination of travel, food and personal thoughts. There is a lightness in her graphic novels that makes it enjoyable every time I reread them.

6. Saga Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Not as good as the previous volumes but still worth continuing the series!

7. Queen Victoria’s Mysterious Daughter: A Biography of Princess Louise by Lucinda Hawksley – This is different from the biography of Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter Princess Beatrice. Here it is apparent Queen Victoria’s cruelty and manipulation of her children. Also there are a lot of juicy bits: an illegitimate child, numerous lovers, homosexual husband. Unfortunately any evidence of these have mysteriously been recalled by the Royal Academy.

8. Displacement: A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley – Another of Knisley’s work which hit a bit closer to home when she goes on a cruise with her ageing grandparents (her grandmother most of the time forgets who Lucy is) and takes care of them. It makes me think about my parents, growing old and losing independence. I can’t see myself beyond 50.

9. Winter by Marissa Meyer – I was so happy to finally finish this because I liked and hated this book. I really don’t like to read non-stand alone books especially when it has been a while since I read the last one. I was struggling a little with the past details but then it hit me, I hate the romance in this series. In the first two books the romance was bearable but then it got awful in Cress. Why did all the leading four characters have to be paired off? They were much interesting when they were not together with their significant other. There is this ridiculous scene wherein Cress and Thorne come into terms with their relationship right in the middle of infiltrating Levanna’s castle! Every time Winter was with Jacin, she was all mushy but then when she was with Scarlet she was able to confront several troops of genetically modified soldiers. In summary the romance irritated the hell out of me. Kai who I used to find pretty useless finally pulls himself together and Iko was sometimes irritating. I think the book was too long, too many things happening that I don’t particularly care about. However the best thing about the series is that I always forget that these are fairy tale retellings, sometimes I get caught up with where the story is heading before I realize again that these are based on fairy tales. I am glad the series is over and there is no way I will reread it again.

10. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – This is a must read for all working women. I wish I read something like this 8 years ago or even during my first job. This made me understand why I sometimes feel like I am stuck in this job. Is it too late for me to make any changes?

11. Vader’s Little Princess by Jeffrey Brown – A cute breather from the books that I have been reading. Any Star Wars fan will get the humor.

12. I Hate Fairyland Vol 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young – I picked this up because JeansBookishThoughts mentioned it in a vlog. It was pretty much okay but then when I reached the last page of the volume, I just had to laugh out loud! Also, who doesn’t like the name Darketh Deaddeath?

13. She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth by Helen Castor – I am always fascinated with unknown royal women who end up as wives in political and economical alliances. This book focuses on women who had the chance to wield power as kings of England, some of them were not successful while others had to compromise. Some of these histories have influenced A Song of Ice and Fire. If you were disgusted by Ramsay’s setting his hounds on his stepbrother and half brother, those things happened several hundred years ago. The book was very readable but there was a time that I got a headache especially with the names, it was necessary to go back every few pages or review the family trees. Which Henry are we talking about now?

14. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Despite the title this is not a horror story. A good middle grade read interspersed with moody graphics.

15. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates – I would be lying if I understood more than 1/5th of the book. There were just names and events that relate to the African-American experience that I have no background in. However there were glimpses that allowed me to understand the racism that exists in America. I would have better understood this if I were an American.

16. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke – I heard a lot of negative comments on this, most from those who read the book after watching the movie. This book needs to be read on its own merit because it is different from the movie. Glass did not crawl into the belly of a dead horse and he did not kill Fitzgerald! However this book is a fictionalized account of Glass’ story which has somehow become a sort of legend. When I was reading, I was amazed by the back story of the four main characters but then the author explained that the book is a fictionalized account, some characters are made up while others are real. Nobody knows the real story except that Hugh Glass was attacked by a grizzly bear and his companions left him behind and he somehow managed to survive all of it. I enjoyed the concise writing, no meandering descriptions of wilderness (I would rather watch that on screen).

May 25, 2016

Sticking to the Routine

Filed under: Health — Tags: — rvchua @ 5:37 am

In my first month at the gym I was pretty consistent going there from Mondays to Fridays except for the one time I woke up with a bad case of dysmenorrhea that I ended up skipping work. I started my second month last Monday but just this morning I had to skip the gym again. It started to rain early in the morning and became harder when it was time for me to wake up. Any desire to go to the gym went out the window. Some areas on the way to work were flooded, this time I made sure I had an extra pair of socks and shoes. I was soaked when I arrived at the office but my slip-ons held up well to the rain.

Actually if I put on a double effort I could still have gone to the gym, just adding extra socks. I could have waited half an hour for the rain to lessen but I had an early morning meeting to get to which I only found later to be postponed tomorrow. I also blame staying up late the night before watching Kung Fu Panda 3. I still have a hard time going to bed early, there is always another Youtube video to watch, some other distraction.

By June 13 all of this becomes tougher, kids are going back to school. The commute would be frustrating that it would be difficult to stick to this routine. I need to give more leeway on when I will arrive at the office but the most important thing is to go to sleep early so I don’t have to struggle waking up early. The plan is to watch movies during weekends only (with GOT as exception), minimal Youtube and more reading.

May 24, 2016

David Copperfield Audio Book

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:13 pm

I have always problems with audio books, it just goes over my head. However if the narrator is someone like Richard Armitage, it may be more understandable and the hours may pass by quickly!

May 19, 2016

Let’s Listen to Some Music

Filed under: Music — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:51 pm

Where am I???

May 17, 2016

My Future TBR

Filed under: Books — Tags: — rvchua @ 5:43 am

I am already foreseeing a near future wherein I am no longer working. I don’t know what I would be doing but I expect to do a lot of reading. I already have a TBR lined up for that eventuality. This TBR would mostly focus on classics that I have never read and books that I currently don’t have time to pick up.

  • Leo Tolystoy’s War and Peace or Anna Karenina: If I don’t distract myself, I optimistically give myself one week per book to finish. It is time to read about Russia’s nobility.
  • Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assasin or The Robber Bride or Alias Grace: I was traumatized by Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale while Oryx and Crake made me depressed, I hope her other earlier works would be more appealing.
  • Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited: I didn’t like Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate which is set in the same time as Brideshead Revisited but my adoration for Downton Abbey has made me reconsider. I think I know the story because it has been talked numerous times but I don’t think I know at all.
  • Ivan Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons: I want to read more Russian literature and this title always come up.
  • Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: I loved Jane Eyre but hated Wuthering Heights. It is time to read the works of the other Brontes. So far I have read The Professor and Agnes Grey.
  • Elizabeth Gaskells’ Wives and Daughters: The miniseries grew on me and I would love to read the original material which was never completed by the author.
  • Stephen King’s The Stand: Post apocalyptic story before the genre became too prevalent.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Children of Hurin: We all need to know more about Middle Earth.
  • Robin Hobb’s The Tawny Man Series: I was getting into the first book but reading all three books needs a lot of time invested. I want to know more about the Fool.
  • Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations and Little Dorrit: So far I have only read Nicholas Nickelby, David Copperfield and Oliver Twist. I am not a big fan of Dickens but given a lot of free time it might be worth it.
  • George Eliot’s Middlemarch: If I am going to read the classics, I need to include this.
  • Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary: I tried to read this when I was in my teens, I could barely read a chapter. I need someone to give me a starting point for Flaubert otherwise it will have to be Madame Bovary.
  • Honore de Balzac’s Eugenie Grandet: Because I want to read more French literature.
  • Thomas Hardy’s Far from The Madding Crowd: I heard Hardy is depressing but hopefully the latest adaptation of this book will strengthen my resolve.
  • D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers and Women in Love: I have no idea about Lawrence, do I expect more depressing books?
  • Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome: I read Age of Innocence because of the movie and never picked up another of Wharton’s books.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: I have a copy of this and I never read it, oopss!

There may be other books out there that needs to be included however my current TBR is still growing each week as I discover new titles.

May 10, 2016

Game of Thrones Season 6 Episode 4 Predictions

Filed under: Television — Tags: — rvchua @ 12:06 pm

I thought that was Rhaegar in the Tower of Joy flashback, instead it was young Ned Stark. I wasn’t very much pleased with episode 3 (they killed another direwolf!!) and looking at this episode 4 preview, I make some wild guesses. Margaery dies. Ramsay tortures Rickon and Osha. I don’t think we will see any Tower of Joy flashback.

Why Are They Killing The Direwolves???

Filed under: Television — Tags: — rvchua @ 11:58 am

What are they doing in the show? I hope you killed someone before they took off your head Shaggy Dog! Also, can someone find Nymeria? Or has she mated with another unknown direwolf and now has a pack of her own? Having Ghost and Summer (hasn’t made an appearance in season 6 yet) is too sad.


May 4, 2016

Expenses Monthly Analysis (April 2016)

Filed under: Books, Food, Health — Tags: — rvchua @ 1:07 am

April’s expenses were off the roof!

  • My favorite happy mooshi (P125) when I need a healthy boost once in a while.
  • Two pairs of shoes: slip-ons (P1,250) and workout shoes (P1,299).
  • A haircut (P130) which included tip for the extra shampoo and a 30-minute massage (P100) by blind therapists to get rid of shoulder pain.
  • Had iced coffee crumble (P135) and iced café latte (P120) at Bo’s and an iced mocha (P135) at Sans Rival. It took me a while to realize that I should lay off from iced drinks with too much whipped cream.
  • Gym membership (P1,000) and ID card (P200).
  • Bought too many pizza (P2,454) for people at the office to celebrate post-birthday.
  • A Jo Nesbo book (P115) at Book Sale! Carrot cake and coffee at Leona (P105). I remembered there was a time wherein I could have the same thing for less than P100. The cake is still the same but the coffee was watery.

I don’t know if I can manage to curb my expenses in May. Also, I need to stop buying shoes!

May 2, 2016

Yoga, Pilates and Fitness in April 2016

Filed under: Health, Pilates, Yoga — Tags: , , — rvchua @ 4:15 am

Focusing more on losing weight. I have to trim the love handles!

fitness apr2016

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