Merry Christmas, 2013!

"Merry Christmas"

I’m giving away a Starbucks planner!

Why? Because ’tis the season of giving. Also, it’s been a while since I last gave something away.

So what do you guys need to do to get the planner? Watch a Metro Manila Film Festival entry, and convince me that it is the film I need to watch to complete my five entries of 2013. Take note that I am already planning to watch My Little Bossings, Kimmy Dora the Prequel, Kaleidoscope World, and Pedro Calungsod. I just need one more film to complete my five. The most convincing entry will win the Starbucks planner, along with a surprise gift.

You can give me your recommendations by commenting on this post, or by commenting at the Taking a Break fan page over at Facebook.

The contest is only open to Philippine residents. And the winner will be notified on January 3, when I upload my last MMFF post.

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Giveaway: Autographed Pacific Rims Paperback

"Rafe Bartholomew poses with a paperback edition of Pacific Rims"Happy Independence Day, Filipino readers!

Though, that’s not what this blog post is about. I’m actually writing right now, amidst deadlines and other home works to tell you who won the autographed copy of the Pacific Rims paperback I got from last month!

So, as you all know, I said I was going to use a randomizer thingamajig when I got round to having to pick a winner. And Random.org, the website, pointed another website out that simulates drawing straws. And I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to use that instead? Also, I really hate drawing straws because I always feel bad for the person who draws the short straw. Well, this time, the short straw is the one that gets you an autographed book, and without further ado, the person who (cyber-)drew the short straw is:

RUBY E!

Can you feel my excitement? No? Umm, well, that’s probably because you can’t see me. And I think my excitement would be drowned out by Ruby E’s excitement at having won this thing. So, uh, yeah.

"Pacific Rims" winner Ruby ERuby E, I’ll be sending you an e-mail in about a couple of minutes after I post this thing on my blog so we can talk about how I’m going to be sending you the book. Details like that.

Also, I want to give you a head’s up that if you don’t respond to my e-mail within a month, I’m going to draw another winner. Why am I writing this down here? That’s just in case my e-mail doesn’t get to you, you can e-mail me to tell me so! Also, in case you’ve lost interest in this raffle, someone else could benefit from you deciding not to claim the prize. That’s fair, isn’t it?

So again, congratulations Ruby E!

To everyone else who joined the raffle, I still have another ongoing raffle here at Taking a Break—to celebrate my blog turning one year old! And thank you for joining!

Giveaway: Taking a Break Anniversary

"Taking a Break Blog"Hello blog readers and visitors!

June 2010 marked the beginning of Taking a Break the blog. I actually only had one post during the blog’s first month on cyberspace, but I’ve since written more than a hundred posts.

Activity on the blog has pretty much been based on how frequently I posted. Which is okay by me. I mean, I’m not courting readers. If people are interested in reading what I wrote, and they comment, that makes me happy. If people don’t–well, I’m not doing this for other people.

Taking a Break is the blog that forces me to take a break. And sometimes, we need things like these to help us breakaway from the monotony of our lives.

And to celebrate my first year of “taking a break,” I want to say thank you to my regular visitors, and those who pass by occassionally–by holding a raffle!

I have two prizes that I will be giving away on June 29: a gift card worth 500 pesos from Fully Booked, and another one from National Bookstore. All you have to do to be part of the raffle is to post a comment on this blog entry telling me what you think of my blog, what my strengths are, or what I need to work on. Or all three, if you’ve got a lot to say. (If the randomizer picks a non-Manila resident, we’ll talk about how I’m going to send the prize to you.)

So what do you say?

By the way, the giveaway for the autographed copy of Pacific Rims is still ongoing, if you want to join that one instead. Or too.

Event: Pacific Rims Book Signing

"Rafe Bartholomew listens to a question from an attendee"Back in October of 2010, I wrote about Pacific Rims here on my blog. I gushed about it, to be perfectly straight with you. And I felt disappointed (in myself) that I didn’t attend any of the Pacific Rims-related events that Fully Booked and National Bookstore had held during the book’s release. Then again, when said events happened, I didn’t know if I was going to like the book or not. I hadn’t read it yet.

When I found out about National Bookstore’s Book Signing event for the release of Pacific Rims’ paperback copy, I knew I was going. It wasn’t even a question. I knew I was going to make time for it.

So Saturday, May 21, found me at Booksellers in Ortigas, at the book-signing event where author Rafe Bartholomew shared what his next plans are, and how much has changed in his life since the book came out. Spoiler: not much.

Rafe Bartholomew, contrary to his acting stint in Bakekang, is fun to watch live. He conveys his thoughts well—if a bit lengthily. That’s not a criticism, it’s just an observation—by a few people at the event, including me. One attendee, in line to have her book signed, commented that it was great that Rafe was conversing with everyone in line for an autograph—if only he didn’t take 20 minutes to answer each question.

I had my chance to speak with him too. I was planning on telling him how much I enjoyed the book, even though I wasn’t a fan of basketball—and then segue into a couple of questions about his chapter on Philippine show business. But for some reason, my mind went blank. I managed to ask about his acting stint, with a bit of (what I felt was) an accusatory tone. Rafe was nice about it, but I felt like kicking myself. If, by chance, Rafe is reading this: I’m sorry if I sounded snooty. And I really like your book.

The lesson here is: if you’re having problems putting your thoughts to words, not speaking would be the best option.

What’s done is done though, so instead of wallowing, I’ll give a short summary of what was said in the event instead:

First, Rafe Bartholomew is back in the Philippines for a short series of documentaries that will be aired at National Geographic sometime soon. He’ll be in the Philippines until the end of the month, which is sometime next week.

"Rafe Bartholomew poses with a paperback edition of Pacific Rims"Second, he’s been offered a job as a researcher, with the option of writing, for a sports-centric website. I forgot the website, but I do have it on video, which I will put up as soon as I can. Rafe also mentioned that he’ll continue with his own blog; and that he has sent a proposal to publishers for another book. From what wasn’t said, I think it has nothing to do with basketball, or the Philippines.

I’d still pick it up when it gets released though. Whatever it is.

Third, Rafe got to play with some of the PBA legends when he went back to the United States. And most of the feedback he’s gotten for the book has been positive. Though, he said, there were a lot of questions from people of why he chose to dog Alaska instead of Ginebra.

Honestly, I found it weird when people started asking Rafe about stuff that gets covered in the book. Like the “Why Alaska?” question. That is, until I found out that around half of the attendees haven’t read the book. Oops on my part.

Before I end this post though, I have something for my readers: a free (and autographed) copy of Pacific Rims!

Since I liked the book so much, I thought I’d buy a paperback copy to giveaway. To win the book, all you have to do is comment on this post saying you want the book. Oh, and promise than when you do win it, you’ll give me your mailing details so I can actually send the book to you. That’s pretty much all I’m asking.

So do you want the book?

I will pick a winning comment using a randomizer (or whatever you call it) on the morning of June 12.

giveaway: cat’s trail

"cat's trail" by elmer and maria cornelia damasoCAT’S TRAIL is the story that follows airee colette, a well-known thief in the world of memeria. spun off from the CULTURE CRASH comics, CAT’S TRAIL REWIND and CAT’S TRAIL SPOTLIGHT hope (or at least, I hope) to continue the story that was cut short a few years ago.

last month, i bought three sets of CAT’S TRAIL issues (and book). one, i’m obviously keeping for myself. the second one, i gave as a christmas gift to one of my closest friends. the third one, i decided to give away to one of my readers.

that post had gotten three entries.

since i didn’t ask any thought-provoking questions, or ask for recommendations, i did not have any basis for choosing my winner. instead, i used random.org to decide which of the three people who left comments should win the set i’m giving away.

without further ado, random.org tells me that the winner is: Geoff!

i’m sending you an e-mail (after i post this) on how you can get your prize.

book: cat’s trail

"cat's trail" by elmer and maria cornelia damasoback in high school, a couple of my friends discovered CULTURE CRASH. it was a monthly (sometimes bi-monthly) comic book that featured four stories from four different writers: ONE DAY ISANG DIWA, PASIG, SOLSTICE BUTTERFLY and CAT’S TRAIL.

of the four titles, my favorite shifted from ONE DAY ISANG DIWA and CAT’S TRAIL whenever a new issue would come out. eventually though, CAT’S TRAIL became my sole favorite until the comic book stopped coming out. issue #15.5.

i experienced many firsts through CULTURE CRASH: my first comic collection, my first conventions–and the first time i really thought i wanted to get into the storytelling business. i had my passion for television even back then, but CULTURE CRASH afforded me that dream that storytelling as a career is something tangible.

i even had my first (and only, actually) comic coloring lesson from the guys of CULTURE CRASH!

around three years after the comic books stopped publishing, one of the four original guys (j.i.o. who created SOLSTICE BUTTERFLY) became my office mate–the husband of my boss, in fact. and around four years later, i rediscover CAT’S TRAIL!

CAT’S TRAIL tells the story of one airee colette. a petty thief by day, and a big-time thief at night, airee has a reputation in the land of tiyera as the best of the best. but no one actually knows where airee comes from–and why she looks so different from the people of tiyera. not even airee herself. well, no one except polaris, airee’s constant companion.

in the CULTURE CRASH comics, airee’s life takes a turn for the interesting when she meets the unassuming butler. butler is the type people bully–even by the bullied. so airee is surprised at the boy’s lightning fast reflexes, and his knowledge of the lands of memeria (the world where tiyera is).

but that’s all history now. with CULTURE CRASH gone, CAT’S TRAIL has a fresh new start with CAT’S TRAIL REWIND and CAT’S TRAIL SPOTLIGHT.

CAT’S TRAIL REWIND retells the stories that were once published in CULTURE CRASH, but the stories have been (or will be) reworked to fit into the grander scheme of things. eventually, it will move on to where the story first stopped. as for CAT’S TRAIL SPOTLIGHT, it’s a novelization written by the creator’s spouse that expands on the characters’ back stories.

for fans of filipino-made stories, do check out CAT’S TRAIL REWIND and CAT’S TRAIL SPOTLIGHT.

and to celebrate the rebirth of my once favorite comic series, i will be holding a giveaway competition. just leave a comment in this post that you want to win a copy of CAT’S TRAIL REWIND issues 1 and 2, as well as a copy of CAT’S TRAIL SPOTLIGHT. that’s all you have to do. a winner will then be randomly selected.

to those who are joining, a fair warning: the two comic issues and the novelization are all written in tagalog.

winner will be announced on january 4.

for more information about CAT’S TRAIL, log on to cat’s trail rewind.

giveaway: filipino horror — the winners

it’s time to announce the winners for the filipino horror giveaway!

first, apologies because i wasn’t able to finish all the recommended books. i missed one, NINE SUPERNATURAL STORIES, because it wasn’t readily available at bookstores–and i didn’t have time to go to up press for a copy. also, the competition has gone for far too long, i was supposed to be finished with it last november 15. it’s already november 27.

but explanations aside, here are the winners!

the first winner, the one i picked, gets the WAKING THE DEAD / ILUSTRADO package. and from my reviews, you’ve probably seen which of the recommendations i really liked: TRESE.

though the first and third volume didn’t have the elements of horror i was looking for, the second volume more than made up for it. also, TRESE was a really enjoyable read, and didn’t take me ages to finish. i actually breezed through reading the graphic novels because i couldn’t stop reading.

the only reason the reviews came out a day at a time, was because i was pacing myself. and sure enough, by the time i hit the middle mark, i had slowed down considerably.

so congratulations to fantaghiro23 for suggesting the TRESE series.

and for the second part, where i asked you guys to pick which recommendation you think is scariest, i only got three votes: one each for TALES OF ENCHANTMENT AND FANTASY, TRESE and TRAGIC THEATER.

but i’m calling TRAGIC THEATER the winner. not because i liked it, but because it got an “and-a-half” vote. the votes went like this:

kwesifriends: “I vote for TRESE series and TRAGIC THEATER!” but then added, “Naa, I forgot were voting for the scariest pala. So change it, I’ll vote for TRAGIC THEATER na lang.”

me likes art!: “I vote for TALES OF ENCHANTMENT AND FANTASY, owing to the fact that one of the stories in that collection scared me.”

and,

artseblis: “TRESE! though I also really like TRAGIC THEATER.”

i counted artseblis’s vote for TRAGIC THEATER, since she didn’t take it back. so congratulations to ivanbookworm for suggesting TRAGIC THEATER. you’ve won the WAKING THE DEAD / A TIME FOR DRAGONS package.

winners, please tell me whether you would like for me to handover your prizes during the december 18 meet-up at libreria, the january meet-up of the filipino book bloggers, or if you want me to have your prizes sent through courier services. if you pick the last option, please e-mail me your address through blurredlights (at) gmail (dot) com.

thank you everyone for joining!