Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas presents 101

In this post I'm not going to tell you what you should give as a present, but what absolutely NOT to give. At least not to me.

The following items have only one meaning to me: I didn't have time to look for a present for you/I had the time but I didn't care to actually make it for you/I'm not really interested in thinking about you.

- Candles. A candle set, really? If you are going to give me something just for the sake of giving whatever might as well give me a pair of socks. Those will keep me warm, at least.

- A body lotion gift set. Because nothing says "I just grabbed the first thing I saw in the shelf for you under $12" better than this. Ok, maybe I can give a little credit to hand soap or lotion. They can be useful, alright. But don't give it to me years in a row. That's just rude.

- Ties. For men. I don't like to give ties because it only says "I really had nothing in mind for you, and I figured you might need one of these ones eventually". Yeah, TO YOUR FUNERAL!

I hope you people start thinking a bit more for your next coworker gift or to whoever it is. Even a coffee mug is more useful! God knows those break all the time.

Merry Christmas to you, too! And you're welcome

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Brightening up Vancouver

A couple of weeks ago I decided that I have had enough with subtle, colour-draining lipsticks; and bought a bright Revlon lipstick. A very in-your-face shade called "Love That Pink". Maybe I was just bored of what I had, or maybe I just couldn't accept the fact that no lipstick would match my skin tone. So when I asked the cosmetician at work which shade would be better, she chose the pink one. "It goes better with your skin tone" she said. "Really?", I thought skeptically. So I tried it on. I received so many compliments that day that I wore it again the next day. Even my manager said "Nice lipstick!". It made me giggle a bit.

The next week I was craving for more colours, so I went back to the Cosmetics department and bought the shade that I had originally thought of. It was as bright as the other shade, but in coral. It was also Revlon and it was called "Kiss Me Coral". I also loved it. I got a couple of compliments, and felt really good about wearing bold colours on me. Of course I didn't wear lipstick everyday, because then it doesn't feel special anymore. Plus I really like my face with not that much makeup on. The real me is as pretty as any other look :)

However, I felt like I needed another colour. Something more red. And I promised myself that this one was the last lipstick I was going to buy in a while. It was my Christmas party very soon anyway, and I really wanted a bright red shade. So I went back to the Revlon stand, and bought the "Fire and Ice" shade. I loved it just as much, but I ended up wearing my Marcelle "Amour" lipstick to the party. It was just a stronger red than the Revlon. Anyway, I wore the new shade during the week. I felt a bit shy with bright lipstick on me, but at the same time I embraced the difference. It made me feel empowered. There's some sort of magical with bright lipsticks. Not that many women dare to wear reds, and I really didn't want to be one of them.

From left to right: "Love That Pink", "Fire & Ice", "Kiss Me Coral"

All lipsticks I use have to be applied with previous lip balm. Otherwise my lips would crack! I must have some sort of allergy to lipsticks. It happened with almost every brand! So the lip balm I use is SoftLips. I like the shape of the stick, it's inexpensive, it has a nice scent (I have the honeydew one) AND it works. With other lip balms, I can't feel it working. But this one does, as soon as I apply it. I wouldn't trade my lip balm for anything. I've even tried the new and fancy EOS, but it didn't do anything. It even felt like a heavier coat on my lips, and I didn't like that.

Even Jeff likes my lipsticks. I usually don't wear them because I'm too self-conscious. But he assured me they looked nice. Although I know deep inside he prefers me with no lipstick at all. He'd rather kiss me all over with no lipstick rather than just staring and kissing in the cheek to a pretty girl ;-)

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Elysium Echoes - Echo #1

Last Tuesday was my band's first public show. Elysium Echoes performed at the Simon Fraser University's Highland Pub for a very small, yet very meaningful, audience. Our friends, coworkers and family members were there, to take a look and have an idea of what is what we do on Tuesday and Sunday evenings when we say we have "band practice". Also to give them a taste of symphonic metal, a very unusual genre for Vancouverites to hear.

We played 6 songs. All of them covers of awesome bands such as Nightwish, Epica, Kamelot and Sonata Arctica. And even though we still have no original songs to play, we are trying to get there. We are very excited to start playing our own songs, and record a small album maybe by the end of next year. We just know it's going to be fun :) Many of my bandmates (me included) have been dreaming about recording songs, playing in shows and feel that stage adrenaline. Something words can't describe.

So our small setlist went well. We decided to play a bit later than scheduled because the pub was pretty hidden in the campus, and we figured people were lost. We also decided to play later because we were shitting our pants. Once all the gear was plugged and what not, we looked at each other and thought "Well, this is it. Maybe later?". We wanted to relax. And have enough time to "sober up" after a few bravery drinks. Once everybody was there, and realized some people had to leave soon, we decided to start. We didn't think the sound check was going to be so long. 20 minutes after playing with the sound board, turning up and down mics and amps in front of everybody, we were ready. We made so many mistakes. Mistakes that nobody else noticed. Well, yeah, because only the 5 of us played those songs two hundred times! In the pub were also a group of students that must have came back from a party because they were all dressed up and fancy looking. By the end of the second song they couldn't stand it anymore, stood up and left. I felt pretty good with myself. That meant we were being loud and metal enough. Or just that they were douchebags. Either or, I was having a good time. I even got to joke about it with the audience. They laughed. Good enough.

By the end of the setlist, I was singing louder, my lips weren't shaking anymore, and started to headbang harder. All my nervousness was gone. The setlist was almost over anyway. Might as well enjoy it :)

We received good feedback. Maybe our friends didn't want to say we sucked; but at least they will be giving us a second shot at another show. Great advices like how your nervousness is normal and will probably/hopefully never go away; about our gear; about our sound system and stuff like that were welcome.

Perhaps for our next gig we wont screw up as much, but if we do I'll make sure I enjoyed every second of it. Which is exactly the point ;-)

Thursday, 18 October 2012

About the hard craft of songwriting...

As a songwriter I always think three times before I write my own lyrics. It has to reflect who I am, but at the same time I don't want to fall on cheesy cliches or meaningless verses.
The power of a song's lyrics should be an opportunity to send a substantial message to our audience.

Often you'll see me raging over a song on the radio that has notoriously been made with the only objective of making money.

Why? Don't you, mediocre so-called artists, pre-manufactured producer-whores performers, understand the importance of your words? It pisses me off that famous, influential people don't realize how lucky they are to be able to have an immediate attention to their work and how they can have a positive impact on their fans. I mean, you have the power; DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

Now, I'm not saying all songs should talk about politics or current events. But puh-lease, don't tell me that I can go drink 6 bottles of tequila and sleep with two guys because I am young... EXPLICITLY. I have nothing against eroticism. In fact, I embrace it. What I appreciate is the art of writing a song, and the love and dedication you put into it.

So please, don't go backwards on your work and be like Taylor Swift, whose lyrics appear to get dumber and dumber the older (and wiser?) she gets. Show me simplicity, but beautifully. Show me complicated, but with a trick. Make me think a bit. Make me understand what you are going through. Make me relive what you lived.

I started thinking about this post after I got pulled into a song at work. Most of the music we have at our satellite station is CRAP, but every 50 songs there is something good... and new. I just loved the simplicity of the melody, and the catch of the words. A very powerful verse that repeats over and over again... and that honestly it melts me to my feet. "I'm going to make this place your home". A promise. A deal. A wish. Decided. I AM GOING TO. Without hesitation. YOUR HOME. Somewhere you feel safe and loved.
Call me romantic :P
I really hope you like it just as I did.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Chicken Soup for the PR Consultant Soul

I'm a natural curious person. I get bored very easily if I'm doing the same thing for a long period of time and I don't see any challenges that make an experience exciting. Boredom is the main reason why I have done so many things in my life, from trying dance lessons to join extracurricular school activities to learn how to cook (not a very big fan of it, I must say, but I try).

So after four years doing the same [unplanned] thing for a living, I have decided that is time to look for a different career path. After all, I graduated from Public Relations 3 months ago and I am ready to start applying for new jobs.

However, looking for new job opportunities is not that easy. I am terrible building resumes, and you don't even want to know about cover letters. I can stare at my computer's screen for hours before coming up with one very good sentence that describes me in my cover letter. Since I needed some help, I asked Jeff for his assistance.

Sitting on a couch at the brand new Surrey Public Library, it took me about an hour to get focused on building my resume. Jeff had an appointment with the doctor before, so he showed up a bit later. When he arrived where I was, he chuckled and then shook his head as I was telling him my tiny list of excuses on why I hadn't started yet. In big part, I was waiting for him: for some pressure on me (I work better under pressure). When it was time to create my cover letter, I was blank. He asked me to say whatever came to mind, and he was going to try to make it sound fancy and important. But it was very hard to describe myself, specially in a professional level. I know I am competent, but how to say it without sounding like "JUST HIRE ME".

"Just tell me how you would talk about yourself", Jeff insisted. My ESL wasn't helping out either. So the only values/adjectives/words that came to my mind weren't part of a cover letter, but of an inspirational biography.

"I'm not sure if this will help, but let me tell you why I studied Public Relations. Have I told you yet?"

Jeff shook his head one more time.

"Public Relations and Journalism became my passion the moment I stepped into my faculty in Lima", I started. Actually, by the time I started my first class in the San Martin de Porres University, I had no clue what Public Relations was; but I knew, however, that it was one of the graduation options after you were done your first 4 years in school.

I decided to study Sciences of Communications because I loved writing (and still do!). I loved the power of the media and how it is the bridge between the Government and the people. I am a sociable person, and I always felt attracted to being able to understand why people do or not certain things. And the only way to know this is by communicating. Everybody communicates, and everybody is part of society. So it became very important to me to be a person that could carry a message, unbiased- and say it objectively to the community.

After some classes on Public Relations, I realized that that was something I could try too. When I came to Canada, four years and a half ago, I tried to keep studying what I had been forced to stop in my native Peru. UBC, SFU, Capilano and BCIT offered wonderful Journalism programs, but none of them were comparable to what I had been studying. In Lima, my program had Journalism (Print/Radio/TV/Digital), Production, Publicity, Public Relations and Marketing all in one, and in your last year you could choose one of these programs as your specialization. They did this mainly because they wanted to educate you in many fields as possible so you can do more work with just being one individual instead of hiring 3 more people to do stuff that you already know - very third-worldish. But here in Canada you could just choose to study one, and graduate as that. I personally wanted more knowledge in me, so I read carefully all the programs and decided that BCIT was the most complete out of all the schools out there in BC. 

But to get into the BCIT Journalism program was a big challenge. They only accepted 60 students and you had to take a test (held only once a year) in order to be eligible for an interview and maybe then be part of the student body. Before even applying for the test, I had to have a Canadian Grade 12 diploma, so even though I had graduated from high school 2 years prior, I had to take some courses first to be able to graduate from high school in Canada. One year later, I was ready-ish for my test. After 14 months in the country, my English still wasn't perfect, and getting into the habit of reading newspapers of a place that I still didn't feel as "home" didn't attract me that much. I failed my first test with 12% below the passing mark, as most of the questions in the exam were about the news.

The second year my mark was even worse. Around 30% below the passing mark. In that moment I decided that I needed to study something else, something that could give me money and could be studied fast. I almost went for Early Childhood Education, but somehow found my old, dusty love for the promising career of Public Relations. BCIT was still an excellent choice, so I enrolled with them for their part time PR studies. I enjoyed most of the courses I took in those two years that the program lasted, and learned a great deal from most of them. After all, it was me the one that was paying for those classes, so I better had to pay attention.

After telling Jeff my little story, he had an idea of what I wanted to capture. So he wrote down a couple of sentences down. Twenty minutes later, we had a decent cover letter. I still got to come up with most of the content, but having my boyfriend (and best friend) with me giving me company and support made things way easier. Something about feeling loved makes the world go more smoothly. We decided to send a couple of resumes to job postings and call it a day since neither of us had had lunch that afternoon.

When I came back home in the evening, I felt good with myself. I felt like I was moving forward and had more hope than when I had left my house in the morning. Sneaking to my room, I found my sister in our bed studying with her book on her lap. She asked me how was my day and I told her it was pretty productive. That I had checked out some job postings with Jeff earlier and had applied for a couple. Then she asked me something that I always had trouble in answering: "Kati, what is Public Relations?"

"Ummm... well, it's... A PR consultant does a lot of things", I mumbled. "They are in charge of the Communications part of a company". Her puzzled look in her eyes gave me a hint that she had no clue of what I was saying. It was a very broad statement, so I had to give her examples to narrow it down.

"For example, if you are Coca Cola and you are releasing a new marketing campaign, the PR department has to take a look at what your new slogan is going to say. You don't want anything explicit or, say, racist, that could hurt people's feelings or be too inappropriate. The message that you convey is the face that your company is going to show to the world."

"Ok...", my sister said, looking more interested in my field.

"Also, PR people create articles in what we call Press Releases. Say, if you are Toyota and you are releasing a new car for the next year, and you want to tell the media, you write an article about it and send it to them, either newspapers' editors, radio or TV"

"Aaahh...", she said more fascinated.

"Another thing that we do is organize conferences. Say you are Apple, and you are releasing a new iPad. You call the media, gather them in a place that you had already rented and equipped, and have the CEO or whoever is the spokesperson to talk about it in front of everybody so the media can also make their own notes. To all these people you also have to give a media kit that contains a press release that you had already created and printed out, along with the background of the product, a Q&A sheet, etc etc"

I also told her about handling crisis in companies, which is a very exciting part of PR. By the end of my little introduction to Public Relations 101, Claudia was fascinated and clearly more informed than she had been 15 minutes before. I was glad that my little sister knew what I had chosen to study and found it kind of "cool".

As I was getting up from the bed to go make myself something to eat, she asked me why I had chosen PR.

"Well, you see, I strongly believe that a person deserves to know the truth. If it's a good truth, let's celebrate it and be merry; if not, you have to suck it up and deal with it. But people is too intelligent to hide things from them. Plus, nobody likes it. Nobody likes to be lied at. Would you like me to hide something bad from you for the longest time? You would for sure be mad and wont talk to me in months! But if something bad happens, and I tell you right away, you can still get pissed a week, maybe two, but after that you will appreciate my honesty and will talk to me again. Companies don't realize that. If everybody would be nicer to each other and build trust, the success of a company would be imminent! Companies are people, too. From people to people. And if I can help in that mission of mine, then I'll feel that I had made this place a better place to live everyday."

"Aaawww... sister!". I cannot describe exactly the look in my sister's eyes. It was a combination of admiration, pride, inspiration and hope. And I felt so proud of myself, too. That I was being the role model that my parents had always wanted me to be for my little sister. She had someone to look up to. Someone that she knew she could always trust and get support and inspiration from.

I then remembered something one of my aunts had told me years before when I was trying to figure out what to study after I graduate from high school, and it had been written down in my imaginary list of the sweetest things that I have ever been told. "It doesn't matter what you do with your life, you are going to do it great because everything you do, you do it with love".

Suddenly, the sun was shining out the window of my soul.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

What's in a name?

So last Saturday I was walking towards the Skytrain station hoping to take the train to Surrey to see Jeff while daydreaming and talking to myself in my head as usual. Walking from the opposite direction, two girls around my age or maybe a bit younger were  talking about certain friend whose name was Celia*. I thought "Celia. Celia. What a dumb name. It's like a bimbo's name. I would never name my child Celia. A name is supposed to be smart and strong! With a meaning. Something that inspires respect! Like... Like... (at this point I almost had my fist at my chest level, staring into space) Cassandra!"

I giggled to myself (because usually I am my own source of entertainment) and actually curious, I looked up the name Cassandra on the Internet.  I started to dream about the day I had my little girl and give her such a strong and indomitable name, causing admiration on any person that heard the name.

When suddenly, a thought came to my mind: Isn't that a stripper's name?? I quickly texted my reality judge, Jeff, and asked him what he thought about the name Kassandra. 

Jeff: Ummm... It's alright.
Me: Would you consider it a stripper's name?
Jeff: Yeah
Me: What about with a C? Does it make a difference?
Jeff: Nope. Still a whore's name lol

So apparently it didn't matter that the name Cassandra was the name of a Trojan warrior who was given the gift of prophecy by the Greek god Apollo, and that later on Apollo himself had to curse her so nobody would believe her when she prophesied the god's dirty plans. 

Somehow the current civilization and habitants of this planet had given this awesome name a slutty meaning. So thank you, human race! Way to go! Now I have to think about another name for my descendants *sigh*

*Not the real name

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Back to (half) normal

Today was my first day back to work since my injury. I was so surprised by how many people missed me, both because I am a smiley, happy, cheering person and because I am damn good at my job :) They even got me a Get Well Soon card! I am part of the committee that is in charge of sending those kind of cards to employees that get married, have a baby, have an accident or a relative dies. But I never thought I was going to get anything! I mean, it just a sprained ankle (yeah, yeah, a second-degree sprain that doesn't heal until 6 or 10 weeks), but I guess being absent for 3 weeks made people miss me :) It pays to be a good person, see people!! Be nice to each other! Lol




I am just glad I am back on track. I was about to lose my sanity being confined in my house, taking a bunch of pills and keep freezing the gel packs. Never underestimate your independence. And your freedom. The best things a human being can have.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Being ill in another country

As many of you know, I twisted my ankle a couple of weeks ago, the evening of St. Patrick's. No, the accident didn't happen due to the alcohol consumption. I've gotten on and off the bus thousands of times while being... let's say... not sober. I have the chance of injuring myself at any given minute. What the alcohol DID do was to make me believe that I was getting off the bus from work to get on my other bus, because I always take 2 buses to go from work back home. But I was already in the right bus. I didn't have to exchange buses, and I wasn't even coming back from work. So I didn't see where (or how) I was stepping, and I fell to the ground with my ankle twisted. It's ironic, I was wearing flats. A stranger (a hipster, I must add) helped me to get up and sit on the bench to wait for the next bus. Anyway, injuries always happen in the most ridiculous forms. Like when I was 8 years old at a friend's birthday party. We had gone to the pool for the day, and while waiting for the taxi to take us back to the city (we were out in the suburbs), me, the birthday girl and another girlfriend went to the trampoline to jump and have a little bit more of fun. I might have positioned my foot wrong when landing, because when I hit the trampoline again I just went down and started to cry. I saw my foot hanging from the leg, and started to scream because it was too painful. Even my friends had to get off the trampoline when they saw my deformed foot. The doctor diagnosed a fissure in the bone. I had to wear a cast for 2 months IN THE MIDDLE OF SUMMER! The most boring summer of my life, I assure you. I even had to miss the first day of school to have a checkup with the doctor.

During those 2 months I recall my friends coming to visit me. My uncle Alex, who lived downstairs from us with his wife and 3 kids visited me a bunch of times with my cousins. Specially my cousins came because my house was a bit bigger to play in, and we were all kids. They wanted to play and laugh. Maybe that's why now that I think about it, it must have been a boring summer, but I always had surprise visits. My grandmother, my mom's mom, lived a block and a half from us, and with her lived my aunt Lucy and her son, my cousin Adolfo, a year and a half younger than me; and my uncle Hernan. All of them came at least four times to visit me. They'd bring me ice cream, candies, or just plain company. I always liked to chat with the adults. With anybody, really. I was a very talkative kid. And I had always hated awkward silences as well. But this is family. There are no awkward silences. With them I could talk about what colour was my poo that day.

I remember one day my uncle Alex took me, my sister, my cousin Adolfo, and his kids (my cousins Sandra, Ivan and Jorge) to the park across the street. My cousins were playing football (or as North America knows as soccer), and I was watching them with my cousin Sandra and my uncle. We were laughing at how bad one of my cousins was playing, and I clearly remember my cousin Ivan kicking the ball so hard so he can hurt his younger brother, Jorge. But even when he got hurt, he would laugh. And every time Jorge would get hit hard, everybody would be in dead silence because it clearly was painful. But he would just burst laughing his head off, and so all of us. At one point, the ball came my way, and I got up and kicked the ball. My foot was feeling great! I even started walking with the cast! My uncle Alex and Sandra cheered as I started my "first steps" after the accident, even though I wasn't supposed to walk yet. It was a very interesting summer for sure.

Living in a different country that is not yours has been definitely a challenge for my family and me. There is the language barrier, the different culture (cultureS in our case, Canada has a variety of ethnicities and cultures), we came here knowing nobody, we had no place to stay, no jobs waiting for us. After 4 years, we have managed to overcome most of those things, even some family members moved here a couple of years ago. But as I am writing this in my bed, with my foot on ice and unable to walk, I have to say it feels... very lonely. My best friend here, Fiorella, has come to visit. Jeff has come once as well. My cousins Silvana and Astrid came by last week. Outside my window the sky is grey, and judging by the tree in front of my house, it's windy, too. I'm kinda glad. If it would be beautiful out, I'd be pissed that I can't go out and enjoy it! If I suffer, the city suffers!!! Hahaha...

But there are no more family coming over to chat with, nobody would come and bring me candy, or take me to the park to watch kids play. No friends that would come at once, sneaking a beer or two to share and talk and laugh. Days like this I miss home. I am sure my uncle Alex would send my cousin Sandra and my cousin Jorge up to my place to give me some company, at least once a week. And that my friends would drop by after work and give me a chocolate or some chips. People here are not like in home. Most of them, at least. They are too busy. They don`t get too personal. They need their space...
I think even seeing the face of my enemies would cheer me up on a day like this!

Monday, 26 March 2012

How To Behave When Meeting Latin American Parents

A couple of weeks ago, my dad FINALLY met my boyfriend! After being so stubborn, he eventually was "ready" and accepted to have a small introductory chat with him.
However, Jeff and me were a bit uneasy about how it was all going to turn out. After all, we come from different cultures (he's Canadian, I'm Peruvian) and our understanding on what is polite or what is correct may not be the same.
Luckily, both times that Jeff got to talk to my dad (yes! Twice already!!) went pretty well; but after talking on the phone with him about what else he would've done or talked about with my dad, I realized we both needed some ABC on what to do and what not to do when meeting parents.

When introducing to Latin American parents, first of all you need to know how much English they know. Maybe they don't speak it at all, which means awkward silences are going to be dominating the first encounter. If they don't speak English, you need to learn at least five very important things in Spanish:

#1 Me llamo ______. Mucho gusto. [My name is _____. Nice to meet you.]
#2 Yo no hablo mucho espanol. [I don't know too much Spanish]
#3 Muchas gracias. [Thank you very much]
#4 Si, gracias. / No, gracias. [Yes, thank you. / No, thank you]
#5 Senor / Senora. [Mr. / Mrs.]

If they do speak English, ask to your partner how well they speak it. Some people speak it slowly (because is not their native language), whereas others have more domain of the language. If they do speak it fluidly, then you better have a list of possible topics to break the ice to make it less awkward. Hopefully your partner will participate, too, to help make the conversation more interactive.

Number five is tricky, though. You see, in Canada it's polite to call everybody by their first names. So if I am white, I'll be presenting my dad to my boyfriend as Robert*, and my mom as Alice*. To most white people, being called by last name is not correct and even considered rude. In Latin American countries, being called by their first name is a sign of disrespect. They might not be offended, but they won't like you for sure. They preferred to be called by last names. In this case, I won't be introducing my parents with my last name because my boyfriend is supposed to know my full name by now!! Introducing should go like this:

Me: Jeff, this is my dad.
Jeff: Nice to meet you, Mr. Villa.
Me: And this is my mom.
Jeff: Nice to meet you, Mrs. Villa.

After that intro, you don't need to call them by last names anymore for the rest of the conversation. Simply "Sir" or "Ma'am" will do. It is also important to shake hands, as Latin Americans believe in physical contact, as opposed to North American countries in which a nod of the head is usually enough.

These are just the basics. There are so many differences between cultures about what is correct to do in one but not in the other. But for now, this is all you need to know about meeting your Latin American girlfriend/boyfriend's parents. It's a very interesting culture that will get less complicated with time and communication. So, embrace it! =)

[*] Different names used to protect the identity of the individuals.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Stupid Cupid

For 2/3 of this world, the 14 of February is synonim of romantic dates, perhaps at sunset in the fanciest restaurant in town, with a box of chocolates and/or flowers in her hand, and love cards on their bed table. Little birds singing, a light breeze to play with her hair, and Minnie Riperton's "Lovin' You" in the air. He belongs in her arms, and she belongs in his.

Picture courtesy of Google Images
For the rest of people, people like me, this day's just bullshit. But it's not just one more day in the calendar. It's a torture, a laugh in the face to those individuals that are single. In Peru, February 14th is actually called "The day of love and friendship", so nobody really is left out from the celebration. This, my dear friends, is also what I call BULLSHIT. You can include what ever you want in the definition of that day, but it's not going to make single people stop feeling bad because they don't have a significant other.

I HATE Valentine's Day because people that never go out, or never show their love for their partners anymore try to compensate the whole year in one day.
I HATE Valentine's Day because couples fill restaurants, parks, movie theatres, clubs, hotels and what not to the max, and prices double up. If you happen to be a smart human being that sees 02/14 as another day and HAPPEN to go out that evening, you-are-screwed.
I HATE Valentine's Day because it makes single people feel bad for not being in a relationship (even those people that feel great about the single life any other day of the year). Just because your best friend happens to be in a relationship by that time, society makes you feel like a loser.
I HATE Valentine's Day because is a disgusting Marketing strategy to sell you that box of chocolates, that love card, those flowers, that Valentine's movie that you buy. An invention to take your money again. Like Christmas is not enough.
I HATE Valentine's Day because it's so-called the Day of Love, and in my opinion, there is not a higher insult to love than that. Love is not a DAY. Love is everyday. Love is not only to your boyfriend/girlfriend. It's also to yourself, and nowadays so many people don't truly know that. That you can't expect to be loved if you don't love who you are first.

So, where will I be on February 14th? At my boyfriend's, eating dinner that we made ourselves, celebrating that we found each other; but mostly celebrating because it IS an important day for him, and Love is also about making your better half happy. If it makes him smile, it's all what matters.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

My intimate gathering with The Hunger Games

A few weeks ago I finished reading The Hunger Games trilogy. I've heard of people reading the three books as little as 15 days! I read slowly, and finished them in a month and a half. Still a record for myself for three books! Back in the day, I remember finishing reading Harry Potter 4 in four days!

It took me a while to start reading The Hunger Games series because I considered them "teenager books". Probably as cheesy and desperate-for-surreal-love as the Twilight series (can you guess I'm not a big fan?). But my younger sister had been reading them for school, and told me how awesome they were and made me promise her I was going to read them. A promise is a debt, so after a year of dragging the subject, I finally picked up the first book. The first 3 chapters were a bit boring for my taste, but after I kept reading, it became better and it grew on me as an obsession. Before I could take a moment to reflect the first book I had already grabbed "Catching Fire", the second one. I needed to know what happens later! By the time I finished the last book, "Mockingjay", I had cried my eyes out so many times, laughed like somebody just told me the funniest joke, started grabbing my blanket on my bed really hard as consequence of the suspense, even screamed when something absolutely surprising happened. I lived the book like I was right there. Even to this day, I can't stop thinking about it.

I have to confess that I sank into a mild depression after the first book. There is a developing romance between the principal characters (yes, it has romance in it, shame on me). Katniss and Peeta are both sixteen years old, and when Peeta confesses his love for Katniss the whole story changes. Later in the first book you will discover that Peeta had been in love with her since they were little kids. And I thought: "I don't remember when was the last time I felt like that". That need of holding on to something forced me into a introspection that I couldn't control. Luckily, the end of the series were higher than my expectations, so even though I still think about the book, there is no bitter taste of an unsatisfying finale.

So before I ruin the whole storyline for you, let me tell you in general lines what it is about.
Liam Hemsworth stars in The Hunger Games. Girls, first row!!
In a post-war Earth, there is a country called Panem, which it used to be North America. Panem, which main city is the Capitol, is divided by 12 districts: District 1, District 2, District 3, and so on... 74 years ago, the population of Panem decided to rebel against the hostility and tyranny of the Capitol. They lost, resulting in the extinction of District 13 and the creation of the Hunger Games, a reminder to the fallen of the omnipotent power of the Capitol. These games consist on picking randomly a boy and a girl between the ages 12 and 18 from each district, called tributes, and send them to the Capitol where they will be thrown into an arena and will have to fight for their lives. The only way to get out of there is to kill everybody else. There is only one victor. The whole event is, by the way, televised and viewed by all Panem. Pretty much as what we know nowadays as a "reality show" (Hello "Big Brother", "The Biggest Loser"?) It doensn't sound so bad, but the trick is this: the Games Makers, creators of every Hunger Games arena, have deadly strategies to force the tributes to kill each other and not hide until God knows when. The longer the games take, the less sponsors the event obtains (they even have sponsors for kids killing kids!!), and the Capitol doesn't want that.

I've heard of another Japanese book/movie that has a similar concept, called Battle Royale. It has been made a movie as well as the Hunger Games (premier March 23rd, 2012). If you are curious, check it out and tell me about it LOL But personally, the Hunger Games are amazing. Last book that made me feel this way was 'The Godfather' (by Mario Puzo), 7 years ago. I definitely recommend it! =)

Friday, 20 January 2012

First post of 2012

Being sick for 10 days hasn't been fun at all. A cold that took away my voice for most of those days hadn't allowed me to do what I love the most: sing. In fact, I hadn't been singing that often even. I have to blame it on my parents. Since we live in a tiny basement suite, they are afraid our neighbors might complain for the "noise" and quickly try to shut me up. Katia doesn't like to be told to shut up. So, I stopped singing altogether. Having my voice gone for over a week made me realize that I should sing anyway and give a shit about what others say [Oh, she just said the S word!]. I might even sound awful, but how do you expect me to improve if I don't practice?!

So... I haven't been writing anything since last month because of work, procrastination, and a big fat distraction called boyfriend. We are in that phase where every new thing you know about him/her fascinates you and every time you see him/her there are pink stars all around and all looks shiny and new and fresh. Since that phase is short, I want to enjoy it before it's gone (althought something tells me it's not going anywhere any time soon).
I have had things to talk about, but my brain lately seems to have problems to focus in one thing at the time, which makes writing a post about one thing only, not impossible, but extremely difficult.

But before having more ambitious goals, let's start by something easy. This is my first [shame on me!] post of the year 2012. Meanwhile I do not believe in New Year's resolutions (because I strongly believe that if a person wants to change for real, he/she will do it at that very minute, and wont wait until the year is gone), I do like to make To-Do lists. What I want to achieve in this year, and that I have the certainty I will.
Two words: Independence and Experience [Ok, that's three words if you count "and"].
I want to learn things for myself like cooking decent meals, doing my own laundry, clean after myself (and not wait for mom to give me a lecture and cleaning after me anyway), pay my bills, drive my own car, set my own rules.
I also want to learn more about my job from experienced people, open up my ears and listen what they have to say so I don't screw up. Who knows, maybe in the process I'll impress somebody.

2012 looks very promising so far. This is the year I finish school, I get my N driving license, my passport expires, I actually start exploring LinkedIn (shoulda done that months ago!), takes place the most mind-blowing metal festival on a cruise which I am attending, of course; and apparently the world's life ends. Yeah, a very interesting year indeed [That was half sarcasm]. Can't wait to live it! *fist in the air*