The Time Virus: Why is Tardiness Highly Contagious?

THE EARLY BIRD GETS KILLED BY THE EARLY HUNTER.

14-year-old me. I wore my green baseball shirt, black cargo shoes, and my favorite pair of Nikes. Best clothes for a special day. Our teacher had given us a group project to do over the weekend. As a high school student, nothing could beat the feeling of working another project with your classmates. The projects could be done quickly and easily. And because of the “materials” needed for the project, I had the perfect excuse to ask my parents for “extra” cash. In other words, I was looking forward to eating ice cream while walking around the mall with my classmates after this so-called project was done.

It was a typical Saturday in July that time, the end of storm season. My father had dropped me off at 8:10 am, 20 minutes before the agreed meeting time. My father loved telling me that punctuality is a sign of respect and professionalism.

If I remembered correctly, our teacher had assigned five members in my group. I sat on the stone benches parallel to the church’s windows as the cold wind brushed my skin. I might be wearing the wrong clothes for the weather.

I observed the church’s windows and attempted to count the spots with the chipped blue paint. This area was called the “side of the church,” and it had been the favorite meeting place. My watch told me that it was 8:35 am. My classmates were already late. But that could happen. The ground was wet, and due to the Philippines’ plumbing system, floods were everywhere, and heavy traffic had been a normal sight.

9:15am. No one arrived. I walked towards the school gate where a rusty payphone stood, jammed the coins into it, and punched our house phone number.

“Dad, we’re done with the project,” I said, holding back tears. “Please pick me up.”

“Already?” The surprise in his voice did not surprise me. These projects could last for about 2-3 hours. He generally picked me up after the sun went down.

I wasn’t labeled as the boy-who’s-always early because it was mandatory to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early from the agreed time. I guess respect was very common back in the 90’s. But how did late become normal?

 

NOW, THE PARTY DON’T START TILL I WALK IN.

Fashionably late. Better late than never. It’s Better to be late than to arrive ugly. Red carpet entrance. How many of these have we heard? The idea of being late seems to have evolved from being a sign of rudeness to being cool and trendy—a statement to make one’s self feel better about his or herself. Beck to 14-year-old me, our group leader (whom we will hide by the name Emit) called me upon arriving home. Emit was very apologetic, but I told her that I wouldn’t help on the project anymore unless I helped them over the phone. They weren’t late at the second meeting.

If you are reading this and you know me, before you scroll to the comment section and type “Kevin, you are a giant hypocrite,” let me explain. Yes, I used to be super late all the time too, but only because I was a victim of the Time Virus.

 

INFECTED.

            Growing up as a teenager, I carried punctuality with me. I wasn’t one of the cool kids back then. And I still wasn’t one of the cool kids when I reached college. Huge breaks and free weekends were what I had in common with the cool kids and my friends. We were young, and time was all we had. One could say that the word hangout was the most popular word when I was in college. And I tried to be that 14-year-old boy waiting beside the church all the time:

  • Be at least 15 minutes early
  • Know that people could be sometimes 1-5 minutes late and that is forgivable
  • More than 6 minutes late is rude and unforgiveable

Unfortunately, that 14-year-old boy died. If you look at the death certificate of that punctual boy, you’ll see that the cause of death is has stopped tolerating late comers. If they can be late, he can also be late, right? It’s more convenient; you can leave anytime you want, the people you’re going to meet are for sure already there, and everyone will know that you have more important things to do other than being with them, right? You see, that kind of philosophy has had me fooled that I can be a better adult by being late all the time.

 

ADULTING IS GREATER THAN AND NOT EQUAL TO TARDINESS.

            Like what I’ve mentioned earlier, when I was in college, our idea of hanging out was the entire day. Our national anthem was It’s Okay to be Late Because We Have All Day. TGIF, right? No problem, because tomorrow is Saturday, and there’s plenty of time to do homework. Little did I know, that kind of thinking will not help me as an adult.

Meeting up with friends has become challenging and impossible. Friend A can’t have lunch with us because he should study for finals. Friend B must take her dog to the vet. Friend C wants to oversleep. And I can’t go because I have work. Little did we know; our national anthem has been keeping us apart. And it shouldn’t be like this. Friend A gets out of school at 1:45 pm while Friend B’s vet appointment is at 4:00 pm. Friend C can oversleep until 2:00 pm, and my shift starts at 4:30 pm. In other words, we can grab lunch or coffee near Friend A’s school from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm. An hour and a half. This is where punctuality becomes crucial. If all can just be punctual, we can bond for about an hour and a half. In other words, meeting up with friends can be difficult but not impossible, and there are ways to do that.

 

DIET IS HARDER THAN PUNCTUALITY

            Being on time is not as hard as it sounds, especially if everyone is doing it. This 2017, my friends and I have come up with a New Year’s resolution to be punctual, especially now that we are all busy adults now. Here are some tips that 14-year-old me and 2017 me can give you to be on time.

  1. Don’t Trick Yourself to be On Time: Remember that you set the clock in the bathroom to be 15 minutes advance? This never works, for you know that the clock is not right. The back of your mind still reads the original time. To fix this, make your meeting time at least 15 minutes early. If you are going to meet your friends at 2:00 pm, tell yourself that you are going to meet them at 1:45 pm. Aim to be there at 1:45 pm. If you’re 5-10 minutes late (you arrive around 1:50pm-1:55 pm), hey the meeting time is at 2:00 pm, right?
  2. Thank Your Friends For Waiting: Never apologize that you are only 10 minutes early. But always thank your friends for waiting for you just in case they arrive before you. Thanking them is saying that you respect their time, and this will make them think that they also need to respect your time. Say, “thank you for waiting for me. How long have you been here?” It is also a good ice-breaker.
  3. Call Out Your Friends For Being Late: I do this, but I avoid being rude. Knowing the line is mandatory. If your friends are late, say, “I’ve been waiting here for 20 minutes. What happened?” By saying this, you are giving them a chance to explain. You can also give them the opportunity to apologize for being late. Tell them, “I’m glad that you’re finally here. I heard there’s heavy traffic on the 110.” Calling them out means you don’t enjoy waiting past the agreed time.
  4. Manage Your Time: Cliché? Yes, but it works. I ask one of my friends to scale their punctuality from 1-10 (10 being very punctual). One of them said that he was only a 6 because of bad time management. Traffic is the most common excuse for being tardy, but with the technology today (Google Maps, Waze, etc.), there is no excuse not to compute your ETA with or without traffic.
  5. Let Them Know You Are Going to be Late: You can be late too as long as your excuse is valid. Accident, family emergencies, illness. But that does not give you an excuse not to let them know. Give your friends an hour or more before the meeting time a heads-up that you are going to be late.
  6. Punish Late Comers: This is entirely optional, but it works wonders. For this to work, make sure that everyone knows and agrees to all the conditions. For my group of friends, we’ve all decided that every time we have lunch or dinner plans, all the late comers are the only ones who are going to pay the tip on our bill.

Punctuality is one of the most forgotten signs of respect. They say that you must learn respect first before others can give it to you. By learning to be on time, I’m pretty sure that everyone around you will start doing the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Best of 2016

2016. What can we say about 2016 now that it is ending? I believe it’s better if we just don’t describe it, so let’s put all those superlatives back in our heads and see what are some of the many things that give us reasons to say that 2016 isn’t that bad.

Literature

The Best Book

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First, we need to acknowledge why Sir John Corey Whaley winning is a big deal. Authors like Miss Morgan Matson and Miss Sarah J. Maas– authors that make me scream like a kid in a candy store with a $100 gift card in hand– published their books this year. But Sir John Corey Whaley delivered and wrote a masterpiece like he had never written before. I had little expectations from this book because I wasn’t a big fan of Where Things Come Back, but Highly Illogical Behavior is a fun read that talks about profound and relevant issues that people are afraid to talk about nowadays. If I were you, I would buy multiple copies of this book and give them to the people I love, because the world needs this book.

The Best Graphic Novel

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There is no arguing that Miss Raina Telgemeier is the rockstar of Children’s Literature. Now, why is this the best graphic novel and not those flashy DC and Marvel comics (and trust me, I love reading them too)? The reason is that sometimes simplicity is what we all need to tug a heartstring. Finding a home, friendship, and love in the most unexpected place; Miss Raina Telgemeier has managed to put those inside this graphic novel that will surely find a special place in your heart.

The Best Picture Book 

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You can say that it is almost unfair to put Last Stop on Market Street here since it already has tons of awards. Not to mention, it came out a long time ago. But every time I read this masterpiece, the world becomes a better place. It feels like there is some kind of filter on my eyes that causes me to see the world in a darker hue, then this book has that power to remove that filter. Last Stop on Market Street will make us all realize that we are all CJs and that we have Nanas all around us, but we always fail to listen to them, because we are so busy criticizing the world.

Music

The Best Song

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I Believe in You by Michael Bublé

It has been an inside joke that you can always find Mr. Bublé’s album inside cafés and retirement homes. In other words, if the place is relaxing, there is a high chance that that place plays his music. Sounds boring, but his song like I Believe in You proves that he can also be fun and entertaining while maintaining that relaxing vibe and sexy tone that I think no one can never ever replicate.

The Best Single

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If you know me, you probably see this song coming. What I love about Taylor Swift songs are they tell stories. They’re like books that you can finish in about 3-5mins. The best part is you are one of the main characters. I Don’t Wanna Live Forever tells a story of a couple who seems to get tired of fighting all the time, but now that they are far away from each other, they realize how much they need each other. Taylor Swift just saved 2016 from being one of the worst years ever.

The Best Extended Player 

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Yes, EDM has already made a mark in the music industry. I am so happy that even the ones who are not gifted when it comes to singing (but still gifted musically in some ways) can find their own limelight. It’s heartwarming that there is music that was created to make you feel something that will get you moving. The Chainsmokers proves that music is for everyone.

The Best Album

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Charlie Puth just proudly waved the flag of Millenials with his Nine Track Mind album. Many people tend to see Millenials as youngsters who don’t know anything other than to have fun and be reckless. But Charlie’s album reminds everyone that Millenials can fall in love, get hurt, and move on. I can almost say that he tells the story of everyone who is still trying to find their place in this world.

On Screen Media

The Best TV Show 

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I don’t like watching TV. I am not a big TV person, but there’s always one thing that will make you break your own rule, right? And that for me is the Shadowhunters. A diverse cast, heartbreaking plot, rollercoaster of emotions. What more can you ask for? It is funny how you can relate more to these characters than the people in the real world. It only means that we are all well represented in this TV show.

The Best Movie 

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Never in my entire life that I have seen a film as beautiful as this. It shows a simple but deep and meaningful message. Words are not enough to describe how beautiful this masterpiece is, so I suggest that you watch it. Remember that this is not just about a bunny trying to be a police officer.

The Responsible ARC Reader

It is always a delight to receive an ARC (Advance Readers Copy) from authors, publishing houses, or just anywhere at all. I mean how are you not going to be happy? One, you can read a fantastic novel before anyone else does, and of course, it is free!

But are ARCs really free or we are missing our responsibilities as readers whenever we get our hands on those “free” books?

To be honest, I did not know the responsibilities that you have as a reader whenever you receive those ARCs until one day, I started receiving one. 

ARCs are not free. You need to pay the author and the publishing house who put that ARC in your hands. Do they need money? Absolutely not. However, they need more than money. They need your time and your honest opinion about the work.

GIVE THEM YOUR TIME

Remember that ARCs give us an opportunity to read a novel before it comes out. As readers, we are responsible for reading an ARC before it actually comes out. The rule I follow is I should finish the novel at least 2 weeks before its release date. Once the actual book is out in the world, ARCs lose their value. 

WHY READ THEM BEFORE THE BOOK COMES OUT?

The primary purpose of ARCs is not to give readers free books. Remember, publishing houses want to sell their products, but do not think of it that way. We have to see that we are helping authors that have given us amazing books in the past and will give us more amazing books in the future. 

So we have to make sure that we have to read ARCs 2 weeks before they come out so we can give them an amazing review. If you don’t like the ARC, that is okay, but give it a review. ARCs do not demand good reviews; what they want is an honest review. Remember, good or bad publicity is still publicity.

If you are like me, someone who always gives good reviews to ARCs, what I do whenever I do not like the ARC is I will give it a review saying who I think is going to like the book. I will not write about how I do not enjoy the book—I will write how others will like it.

It is always fun to receive ARCs, but we have to remember that once we agree to accept those ARCs, we, as readers, now have a big responsibility in our hands.

The Long Hiatus: What Happened After Graduation

Whenever a day passes by and I don’t have a blog post, my heart breaks a little.

But trust me, my life has been a rollercoaster ride ever since my last semester as a Creative Writing student started. Yes, the semester was very busy, but it started shaking my world a couple of weeks before the semester ended.

I had fallen in love before the semester ended. I wish I could go into details, but it is just too painful. All I can say is it ended badly.

After the semester, I have managed to be a part of a circle of writers, and I have never been happy, because I do have some friends who critique my work, but they critique it as readers, and sometimes I feel like their reviews are not enough.

This summer is also my last summer where I can read without worrying about deadlines and writing due dates.

When it comes to health, I’ve gained a lot of weight, because of my packed schedule as a student. I would be in school the whole day reading works from other students and writing reviews for those works. For me to conserve my time on campus, all my classes had only 15 minutes interval. In other words, after class, I needed to run to the next class.

So from 180lbs, I became 208lbs.

Now, I am very thankful that I am running again every morning, playing tennis with friends, and I am also planning on learning martial arts and archery.

When it comes to friends, I am happy that I can still balance it with my life as a writer, but these past few months, I’ve been scared that my best friends are drifting away from me. One is I am rarely in touch with while the other always manages to cancel our plans last minute whenever we plan to hang out, and if ever we are hanging out, I feel like I am just on the sideline. Her attention is somewhere else. She’s doing something else while she attempts to talk to me on the side. Should I keep trying if that person is making me feel like she no longer wants me around?

This is my last summer as a student. I hope it can be as magical as my other summers. I pray that I can find a glimmer of light that says everything will be okay.

Me After Watching Me Before You: Me Before You Movie Review

Even though Barnes & Noble Americana (where I work) sells tons of copies of Miss Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You every day, I was not expecting a big crowd inside the theater for its opening day. It turns out I was underestimating Emilia Clarke’s and Sam Claflin’s fan base. The theater was almost packed!

For this review, I will focus on 2 things: what I like about the movie. This includes how the movie can stand on its own and the actors. After that, I will talk about what I don’t like the film. I will end this entry with my overall rating of the movie and why I believe it deserves that kind of rating.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE MOVIE

Can The Movie Stand on Its Own?

What I like the most about the film is how solid the story line is. The creators focus on Louisa’s and Will’s love story. All the side stories are beautiful (and we will talk about that later), but the movie wants us to see from the beginning that the main focus is how Louisa and Will will find their different paths where their lives are headed while their hearts intertwine.

The Actors

I wish I could give Emilia Clarke a standing ovation right now. She is the main highlight of that movie. From mother of dragons to a bubbly girl in a small town, Emilia Clarke nails that performance. I believe she is born to play Louisa Clark. Me Before You is not a laugh out loud movie, but Emilia Clarke will put tears in your eyes in many ways. Sam Claflin is a good William Traynor too, and his chemistry with Emilia Clarke is something that I want to see again on TV and/or on the big screen. The growth of his character is visible by the way he talks and interacts to Louisa.

WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT?

Faithfulness To The Book

I love how the movie focuses on the love story alone, but one of the reasons I actually love the book is the side stories are phenomenal! Treena’s struggle to get on her feet again after having a baby is what I want to see. Mr & Mrs. Traynor have their own struggles too, especially about their relationship, but it is not on the big screen. I love, in the book, how these efforts from other characters make the main love story stronger and more meaningful. I understand that the movie will be more than 8 hours long if it wants to be 100% faithful to the book; those struggles are inside the film, but you need to pay careful attention to know that they are there. In other words, you need to read the book to know they are there! For example, Mrs. Traynor’s problem with Will is he could kill himself any minute. Mr & Mrs. Traynor talk about it in the film really quick, and there is a scene where they focus on Will’s scarred wrist. The scenes are quick, and they can easily be missed, so pay attention carefully if you haven’t read the book and want to get these messages. 

THE RATING

Me Before You deserves a 10/10 rating. The first reason is the film delivers a message about different meanings of life and how one can live boldly. It shows that we can have a colorful life, but life can get stuck sometimes; we can put our life on hold, but we must remember that it needs a second chance. I love how Louisa and Will have different views on life, but they manage to meet each other halfway and fall in love.
Some of the non-readers might not get the subtle hints the movie is giving, but I believe it will still get at least a 7/10 rating from them because the film will really touch your heart in a way that will make you change the way you see the world.

10 out of 10 Stars

 

The Sarah Dessen Writers

So did you watch the video? No? Come back after you do. 

You’ve seen it? Now, tell me, miss Dessen is like meant to be a YA writer, right? However, if you watch her other videos, especially the one where she tells how she gets into writing YA, you’ll find out that it was not the market that she was aiming for. She said that she didn’t want to write YA.

This post is not about hating miss Dessen. If you already know me, I am obsess with her books. I’ll buy them the moment they hit the shelves, and you’ll see how miss Dessen now loves the YA community, and she knew it was her destiny all along.

What I am trying to say here is there are aspiring writers right now who are like miss Sarah Dessen. How?

I’ve been in the creative writing program of California State University of Northridge for almost a year now. This semester I am enrolled in a narrative writing class. On the first day of class, we introduced ourselves by saying our names and the genre that we write. Sadly, I was the only YA writer there. Even the the professor said she had not read any YA.

The class is halfway the semester now. We have been critiquing each other’s work of fiction. And you know what I’ve noticed? Most of my classmates are writing stories where the main character is a child or a teenager.

I guess there are writers out there who are like miss Dessen– they claim not wanting to write YA, but once they experience the beauty and magic of the YA community, they will be more than glad to be a YA writer.

The Scorch Trials Movie Review

So the second book of The Maze Runner Trilogy, The Scorch Trials, by sir James Dashner finally hit the big screen today. Is this movie worth seeing? To answer that, let’s give the movie a piece by piece review. 

CHARACTERS:

89731 The Gladers in the book is about 20, but I believe it is only fair that whoever made the movie had decided to reduce the number of Gladers into 7– Thomas, Teresa, Minho, Newt, Frypan, Winston, and Aris (a new character). This way the viewers can focus on the important Gladers and how much these characters have grown. You can totally see the effect of the maze on the Gladers and how difficult this “trial” is compare to the maze. At one point of the movie, Frypan says that he misses the maze, and I totally understand that. Why? I can answer that to the next category.

CINEMATICS:

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 The movie sure has a lot of action scenes that the fans will love. That lightning storm in the book surely was done beautifully on the screen. I was holding my breath as the sky attempted to smite the Gladers as they ran for safety inside the building they have spotted. The gun scene will surely receive the thumbs up of action lovers out there. However, what I am looking for is the whole struggle of the Gladers while in the scorch: hunger, thirst, injury, and so on. All of these were a burden on the Gladers’ shoulders, in the book. What happened? Sure, they struggled in the Scorch, but the movie failed to show the effect of the sun in the weather. There is a reason why the book is called The Scorch Trials.

FAITHFULNESS TO THE BOOK:

the-scorch-trialsFaithfulness Percentage: 13%

The movie starts with a little flashback. That’s cool! We can always add a little intro to the movies. After that, we get where the 1st book, The Maze Runner, left off. And then, you are seeing a whole new thing. You will always find yourself saying, “that did not happen in the book.” That is not good. I understand if they tweak things a little bit but still follow the book! They did a good job of doing the action scenes and other elements of the movie, but they fail to translate the intensity of the book that sir James Dashner has put for his readers. 

Now, there’s a lot of things that doesn’t make sense. The book is about finding out the mystery of why should all the “variables” must be followed at all cost, and that connects us to the maze. Now, it doesn’t make any sense. If Wicked is just after the cure, then the maze is just a complete rubbish. I understand if they would notice the cure like in the book, but put some connection to the maze, please.

I hope all these questions will be answered in the third movie, so then I believe the movie is kind of like the book in a sense that it sets up a whole lot of questions, so you have something to crave for. 

SHOULD YOU WATCH THIS MOVIE?

mazr-runner-the-scorch-trials     Yes! You should watch this, but there’s a couple of things you need to remember so you can enjoy the movie: 

  1. Read the book first. This way, you can make sense of what is going on. Without the book, you will be flooded with questions as if this is not a sequel of The Maze Runner. 
  2. To fully enjoy the movie, tell yourself that this movie is just setting you up to a certain mystery to prepare you for the third and final movie (I hope the 3rd movie will really connect all the 3 movies). 
  3. There are some parts from the book that are in the movie. Most of these parts though are done differently, but its sense is still the same. 
  4. Dylan O’Brien is adorable. 

RATING: 

3/5 STAR(S)