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feat-elaine

Setting Up “After Sir” & Romeo Lee and Jonas Eslao at Art Informal

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Two days before Tita Elaine’s show, After Sir, at Finale opened, we popped in to see the set-up. I think she wanted to spend a bit of time with us and some of her other friends since they’re based in Singapore and would leave for home the day after her show’s opening. The show is made up of her renditions of some of Sir Bobby Chabet’s work that meant something to her. It was so good! I’m saying that without Chabet-bias—I’ve always been a fan of hers.

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Capsule Reviews 1 - Books - 1

Capsule Book Reviews No. 1

I’ve been slowly, manually re-uploading some of the entries I managed to save via Google Cache and the Wayback. Some of the posts are only partially saved, though, and I can’t recreate the comments, which are the only two things that I am pretty bummed about. In any case, I’m really happy that at least some of the posts I’ve made over the years survived The Great Server Crash of 2014. I know you can’t blame Mercury Retrograde for everything, but I kind of want to chalk it up to that.

Anyway, books. I used to write (sporadically) about my reads at a subsite of Nothing Spaces called Book Report. I figured it made more sense to just write book reviews here because I so rarely updated that place anyway. Here are tiny reviews of my 2014 Reads so far. (Add me on GoodReads if you’re tackling a reading challenge, too!) It hasn’t been a pretty year, to be honest, but we’ve all got to start somewhere.

JANUARY

The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
After Ned Vizzini passed away late last year, I took it upon myself to read the rest of his books that I hadn’t yet. This was one of them. To be honest, I don’t think I’m part of the demographic. If I read it as a kid, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more. As an adult, it was a bit hard to visualize this new world and I didn’t develop any attachment to it.
Read on my Kindle Read More

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New at West: July 2014

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The first week of July has proven to be quite the week for art excursions. At least for me! I am usually too lazy (oops) and by the time I’ve gathered motivation to go, the exhibits are usually no longer on display. Anyway, last July 3, there were a number of shows that opened at West Gallery. Here are a few snaps from the night, though I didn’t get to stay very long on account of sleepiness. I swear, I am practically a grandma.

Gallery 1: Dex Fernandez’s 1000000000 mg
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This was insane and best seen in person. I think you can tell by these little snippets I have been showing. Noah kind of freaked out a little bit, but I can only imagine what this looked like to a dog/someone color blind.

Gallery 2: Dave Lock’s Rotator
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I haven’t seen Dave Lock’s work in the flesh in a while… at least not for a solo exhibit. I find that he has veered away from making obvious portraits (though some of his work for Rotator do still have hoomins and faces on them) into a more abstract territory, and it’s honestly a welcome change.

Gallery 3: Everywhere We Shoot’s Panic Buying
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I encountered Everywhere We Shoot so many years ago on LiveJournal. I don’t know if we actually interacted, but I saw their work—lovegrocery!—and it’s kind of really cool to see in what ways they’ve changed and in what ways they’ve remained the same. Anyway, Panic Buying is really cool because they’ve teamed up with Imagine Nation Studios to create “super limited edition” toys. Some are one-offs, but I think the solid colored ones (except the purple!) come in editions.

Gallery 4: Albert Sy’s An Exercise in Futility
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I’m not really familiar with Albert Sy’s work, but some of the paintings were fun and pretty cheeky. There is a barbel in the middle of the room, though, and it has only occurred to me now, the heavy-handedness of its inclusion in “an exercise in futility.” Ha.

Visit the Facebook Event Page for more details! I think these shows run until August 2, so you’ve got plenty of time. :) I’m not sure how West is going to display Dex’s show—at the opening, you can see the full effect via LED lights and black lights—but I’ll update this once I find out.

I’ve got two more art posts in the works (told you it was a busy art week!) but I want to go on a “break” and talk about other things. I’ve decided to scrap bookreport (RIP) and just migrate all the book talk here, since I didn’t even update much over there to warrant a subdomain. I’m not even sure I should keep the Twitter.

First of July:

I don’t know why it feels a little weird updating here. Honestly, it doesn’t feel the same! But I still want to post stuff, because not posting feels even stranger. So, I kicked off the month with actual progress on my (secret) monthly goals. They are not actually secret goals; it’s just a list that hasn’t been posted yet. Very different from my usual set-up (just kidding). Anyway.

For July, I resolved to go out more. I like to refer to myself as an Indoorsman, but when you document your face makeup (for my Beauty Blog, are you new!), you kind of notice when they get few and far between, which is what happened. So. There. I wanted to go out more, just to do more things and not be so cooped up with my own thoughts and a similarly antisocial dog all the live long day.

Usually, I like going to exhibits on the day that they open, mostly because I never get to pass by/remember to otherwise. I had to request for my college transcripts, so my sister, Beng, I decided to swing by Blanc Gallery for the shows by Dina Gadia, Jacob Lindo, and Bembol dela Cruz. Here are some pictures of the shows we missed seeing on their opening days:

from Dina Gadia’s Let’s Talk About Feelings
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I love Dina’s work! There is something inherently old-time-y about them (obviously), but I could never inject cheekiness and much humor into my work, and she does that flawlessly without sacrificing aesthetics or artistry. She’s just so cool. Read More

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Hello, Again

So. You might have heard about what happened to this blog. A week ago, my host, web.com.ph, announced that one of their servers, LAX06 was inaccessible and they are working hard to restore everything. It took them a while to do so; however, they were only able to restore the data of about 70% of the accounts on the server. The other 30% had corrupted backup files and all their restores came up empty. Nothing Spaces was a part of that 30%.

Hearing that felt like a punch to the face. I’ve been writing on this blog since May 2009, when I was in the middle of my senior thesis and needed an escape. Pretty dramatic, I know.

Then, it became a repository for all of my travel photos, some food reviews, the art shows I went to—basically, a modern-day diary. A pretty public account of an oversharer that, for some reason, some of you started reading. (Thank you, by the way.)

Right now, I’m scrambling to find some of my favorite entries from the last five years. I’ve saved quite a lot of the “important” posts (thank you, Google Cache!) and I’m grateful for at least that. I think the thing I was terrified of the most was that, perhaps, I would forget a certain feeling, and there would be nowhere to turn to to try and remember.

In some ways, I’m happy (not sure if that’s the right word) that I get to start over, even though it was an involuntary restart. All I know is that so far, I’m okay.

EDIT: I think I’ll republish some of the things that I can grab a hold of under Old Favorites. I won’t be able to update them all in one go, because I’d rather make new entries than live in the past. If you have any particular entries you’d like to be up there (that you remember), let me know and I’ll see what I can do! So far, there have been posts I’ve been wanting to retrieve but couldn’t (e.g. the one with Jens Lekman) because it hadn’t been cached anywhere.

Anyway, that’s it. I wish you all a good life. And lots of cake!

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How I Edit My Photos

Some of the most FAQs I get concern camera equipment and editing, so here’s a quick post on how I personally edit my photographs. Disclaimer: It’s not really a tutorial; I’m not a professional. Obviously. This is just a… sort of “share what you know” kind of post.

I currently use a Nikon D5100. My kit lens is an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, but the favorite one that I use if I can is a vintage 35mm f/2.8. I have a couple of other lenses at my disposal but those are the main ones I use. I also use a point-and-shoot camera, the Canon S100, sometimes.

ON THE COMPUTER

For the past few months, I’ve been shooting most of my photos in RAW, as it allows for more freedom for post-processing. But, I discovered that you can open compressed JPGs in Camera Raw, so I’ve been shooting non-RAW unless I need super high quality images.

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I usually just tweak exposure and contrast levels in Camera Raw. I don’t really change much of the editing for travel or daily photos, but for my beauty blog, I do a lot of color correcting to show the shades as accurately as I can. For the fun stuff, I play with the layers or I go to Actions.

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If you’re going for a standard look or want to save some “formulas” for future use, you can do so using actions. You can save your own—for example, I have some for resizing and saving photos in bulk—or you can also download some pre-made actions. There are a lot of free ones online, but a lot of photographers and bloggers also have them up for sale. I bought a small pack from A Beautiful Mess to try out, and I’ve got a few free ones from Nirrimi at The Color Shop.

These are useful to quickly achieve a look you need. Here is an example of editing using Actions and Camera Raw:
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For my post called London Calling, I edited my photos using an Action by A Beautiful Mess called Magnolia, tweaked to my liking.

ON THE GO

For on-the-go editing, I primarily use my iPad Mini. I don’t really like the resolution of the cameras on these. Though decent, I prefer using photos from my point-and-shoot at the very least, and if I can help it, I try to use photos from my cameras. Transferring images used to be really difficult, though, because I had to upload the images from my SD card to my computer then email the files to myself and then download the images on to my device.

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However, I’ve been using my dad’s Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader, which is basically a glorified SD reader that connects to your iPad. Works like a charm.

The reason why I like loading images on to my iPad, though, is the photo editing software I primarily use: VSCO.

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I have all of the filters, because they’re all just so beautiful. Editing is very easy—1 click and then you have a lot of different avenues for tweaking the images even further. This is the main app I use for on-the-go editing, as I find that for color correction, it is all that I need.

Other apps that I use are A Beautiful Mess (for collaging), Afterlight (for adding the white bands and occasional light leaks), and Swankolab (for something a bit like film developer fun).

That’s mostly it! Nothing really outrageous, but I do take some liberties sometimes. Feel free to ask questions or clarify anything. Let me know if you need me to make a more detailed post on anything I’ve glossed over here.

Originally published in June 2014.
Original URL: http://nothingspaces.com/blog/2014/06/how-i-edit-my-photos/

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A Question of Regression

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So, this article on Slate came out some time yesterday. It’s simply called “Against YA” and author Ruth Graham’s entire point is: “Read whatever you want. But you should feel embarrassed when what you’re reading was written for children.”

Ah, nothing like a literary snoot to ruin your day.

The whole article seems to have been largely inspired by the highly anticipated release of the movie adaptation of John Green’s young adult novel, The Fault in Our Stars. Leading up to the film release, I began seeing the book mentioned everywhere, later finding out that it spent 119 consecutive weeks on The New York Times Bestseller list.

There’s no use stating the obvious, but let’s do that anyway: I am a big John Green apologist. (I have counted the ways.) I find that in my general age group (I am 25), a lot of my friends who are more “serious” readers have said goodbye to the young adult genre a long time ago, and a lot of them have been thus far, unimpressed with the offerings of YA fiction. And I get that. I understand outgrowing things; that’s just how life works sometimes. However, Graham’s article was so infuriatingly dismissive of the entire spectrum of young adult stories—most of which share no common thread with each other, besides having teen protagonists and themes commonly found, but go beyond, the genre. She is so against adults reading YA, as though people over 17 can find no lesson or revelation from books written for their younger selves. Read More

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The Happy List Vol. 1

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(Kind of embarrassing how these “series” only go up to one or two, but if it’s not working—it’s not working!)

Anyway, I saw this over at Camie’s blog and thought I’d give it a shot. Just a short & sweet list of little things that make me happy. Actually, come to think of it, this might actually be better suited for Maybe Very Happy. Remember that? I’ve got as-of-yet vague plans for that one. My little projects always fizzle out and die, but this is not a place to talk about those things. This post is for happiness!

  1. Making plans and having the energy and motivation to pursue said plans.
  2. Time away from the city.
  3. The Drums.
  4. Online learning, especially when you’re out of school.
  5. New shoes with embroidered eyes.
  6. Finishing not one, but two, books after a stint of no reading!
  7. Cooking my own food, even if the recipes are really simple.
  8. Emotional catharsis.
  9. Messages in the middle of the night from friends halfway around the world.
  10. Learning to define and reach success on your own terms.

I don’t know why I feel embarrassed about this, but I’m looking to grow my blog’s audience. I guess, for a long time, I’ve felt that an organic growth was the ideal. And I still do feel that, but I feel like I am at a point also where I want to create substantial content that helps people, even a little.

And, as a little bit of “casual consumption,” I wanted to talk a bit about the T.V. shows I currently am watching. I’m following Penny Dreadful, which has an annoying name. I was pretty interested in it because I was a big fan of LXG. Also, the show has Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Billie Piper, Josh Hartnett… I mean. You know what I mean. I’ve also gotten into Orphan Black, which is coming along quite nicely, and Veep, Inside Amy Schumer, and Workaholics, all of which are hilarious. My T.V. list sounds long, but that’s because it is.

T.V. makes me really happy, I guess! I haven’t found a show I love as much as the ones I’ve been attached to for years, though.

Check out Wild-Spirit for other blogs that have their own lists of happy. :)

P.S. If you want to keep up with this blog, because I foresee a more regular posting schedule, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@presidents), or this blog on Bloglovin’ or an RSS feed reader.

Originally posted in May 2014.
Original URL: http://nothingspaces.com/blog/2014/05/the-happy-list-no-1/

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Beach Week

I spent 5 days last week by the sea: 3 days in Puerto Galera and 2 in La Union. I wouldn’t call myself a “beach person,” just because I don’t go to the beach enough. I love actually being there, lazing around and reading or swimming or jumping onto the next oncoming wave. I don’t like how fussy I feel getting there. I realize that the hassle is just all in my head (and that laziness and the lack of want to do/start things is leeching into even the pure joy of meeting the ocean, but that’s another story). So even though I didn’t get to technically get to swim in the beach on either of these trips (for srs: small awkward beach front & THE CRIMSON WAVE), they’ve made me want to spend more time away from the City, by which I mean Manila, which is getting more congested by the day.

In the advent of the Listicle (barf), here are some things I learned this week, by being at the beach. (I actually wrote something like this after a trip to Hong Kong in 2010, which you can read here, if that’s something that interests you?)

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1. The world is big, and it’s not out to get you. I get punched in the face by this realization every once in a while, but I think it’s good to be frequently reminded. Setting your problems or worries or, against the grandest scheme of things makes them seem easier to overcome and get through. A lot of my worries stem from what I understand to be social anxiety (as accurately explained by Krysty here), but when I remove myself and think about it in context of the world, what ever problem that is just becomes easier to deal with.

You see the ocean, and you imagine how big the world must be beyond what you can see, and even then, it remains a pale blue dot.

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2. You can’t neglect your relationships. I can be very solitary and a lot of human contact can tire me out (again, see “Social Anxiety”) but I think I sometimes push people away without really knowing it or meaning to. I’m working on it, so if you’re my friend and reading this, you should know that socializing and interacting is a really taxing thing for me, but I’d appreciate it if you were patient and worked on improving my issues with me. LOL. No pressure or anything… Just. I don’t know, I mean. I’m trying.

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3. I’m OK with my body. I’ve touched on this (non-)issue many, many times but I guess I didn’t really feel as comfortable with my body any other time as much as I do now. Which is weird because I keep going back over to my “heaviest” weight range. But you know, there is a big difference between not really caring and not caring at all. And right now, I don’t care at all if people think I look like a whale.

This is the only bikini picture I will post here, because it was taken from the back, and I like how it looks, HA.

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(I did buy a yoga mat and plan on exercising more regularly now, though. I think it’s really just something I need to make time for, despite frequently not being “in the mood” for it. Your body needs to be fit and healthy, dummy!)

4. Try to leave a place better than you found it. I’ve been increasingly worried about human consumption and waste for the past few months. I know it doesn’t seem like it because I keep buying things. Well, it’s hard to kick a habit, but I’m working on it. The thing is, despite how beautiful the places I’ve been to are, there are some telltale signs of neglect, always done by the hand of a human. It’s so ironic that one of the first things we’re taught in science class is that we are stewards of the earth, and yet we are the single worst species to ever inhabit the earth. We are the reason for its inevitable downfall.

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I took a walk with my dad along the beach in Puerto Galera to take some pictures. We saw a line of demolished structures by the shore when we were first dropped off at the resort. At first, I was so intrigued by them because it’s such a random thing to see along the beach. But then, I realized that that was a waste footprint made by humans.

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And, I know that not everyone leaves useless structures around like random bits of trash, but even throwing plastic into the sea, which is such a simple, obvious no-no, people seem to find it so easy to guiltlessly do. How hard is it to keep a wrapper in your pocket, to throw it away the next time you see a trash can?

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Even in these rock formations, I saw a lot of human debris. Despite the “no littering” sign. Some bits were floating in the water. Frankly, we are being really shitty stewards, and just thinking about the sheer enormity of the damage we must be doing to the environment really terrifies me. It’s scary.

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5. Life is unpredictable. The best thing to do is to ride out the wave. I think it’s pretty obvious that I am not very good at coping with things in a healthy manner, especially when it comes to change… which is weird because I don’t think I used to be this way. Anyway, my point is to take the hand you’re dealt with and just ride it out and make it as good as you can. The waves in La Union were really tiny when we went (off season), but usually, you have to make do and you should find a way to make it a valuable experience for you, instead of complaining, etc.

Anyway, here are the rest of the photographs that I couldn’t match to my “lessons.” Some things are just good in themselves and do not need to be lessonified.

Puerto Galera with fambly, for random Deal Grocer and Mama reasons.
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The poop trail.

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We stayed here! The property is narrow, so the beach front was kind of weird to swim around in because that’s where the boats were parked also, lol. We just swam, but the view was beautiful because on one side, you had mountains, then when you turn around ever so slightly, you’re met with a view of the sea.

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Still, really beautiful view.

La Union with Seabiscuit Films as a tag-along on their company trip. La Union (we stayed in San Juan) was amazing. Two of the Seabiscuit partners, Nicky and Sabs, are so in love with the place and I can see why. The trip was too short and frankly, ruined by my period, but I hope to be back sooner rather than later. Loved this place so much.

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The most water exposure I got.

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River, the surfing dog!

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A snorkeling man.

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Halo-halo with yema.

It was my first time in both places and I didn’t get to swim in either ocean. Sometimes just being around more of the actual, undisturbed world is enough.

Originally published in May 2014.
Original URL: http://nothingspaces.com/blog/2014/05/beach-week/

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Thoughts From Places: Japan 2014 & Other Things

Yay, a video! I’ve been meaning to make a video for a while and when it comes to “I’ve been meaning to” for me, I don’t really realize just how long a thing I’ve been meaning to do has been left to percolate until I actually backtrack and check. In the case of video-things, the last one I uploaded was four months ago.

Like I said in the video description box, this isn’t a “real” Thoughts From Places video, mainly because I don’t even talk during it. I just wanted to give the editing-to-music a try, but it ended up being somewhat sleepy because the song I used was a bit slow, though it is gorgeous. (It’s called “A City I’ve Never Been To, A Girl I Never Knew” by Bones Like Snowflakes.)

Also on the list of things “I’ve been meaning to” do, I made an Instagram ‘teaser’ for this video, which was probably done in a very hard way. I tend to try and figure things out for myself, only to find out that there are easier ways to do the things. At least I’m trying, yeah?

For actual thoughts from these places, visit the blog posts I made of the trip

Tokyo, Part I
Tokyo, Part II

Kyoto

For Bones Like Snowflakes music, check out them out on Band Camp.

Honestly, I think I have devolved into a “no man,” and that kind of terrifies me a little bit. I have been dragging my feet trying to do the things that I know in my heart I want to do, so there’s that. I don’t know what has happened to me; I can’t exactly pinpoint where things went south. (However, I am on the up & up, I guess!)

In Nothing Spaces news, I updated my About page, my F.A.Q., and my Colophon. Just because they were severely outdated. You know, for someone who spends a lot of time online, pretty much all of my blogs and accounts are outdated.

In Cool Things That Will Happen, we (as in my family) have a group show next week at Silverlens. Gathered Narratives opens on June 5, so if you feel like popping over, please do so!

Here’s the Facebook Event, if you need more information. We hope to see you there. :)

Originally published May 2014.