Cebu Blogging Community Ultimate Meetup

*All photos are mine. Please don’t copy or use without my permission


<A HREF=”http://www.copyscape.com/web-copyright-protection/”><IMG SRC=”http://banners.copyscape.com/images/cs-wh-3d-234×16.gif&#8221; ALT=”Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection” TITLE=”Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Checker – Do not copy content from this page.” WIDTH=”234″ HEIGHT=”16″ BORDER=”0″/></A>


Humans are social creatures. Like wolves, we will always feel the need to be a part of a pack – a pack that caters to our needs and interests. A pack where we truly could feel that we belong.

As a blogger who doesn’t know a lot about blogging, except to occasionally write some posts on a wordpress blog, I’ve always thought of myself as a lone wolf. I simply write and try to figure things out on my own. Still, there will be moments when I have absolutely no idea what I am doing and I kinda wish I knew more. Being the not-so-techy geek that I am, the whole idea of writing posts then dealing with website design, syndication, marketing plus all those other things seem overwhelming. I just relied mainly on the idea that no one reads the stuff I write anyway so I don’t have to worry about all that. 

That is, until I check my notifications and notice an increase in “likes” and traffic. Not that it’s a lot, but it’s definitely waaaaay more than just 5 followers. 

So, stuck in a rut as I usually am, I ended up joining a community of bloggers in Cebu (with hardly any idea what I’m doing, honestly) and tried to wade in the sea of community blogging. I thought it would be hard, awkward even, since I barely knew anyone. Scratch that, I really didn’t know anyone other than the ones who post events (and even then the interaction is mechanical and on-point).


But an event came up – The CBC Ultimate Meet Up! Basically, the members of the Cebu Blogging Community have all gathered together for the first time in what would be the first of many events to come. What’s even more awesome is the fact that Diamond Suites and Residences was kind enough to host the event. That includes awesome perks like getting a taste or two (or more) of their delicious pasta, indulging in a bit of alcohol, and swimming in their hotel pool! Of course, I’m getting way ahead of myself.

Basically, the CBC Ultimate Meet Up is a way for fellow bloggers to connect with each other, reorient ourselves on the rules and responsibilities of blogging, help each other with tips to becoming s more effective blogger and, of course, connect and reconnect with old and new friends.

I wasn’t able to go to the event at 1pm due to a previous appointment but still decided to catch up by 5pm. I’ve heard they gave out a lot of prizes and giveaways care of the awesome sponsors: Flawless Face and Body Clinic, Cenu Teambuilding Services, Philippine Information Agency, and Cebu Domain (not necessarily in that order). It was such a huge shame because the good parts such as the discussions on social responsibility were held earlier, but a girl can’t be in two places at the same time. It was a really huge shame though.


Fortunately, I still made it to the dinner and the pool party. 

 Being a singularly awkward newbie that I am, I was honestly worried that I’m only singling myself out to awkward territory because I can’t talk to anyone since I hardly know anyone. Fortunately, that all changed. 

Almost everyone on the pool grounds and dining area of the Diamond Suites hotel was kind and accommodating. The acoustic singer played all the songs requested of him (including my favorite Beatles song: Blackbird – complete with bird whistles and hums!). The servers were prompt and they smiled a lot. Even the chefs who tended to the food were very accommodating. One guy even showed off his masterful cooking skills by blazing fire on the skillet then performed tricks whilst cooking.

  

 

The best part wasn’t the cooking though. 

The best part was in meeting all of these wonderfully awesome bloggers all in one place. Some of them were quite intimidating because they have domains and active websites that are relatively well-known in the local blogging community. 

  

I’m just a wee old writer who has a wordpress account. But they were funny and nice and friendly.

  

 

They saw me as new and they welcomed me right into their group. All that talk about awkwardness and social anxiety flew out the window.

 

I finally found a pack and I’m so glad they made me feel like I belonged.

 

An open letter to the misogynists who justify street harassment

<A HREF=”http://www.copyscape.com/web-copyright-protection/”><IMG SRC=”http://banners.copyscape.com/images/cs-wh-3d-234×16.gif&#8221; ALT=”Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection” TITLE=”Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Checker – Do not copy content from this page.” WIDTH=”234″ HEIGHT=”16″ BORDER=”0″/></A>
Just recently, a friend on Facebook complained about being harassed in public transportation. This isn’t a very new sentiment since I know of various women and members of the LGBTQA community who have been unduly harassed by perverts in public places.

What saddened me, however, was despite the supportive comments she received, another acquaintance thought it best to argue that what women wear subjects them to harassment. He even further argued that men, essentially, have trouble controlling their urges and that it’s the woman’s responsibility to get into more “decent” clothes in public if she doesn’t want to get harassed.

If you don’t know by now, I am a feminist who has also experienced my share of harassment and abuse from perverts. As such, I was truly offended for the friend who experienced harassment and for everyone else who had to endure cat calls and normalized street harassment.

As such, I have written this fairly impassioned post as a response. Be warned, though, that I may have been overcome by emotion when I penned this. I have refrained from directly calling him out as a dick and an asshole even though it took a lot of my willpower to do so. 

Enjoy my random ranting:

 —————————————————————————————————————————–

First off, I would like to point that I do not usually engage in public posts such as these. We are all entitled to our own opinion and I fully support your right to express your dissatisfaction over certain posts. This same freedom also grants others the right to comment and disagree with your own opinion. After all, that’s what democracy is about. So, with an open mind, I hope you also take into consideration my response to your “open letter.”

You have made the statement that men, in some way, are justified to catcall or grope women in public places simply because “they’re men” or that’s just “how men are.” 

Here are the list of reasons why this statement is problematic:

(1) Men are not idiots. 

To argue that some men cannot control themselves and would not be able to resist making women uncomfortable is an insult to the intelligence and moral compass most other men have. And, by other men, those men who actually look at a beautiful girl, think “hey, she’s pretty” but will not attempt to make her feel uncomfortable by cat calling or trying to get a feel. 

The statement “that’s just how men are” severely downgrades men’s ability to think rationally and to act in consideration of another person’s feelings. 

This line of thinking is problematic because it undermines men’s ability to rationalize. It categorizes men as self-serving, sex-depraved monkeys who would jump at any chance to violate or harass women simply because they “can’t help it”. 

We all know real men are better than that.

(2) A man’s penis should not be used as a justification for lewd and disrespectful behavior. 

We, as human beings, are subject to feelings of desire and attraction which are all quite normal. What’s abnormal is allowing those feelings of attraction to override logic, especially in situations that simply do not facilitate that attraction (namely, riding a bus, jeepney, or simply walking down the street). This is why the phrase, “men have two heads but the only one has the brain” comes in. Sure, you have a penis but that doesn’t and shouldn’t make you feel entitled to violate another person’s boundaries and subject her to harassment.
It’s insulting to the rest of the men who actually do respect women.

(3) What a woman wears and how she carries herself is not for your benefit. 

When a woman makes an effort to look pretty or sexy, she’s doing it for herself – not for you. 

Most women struggle with self-love and self-appreciation, so we make the most of every effort to feel confident in the clothes and makeup we wear. Our clothes are a reflection of our identities. As such, you have absolutely no authority to condescendingly judge a woman for the clothes she wears and why she wears them. 

So, do women owe it to men to judge us on what and how we should wear our clothes? Of course not! 

Even if you did judge, and that is inevitable, it is still not enough of an excuse for perverts to disrespect other women. 

(4) Women are conditioned to fear men because of the normalized street harassment, whether we like it or not

Often, we’re left to wonder: Isn’t it much better if women just blatantly spoke out against their harassers? That way, the harasser would know that what he’s doing is wrong (he probably already knows it’s wrong) and that he wouldn’t get away with it (even though he was hoping he could).

Well, funny thing is, women have gone through this kinds of abuse from since they were very young and one thing you learn from growing up in the Philippines is, you don’t ever disrespect someone who’s much older…even if they were wrong.

Imagine a young girl of 12 walking to school wearing the pretty hair band her mother gave her because “she’s a pretty princess” only to consistently have to look down while walking simply because couple of guys on the streets keep calling out and saying “smile, pretty girl” or “hi, sexy.” Most of these guys are in groups and most of them are definitely waaaay older. 

How do you think a young girl would feel growing up in a society that normalizes that kind of behavior? Worse still, when she comes home and complains to mommy, her mom has to tell her that she shouldn’t talk back because they could be dangerous (which, is also, probably true). 

(5) Victim-blaming propagates the fear of speaking out against harassment

Notice how most women have to be told to “restrain” themselves from calling out against abuse? Often, several women often have to keep themselves in check instead of blatantly putting down their harassers because “he’s not worth it.”

Apparently, women have to consistently keep in their anger and frustration against being subjected to harassment because it is “disrespectful”, as if the harasser even considered respecting the victim in the first place. 

Confused? You see, women, for a long time, have had to endure forms of harassment that has somehow become normalized. 

At a young age, a girl has to undergo through the conflict of wanting to look pretty and wear nice clothes but at the risk of going out and getting cat called for doing so. 

When that young girl grows up, she’s conditioned to believe that simply talking back against these cat callers is dangerous and bad. On the other hand, some of the people who don’t know any better would quip about how she should feel flattered about being cat called because that means she’s “attractive”. Like, really? That’s supposed to be a compliment? 

Evidently, the cat calls are misogynistic but they are normalized to the point that those subjected to it have to feel bad for feeling bad about it.

This is also the kind of mindset that propagates the very same thinking that “what women wear is related to how women should be respected”, which, in itself is a very flawed concept. What you’re doing, dear cat callers/gropers/perverts, is to condescendingly normalize harassment and even justify it without consideration for all the harassment women have to go through.

And, it’s not just women. Even members of the LGBTQA community have, at one point or another in their lives, been subjected to harassments that are often normalized with statements like “you deserved it” or “you asked for it.” 

(6)  Arguing that a woman’s clothes is a cause for rape or harassment only propagates the victim-blaming logic entrenched in patriarchal societies. 

Once again, the victim is blamed for an act that could have and should have been avoided.The subject of the harassment is further harassed by judgments like “she probably asked for it” or “she provoked it.” 

Simply, there are just some animals (I wouldn’t call them men) who cannot control their urges and are willing to break socially accepted rules of conduct just to satisfy their lust. We call them perverts and/or sex offenders. 

That doesn’t mean, however, that all men are. 

To nurture this kind of thinking is to encourage young girls to consistently fear men because they will never know who, among these men (be they ‘educated professionals’ or not), would potentially molest or harass them. 

To nurture this kind of mindset is to downgrade the rest of the men as lustful animals driven only by sex. 

To nurture this kind of thinking is to make more women feel like objects subjected only to the desires of these animals (not men) because, apparently, even the clothes we wear have to be subjected to approval otherwise we’d all be labeled as ‘open for harassment’.

This is why several rape victims are afraid of speaking out against their rapists because even if they tried, they would still be judged as if the rape was “their fault.” This mindset helps propagate the idea that “it’s okay” for these animals (not men) to harass women so long as they can get away with it.

No, abuse is abuse and harassment is harassment. 

It doesn’t make it less of an abuse by accusing the victim. 

No, no one likes to be abused, and no, no one asks for abuse. 

To summarize, I think it’s only fair to say that condescending statements like “sala mo kay sexy ang bayo mo” (it’s her fault for wearing something so sexy) is total bullshit. 

These are the exact statements that could be expected from somebody who would also openly talk about women’s bodies as merely sex objects

No, we don’t wear nice clothes for you to catcall us. No, we don’t care about your opinion. And, no, that doesn’t give you the right to try to grope me or stare at me provocatively. 

Think with your rational head please and keep the other one at bay.

My middle fingers salute you.

Review: Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations

Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations
Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations by Simon Rich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I initially found out about Simon Rich on WordPress. I was browsing through the tag ‘books’ and found a post on an interview with him. I figured, “well, the guy’s from SNL. Let’s see if his books are as funny as the skits on the show.”
I started with The Last Girlfriend on Earth and enjoyed it immensely. The excitement from reading my first Simon Rich book led to my reading another one of his works.
The Ant Farm is a collection of short humorous stories about “desperate situations” – most which are embarrassing accounts of day-to-day living while some are tongue-in-cheek sarcastic “answers” to questions llike “what do ants think about in their ant farm?” or “do time travelers exist?”
I find that most of the short stories are funny in a “you don’t need to think about it too much, just laugh (or giggle, or snort, whichever suits you)” kind of way. The book is short and each short story is only about a page long. They’re mostly just bits and pieces of random quirkiness and most of them are written in “chat” form, similar to the chat format in Tumblr.
Although I’m slightly peeved by the “shortness” and the apparent laziness in typing out the stories, I still find it entertaining enough to really laugh and really giggle at the stories. They’re on-point with some having cynical, self-deprecating characters while others having larger-than-life characters. Most of the stories are just really random and I love them for being so. Honestly, though, I’m quite easily pleased and I laugh at even the simplest jokes so I can’t totally assure that you’d find this half as entertaining as I did.
What I do know is, if you’re at all curious or at least slightly interested in the book, then you might just as well read it. It might be funny or it might not, you’ll still be given the assurance that if it’s a horrendously written book with even lamer jokes, you could finish the book early since it’s only 110 pages long/short (see! Lazy writing! LOL). It’s not the funniest book I’ve read and we can only hope you and your planet will find it just so. Or, if not, you’re still at liberty to cuss and fume around for believing in a review by a total stranger who may or may not have the same literaru tastes as you do.

View all my reviews

Wine and tomato braised chicken

Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken INGREDIENTS 4 slices bacon 1 large onion, thinly sliced 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper 1 bay leaf 1 cup dry white wine (see Tip) 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped 1 teaspoon salt 10 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 3/4 pounds), skin removed, trimmed 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley PREPARATION Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble when cool. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, pepper and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and their juice and salt; stir well. Place chicken thighs in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Sprinkle the bacon over the chicken. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 3 hours on High or 6 hours on Low. Remove the bay leaf. Serve sprinkled with parsley. Variation: Turn 2 cups each of leftover chicken and sauce into Braised Chicken Gumbo. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 diced medium red or green bell pepper and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until the pepper is beginning to soften and the flour is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups shredded chicken, 2 cups sauce, 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup sliced okra (fresh or frozen, thawed), 3/4 cup instant brown rice (see Tip) and 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld and the okra is tender, about 10 minutes. NUTRITION Nutrition Per Serving: 260 calories; 13 g fat (4 g sat, 5 g mono); 88 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 1 g fiber; 492 mg sodium; 392 mg potassium.

A post shared by FITNESS | EXERCISES | HEALTH (@fitnessandexercises) on

Wine & Tomato Braised Chicken

INGREDIENTS

4 slices bacon
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup dry white wine (see Tip)
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
10 bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 3/4 pounds), skin removed, trimmed
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
PREPARATION

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Crumble when cool.
Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened, 3 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, fennel seeds, pepper and bay leaf and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add wine, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Add tomatoes and their juice and salt; stir well.
Place chicken thighs in a 4-quart (or larger) slow cooker. Sprinkle the bacon over the chicken. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender, about 3 hours on High or 6 hours on Low. Remove the bay leaf. Serve sprinkled with parsley.
Variation: Turn 2 cups each of leftover chicken and sauce into Braised Chicken Gumbo. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 diced medium red or green bell pepper and 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour and cook, stirring, until the pepper is beginning to soften and the flour is golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups shredded chicken, 2 cups sauce, 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth, 1 cup sliced okra (fresh or frozen, thawed), 3/4 cup instant brown rice (see Tip) and 1/8-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the flavors meld and the okra is tender, about 10 minutes.

NUTRITION

Nutrition Per Serving: 260 calories; 13 g fat (4 g sat, 5 g mono); 88 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 25 g protein; 1 g fiber; 492 mg sodium; 392 mg potassium.

xoxo
Sheree

Rusty Nailed (WallbangerRusty part 2)

If you’re looking for a quick read without much analysis or thought, then go ahead and delve into the junk food goodness of reading a light-hearted romantic comedy. It’s got sexy Simon as boyfriend-of-the-year and feisty Caroline gearing up for a life as a couple. Sure, it has it’s ups and downs, but the ups certainly make all the downs worth it.

Also, on a more critical standpoint, the book is good but not *that* good. It was more of a ‘meh’ than a ‘woah’. The first book surprised me but the second book didn’t sustain much of my attention. I felt like I was rooting more for the side characters, her best friends and even Vivian, instead of the lead characters. No doubt, I liked Simon but I didn’t think Caroline was someone I could empathize with. She wasn’t that funny either. 

The book certainly has its charms and I’m sure fans of the series would enjoy it. I guess it’s just not for me. It was just good, not remarkable. I guess when you’ve read through certain books, those other books set a high bar for literary appreciation and although I’m sure a lot of people will find this entertaining, I can only think “I’ve read better.” 

Sorry, Wallbanger.