Is it really that hardcore? A Look Into Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore

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Today’s generation is all about social commentary through various media. The internet has served as the perfect avenue for people to produce, share, and distribute social commentary because of the overall accessibility of the internet and the convenience it offers its users. Be it funny images, parody videos, and/or interesting pieces of articles, the internet has indeed become the modern public sphere in which people gather to talk about and discuss current social issues happening all over the world.

News Hardcore is an online comic segment found in GMA News Online. Created by famous comic-book artist Manix Abrera (author of Kikomachine comics), News Hardcore has been deemed as one of the most popularly shared and viewed segments of GMA’s online website due to its funny, witty, and relevant content.  It features satirical scenarios and stories about the mass media and the journalism profession. According to Odi de Guzman, managing editor for GMA News Online,  Manix Abrera’s fascination with the newsroom lifestyle spurred him to create News Hardcore.

 “He was inspired by our own (GMA News Online) newsroom and the everyday travails of our journalists.”, said Sir de Guzman.

Issue #27: Takbo! Bilis! Kidlat! (from Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore)

Issue #27: Takbo! Bilis! Kidlat! (from Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore)

For this case study, we used qualitative interviews through the distribution of questionnaires via electronic mail to the following people: Sir Manix Abrera (creator/author of News Hardcore) and Sir Odi de Guzman (managing editor of GMA News Online). We also posted online surveys on Facebook to gain insight on the perception of at least 50 audiences/readers of News Hardcore. We would like to note that our survey was a non-scientific survey and mainly served to gather qualitative data for our analysis.

Data Gathered and Analysis

Responses were gathered from News Hardcore author himself, Manix Abrera, featuring the significance of the content of his material in being able to “sell” itself to its online audience.

When we asked him what he thought the role was of News Hardcore in the world of social media in terms of information dissemination, he said that it served to expose the behind-the-scenes lifestyle of news reporters and other mass media practitioners. It’s also interesting to note how,  despite his comics serving purely as a commentary and satire of mass media, it’s still being taken seriously. Sir Abrera mentioned one particular instance when one of the News Hardcore issues (issue #85: Mamatay na ang Lahat wag lang yun Equipment) was discussed during a GMA News Online meeting in order to address whether or not the issue of valuing office equipment over the welfare of the reporter was real.

Issue #85: Mamatay na ang lahat wag lang ang equipment (from Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore)

Issue #85: Mamatay na ang lahat wag lang ang equipment (from Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore)

Sir Abrera also talked to us about his principles on online journalism and how it complements News Hardcore. He mentioned how his current outlook regarding the media was greatly influenced by his previous work ethics which he applied during his time working for the Philippine Collegian (Kule).  He also added that he couldn’t speak for GMA News Online as a whole on the journalism ethics that they practice since he isn’t exactly a full-time employee of GMA News Online.

“Yung ginagawa ko kasi sa News Hardcore, kadalasan ang mga nangyari sa amin dati sa Kule, tsaka yung mga nangyayari sa mga opisina ng nakakausap kong journalists….Ako mismo kasi, hindi empleyado ng GMA News Online, contributor (lang)  ako doon.”, he said.

 Meanwhile, our interview questionnaires for Sir Odi de Guzman focused less on News Hardcore and more on the GMA News Online site and how it participates in the world of the internet as a distributor of information. He mentioned that GMA News Online relies heavily on social media in order to disseminate their content. He says that not all Pinoys who are online visit GMA News Online directly and that usually, they hear of GMA News Online through social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. He also adds that the utilization of social media was a great way to engage the audience of GMA News Online.

Sir de Guzman further expound on the significance social media has in the role of guaranteeing the public fast and updated news courtesy of GMA News Online.

“Social media provides our news organization with another platform to reach Pinoys in general. The other news platforms in which we operate are: TV (UHF, VHF, cable), radio, online, and social media. Specifically, social media provides us with a platform to break and disseminate news in real-time, similar to radio.”, says sir de Guzman.

Another interesting matter to note would be GMA News Online’s campaign called ‘Think before you Click’. Sir de Guzman mentioned how this campaign is all about raising ethical awareness regarding online journalism which in turn encourages people to become more responsible and more accountable while using the internet as a platform for disseminating and sharing information.

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GMA News Online’s ‘Think Before You Click’ campaign aiming to raise awareness regarding responsible online journalism.

A quick survey disseminated through Facebook generated a total of 40 answers from selective respondents who encountered News Hardcore online.

The responses showed that the social media have become a very effective tool to popularize the comic strip. Aside from Manix Abrera’s own set of fan base, through sharing these contents in different social media sites, he was able to earn more fans. Of all the set of questions asked with sharing as part of the choices, it had garnered the highest score among other choices. Sharing the content had been a fad in social media sites and was very helpful in spreading informative data and making one content viral and a talk of the town. Facebook with its wide set of users had been chosen to be the social media site where respondents would most certainly want to share News Hardcore. Since Facebook have encourage among netizens about the good use of networking, more people can attract other people to read a content by sharing because of its accessibility and sharing feature. Aside from this, if observed from the age group of the respondents, they are all active users of the internet who make use of the ‘share’ and ‘like’ feature of Facebook as well as the posting/sharing features of blogs and the uniform hashtag features of Twitter. Though it had become a selective process to know which respondent should answer the survey, we can infer that this age group are the present active users of the social media sites. Although, there were two responses from 46 and 56 years old who happen to still enjoy reading News Hardcore.

Statistics gathered from online survey

Statistics gathered from online survey

Generally, the respondents thought of News Hardcore in a positive note. It had been depicted as a online graphic comic relief that mirrors the society’s notion not only of reporters and the newsroom but also to situations in various workplaces too. This comic strip captured a lot of college students and new workers because they were the one who can relate to the discussions. Though what was feared by some is that the high intellectual context of News Hardcore can only be understood by selected people on the internet. It is certainly not a threat for the comic strip’s popularity but it won’t just be easily distributed to other clusters of the social media site. Despite this, the comic strip’s contexts encourages the readers to be highly intellectual and learned users of the society.

In line with Sir De Guzman’s pitch about the “Think Before You Click” Campaign, News Hardcore has shown how one should be prepared and how a user should take the internet seriously. Netizens should be able to exercise the need to express themselves in a cautious and healthy manner.

News Hardcore not only gives a very creative way of putting up social issues online, but also pushes the users to enjoy and motivate themselves in starting to change what seems to be wrong in the society. In here enters the Social Action Theory by Weber and Anderson which promulgates that the audience is not passive but rather an active part of the society by which content through the use of mass communication media is being interpreted and perceived. Within the construction of meaning when content is received, the theory explains three processes of how it evolves. First is the intentions of the creator to spread out the message. Second is the conventions of the content. Last is the interpretations of the audience once content was received. It falls under the media effects theory because it assesses content through how the message will affect the audience who has perceived the message. The thought to inspire and to move must come out of the message through this theory. Just like News Hardcore, Manix Abrera created such content to not only share the behavior of the newsroom but also give out important points missed by people who tend to concentrate on work and school alone. Since the social media had become the alternate world of the young adults who are college students and new workers, these active participants in both worlds (the labor force and the cyberspace) are targets of such content in order to push for effects in the society. They hold one of the strongest opinions aside from the established middle-aged population of the nation.

If the message was understood correctly and was targeted at the right group of people who makes an active participation in both worlds, the action in society might advance positively.

News Hardcore might just be a new fad in the social media, but it surely garners a lot of positive notes and gives the active netizens a way to express and shake things through their own means.

To wrap things up…

    From what we see, we are able to conclude that News Hardcore is truly a content-driven site. Looking at the number of hits it gets, it is indeed quite popular mostly because of its content.

Issue #155 :The H.R. in Ayaw N’yo Magpakita? Ako Magpapakita sa Inyo (from Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore)

Issue #155 :The H.R. in Ayaw N’yo Magpakita? Ako Magpapakita sa Inyo (from Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore)

Issue #156 of Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore

Issue #156 of Manix Abrera’s News Hardcore

News Hardcore is an example of an online material that makes use of ‘marketable’ content in order to guarantee that users of the internet would really take the time to view it and even make use of online features such as the ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ features present in the site. From here, we can make the assumption that the marketability of a particular online material relies heavily on its content. The fact that News Hardcore  features content that is not only witty and hilarious, but also relevant, goes to show how effective it is in being a marketable piece of online material. Aside from that, it’s also important to note the form of News Hardcore which are comic strips that are easy to read and are also relatively entertaining.

    So the question is: is News Hardcore really that hardcore? Well in terms of being a hardcore online distributor of information, the answer is yes.

This case study was done by myself and my project partner Meryl Louise Brown as a requirement for our J117-Online Journalism class

Digital Natives of Asia

We cannot deny the fact that the internet has truly become such a prevalent form of innovation that our dependence on it can reach extremes which to our own perceptions is quite normal. As a matter of fact, just the mere entertainment of the thought that we don’t need the internet would be considered abnormal.

After watching a particular documentary on the emerging culture of online journalism in Southeast Asia, I came to two conclusions: First of all, our reliance on the internet is most definitely not something new and secondly, it’s something that we can’t escape or even the least bit deny in this day and age.

The documentary even mentioned that it has become second nature to the youth of power countries such as Singapore and Malaysia to rely heavily on the internet for the latest on news and information. And it’s not just the youth! Professionals which one might assume would stick to the more traditional forms of media are actually depending on the speedy updates of the internet for their daily dose of news.

What really interested me the most throughout the documentary was the emphasis on how the internet age was something everyone had to adapt to sooner or later. It’s as if that it’s an inevitable choice people will soon have to decide on as time goes by. Despite the fact that practically 90% of Cambodia’s population still resides in the countryside, there is still the impressive penetration of the internet, particularly among the youth.

So with all this talk about how it has become a need for journalists as well as the more traditional forms of media to adapt and change to the internet age, will the “prophecies” we constantly utter regarding the internet ultimately become a reality in the near future?

In my opinion, yes. The world has become a lot more complex. Every day there are more culture, sub-cultures, ideologies, new information, etc. that are being created and because of these complexities, it is only natural for us to find ways to make our world a little smaller.

But the question remains: does a smaller world always mean that it’s a much better place to live in?

Baking a Brownie in Mug

So in one of my classes, we were assigned to do an activity which we’ve never done before, take a video of it, and upload it on YouTube. The catch is it has to be a video that includes steps or in other words, something that remotely resembles videos uploaded on HowCast. Anyway, I decided to make a brownie-in-a-mug since I’ve never done it before.

P.S. I apologize for the really lame quality because my mobile phone’s camera was the only one I had lying around at that time. Also, I apologize for not talking (although I doubt anyone is fond of my voice). My voice got badly corrupted by a terrible cold I was having during that time. So, yeah. I’m sorry for that.

Credits to my awesome sauce best friend, Jessica, for allowing me to invade her unit, lending me her stuff, and for taking the video. Thank you, Jess!

Intro music entitled Sunny Days is from JewelBeat.com
Song entitled Crazy Love by Mindy Gledhill

It All Begins with a Thought

Genius: one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration. –Thomas Edison

Last July 27, my online journalism professor had us attend this event called Open Coffee which is apparently an event originally from Europe but was later on adapted in the Philippines.

Open Coffee eventually became a monthly event in which various entrepreneurs and budding businessmen would gather to pitch ideas and give each other business tips that would help in them in their future business ventures.

Last Saturday was the JUAN GREAT LEAP JULY EDITION OF OPEN COFFEE. The event kicked off with introductions and a prayer, after which volunteers took center stage and presented their ideas within a 2-minute time span. After their pitch, the audience would then offer tips on how these ideas could be further improved as well as pieces of advice on how and where people could look for connections that would aid them in their businesses.

I was generally fascinated with the concept of having to share your ideas (no matter how weird, crazy, or absurd they may be) to a large crowd of people you’ve never met before. If you think about it, it’s inevitable for one to acquire an apprehensive feeling if ever you get invited to stand in front of a bunch of random people in order to share an idea you most probably just thought of while you were taking a shower. But in Open Coffee, anyone with an idea to share and an idea they’re willing to develop is more than welcome.

A good number of volunteers went up stage to pitch their ideas, but what stood out the most for me would be the one about advocacy tourism. As an environmentalist, I was glad to see people still willing to give a damn about our natural environment and not let it all go to waste by incorporating it to the aspect of tourism.

All in all, attending Open Coffee was an interesting experience. Indeed, it is quite refreshing to see a business setting that is not-so business-like in a sense. The forthcoming atmosphere and the sharing of ideas found only at Open Coffee was certainly something I never expected from a so-called ‘business conference’.

Despite the general positive outlook I have on this event, I left Open Coffee with one question in mind:

Must it always be about the money?

 

Taking Heart

When it comes to having to scour the universe for interesting people to write about, I somehow always end up writing about people who I personally know. Now I’m not saying that the people around me aren’t worth calling ‘interesting’.  In fact, I think the people whom I’ve known practically my entire life are the most interesting sort of individuals I’ve ever met.

On that note, I guess it’s safe to officially open my story with this little introduction right here:

Sean has always been a healthy and fairly active young boy. Unlike most teenagers, he isn’t too quick to opening his laptop or computer upon waking up. Instead, the first thing he grabs is his guitar and plays a few tunes before changing into a pair of basketball shorts and heading out to play basketball as part of his morning routine.

As his sister, I’ve always known that Sean was a fighter. He’s struggled with asthma practically his entire life and witnessing how he was able to beat asthma and live an active and healthy lifestyle is sure proof of his amazing resilience. His condition never once stopped him from playing badminton when he was 7 or soccer when he was 9 or even basketball when he was 10. Even if he’s never once had any sort of proper training and has never even once went to a sports clinic of any sort, Sean’s amazing physical prowess has stunned both my parents and his doctors until now.

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Sean, age 9, wearing an over-sized white shirt during a badminton meet

I guess this is why it came as a shock to everyone that Sean, my 16 year-old younger brother, was diagnosed with Mitral Valve Prolapse after suffering from arrhythmia attacks for a couple of nights in a row.

So before anything else, allow me to define Mitral Valve Prolapse:

Apparently, Mitral Valve Prolapse or MVP is a heart condition in which the heart’s mitral valve doesn’t work well due to its malfunctioning flaps. Usually people diagnosed with MVP hardly seem to experience any of its symptoms and might not even be aware that they have MVP. More often than not people who have MVP would dismiss its symptoms as mere chest pains, heart burns, or palpitations caused by caffeine.

It really didn’t seem like much of a big deal to Sean at first. Despite getting rushed to the hospital almost every single night because of his arrhythmia attacks, he still went on to living his life like he usually did. I remember him telling me that nothing changed. The only thing that was different was his change in diet which he didn’t really quite enjoy.

“If there’s one thing I hate about having MVP is that I can’t drink iced tea anymore because I’m not allowed and I love iced tea!” he told me.

Incredibly enough, Sean never once commented on how MVP might have hindered him from playing sports. When I asked him how he felt about getting booted out of his high school basketball team after a fainting spell during a game, he merely shrugged his shoulders and said that it never really bothered him.

“MVP will never stop me from playing and enjoying basketball. Honestly, it’s the reason why I’m so into sports nowadays. I need to keep fit because I do have MVP,” he said.

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A recent photo of Sean (sporting a blue shirt and black basketball shorts) anticipating the ball during a basketball game

Sean has also confessed that his fear was more centered on acquiring superficial injuries while playing rather than experiencing an arrhythmia attack on court.

“I hardly worry about fainting during a game. If I do, then that would mean allowing MVP to win over me,” Sean remarked.

Aside from sports, Sean is also quite talented in the field of music. He has been playing the drums since he was 11 and has taught himself to play the guitar when he was 14. His skill on the guitar has even earned him the spot as lead guitarist of his high school band. He is also a self-proclaimed computer whiz which might have stemmed from his love for computer gaming.

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Sean playing the guitar at school

Being Sean’s older sister has truly been quite an honor. To be honest, I’ve never realized just how much he’s grown until now. From a childish asthmatic kid to a dependable and mature young adult, he’s really come a long way. My brother’s passion for sports is inspiring and the way he doesn’t allow his condition to stop him from playing is just truly awesome.  

I just hope and pray that despite the MVP or anything that may come his way, he’ll still be the same little kid I’d comfort with a hug whenever he gets too afraid of the dark.

 

Over Two Decades of Jawsomeness: Shark Week and the significance of celebrating it.

Over Two Decades of Jawsomeness: Shark Week and the significance of celebrating it.

Sharks deserve it and here’s why.

  1. For ages, sharks have been branded as the ruthless killers of the deep. It doesn’t help much when movies like Jaws and Deep Blue Sea seem to make it their point to antagonize sharks. Because of how Hollywood and the media manipulate our ways of perceiving sharks, it is no surprise as to why our society has come to shun these commonly misunderstood creatures, ultimately harming them and endangering them. 

  2. Quint Is Devoured – Jaws (9/10) Movie CLIP (1975) HD
  3. This clip from the Spielberg film, Jaws, is evident of the power Hollywood has in shaping our thoughts regarding sharks.


    The way we perceive sharks from the dawn of time might have persisted if not for one particular TV channel’s attempt to celebrate sharks rather than to antagonize them. 
    Discovery Channel first aired Shark Week on July 17, 1987 as a week-long TV event which served to increase awareness among the people regarding sharks. Now after over two decades since its premiere, Shark Week has been considered as one of the most popular TV events in the history of broadcast television. It is currently being aired in over 72 countries and has made staggering impacts around the globe. Reaching its 26th year this 2013, Shark Week will be airing once again on August 4. 
  4. Shark Week – Sunday | Show Me Your Teeth*
  5. A witty Shark Week commercial courtesy of the Discovery Channel.
  6. The inevitable annual Shark Week countdown.
  7. One of Discovery Channel’s clever promotional schemes during Shark Week
  8. Shark Week promotional video for Shark Week 2013.

  9. Shark Week has also been quite a spectacle in the realm of social media. Live tweets and Facebook updates about the said TV event has helped in publicizing the specials usually aired during the week. Aside from that,  social networking sites haves also served as avenues to spur discussions on a relatively controversial topic—-shark finning.
  10. Official site of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week.



  11. Shark conservation advocates recently celebrate on the tightening of the ban on shark finning in the European Unions.
  12. Celebrating the long-awaited strict EU ban on #shark finning. New EU regulation’s enters into effect July 06th: ow.ly/mGPef
  13. Check this out !

    Finally, the loopholes have been closed !

    As of July 06th 2013, sharks caught by EU vessels… fb.me/1AQvBkcV7

  14. Over the years, sharks have most definitely grown out of their molds as ‘dangerous merciless man-eaters’. Because of the heightened awareness regarding shark finning and shark endangerment, an impressive amount of advocates for sharks have emerged.

     
  15. A touching tale of a shark attack survivor who eventually became a conservation advocate for sharks.
  16. Another story on a shark advocate who was once a victim of a shark attack.


    So what exactly is the point of this post? 
    Shark Week has certainly been more than just any other seemingly overrated TV event. Because of Shark Week, hundreds and thousands of people from all over the globe have grown to appreciate sharks and realize just how important and how magnificent they truly are.
    So here’s to Shark Week for without it, people might never even get the chance to appreciate the beauty of sharks:
  17. Great White Shark Jumping
  18. Shark Week-Air Jaws: Leaping Shark

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9 WAYS TO CREATING A PERFECTLY HORRIBLE BOOK

Hello there! First of all, I would just like to officially welcome you to my blog as well as to formally congratulate you for being able to read this far without getting bored. Before anything else, allow me to make a disclaimer:

The following tips/guidelines will in no way at all aid you in your future goals/plans/dreams of becoming an award-winning author/novelist. Instead, these tips might most likely end your career before it would even be given a chance to start. With this, I apologize in advance for any dreams that I might have accidentally ruined in the process. For your safety, please refrain from following the tips listed below (unless having your dreams crushed by unknown blogger from the internet is a thing of yours, then be my guest)

Ever wonder just what makes a book or a novel turn from ‘okay, this seems good’ to ‘how on earth was I even able to tolerate this travesty?!’? Well, keep on scrolling and discover the 9 WAYS YOU CAN DO TO CREATE A PERFECTLY HORRIBLE BOOK:

*Now before anything else, it’s important that you assume the mentality of AN OVERLORD AUTHOR when writing your novel. If you’re asking why, that’s because it’s the basic premise behind all of the following tips; that you’re the author and there’s nothing your sad and unfortunate readers can do about it.

  1. The Pathetic Book Cover

Characteristics: Blinds the readers upon first glance instead of attracts them (which would eventually prompt the readers to return the book back in the shelf while shaking their heads in shame)

A good way to start would be the first thing most readers would see whenever they’d go perusing along the aisles of bookshops: THE COVER! Ever heard of the saying, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’? Well, luckily for you, most book-buyers do!  The trick here would be to find inspiration in those silly little scrapbooks you used to do back when you were in elementary school. To cut to the chase, BE OVER THE TOP! Have your illustrator enjoy the wonders of Photoshop, glitter, and random images! With some luck, your cover might just end up like this:

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OR THIS

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When it comes to book covers, it’s always better in excess—-and in real life! Which leads me to my next suggestion: USING THE IMAGES OF REAL PEOPLE!

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Nothing says ‘I-am-imposing-upon-you-how-my-fictional-characters-should-look-like-thus-limiting-your-imganative-capabilities’ like a book cover graced with images of people (usually teenagers if it’s one of those typical YA fictions) assuming overly-dramatic poses! More often than not, using real people for your book covers could spark seemingly endless debates among fans regarding how your character should look like which is always a good thing for a budding author who might need a little bit of a popularity boost.

2.  The Love Triangle

Characteristics: Heaping tons of one particular dairy product aka LOADS OF CHEESE to the point of being remarkably absurd (and painful to read)

In this day and age, people are obsessed with books that are always about conflicts and when I say conflicts, I mean the overused concept of two-guys-fighting-over-the-same-female-lead conflict!

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The best way to go about this is to focus all your brain cells into creating this love triangle even if it really isn’t the focal point of your story. Be sure to over-sensationalize the conflicts brought about by the love triangle throughout your book. Make it seem as if it’s practically the only thing your novel’s about when in fact it’s not.

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If you don’t exactly feel confident about writing a totally sappy and poorly developed love triangle, it’s always good to browse through other famous works that have popularized this concept (i.e. a particularly popular book series which involves a relatively useless female lead, a sparkly vampire, and a perpetually topless werewolf).

3. “Wait, what just happened?” PLOT DEVICE HAPPENED.

Characteristics: The F*CK LOGIC! and troll factor

There’s absolutely nothing more thrilling and exciting than a book chock full of plot twists. The main driving force behind such plot twists are usually what we call plot devices. In simple terms, a plot device is something you’d use in order to create a plot twist. But an unnecessary use of such plot device would ultimately lead to your unknowing betrayal of your readers which would consequently end up in outraged cries from your fans.

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(Fans who felt lied to after you’ve clearly written down the dramatic death of one of your characters only to bring them back to life in the most absurd and pathetic way possible.)

A good way to start formulating about the sort of plot device you should add in your story would be to think outside the box. Be open to any sort of possibility out there! After all, these characters are fictional AND it’s your world. You can kill them AND bring them back to life in any manner of your choosing.  You can even give them the most logic-defying combination of superhuman abilities just for the sake of it!  Remember, the more impossibru it is—–

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THE BETTER!

4. Exercising utmost laziness: The Poor Character Development

Characteristics: Characters you would probably want to burn at a stake

What’s one really excellent way to ruin a perfectly good plot? REALLY PATHETIC CHARACTERS.

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Why, you ask?

It’s been proven countless of times that character developments in books have played a key role into turning otherwise plain and overused stories into something interesting and enjoyable for the readers. But then again, that’s not what we’re aiming for here.

The technique to poor character development would be to approach it in the most relaxed manner you could possibly can.  Just don’t think about what sort of morals your character should possess or just what kind of intriguing past he/she should have. All that matters is that you make that character just so outrageously one dimensional or linear and there you have it! Voila! A totally poor manner of characterization has just been executed. Remember, the key thing to keep in mind would be to make sure that your character stays the same all throughout the story. If he’s introduced as this insensitive douche in chapter 1 of your first book, make sure he stays that way until the last chapter of your 42042347237th book—-unless, of course, he dies some sort of violent death (which I expect you’ll eventually act upon by bringing him back to life with some sort of plot device).

5. A wild character just appeared!

Characteristics: The facepalm-inducing character

Believe it or not, your power as an author is not limited to your ability to use ridiculous plot devices and create totally lame characters that would eventually force your readers to toss your novel into the nearest trash bin. Nope. You are actually entitled to doing so much more like, I don’t know, CREATE RANDOM CHARACTERS OUT OF THE BLUE?

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Indeed. Nothing says ‘power’ than the ability to rudely assert the existence of an absolutely useless character smack dab in the middle of your story. It’s important to note that the best way to do this would be to introduce the said useless character just when your story is at its climactic stage (otherwise known as the ‘revelation of secrets’ and ‘OMG’ stage). Despite how easy that may seem, it really isn’t. Here’s an illustration I took the liberty of making for your benefit (I apologize in advance for my poor MS paint skills):

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I’d like to believe that my illustration has sufficed at this point.

Let’s move on.

6. That Escalated Quickly! (The fast and equally furious plotline)

Characteristics: As if you literally crammed your entire novel in one evening, right before your editor comes knocking on your door asking for it the next day.

Speedy plotlines which usually leave readers breathless and on the edge of their seats are quite often fun. That’s basically one of the appeals that some writers possess. But once misused, your readers would still be left breathless alright—- breathless after hanging around that noose they’ve tied around their necks after attempting to kill themselves because of how atrocious your plotline has gotten.  And if you are able to successfully do that, then I applaud you. But if you’re still struggling with this aspect of ruining your plot, fear not! It’s actually really simple:Image

FORGET EVERYTHING AND WRITE AS FAST AND AS RECKLESSLY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN.

Just pretend that you have this time bomb strapped onto you and that if you somehow don’t manage to finish your novel in 5 minutes or less, the bomb’s going to explode.  See? How easy was that?

7.The Fanfiction Treatment

Characteristics: Writing is compromised because of sucking up to the readers (aka FANSERVICE)

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If you read and/or write fanfic, then I guess you can very well skip this part already since I think you already know what I’m talking about.

BUT if you’ve never encountered fanfiction ever before in your entire life, then allow me to first introduce to you just what fanfiction is. In a nutshell, fanfiction is something you end up creating when you are just so overwhelmed with feels which are more often than not induced by your incredibly intense emotions for a certain book, movie, and/or TV series. Have you ever tried making up little stories that you wished could have happened in that movie/series/book you’ve just watched/read? Well, that my friend, is when a fanfiction (or fanfic) is born.

Now I know what you’re thinking. If you’re the author, then how can something I write be considered a fanfic in manner? Debates have been raised regarding this issue as to whether authors influence fanfiction or if it’s actually the other way around. The thing is, it doesn’t matter. The basic foundation to a fanfic writing style, in general, is the overall disregard for a substantial plot.

If you still don’t get this, then I suggest you read a fanfic or two. Trust me. You’d get it in no time.

8. Continuity Error

Characteristics: Basically aims to bring about unnecessary confusion among the readers

What do you think is the common problem among most budding writers whenever they make an attempt at writing? (in which said problem has been the reason as to why most writers just give up before they even start).

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DETAILS.

Formulating crucial details for your novel is most definitely worth a lot of work, which is exactly why you should just disregard that and commit CONTINUITY ERRORS!

What’s a continuity error, you ask? It’s basically saying somewhere along the middle portion of your book that your female lead has ‘long lustrous jet black hair’ when in fact you’ve already mentioned somewhere in chapter 1 that she’s bald. As a result, you just might be greeted by a mass of confused and equally bewildered readers. But hey! Like I’ve mentioned before, what you say goes. If you decided that your female lead should grow long lustrous jet black hair in the middle of your story, then why shouldn’t she?

 9. “It was all just a dream”: The Dream Sequence

Characteristics: Can probably spur an angry mob of readers who would very well want to see you dead

Your novel has finally reached its climax. The readers are tensed and excited. They are brimming with emotions to the point that they are so close to turning on their laptops and expressing all their feelings in the most explosive manner possible. The story has basically reached that stereotypical moment in which your readers are left wondering whether or not your main protagonist is going to make it out alive in that oh-so cliché life-or-death portion of your novel when suddenly; the protagonist stirs from a deep sleep and realizes that everything that happened in the course of your novel was all just a dream.

You:

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Readers:

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This, my friend, is called the dream sequence and is very well something you’d want and/or should do if you wish for endless death threats to stack up on your doorstep. It’s also the worst way you can end your book which is exactly why I highly encourage you to at the very least commit this taboo if ever you’ve decided to disregard any of my previous tips.

Conclusion:

It’s a known fact that in everything you do in life, it’s so much easier to do things wrong than to do them right.  Having said that, writing a novel (as you might have noticed) really isn’t a walk in the park. It takes dedication, passion, concentration, and a deadly combination of energy drinks and Cheetos. So, in conclusion, the best way to make a perfectly horrible book would be to NOT care about your audience. The reason why authors pour in so much time into making their books is because they want their creations to be worth all the time and money their readers are willing to invest on their books. Douche-authors are those who usually commit some or even all of those  I listed above because well, they don’t really give a damn about their readers.

So just exactly what is it that I’m trying to say here? Authors are powerful, and with great power comes great responsibility. Abuse that power and you can just become the next award-winning author for the most atrocious book to have ever been created.

Blue Tights in Action: A review on the Man of Steel

Before I begin, I just want to say that if not for this assignment, I wouldn’t have watched Man of Steel. Despite being a fan of practically the entire DC Comics franchise, I must admit that Superman is probably one of my least favorite DC superheroes. But don’t get me wrong. The reason behind my being ‘overly critical’ of Superman is not because I decided to assume a hipster persona by disliking this particularly popular superhero/comic book character (because that would mean hating on Flash and the Batman), but because of reasons I can’t express here since this post is supposed to be a review on the Man of Steel and not an in-depth analysis on Superman’s character and personality.

Let’s get started, shall we?

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Man of Steel takes us way back into the intriguing past of Superman (aka Clark Kent/Kal-El) as the film opens to a scene in which Kal’s mother literally gives birth to him in the midst of a chaotic planet Krypton. From there, the audience is introduced to the conflicts which ultimately led to Krypton’s downfall and the story on just how the man of steel himself made it to the planet Earth with the use of a makeshift space-cradle.

The majority of the film focuses on the early life of Clark Kent and his struggles with being a Kryptonian in a planet that, as quoted from the film, “is not yet ready for him”.  Despite how the film was bombarded with standard superhero movie clichés, it actually presented Clark’s life in a really unique and interesting manner by making proper use of flashback sequences which brought authenticity to what might seem to be a film full of clichés. Other than the ‘alien-trying-to-fit-in’ aspect of the film, the storyline also provided an interesting twist of events which consequently led to the stereotypical albeit thrilling final showdown between the forces of good and evil.

With regards to how the characters were portrayed, I guess I can say I’m a bit more critical in that aspect. Just as I’ve expected from the reviews of my fellow DC fans who’ve seen Man of Steel before, Lois Lane’s character in this Superman franchise was altogether much more dynamic in comparison to previous Lois Lane characterizations (which more often than not portrayed Lois as a mildly troubled damsel whose obsession over investigative journalism has become more of a nuisance rather than an admirable trait).  And with that having said, I congratulate Amy Adams for having successfully brought justice to Lois’ headstrong role in the film (and for breaking away from the mold of her stereotypical ditsy roles.)

As for Henry Cavill, his portrayal of Clark Kent was simple and seemingly effortless. He did what he should have done and delivered quite well for his first time in a highly-anticipated feature film. But what he lacked in dynamism, he certainly more than made up for with his stunning cheek bones, cleft chin, and blue eyes. But Cavill’s performance has certainly exposed the sort of potential he has as an actor (and having said that I hope Cavill stars in future Superman franchises and/or other films outside the superhero/action genre).

All in all, Man of Steel was a good film (though I honestly expected a lot more considering the fact that it’s a Christopher Nolan film). While fanservice was most definitely evident throughout the course of the movie, I believe that the storyline had never once departed from its purpose which was to introduce us to the past of Superman. Despite some awkward and relatively predictable and cliché angles, the effects and sequences were nice and clean. It had adequate doses of cheesy dialogues here and there as well as a fair share of cheesy scenes, but it was still pretty entertaining. There were moments of wit and humor and just the right amount of drama and action to fit the passing standard of being a good superhero film.

 I think that anyone who isn’t entirely a fan of DC comics and/or has never heard of Superman, despite having the common knowledge that he wears his underwear outside his tights (though Superman wasn’t donning any red undergarment in this film), might still appreciate this movie. For starters, I certainly appreciated this film and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not even a fan of Superman.

Students outraged over increase in tuition, power, and water rates.

The recent tuition, water, and power rate hikes once again spurred student-activism led by the Kabataan Partylist yesterday around the Metro Manila area.

At around noontime, students met at the the Palma Hall Lobby of the University of the Philippines, Diliman to protest against the threatening “triple whammy” of combined price hikes.

Later that afternoon, students got creative by displaying empty water gallons at around  the Philcoa area as a rally against the government’s privatization programs leading to the increase of the rates of basic services.

Regarding the tuition fee rates, it has been declared by the Commission on Higher Education that earlier this month, around 354 colleges and universities nationwide have been approved for a tuition fee increase despite the protests and complaints of students  from all over the country.

As for the water rate hikes, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. increased the water rates to P8.58 cubic meter and P5.83 cubic meter respectively.

With the additional charges, water fees can reach up to a staggering P234 to P342 charge for households consuming an average of 30 cubic meters a month.

The dramatic increase in water fees was attributed to the agreement between the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) and the two private companies which allowed the companies to change their basic rates every five years during the  40-year contract to assure the rate of return.

Youth groups also condemned Meralco’s fee increase to 22 centavos per kilowatt-hour this month after its supposed loss caused by the May 8 power outage in Luzon.

As tuition, power, and water rates increase, so has the unemployment rates in the nation.

The National Statistics Office has declared that the unemployment rate in the country has increased drastically to 7.5 percent from 6.9 percent a year earlier which amounts to over three million jobless Pinoys, a majority of which are young Filipinos aged 15-25.

“While more and more Filipinos are losing their jobs, the bills that need to be paid bloat continually. This situation is a clear indication of the country’s real situation, despite the Aquino administration’s continued claims of inclusive growth,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said.

The 10-minute Get-to-Know: Roxanne Paredes

I’ve recently had the pleasure of re-getting to know one of my closest college friends, Roxanne, for our Journalism 117 class, and despite the fact that we’ve known each other since freshman year, the mini-interview I had with Rox was still as interesting as the first time we met back in 2011.

So here’s Rox, everybody!

Let me start off by saying that Roxanne has definitely got to be one of the most interesting people I’ve met in college. I guess the reason behind this is the fact that she’s got such a wide range of interests and hobbies. Rox (who like me is also a junior and Journalism major) loves reading webcomics. She’s a huge fan of Homestuck which is probably one of the most popular webcomics out there. But it doesn’t end here because Roxanne is also a true-blue Whovian (a fan of the Doctor Who TV series) as well as a Sherlockian (a fan of the Sherlock TV series). My good buddy here is also a Potterhead (and has undoubtedly stuck with Harry until the very end like I have). We also have a common interest with regards to beheading and dragons the Game of Thrones TV series.

When it comes to reading material, it’s as diverse as the shows she watches. Interestingly enough, Rox loves reading about anything and everything from fashion to scientific breakthroughs, and to social justice articles.

But if there’s one thing you must definitely know about Roxanne is that she’s an artist. She is fond of making fanart (art inspired by pre-existing shows, books, movies, etc.) as well as sketching the most interesting doodles on her notebook. Her artistic flare can be evident even in her manner of dressing since she mixes and matches bits and pieces of clothing to suit her mood and style.

But by the end of the day, Rox is fine with throwing on a simple pair of jeans and Chucks to complement her favorite geeky statement shirts because Rox is just as chill and as cool as those White Walkers strolling beyond the Wall (points for Game of Thrones referencing! Haha.)

(Check Rox out at Brightwalls.wordpress.com and at Yellowisnotaflavor.tumblr.com)