Captive Prince Trilogy

I re-read the Captive Prince trilogy a couple of weeks back, and have been procrastinating on this post, mainly because there’s always not enough hours in a day.

Not really going to post a full-blown review, but here’s the gist of the story:

– Damen is the crown prince of Akielos, which is based on Greece
– He has a shitty older brother who is denied of the throne on the basis of the fact that he is the bastard son
– As such, he decides to capture Damen and send him to Vere, a rival kingdom, as a slave
– The Regent of Vere, who is uncle to the rightful heir, sees a cruel joke here, and gifts him to his nephew, Laurent
– Laurent hates Damen on first sight because Akielos is the reason why he has a shitty time after the Crown Prince of Akielos has killed his older brother in a war, right after his father was killed in the same war
– Laurent and Damen hate each other, yet they have no chance but to learn to work together in order to get what they want – their thrones

The first time I read it back in 2008 when it was still on Livejournal as a web series, I was okay with the premise, like the whole slavery/master-pet thing was a trope I could get into, but this time round, after 10 years, the trope just turned my stomach the wrong way round. Is this a sign of growing up? Perhaps, but it’s not like I didn’t know slavery is bad back then, but maybe it’s more like less of empathy, and more ‘watching from the sidelines’? idk, I suspect I’m not making much sense, but I just wanted to sort of convey how my thoughts have changed over the years.

But yeah, slavery, rape, torture – these are bad things. However, I don’t think it warranted the unhappy/disgusted reviews on Goodreads. Mainly because c’mon, guys, look at the setting of the story, things were shitty back then, and people don’t always get to enjoy the rights that we have now.

One thing that I really liked was the idea of the ‘Captive Prince’. Damen was the prince captured and sent to an unfriendly country as a prisoner – so on first glance, he’s the captive prince of the story. Plus the story is written in his perspective.

But then again, we have Laurent, who is free in all but reality. He is caught, like a caged bird in his own palace, since he can’t move freely and do as he wishes. He has few, if any, allies in his ‘match’ against the Regent who enjoys humiliating him at every turn. Plus, if you looked at descriptions of Laurent, you’d see that he is constantly written as ‘laced into his clothing’, like even his attire restricts him, and he is always in control of himself/unable to let go, in a way.

So the whole idea of who is the actual captive prince is ambiguous, or rather, maybe both of them are captive princes, which then leads to the third book’s title of ‘Kings Rising’, to signify that instead of then being singular ‘princes’, they are together as kings.

But yeah, enough rambling from me.


the ruin of many a poor boy

*blows dust off* here, let’s have a less depressing post today, and talk about movies while vaguely spoiling them.

So I went to watch A Silent Voice the other day, and here’s some opinions in point form because ye gods, I’m not in the mood for forming actual paragraphs but I still want to write something because it’s getting crowded and noisy inside my brain where the stream of consciousness happens, and I’m kind of missing putting words to metaphorical paper.

– little kids are terrible creatures with no moral values.
– why on earth would you put a kid with special needs with a normal class? discounting the fact that kids are monsters and will make fun/bully anyone who is perceived as different, the kid won’t be able to learn effectively considering that the teachers aren’t trained to teach someone who is deaf, since they can’t use sign language and it’s not like they write every single thing they’re saying on the blackboard.
– I don’t understand why you’d shun your fellow bully instead of rallying around him, but then again, little kids don’t understand the concept of honour amongst thieves.
– also, I understand that moving away is probably expensive as hell, but c’mon, can’t you go to a school that’s further away so you can avoid people who used to be your friends and now hate you for some inexplicable reason? surely your town is capable for having more than a couple of schools?
– so little character development other than the main character growing the fuck up after being ostracised.
– the art was pretty though
– if I had to compare this with your name, I enjoyed Your Name a lot more, considering how Your Name had a better blend of comedy, romance, and sci-fi elements. this one was more about growing up and drama, I suppose
– I think I didn’t exactly enjoy Koe no Katachi because I feel like I’m outside of the target audience; I’m done with school, teenage angst doesn’t really bother me, not even when I was in school…

Also managed to catch T2 Trainspotting, which I enjoyed quite a fair bit despite having not watched the first movie.

– I enjoyed the soundtrack, it reminded me of the punk era, which is sort of the point, I guess, considering the characters grew up in that period, and T2 is all about straddling the line of nostalgia and the present.
– although I thought the plot itself was pretty cliched, the comedic parts were good, and I like that there was some character development, even as the characters fell back into their usual roles (I assume)
– have to admit, I also decided to watch this for the scottish accents aaaaaand jonny lee miller
– speaking of jonny lee miller, it’s so weird because I’ve gotten used to him playing recovering drug addict, sherlock, in elementary, and here he is playing the role of a drug addict.
– plus he dyed his hair a weird shade of blond *snicker*
– at the end of the film, I was thinking to myself, this is the kind of theme that I’d like, the notion of never learning anything, being bitten once, and getting bitten again and again, because life is just a loop and we can’t seem to break free

per caputque pedesque | a mixtape for valentines

because metal do love songs better than the average pop song. *shrug* it’s the truth, mate.

soles occidere et redire possunt
nobis, cum semel occidit brevis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda

01 x japan – forever love (piano instrumental)
輝く季節が 永遠に変わるまで Forever Love

02 dionysus – forever more
is there still an open door? / I will love you forever ever more

03 dreamaker – forever in your arms
that I only want to live forever in your arms

04 emerald – forever
together we reach out for the stars / no one will ever separate us

05 kamelot – forever
every breath I take brings me closer / closer to forever, to you

06 xandria – forever yours
it’s my blood that bleeds from your wounds / dearest you’re all that I need

07 stratovarius – forever
would you wait for me forever?

08 helloween – forever and one (neverland)
forever and one I will miss you / however, I kiss you yet again way down in Neverland

09 nightwish – forever yours
my time is yet to come / so I’ll be forever yours

10 xandria – now & forever
millions of songs all these years in my soul / and when we met I just knew they’re for you

11 meduza – now and forever
two souls meant for each other / together, now and forever

12 edenbridge – forever shine on
let us dream a dream forever shine on

caffeine in an iv drip | a mixtape about coffee

because sleep deprivation is a thing that never ends. Even when I wasn’t working, I was still not getting enough sleep, and now that I am back to joining all the mindless zombies and their daily grind, the sleep deprivation is much worse.

01. J. S. Bach – Coffee Cantata, BWV 211, iv Aria: Ei! Wie schmeckt der Kaffee süße

02. Garbage – Cup of Coffee
(it took a cup of coffee to prove that you don’t love me)

03. Blur – Coffee and TV
(so give me coffee and TV)

04. Black Flag – Black Coffee
(anger and coffee, feeding me)

05. Bob Dylan – One More Cup of Coffee
(one more cup of coffee ‘fore I go / to the valley below)

06. Ella Mae Morse – Forty Cups of Coffee
(I’m drinking forty cups of coffee, forty cups of coffee)

07. The Ramones – I Wanna be Sedated
(hurry hurry hurry before I go insane)

For Your Entertainment

Because I haven’t been watching anime for ages, and of course once I go back, I dive in deeeeep. But really, fansub groups are the best – they sub shows even though they have no real incentive to do so, in fact, some might even be threatened to stop because intellectual property and all that legal stuff, and people don’t always appreciate their efforts (this goes to those scanalating teams for manga as well.)

Anyway, here are some anime that I watched in July, some of them I’ve completed, some of them I’m watching as they air in Japan, others are old shows that I’m slowly catching up with. Shows are listed alphabetically because I’m anal like that.

– Ace Attorney (caught up)
 (sorry! no credits because I can’t find the tumblr link!)

I have finally caught up with the latest episode of Ace Attorney, which I’m enjoying quite a fair bit. They have retained much of the original game, but made their own marks by adding details as well as simplifying and changing a little of the games. But the general atmosphere remains and it’s a really fun watch. The characters are appropriately quirky and the voices are really fitting too.

To be honest, I’ve only finished the first Phoenix Wright game, I’m still at the last trial for Justice for All, half way through the first case for Trials and Tribulations. Can’t remember where I was in Apollo Justice, but I remember I’ve only cleared one case for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. Come to think of it… I’ve only finished 5 DS games, and I have a library of 30+ games. Gosh, I have so much backlog.

– Aoharu x Machinegun (completed)
This one isn’t really a new anime, but I didn’t know it existed until I started reading the manga series! Anyway, the main character (the short blond kid) is a girl, who just so happens to look more like a dude, and somehow long story short, she’s drafted into playing survival games with the taller blond dude and the gloomy black haired guy. It’s like paintball, except with BB guns.

Pretty interesting storyline, but really, they need to give us a second season because the manga is still on-going! The comedic parts are great, not really so fond of the angsty bits though. I mean, sure, from the manga covers (and title), I had assumed it was going to be a serious manga, but now that I have discovered it to be on the funny side, I just want it to be hilarious all the time.

– Barakamon (2 episodes in)
Calligrapher Handa-sensei punched a critic for criticising his work, and got sent to an isolated village by his father as a result. He’s kind of grumpy and stubborn, but this is definitely one of those feel-good anime where you learn about life and being a decent person, because of the tight knit community in the rural village. And yeah, with comedic elements even as you feel like tearing up because ‘so cute and so much feels’. I mean, I’m only 2 episodes in, and I can already tell because it’s definitely going to be full of the tropes. But damn, I don’t like kids, but the little girl, Naru? She’s adorable and totally a scrapper, you can tell from her looks.

– Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu (caught up)
I’ve actually read the manga for this a while back before discovering that hey, they made an anime too. Basically a comedic slice-of-life sort of short (4-koma style) episodes about a guy who likes BL and his general… problems? Funny and each episode being only like 3 minutes, I don’t mind keeping up.

– Fukigen na Mononokean (caught up)

THIS is my favourite anime of the season :DDDD It has all the things I like: cool protagonists, lovely art style and the colour scheme!, and especially yokai and Japanese folklore. (Which is why I enjoy Natsume Yuujinchou, Tactics, Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji & Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi). I think Fukigen na Mononokean has the same feel as Natsume Yuujinchou and xxxHolic…

Ashiya is your normal high schooler, except somehow he can see yokai, and because of this ability, he gets wrapped up with his classmate, Abeno, who is the current master of the Monokean, where yokai with requests end up. He becomes a part-time employee there and probably will end up helping Abeno learn how to bridge the gap between yokai and humans.

There are currently 6 books out in Japan, but the 3rd translated book just hit the book stores, I can’t wait for them to hurry up with the translations!

– Hatsukoi Monster (1 episode in)

To be honest, this anime is so awkward. A 16 year old girl who falls in love at first sight with a 5th grader (10/11 years old) because he saved her from a traffic accident. Like, isn’t the premise just so weird… and yeah, so the guy is freakishly tall and looks older than his age, he’s still a kid at heart, along with his friends who are just as tall but share the same maturity level. So yeah, poop jokes and such… at least Sugita is voicing one of the characters…?

– Himouto! Umaru-chan (completed)

This anime is adorable~ and i think I love it a tad too much.

Umaru is the main character, who appears to be the perfect girl outside – she excels academically, is popular in school, good at sports, and is really helpful to those in need. But once she steps home, she transforms into a chibi version, who only cares about junk food, video games and anime, and generally lazing around as much as possible. She lives with her older brother who puts up with her whimsical tendencies, and the focus is generally on how Umaru slowly gains more friends and perhaps reconcile the two contrast aspects of her personalities.

– Sakamoto Desu Ga (5 episodes in)

Yet another anime heavy on the comedy, Sakamoto Desu Ga is loosely translated to Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto. It revolves around the titular character who does everything coolly – be it his classroom duties, having lunch or standing outside the classroom holding buckets as a punishment.

Sort of a slice-of-life school anime, it seems to be about how Sakamoto deals with his haters, and maybe fans as well.

– Servamp (caught up)

Servamp = servant + vampire

Anyway, a normal high schooler picks up a stray cat, perfectly simple right? Nope, not when that cat turns into a lazy vampire who would rather play video games and eat junk food than suck blood and attack humans. But because this has shounen elements, there is a big bad villain who wants to kill the 7 Servamps and their human companions, so our main character and this cat-vampire has to find allies in the other Servamps to defeat this big evil.

Cliched but fun, I’m enjoying this, though I really don’t like the opening and ending themes. Also, weirdly, it’s not translated to Chinese?? I can’t seem to find it in bookstores, but there are up to 10 volumes in Japan, I think.

so far from the shore

This is me continuing my spiral into self-induced depression, I suppose. But I recently got around to listening to the so popular Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots and the cynic in me just wanted to sit down and laugh a little at how innocent the lyrics are. Of course, personal opinions and my own jaded thoughts probably warped the song from its original purpose.

See, the lyrics that I find questionable runs as:

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.
Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face,
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money.”

And I can’t help but feel like shaking the people who identify with these lines. Do you know why you could play pretend and why you didn’t get all stressed out, and why your mom’s singing could put you at ease? Because she gave up on her dreams so that you could grow up healthy and happy.

A journalist wrote of her own turbulent childhood where she had to grow up with a mother who was eccentric and in a way, it left scars on the writer.

She grew up an only child in a penthouse in New York’s Upper East Side. Her mother was a poet, her father a diplomat. He retreated to Thailand when the marriage failed and so, for much of the year, it was just Leve, her mother and her mother’s party guests. There were frequent raucous parties, attended by the likes of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, belly dancers, balloon magicians, Andy Warhol and “people she met in the elevator”, Leve says. “It was very eccentric.” Sometimes the guests had to wait hours before her mother would appear, wrapped in a towel and covered with bubbles. If they were beguiled, her daughter wasn’t: “At 11pm I’d hear, ‘Everybody! Stop talking! It’s time for the music!’ And I’d be lying in bed, panicked, because I had to go to school the next day. I didn’t care who these people were. What mattered to me was that they were behaving inappropriately and they were inconsiderate to me. I needed to set my own boundaries, because nobody else was setting them.”


“It came as a big surprise to me that she didn’t love me,” she replies. “I thought it was going to be, ‘Thank you, Mommy, for everything you gave me.’ I tried to make her life as beautiful as possible. I had a very famous salon in New York.” (source)

Is it so strange to tell your kid that ‘Hey, maybe you need to think about making money? I can’t possibly support you financially when I’m close to the retirement age, and don’t you think it’s funny how you can faff around dreaming while I have to put bread on the table? Surely you don’t think that my dream is to look after my kids until the day I drop dead?’

Which might be me putting too much of myself into that reading, because I’m currently being a total NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), and people keep asking me when I’m going to get a job.

Don’t you find it funny how we were bombarded with motivational lines such as ‘follow your dreams’, ‘set high goals’, ‘you can do whatever if you put your mind to it’ etc. But to be honest, if we all followed our dreams and based our careers on our childhood fantasies, where would society be? Surely the number of kids thinking that they wanted to be investment traders or janitors or bus drivers are minute. For those kids who grew up and got sensible jobs, were they selling out? Did they decide that they could never because astronauts, rock stars, or firefighters, and settled for less and because of that, they lost when they put themselves in the rat race?

I suppose a part of me feels guilty – how much do I know about my mother beyond the fact that she is my mother? That she nags too much and annoys the hell out of me and is probably the only person I hate and love at the same time. Which makes me the most ungrateful bastard who doesn’t deserve everything that I have now.

We don’t seem to think about our parental figures as real people. They had to have proper hopes and dreams, did they ever achieve any of them? Or did we get in the way of their goals? Sure, most decent parents probably didn’t see their kids as a burden, but perhaps as another type of dream, different from what they originally thought about when they were younger themselves. But in the case of opportunity cost, maybe the kid was a better choice? Idk I don’t ever want to have children; I’m too selfish to prioritise another human being over my own desires. I don’t think I can see a kid as anything but an obstacle to whatever I want.

Instead of going out with her friends on Sundays or resting after a hectic week of work, my mother chooses to do extra housework, buys a shit ton of groceries and cooks a feast because my brothers and their families would come over. I’m sure we would all be okay if we got take out instead, but in her mind, since they only visit once a week, she has to make sure that they eat properly (she doesn’t think they eat healthy food on their own, I suppose), and that means homecooked food.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just had a kneejerk reaction to a song, and I guess I felt too much emotions for a couple of lines because of where I am currently, or who knows, maybe I just have too much time on my hands.

is it time well spent?

When using technology, we often focus optimistically on all the things it does for us. But I want you to show you where it might do the opposite.

Where does technology exploit our minds’ weaknesses?

I learned to think this way when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, edges, vulnerabilities and limits of people’s perception, so they can influence what people do without them even realizing it. Once you know how to push people’s buttons, you can play them like a piano. (source)

I found the above article to be an interesting read, considering how I grew up surrounded by all sorts of technological gadgets and have probably been made to drink the kool-aid when it comes to responding towards every tiny vibration or flicker of light on my devices.

While I attend to my devices whenever I receive any notification, my main reason for doing so isn’t because of some fear of missing out or the need to reciprocate socially, though it’s probably part of the reason subconsciously. It’s just my OCD side who hates seeing the green light flashing on my phone, I don’t really care about why it’s flashing, but I just need to make it stop flashing. Of course, the logical course of action is to turn off the light notification, but then since my phone is permanently on silent, I probably would miss every notification without the flickering lights.

Is there a fear of missing something important? If I don’t check my email, would I not see the amazing sales going on at this place, or a great deal over at some other place? True, that happens, but I’m generally okay with missing these things because they usually occur frequently, or a couple of times a year. I have no fear of missing out on these sort of things.

I’m also perfectly fine with people knowing that I’ve read their messages and not responded to them, hence I have never bothered turning off read receipts, because if there is something I needed to add to the conversation, then I would have replied when I’ve read said conversation thread. I’m too old to be one of those people who play the ‘oh no, I can’t reply within the next 5 minutes or they’d think I have no life/look too eager to talk to them’.

But the main take away point that I get from the article is that: interruptions are good for businesses.

Yup, interruptions as in the way the app is designed to interrupt you at certain times of the day so that you pay attention to it instead of going on with your life without opening the app. You get a tiny notification telling you, hey, look at this cool thing, and next thing you know, there goes an hour of scrolling and clicking and social media-ing.

And the most ironic thing on the site? When you’re done with this article, they have a little pop-up at the corner of your browser asking you to click through to the writer’s next article.

coming back

Given the empty stretches of time that I find myself needing to fill up, I decided to re-read Patrick Rothfuss’ debut novel, The Name of the Wind.

I read the book a while ago, when it first came out back in 2007. I still remember the joy of reading the book beneath my desk back in boring science classes and staying up till late to plow through the book. It was a riveting read, I found myself invested in Kvothe’s triumphs and failures as though it were my own. I’d link to original blog post where I shared some thoughts after reading the book, but it was too cringey for me to even think of letting it see the light of another day.

One solution was to obviously remove the offending post from the internet, though really, I doubt anything can be erased from the tenacious memories of the internet, considering that the information would have probably been backed up and saved onto the server and easily retrieved, if anyone was so inclined. Of course, no one in their right minds would be so inclined.

But I digress.

There are some books that I re-read, despite the many tomes waiting for me on my shelves, completely untouched, their spines left uncracked.

I find that with every re-read, there will always be something new for me to either discover or learn.

For instance, I love re-reading David Eddings’ books. Firstly, they are super easy to re-read because the plots aren’t very convoluted. And also because I read them when I was a kid, there were stuff that flew right over my head and there were boring bits that I skipped.

Yup, even as precocious as I was back then, pedophilia and incest weren’t exactly concepts I was familiar with as a child. And I totally skipped the whole grown-up parts where they discussed politics and the rules for choosing a Pope sort of character in a medieval style Church thing.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods goes with me whenever I go on a vacation. Technically it’s not a vacation sort of book, since you know, it’s sort of depressing at times. But I love the little vignettes that is interspersed in between the actual story line, where we read about how the immigrants reached the new world (America, basically) and their struggles to survive in an entirely new land, with their old world faiths. It’s probably all romanticized and fictional, but it was written so brilliantly (in my opinion) and I suppose I re-read American Gods whenever I travel because it always feel as though I am part of something larger, and just as how the old gods followed their believers into the new world, my own gods are watching over me as well.

As for The Name of the Wind, re-reading it was a new sort of experience – I still felt the same kind of empathy for Kvothe, but a part of me, the grown-up mature part wanted to shake Kvothe for being such an annoying brat at times, like seriously, don’t be such a know-it-all, no one likes the kid who thinks he knows everything, and acts as though he has all the answers. Plus, yeah, I know he’s supposed to be special and all because he’s the main character, but he kind of had too many ‘Larry Stu’ traits, which was less than realistic. (I know, I know, this is a fantasy novel, what is up with realism, am I right.)

I’m almost done with my re-read and who knows when will be the next time I will pick this book up again. But hey, there are still a ton of books left to read, and then re-read again.

living day to day.

I don’t know, how do we define a ‘happy day’?

Happiness isn’t a constant, it isn’t a given, and it’s so damn subjective.
Sometimes I wonder if I have experienced the notion of happiness before. What does euphoria feel like, is whatever joy that I’ve received a genuine outburst of emotion? Or is it a pale shadow to what true happiness feels like.

Is this why we cling onto life even when you feel everything is worthless because we have the hope that tomorrow will be a better day?

No Toilet Humour Please

So yeah, sometimes, you just got to admit, Freud was right. I do indeed have ‘penis envy’. (Yes, I know I’m misusing the term but I’m just being insouciant and shit alright?

Because TOILETS are fucking disgusting places. (Yes, please never invite me to places where their public toilets are crap literally. I’m looking at you, China.)

Disclaimer: skip this post if you are easily grossed out. I mean, I would. Because did I mention? Public toilets are disgusting places where common courtesy and respect for public facilities are non-existent.
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