Category Archives: Blog

After Storm

After Storm

This is another one of my childhood sketches that I decided to color.

I guess I was kinda into being a seaman when I was still young.

IMG

The original drawing is in a really bad shape as you can see above but I think I wanted to portray a stormy night.

I’ll just have to say sorry to my child self for now because I don’t have the ability to do a stormy weather yet. He’ll just have to be satisfied with a sea after a storm as it is the only thing I can do now. Maybe in later years I can give justice to the imagination of little ‘ol me.

Oh, and comments please??

If you want to see my other drawings or larger versions of drawing I’ve already posted here on wordpress, visit my devieantart account at  http://jianzafra.deviantart.com/ or add me on facebook by searching for my name, Jian Zafra.

Fireflies, Fire Flower and Flying Bird

I dug up my old sketchbook from when I was still in elementary and decided to color some of my sketches that are still recognizable.

Here is the first one in what I hope to be is a series of posts regarding my childhood.

comparison

 

I live in a province so birds and plants are very common. I guess that is why most of my drawings in my sketchbooks are about landscapes, animals and plants.

I don’t think I’ve improved much in terms of drawing ability considering I stopped midway through high school. Maybe I’ll tell the story behind why I stopped drawing and writing at some point in my life in futures posts.

Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained

I won’t say grand things like, “If I give my best, I’ll accomplish everything.” But by trying my best, I give myself a fighting chance to HAVE SOMETHING rather than giving up and attesting to the fact that I was born NOTHING and will end up as NOTHING.

Senses tingling with  sweat as cold as ice and a little bit tachycardic is how I would describe myself right about now.

I finally clicked the much anticipated “Publish” button on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and am still waiting for their notification that’ll say that my book is ready, live and available on their store. The wait is killing me.

The mixed feelings this experience is giving me is really nauseating. And until this very moment wherein I am writing this blog entry, I’m still not sure if what I did was a good decision but what I am sure of is that this is something I really wanted to do.

Unlike the main character in my book, I am unable to see what lies ahead of me. With that said, there is no other option for me but to charge forward with all my might and hope for the best.

Wise Words from a Cat

Pokémon_Meowth_art

“We do have a lot in common. The same air, the same Earth, the same sky. Maybe if we started to look at what’s the same instead of looking at what’s different… well, who knows?”

As I was watching the first Pokemon movie with my four year-old cousin to help familiarize him with the English language, the line above really hit me.

It was quoted from a character named Meowth, one of the mainstay villains of the show Pokemon. Yes, he is a villain but if ever you’ve watched an episode or two of the long-running anime that started during the year 1997, you’ll more or less know that he’s more of a comic-relief than a serious threat.

The quote itself was deep yet simple enough to be understood by children and heavy enough to be remembered for many years. And as I analyzed the said line, I wondered what will happen if everyone on Earth, especially our leaders, would just learn from this cat and take what he said into heart.

Well, according to Meowth, “Who knows?”, right?

Wattpad Experience

wattpad

Three more months and I’d be celebrating my first anniversary at writing over at Wattpad.com.

For those of you who doesn’t know, Wattpad is an online community centered around people who write and people who read. No matter who you are and where you’re from, as long as you have an internet connection, you can write about anything you want and, if you’re the “reader” type, I can assure you that you’ll find something that will interest you.

To cut the long story short, my Wattpad experience has been pleasing so far. With an almost 40,000 reads for my serial-novel, I now have my fair share of followers and I don’t intend to brag but, though I update in a very erratic manner (everyday to once a month), I always enter the top rankings whenever I update which is nice considering the hundred thousand novels already posted on the site. My highest ranking ever was #22 and #25 in the Adventure and Fiction genres respectively.

Sadly, like any other good thing, Wattpad also has its off side. Though I didn’t have the same experience, I saw many user complain about how impossible for their story to be included in the rankings as being excluded from the rankings means you’d have to wait for days to see your story have more than ten reads.

Being in the rankings kind of seems like a paradox. Once you get in it, you’ll have a descent readership following and whenever you post a new story, these “followers” would most likely read it, giving you a super boost to propel your story in the rankings. The only thing that made me reach the rankings in no time was because I’ve made a lot of friends over the internet who were more than willing to give my story a try. Thank God for my very supportive anime community buddies!

Another thing that was bothering me about the site were the uncalled for comments. These were something I experienced.

It would make a lot of sense if the hate comments I got were directed towards my grammar but no, people most of the time complained of the most absurd things. My story involved magic and they were complaining about the use latin words for spells because, according to them, no one uses them anymore. I just left them to their own devices since a read’s a read and every comment was important to maintain my rankings.

All in all, Wattpad is a great place. Its upside outweighs the downside by a great degree. Where else can you post your stories that has a lot of existing active readers and writers? And with a pretty simple interface that let’s you interact with a lot of people, whether you are a writer or reader, it really is an amazing place.

Actually, as a personal note, I am very grateful for Wattpad. The readers and friends I’ve met on the site gave me all the courage I need to push through with the publishing of my first book which would be out on Amazon.com in a couple of days.

So if you’re a budding and aspiring writer like me and can take LOTS of harsh comments, Wattpad is definitely the place to be. Trust me, I’ve tried almost every other site.

My Insane Addiction: Anime!

Image

Anime, you’ve probably heard of the word one way or another. It may be from an ad, a neighbor, friend, son, daughter, siblings or, in extreme cases, your parents. And if you’re not part of the culture then it’s either you belong to the lost ones who can’t bring to sum up what to think or you’re a part of that group that finds Anime as a useless and mindless sect.

In this blog post I’d be running down on the things there is to know about anime. Read on. Who knows, even if you don’t have someone close who is an Anime fan at the moment, maybe soon you’ll have one and find yourself feeling lost and perplexed in our rich culture.

What is anime?

Anime is the abbreviated form of “animation” in Japanese. Technically, it should refer to anything related to animation but outside Japan, people consider it as a special category on its own which pertains to Japanese animation alone.

Image

Most Anime fanatics, Anime Otakus as we like to call ourselves, don’t want to associate anime with the rest of the animation or cartoon industry outside Japan. And for safety reasons, I advise you think the same as well. Otakus can be very aggressive regarding this matter.

True enough, for me at least, there is a big difference between Japanese animation and animation from the rest of the world but I still think animation is animation. *Otaku readers, please spare me the bashing

Ok, we now I know what anime is but what exactly is it?

Leaving its etymology aside, anime as a whole is characterized by plots diverse enough to center on a genius high school boy that was turned back to a small elementary kid to something as insane as an elementary school girl which, near the end of the story, will be found out to be a being capable of altering reality itself. And it’s so visually vibrant and graphically stunning that calling it colorful would be an understatement.

Seriously, with most anime series having characters’ hair color to fill in a color palette, how in the world would you not call it colorful?

Anime is weird!

For one, though Anime Otaku(s), as Japanese would call one who more or less has an unhealthy obsession with something, are very common nowadays, we still have that label as being “weird.”

Image

Who could blame non Anime Otakus? As an otaku, I also find myself to be weird sometimes; I indulge in long hours of watching Anime and collecting action figures to even going as far as cosplaying (putting on costumes of characters) on Anime Conventions which, if I might say, is not cheap!

…But what the heck? I enjoy what I do and don’t see myself quitting in the near future.

Anime is useless!

Useless?? What?!

Most people say that anime is a very bad influence. My parents at some point even banned it inside the house. But truth be told, I am still a decent human being and halfway through with medical school. I think anime is the same with any other literature or media, its effects more or less still depends on the person watching.

Another thing, as much as there are a lot of garbage in anime, there are also a lot of enlightening ones. Take for example these amazing quotes:

“The worst part of being strong is that nobody asks if you’re ok.” –Accelerator of A Certain Scientific Railgun

“Life is basically like a soap bubble. It rides on the wind, flying here and there… and before you realize it – pop! It’s gone. When it’s about to disappear, you think that you could’ve flown higher. But by that time, it’s already too late.” – Sakata Gintoki of Gintama

Image

What do I do to become an “Otaku”?

Start by deciding which anime to watch first. There are a lot of genres to choose from. They have clear cut genres for little boys (shounen), little girls (shoujo), young men (seinen), young women (josei) and many other common ones like mecha, slice of life, school life, harem, etc.

Some genres are written in romanized Japanese so if you’re new, you might not know what they are. Feel free to ask me questions by leaving comments or messages.

But, guys, before you start calling yourself or dreaming of becoming an Otaku, let me tell you that it is not a very light word. As I’ve already said, it is what Japanese people call someone who has an unhealthy obsession with something which often results to being withdrawn from society. In Japan they even go as much as bullying and calling otakus as rejects of society.

Image

If you live outside Japan, you’ll probably be okay. In fact, most Otakus outside Nippon proudly declares they are a member of the cult.

I’m an otaku and I hate it. How do I change?

If you really believe you are one, I’m sorry to say that I don’t have the answer. There were several times when I wanted to outgrow this obsession but, sadly, all attempts were futile.

Maybe find other hobbies?? Ok, fine. That was a lame suggestion but… I failed remember? Now go find a psychiatrist.

That’s all folks. I know I said all aspects of Anime but I decided that anime is too big to explain in one blog post so I decided I would exclude everything about manga, gaming and cosplay. Don’t worry. I promise to talk about these things next time.

Ming the cat

Everyone in our house loves dogs. There was even a time when me and my other three siblings had one each.We always had dogs for pets as long as I can remember so, maybe, you could just imagine how my family reacted when my youngest brother brought home a female kitten, a very sick one to be exact, seven years ago.

My mom told my brother to return the sick kitten back to the streets as she had very bad experiences with my grandmother’s cats. Mom told us that they steal food from the table, can’t be trained and ruin clothing.

After so much drama which included my brother crying outside our house for a long time saying my mother had no heart, we ended up keeping the kitten.

At that time, we didn’t want to name the said kitten. In our community, cats are known to leave and never come back from their owners’ houses so we clearly didn’t want to get attached. Though that was our plan, it was hard to treat it like an object while we nursed it so we naturally nicknamed her Ming.

We didn’t expect much from Ming. Everyone assumed her to die within days and we just wanted her to feel comfortable before it happens. She was really sick and barely ate but she fought bravely and after a few weeks, she was able to run again.

Ming was simply a huge bundle of joy. She would chase after the most random stuff, hug our feet for no apparent reason and was so clingy that she cried whenever she was left alone.

If you’d exclude the scratching of curtains and bedding, she wasn’t anything like how my mother generalized cats. She had her own spot in our backyard where she pooped and never climbed on top of the table to snatch food and she even solved our rat problem which costed us two refrigerators already. My mother and sister didn’t like how she would leave headless rats and birds at our feet whenever she killed one which was rather cute in my opinion.

Because of our good experience with Ming, we started adopting more and more cats. It didn’t turn out to be a good idea though. She turned out to be very possessive and even got sick when she wasn’t the center of attention anymore because of the new cats.

That was when she became really attached to me. We spent more time together because we both enjoyed looking at my aquariums and birds. Everyone said that she was just waiting for the right moment to kill them but they were wrong. Ming is one of the smartest animals I have ever met. Though she often hunts down wild birds, she doesn’t hurt my parrots who freely fly inside the house and would even defends them against feral cats. It’s as if she naturally knew what was important. I even strongly believe she understands my emotions and does things according to them.

The moment I went to college and, eventually, medical school, Ming and I never lost our bond even though I only visit every three months or so. Whenever I’m home, she still prefers to sleep and spend time with me rather than my with my mom and dad who takes care of her now. I didn’t expect that because most people say that cats only remember something for seven days.

I’m writing this blog because as I called for her earlier when she was on the second floor, she missed the balcony and plummeted to the ground with a loud bang. She didn’t move for a few minutes and the thought of her dying scared the hell out of me. She really is a dear friend who I would mourn for days.

She’s okay now. As a matter of fact, she’s currently in my lap as write this.

PS: I’m trying really hard not to show her the contents of this blog as she might feel conceited and self-important. No, just joking. The truth is that I don’t want her to look at the computer in fear she might learn how to use the computer for world domination.