Sheepish and Sorry…

So I sign in to my WordPress account, for the first time in a few days, with my head bent low and my proverbial tail hanging ashamedly between my legs. I haven’t been blogging at the rate that I should be, and the statistics of my daily hits definitely show it.

The first tip most people give to bloggers for “how to increase blog traffic” and “how to make your blog a success” is: POST OFTEN. The first tip most people give to writers for “how to become successful” and “how to perfect your craft” is: WRITE EVERY DAY.

And here I am, failing at two of my most important roles.

I am a writer, and dream of being successful. I view this blog as the best way to get my voice heard by as many people as possible. But I’m having trouble sticking with it.

Being in the midst of the most important semester of my education so far is daunting, stressful, and time-consuming. The pressure is on to get top grades to seal the deal with my conditional college acceptance.

Attempting to find an apartment 2,315 miles away from my current location isn’t an easy task. Trying to convince landlords that I am a trustworthy tenant when they can’t look at my face is difficult too.

Figuring out how much my daily life is going to cost puts pressure on me (because I have no money) and my parents (who are trying to save it).

Pending conferences which will greatly enhance my prospects for a good journalism career require extra time spent on schoolwork to get ahead,  so that I can attend them.

Writing every day, and moreover, polishing up posts which can be read by anyone in the world at any time, has been pushed to the bottom of the To-Do List. My role as a student must remain at the top.

So for letting down any regular readers, I am sorry. I will post new material as soon as I can. And to those who continue to stop by, thank you.

I have pages of ideas for posts, and I plan on bringing them to fruition ASAP. I take this blog very seriously, as I consider it a means to showcase my writing ability, not just some casual hobby.

I feel bad for putting my writing aside, but am trying to balance everything so that I can bring it back into the immediate picture. I will fight writer’s block and dig through myself until I find creativity, so that I can keep Elilai Petals alive and pinging.

Thank you. =)

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March 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm 2 comments

Grouchy about the Oscars…

So it’s Oscar Night. All the celebs are dressed up in designer names, wearing jewelry worth millions, and posing for hundreds of picture-hungry photographers.

I think it’s ridiculous. All of it. Sure, these people deserve their accolades. However, I think their award ceremonies (mainly the bit leading up to them) have been blown way out of proportion. I mean, seriously, who gives a crap what they’re wearing? Why can’t they be allowed to just make their movies, dress nicely (not extravagantly), go accept their award, and be done with it? The running time of the televised awards night could be cut down immensely if these wannabe commentators stopped asking “What are you wearing?!” and got right down to business.

Think about the electricity, energy, and money that could be saved if they cut out the clothing chatter. And don’t get me started on how much money could be saved if such crazy amounts weren’t paid for the dresses, the tuxes, the bags, and the earrings.

I bid them all good luck. I just wish the media would focus more on their talent than on “who” they’re wearing, and how “hot or not” they look.

http://oscarramblings.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/oscars.jpg (Thanks for the pic!)

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March 7, 2010 at 9:46 pm 5 comments

500 hits!

Hey readers,

Just checked the total number of hits Elilai Petals has gotten, and it’s currently at a bit over 500. I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who have stopped by and who continue to check for more posts.

I know 500 hits in one month is nothing to bloggers who get thousands of views every day, but I see it as a milestone. This blog means a lot to me and my writing career, and I’m doing my best to promote it. I’m hoping the exposure for my writing I gain through it will open many doors for me in the future.

Thanks again to you “veteran” readers for your support and comments, and to all you newcomers, thanks for stopping by! I welcome your feedback.

Here’s to 500 more hits!

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March 1, 2010 at 9:13 pm 1 comment

Thanks to a Barely-There Skirt

“She was asking for it.” How often do we women cringe in disgust at the sight or sound of that phrase?

Generally, it is used by a male rapist in his defense. For the longest time, I considered this statement to be one of the most blatant expressions of how inconsiderate, selfish, rude, cruel, and appalling (some!) men can be. Until recently, when I began to ponder this “defense” a bit more.

Now don’t get me wrong ladies. I haven’t abandoned you; I’m not a traitor. I still believe there are a lot of men out there who use this statement as a pathetic and delusional excuse for their abhorrent behaviour. And by no means do I think it is ever okay for a person to rape somebody for any reason, let alone because he/she was “asking for it”.

However, what I have come to stand by is the notion that we women need to be very aware of the image we are portraying to the world. When you walk out of the house, what does everyone else see?

It takes 30 seconds to make a first impression and more than 50% of that first impression is visual. Think about it. After 30 seconds of looking, what will other people think of you?

To me, this kind of stuff is common sense, and yet I see girls and women attracting what I consider to be the wrong kind of attention all the time. It seems that “common sense” is really a rare and precious commodity.

I can’t help but wonder what the hell is going through a girl’s mind when I see her strutting her stuff in a dress that just manages to hang over her cheeks (no, not the ones on her face). Or when 13-year-olds turn up at school with a skirt well above the regulation length (to the knee) and with slutty shades of eyeshadow caked on their lids. I suppose these girls are “looking for attention in the way that seems easiest because they’re missing something at home” and all that jazz. And while I’m sure their parents are largely to blame for their risque attire and aloof attitude, I do not believe they suffice as a complete excuse. There are plenty of people out there who come from bad backgrounds and are actually exemplary individuals. These girls need to get it into their heads that attention (and good attention for that matter) can be achieved via many other, better methods.

Now just to reel myself in a little, as this is a topic I can discuss for hours, let me get back to the main theme at hand: “She was asking for it.” First of all, to those who’ve got the common sense down pat, congrats. But I feel I must address those who haven’t quite got it yet.

Ladies, when you wear a micro, micro, micro miniskirt and push up all the cleavage you can muster, how can you expect to not be noticed by every straight man with a beating heart who walks by?

And if while waiting for a bus you grab a stop sign’s pole as if you’re about to slide down it, what kind of impression do you think people are going to make?

And what do you expect people’s perceptions to be when you lean on a wall like a hooker?

You have got to understand that not every guy out there is kind and sweet and genuinely interested in your personality. And at any rate, how can anyone be interested in your personality when all you do is exhibit your assets?

And rapists?! I mean, they’re getting to be all over the bloody place now! They target people who look like they’re unaware of themselves and their surroundings. Dressing like a ditzy slut makes you look unaware. (Yes, I know that rape is usually an act of violence as opposed to a sexual one, but this isn’t always the case.)

I see these girls in ridiculous outfits all the time, and I think they really need to get their act together. They wear these clothes and have too-flirty attitudes. They don’t understand the implications of leading a man on. If they’re not careful, something awful is going to happen to them, and it’ll all be thanks to a barely-there skirt.


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Photo Sources:

Pic 1: http://letthechurchsay.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/unbranded-denim-micro-mini-skirt-size-10.jpg

Pic 2: http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/lca/lowres/lcan11l.jpg

Pic 3: http://dclips.fundraw.com/thumbdir/excl_ezequiel_jaime_42StripperBikini.jpg

Pic 4: http://rlv.zcache.com/funny_sexy_italian_cartoon_mousepad-p144230822537797815trak_400.jpg

February 23, 2010 at 10:48 pm 10 comments

Snack Time – Part 5: Salt and Mango

Green, unripe mango is another snack I used to love. Haven’t eaten it in ages. I guess that’s because I’m a bit older now. Childhood pastimes rarely seem to have the same effect once you stop being a child – wouldn’t you agree?


Well, about 8, 9 years ago, I thought green mango was yummy, and I jumped at every opportunity to eat it.

We (me and whoever else happened to be eating it with me) would peel the mangoes and then slice them into bite-size or finger-long pieces. (Actually, since I was little, I’d usually ask my dad or some other grown-up to do the slicing for me; my job would be to make the snack’s customary condiment.)


Sometimes it would simply be salt and pepper, (but mostly salt) on the days where we couldn’t find much of the required ingredients. However, on a good day, I would make a saucy paste to dip the mango pieces into. It would be the same dipping sauce as with the ging gong segments, but with a couple of additions. I’d usually make it spicier, there would be a lot less soy sauce (as too much would lead to a salt overdose) and I’d throw in a good bit of table salt to give it that pasty consistency. (Of course this was ridiculously quadrupling our daily sodium intake, but at the time, we didn’t care.)


Once the dipping paste was made, we’d start munching. You would have the crunchy, sour, juicy unripe mango, and the salty, spicy, slightly sour dip coating each bite. Sounds like nothing special, but I loved it. I considered it a treat, because my mum didn’t like the idea of me eating this stuff on a regular basis. “It’s not good for you! That’s too much salt!” she would say.

This was a Micronesian delicacy which I discovered in Yap but found again in Palau. I learned later that my dad had eaten the same thing while growing up in Jamaica. I thought that was pretty cool. It’s amazing what cross-cultural similarities you can find out there; you just have to look for ’em.

Flag of Yap

Flag of Palau

Flag of Jamaica

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Photo Sources:

Green mango: http://images.mylot.com/userImages/images/postphotos/2285458.jpg

Green mangoes: http://www.bohol.ph/pics/large/IMG_1734-W.jpg

Salt and pepper: http://ep.yimg.com/ca/I/usappliance_2083_280199219

Soy sauce: http://forpeoplelikeyou.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/kikkoman-soy-sauce-150ml-s.jpg

Yap flag: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2c/Flag_of_Yap.svg/600px-Flag_of_Yap.svg.png

Palau flag: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/48/Flag_of_Palau.svg/800px-Flag_of_Palau.svg.png

Jamaica flag: http://www.cyec.org.uk/sites/default/files/flags/Jamaica.png

February 22, 2010 at 1:11 pm 6 comments

Snack Time – Part 4: Flesh Off the Bones

“It was so fresh, the muscles were still twitching as I filleted it.” – That’s how fresh my dad (a chef) could get fish in Micronesia. (To all you “Eating animals is inhumane”-people, don’t freak out – no, my dad did not fillet a fish while it was still alive. It was just so recently killed that its muscles hadn’t really caught on to the fact that it was dead yet.)

When my dad worked at the Manta Ray Bay Hotel in Yap, fresh fish was plentiful. Guests were always going out on fishing trips and bringing back their catch for my dad to cook up for them.

Man with Yellowfin Tuna (in Hawaii)

Fishing on the island was done well and responsibly. Fresh fish was almost always available, and on the few occasions when it wasn’t, my dad took the fish dishes off the menu. The frozen version (the only other option if fresh cannot be found) of this delectable animal just does not compare. Frozen fish turns an unnatural colour, it loses its texture, and it starts to smell. Good fish should not smell fishy. Good fish should smell like the sea, like ocean air.

I personally like meat a lot more than fish, but I do have a special place in my belly for raw fish. Sashimi, sushi, all of it!

Tuna sashimi pictured with wasabi

In fact, raw fish accounts for some of my most memorable food experiences, and I’ve never appreciated it as much as I do now, living where fresh, never-frozen fish is hard to find.

One memory in particular stands out: I remember being amongst a group of people who were given the post-fillet corpses of some gorgeous yellowfin tuna (a.k.a Ahi). My dad had expertly removed their supple sides and inedible entrails like a surgeon with a scalpel. He’d sent the fillets up to the kitchen to be chilled (not frozen!) and the guts were saved for the next day’s chum.

Fresh yellowfin tuna loins

Vacuum-packed tuna loin

We’d been left with the bodies of the fish, open on each side, like an incomplete autopsy. Our task was to scrape the remaining flesh off the bones so that the carcasses could be used for making fish stock in the kitchen and the heads given to staff for the making of fish head soup.

Somebody grabbed the necessary condiments (soy sauce, wasabi, ging gong) and we all started scraping. Little pieces of the tuna, dipped in soy and smeared with a bit of wasabi, or just plain with a bit of ging gong juice – wow was that good. Eventually, our fingers got all sticky, and we had bits of fish caked under our fingernails, but that didn’t stop us. We kept going until it was all gone.

Photo Sources:

Man with fish: http://www.fishingkites.co.nz/articles/hawaii-fishing/hawaii-yellowfin-tuna.jpg

Sashimi: http://lh6.ggpht.com/_XhFAm_YiL0Y/SskUrBrUd0I/AAAAAAAACzM/LOCKcG5Zvj4/s800/Sashimi%20Tuna_005.JPG

Tuna loins: http://img.alibaba.com/photo/11239599/Fresh_Yellowfin_Tuna_Loins.jpg

Vacuum-packed tuna: http://www.freshfromtheboat.com/market/images/Tuna%20loin.jpg

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February 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm 4 comments

Snack Time – Part 3: Prawn Farts and Mango Nectar

There was a Filipino shop across the road from our house in Palau. It was run by a transgendered man named Rhoda.

Sunday was usually my dad’s day off, so in the evening I would trot over to Rhoda’s shop, spend $20 US or less, and come back laden with snacks.

We’d then begin what my little sister called our “Beach Party”. At 4-years-old, she seemed to make some kind of connection between going to the beach and eating junk food in her paddling pool while we sat in fold-out chairs. In reality, our “beach” was actually our “backyard” and our “backyard” was a bare concrete floor surrounded by a barbwire fence.

Despite the fact that my parents and I felt like we were living in a prison, my sister couldn’t be happier. She had us, her little pool, and her snacks.

While my parents would sip Filipino San Miguel beer, my sister and I would gulp down Gina Mango Nectar.

This wasn’t mango juice, this was mango nectar. It was sweet and thick and the colour of the sun.


With our mango nectar, my sister would munch on an American or Filipino version of some cheesy, crunchy thing, and I would eat what my dad called Prawn Farts.

Prawn Farts were actually called Prawn Crackers, made by the Filipino food company, Oishi. They are prawn-flavoured chips and each one is shaped like a thin, ridged rectangle. (“Oishi” {pronounced “oy-shee”} by the way, is a Japanese word which means “tasty” or “delicious”.)

Original, prawn flavour.

My personal favourite - spicy flavour!

My dad came up with the idea of calling them Prawn Farts because of how each chip captured an airy version of the essence of a prawn. And I guess if you really think about it, the name kinda fits. Imagine a prawn farting (that is, if prawns can fart); that tiny, resulting air bubble would be the prawn flavour encased in every single one of those chips.

Now before anyone gets offended by my comparison of this snack and the flatulence of a crustacean, let me say that I loved these things and miss being able to buy them. And ever since I left Palau, I’ve had periodic cravings for this weird and wonderful snack.

For more info on snacks from the Philippines, check out Martin Banana’s blog at http://philippinesnacks.wordpress.com/

Photo Sources:

San Miguel: http://wpcontent.answers.com/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/13/San_Miguel_Beer-set.jpg/305px-San_Miguel_Beer-set.jpg

Original flavour prawn crackers: http://filipino-store.com/images/uploads/oishi_orig.JPG

Spicy flavour prawn crackers: http://en.wikipilipinas.org/images/e/e8/OishiPrawns.JPG


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February 16, 2010 at 4:09 pm 6 comments

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