VIRTUAL REALITY

In the past few weeks, I’ve been acquainted with the Google Cardboard. A Virtual Reality (VR) viewer that allows ordinary people like me to experience 360 videos. But this isn’t just any ordinary product. Once I tried to work it out, I was so amazed. Wherever my head turned either left, right, up or down, I saw a new reality. From Paris, France to the deepest parts of the jungle, I felt like I was there! There was even a rollercoaster VR app that allows people to experience how riding a roller coaster feels like when you see it.

My brother was the one who bought the Google Cardboard, and it was funny because he too was more amazed than I was. In the United States, the price would be less than the price here in the Philippines. Although, there are other VR viewers that are really catered to one’s comfort in watching such as the ones made of plastic and the ones with built in speakers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAphoto from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/95/Assembled_Google_Cardboard_VR_mount.jpg

The google cardboard looked like this. You place your smartphone on the front to where the lens of the google cardboard are aligned. The video on your phone would have two divisions for the two eyes.

maxresdefaultphoto from https://i.ytimg.com/vi/gduaSN2o87Y/maxresdefault.jpg

What is cool about this is that the world nowadays is truly advancing in technology. The future is here! Who would’ve known that us humans would invent something as awesome as the VR  in just a few years? Virtual reality is commonly used in the gaming industry, as well as the media. There are even music videos that are filmed 360 degrees. VR gives a fresh feeling in the tech industry, and of course, there’s more to come in the future years. We humans would just have to keep on becoming curiouser and curiouser.

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Letters and Wishes

Forever and a day

“My dear, my dear” he said to me,
“Please give this to my love
For in here is a memory
I long for her to have

I beg you now, please pass it on
This is my last goodbye
It cannot wait, not ’til the dawn”
And soon he closed his eyes

Today’s my last, today I fall
But know it’s not the end
It’s time to answer heaven’s call
It’s time I leave and wend

My love for you was always true
Now, in your heart I’ll stay
Believe me, I will wait for you
Forever and a day

*This poem, admittedly, was the cheesiest I’ve ever written (I was around 14 when I wrote it). I did this in an English class back when I was a sophomore.

Wish

He was but a child, at the age of five
The moment he first saw the star
So he wished and hoped it would give tonight
Some peace from all their shouts and strife

He was fifteen, no more hope to be seen
In the place he had once called “home”
He looked up at the sky
Saw a gleaming white light
That shined over the miles and miles he’d roamed

Twenty-five years old, out there in the cold
Still wishing, dreaming, asking “Why?”
Wishing everything will be alright
And dreaming of a better life
He tries to look and see beyond
The haze that’s clouded his mind
Just like the darkness
His life had become
But instead he sees a glow
Out there, in the distance
And this time he decides
To think, think twice
And so he looked away

At age thirty-five, now living his life
And looking back at the things that have gone
That grown-up boy sees the same old star
Yet after all that’s been said and done,
After all the years that passed,
Only then did he realize
There are just two things wishes could become

A mere fantasy
Or reality

Moral of the story (poem)? A wish is not enough. A wish stays a wish until you do something yourself to make it come true and make it happen.

*Another poem I made in an English class, 2 years later.

Written by ZM

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Sam Smith: The Singer of Lonely Hearts

 

The name Sam Smith currently carries a massive weight in the world of the Pop Music Industry. His songs were greatly popularized as “songs for the brokenhearted” as they talk about the feeling of pain and depression of having an unrequited love, or a failed relationship. Sam’s debut album “In the Lonely Hour”, garnered a multitude of awards in the Grammy’s of 2015, namely, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, and Album of the Year. This established Sam Smith as one of the biggest breakout artists in the history of the music industry.

Sam previously worked in a pub in London before he became an artist and rose to fame in 2015. He claims that he had a failed relationship with a man, and all of his songs are about the man he broke up with.  “I want to thank the man who this record is about, who I fell in love with last year. Thank you so much for breaking my heart because you got me four Grammys!”, Sam stated during his speech after accepting his awards at the Grammy’s.  The power in his voice and the relevance of the message of the songs to today’s society may be the reason for his success. His song “Not in That Way” speaks of a one-sided love, or the pain of loving and not being loved. His song “I’m Not the Only One” speaks of an unfaithful lover who finds happiness with a person outside of the relationship. One of Sam’s most popularized songs is “Stay With Me” which talks about holding on to a love that was only meant to last temporarily.

Today, Sam is recognized as one of the biggest icons in the music industry. Having garnered numerous awards in the past, the future looks bright for him. His songs remains relevant among people who are looking for consolation after heartbreak. Sam Smith continues not only captivate listeners with its sound, but its message that people can relate to.

 

 

 

 

 

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Selene

By CDA

As the celestial sun comes down

The mighty chariot takes its flight

I fly with my stallions across the town

Taking my place as mother of the night

 

Oh Luna, the Romans called!

Your beauty astounds the heaven

God and mortal alike are enthralled

Admired and envied by a lot of women

 

Despite the long list of admirers and lovers

My heart belongs to only a shepherd, a hunter

Endymion, our love is everlasting and forever

Couldn’t take the thought of you gone

So I put you in an eternal slumber

Along with our fifty daughters,

We will be together forever

 

Daughter of Hyperion and Theia

Sister to Helios, the sun, and Eos, the dawn

Together we rule the skies

With the clouds and the stars as our pawn

 

I am Selene

Goddess of the Moon

Mother of the Night

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Not Tomorrow Yet (TWD S6E12)

By CDA

Love. Action. Blood. Three words to summarize the whole episode of The Walking Dead which was released just yesterday. With only four episodes remaining in this season (cue crying), there’s no doubt that every second will keep the fans on the edge of their seats (we hope so), especially with the new characters introduced plus a new villain who has yet to appear. (maybe we’ll finally get a glimpse next week?)

Going back to yesterday’s episode titled “Not Tomorrow Yet”, the 12th one this season, it seems that love is in the air (along with the stench of rotting flesh?), with a few kisses here and some flirty I Love Yous there. And of course, with love comes the inevitable heartbreak. (brown dingleberries, anyone?)

Mind you, this is just like a quarter of the episode, because what’s TWD without some blood and action, right? The episode revolved around the group’s attack on the so-called Saviors headed by the bad (very bad) guy Negan. With the help of two members from Hilltop Colony, a community they’ve just recently discovered and apparently the suppliers of the Saviors, they were able to successfully invade Negan’s compound and kill almost all of the Saviors because that was the deal (part of) right? To save one Hilltop member and kill Negan and the Saviors in exchange for food. (what a trade) And just when you think you can finally let out a sigh of relief, a walkie talkie comes in bringing some bad (sad) news.

Below are 10 very interesting things that happened this episode that made me squeal, shout, hide behind a pillow, shed a tear (or two), made my stomach hurt and just shattered my heart into pieces (in chronological order):

 

1. Weeds or Wildflowers

What could be better than Carol opening the episode, all smiles while distributing beet and acorn flavored cookies among the Alexandrians?  Let’s not forget the background music.

 

2. Cookie Monster

I was wondering who the lucky one was, getting just one cookie from Carol. Turns out he really was lucky, getting a cookie even on his deathbed. Carol remembered the little cookie monster, Sam! Isn’t that just sweet?

 

3. “You’re a mom.”

Harmless flirting turned honest feelings confession! As if Tobin’s words weren’t sweet enough, they sealed it with a kiss! You go, Mommy Carol!

 

4. Berry Heartbreaking

“When I first met you, I thought you were the last woman on earth. You’re not.” Ouch. It seems that Abe here cannot control his feelings anymore. But to say those things to a woman, and not just any woman but your, I believe, now ex-girlfriend? Harsh. Very harsh. I think Rosita deserves a better explanation than dingleberries being brown.

 

5. Three-word Blurt Alert

And of course, Tara just happened to blurt out the three magical words to her lovey-doctor, Denise! Unfortunately, she won’t say it back until Tara gets back from the attack and her two-week supply run with Heath.

 

6. Happy Birthday

I wonder who’s birthday was it? Well I guess we wouldn’t know now that the guy got his throat slit.

 

7. First Kill

I guess Glenn isn’t too innocent anymore. Dare I say it, Rick (and his plans) took the remaining innocence in his body. And his reaction is just heartbreaking, especially after taking care of Heath’s target, sparing him from the dirty job of killing people in their sleep.

 

8. Bloody Gallery

I’m not sure what hurts more, seeing those pictures of people with their brains gushing out of their heads, or seeing Glenn looking at those pictures. Either way, I don’t want to talk about what it’s trying to tell us. I refuse to believe it’s going to happen. I mean, we just got Glenn back!

 

9. Fire Alarm

The fire alarm that started the action. Finally, a fair fight!

 

10. Walkie Talkie

What a miracle! No casualties after an intense fight? Simply amazing. Then comes the guy in Daryl’s motorcycle with his walkie talkie bringing some bad, sad news. I guess I spoke too soon.

 

Bonus: Morgan Construction

Towards the end of the episode, we can see Morgan building what appears to be a jail cell, maybe like the one he stayed in at Eastman’s house. Who’s he gonna use it for though? Himself? Or maybe it’s for Rick. He needs the whole “Life is precious” mantra more than anyone else.

 

*Disclaimer: GIFs used were obtained from Google and pictures used were screenshots from the episode.

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Rising High

By CDA

Another flashback poem written by mini me to show my appreciation and gratitude to my parents.

 

You looked at me with love

From the very first moment you saw me

As you thanked God above

Your eyes were filled with glee

 

 My first footsteps, my first word

You never missed any of those

“Mama, Dada!” The cheery voice you heard

“Oh my! How fast she grows!”

 

“Wake up, wake up! Time for school!” you say

I ask for five minutes while you prepare for my day

You accompany me and guide the way

Leave my safety to strangers, much to your dismay

 

Rains and thunders, here they come

Even the darkest days you make it blossom

You hold me throughout the whole night

Whispering “Everything’s going to be alright.”

 

Tears filled your eyes

As another year passes by

Time will come when we have to say our goodbyes

But our love will continue rising high

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The Academy Awards 2016: A Blind Prediction

     Movies have become a staple of modern living for as long as I can remember, which isn’t that long, mind you. Whether you are into tear-jerking dramas, rib-splitting comedies, heart-stopping thrillers, mind-blowing Sci-Fi or the other genres I forgot to mention, movies have definitely provided us with countless hours of entertainment. However every once in a while, there comes a movie that brings something astonishing to the already colorful history of movies. “The Academy Awards” also known as “The Oscars” held every year makes sure that these movies, who have gone above and beyond in the world of film, don’t go unrecognized. “The Academy Awards” has successfully cemented itself as one of the most prestigious awards ceremony that many anticipate annually. The outcome of this year’s Oscars seem to be a tough one to predict, especially since I haven’t watched almost all of them at the time of writing this. To give you an idea of how slow I am in knowing the competition, I’m still catching up on watching the Oscar nominated movies from 2012 up until 2014. The basis for many of my predictions shall be a combination of instinct, the reviews of popular websites (i.e. Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic) and personal taste. I will focus only on the major awards such as ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Director’, etcetera so awards like ‘Best Make-Up and Hairstyling’ and ‘Best Sound Editing’ will just be briefly mentioned at the end of my prediction. Without further ado, here are my predictions for the 2016 Academy Awards.

Major Awards
Best Actor and Actress: Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett
Actor
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Matt Damon, The Martian
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl

Actress
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
Charlotte Rampling, 45 Years
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

     I am placing all my faith on Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett to win as Best Actor and Best Actress respectively. Both DiCaprio and Blanchett are no strangers to the Academy Awards as both of them have been nominated several times in the past few years. Leo already won the ‘Best Actor’ award at the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild for his work in ‘The Revenant’, so I would be highly disappointed if he doesn’t win a third one at the Oscars. The four other nominees are quite new to the Oscar game but all of them have shown their acting chops in their past roles, such as Bryan Cranston as Walter White in ‘Breaking Bad’ and Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in ‘The Theory of Everything’. The same can be said for Cate Blanchett as she is an Academy Award veteran and much of her competition is fresh blood but with an exception in the form of Jennifer Lawrence. J Law has already won Best Actress at the 2012 Oscars for her work in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, but I still believe that Cate Blanchett will win the Oscar this year.

Best Supporting Actor and Actress: Mark Ruffalo and Kate Winslet
Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Big Short
Tom Hardy, The Revenant
Mark Ruffalo, Spotlight
Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Supporting Actress
Rooney Mara, Carol
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Rachel McAdams, Spotlight
Alicia Vikander, The Danish Girl
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

     I’m placing my bet on Mark Ruffalo mainly because he is one of my favorite celebrities not only because of his acting but also because of his funny and charming personality outside of the studio. I suspect that his superb acting skills in ‘Spotlight’ will make him take top spot in the Best Supporting Actor category. Although his competition is tough, with the likes of Christian Bale, who won an Oscar in this category last 2010, and cinema veteran Sylvester Stallone, my faith in Mark Ruffalo won’t be stirred. No stranger to the Academy Awards, I have faith that Kate Winslet will win the Best Supporting Actress category. Her competition in this category, much like Cate Blanchett in the Best Actress category, are newcomers in the Academy Awards, but they can still pose as a big threat for that exact reason.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay): The Big Short (Adapted) and Straight Outta Compton (Original)
Adapted Screenplay
The Big Short
Brooklyn
Carol
The Martian
Room

Original Screenplay
The Bridge of Spies
Ex Machina
Inside Out
Spotlight
Straight Outta Compton

     The main reason I predicted ‘The Big Short’ to win in the Best Adapted Screenplay category is because of its star studded cast. With the likes of Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in the movie, I suspect the writing and dialogue to be interesting and entertaining. I also watched the trailer for all the movies, and I thought that ‘The Big Short’ had the most interesting story. On the other hand, in terms of original screenplay, I think Straight Outta Compton will win. The general premise of the movie, which focuses on the lives of rappers, is definitely one I haven’t seen a lot of. For me, compared to the other nominees, Straight Outta Compton is the one most deserving of the win in this category.

Best Cinematography: The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Carol (Ed Lachman)
Mad Max: Fury Road (John Seale)
The Revenant (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Sicario (Roger Deakins)
The Hateful Eight (Robert Richardson)

     Basing my prediction of the winner in the Best Cinematography category off of the trailers of the movie is tough, since I haven’t watched the whole movie to completely judge its cinematography, but after minutes of watching the trailers, I think that The Revenant will win in this category. The atmosphere and mood of the movie is shot masterfully by the movie’s cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Emmanuel Lubezki has won in this category before, in his work for Gravity (2013) and Birdman (2014) and I don’t see this year being any different.

Best Directing: The Revenant (Alejandro G. Iñárritu)
Spotlight (Adam McKay)
Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller)
The Revenant (Alejandro G. Inarittu)
Room (Lenny Abrahamson)
Spotlight (Tom McCarthy)

     Alejandro G Iñárritu may be a fairly new and unknown director but he has shown his prowess in cinema as he won the Oscar for the Best Director and the Best Picture for his work on ‘Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)’ at the last year’s awards ceremony. I have to admit, I have never heard of him until the Oscars ceremony last year, but now he has shown the world of film that he is indeed a director that should not be taken lightly. His work on ‘Birdman’ is one I definitely enjoyed and I do believe he will continue to delight me with ‘The Revenant’. From the many reviews and trailers I have seen, it looks like Mr. Iñárritu will win once again in this category.

Best Animated Feature Film: Inside Out
Anomalisa
Boy & The World
Inside Out
Shaun the Sheep Movie
When Marnie Was There

     Being the only movie I watched in this category, I predict Inside Out to be winning this category. The movie is not only beautifully animated but the story is also wonderfully written. Inside Out’s story is expertly and intelligently played out and the art style is captivating. The movie’s focus on the emotions of the main character is done masterfully by Disney/Pixar. I do believe that Inside Out is the rightful winner of the Best Animated Feature Film category.

Best Picture: The Revenant
The Big Short
Bridge of Spies
Brooklyn
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Room
Spotlight

     As I have previously explained in my prediction for the Best Directing or Best Director, Mr. Iñárritu’s skills at directing will lead to his movie winning Best Picture as well. Much like ‘Birdman’ last year, ‘The Revenant’ will win Best Picture because of the coherent and deep storytelling as well as the gorgeous cinematography. Although the competition this year is pretty tight with movies like ‘Spotlight’, ‘The Big Short’, and ‘The Martian’, ‘The Revenant’ will still come out on top.

     The rest of my predictions will not divulge further into detail as I consider the rest to be minor awards but still significant in the world of cinema.

Minor Awards
Best Documentary (Feature)
Amy
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
What Happened, Miss Simone?
Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
Body Team 12
Chau, beyond the Lines
Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
Last Day of Freedom

Best Film Editing
The Big Short
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Foreign Language Film
Embrace of the Serpent
Mustang
Son of Saul
Theeb
A War

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
Mad Max: Fury Road
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared
The Revenant

Best Original Score
Bridge of Spies
Carol
The Hateful Eight
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Original Song
“Earned It,” Fifty Shades of Grey
“Manta Ray,” Racing Extinction
“Simple Song #3,” Youth
“Til It Happens To You,” The Hunting Ground
“Writing’s On The Wall,” Spectre

Best Production Design
Bridge of Spies
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant

Best Short Film (Animated)
Bear Story
Prologue
Sanjay’s Super Team
We Can’t Live without Cosmos
World of Tomorrow

Best Short Film (Live Action)
Ave Maria
Day One
Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Shok
Stutterer

Best Sound Editing
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Sicario
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Sound Mixing
Bridge of Spies
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Visual Effects
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Costume Design
Carol
Cinderella
The Danish Girl
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant

     So here it is folks, all of my predictions for the upcoming Academy Awards. Do you agree with my predictions? Were there some predictions that don’t sit well with you? Let me know in the comments below!

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Defining a Dream from when I was 13

Written in 2012, revised in 2016

“A dream is a wish your heart makes…”

Everyone has dreams of course, and these dreams aren’t just the little bits of thoughts our mind creates when we’re asleep. These dreams, I believe, are our barely noticeable signals of the subconscious minds that gives us the signs for our next actions and aims. People say that when we believe, our dreams will come true. Believe in what actually? We believe in ourselves so that we may have the urge and the willingness to have the guts in taking risks and recognize the signals our dreams show in making us move forward. Although, believing in one’s self is just the first step in reaching the aims and the wishes of people from deep inside themselves.

Our lives are full of mysteries and surprises. The unexpected is always expected to happen, and the expected would most of the time be doubted when it happens. This could just be one of the reasons why we’re needing a high dosage of positivity and calmness of mind. Continue reading

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Book Recommendations: Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

        For all the book readers out there who has loved the Hunger Games and Harry Potter, the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas is one of the best young adult fantasy book series I recommend you reading. If you want a reading experience full of action, adventure, a touch of romance, power, magic and mystery, these books will give you all of that because of its well written plot and amazing characters. From the moment I saw this book in a bookstore last early 2015, I knew I had to immediately buy it because it was something that completely grabbed my attention. As I searched Goodreads for some of its reviews and information, all of the books in this series got a high average of 4-5 star ratings. I can completely agree as a reader who’ve read it. The fourth book even won the Goodreads Readers’ Choice Award for Best young adult fantasy.

This book had me liking it even more.

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The Throne of Glass series revolves around an assassin named Celaena Sardothien, an 18 year old girl who was sent in a salt mine slave labor camp. You may think she might be weak seeing that she went there but she indeed isn’t for she was known as Adarlan’s assassin. She was then chosen by the Crown Prince to fight in a competition in order to be the King’s Champion, the personal assassin. As she journeys through the rigorous training and death defying tasks, she finds the secrets the glass castle holds and the astonishing truths about her past. Being the bad-ass Celaena is, we follow her story on how she became one of the most feared and cunning women in her world.

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The author, Sarah J. Maas mentioned that Cinderella inspired her to write this series. The thought of “What if Cinderella was an assassin?” came into her mind and sprung out an even more fascinating idea of a book. These books aren’t mere retellings. They have their own uniqueness to the captivating plot of the story. Written in a third person point of view, Maas’ writing gives a significant clarity and suspense in reading. Also, we follow some of the interesting lives of the characters. The book series is a young adult fantasy series perfect for those who want a touch of a femme fatale feel, a range of many fantasy creatures like the Fae, and a lot of awesome characters with abilities or powers.

With five books including the compiled novellas published, the series only has short time left ’til it’ll have its final ending. Two more books are to be published and read by the many fans of Celaena Sardothien’s epic story. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to have a great reading experience because this book series is one of the best in its genre.

Written by Kamyl Reyes

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My Spotify Playlist

 

by JC Benavidez

After every tiring day, I look forward to the car ride home when I can listen to my favorite music in my Spotify playlist. As some people might know, Spotify is a handy application for people who want to download their favorite songs legally without having to buy them individually. Having Spotify is similar to gaining access to an infinitely large library of songs that requires nothing but an internet connection to use. It is probably the best application for all people who just want to listen to their favorite songs on their phone.

There is a feature in Spotify that enables me to handpick my favorite songs and place them under a specific playlist of my liking. My playlist in Spotify features a variety of genres. Pop, Urban, Classical, Rock, Indie, and a few more. I add new songs as time goes by.

Among all the genres, I often listen to Alternative Rock. This is because of my favorite band, Panic! At The Disco. Their songs can give me both happy and sad vibes. Their song “Always” is a favorite of mine because of its caressing and endearing lyrics.

 

 

 

Under Pop, John Legend takes the most number of songs in my playlist. His powerful voice gives me the impression that he can sing forever without losing pitch. His song “Everybody Knows” is one I frequently revisit on my Spotify sessions.

Under the urban category, I listen to Eminem, Witt Lowry, and twenty one pilots. I consider Witt Lowry’s “Kindest Regards” a lyrical masterpiece that is more than deserving of a listen as its words capture the emotions of Witt Lowry himself.

Some of my classical songs are from the great Luciano Pavarotti. “Nessun Dorma” and “La Donna e Mobile” make the hair on my arms stand every time I listen to them. His voice is truly heaven for the ears.

Up to this day, these songs are still on repeat each time I use Spotify. Nevertheless, I am still expanding my playlist and adding songs of different kinds to give my playlist more variation. I strongly recommend that all people should give them a listen, for they are nothing less than magical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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