Friday, December 28
My only consolation is that I am pretty excited about a forthcoming project with some masters of ennui. I can't spill the bile yet, we have yet to sit on it and chew. So that will keep me busy, and oh, it'll be exactly a week until judgment day. So tune in for the good news in a week or so.
manual, just smudged illustrations outside the box.
Four hands are better than two, hey. Which reminds me, I need to repossess all the CDs I lent out if I am to at least fill part of the rack. I'm missing videos mostly: Not One Less, The Full Monty, Billy Elliot, Time and Tide, among others. I don't want to lose any of them, because I acquired every single one of them legally -- down with the pirates! I keep tabs now of who I lent which book/CD/magazine to. I already have more than my share of books lent out and never ever returned to me, so I will have to be strict. If you're reading this, and you know who you are, it's time to give them back.
My friends have been talking about all this independence shit: moving out, getting a house on our own, travelling, alone. This is about being your own girl. The plan is to accomplish all these in a couple of years' time. But given the way things are, I cannot see any of this taking shape outside of the drawing board if they can't even start with one six-hour bus trip up north.
This doesn't mean though that my mother doesn't give a flying fig about me and my safety. In the past year or so that I've been traipsing all around the archipelago chasing criminals and the occasional evil spirit, I think she has slowly accustomed to herself that I have to venture out there on my own. I cannot stop her from worrying, because there is cause to worry. She would page me and call my headwriter's house just to check if I really spent the night there because we came back too late from a research trip. But I think I can pretty much take care of myself, and not do stupid things -- as I'm not about to stick my neck out too far.
On that note, I hope Vey would finish editing whatever it is she has to do so we can all hop on the bus. I want to go to Sagada. Badly.
Monday, December 24
I thought my friendly neighborhood magtataho just forgot to put them in. But he knows I like sago in my taho. He's given me my bean curd since I was little. But apparently, sago has been banned. Banned. I want to know whose brilliant idea it is to ban those little chewy stuff. The Department of Health must be the culprit, a move following the flu attacks in several schools a few months back, and I understand that borax -- the substance which makes sago a compact little ball -- even in small doses is dangerous for your well-being. So it is. But they can't; they can't possibly banish sago forever. Paano na ang gulaman at sago? Do I have to resolve to making my own taho and underground sago? This is an abomination! My taho feels kulang and naked. They must find how to make sago without borax. They have to. The collective cultural gustatory memory of Pinoy kids is at stake.
I am not your senorita
I am not from your tribe
in the garden I did no crime
I am not your senorita
I am not from your tribe
if you want inside her
boy you better make her raspberry swirl
things are getting desperate
when all the boys can't be men
everybody knows I'm her friend
everybody knows I'm her man
I'm not your senorita
I don't aim so high
in my heart I do no crime
if you want inside her
boy you better make her raspberry swirl
I know how to charm people and I have a loveable personality. It doesn't quite sound like me. I thought I'd be the carrier single from Strange Little Girls. Hm.
A package with protruding wires was found Sunday in one of the buildings in the Greenhills shopping center in the municipality of San Juan, triggering a bomb scare in the busy shopping district. San Juan police said the box was found at the entrance of the Shoppesville building's second floor around 3:30 p.m.
I rarely ever go to Greenhills, and I'd get lost in there if you leave me alone. Sure the bomb turned out to be a hoax, and it didn't happen when my friend Jonnah and I were there Saturday -- blissfully unaware as we went around trying to accomplish something for the party. Blast those damn hoaxers! Blast you!
The new museum first opened a couple of years ago, in time for the centennial celebrations. To deal with the limited budget the government allocates for them, each of the galleries are sponsored by corporations. There are about three galleries dedicated to the San Diego ship wreck, the diving site at Pandanan reef in Palawan. Of course there are more jars than you can possibly see, but what's interesting are the other things found in shipwrecks. On display there are remnants of meals eaten seven hundred years ago: chicken bones and hazelnuts and the weird looking four breasted jar where they put the condiments and stuff. And I also love the cannons. It makes war a more tangible thing. Ten pounds of steel and stone get hurled at opposing ships. If you get hit on the head, I pity you. And yeah, I also like the ornate sword and the heavy metal breastplates.
(I know this sounds like I'm trivializing stuff, but war really is much simpler if you know who your enemies are, when they are right in front of you and the reality of the ten pound steel ball travelling the trajectory from their boat to your head, or the samurai splitting your skull open is much easier to comprehend than planes crashing against very tall buildings.)
You can also know what the bulol looks like when it's not sitting down, via the tribes of the Philippines section. The burial jars kind of creeped me out though -- the faces were like alien beings and one of them had snarling teeth. Sort of reminds me of that halimaw-in-a-jar movie from when I was little. Halimaw sa Banga scared me so much I wouldn't dare sit next to the huge tapayan in my grandmother's house. Closets are less scarier, believe me.
More fun can be had at the music and languages section. You can try playing air guitar or air kulintang and still make music. Or learn how to say "Magandang umaga/Good morning." in Tausug. Aliw! If there aren't too many people around, you can probably goof around as much as you wish. But this was two years ago or so: The museum people don't hound you from room to room. But then when you finally get out, they'll give you huge grins since they can see everything from their security camera.
It's just a shame that not too many people actually go out and visit the museum though, except for the afore mentioned kids on a field trip and tourists. People would rather go out and breathe the same recycled air inside the shoebox confines of the mall. It's bad enough that people would rather die than pick up a good book to read, and then complain that we're dumbing down. We were mostly the only ones this Sunday at the museum though, if you count out the busload of Korean tourists who burst into the San Diego gallery a second after I said I wanted to be a museum volunteer guide. Instant practice! And it probably won't be too long until you see a picture of me, my friends, a group of Korean guys crowding around a huge cannon floating around in the web. ;p
Btw, the Pamana shop at the ground floor also has lots of interesting items for sale aside from the usual trinkets. Got a pair of really cute brush bears which somebody'll get this Christmas. I really had such a good time there. You people should try to go and check it out. The National Museum of the Filipino People is located along Padre Burgos Street in Luneta, Manila. They're open Tuesdays through Sundays, 9am-5pm. You pay a hundred bucks on weekdays, a discount if you have your student ID. But Sundays are for free. So go! It's in the old Finance building, the huge white one across the skating rink.
Friday, December 14
Saturday, December 8
The gay rams are easier to spot: they have no trouble with expressing sexuality via mounting. Their problem is that no ram wants to play bottom. Lesbian sheep, meanwhile, are apparently wrestling with the “wallflower phenomenon.”
"It's very difficult to look at the possibility of lesbian sheep," Perkins explained, "because if you are a female sheep, what you do to solicit sex is stand still. You don't mount. So, it's very rare that a female sheep would mount another female sheep.”Imagine a party where everyone is just standing around waiting for somebody else to ask them to dance. But nobody has the guts to ask anyone. So they all stand around, preen into their mirrors and smoke grass. And yeah, they’re all vegetarian.
“Maybe there is a female sheep out there really wanting another female," Perkins speculated, "but there's just no way for us to know it."
Via boing boing.
Friday, December 7
If I were a work of art, I would be Piet Mondrian's Composition A.
I am rigidly organised and regimented, although my cold and unapproachable exterior hides a clever way of thinking and a rebellious and innovative nature. A lot of people don't understand me, but I can still affect them on an emotional level.
In other words, I am a mean square bitch. Which work of art would you be? Take the The Art Test.
Thursday, December 6
Monday, December 3
The poster still features the bodies of the original Thai cast, but the heads have been replaced with those of the Pinoy actors who dubbed the dialogue into what I'll presume to be Filipino. The actors include those typically associated with gay roles: Eric Quizon, Wowie de Guzman, Jeffrey Quizon, John Lapus. Aiza Seguerra will provide the voice of the team’s coach. I cannot find a copy online of the altered poster, but you can find the original right here.
Sunday, December 2
In the late afternoon though, it seemed like rain. We had some errands though, which we could have bought outside the shoebox confines of a mall. The prospect of zipping around the city in a cab, in the traffic-infested streets was too much. So the mall. I’ve never seen so many goddamned people in my life. I swear, we could all lead less stressful lives if we just spent some time outdoors for a change. But then again, I think I’m allergic to crowds.
If you have slept with, say, 10 people, and they have each slept with 10 people, that means that you are less than two degrees of separation away from 100 people, four degrees away from 10,000 men, and six degrees away from a whopping 1,000,000 sexual partners.So unless you have been a virgin and plan to be for the rest of your life, you will always be part of somebody else's six degrees. After safe comes safer, but no one way is ever the safest. Just a thought to be considered in our virus filled world.
Oh, I doubt if she'd be reading this, but: Happy birthday, G------, who still refuses to tell me the other letters of her name.
Saturday, December 1
Friday, November 30
Thursday, November 29
“I think it is the responsibility of teachers, and other educators, to evaluate students based on intelligence and competency rather than on regurgitation of textbook mumbo-jumbo. Scientists have taught monkeys, and dolphins, to remember things like sounds, shapes, and words. I think humans, even young ones, should be held to a standard a tad higher.”True, there is a lot to be said for this country’s state of education as well. It’s not so much as a dumbing down, but perhaps a tendency to be more lax, to allow witticisms and the ability to bluff pass as I sign of intelligence. We only need to look at the kind of game show contestants crowding our television sets. You can be sure that each of those contestants had been in school at one point in their lives, and most of them with college degrees. But given questions that require, in the very least, knowledge of trivia and common sense, they all seem to be newly lobotomized.
It can be argued that game shows flourish for fun and the possibility of earning a quick buck, and I don’t think such questions as “discuss and differentiate the quantity theory of insanity as culled from the text of Will Self and Hedda Gabbler” would figure in prime time television. We may complain and wrinkle our noses at all the game shows, the extra sudsy soap operas, dubbed or otherwise, and proclaim all of these as unspeakably jologs. It is. They are made that way because the target market is specifically and undeniably masa.
Jologs is not an invention or a byword but a demographic: It is the product of research, the countless studies and focus group discussions involving that specific audience. No matter how baduy we may think those shows are, as long as a large number of people watch them with zest, and discuss the plot points on the jeepney or in the MRT, their existence will be assured. The advertisers will continue to sell their products to us in between the gaps, just when you’re on the edge of your seat waiting to see who gets voted out, slapped or raised from the dead.
Elsewhere in jologs land: Mark plays with his Jolina dolls and provides us a backstage view of a formerly leather clad Kris Aquino.
Haven’t these guys ever watched a prison movie?
I caught this evening's screening of Sana Pag-ibig Na (1998), directed by Jeffrey Jeturian from a script by Armando Lao. Sana Pag-ibig Na examines the emotional turbulence that rocks a university professor's family when his infidelity is discovered after his death. Whose loyalty should you choose? Who is the better woman -- your mother or your father's mistress? The professor's wife, their son, and the mistress shift allegiances and learn to live with the harsh situation thrust upon them.
Given that the situation is staple melodrama, the actors turn out very fine and understated performances. Nida Blanca's wronged wife is pitiful, angry, mean and then finally at peace with herself. Gerald Madrid manages to convey the confusion and anger he initially felt at his father's betrayal, and then later the guilt for having befriended his father's other woman. And Angel Aquino is surprisingly non-hysterical in a role that could have ended up in complete shout- and slapfests.
Sana Pag-ibig Na was produced on a shoestring budget as part of the pito-pito movie trend from the late 90s. Although critically acclaimed, the movie never really found its audience. It is therefore a bit sad that the theater was only half full, which could be expected since the university has only a handful of classes on Wednesdays.
Wednesday, November 28
Monday, November 26
I think I had that for breakfast somewhere and spit it out. But I'm not too sure. Let's not discuss this so early in the morning.
Sunday, November 25
It occured to me that perhaps I should take up French again. A foreign language allows you to see things from a different perspective. You will have to assume another frame of mind where a particular language and culture makes sense. Abandon all thought in English, and then it makes sense why "au fond de la salle" is "at the back of the room." Of course. An action continuing, yet to be completed requires a form of verb different from that action that's been long over.
But this presents a handicap: We live in a country with so many tongues that does not in a way resemble French or any of the Romance languages. It would be more pragmatic to take up Cebuano or Ilocano and actually understand what's being said around you. But I've long found out that I can never go beyond saying Para and Magkano ito in any of the regional languages. It's always the wrong curling of the vowels, the hard stump of consonants and nasal intonations. I tried to listen to the flow of the words, and attune myself to the rhythm of speech and syntax, and failed miserably in that pursuit. It makes me feel like a stranger, in my own land, with all the conversation going around me and I couldn't understand why everyone was laughing. There is no other choice but to watch the unfolding of arms, the occasional nod, the knotted brows, or the wide smiles.
This is the downside of being raised in Manila all my life, with no province to go to on summer vacations, of not being let out of the house to play tumbang preso with the neighborhood kids, and learning how to speak Tagalog in preschool. Somewhere here is an anomaly. While I can process both speech and thought in both English and Filipino, the end product is something of a hodgepodge. The thought conceives itself in one language and then comes out as speech in a fractured, two-pronged, broken eludition of words. The flaw manifests itself in the writing: while conversation can sustain the imperfection, seeing the lapse standing out from a page renders the imperfection real and subject to scrutiny. You seek to amend it, and take refuge in the idea that perhaps, the third language will solve the problem. But at the back of your mind, you are resigned to your fate that you will forever be burdened by the confusion of tongues.
Saturday, November 24
Friday, November 23
The natural rebuttal to this would be to trot out the old globalisation bit. We all live in one giant global village blah blah. But what does that mean? If you try to be a citizen of the world, disregarding all cultural, social and economic boundaries, what's left is a hodgepodge of people who don't know exactly who they are. In a time when everyone's being pushed to be a cultural sponge, it becomes necessary to retain a distinct national identity. Know their holidays, their language, their pop culture references, their excesses. But I draw the line at celebrating Thanksgiving. To do so would be to bow to cultural imperialism. Or as a guy friend pointed out: We're brown; and they ain't our forefathers. What I really want to say is: Why would I want to take part in a celebration that has no meaning for me? So they can sell me Hallmark cards?
[The snow explanation came from poet-critic Isagani Cruz in one of his columns somewhere. The "no snow and no raspberries" bit is from Butch Dalisay's Killing Time In A Warm Place.]
Thursday, November 22
Wednesday, November 21
Tuesday, November 20
Saturday, November 17
Of the films in the list, I've only managed to see Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood for Love. It's a well made, well shot exploration of repressed urges in 1960s Hongkong. There are no flashy experimental quick cuts, no MTV craziness. But it breathes melancholy and lush visuals, and it might just be the best film I've seen this year. Also on the list is Memento, which I have not seen. From the reviews it sounds like Harold Pinter with amnesia.
What troubles me though is that It's nearly the end of the year, and I expect top ten lists of everything soon enough. I'm looking at my list right now and it seems that if things don't change, mine won't even reach ten. My list is a mixture of festival viewings and carryovers from last year's lineup. Requiem for a dream is still way up there in terms of mind blowing sadness and woe. Time and Tide with its frenetic visuals and violence seems like a Tarantino-Wong Kar Wai coproduction, and Booba threatens to be the most interesting Pinoy film seen this year. There were interesting experiments, like Radyo and Sa Huling Paghihintay which tried to use arthouse style visuals, editing and atmosphere, but they somehow forgot that for all of those to be useful, they must have a story. Narrative content still wins over style. Style is nothing without story, no matter what the cigarette ads tell you. I've seen nearly a hundred movies so far -- arthouse, festival circuit, commercial blends, everything -- and to echo Pauline Kael -- Why are movies so bad?
Friday, November 16
Tuesday, November 13
I half commit myself to some distant future date. I often talk to someone about it and suggest that in six months it will be done, so I set up a kind of deadline. But most of the intervening period disappears in a kind of anxious state of walking about. You cannot start until you know what you want to do, and you do not know what you want to do until you start. That is Catch-22. Panic breaks that circle. Finally a certain force in the accumulated material begins to form a pattern.When I grow up, I wanna be like Tom, or at least, David Mamet.
The crash was ruled out to be a purely technical accident, but of course, when the news got here the speculation was all about terrorists. I was on location shooting when it happened, and the first thing I did when I got home was turn on my pc and log on to the news sites. Then my bloody server was down, Blogger was down. What the freak is happening?
Monday, November 12
Saturday, November 10
If you have time, head for the Shangri-la Plaza mall and catch the Israeli film festival. Btw, the guy who plays Amnon is a cross between Edward Norton and David Duchovny. Yum. Gorgeous guy, good movies, free admission. It's a good bargain.
Friday, November 9
Director Eytan Fox's Song of the Siren is supposed to be a movie about love in the time of scud missiles. Tel Aviv in 1991 was about gas masks and rushing into bomb shelters sealed with plastic sheets and masking tape. They had advisories on how to decontaminate yourself from possible biological attacks. Talk show hosts were discussing the necessity of intimacy in a time of terror.
It sounded so eerily familiar. Does talcum powder work against anthrax? Can you still get away with big hair and big hips and not get stoned by girls with eating disorders? Is Talila a woman of the 90s who crossed over orange couches, fuzzy robes, buckets of popcorn and morphed in Bridget Jones? Ten years ago I would have dissed Talila and the whole wailing over singlehood thing. As with Ms. Jones, she seemed to be concerned only about getting attached, even if she was a rich and succesful ad girl. She had complete All-by-myself moments and appeased herself with buying a new couch. "At least even if I am alone I would be comfortable." If it weren't a sharp, funny movie, I would have said that this is an authentic nineties nightmare flashback. Maybe I *should* get myself a new couch.
Thursday, November 8
The Philippines consists of more than 7,000 islands, but the bulk of the population lives on just 11 of them. The terrain is mostly mountainous and subject to earthquakes and eruptions from around 20 active volcanoes.Talk about population density. 81 million Pinoys squeezed into 11 major islands. I suggest that we find creative uses for the other small, unoccupied islands. We can put deposed dictators and cronies in them, and surround that with sharks. Although I'm sure even the sharks would barf out their putrid flesh.
Two presidents of the Philippines have been forced from office by "people power" in the space of 15 years.
Tuesday, November 6
Measuring the creative entropy that afflicts TV series has become a popular form of do-it-yourself cultural analysis. Recently, the phrase ''jumping the shark'' has entered the lexicon, referring to that point in its run when a series, having exhausted its premise, resorts to desperate novelty to keep itself alive. At the Web site that popularized the concept -- named after a late episode of ''Happy Days'' in which the aging Fonzie undertakes a death-defying water-skiing stunt -- the various ways in which a show can go bad are cataloged by example: ''New Kid in Town,'' ''Special Guest Star,'' ''Singing,'' ''Birth,'' ''Death.'' The part of the site dedicated to shows that never jumped the shark is headed by a picture of the Simpson family squeezed together on their indestructible living-room couch.The freshness of the Springfield universe has a lot to do with the freedom that animation provides. The Simpsons can go everywhere and go through anything, but Bart will always be ten years old with no impending puberty. And then there is the writing. Each Simpsons episode is nine months in the making -- from conceptualization, first drafts, voicing, animation and lots of rewriting. ''A good 'Simpsons' script is when you change 75 percent and everyone goes, 'Good script,' '' says Matt Selman, who joined the staff, at the age of 25, in 1997. ''A bad script is when you change 85 percent and everybody goes, 'Bad script.' '' The show is also insulated from the outside force of impending doom that is network intervention. Matt Groening says it best: "Maybe the authorities do not have your best interests at heart."
Springfield has it going. In the regular TV world, you better get that script done in 3 days or there will be no show. You do the best that you can, and there's still no excuse for all the trash that's currently showing. Ours is a situation wherein the shark is not even jumping, nor can you jump it. The shark is dying.
Monday, November 5
The Fates dumped closure right on my lap when I least expected it. I am still shell shocked.
Sunday, November 4
I probably work in computers, or a history
deptartment at a college. I never really
fit in with the "normal" crowd. But I have
friends, and this is a good thing.
But then again, the test leans more on the techie sort of geekiness. I'm more from the old school of geek: the kind who read a lot of Edith Hamilton as a kid and considered mythology more lively than the soap opera currently showing on television, the kind who watched, read and nearly memorized everything Woody Allen, who charts a table of all the movies she's seen this year, and would be more than willing to hang out with the teacher.
Take the GEEK Test at Fuali.com! I am a geek, hear me roar. And btw, I don't sport a beard nor do I wear glasses. Hehe.
If we open our heads what will we find? Gilda Cordero Fernando bets that there will be "a quarter pounder hamburger, a beauty contest, a Hallmark card, an apple pie, a ticket to Disneyland, a surgically lifted nose, an English-speaking yaya." The Pinoy believes that the Western life is more superior than ours, and thus buys a first world lifestyle with a third world economy.
The pursuit of everything Western has brought us to every country on the map, and with the distinction of being the best atsay in the world. Sometimes we don't seem to mind, as long as it gets us our dollars, the chocolates and sneakers, never mind that those same sneakers etc are products of sweatshops of likewise indentured races like our own. Of course we are going to go down in debt, like the old mythical island of Lemuria, an ancient civilization that drowned in the ocean of its own abuse of power and spirituality.
Friday, November 2
Thursday, November 1
Tuesday, October 30
There was still a lot of time left before my interview with a gutsy kidnapping victim. I wanted to ready for that. I knew that if I got at least twenty minutes of sleep I could be up and about and not ask stupid questions. So I thought I'd go to the mall and sit inside a theatre and sleep and watch my workshop buddy Sig's acting debut. Sig is a huge guy with a shaved head and two curly patches of hair that looked like horns. He makes a good scary goon and is very useful when walking in dark crowded places. Sig adores Erik Matti but he still got killed midway through Dos Ekis.
I realized that one couldn't sleep inside a theatre, not when there's gorgeous scoring provided by Lourd de Veyra of Radioactive Sago, and there are soft blinking neon lights and Rica Peralejo is shimmying her butt out in front of you. But the real attraction of Dos Ekis is not Rica Peralejo, Raven Villanueva or the four silicones between them. It is Benito, played by Mark Anthony Fernandez with enough naivete and hopefulness, sincerity and a belief that everything can be all right. Benito lives at the flipside of a dilapidated theatre's screen. Robin Padilla movies are continually shown, flipside, and he knows all the words to it. When Rica's Charisse says that guys like Benito aren't real, they only exist in movies, she is only half right. Benito is real. He earnestly purchases a gold watch and offers it to Charisse, because he adores her. He willingly goes to the Master Goon himself to settle the score in her behalf. He knows he's going to get blown, but tells her he will go and do it, and when he comes out of it alive, he will meet her at the docks so they can build a new life. He wills himself to survive. Bloodied and weak, he even purchases her a bouquet and trudges back to the pier. There is no Rica in sight. When he collapses spread eagled amid the container vans, despair is written all over him. He wants the happy ending, he wants to get the girl, but he's there dying alone. It makes you want to die with him.
There is this last moment in the end while Charisse is being taken away, and we can hear the police officer talking with his wife on the phone, and we see Raven's Libay waking up at the police station, hopeful but knowing that everything is lost, and Benito is dying. That was wonderful if not for the fact that Rica comes off as a blank. In Sa Huling Paghihintay, the Bernard Palanca character walked away with the movie. The characters she is given to play are supposed to be mysterious and strong and are imbued with a sense of fate, but even if her life depended on it, and not just a movie, Rica Peralejo cannot act. And so the burden and strength of the Rica movies lie on the men: that despite of it, in spite it, Benito et al realize that she has affected their lives to the point of disillusionment, and death.
Monday, October 29
Sunday, October 28
In San Francisco, a 120lb. dog named Hera might just be sentenced to death for mauling a woman last January. The other dog responsible for the alleged attack, Bane, has already been put to death. The dog's owners and their representative argued that the declaration that the dogs were "vicious and dangerous" was absolutely false and maintained that the dogs have generally been well behaved pets.
Saturday, October 27
Friday, October 26
Which reminds me, Barbie's Cradle also did the theme to Sa Dako Pa Roon, which is the only thing going for that show, imho.
Thursday, October 25
cabbie: Hey miss, you live a long way away from Diliman. It should be hell if you commute everyday.Please don't talk to me when I'm *queasy.* I know it sounds antipatica. But please. Just please.
Or to paraphrase Ate Guy: My town is not a pig. I don't want to wake up and find Pandacan burned down and well-done.
Saturday, October 20
So, unlike other episodes, where the writers at least link the literary piece with the lives of the high school kids of Bukal, they make no excuse: they have to discuss the piece for today's episode. The kids come for rehearsals of a school play--that's it. So unlike the journey of last week's Ang Kagila-gilalas na Pakikipagsapalaran ni Juan, where the guys go on a journey to Manila looking for the poet Pete Lacaba. Now that was fun.
Thursday, October 18
Making tambay on the set is as boring as playing kickball in hell. There's nothing to do but wait around for the next shoot while the utililty guys set up. Or hang around in the OB van and watch the monitors. Hanging around with the artistas do not appeal to me on a general rule. I'm neither starstruck nor dedma, though there was this one time I was struck with fear and quivered in my pants. It was 4am and the next set up was taking too darned long. I was about to fall asleep but I didn't dare, not with "You're nothing but a second rate trying hard copycat" prowling inside the room with me, patrician nostrils flaring and high cheekbones ready to slash you to bits. "I've been wallowing in fake blood for over an hour! I can't take this anymore!" No, it wasn't the time to take a nap. I imagined getting splashed with wine, or fake blood. No, I just didn't dare sleep.
I just do not get affected by movie stars, period. I think I'm even allergic to them. The close proximity to one, upon recognition, makes me want to evacuate the place, in order not to share the same air? I don't know about you people, but you can only stand so much of AgaJoyceDiether and whoever in the space of several seconds. They're not exceptional and while everyone is reduced to near-fainting spells (Oh, Aga, he's sooo cute!), I'm like So Freaking What?
And the conversations consisted of buzzings and too much alcohol induced laughter. I must get out of there. Unlike some parties where even if there are several semi-famous or famous people, but they are people you know, care about, and can have a conversation with, last night's party can only be described with one word: showbiz.
Which probably explains the plotting to get away, with or without a getaway vehicle and the designated driver.
It was past midnight when we finally hit the road, and we didn't want to bump into someone from work, or anyone else we knew, so we definitely had to get away from the Timog-Morato area. Every coffee place we went to was closed. We ended up in BigSky, which isn't bad. We had the whole couch upstairs to ourselves, and there's coffee and drinks and fabulous pita bread and onions. And perhaps because we were in a street famous for hauntings, and two of us were working on a show related with the paranormal, the conversation shifted to that.
When it was time to get back to the car we realized we parked in front of a house that seemed more than alive while it sat in the dark. "No, I'm not getting in the car first. It's on side, it's dark." And the car stereo had recently been stolen so there's no music to dispel the bad vibes, if any were lurking in the air. There was no choice but to bolt out of there, and run at top speed, with our voices far too loud for early morning conversation.
Sunday, October 14
I'm starting to feel like everything is a little bit pointless. I've seen 9 of the 11 films in the Cine Europa already, and lining up to watch has become like some form of chore. They are reasons for going out of the house, because I am bored and have nothing else to do. I sink on my seat and stare at the screen, but I'm not really there.
Gio, whom I have not seen in a while, noticed it yesterday. "You seem uneasy." Every few minutes, I'd check my mobile phone for messages. I've been told that one of my episodes will be replayed on Tuesday. People have called up, asking for a copy of the script to use in the re-editing.
I am annoyed that they will expect me to provide it right then and there, and especially after so many things lost in the breakdown and all, I am not not particularly overjoyed to see if the frigging script has survived the virus attack. I unearth boxes to look for a hard copy, then I remembered that I have already given the editor two copies, different versions.
It was written around the time of the impeachment trials, and the primetime tv block took backstage to the news, so we had to make one-hour long scripts. Then came Edsa Dos and it was back to regular programming, so we re-edited things, diluted it, really, to make things last 90 minutes. Rewritten, re-edited, re-programmed. And now it's going to be replayed and they want to edit it some more to fit the one-hour blocktime. This has got to be the most violated episode ever. Had Aristotle been around, he'd definitely say that this is most unrecognizable: Everything has been lost in the translation.
Wonderland's tagline: Everyone is looking for something.
When I get up in the morning, I cannot exactly say that I am truly awake. My eyes are open, but it's like seeing the world through fog-covered spectacles. Things are vague, shrouded in mist. Nothing is really solid. I can extend my hand and it just might go through what I am about to touch. Vapor. Like ghosts and spirits. Hollow.
When people ask me what I'm doing these days, I cannot even muster a proper answer. I am not even sure if I should include myself in the unemployed statistics. Even if our headwriter says that there is still a show, it doesn't feel real because I'm not doing any work. I haven't written anything in months.
I cannot call this having a vacation. It doesn't feel like I'm on holiday. I think I would rather be busy and still find time to do things than have all the time in the world and not be able to do anything. I've given myself all the push in the world and I still cannot come up with anything. I cannot even find the words. It wasn't always like this.
Friday, October 12
And these ushers really ought to know what it is they're actually screening inside the theater? Or at least know that there is a huge difference between an R-18 movie and something rated PG-13. And know your schedule: They were handing out leaflets saying that Night Shapes from Germany wouldn't be shown, playing instead would be Leak. Leak was orginally slated for 8pm. The film from Italy won't be shown, instead is an unlisted film about elevators. So is the 8pm film changing, considering that the schedule for the day has been sacked. "Please read the schedule," she harps, and hands me a flyer. Your schedule is as good as trash! You are showing films not even included originally! I already went through the schedule that's not valid anymore, daggummit!
Grrr. I detest them ushers. Nice little girls in black and heels and little lipstick bags. Feh.
Yesterday, my friend Astrid was wearing a jacket with bunny ears, but said ears weren't on her head. They just thought, Hey this girl looks about twelve. We must protect her from the grown-up message of this movie. Well screw them. Don't they think that we've seen worse things than the situation in the film, ie, being trapped in an elevator?
Later, we checked the MTRCB ratings post (courtesy of Tita Marra, Kuya Nick, and uhm, Mr. Cervantes) and discovered that the elevator film is rated PG-13, for the "depiction of power, dominance and materialism." Ah, yes. Evil materialists.
Thursday, October 11
The girls from Bye Bye Blue Bird return to their hometown wearing outfits fit for color-obssessed goth fans. Between them are the orange hair, the purple eyeshadow and lipstick, the platform boots and the Polaroid they constantly aimed at anything that moved or anyone they loathed. The objects of their amateur photography are various members of their estranged families. And we can all have a guess why they are not welcome in the wonderful Lego world of Faroe Island. The people of Faroe Island live in rolling hills and cute, simple houses made of Lego. If you put cows on those hills, they would be more pastoral than New Zealand.
Real Faroese never leave the island--they are never tempted to try out what lies out there. But that's precisely what drove the girls out of the cow and fish village. The other side of the fence held modelling careers and interesting guys that somehow never felt perfect enough, so here they are, trying to make peace with family who shun because they are either products of original sin, and want nothing to do with sinners. But they are Faroese, and they just had to take them back in, or forgive them for their original sins which they had no hand in anyhow, and let the girls go back into the world that they just had to conquer.
En route to achieving this Oprah moment, the girls had with them with sailor guy, Runi, who also had things to settle on his own. Each time they stopped at a village hall, he leaves the girls and comes back with a welcoming blackeye or bloodied lip. He too, has an issue to resolve: he used to own his boat and fish his heart out, but one drunken night, he sells the rights to his boat and he becomes somewhat of a slave. Nobody wants to have anything to do with a loser, so his wife runs away with his kid, and every boat owner on the island turns his away. They don't want a sailor who gets his pants pulled out from him while stone drunk. But Runi earnestly wants to sail out, but each foray into asking gets him beaten to a pulp. In the end, he is in a hospital, in a cast, eyeing what's left of his world from his window view of the island.
While Runi gets beat up, the girls launch into musical moments. They chance upon a fellow goth woman singing in a bar, and they dance. Runi stops his car on a cliff and they march up and down, arms pumping in the air, like a couple of stooges without the wig and the coveralls.
When they dance, all problems seem to dissolve: no abandonment issues, no progeny cursing them to hell, no handsome guy to alternately run away and run into bed with. It's just them girls, from the start of the movie where they held hands in a cab and till the end of their tearful tearful parting.
After all, Faroe Island is in the heart. Or something is rotten in the state of Denmark, or whatever.
Tuesday, October 9
I just finished reading Jeffrey Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides. I am not thirteen anymore, nor do I remember slashing my wrists and dragging chests down the stairs to use as a kick-stool, but I can understand the rage and unpronounceable pain of being a teenage girl. Up to until a year ago I remember cherishing how bad it felt, how everything just sucked. An older friend and mentor told me that I was in love with pain, that I had a full awareness of how pain could be a struggle. It sounded nice, coming from him, but after a while the pain dulls you and then suddenly, you just don't feel anything anymore. These days, everything around me just reverberates with air, thin hollow air that neither stiffles nor chokes you. As if pain decided to pack her things up and left, taking everything with her.
Sunday, October 7
Wednesday, October 3
There between Let's get loud and Lick it was Libyan On A Jet Plane. Now I've seen people who really weren't meant for spelling bees and that can be sometimes hilarious. I've had my fill of "pull the string to stuff" and "costumer's parking" etc. I thought it was a John Denver song, or in the worst, something by LeAnn Rimes, but as the words popped on the screen, it definitely was not folk: "I hope my mobile phone doesn't blow up your face" might sound like Weird Al, but I couldn't be too sure. Whoever came up with that must be either fast or really prophetic.
Saturday, September 29
perform live last night. For the longest
time I've been trying to catch them,
but forces combine in such a way to
prevent me from doing so: Deadlines,
revolutions in little countries, my
tendency to confuse the time-space
continuum (Oh no, jeeze no, you
mean Friday was yesterday?). When
Abi said they were performing in
Cainta, of all places, we dropped
everything and went.
The website said 10pm, but another
band wasplaying Lisa Loeb covers.
I don't mind covers, but the girl
vocalist's idea of stage presence
was doing Anggun hand movements passed
down via the Madonna route, and she
was trying so darned hard to be sexy
and it just wasn't working. Heck,
everyone could see she wasn't
comfortable with what she was doing.
When the girl announced that they're
doing their last song, the crowd cheered
and roared. Barbie's coming onstage, yey!
Three words: Wow. Wow. Wow.
on the MRT could be hell on earth. In
the first place, I usually do not take
the MRT, traverse Edsa, and mix with
the throng coming from Makati. I had
spent the afternoon in Megamall, downing
caffein in the effort to be conscious
enough at the screening of Himala at
the UP Film Center. It was something
I didn't want to miss because:
a. Ate Guy was haunting me--I woke up
in somebody else's house and she
was there, blabbing in a talk show
and promoting a concert;
b. I had never seen it, and I had
no idea that that was going
to happen in the end;
c. Himala is one of the films to be
auctioned by the CCP and might be
bought by some Japanese guy and it
won't be shown for a long, long time.
So, at past 6pm, the crowd waiting
at the Shaw Blvd station was 6 people
deep, and I had less than an hour to
meet some friends at thatother huge
mall in North Avenue.
It was not a time for walking under
the moon, or long sleeved hooded
shirts. It was a tank top and running
shoes moment, with techno on the
background. I was drenched in sweat
and out of breath, and darn, we were
Wednesday, September 26
of the dreaded microbus virus. Damn bug took my
word files along with it: my scripts, my stories,
my writing projects, archived emails that I
dearly, dearly loved and tried to save but all
Dear hacker, wherever you are, I hope you are
happy. Walk my way and so I can wipe that grin
off yer face.
Wednesday, September 19
I've heard this line spoken twice in the span
of a few days. First at the Brash Young Cinema
screening last Thursday for But I'm A Cheerleader,
then a couple of days later while I explained the
extricacies of vampire life and mythology from
Anne Rice's movie.
Cheerleader was a satire aimed at the
straight camps. A really straight and
somewhat bland cheerleader is suspected
of being lesbian because she:
a. has a poster of Melissa Etheridge
b. does not enjoy kissing her schlop
of a boyfriend
c. she has a poster of a buff girl in her locker.
Then they concluded she has to find her
"True Directions." I don't know if the audience
laughed because it was funny, or it was so true
it hurts that we just had to laugh.
And while trying to convert a straight girl thought
to be homo back to straightness, poor girl found
latent tendencies: She fell in love with a girl at
camp. See what societal conditioning can bring?
Monday, September 17
holy men with very human qualities this
afternoon. They were lighting up a whole
stretch of street somewhere in Panay Avenue
for a procession scene, and it was taking
quite a while so the directors and some of
my soon-to-be former co-workers and I
ended up discussing the events leading to
the pending dissolution of our partnerships.
The face of primetime television is changing.
It wouldn't recognize itself if it stared
at the reflection in the mirror.
one of the guys points about our apparent lack
of sensitivity. Vic says:
[I] just read your messages and
ganun pa rin lahat: Same
characters, maturity in certain aspects.
But if the idea of this group is for some
of you to show off and for some of us
to be ashamed of ourselves, the objective
of re-acquaintance will not work.
He is of course correct. High school was a
hell's quest for popularity, and the majority
of us weren't the movers and shakers, and
were made to feel pathetic for not wearing
the right brand of clothes, the hip hairstyle
of the moment, for not having the agility or
the clever one-liner to throw back. It was
like passing through one giant cookie
cutter where you all looked the same,
thought the same, with the occasional
rebel who was willing to answer back to
the teachers and yell "To hell with everybody!"
When you think about it, one cannot almost
comprehend the rationale for holding reunions
except to further perpetuate the cult of
popularity. Reunion is hell for those who
were once popular and the once prodigies who
never amounted to anything more than what
was expected of them. With nothing but old
gloss to draw from, memory comes in handy.
This is where the proliferations of
"remember whens" begin. Past glories are
dug and dressed up with nostalgia, to liven
up the nothingness that permeates our
mundane, daily lives.
And those who have risen up the social ladder,
those whose cuteness factors had escalated
compared to the diminishing hairline of the former
crush ng bayan, now is the time for revenge.
Friday, September 14
It's the same old thing as yesterday.
Or rather, in the past two weeks since we flew
back in from Mindanao, I could best be
described as catatonic, in a mild form of
coma. Days and nights blended together
in spiralling spots in the ceiling, or spent
staring at the computer screen, on books
that never get beyond the next page. There
were errands that I forced myself to do:
stand up, get dressed, put food in mouth,
swallow. Get out of house, stick out hand
for public transport, walk, stand in line,
pay the phone bill. Go into mall, have the
bloody out of town pictures developed.
Call people, meet friends for talk, coffee,
the sharing of ennui and further
disappointments. Click on computer,
download music, play. I now have 3
different versions of the same song.
And I have stood here before under the
pouring rain. With the world turning
circles running 'round my brain.
You always remember where you are when
something commensurate to a war attack
happens: I was at a dinner meeting, and we
had our own bomb in our hands. On the tv set,
the plane crashes into the WTC towers.
I wanted to convince myself that this was a
movie, but it wasn't. On the next table, the
waiters were all screaming cheerful birthday
greetings. The world was coming to an end
and they were celebrating. I found it difficult
to breathe, and it wasn't just because my
worlds--in the plural form, blew up, in terrorist
I guess I'm always hoping that you'll end
this reign, but it's my destiny to be
the queen of pain.
Saturday, September 8
The muscles in her arms strain against the
gravity of push and pull, and she sweats
profusely, her breath coming in very audible
gasps of air.
It had all the charge of an erotic movie.
Judy Ann = sex is disorienting. It veers
away from our usual concept of Judy Ann as
virginal orphan, the girl everyone seems
to take a potshot at, the eternal api-apihan
in soap operas. But this was the first scene
of Bakit Di Totohanin, and it pumps more
electricity than the conjured up scenes of romance:
Judy Ann and Piolo romping by the beach,
hugging and kissing in wet clothes. Those
were kilig, and aimed at the fans, something
to scream and swoon for.
Then there was the spectacle of Judy Ann and Piolo
training together in the gym, in spartan amounts of
clothing, all sweat and brawn, with a considerable
amount of restraint as they breathed deeply
and inhaled each other's essence. Around the
same time the audience realizes what was going
on, if they actually realize it at all, the
characters sense it themselves, and the gaze
is broken. There is more power in those few
seconds of eye contact than the whole film
put together. Judy Ann was suddenly an object
of desire, and we had to look away because
we've never considered it before.
Then the next thing you hear, Judy Ann is
starring in the next Darna movie. That is
going to be one turbulent ride.
literary criticism classes. And yet
Jose Corazon de Jesus, in his crown of
laurel leaves and two-toned leather shoes,
confronts Iñigo in this morning's Pahina.
"Umiibig ka," he tells the kid.
The object of affection happens to be his
teacher Paz Manalang (Latorena/Gloria?).
He bonks her on the head with a basketball,
follows her home and steals a blouse from
her backyard. She is impossibly beautiful,
breathtaking--especially when captured in
director Noel Añonuevo's soft lighting,
slow motion, the graceful sway of her hand
as she sweeps a stray strand of hair away
from her face. Iñigo has no other recourse
but to fall in love even as he is alternately
becomes suspected of being an Akyat Bahay
or a drug addict.
When she tells him that he stands no chance,
because she is his teacher dammit, the boy
is close to tears, but manages to stand firm,
his woe clenched in tight fists. He blames the poet:
"Kailan man hindi ko inibig ang maging
makata." But poets are dreamers and thrive
in the unconsolable tragedies of being
alive. Love will come soon enough, bonking
you in the back of the head with a basketball.
Friday, September 7
to take pictures:
A man standing on the curb of a busy street,
the sunset and a mosque somewhere behind him;
a shiny red umbrella left open and alone on
a spot of very green grass; a child's plastic
toy shovel, stuck on a destroyed sand castle
on the beach.
All these the news camera guy described as
"very National Geographic." Or as I want
to call them, rejects from photography
My first full day out on research, it poured.
We were in Polomolok, in South Cotabato--
land of Norberto Manero, brain eater;
resting ground for MILFs, MNLFs, NPAs and
all other manners of acronyms whose meanings
I don't fully understand. All around us were
mountains, and huge open fields of cogon,
coconuts, empty plains. And though it was
raining, my shirt stuck to my skin drenched
with sweat. We encountered a middle-aged lady
whose idea of assistance was to have 30 pages
of public domain documents sorted and xeroxed,
each page stamped and signed with her slow,
slow hands. It took her 3 hours. A battle ax
felt lodged on my forehead.
The following days I left my camera in the hotel.
We did a story on a group of streetchildren,
dubbed in those parts as the tun-og, or morning
dew. These kids as young as 8 or 9 roamed the
streets at night, hanging by the beach, peddling
their bodies for small change, a cup of coffee,
a hot meal, a quick fix of hardware shop rugby.
On idle moments, they comforted each other in
abandoned boat sheds by the creek, and in the
process giving each other STDs. All these at
age 9, and unphotographable.
The tun-og belong to different gangs with names
like Utol Sama Ka Hanggang sa Sementeryo--
Brother, Accompany Me to Our Grave--
and Spice Girls Unite.
We asked them to show us where they hung out.
We were lead to the very end of a dike's walkway.
Going there was a balance between not falling
and not breathing. On the edge of the walkway
were rows and rows of human waste drying out under
the sun. The villagers must have had nowhere
else to run and pulled down their pants and
pushed. Each time the breeze blew in from the
creek, I felt a churning down in the pit of my
stomach. Half a mile. Under the scorching sun.
Half a mile the relentless stink of human decay.
These are unphotographable.
In my last day, I had a whole role of film left.
I took pictures inside our hotel rooms, on the
shore going to the pretty "island garden city"
of something, and everyone posed merrily under
colorful, breeze-thrown strips of cloth, at the
airport while we waited to be transported back
to our paltry boring mundane lives. These were
quite easy to take: point, click, shoot. We
shopped for bolts of cloth and purses and stinky
spiky fruits that can't be found anywhere
back in our city. We planned to come back, because
we hadn't really seen much of the place. We
could do something for those kids.
Yeah, I said. We must come back, I haven't
taken any National Geographicpictures yet.
Everything was unphotographable.