Tuesday, October 30

I was running on semiautomaticpilot yesterday. I was late for an hour and a half for my lunch with Nathan, and I had to appease him with some Chocolate Kiss dessert. But as always, I enjoyed hanging out with him. He has discovered that being poster boy doesn't make everything easy. We had so many ideas before, how we could change a lot things. He could teach kids, show them how to be a real iskolar ng bayan. I could write for television and try to get rid of such formulaic, trashy copycats. Then came disillusionment. Or perhaps reality. So next semester he'll be teaching at the Ateneo -- land of the young and coño. As for me, the new season of the new and improved Kasangga will begin. I just hope that there will be enough stories of courage, survival and heroism to keep us going. Each to his own happiness, I guess.

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

Still on that strange little girl thread, a friend of mine pointed out that I tend to intimidate people. Guys and girls. Without even trying. I am quiet when I'm with a new group of people, but if I get comfortable with them, I am bound to talk. Granted, my favorite topic of conversation is myself. *cough* And in the end of the day, it really doesn't matter what I do, what schools I attended and other such nonsense. It took me most of my life to get comfortable with who I am, what I can do, the things I like and enjoy. I think that's what we are all aiming for. I am going to spend my whole life with myself. Might as well get comfy.
I think I really like strange little girls. It takes one to like one, I guess. When pointed out that I am *strange* I balk at the idea. Just sometimes. It rather warms me that I am not part of herd. Now if I can only find the whole album.
It looks like a very nice bright sunshiny day outside. The room is all lit up--and without the benefit of electricity. I'm meeting up with my friend Nathan for lunch. Plus I also have an interview for an upcoming episode tonight. Finally, a project to make me feel useful again. Cue background music: Hoku's Perfect day. I don't normally go for *that* sort of music. But yes, this seems like a very nice day. So far. Don't you dare rain.

Sunday, October 28

I'm not really a dog person myself, but this is ridiculous:
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

Well, it turns out I can be googled after all. But you will have to plough through so much info before coming up with the blog. Anyhow, I must do something about that. Soon the world will know all about kantogirl. *evil evil grin*
I don't think I'll be visiting any chat channels for the meanwhile. It tends to be a bit tedious, especially if you really don't have much in common with them. Things will be fine for a while, and then inevitably, that question will come up. I think I'd rather play the trivia game.

Friday, October 26

I cannot be googled. I am not listed in the directory. Why is that so?
The only bright spot in it was when Abi and I were exchanging Barbie's Cradle lyrics as responses to text messages. I was there because it's dark and I'm lonely. And she was having a good time having dinner with a cute guy and was hoping for better things: Don't stop now. The hour has just began. Don't stop now, the smiles are new.

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

On a fine day, hanging out at Likha-Diwa for dinner and talk and dessert is all I can ask for. It would have cheered me up, especially after seeing a pinoy cinematic treasure in awful condition. Then there wasn't a single Ikot jeep in sight. A trio of foreigner dudes I had nodding acquiantance with walked by. Had I known they were also going there, I would have volunteered to walk with them. Half an hour later, I get a seat by the veranda. But when one has too much happy food and not a soul to share it with, it turns into indigestion. All I could do was squeeze myself in a cab and hope for a quiet ride home. But the cabbie wanted some conversation going. I usually don't mind.
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.
Went to the post office before lunch today and found a high concentration of traffic and uniformed police officers. Apparently, there are protesters again in the gas depot area. Since I live in a potential danger zone, since the gas depots are but a cigarette's throw away, I consider news of disturbances very seriously.

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

King of Pain is playing on the radio.

Hmm, Sting. Yum.
I am tempted to think that there might have been spirits lurking around in that old, dark, dilapidated house near BigSkyMind. Norjee and I missed this morning's first creative meeting for the show. We are both down with the flu, or at least, something that makes your head feel woozy, and your bones feel like your diet consists of instant noodles. What else to blame? The weather? Nah. Spirits must have accompanied us home. I knew it, we shouldn't have discussed ghost stories.
Okay, so I had finally figured out how to use the mIRC program, and all the channels that I know I found in Faye's article. It seems disconcerting that those are all the channels that I know, which immediately limits the areas I could visit. I wish I had more resources aside from people from my school and something I picked up in a webmagazine. Oh well, I can always plead the ignorance of youth. Though in the age of the internet and speedy information, there is no excuse.
Why is it that Ronnie Lazaro almost always corners the roles for doomed, desperate men of the underworld? Greaseman, torero, beggar, ordinary guy on the worst of situations. I'm beginning to think that if there's a short film being done somewhere in Manila, Ronnie Lazaro just has to be in it. Not that I'm complaining, but it's just too much. The way he groans, utters his words, shuffling down the street with that walk. And in this morning's theater rehearsal of an episode of Pahina, he plays Mang Serapio. The episode reeks of Filipino class in high school. It wasn't one of my favorite classes, until our kickasss teacher Miss Ramos threw her weight around.

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.
A bleak, gray cats and dogs morning. I especially hate it when it rains and at any moment a leak threatens to spill pools on my lap. I don't want to think of repairs right now. I don't want to part with an appendage yet, but with this weather, it looks like I will have to. Soon. It pains me just thinking about it.

Thursday, October 18

People assume that because I write for television, it automatically means that I hobnob with movie stars. That only happens when I actually get required attendance on the set, for standby if revision is suddenly required on a script. Which rarely happens as well, unless they're running undertime or overtime. In which case, the director or script person calls me on my mobile phone to consult this or that change they're going to make.

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

Floating world.

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

Butchgirl and I each have the exact same pair of sneakers. We were going around the mall yesterday and constantly eyed them shoes.
"Nice shoes you have there."
"Mighty cool sneakers. You have excellent taste."
I understand that these are difficult, unsecure times, but must they really segregate the lines into boys and girls? Sure they must check our bags for homemade bombs and ticking clocks and all, and there may be perverts out there who enjoy being frisked, but I do not find the separate lines a big help. More than anything, it makes me feel like I'm back in kindergarten.

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.
I do not take it as a complement that the ushers for the Cine Europa constantly ask me or one of my friends to show them our IDs. They seem to think that girls in comfy outfits and sneakers and backpacks automatically means under 18. I don't think it is stated anywhere that once you hit 18, girls should and would wear a. makeup, b. heeled shoes, c. yuppie skirts and blouses, d. carry bags so little as to contain one measly tube of lipstick. In the first place, we have no business wearing yuppie outfits. I can go to work wearing whatever--take that yuppie scum! And watching a movie doesn't really require so much fuss dressing up.

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

Yesterday's lineup at the Cine Europa all had something to do with cars and motion.

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

Obviously, Doctor, you've never been a thirteen-year-old girl.

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

My lips threaten to have lives of their own, but it's not quite pretty nor approximately within smacking distance of Angelina Jolie. And it's not the best time for me to wear something yellow or green either. So it's for the best that I'm staying home for the weekend. I suspect that it was the plate of clams at our headwriter's party last night, since it has shellfish and tomato sauce. It's been awhile since I've been this shade of red. Or it could be the drink with sprite and cherries in it. Blast it, I've been taken in by the cherries. And all this after I had tediously avoided the tequila that's been abundant all evening.
Okay, so the show won the Star Award for Best Documentary Drama in Television. Our headwriter Jun Lana thanked us all, writers and segment producers, production staff and all. I wish I can say hurray for all that it's worth. So from my corner on the couch, red spots and anti-histamine doses and all, Hurray for all of us.

Wednesday, October 3

I bumped into some friends at the mall and wanted to play some billiards and we ended up in this place along Shaw Blvd. The girls made a mad dash for the convenience store, ostensibly to get some cigs. But what they really really wanted was to break their bills for five peso coins. There is a videoke machine at the bar where you can sing a song for five bucks, sort of like a dukebox. They spent practically the whole night bugging me to go sing or whatever, so I perused the selection book.

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.
After four months of setting up, bartering and mailing, I finally received a postcard from via nervousness. I know the postal service is really slow, but an entire season is just too much to stand and wait around for. I'd been considering ignoring everyone else on my exchange list, but keight's postcard really cheered me up.