Monday, August 27

It's nearly midnight and I'm still hyper. I have an early flight to Davao in a few hours and I have yet to pack. Restlessness.

Saturday, August 25

Yesterday in the middle of our
trash cleaning, some girl called asking for
The Cute One. "School won't be out till 7.
He should be there." He isn't. I tell my mom
and she charges up to the guidance councilor's
office convinced that some unfortunate accident
had befallen him. They go to his classroom.
The Cute One sits on a desk up front and is
now embarrassed silly by his mother's presence.
The girl who called hides herself in a corner
of the room, also embarrassed silly by the
outcome of her prank. Both refused to explain
things, so the other kids chimed in. "She wanted
to be his girlfriend but he said no. So she
took his notebook." Ah, the things I didn't,
wouldn't do. Ever.
Lolo Lope is at the twilight of his life in
this morning's Pahina episode. It's the third
episode I have seen of the new season since
it started in July, and The Prodigal One has
stayed home each time to watch it. Pahina is
the one thing which brings us together, and
sometimes I can't help but think that if the
show didn't go on hiatus during summer and
college enrollment period, he wouldn't have
even bothered with the whole Amen group.

The show also has a new OBB. Joft is totally
gone, the dialogue now has bits and pieces
in English, and one of the kids even has a
mobile phone. Things are changing in Balt's
quaint Laguna town. But the questions remain:
Why doesn't the principal in Carlo Aquino's
school insist that he wear a 3x5 haircut?
And more importantly, when will Balt realize
that he and Mithi are actually an item?
My mother and I finished packing up the trash,
and it now occupies a quarter of the room. I
had to burn some more stuff yesterday: those
magazines with Lea Salonga covers, a throwback
to a time/space continuum when Lea Salonga was
the most perfect daughter in the whole
wide world; photocopies from class readings.
Those were easy to part away with. I have no
intention of keeping lectures in algorithms,
or STS sample exams that had lived their

I did keep the Collegian issue headlined
"Instructor's MA degree revoked for plagiarism."
[11 July 2000, Volume 76, Issue No. 2]
The instructor in question terrified my
freshman block through Asian civilizations,
took us on a field trip with cultists who believe
that Andres Bonifacio is alive and well and waiting
for Judgment Day. She kept us amused with her
dentures-in-braces, her penchant for wearing business
suits and a particular pair of cocowood colored
bracelets. The Pepsi commercial at that time had a
jingle that went "Singko, singko na!" She had a
definite criteria for half-assed brilliance,
so we feverishly believed we would flunk her class,
a definite 5.0 marked a bright red in our transcripts.
Some of us passed, some wailed after that five.
Eventually though, her fashion sense evolved into
something more tolerable, and we got into pretty
decent conversations and I began to have some
respect for her. You expect your teachers to
kick ass, to be less of an asshole than her students.
And then boom. The disappointment stings as much
as when I first heard about it.

Friday, August 24

Does he really have to go further?

Thursday, August 23

I have managed to stay away from coffee since
Sunday. That's 5 whole days. If I didn't get
that caffeine OD, and I was awake until Sunday
morning from downing 3 cups brewed, 1 huge mug
of decaf and a frap, then I'd be sipping some
mighty strong brew by now. It's the weather,
I swear.
Today's disaster: I had no choice but to
burn 12 years's worth of journals because
the anay got to them. I packed my notebooks
in neat boxes, stacked one above the other,
on a dry enough shelf. I kept them so freaking
neat, you wouldn't think that there's an anay
feasting on a decade's worth of my miseries.

What is a further insult is that the termites
did not bother with my magazines and other
readables. The Rolling Stones with Christina
Ricci on the cover
was there, mint condition,
but my notebooks! These termites are so
fucking unfair. I burst my pimples at them.

Wednesday, August 22

There is going to be a tuna festival
in General Santos Cityon September 1-5.
And what do you know, I'm going to be there.
Fish! Fish! Fish!

Well, I just hope the Abu Sayaf aren't going
to be looking for fish as well.
I woke up early determined to find the sneakers
that I'll take hiking with me to Davao next
week. But fate is cruel: there is not one pair
of sneakers out there that'll go perfectly
well with every stitch of clothing I own. Now
those pair of orange-and-blue Adidas are nice,
but orange?!
I chalked up a couple of films more on this year's
movie list. At the start of the year, I figured I should
keep track of the movies I watch. I learned that
although I have been watching more, I have been
reading less. Or rather, my film to book quota is
not even close, not even in the same universe.
Saving Grace was Movie#77, which was awesome
and almost writes off the headache caused by
Kenneth Branagh. On the other hand, I don't even
know how many books I had actually read this year.
I still do read, but not as much as I would like.

Tuesday, August 21

I have a friend who has 8 cats in her house,
and they all have pretty decent names like
Cholo, Noah, Bono and Ling. Then again, she
also has a friend who has 39 cats. 39!
Of course I wanted to know how the friend
named them. So I asked. Now cat owners,
and especially if they had 8 meowing around,
would rather attend to their cats' needs than
bother with how other people name their cats,
right? But I had to know, and it didn't occur
to me that it was a freaky thing to do, asking
for other people's cats' names, even if they are
your friend. Sheesh.
Have you ever felt like you lost a part of you?
It could be a wallet or a bar-coded ID, and
chances are, somebody claiming to be you
is walking around town with your face and
your student number. You think this is
a conspiracy theory
, don't you?
I had to endure nearly two hours of Kenneth Branagh
yesterday and now I feel like a battle ax is lodged
right between my eyes. I braved storm and rain under
the presumption that the 1pm screening would be the
Brenda-and-marijuana film. Under repeated
questionings, the people at the British Council booth
said that they are having trouble with the MTRCB
because of the film's drug content. Now at least
there is consistency for a bunch of people who
also refused to screen Trainspotting for the people.
Well, maybe they should argue that the film
actually promotes alternative medicine
and organic products.

They also said that if everything goes well, all
the screenings for Wednesday will feature Saving Grace.

I think I have work on Wednesday. Argh!!!
Malaysian senator Jamilah Ibrahim, and I believe she
also has an extra X chromosome, proposed a bill
allowing women to work only during the day
so they can perform their conjugal duties at night.
She says she is thinking of the children's welfare
in her country: the increase of incest reports are said
to be the result of unsatisfied husbands.

Unsatisfied husbands, my ass! Where did this
woman come from?
My fault: Powerbooks is holding a nearly month-long
sale, not 2 days as I earlier said. Must have read
the flyer wrong.

Saturday, August 18

You are stuck in traffic and the AM radio in your car
is blaring. You trying to contact your friends on a
mobile phone you bought at the mall, with receipts
and warrantees and all, and your Senator is livid
trying to deny the allegations that she received a
shipload of smuggled cellular phones
three years
ago in front of a former circus venue.

Now this is entertainment.
I share my birthday with Edward Norton.
Would you like to send us a birthday message?

Friday, August 17

But even then, I walked away with a copy
of Edith Hamilton's Mythology. I practically
devoured that book from fourth grade to
fourth year high school. But then I lost my
copy and it's only now I got a replacement.
Does anyone know where I can get Joseph
Campbell's Hero With A Thousand Faces?
Preferably delivered to my doorstep, wrapped
in brown paper and a red bow.
Powerbooks turns 4, and they are holding a
two-day sale to celebrate. What better way to
spend a rainy afternoon than slobber over pages
you can still not afford, even if the rates
are reduced by virtue of that neon green sticker.
In my freshman year in high school, our English
teacher decided that we should all acquire
authentic sounding British accents. Every week,
we labored at dropping or rolling our Rs to his
satisfaction. At that time, nobody realized the
sheer absurdity of having a British accent in
Manila. Other than the snob quality, for what
bloody hell, indeed?

The British Filmfest at the Shangri-la Plaza
was supposed to feature Saving Grace at 7pm,
but for some unknown reason they showed
Purely Belter instead. Now that is also fine
by me. Purely Belter reminds me of 400 Blows:
those boys are like Antoine Doinel, desperate
and determined, and will stop at nothing to
get what they want. Even if they do end up in jail.

Tuesday, August 14

Finally finished 437 pages plus the
various addenda of A Heartbreaking
Work of Staggering Genius
. Dave
Eggers agrees that he does not have
a monopoly on being orphaned and
raising a younger sibling. Countless
people have been there, found
themselves cursing, and went ahead
with their lives. It's an echoes
of experience thing. But then again,
not everyone is as mighty as Dave Eggers.
I just love staging my Cinderella acts.

Monday, August 13

This year's movie #69 is Zhang Yimou's
Not One Less.

The VCD--yes, legally acquired and has
cost me half an arm and much muttering
under my breath-- has been lounging on
the unwatched pile for a couple of months.
I want to kick myself for seeing it just
now: it has all the rawness of untrained
acting and none of the pseudo-
spontaneity of scripted reality television.

Zhang Yimou is from China's Fifth Generation
and specializes on what I like to call
as the cinema of the constipated. His
films are all about delayed or denied
gratification, of people who are punished
for succumbing to lust and other strains
of human need. His China is impoverished,
repressed, and his lead actresses all look
like Gong Li, primarily because it was
Gong Li. In this particular feature though,
his ensemble is composed of clerks, teachers,
pedestrians--workaday people who give
workaday acting that resonates with so
much truth that no Strassberg workshop
can give.

Sunday, August 12

I am Jack's internet addiction.
Teenagers in Australia feel practically
without their mobile phones:

Today's youth store more than just birthdays,
phone numbers, bank account details and tax
file numbers in their phones. "'My mobile
is my life, I'd be lost without it."

Saturday, August 11

I don't care about your freaking dogma!

Thus cried The Duke in Baz Luhrman's Moulin
. The movie is so lush, it practically
breathes hot air around your neck and down
your blouse. For all I care, it is the director's
way of saying that he doesn't give a flying hoot
about the movement started by Lars von Trier,
director of Breaking the Waves and
Dancer in the Dark.

Dogma95 espouses simplicity, natural lighting,
no fancy mise-en-scene and flashy camera
movements. If the dogma people were the
Spanish Inquisition, then Luhrman's head
would be on a plate by now.

Tuesday, August 7

Everyone knows that you should never
sleep with your teacher.

PNP chief Director Gen. Leandro Mendoza wants
to ban the film Red Diaries, claiming that the
film decries what he called the brutal portrayal of
policemen in the film.

"We are not wife beaters and rapists.
People might think we are like that.
But we are not."

We forgot. They are more brutal than that.

Saturday, August 4

Will the real Sappho please stand up?

Throughout history, Sappho has been
labeled a genius, a pervert, a lovely
blushing maiden, a homely bluestocking,
a nymphomaniac, an uptight schoolmistress,
a solitary, a diva, a cult leader, an
abandoned lover, an irresistible seducer,
the "Tenth Muse," a mother, a feminist,
a victim, a masochist and a sadist.

I just hate it when it rains.

Even before it formally opens in theaters
next week, a lot of people would have seen
Yam Laranas's film Radyo in the ten
thousand free advance screenings in various
malls and Metro Manila campuses.

Radyo is an exploration in the
slasher genre, and makes use of indie tricks
and nonsequiturs to supply the laughs.
There are moments of inspiration derived
from sources as diverse as Chinatown,
the carriage thing from the Odessa steps sequence
in Battleship Potemkin, or Brian de Palma.
Jeffrey Quizon makes an interesting serial killer,
though I am not completely convinced that there
is enough method in his madness. Bits of him
seem borrowed from previous screen slashers, like
that nodding dog-in-a-car from The Bone Collector.

But more than anything, this particular slasher
can be summed up in these few words:

Attack of the killer jologs.

Does anyone know if the Film Center at
UP Diliman regularly shows trailers now
before each screening? Guffaws echoed at
the trailer of an Indian film called
Yaadein. There were boyband wannabes
doing their song-and-dance under the pouring
rain routine, screamfests, Bollywood in all
its gawdiness. Yet come to think of it, it's
not much different from any of our own
hysterical melodramas. They were all speaking
in Hindi, but soap in any other language
still bubbles?

There was also a trailer for Dario Argento's
Phantom of the Opera starring Julian
Sands of such classics as Warlock.
Dario Argento directed Suspiria, a
dark but campy movie about various killings
set in a ballet school. It has all the elements
of a good thriller, complete with creative
dismemberments, lesbian overtones, and
probably the inspiration for Princess Leia's
ensaymada hairdo. Suspiria
came out in 1976, a year before Star Wars.

Thursday, August 2

On second thought, I don't think I can live on
frankfurters and beer.
That's it, I'm moving to Germany.

Wednesday, August 1

A friend of mine has been lounging in the
hospital for a week now. She had very puffy
eyes that made her look like somebody
with down syndrome. Then they told her it
might be tuberculosis.

This is the year 2001, she's 21 years old,
and I know it's not impossible in a third
world country, in Manila with all its
pollutants. But, hello? Tuberculosis?

Then you take into consideration that the
girl in the bed next to her is nineteen and
put her hands in the oven. Very Sylvia Plath.
Now all we need are the Rosenbergs and we're
rolling into Prozac city.