Thursday, May 30

Because it's nothing to get hung about:

Strawberry Fields
(John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

Let me take you down, 'cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real, and nothing to get hungabout
Strawberry Fields forever

Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see
It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn't matter much to me
Let me take you down, 'cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real, and nothing to get hungabout
Strawberry Fields forever

No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low
That is you can't you know tune in but it's all right, that is I think it's not too bad

Let me take you down, 'cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real, and nothing to get hungabout
Strawberry Fields forever

Always, no sometimes, think it's me, but you know I know when it's a dream
I think I know I mean a "Yes" but it's all wrong, that is I think I disagree

Let me take you down, 'cos I'm going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real, and nothing to get hungabout
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever
Strawberry Fields forever

[ courtesy of Joan Jett's Flaming Schoolgirls page ]

[ Dennis has this weird ringtone version of the song. After the first line there's a "tit-tit-tit-tit" that wasn't in the original beat. Odd. But hey, Dennis, send me the ringtone, okay? Hehehe. ]
Just thinking out loud: Is Boracay in June a worth it trip? I know, summer's nearly over. I haven't gone anywhere with sand and water and a good view of the ocean this summer. (I've seen sand and water, plus cement and gravel so that doesn't count.) I guess I just want to go to the beach. On the plus side, there wouldn't be that many people anymore. Minus, there aren't any people because it's the rainy season. But somebody told me that it only rains in Boracay in the evenings, and you can either stay in your room or go out and have a drink in a bar or whatever. I just want to go to the beach. Stress reliever. So should I?

Wednesday, May 29

Interesting Washington Post article on how that collage of snapshots littering your office cubicle -- smiling, shiny happy photos of family/friends/pets/lovers -- actually represent what we don't have:
Because photos, inevitably, are lies. Or at least spin. When displayed, they are an attempt to project to the world -- or ourselves -- a certain image. Family photos testify to what we have, they also testify to what we don't. What we don't have, while we're working, is the very thing they display: the spontaneous moments, the golden unlimned hours. In keeping these snapshots at our desk we are like pets, really, that in their master's absence seek out his sweater to lie upon. Absent our family, the best we can do is bask in its representation, create the illusion that we can sense our kids, feel them, hear their laughter. Now, the office photo is an emblem not so much of achievement as of compromise, lurking worries, remembered joys, the crises we coped with this morning and the pleasures that await us at the end of the day.
I don't a cubicle with a view, nor do I go to an office at all. I do my work at home, and attend meetings which are the only times I actually get to sit in conference rooms and confer with bosses and/or other production people. Mostly I am solitary. I do my work at home, in my own messy room with its collage of posters and litter of books and magazines. Stuff which fill my life. I never wanted a nine to five job. Heck, I never used to worry so much about my job. Which brings me to think how we spend so much time worrying about work, and how it really is unnecessary. Sure, we need the benefits that we get from it -- security (or the illusion thereof. Nothing is ever sure or safe in this day and age. Ha.) But to let work take over your life. One can argue that when you enjoy your doing your job, it doesn't matter even if your whole life revolves around it.

But really, is work all there is to adult life? We tend to forget the little things that make life enjoyable. Lunches with friends, hanging out, having coffee, having actual conversations with people you care about, and you don't necessarily talk about work but how we're really doing. About the things that we care about.

But considering my little own private work hell last week, it only convinced me that A. People will always try to find fault with you. And while you convince yourself to take it as positive criticism. You want to believe they were made with your best intentions in mind. Then somebody reminds me that's how things in the business are. The real world isn't as nice as we would want it. But there's nothing to do but live in it. I am ranting. But I feel better now. I think I've kicked off the blues. Right, Mark?

Monday, May 27

I just hope she doesn't sing in this movie, ala Duets. The horror! The horror! Do you see a resemblance in their movie star smiles?

Gwyneth Paltrow is slated to appear as Sylvia Plath in a BBC movie. Good lord.
I watched Death to Smoochy yesterday, and my friend Arlyn and I were actually surprised to find it had a PG-13 rating while it was R-rated in the states. I know the censors must be feeling a bit generous, understanding that the film is a satire and all. But man, the row in front of us had a mom and 4 kids below ten years old, and when Robin Williams started screaming "But I am Rainbow "f***king Randolph!" over and over, we became squeamish and thought this definitely wasn't a movie for kids. But I guess when taken into contest and all, and I'm sure kids have heard swearing and murder and conspiracies before, they should turn out okay.

I had fun at the movie. It was a throwback to the 70s really. Rainbow Randolph reminded me of Kuya Germs in his GMA Supershow days wtih all the Belle Star Dancers with their feathers and the bright sequince-fested suits. Ugh. Kitschy, trashy, but ultimately fun.

Afterwards, Arlyn and I met up with my friend Marge at Kitchen. Marge wanted to hang out at Cafe Metro again, and have the General's Chicken. We've been there almost every week, and the store manager remembers us (or maybe her) already. The servings over at Kitchen are too huge. Come to think of it, everything was extra huge. The spoons, the plates, the servings. I cannot even get half the spoon into my mouth. Maybe we should use the tea spoons that come with their menu? Hehehe.

Anyhow, I forgot to blog about it last week, but I would most definitely want to hang out in Sanctum again. Marge and I nearly got lost trying to get to Intramuros. We ended up making a wrong turn, and driving to this seedy place under the bridge with lots of cargo trucks and seedy, shirtless men. It was quite dark, and it was the one time I was really thankful for car tints. We were praying that we shouldn't ever get a flat in places like those. Two girls in a car in a very dark, seedy place with greasy looking guys just isn't our idea of a great time. But anyhow, the Puerta Isabel side of Intramuros is really charming, but they do close too early. We wanted to go to Cafea, but they were closed, and the Starbucks guard let us in to order coffee and let us stay there for a while. If the place weren't out of the way, I really would like to go there more often.

We went there for the open mic, and we sort of hesitated to go in because there was a play going on, and afterwards, they all seemed like they knew each other. But what the heck, and it was starting to rain. Open mic was fun. We sat on the ledge near the glass doors. The Godfather was there and performed the baker girl poem again.

At around 2 or 3 am, we decided we wanted to eat. We walked around Malate, but most of the clubs and restaurants were closing already. We ended up in Cafe Adriatico again. In the same table upstairs. We had breakfast and some chat and then it was time to go. I was supposed to sleep over at her sister's place in Paranaque, but I had stuff to do and had to go home. I was really very tired and got in a cab and then turned on the computer a few minutes after I came into the door. Then several hours later, we met again in Glorietta for lunch. At three or four in the afternoon. We were so hungry. It was really a crazy thing to do, and tiring. But fun. I don't know when we can do that again though. Summer's nearly over and she has school and I have work and we won't get to hang out as much. Hm. I can sense early withdrawal symptoms already. Argh. But I will always remember this as a fun and angsty summer.

Saturday, May 25

RazorMouth columnist John Whitehead points to Fight Club as a possible source material for the Pipe Bomber's smiley face exploding concoctions. He argues that if there is seething anger, disillusion and discontent against materialism, we don't have to look further than Tyler Durden and his Project Mayhem. He sites a letter that Lucas Helder wrote:
I often wonder why so many people spend their entire lives consuming what is fed to them, without knowing if they are consuming anything at all. ... All of my family and friends were raised to believe ... to be gullible ... to be materialistic ... to fear authority ... to blindly follow. Do you wonder why people blow themselves up to hurt others? … Do you wonder why you are here? Do you wonder what is out there ... way out there?
Whitehead then samples a passage from Fight Club:
Look at the guys in fight club. The strongest and smartest men who have ever lived—and they’re pumping gas and waiting tables; or they’re slaves with white collars. Advertising has them chasing cars and clothes. A whole generation working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy s--- they don’t really need. We’re the middle children of history, with no special purpose or place. We don’t have a great war in our generation, or a great depression. The great depression is our lives. The great war is a spiritual war.
It is a spiritual war waged against materialism. We've been taught by generations that came before us that money makes you tick, and yuppie creed is an attractive option and replacement for a livable life. The columnist goes as much as calling Fight Club as today's Catcher in the Rye, the instruction manual for the disgruntled Gen Y -- people born between 1980 and 1996. It's going to be the largest group of people since the Boomers. (Offhand, I was supposedly born on the tail end of Gen X, the slacker group, for which I hold no affinity.) And apparently it's turning out to be a much disgruntled generation. The old guards and institutions don't hold water anymore. What's left to do? Readers of this blog would know that I happen to love Fight Club, both film and novel. But bombing everything down isn't the answer. Even if sometimes rage gets to you, something holds you back to say that violence isn't the answer. Unfortunately, some young people out there think otherwise. But you want to be positive about things. Really. You want that smiley to be a sincere one, and not something that explodes in clueless people's mailboxes.

On that happy note, I will most likely head out for the mall this afternoon and watch Death to Smoochy, starring Jack Tyler Durden, er, Edward Norton. It should be funny. Anything with two grown men in silly costumes attempting to kill each other should be fun. You must think I'm a sociopath now.

Friday, May 24

I am incapable of anything these days except for wallowing. I appreciate all the encouraging words. I'm sure I'll snap out of it. The sooner it is, the better. Meanwhile, here's something I found in our mailing list, which may or may not be helpful to me (I told you I'm being selfish right now):
"We tend to see reality with our own eyes only, react to it with the whims of our own emotions, and perceive it with our own mindsets. But we always neglect the deepest essence of "Reality" -- those things that what other people see, feel, and perceive as well! Why not try to see the world in another person's eyes?"
Dying words of Ginu, after Soul Exchange. Dragonball enlightens.*

*I've never really been a fan of the series. I don't know who Ginu is, and I only know the barest hint of the plot. It was something all the guys in my high school watched, and they still watch, and the quote came from one of them. It just makes sense, at this point in time, for what this Ginu said, whoever he is. My apologies to anime fans.

Thursday, May 23

I felt like a grovelling kid yesterday, calling up my new best friend, snivelling like a six-year-old driven out of the sandbox. Yes, some people are here in our lives, in our here and now so they can hold our hands and comfort us. And some people whom you thought had disappeared, or unavailable suddenly called up, announced that they're in town for a layover, and would be very much willing to let you sniff all over their shoulders. So I met up with them, separately.

Cheer up note # 1: Walter called up the second I put the phone down from my marathon with Marge. He soothed me with his propensity for turning everything in his life into drama. He gave me this bookmark he meant to give years ago, some books, and his trusty Cosmo magazine. "Cheer up. Tandaan mo na lang ang sabi ni Lola Oscar Wilde: You have nothing to declare but your genius." It made me smile, even if we had such a short time together. He had to leave and head for the airport and get back to work in Bangkok.

Cheer up note # 2: Marge. It must be odd that the highlights of my week consist of the little walks we have on lazy drizzling afternoons at the university oval. We had tired of walking in the airconditioned confined of the malls all around the city. I've always loved trees and shadow and the soft shimmer of streetlights. After one round around the oval, we'd get ourselves bottles of water. Always at the same store. The manang at the store recognizes us already. "Are you two sisters?" We laugh. The last time at the mall, some random guy approached us, asking if we were Korean. Soul sisters maybe. We are starting to look alike. Which is weird and comforting at the same time. I really am glad to have you as my friend.

Cheer up note # 3: Yes, I know I shouldn't let it get into me. There will be worse, more vile things that can be said and done. Perhaps I really deserved the wake up call. It was more than just a bell ringing, or somebody knocking on the door. I've been sleeping too soundly, perhaps I had my job too easily. You say that it really wasn't my fault. I had been handled by kid gloves, so now that the gloves have been taken off, and replaced with huge, bare, rough hands, so I should accustom myself to the idea of ruthlessness at the workplace. I know I am not the ingenue anymore, because I am not, and because it is assumed that I must be used to the tirades of the job after two years in it. But still, I think the wake up call was more than just a splash of cold water. It was a strong forward kick that makes you suck in your guts. It left really wide awake. Maybe I'll consider reading The Alchemist now, although I never was into those inspirational Ophrah book club sort of stuff. You are absolutely right. Thank you for playing Nancy Drew.

Wednesday, May 22

The worst things you can ever hear that will slash your self-worth by more than half -- heck, wipe it out totally. The self-worth that you spent nearly all your life building up:
You are an amateur writer straight out of college. You are not your target market. You are not masa. You tend to have your characters speak too much English. You are not thinking of the lowest common denominator. You must consider that your experience is not that of the run of the mill average kid. You are not worth your salt. You are not doing what we want you to do.
Not the exact words. But nearly. I am so tired. Excuse me, I must go out and search for the dignity I dropped this morning. I must pick it up before somebody else steps on it.

Thursday, May 16

Immortal Haiku from Sophomore Year

I look at the trees.
Pretty. Then I look at you.
I look at the trees.
Found via renaissance girl's hs batch page.
Be warned, shameless self-promotion coming through.

< insert shameless self promotion here >

I wish I could find a more flattering picture, not.

Please watch tonight's episode of Kasangga, 9pm, GMA-7. It will be the final (farewell) episode for the show, since the management has decided that our host might fare better in a sitcom. Tonight's episode will feature Polo Ravales as a former sacristan who is desperate to keep his lovechild from his hostile mother-in-law. Hostage taking incident, happened in a small town in Cebu.Script by yours truly, directed by Maryo J. delos Reyes. This is the (my) last script for the show. So please watch.

Next week, watch out for the pilot episode of Daboy en Da Girl, still with Rudy Fernandez and Rosanna Roces. I won't be a part of that anymore. Sitcom kasi. Di ko keri. So for now, my permanent show is the teen drama Click, Saturdays, 4-5.30 pm. I'm trying to do away with the violence and instead I'll be focusing on adolescent angst. Anyhow, please do watch the episode tonight, Thursday, 9pm, GMA-7.

< /end insert shameless self promotion here >

Okay, that's all. I'm going back to work.

Monday, May 13

Today is turning out to be very instructional. I googled a few things and found this article by Alberto Fuguet on the McOndo movement (or whatever you choose to call it) in the Latin American side of the world:
McOndo is no more and no less than a sensibility, a certain way of looking at life, or, better yet, of understanding Latin America (make that America, for it is clear that the United States is getting more Latin American every day). In the beginning, it was a literary sensibility, but now, I suppose, it encompasses much more. McOndo is a global, mixed, diverse, urban, 21st-century Latin America, bursting on TV and apparent in music, art, fashion, film, and journalism, hectic and unmanageable. Latin America is quite literary, yes, almost a work of fiction, but it's not a folk tale. It is a volatile place where the 19th century mingles with the 21st. More than magical, this place is weird. Magical realism reduces a much too complex situation and just makes it cute.

Latin America is not cute.
In the same way that we find the Philippines weird, in the magical realism sort of way. I don't know if it's just the shared Spanish colonial past, but there must be something there. The article further talks about the seeming globalization of culture and now the magical realism becomes diluted and turned into an urban nihilist global McOndo village. In a way this comes as a generational reaction to the Latin American lit gods --Borges, Garcia Marquez. Where Latino literature was defined as "magical realist" and thus the other writers that came after are either forced to copy that tradition or die, the McOndo generation has the tendency of sounding like rich, bored, American kids:
But one great thing came out of this McOndo mess: The name became a sort of brand, transcending its origins and becoming much more than a literary anthology. Perhaps it never should have been a book at all, but a special magazine issue, or a documentary, or a Web site. Of all the art forms, the one that was somewhat behind in capturing the region's zeitgeist was literature, because the shadow cast upon the newer generations by authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Mario Vargas Llosa, and, yes, Gabriel García Márquez, was far too powerful. Either you copied them (as was the case with the legions of paint-by-number magical realists), or you just stood there staring, shaking, wondering.
Anyhow, I was wondering if we have the same reaction in our side of the world. We need to have our own roots, and at the same time retain the cultural ethnicity. Or else we drift afloat. More thoughts on this later.

Meanwhile, here is a Salon article about the so-called browning of America. The Fuguet article from Foreign Policy is here. And off tangentially, here's a site I found while googling for the gear mag article. Go check out AtomKinder.
Hello. I just want all of you to know that I am still alive. (That goes to you too, Mark.)It's just that work has been taking out a huge chunk of my waking hours right now. Wah. The only semblance of a day off I had was last Friday, when I dropped by U.P. to meet up with some friends. Astrid and Butch have turned into fitness buffs. Since I am a lazy girl and I had no energy then, I had this blank stare while they huffed all over them exercise mats and them exercise machines. I must have had that blank stare too long, and didn't realize I was staring at the guy who was doing his crunches right across from me. Duh. What was he thinking?

Anyhow, we all had lunch at Rodic's, and I really dig their tapsilog (with itlog, hehe). Yum, shredded cow meat. Then they were off to swim at the Ateneo, but I didn't go because I promised my friend Marge we'd go walking.But she had errands to do first and was late by a good hour and a half. I ended up hanging out at the Booksale stall at the Shopping Center.

There was this article in Gear magazine about how Amores Perros is the start of the Latino revolution. There is all this hype about how being Latino/Hispanic is the new black. It's a new thing because brown is not exactly a race or a color the way we used to categorize the world into black/white, self/the other, first world/third world dichotomies. Latino is not based on raced but a shared language and culture. Remember how Ricky Martin exploded on the scene with his World Cup song two years ago, and then suddenly everyone thinks that being Latino is sexy, and you got Jennifer Lopez and Christina Aguilera trying to squeeze everything they could of the nano-iota of Hispanic ethnicity into their mass-produced pop? There you go, it's cool to be brown now.

The Gear mag article by Chilean novelist Alberto Fuguet discussed this perceived new coolness in being Latino. Mexico City is the new destination for those who want to be cool, and Amores Perros was a contributing factor to all of that. If Soderbergh's Traffic showed Mexico City as the border, middle ground place full of thugs and drug deals but rendered in blue (or was it yellow?), thus giving it a feeling of un-reality. Traffic's Mexico City was violent, and it doesn't entice you to go there but otherwise. It's like being included in the world's ten most dangerous places list. You may lose an important appendage if you do something wrong.

But Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu changed all that. He showed us a De-Efe (Distrito Federal) that pulses with music blaring from custom made cars and jeeps, and the streets can lead you to alleys where dogs are at each other's jugulars, and their owners can slash your intestines out with a fan knife. The streets are fetid and dirty, the smell of the decay from the sewers practically cling to your clothes. Mexico City by way of Amores Perros feels like Manila (Tondo, Sta Cruz, pick your own slum area) or any other crowded urban megalopolis from the third world. When they scream curse words at each other ("Hijo de puta, Octavio!") you can feel your gut retch because you understand. The people there are so undeniably jologs, their behavior so kanto they might as well be playing something by Salbakuta on the soundtrack.

Amores Perros was Iñarritu's first feature film. Before that, he was a disc jock who got a reputation because he only played English-language tunes in his radio show. Then he directed commercials that became very popular (like David Fincher?), and was your regular in-your-face cool guy that everyone below thirty knew his name and all his credentials. Then he decided that he wanted to make films. He wanted to capture Mexico City's breathing, pulsing life force, and he thought that he could only do that by telling stories about people you can recognize while walking down your street.

Amores Perros owes a lot of its style and structure to Western influences. It's like Go! and Pulp Fiction, but grainier, bloodier, and certainly more Mexican than anything that Tarantino can put his hands on. Innaritu says he wants narrative to drive the film, not just the style, or music or the frenetic camera work. Style is nothing without story, and in our day and age, narrative is plural. One incident can spark a lot of reactions from all the people involved. Thus he says, it makes sense that we tell three stories at once. Simultaneously. That is the new three-act, he says.

"What have you done?" was the film's first line. It places you right in the middle of the action, with the tone so accusatory and laden with blood and really, there literally was a lot of blood in the back seat of the car. A bleeding dog, a car crash, a chase scene. From there you have three stories going all at once, in different places of the city, one single incident related in a complex web of people cutting across all the social strata.

I really liked the very brashness and the aggressiveness with which it tells its stories. It's like watching a fatal car crash. The scene grabs your guts, and makes you want to look away but you can't. It's just too fascinating. When you watch a piece of cinema like Amores Perros, it makes you want to go out there and make your own movie. And I just wish that we can see more films like these more often. And when I say "more of these," I'm not talking about making a movie "inspired by" Amores Perros, and just basically transplanting the plot and the characters from De-Efe to say, Tondo. That's copying in the iconic level. That's what pisses me off about our Pinoy movies, even (and especially the ones) trying to pass themselves off as art films. Bah. You might as well xerox the film and dub it into Tagalog, to save money.

Friday, May 10

I am happy right now.

Thursday, May 9

Hey hey, happy birthday, Astrid!

Whoopee, we're playing softball on Saturday to celebrate.

update: Apparently we won't be playing at all tomorrow, since everyone seems to be quite busy, me included. Darn, I thought I was going to have my fill of isaw and fishballs already. Oh well, another day for that.

Thursday, May 2

Kala on music videos and card decks: "Random videos are like a hand at cards: you can either win or lose, and most of the time, you lose, because the quality of music video channels are in slow decline." I'm also glad that I'm not Slim Shady's mum. Which reminds me: I haven't watched any music videos in a long while. I don't suppose I'm missing much, eh.
Today (or should it be yesterday? Ah drat. Labor day then) would have been a really nice day, except for the bummer at work that had me get up from sleep just after midnight. And really, darn those stupid eternally busy dial-up numbers. What are all those people logging into the internet for after midnight, huh? But feh, another drop in the dung heap. So I am cheering myself up by listening to Tom Waits. You can stream his album "Alice" over at, only until May 2. His forthcoming album "Blood Money" can be streamed starting May 7. If you can make it through the growls, it's really well worth it.