Tuesday, October 29

My first foray back to the outside world involved a very crowded videotheque last Monday afternoon. Went to a screening of Abre Los Ojos, which was reworked by Cameron Crowe into Vanilla Sky. (A film to which I have a dubious love-hate thingie.) People sat on the floor and stared up at the white-washed walls. No matter if legs are cramped and I frequently had the urge to kick the person sitting in front of me.

Watching the original Spanish source material was one long deja vu, or like a 2 hour plus lucid dream where you keep expecting Tom Cruise to take over. Abre Los Ojos is more gritty where Vanilla Sky is a polished Hollywood dream. Penelope Cruz is somehow less annoying. No "the pleasure of Sofia" line, which we kept guffawing about. And no "Tech support!!!" lobby scene, thank goodness. Eduardo Noriega makes a fine Cesar who can be a cad and quite charming at that. You would understand why his friend Pelayo is envious at his friend's good looks and darn good luck at being born rich. Nuria (who would be Cameron Diaz's Julianna Gianni) first appeared in an Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction pose, with the hair and the red dress.

Anyhow, my friends and I thought we could do another version, splicing Abre Los Ojos and Vanilla Sky, taking all the good parts, and completely wiping out Penelope Cruz with such glee. Although I do have to give Cameron Crowe credit because I liked the framing/shot of Penelope Cruz standing on the rooftop in her trench coat against the lovely blue sky. If only for that, we'd retain her. But only in the trailer, and then we'll push her over the building.

Friday, October 25

I am marooned here at home. I have to stay home, because literally I am turning my insides out. My joints creak with a horrible sound. Blast it, I never liked being sick.

I will be back, and I will get better. Have to.
how we do

love. slowly
tentatively engaging
in a push and toggle
of creating contingencies
negotiating plans
for every pitfall
in advance
as though love
is a disaster
waiting to happen.

it's sad
how we can never rush
at love headlong.

when all we needed
is a jarring pause
in avid conversation
to set the clock's hands
in perpetual motion.
we sit
at how we need
torrents of words
before we find the courage
to touch fingertips.


In theory class, presence is negated by absence. Always remember that everything is accompanied by the implied negation. Thus "how we do" is also "how we don't love." No matter if the ending suggests the touching of fingertips. Negation should not be denied but accepted.
the tragedy of our lives is our refusal to connect
(or my deep, dark pain is love)

There is something to be said when you suddenly wake up at 2 in the freaking a.m. and you get gripped by an incontrollable need to express your deepest, heartfelt feelings in 960 characters.

You know it's probably futile because, really, you've been through this, countless of times already that all those who know (and claim to know) you will say, "Isn't that over and done with several eons ago?"

But it's not. It refuses to go away, so it resurfaces again and again. To your chagrin, you suffer a little set back just when you thought you could live with the idea of just being back to plain friends--What are plain friends? Monochrome boring coffee non-intimacies? Hello, how r u, gudmrng?

You do it because you can't really deal with the fact that it ends there. You claim to be cynical and while you know there are no happier endings -- your post-structuralism theory class taught you that, and you got a 1.0 on that, dammit -- you desperately wish that when it happens to you, everything will be different.

You believe in the natural order and progression of things. A begets B, B begets C, like the way you know that Saturday follows Friday and not the other way around. We need those constants in our lives to prevent us from losing our sanity. When the numbers don't add up to fulfill the equation, we check and backtrack to see where we went wrong. We depend on numbers to behave the way they do, always constant, all rational.

You leave no room for individual eccentricities and issues, variables and margins of error. People and their various issues cannot be solved using numerical logic. Emotions are even trickier. Numbers do not flee the way people do when you become too close. Numbers are not afraid of creating intimacies. If they do, then you're not aware of it. There is a reason on why you were not a math major.

So you make a huge fool out of yourself. You are thanked for your openness, for being brave. You don't want the medal for that one, not when you own all the gold medals for backsliding. You were a person of resolve until recently, when your brain ceased and desisted all rational activity.

Bravery is for the foolhardy. Emphasis on fool.

Wednesday, October 23

Cat Starts Fire, Raises Alarm, Saves Family
Tue Oct 22, 9:41 AM ET
BERLIN (Reuters) - A cat saved its family by raising the alarm after it touched off a fire, German police said on Monday. Mimi the black-and-white cat was playing in the family kitchen in the northwest town of Luedenhausen when a misstep switched on an electric oven, which ignited papers stacked next to it. But Mimi then awoke the family by miaowing loudly and pushing heavy objects on the floor. "Mimi saved the family. There would have been a major fire had she not raised the alarm," a police spokesman said.

Super pussy saves the day? Uhm, maybe not.
Why do a lot of people kill themselves at age 27? Kurt Cobain did himself in because he couldn't take it that he had a measure of success but was afraid that'll be it. Then he e didn't like Pearl Jam. So is it Mr. Vedder's fault now? What's weird is having a "new" Nirvana song come out a good eight years after Cobain died. It's just like when some people thought it'd be a good idea to "resurrect the Beatles" and have John Lennon sing vocals on Free as a Bird. I'm all for people having their own fetishes, but necrophilia and rockstars?
I invite you to sit down in front of your television set... I assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.
-- Newton Minow, former chairman of the FCC

Saw this at the tail end of a friend's e-mail. Wasteland, it is. Sometimes though, when you come up with work that strives to be much better than it can actually be, it makes you excited and proud to be part of something new. Sometimes it's just routine -- make the action continuous, workable for everyone involved. Somebody from work once said that television (and writing for it) is like pulling out tissue paper out of a box. You just have to keep pulling out the sheets and then discard it afterwards. So much for longevity.

Monday, October 21

Clues for the clueless: How to successfully avoid someone and not make it seem obvious (No. 0002 of an infinite series)

1. Before you go online, make sure that your messenger and other such communication tools are set on invisible mode. It will be quite noticeable when you log in, and the one you're running away from buzzes you, do not immediately sign out.

2. If you happen to chance upon the poor schmuck in the hallway, in broad daylight, and you are within twelve inches of contact, do not avert look at him/her then stare at your toes or look at the floor. In the very least, pull out your phone and make a call. Talk to the air if you'd rather not talk to the shmuck.

3. Under no circumstances should you reason out that you just packed your bags and moved to the planet Pluto. There is no atmosphere or air to breathe in Pluto. Choose a black hole instead. That way, the poor schmuck would understand if you get vaporized and you're never heard from again.

4. Understand that avoidance is the coward's way out. If you're a reasonable person, at least offer an explanation as to why you're avoiding that person. Do not say that you miss them but unfortunately you're washing your car everyday for the next several months. Some people may be dense, but they'll catch on soon enough. When that is, is up to you.

5. Be kind. Better to obliterate the shmuck now. Make the obliteration complete. "I don't want to see you ever again" is a much better option than having the shmuck wonder what the hell happened.

Sunday, October 20

Still feeling a bit thrashed. Hung out with the girls, danced to Tropical Depression under the full moon-- well, nasa labas yung moon pero "Kabilugan ng Buwan" makes it just as good. There was this big girl who kept on stomping on my poor feet. Buti na lang di siya naka-stilleto. Then this guy in a white shirt was interested in slam dancing. At the other side of the bar, this couple attempted to do the El Bimbo. Aliw.

We stayed there until the place closed down and we crawled to Mister Kebab to munch on shawarma and pita bread. Wish we could do it more often.
I am Mulan!
Which Disney Princess are you?

Ako daw si Mulan. So which version of "Reflection" do you want me to sing? Yung kay Manang Lea Salonga or Christina Aguilera?

Friday, October 18

Clues for the clueless: Okay, so let's say that you feel that you and the object of your wrath pms whatever are going nowhere and you're contemplating doing something. For chrissakes and to preserve the peace, just do it. Don't make any more grand pronouncements that you're bored or whatnot. Lest it cost you more than just several cups of caffeinated worrying unneedlessly. The thing to do is float. Feel the air. Breathe. Just not too much.
During the meeting this afternoon, some guy from the news department said that malls in the metropolis as well as the MRT/LRT lines are under terrorist threat, and that we should stay away for like 72 hours. So we were trying to figure out where to go, which way to use getting there, considering that we had to bypass Edsa altogether. The Ortigas malls are having their quarterly sales right now, which means it'll really be hell to get from one point in the city to another. But we took the risk and ended up having pizza in CPK Shangri-la.

Over pizza, we thought that maybe the warning wasn't really true. Some product of paranoia. Some minutes ago, got the message that a bus was bombed in Edsa. Nothing is ever too paranoid when you're living in Manila.

update:The bus was somewhere near Balintawak. My friend passed it on her way home. Read the full report here.
Paul Schraeder on film and spirituality:
I think film is one of the most difficult to be used in a spiritual manner because it is so kinetic, so visceral. If you're going to do something spiritual, it usually involves slowing life down, and it's kind of hard to slow something down that moves at 24 frames per second.
Mr. Schraeder grew up in the strict Calvinist culture and had never watched a movie until he was seventeen. Most of his films have a kind of deep spirituality in them, the kind that doesn't just accept dogma as it was fed down your throat. He asks, he questions. Never mind that people take him for some devil worshipper and whose soul was burning in hell for depicting Jesus as human (in Scorsese's "The Last Temptation of Christ"). His films also had lonely strangers sulking in their rooms, roaming the city streets at night and later erupting in pure violent rage like Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver." I like the way that he sees redemption in whatever he does. If I can do even a quarter or a little ounce of what he can, I'll be very happy.

Wednesday, October 16

Salon interviews Roger Avary, writer of "Pulp Fiction," on the delicate subject of teen movies:
I like all of John Hughes' movies, except 'Pretty in Pink,' because Molly Ringwald should have gone off with Ducky at the end. But most teen movies are made by people who don't remember what it was like. They're making a big lie, broad comedies which aren't representative of deeper emotions. In your teen years your hormones and feelings are this swinging pendulum. You're going through fits of melancholy and intense love. I wanted that gamut of emotion, that weird, profound time when small moments and broken relationships have such incredible weight and depth. I knew that if I could get that across I could do something really different from a normal teen film.
Sometimes I find it weird when somebody points out that I'm not nineteen anymore. But most of the time, I still feel like I'm nineteen, all angst and rage. I write for a teen show, and sometimes they remind me that I'm too angry, too angsty. That it's not like that for everyone. If teen is all about bubblegum, mine burst and made a mess out of my hair.
I found a less noisy internet cafe. I skipped the one with the teenage boys. Quieter here, and they're playing Eleonor Rigby. Everyone around me seems sincerely busy with their online tasks and no annoying cubicle neighbors who bug me about sending their resumes. And they have a couch! Not that I can sit there while typing here, but I do like the idea of a couch and no gunshots blasting all around me.

But of course, nothing still beats surfing the net at your own home, where you can lounge on your own couch in your underwear or whatever.
The other writer girls and I had our mug shots taken this afternoon. Supposedly, the top honcho decided that it's time for a new logo and a new tagline. We all think we're going to miss that rainbow and "where we belong" as the place we work. Anyhow, nobody really officially informed us that today was the last day for having our photos taken. Some guy texted us that we should come in a "one-colored shirt" when he meant a collared shirt. Since we really didn't take things too seriously, nobody came to the meeting in a solid colored shirt or one with a collar at that. Bluekessa wore a sando and a blazer, Abi wore a furry blouse and a hooded jacket, K had on a sleeveless blouse and a shawl. If the dictum were true, then none of us would be able to enter the network premises after the new IDs are issued. So all afternoon, we problematized what to do. Headwriter D suggested K wrap her shawl around her and pretend that it was her collar. Abi was already asking this PA we knew if we could actually borrow her shirt. Ek. Then after the meeting, we girls just trooped over to the photo place. We figured that if we just acted as though nothing were missing from our clothes, photographer guy wouldn't notice. We filled in our mug shot signs and K ran over to her car so we could fix the case of the shiny forehead. Then we all posed and smiled and just balled around. It was sort of fun. And the photographer guy never said anything about us not having any collared shirts or anything. But we'll know soon enough when the photos are returned, and we all find ourselves looking all wrong, or with eyes crossed or worse, closed.
Also reminds me of that myth from one of them Greek dudes. You know, the Androgyne that Zeus hit with a thunderbolt then the Androgyne split into two. From thereon, each of the halves were forever searching for their so-called perfect half.

Shel Silverstein is da bomb
It was missing a piece.
And it was not happy.
So it set off in search
of its missing piece.
And as it rolled
it sang this song-
Oh I'm lookin' for my missin' piece
I'm lookin' for my missin' pieceHi-dee-ho, here I go,
Lookin' for my missin' piece.

Bluekessa pointed this book to me some time back while we searching the shelves for some books I missed out on during the Bookfair. We browsed through the whole book. Simple drawings, simple words. Pero naman! Puwede na siyang feminist treatise ek. Tama si Shel Silverstein: Why do we spend our whole lives looking for The One who will make us whole, when we should be complete in ourselves.

Also reminds me of that myth from one of them Greek dudes. You know, the Androgyne that Zeus hit with a thunderbolt then the Androgyne split into two. From thereon, each of the halves were forever searching for their so-called perfect half.

Medyo sad kasi there really was No One. But yeah, here I go, here I go.

Monday, October 14

How Betty LaFea changed my life: One of the writers in our team lives and breathes Ms. Pinzon Solano that he schedules his day after the show. The same goes for some people I know from school. During one meeting, we were intently studying gap enders when somebody's mobile from one of the cubicles around us started rang. The ringtone was unmistakably Betty. Writer E stood up and it took three of us to stop him from asking some stranger to send him the ringtone.
It's like looking at a very trippy and acid laden CT scan. A whole in earth's head.
Can you guess what these are? No, it's not what your brain will look like if you shot a bullet through it. But near enough, if we're not careful.
A friend of mine sent me a link for the Mad Poets Society:
In the modern era McLean became, if anything, more literary and even fashionable. The curious "McLean chic," which culminated in the unexpected success of the movie version of Susanna Kaysen's memoir, Girl, Interrupted, can be traced to the fall of 1953, when McLean's director, Franklin Wood, admitted a Smith College senior named Sylvia Plath, who was suffering from suicidal depression. Just six years after her treatment, when she was twenty-seven, Plath realized that she could capitalize on her stay at McLean. After spotting two articles on mental health in Cosmopolitan magazine, she wrote in her journal, "I must write one about a college girl suicide ... And a story, a novel even ... There is an increasing market for mental-hospital stuff. I am a fool if I don't relive, recreate it." When Plath's novel, The Bell Jar (1971), finally appeared, it became must reading for girls, in the same way that J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye was devoured by moody adolescent boys. Wandering the fictional corridors of "Belsize" (Belknap) and "Wymark" (Wyman) Halls, thousands of American teenagers were getting a first-hand look inside McLean.
Said friend asked me for stuff to read, and off the top of my head I had this vision of Sylvia Plath and ovens. So I said get a copy of The Bell Jar, which I have 2 copies off, but refuse to part with. Or maybe some Dylan Thomas. Now she thinks I'm their (the mad poets') long lost sister. But then, every writer at one point in their lives or so, fancies being crazy.
And now, it's time for some post Star Awards prattle. Which I had managed to dodge because I had no red gown, and I despise being immobile for hours on end. What I missed: being drowned by Mme. G's hair, who obscured poor Bluekessa from the camera. (Hehehe) What I hope I missed but didn't: Watching Kris Aquino accept her award for Best Game Show host and spawning another issue regarding herself. "To the three most important people in my life. Josh, my mom, and honey--you know who you are." That spawned the theme of speeches for the rest of the night. Everyone had their own version of "Honey, you know who you are."

And honey, I wish I can strangle you. You know who you are. Blech.
Some annoying guy in the cube next to me is frequently asking me darn questions like how to attach his freaking resume to his email, which he doesn't know how to use. Uhm, I think it seems obvious that I'm busy. I swear, if he bugs me some more, there will be a news report about internet carnage tomorrow morning.
lost weekend

I don't remember doing anything much except that I watched 2 movies in a row -- Birthday Girl and 0. I had no idea what Birthday Girl was about, except that it had Nicole Kidman in it as some Russian mail order bride and Mathieu Kassovitz was in it. Ben Chaplin reminds me of Joaquin Phoenix. I sort of expected something else in the ending. If you were a bank person who spent his entire life building credibility and you just ruined it because your girl asked you to, what would you do? Especially if you learned that it was all a sham, wouldn't you want to somehow get even? Oh well. Maybe he loved the dear girl.

I love Baz Luhrmann, and his R+J was very pretty to look at.Luhrmann retained the dialogue, transported us to Verona Beach where everyone is fabulously dressed. But the thing is, even with all that eye candy and Harold Perrineau strutting around, R+J doesn't give you a sense of dread. Okay, the lovers die. Too bad. Let's get the soundtrack.

On the other hand, Palmetto Grove gives us a glimpse of the competition in a preppy high school ball club. Everyone in Palmetto Grove is scrubbed and pampered, sure. But you could feel the anxiety, the underhanded motivations and the insecurities each of those teenagers have. Josh Hartnett played Hugo, who only wanted to soar. Josh Hartnett makes a damn good Iago. His was the most fleshed out character in there. You know what his motivations are: he knows he's good, but all eyes are on that hawk Odin. His dad is the basketball coach, but Martin Sheen's favorite is Odin, and the coach loves him like he was his own son. Ouch. Then Odin wins the MVP award and he shares the booty with Mike. Odin even gets the girl. And poor Hugo ends up playing second fiddle to everyone else. The boy wants to be noticed. He's envious of Odin, and he definitely wants to do something about it. He manipulates all the insecurities of the people around him in order to get the best results. If Josh Hartnett were in soap opera land, he'd make Amor Powers shudder.

However, even the best laid plans don't always work. People, no matter how well you think you know them, don't always behave like push button clockwork oranges. Thus begins the carnage that leaves everyone dead, and Hugo is left standing. If he had the choice, wouldn't he kill himself as well? I think I read somewhere that O floated in the ether of unshown films for a while because the ending reminded people too much of Columbine. Which is about a couple of outsider teens who want to belong. O is about the in group, popular kids who get embroiled by their own insecurities. Can two incidents of carnage ever be the same?

Friday, October 11

I am so out of it, I just received an SMS I intended for somebody else but typed my own number in the "send" window. Darn. I think I have to go home now and crawl under the covers.
I called up PLDT again, but they still haven't sent anyone to fix my landline. Since it's the weekend, I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that I'll have a working phoneline in the next couple of days. Such a huge inconvenience! I haven't had dinner yet. I have just spent the entire day in front of the computer, and I had to dress up, rush out to an internet shop just to beat today's deadline. Argh.

Yesterday's lunch was ice cream and ensaymada. Today's sustenance consists of Mentos cool chews. I didn't have the luxury of variety. I ran out of Polo mints. All in all, not a very good way to live a life.

Repeat today's chant: Bah ram ewe, PLDT. Bah ram ewe!

Thursday, October 10

Here's another track for the anthem of the jilted song compilation album:
Does she talk about politics?
And all the stuff that used to make me sick?
Does she smoke cigars and stay up late?
Oh she's so great
Does she tell you what you want to hear?
And I bet that she could grow a beard
I'd feel better thinking you were queer
It's not fair
I can't compare
To an ugly girl
To an ugly girl

Ugly Girl, by Ben Folds Five.
It's like a boy version of Alanis Morisette's "You Oughta Know." In the kantogirl universe, it would be so much better if people just disappeared into some garbage bin after you've finished dating them. Just so one could be certain that you wouldn't see other person walking around with somebody else. The mantra should me, "After me, you have no right to be happy." But that's not the way the world works. Blimey.

Anyhow, I wouldn't mind much if I were exchanged for an ugly girl. Or a more kikay one. But I would be very much offended if it were an airhead. Like hello, I do have an IQ prerequisite here. Ah, I'm being mean. >:>

track borrowed from bottled bliss
Net withdrawal postcript

I was supposed to talk with a friend online the other night but couldn't go because I didn't have a frigging working landline to begin with. She said sobra daw ako mag-react. It's as though I've let go of a limb or something. And internet pa lang yung nawala ha. Sabi nga ni Ruffa Gutierrez, c.90s--Grover! Hehehe. Uulitin ko lang ulit: I want my internet back.
Banana girl thinks Daniel Clowes stole my personality. Uhm, very flattering, thanks. But I think Mr. Clowes wrote his book way before I started blogging. So unless he has a portal somewhere and he can see things from my eyes--oh, wait, that's Charlie Kaufman pala, hehe. I loved Ghost World the movie, and even more so because Steve Buscemi is in it. And of course, adolescent paranoia always draws me in.
I am surrounded by no less than twenty --yes, read that again-- twenty adolescent boys in high school uniforms. My ears are bleeding from gunshots from their frigging RPGs. I woke up early and hauled 6k of laundry to the laundromat. I was expecting to have some peace and quiet since it's a school day and kids are not supposed to be hanging out here in an internet cafe. But what do you know. They're all over the place.

Why I'm here and not silently blogging from the dark crumminess of my own home? That huge storm Tuesday night busted my PLDT landline again. Darn you, PLDT. I don't love the smell of teenage boy in the mornings.

Monday, October 7

Objets perdues/trouves

It is exactly what you think it is.

A+ was puzzled what it was all about. I told her that some days, you just have no energy left. You hear something on the radio, or read something that is so perfect, so "in the moment." I believe in the strength of found objects. It is the solution for things that you just lost. Subtle but direct, with irreversible consequences.

I have this friend, who so adored this girl. He sat behind her in a round table discussion, talking about character. "I would do anything for her," he said. Then she tells him: "You have no subtlety." He flinched. But he still adores her, hopelessly.

Then there's this thing about burning tracks in a cd, the way we all used to make mix tapes of everything. Let's say you have to banish something from your life, and you have no strength to say it yourself, but you had a cd-burner. So you compile tracks that said all that you wanted, what would they be? I.e. --
Cranberries, "When You're Gone"
Sting, "If I Ever Lose My Faith In You"
Lisa Loeb, "Stay"
The Softies, "Hello Rain"
There is no progression. I will just hand over the cd, and say, "Play track 5." Then I will walk away, and you will be banished. (Ba-ni-shed, the way the Prince in R+J declared it.) You are banished.

If I had been less of a procrastinator, this post would have been about cheerful wedding song compilations. But alas, a digression. Btw, I don't get it why that song about bringing someone to his castle is a pinoy wedding favorite now. Don't they get it? Sandcastles are as good as the next wave, inevitable and incomplacent.

Sunday, October 6

"The fear of being crap is always what makes you good."

--Ewan McGregor, 20th century boy
Overheard coffee shop conversation 3.1+

But you've been going out with the same person for the last six months. And it's still not a relationship?

That's different. We like each other, so we go out. It's not like we're committed or anything.

What if kayo na lang ni _____? Nice naman siya ah. Saka mukha namang mas loves ka nun kesa ganyan ang labo.

Yeah, but I'm already seeing ______.

Eh akala ko ba di naman kayo committed, tapos you're fencing yourself in. Baka magsisi ka pag wala na yung mga naghahabol sa iyo.

Okay lang.

Okay lang?! Hay, naku. Eh bakit di na nga lang kasi maging kayo? I don't get it.

I think I need another decaf.

+Yeah, so I'm an eavesdropper. So sue me. This is partly why I like hanging out in places where people just sit around and talk. I didn't exactly intend to eavesdrop, but darn it, their voices were just too loud.

Saturday, October 5

"Girls fake all the time. But why? Convincing everyone in the room that you're wearing a diamond when in reality it's a cubic zirconia IS fun, but it still doesn't beat a good, hard, quality — rock."

Above article taken from SATC inspired column for the Yale Daily News. Which reminds me that I miss Kule's lampoon issues. I wish we had Sex and the City when I was in high school (or college, even), not that there was any sex going on then. We had an iron clad principal then, and if she so much as caught you sitting in your arm chair with some guy within a six meter radius, you were done for. I don't know though it the lack would make for a funnier column. Over compensation. Bah.

Thursday, October 3

I don't have much to say these days, so I'm letting Pablo Neruda do the talking. Yeah, it's cheating, I know. But indulge me.

Sonnet: I Crave Your Mouth
-Pablo Neruda

I crave your mouth, your voice, your
hair. Silent and starving, I prowl through
the streets. Bread does not nourish me,
dawn disrupts me, all day I hunt for the
liquid measure of your steps. I hunger for
your sleek laugh, your hands the color of
a savage harvest, hunger for the pale
stones of your fingernails, I want to eat
your skin like a whole almond. I want to
eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely
body, the sovereign nose of your
arrogant face, I want to eat the fleeting
shade of your lashes, and I pace around
hungry, sniffing the twilight, hunting for
you, for your hot heart, Like a puma in
the barrens of Quitratue.