Saturday, November 29

the classroom as existential talk show hell

kantogirl: wala akong pambili ng 7650 noh, and neither do i hav d money nw 2 pay 4 an xpensiv line. m a poor underpaid public skul teacher nw.
gboy: ngek. hndi no. u r rich, kala mo lang poor ka pero hndi.
kantogirl: wow beatitudes. blessed r d public skul teachers. salamat ha. im nt d 1 wid d car. cge, palit n lang tayo ng salary. hehehe.
gboy: Cra. utang yun noh. Ü musta teachng?
kantogirl: headles chicken p rin. ung iba mejo ok naman. but ders ds class, i dnt knw wat 2 do wid dem. para kang talk show host sa isang absurd show na lahat nkatingin lang sa iyo.
gboy: bkit ganun? cyempre u encourage guest participation kung talk show. bka parang kris na dominante sa talk show nya.
kantogirl: hindi ah. usually naman ang studio audience perky d b? bka kailangan nila ng phone in questions? ewan.
gboy: hehe, thats 4 u to find out ß may klas ka ngaun?
kantogirl: sabado kaya. m home. mejo feeling scratchy throat. ikaw, working ovrtym as usual?
gboy: late nga ako ngaun e. d2 pa ko doing my chores. tapusin ko muna b4 i go to work. kaw?
kantogirl: tryng 2 sleep sana. my bodyclock is shot kc mejo insomniac ako d b? tpos biglang forced 2 go 2 skul during daytime.
gboy: makakaadjust ka din like everybody else. cguro kool na teacher ka? hmm.. wala naimagine ko lang.
kantogirl: nah. im mor like d teacher slash wanna be host fr talk show hell.
gboy: magiging teacher ka din na gusto mo magng. kung gusto mo strict, e d strict, teror, teror.. ganun yun. kantogirl: nah. mababa lang ang standards ko. masaya na ako if they can narrate, describe, and do their expositions right. feh.

Or maybe I just need an anvil to drop from heaven. Suddenly I want to ask myself: What the hell am I doing here? Whatever possessed me to think that I have something to teach these kids. Wah.

Thursday, November 27

Holiday? What holiday?!

Spent the day doing class preps. And I'm still not done. Blast it to virus hell.

Must sleep na. Brain doesn't want to think anymore, and it's your problem anymore. Have to wake up early for the orientation thingie tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26

Are you in Friendster?

Is a question I got several times in my classes already. I always tell them they can't, unless they have mad googling skillz and an iota of a brain for research.

There's an article in Newsbreak discussing the Wired Generation, of why Pinoy youth (and everyone else in the 17-35 age bracket. The idea that I am not in my "middle youth" alarms me. Wah, a few more years and the "I plead the ignorance of youth" line won't be taken as a valid excuse.) seems to be apathetic and impatient and would rather stare at the computer monitor all day and click the mouse than stand up in a looong line to get things done. In the first place, if you can do it the techie (or "tamad" as my mother will call it) way, why not? If you can boot a president out via texting and asking everyone to show up at Edsa wearing black clothes, why the hell not?

Also cited in the article are the various research studies done on Pinoy youth and their use of technology, and also the book Txt-ing Selves which was released by the De La Salle Press last year. (I want that book. Uuy, sa wish list ko na yan this Xmas. *wink wink*) Kids are wired and have lots of time in their hands. Their parents aren't always around, and buoyed by the "express yourself" (wear Penshoppe?) dictum, we spend vast amounts of time stalking people on Friendster. Is this the shape of things to come? Maybe we should just wage war online. You know, another fire in the hole.

So anyhow, this latest issue of Newsbreak (8 Dec 03) with the Noli de Castro cover seems interesting. Articles on Pinoy youth in general, Friendster, whether we're becoming promiscuous like all those latest studies are saying, everyday activism, and what we are reading. I wonder what the books in that list are. I'm beginning to think that people just read stuff online na lang.
I think that in the last couple of weeks, I am becoming more dyslexic by the day. I can't spell well. My handwriting slurs (if that's possible) when I write. I mix my consonants and my vowels. "Leaning grasses" become "reaning glasses."

Must get rid of this soon.

Monday, November 24

Jonathan Brandis, RIP

Via the elephant blog, got wind that actor Jonathan Brandis committed suicide.

Like most kids then, I was a big fan of movies like Honey I Shrunk the Kids and The NeverEnding Story. Of course I would like to come across a book like that in some obscure shop somewhere.

Anyhow, the Jonathan Brandis I remember is all Tiger Beat smiles and 16 poster boy grins. He adorned the backside of my notebooks, because front cover honors belonged to Joey Lawrence--that dude who wouldn't cut his hair for a million dollars and a nice role in a film. What can we do, he loved his hair.

Not too long ago, it was Jason Priestley who had a brush with dead during some Kentucky race car gig. Should I be at least not be too sad because Joey Lawrence is still alive and probably guzzling beer in some stinking cheapo bar where Hollywood has been himbos slink around?

Ah. High school is just so over now.

Sunday, November 23


Ay, bakit nawawala yung forum sa peyups? Kung kelan pa naman ako biglang sinumpong mag-log in matapos ang mahaba-haba ring panahon, tapos wala. Is the site undergoing reconstruction or something? Hm...

Ps. Okay, forum is back. Maybe it was just some sort of temporary techie glitch.

Saturday, November 22

little kitties kissing


Ang cute nila noh? I want din.

More where this came from.
Missives from the teacher

I realize the URL is too long. But I can't do anything about that because I'm still running around and with my head buried in the sand and hoping that *they* wouldn't notice. Like, yeah, right.

Can teachers play hookie? Like, say, "the door ate my key and your course outline." Right.
Ate Vi, Kuya Guy and why it's Lucky to be in Himala*

I watched Himala! The Musical! last night with Astrid and Pepper. I think the girl who played Elsa was too big boned she seemed like a guy, or a guy in drag playing Ate Guy. Plus does she really have to strike that poster image pose? I realize that because this is an adaptation from a film, they try as much as they can to get the feel of the movie. There are moments which stretch to eternity--stage slow mo and then there's that final burst of the gun and Kuya Guy goes crowd diving. I was afraid they'd slip and Kuya Guy will break her back or something.

The part where Elsa declares that there is no miracle, that "ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao. Tayo ang gumagawa ng himala," they put a coda: That the real miracles are those that happen everyday. The rain falling on the ground, the sun rising. All that Oprah-esque sh*t. I was afraid they were going to pull out Doctor Phil and bring down the house and the theater and all those people who went in late and kept shuffling their feet over our heads. But yeah, I like the part where it rained. And when you can hear the wind around you. So desperate.

I want to find the people who made "Ang Huling Birhen sa Lupa" and bonk them on their heads because if you put that movie side by side with Himala, the former would seem like some people sat around the table and said, "Pare, dali gawa tayo ng Himala pero mas bold. Tapos kunin natin si Maui Taylor kasi kamukha naman niya si Ate Guy. Di na nila mapapansin yun."

Parallels and Exhibit A to infinitum:

[1] Maui was a castout and was semi-retarded (not in the way Melanie Marquez was, though) and was therefore shunned by the village people vs Elsa was a putok sa buho and was thus also a castout,

[2] Maui, in her semi-retarded state, sees something in the dried up tree in the hills. Elsa claims to have seen the Virgin.

[3] The part where Elsa and Chayong got raped, and Ara Mina and Maui the same. Like yeah, deja vu.

[4] Cupang and the village where Maui lives are both destitute and drying up and praying for rain.

[5] Maui Taylor looks too much like Ate Guy. The only difference is that Maui can bare more flesh and silicone, and if I see Ate Guy topless, I would run away.

I like the girl who played Nimia. She tries to shock the audience too much though. There was this production number with the angels/devils from the whorehouse trying to tempt Orly the Filmmaker. It reminds me of Richard Gere's number in Chicago. What Pepper noticed was that the smaller the girl, the skimpier the outfits get. The girls all had angel wings and wore black underwear, which makes them look like they're from a Victoria's Secret catalogue. At least, that's what Pepper says. As Nimia says, "ang tunay na himala ay narito sa aking hita." Oooh, I've never seen the theater so alive.

Speaking of live audiences, there were a lot of people at the CCP last night. There were at least 3 shows going on. A PPO concert, something by the Young Critics, and then Himala. I just wish that Himala had a bigger venue. Maybe then they could get Ate Guy and not Kuya Guy. Don't get me wrong though. We sort of like Kuya Guy. Astrid thinks she was, uhm, animalistic, and er, primal? Hehehe.


*Heard over conversation inside theater. Teenager dude asks his buddies: "Tungkol saan ba itong Himalang ito? Bakit siya lucky?" Other dude says: "Bakit naman lucky?" Teenager dude: "Di ba himala means lucky?" Nyar. Dude, where'd your Tagalog go? Hay naku. Hanggang dito may Ate Vi vs Ate Guy pa rin. *charing*

Friday, November 21

Death by Drowning

At 10.15pm, my beloved and trusty phone (b. 2 Nov 2000) plunged to its horrible death deep down the toilet bowl.

Fare thee well. It was a life well lived, and you earn my respect as the only one who stood by me for 3 years (and 2 1/2 relationships. You will be missed.

I think it's really time for a brand new life.

Thursday, November 20

It's 3 am and you must be lonely

I'm going down with this ship because I'm a Slave 4 U and god is a DJ and all I need is to justify your love.

Argh. I hate sleepless nights and you can't turn up the volume too loud because the neighbors are sleeping and you aren't; even if *they* crank it up before 7am, just when you're falling asleep. Argh ulit.
Books I've bought in the last couple of weeks because I'm an addict and going through a strange Panicky attack of Must-Get-Reading-Lists-Done-and-Over-With

1. Choke, Chuck Palahniuk
2. Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
3. Design Culture, An anthology of Writing from the Aiga
Journal of Graphic Design
4. Fast Food Fiction
5. Twisted Flicks
6. The Kiss, Kathryn Harrison. It's a memoir of an affair
between father and daughter. I vaguely remember
Nathan telling me he read this and it was good. But
then again, that's Nathan for you.
7. First Time, Lara Harte. It's British, is all.
8. High Risk: An Anthology of Forbidden Writings.
9. Elvis Rising: Stories on the King (Not FPJ)
10. Fool For Love, Sam Shepard

I hope to read them all before the year ends. Right. I've already browsed through High Risk and The Kiss, and I actually finished FastFoodFiction at the bookstore before I decided I liked it enough to get a copy for myself.
The Mr. Quickie Gods must loathe me

Kasi the keys that they made for me don't exactly work and I got locked out of my own office just when I was on my way to my next class and I *really* needed to get something in my room. Who would have known that Mr. Quickie keys don't work? Hell, that's why I went to them instead of the Manong filing keys to perfection at the neighborhood kanto because I thought they were more reliable. So I had a key made and earlier in the day I returned the master key to Sandra, and she went ahead to her class and I went to my class. All was well even though I still don't have a classroom, and some of the kids from the next class was there and I told them I'll just be quick and get the materials for them and then I put in my key and it went in. It turned. So I pushed the door expecting it to open. It didn't. I pushed it some more, and it just wouldn't budge. That's when I realized it just wasn't going to work.

Just then the Utility Guy was coming down the hallway and I stopped him and told him I was locked out. He said I should have asked them to make the key copy because Mr. Quickie keys don't work all the time, even if you got them at the bottomest pit at the Shangrila mall and they have their own guys who are safe and reliable. Lesson well learned. Utility Guy went to the storage and came back with a can of discarded keys. There must have been a hundred or so of them. By this time I was attracting curious stares. Panic was probably written all over my face. Mary Ann came by and I told her I was locked out. Then Third also stopped by. They seemed amused and got around to chatting how long it took them before they got locked out of their own offices. She was locked out after two months, and he had a carefree two years before he became temporarily displaced. I win the cake: I had two days. Yey. Eventually, we found a key that worked. It looks old and rusty, but working so yey for that.

It would have been so uncool if I had to go to class and say, hey my office ate your course outline. Blech.

Monday, November 17

Was looking at the referrer thingie. Someone has been googling me. Hm.. [ 1, 2 ]
Cubao is the center of the cheapskate geek universe

Spent most of the weekend bookhunting. Have gone around Ortigas and Cubao rummaging for suitable reading material. Saturday afternoon, Dennis and I squeezed into an overcrowded MRT so we could browse at the National Superstore in Cubao. You know you're well surrounded by geeks when all the people you know turn up in the geekiest place in Manila. Dennis ran into 2 other young instructors from LB. Ah, cheap books. One thing though, how come the selection there is mostly Brit? Not that I'm complaining. It just made me realize how so Kano-centric you are. One of the teacher guys kept quipping, "Bakit ba mas gusto n'yong magkalkal ng basura ng mga puti? Bakit di na lang kayo bumili ng libro ni xxx?" Nga naman, may point. Buy Pinoy?

This afternoon, I figured out the way to get to the Books for Less Greenhills. It's so out of the way--the MRT stations are too far away, there is no overpass with which you can cross Edsa. My friend Grace and I met up in Greenhills, then took the Unimart Gate 5 jeep and got off the gas station with the KFC branch beside it. Bks4Les was just a stone's throw away. I got just one book, an anthology on Design Culture. I saw a hardbound copy of Coupland's Polaroids from the Dead but I had to restrain myself. I've bought far too many books I can't read immediately and can't be part of my reading list for my classes. But I'm sort of happy still. I got a hardbound copy of Palahniuk's Choke--for php99. Yey! I'm broke but I'm happy. Bah.

I was telling my friends this: Sometimes I get the compulsion to suddenly behave myself in public, even when I'm with my friends and am off *work*. The idea that I might run into one of the kids and I'm doing something really silly. Hmm..Why do I care, it's not like I'm the poster girl for good behavior. I just hope I don't grow up to be a stuffy creaking no joy uhm, person.

Sunday, November 16

Well, all along I thought they were named after the Pencils.

Friday, November 14

I'm trying to get rid of the annoying tables in my blog and I can't seem to get it right. *sigh*

I met up with my first ever English 10 class this afternoon. Everyone came in early, and I thought I was, drat. Must come earlier tomorrow so I can pull off my I-am-not-the-teacher trick. But that's going to be a bit difficult because I don't have a classroom still. There's an announcement that they'll have rooms assigned by November 24 (eek!) and it *might* just be at the new CAL building, although Cel thinks it's unlikely because they already heard that last sem and nothing ever happened. Oh well, sana lang if ever we get classrooms not as far flung naman in the ends of the Diliman earth.

Wednesday, November 12

Torture tested (still un-kumbinsing!)

So last Tuesday I got a call on my mobile, and since I was already low batt, the line kept getting disconnected. It was a private number so I couldn't exactly call back. From what I gathered, they wanted me to swing by the department office today Wednesday to get my class assignments. I'll be handling (2) English 10 classes and another (2) English 1 classes. I have yet to browse the syllabi. And how's this for a welcome to public school: 3 of 4 classes are TBA, which means I will have to meet them someplace "convenient" like say the steps outside the theater or some hallway. Nice noh? The good thing about this is that all my classes in the afternoon. I was sort of bothered earlier if they happen to give me the really early morning classes, and I'm hardly a morning person so it would have been really difficult to rouse me and have me do sensible talk at 7am. Bah humbug, I need my sleep.

One more important thing: I forgot to ask them whether I get to have an office na. But other than that, I have to figure out ways on how to wing this. Hm. But you know, I haven't been this sort of happy in a while. Imagine all the torture I've been spewing this past couple of weeks, and I'm happy that it turned out okay.

The only drawback I can see is that (1) They've asked me to defer admission to grad school, and (2) I might have to drop the party show. I was sort of looking forward pa naman to being able to put down on my resume that I party for a living. Feh. Oh well, we'll see how things turn out.

Monday, November 10

Because screenwriters are (obsessive, neurotic, creative) people too

A NYTimes roundtable with Quentin Tarantino ("Kill Bill") and Brian Helgeland ("Mystic River"), and why cool movies never win big awards, the best screenplays of all time and their own idiosyncratic methods.
I am Jack's f*cking khakisCWINDOWSDesktopFightclub.jpg
Fight Club!

What movie Do you Belong in?(many different outcomes!)
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, November 8

full tank but running on empty

I am really sort of glad that at least the ordeal is over. When you think about it, twas really all about poise and composture. Leche, para kang nasa beauty contest, the way they make you wait in that holding area.

Then you're finally there. And I think I tanked, royally. So if I don't get that call, I won't be surprised.

All the knots in my muscles, the tension kept me running, but I really was scraping the bottom of the barrel. I couldn't wait for the whole thing to be over, and I was already looking forward to running to closest possible spa. Which unfortunately didn't happen because it was way past the afternoon mark. Durn it.

Tanked, can you believe it?

Wednesday, November 5


Here are the objects of wrath of that "wonderful website:" [8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ]

My friends and I really felt sorry for the girl whose mother had cancer. She was really nice and I don't think that even given her progeny she deserved something as mean as that. Fashionable, schmashionable.

We were floating around theories yesterday as to who could be the culprit given the mailing list to which it was sent. It's definitely someone who's familiar with the whole CW program but who has now graduated, and knows most of the younger writers whom s/he hates with such villainy, and spouts just enough angst for perhaps not being made pansin by the older writers. S/he must also have too much idle time to actually concoct online vendettas.

That person/persons even had the gall to e-mail his list to another more established professor who writes a column for a broadsheet and serves for the university. Why that writer was spared probably means the culprit got a good grade in his class.

Ah, enough sleuthing for now.

Tuesday, November 4

Speaking of poisoned pens

Clueless me opened my mailbox this morning and got a shocker when my former thesis adviser's name was there, asking me to visit this "wonderful, wonderful website." Another former blockmate texted me about the same website, warning me: "Prepare to be shocked."

There were other writers in the list and most of the profiles border on the obscene, but also hilariously funny. This is tetaaquino for the literary set.

Whoever came up with this still hasn't perfected his/her grammar, and is possibly a homophobe, or is disgruntled because he hasn't been at the receiving end of things. Stock up ba?

Pero, t*angina, if this isn't poison pen at its vilest, then what is it?

Sunday, November 2

Dazed and confused

Can love and hate exist with each other with such vigor that it consumes you?

Saturday, November 1

Dreaming, with subtitles

I went to sleep at 6 am this morning, after sending off some friends who stayed over and watched some movies with me, among them Regal Shocker the Movie, which had nothing really horrifying except for Ruffa Gutierrez's teased bangs, neon orange one size fits no one shirt and red shoes, (more about this movie when I have the strength for it) and because the Oktoberfest was such a bust.

So I crashed on my bed and promptly started dreaming that I was standing on the ledge of an MRT station somewhere. I vaguely remember staring at my shoes, then I looked up and across to see some former flammable person (the kind that makes you want to throw gas over them and then light a match) at the other side of the tracks. For some strange reason I was sad. In a voice over I heard myself talk in an undecipherable but possibly European language. But then at the bottom of my dream screen appeared the subtitles: "Nakita ko siya with someone else. But they sure as hell did not see me." Cut to a coffee shop with a friend. We had been talking still in that strange language and I remember feeling sad.

"I just say that I don't care if hindi ko na siya makita ulit. But then there it was. My closure delivered via the MRT. "

"Ang panget naman, you're at the opposite side of the tracks," friend said.

Then my phone rang and I woke up, and I could still see the subtitles in yellow. I've heard of people dreaming in black and white, and I once dreamt with a built in techno house soundtrack, but subtitles? Ang weird lang. Buti na lang hindi dubbed.
Equal opportunity post

Ayan, para fair: Presenting the Calendar boys and girls of 2004. All hot, all Italian, but not necessarily all chaste.

[ found via the secret tango dancer, by way of the elephant blog, and metafilter ]
The Kidnap a Gnome Project

When I was a kid, there was this house several blocks down which had a reputation of being haunted. The one Christmas I went carolling with my brother and my then best friend, we didn't want to pass by that house. It was dark, nobody ever saw the owners, and they had garden gnomes. The kids said them little statues moved aorund at night. Even if we wanted to see whether it was true, the fear of seeing the gnomes actually moving sent us away in a hundred meter radius.

Maybe we should have kidnapped the gnomes na lang pala, and founded a Garden Gnome Liberation Front, like some people did in France:

PARIS (Reuters) - A French police station has been stuck with a room of homeless garden gnomes, victims of a wave of gnome abductions, after a fresh bid to trace their owners failed.

Only a trickle of people showed up for Monday's "gnome return day" at the police station in Saint-Die-des-Vosges, near the eastern city of Strasbourg, and only one person was reunited with their stolen gnome, police said.

Read the rest of the story here.

And no, they haven't been watching too much Amelie.

Read it to me, baby.

So was it as bad for you as it was for me?

No, there's no excuse for Just Being Difficult. I believe that you can make an intelligible paper, or write a book without resorting to unreadable language. Polysyllabic words does not equal smarts. In the same way that a canonical writer can be easy reading. I so hated it when I couldn't get past paragraph 1 of Joseph Conrad's The Secret Sharer, and we had to discuss that one in class. The horror, the horror talaga. It leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and it feels really bad when you can't get through a single page, paragraph, or worse, even finish the first sentence:
For most scholars, bad academic writing, like bad academic sex, doesn't call for explanation -- or argument.

It's poor chemistry between writer and reader (pontificator and pontificatee, in the academic version), like lack of sizzle between jaded full professor and enthusiastic asst. prof. It's failure of Interrogator A to make the noises and gestures that work for Hegemonized Reader B. It may be Defamiliarizer A's clumsy attempt to shake up the ideological/emotional/instrumental reflexes of Overly Essentialized Reader B. It may be sheer incompetence at nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

In days of olde, lousy writers and lovers struggled to improve, or at least tried not to draw attention to themselves. But who can still remember a time when imperialist categories like "good" and "bad" didn't trigger counterinsurgency from subaltern stylists?
You see, it’s a lot of things.

I usually have an idea of what I want to do, and how to get there from here. When I want things badly enough, I get them.

[This entire ballgame has become unpredictable. The guy I banked on being included in the shortlist wasn’t there. I figured that there were too many noisy gay guys and just picked one. The structuralism girls were both there. Ms Nervous Wreck wasn’t nervous and probably knew her methodology better than me. I’m not discounting that Barong Wearing Dude could be in there. It just makes me nervous that I don’t have a handle on where I stand. I mean, do I believe Mentor Dude that I did well enough when the info came from the high exag Fairy Dear Adviser? How do I know they meant I did well in the grad skul exam and not the blasted the other project that means so much to me right now? Why is this happening to me?

Meanwhile, I have to rant because this has become my journal substitute. It’s not even my blog anymore. It’s my whine page.]

Now I don’t know if for some reason I’m reaping extra evil karma points that I might not get what I want, or I’m not good enough for it. At any rate, it leaves me a bit unsure, humbled. I’m not used to it.

And oh yeah, this is how I feel.