Monday, September 29

Curse of the CL class

Edward Said is dead.

He died a day after I sat in an MA class in literary theory discussing the modernists and up. So while we were discussing Orientalism, it's possible that poor Mr. Said was wheezing with his last breath.

I think I should refrain from discussing people in comparative lit classes. It's like there's a curse on people discussed in CL class. They all die. Years back, in another CL class, the story of the little mermaid was brought up, and within the week, the statue of the mermaid in Denmark was decapitated. Item no 2: For some reason I now forget, Charito Solis was brought up. Within the week, she died and went to heaven. Feeling namin nun, pinatay namin si Ina Magenta. Worst guilt ever.

Ariel, Ina Magenta, and now Edward Said. Who's next?
Or maybe it was just a really horrible coincidence?


In this week's New York Times magazine, an interesting article on the evolution of the black sheep. And whether or not this is applicable to the current involvements of Kris Aquino.
From Sarah Hepola's "Certifiable:"
I was a teacher once. Twenty-three years old, full of earnestness and swallowed literary ambitions. In fact, under the ‘Goal’ section of my résumé I actually wrote, ‘To inspire young minds.’ I handed out those résumés at job fairs to frumpy women in appliqué sweaters.

‘That’s pretty ambitious,’ they said.

I looked them in the eyes. ‘Yep.’

I was young and arrogant and I’d spent too many nights watching Dead Poets Society drunk. That film made teaching look like a kind of nifty performance space in which the teacher has the leading role, and I imagined myself in the classroom, cracking jokes, scattering Shakespeare like rose petals. Of course, at the end of Dead Poets Society a lead character kills himself. But by the time that part of the movie came around I was usually passed out.
Hmm. I wonder if I should write that down. "To inspire young minds." I rather like the tone of "To corrupt young minds," but I don't think they'd like that.

Thursday, September 25

Wag the dog?

Preamble muna: The US Secret Service collared the Philippine Press Undersecretary on top of the Waldorf hotel in New York. Mr. Undersecretary was setting up a satellite dish for President Arroyo's interviews when the helicopter sighted him. "Hey Mister! What are you going to do with that dish?" "Hey, it's just sisig, man!" Hehehe. I wish.

And to indulge everyone's favorite issue of the week, here's the full transcript of Korina Sanchez's interview with Kris Aquino in TV Patrol last Wednesday night. All the quotable quotes are there! He aimed a very long gun at her! It was huge! It was grey! It was...hell, I don't know what this country's fascination with Kris Aquino is leading to.

Hmm..maybe someday, something good will come out of all this. Like maybe I can have a dissertation on the positive effects of Kris Aquino's love life crises on the macroculture of Philippine society or something. Yeah, maybe that's it. I should just major in Kris Aquino studies to compensate for all this showbiz rumor mongering. Trust this country to lap up all things showbiz and weird.


*Remember that movie? The one where they needed an issue to divert the population's attention from the presidential sex scandal, so they created a war that doesn't even exist. This whole Kris and Joey LQ thing can be Ping Lacson's conspiracy theory so the Jose Pidal issue can be killed and buried and never to be heard from again.

Monday, September 22

Actually, Mr. Cruz, ang chaka ha.

Isagani Cruz gets his panties in a bunch over the excessively banal and trivial use of actually's and siya nga pala's and the proliferation of the bakla as comic relief in local showbiz. Everything noted with much disdain as he declares to have stopped using "actually" in daily conversations in fear that he might be construed as a showbiz denizen:
If you've watched local films often enough, you must now be familiar with the phrase, "Siya nga pala" that's always in the script. I don't know why, but the writers seem to believe that it is essential to every dialogue in the local dialect. It may also suggest that the actor does not think ahead but always remembers a thought only as it suddenly occurs to him. Everything is accidental and incidental.
Also, he decries the use of English in the opening and closing credits. Nga naman, why use "Starring" and "Directed by" when we can say "Itinatampok sina" or "Idinirehe para sa telebisyon ni" kung sino mang Poncio Pilato.

Quick, we have to find the correct translation to gaffer boy. Actually, that's going to be so mahirap because some technical stuff really don't have any direct translation in Filipino. It can be done, I suppose. Well everything just might be incidental. Who knew that I would actually click the link to Mr. Isagani Cruz's column on the wee hours of Monday morning and find an article denouncing the proliferation of actuallys and by the ways in showbiz?
Spain is the new France.

Or so proclaims the New York Times in this article. Paris is to the bourgeois and complacent nouvelle cuisine, as Barcelona is the dark and dirty but intoxicating nueva cocina. Spain is the land of the brave young chef, and the buzz word of the moment is making food taste lighter, or almost as light as air.

Meanwhile, at the Cine Europa last Friday, watched Charlotte Grey which starred the chameleon Cate Blanchett. Miss Blanchett looks very different every time in all the movies that I've seen her in. Sometimes, if I had no previous knowledge beforehand that she's part of the cast, I would find myself surprised to see her name at the closing credits. "So that was her, didn't recognize her." She loses herself in every role, that girl.

In the movie, there's this scene where she was given a test of word associations. Quick, name the first thing that comes to you mind. Man=balls, sugar=sweet, and then France. She announces, "Je voudrais acheter un billet pour le train." The doctor chastises her, only one word please.

In an earlier scene, we see Charlotte Grey in bed and in love with Peter Gregory, a soldier headed for France in the time of World War II. He doesn't know a word of French, and she was teaching him how to get tickets for the train, correcting his pronounciation and all. Hence France=love. She had this really off-world smile when she said that, and she seemed really in love. I was like, awww, how sweet.

I was a wee bit delighted to understand what she was telling him the first time. Also last week, followed Mark's links and read the transcript to Before Sunrise. In one of the scenes, Ethan Hawke was telling Juliet Delpy that he was at a train station in France, and he was practicing how to buy tickets at the metro, since he did have some French in school. But at the window, his mind went blank and all he could say was "Give me tickets, train" or something. It's all about getting tickets to get somewhere. Ah. Rusty present tense basic French still working, although slow.

Thursday, September 18

Mummy won't preach, promise

Mummy won't preach, promise.

In less than a month following that open mouthed smack with Britney Spears, Lola Madonna releases a book for children. Hopefully not in the vein of 1992's Sex. But yeah, but what if it is? That would have been interesting. You can always rely on Madonna to shape-shift. From Material Girl to Veronica Electronica, she had everyone eating from her hands. After the bombs that were Swept Away and American Life, she even signed up for the latest Gap campaign. I mean Madonna=Gap was just so far-fatched. But there she was. Ganda ng lola mo, di ba?
Jaclyn Jose, bigyan mo ako ng lakas.

This is our weird blog item of the week. Totally brought me down the other night. Was exchanging those slum book type questionnaires again with some friends and one of the respondents was identified as "Jaclyn Jose." Of course, what are the chances that it is indeed the real Jaclyn Jose?

So it turns out that the email addy is from some guy I shared several classes with in college. Big hairy guy who's an ardent Jaclyn Jose fan. Said guy loves Jaclyn Jose so much that he went DIY (or "sariling sikap" as he would call it) He glued a photo of Ms. Jose on his mobile phone's housing, and somewhere in the back was proclaimed, like a graffiti of undying love: "Jaclyn, bigyan mo ako ng lakas!"

It's freaky in a way. But hey, if you got a fan like that, it must mean that he really really digs you.

[Too bad I can't find a photo of Ms Jose in her goddess days from her 80s films. Not even a decent facsimile of "Private Show" or something. Unless you want her blue haired and part of the cast of Labs Ko Si Babe. My favorite Jaclyn Jose movie is Tuhog. Her grieving widow was really just over the top.]
getting lost, all the time

Over the weekend, been reading a lot of articles online. Lots of good reviews coming out all over about Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, which I'm looking forward to because I just loved The Virgin Suicides. Elvis Mitchell of the New York Times likens the film to the subdued romance to Brief Encounters, Before Sunrise, and In the Mood for Love. 2 of 3 movies is in my list of all time favorites.

There's talk that Bill Murray might get nominated for an Oscar for his nuanced portrait of Bob Harris. And Scarlett Johansson as the ingenue, whose tastes in clothes is almost like the director's, and whose husband in the film was also distant and far away. Hmmm... Anyhow, get quick peek at the reviews from NYTimes here, and also another from popmatters here.

Monday, September 8

Ayokong maging dukha!

Although the global rich list site says there are 5,126,375,321 people poorer than me, I still find that hard to believe. Because (a) that doesn't take into consideration that I earn in pesoses, and that's still way below the average GNP worldwide of what you can call a decent cost of living allowance, (b) as Jane Austen would say, I am in reduced circumstances and (c) I'm a brat who refuses to acknowledge that there are people starving in Africa.

Earlier today, I browsed the money section on inq7. Interesting articles on how to create your investment strategy. The other day, was talking with a friend and he was telling me that putting your savings in the bank actually devalues it because it's still the same amount and we have a higher inflation rate. I must be growing old. I don't want to think of *investments* especially since I learned that according to the article, I'm obviously not part of the Haves or the Getting Theres but still in the bulk of the population called Liquidity Savers.

Usually, all this talk about the money market, or anything that approaches Boiler Room parameters make my eyes glaze over. They still do, but now I try to understand this. Some months back, a friend who does real estate was explaining capital gains and whatever and how properties now cost upwards of php6m. I went like, Even if I broke my back working for ten years, that'll be way beyond reach.

Nathan thinks it'll be easy if you set your mind to it. He has 3 goals right now: Money, Muscles, and Writing. Easy enough. You want to get muscles, go to the gym. You want to make money, hustle. You wanna write, steel yourself. Now if only I can gather enough discipline to run after that. Gah, I hate it when you have to consider things like this. Walang ganyan sa Asteroid B-162.
The UP Pep Squad in Photos

In one word: Awesome.

Someone commented that the guys looked like they're from the Sex Balls. And gawd, those really were skimpy outfits. I missed the live action yesterday. Oh well. Go and gawk at the photos then.

[ pix courtesy of mimi from peyups ]

Sunday, September 7

Happiness not included in Happy Meal

And it’s not included when you buy the new Porsche, get a new husband, or a yuppie high paying job. And on the inverse, yeah, you’ll still be alive even if you thought losing your job will crush you and debilitate you to the end of your days.

Daniel Gilbert is after the Holy Grail of what makes people happy. His studies in affective psychology delves with “impact bias,” or how events and things which we think will make us happy or sad are merely based on our expectations of how it will affect us. But sooner or later, the shiny new (husband, job, car, put whatever is your life’s goal here) will lose its sheen faster than you can say “Where’s the happiness in the bubble pack?”

While that is comforting, it still doesn’t erase our uncontrollable urge to want things bigger, faster, and with longer legs. Knowledge that the happiness will soon fade leads us to make even more improbable decisions on what we perceive can make us happier. We’re not always on the money with what we want, but we keep running after that elusive thing that’ll put a permanent smile in our faces. Even when the pursuit of happiness is, well, a futile pursuit. Hm. Maybe we should just try botox surgery.
Coppola, fille.

Sofia Coppola collects a smart mob of creative and intelligent people and puts them in her menagerie, where everyone is related in less than six degrees. In her world, everyone knows everybody else. Interesting profile from New York Times tells how she stalked Bill Murray into accepting the role of the middle-aged American actor dude in her second feature “Lost in Translation,” how she persuaded the Park Hyatt hotel to shoot there in 27 days, and how this petite little thing who is so fragile and girly and spikes up the urge in people that turns everyone into her big brother.

Wednesday, September 3

comics is now their weapon of choice?

More on the ever raging INC vs Ang Dating Daan mud slinging war. Apparently, ADD plans to sue INC for allegedly releasing a comic book featuring Brother Eli's "Buhay at Pag-ibig" and which shows him having sex with another man.

Got this from the journalista comics blog, which I found thru markmomukhamo! Have got to be careful now about acknowledging your sources. Remember what you learned from Comm II? Links are more important than ever. Especially now that the pinoy blogosphere is spewing brimstone and demanding the head of a supposed plagiarist. Dati term papers, thesis at stories ang nape-plagiarize. Ngayon pati blog na. I'm following this whole plagiarism issue from a safe space (kasi hindi ako na-plagiarize. *sniff* hehe).

What if, from Mark's supposition, what if this Keiko girl is actually challenging us to define the nature of a blog? All experiences, once out in the open world of the wide blue web, can be googled and is part of the free enterprise. We can read it, cut it up, shape it according to our own comprehension of it, and appropriate it for ourselves? I was reading this short story from Zoetrope, downloaded ages ago from Salon. "Literary Devices" proposes that the existence of an author may not be necessary for a story to exist. We don't own storylines. We can't patent the girl-meets-boy, boy-meets-boy, or girl-meets-dog storyline. All we need is some nifty algorithms, a wide base of stories, webpages from which all the story plots of the world can be grained, and voila! A story writing itself. Or maybe in this case, the blog is a collage of other people's experiences, cut and pasted for your entertainment. Except the experiment had gone wrong. Now there's going to be some serious plagiarist-hunting going on. Magkaroon kaya ng burning at the stakes?

And before you bloggers out there charge up here with cleavers, this is just kantogirl doing a Jonathan Swift. Grabe na ito. Gah, I am just wishing for [blog]world peace. Hehe.
I am hounded by three middle-aged men named Rene.

Saturday. Went to our alumni dinner and the batch coordinator was also some middle aged guy named Rene. He looked different from what I envisioned him to be while corresponding online. He's also makulit. He says I'm around the same age as his daughter who's studying in UST. Uhm, okay.

Last Sunday, I was at the Philippine Bookfair, minding my business at the CCP Booth and quietly watching the Pelikula documentary. This middle aged guy who was also watching struck up a conversation, asking whether I was a student, whether I'm from UP because only UP people would sit down and watch that docu feature voluntarily (eh?), and that he's a high school teacher from Southern California and if I happen to be in the area, would I come visit him? He's even inviting me to his mother's anniversary this coming Saturday at some hotel, with dinner. Uhm, no, I don't think so.

Do I have a post it on my forehead that attracts all the weirdos of the world to come and bugger me? I mean, I was minding my own business and I'm not getting in their way, but they find their way over to me. Gah.


Also at the Bookfair, went to the Goodwill stall and drooled over copies of "You Shall Know Us by Our Velocity!" which is Dave Eggers' new novel. I liked AHWOSG, and I'm curious about the new novel although reviews said it was like Amazing Race crossed with The Beach. I got a copy of the Alex Garland novel, but haven't read it yet. Anyway, I think Goodwill's books are more expensive. Kasi I saw their copy of Unbearable Lightness of Being. Powerbooks and National sells it for like p239, and Goodwill sells it for p500+. That's double the price. But they do have titles not seen in the other bookstores. Sana there's a Free Book Day tulad ng sa comics. Para mas masaya di ba?