Sunday, March 28

kay susan tayo.

ito ang programang nagbibigay sa inyo ng importansya at kapangyarihan.
Bulaklak ng Digma

big production values.
Belat, dahil di kayo talo.

Just found this while browsing Inq7's You section:
I still can't believe what I see
"Miss, is this seat taken?" he asked with a grin
I shook my head, "No, it's yours to sit in"
he smiled and politely said, "Thank you"
as my cheeks blushed and turned red in hue
then, all of a sudden, I was taken aback
oh by a bad streak of fate, it was just not my luck
he took the chair, carried it with those strong arms of his
and to my shock, he placed it next to his miss
whose looks were his equal, whose face as good as his own
I just couldn't accept it, I gave out a loud moan
he was sitting behind me, he was sitting next to you
that the two of you were gay lovers, I didn't have a clue.
Can you say bad Ponds commercial rip off?
I'm the guns of August, baby.

You're The Guns of August!

by Barbara Tuchman

Though you're interested in war, what you really want to know is what causes war. You're out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they really are. Nevertheless, you're always living in the past and have a hard time dealing with what's going on today. You're also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in the world. A fitting motto for you might be "Guns do kill, but so can diplomats."

Take the Book Quiz at the Blue Pyramid.

Eh? Well at least they got my birth month right. My other choice, given just one divergent step from the path, lead me to this.
Prom Night Surprise

So I open my media player hoping to hear a 5 year old Sofia Coppola talk, but instead I get my brother's prom playlist. I didn't recognize the first track, as the songs were designated as Track # 1, 2, 3, etc. All I know was that there's something that might be called "Officially Missing You," and maybe Paolo Santos' "Moonlight on Paris." The only thing I'm sure of is that there's a bossa nova version of "The Way You Look Tonight."

I'm old.

Saturday, March 27

protuding stick
Jumping hoops

There must be something in the air. My previous doppelganger post collected a series of comments which involved more impersonations than there are presidential candidates.

And in the Lear blogging household, it seems that the theme is all about jumping hoops. Ursula Lear spent the afternoon doing psychobabble. Butas na Chucks is considering becoming a Kapuso after officially declaring that she's going back to her old job. I have a new job and no network. But in the last few weeks, I've been getting offers from other networks, and I must say that it is tempting. I had to jump hoops just to let other parties know that I'm not saying a definite no, because I do want to write. It's just that I'm not sure I can handle what they're giving me now that I'm a full time fighting moron.

After all the paeans to honor and integrity and how teaching is such a vocation, there knocks reality. We were planning the annual summer roadtrip yesterday. In the guidebook, I came across a tip to travelers about food: Go where the government employees are eating. Then it hit me: I am now a government employee. Where you eat, it must be cheap. Ouch.

I don't want to have to scrimp to get by. Sure, it must be romantic to starve in some roach infested dungeon for your art (ew) or your vocation, but I'm allergic to dust and roaches. As today's visit to the dermatologist would attest, I need to do something to take care of myself, and not without denting my budget. I think it's possible to still do what you like and still breathe and eat and live away from the roaches.

So here we go, jump hoops and blog.

Thursday, March 25

The columnist is not dead.

In the recently concluded semester, we discussed an essay by Conrado de Quiros. So I asked the class if they knew who the author was, and one kid asked: "Is he still alive?" Instead of saying "Hello, do you live under a rock?" I just said that "Unless he died in the last 12 hours, I'd say he's still alive and he was drinking beer in 70s last night."

Meanwhile, I discover that De Quiros has a blog, which is more like a supplement to his Inquirer columns.

I knew it. I shouldn't have told them that entire "the author is dead" routine.
kantogirl blog is not kantogirlblues.

I have a doppelganger.

I was looking at my referrers list and I noticed an entry for kantogirl+blog. I followed the links, naturally, and it took me to this blog, which has a grand total of 3 entries in the last several months. Mostly incomprehensible rants about a thesis deadline, and s/he calls herself Testes, of all things. Well, that definitely is not me.

I can think of a few possibilities: (1) The girl, whoever she is, is not aware that another parallel blog exists. But she's either distracted by the thesis deadline or just tried out blogging out of boredom and quickly got bored by it as well; (2) The girl or whoever is behind it is trying to impersonate me. Which sounds very narcissistic, I know. But you can never can tell, sabi nga ni Ate Vi; (3) The girl discovered there is another kantogirl, and thus she stopped blogging and is now cowering in fear.

Ha! I wish. But I just want to make it clear that Testes is not me. My, what a horrible nom de plume, if ever I came across one.

Tuesday, March 23

The Philippine Graphic is online.


On blogspot territory, no less. So does this mean that Nick Joaquin is a blogger? Gasp! From National Artist and "Itaas Mo!" endorser to a mere blogger. What demotion, man.

Found via disastermari.

Sunday, March 21

The machines don’t forget.+

And online, according to this NYTimes article, we lie less. Whatever you’ve said, even if it was a trillion years ago, it would still be reflected once you hit the “Reply” button. Automatic quotations of your words, outbursts made in anger or conspiratorial electronic equivalents of whispers. Perhaps in the machine age, everything will be remembered and none forgotten. We will finally conquer that curse, via Kundera, that man’s struggle is that against forgetting.

Apropos: In the age of Friendster and other online community building tools, Biz Stone declares that Blogger actually is “Push Button Networking For the People.

Now I would have been kinder to this claim if not for Booger constantly bugging me lately with disappearing posts, which is especially annoying if you type your post directly in that post box and hit click without saving it elsewhere and then poof! Your thoughts eliminated from cyberspace.

But yeah, credit where credit is due. Met a lot of interesting people through the ole blog, and it keeps me connected to friends and acquaintances whom I haven’t seen in a while. Was surprised last week when someone from my writers group asked me about the accident she read about in my blog. Was actually touched that people do read (or “stalk,” as the case may be) other people’s blogs. And so this shoutout goes to her, whose blog I don’t even know the URL yet.

+It’s oh so Blade Runner, don’t you think?
Notes on Shaider and Cultural Imperialism

Last week, we discovered that Babaylan Yda was descended from the Lost Empire of Mu. There were hints that perhaps Lay-Ar also had a hand in the disappearance of the legendary Pacific empire. Mu (Or Lemuria, in other texts) once had a civilization that was far more advanced than ours--utilizing solar energy, among other things. This lost civilization has captivated our minds for the longest time: What caused their sudden disappearance off the face of the earth? If we are to believe the Disneyfied version (on Atlantis, at least), there are alien colonizers involved.

When stumped for explanations with bizarre things, we often refer to the aliens. We attribute to them the Egyptian pyramids, crop circles, the number zero, the Stone Hedges on Easter Islands (or "Rapa Nui" to you. Digression: the opening theme to Kasangga is a recycled version of the film soundtrack. Specifically, the music playing when Jason Scott Lee and the other guy were racing each other for the pale princess' hand.) It's as if we can't do these things on our own, and must resort to help from alien civilizations, which we always believe to be better than our own. It's kind of like intergalactic imperialism, which is, after all, What Puma Lay-Ar is all about. He wants to achieve universal domination by controlling culture, influencing people through their weaknesses.

If we are to look at all these Japanese cops and aliens stories, from Shaider to Bioman to the Ultraman series, it's all about aliens trying to invade the earth, specifically Tokyo. Now why the Japanese? I could launch on an entire treatise on how the forced opening of Japan to western influence and the humiliation of World War II has something to do with all of these, but that requires research, and well, I just want to blog right now. Refinements later.

Shaider solidifies all these arguments about aliens and lost empires. The strange monuments ARE alien, signifiers meant to communicate with those in the blue yonder. The animal markings on the caves that Alexis discovered were compass points to guide the Pulis Pangkalawakan in their missions on earth. All the significant characters in the series, Alexis, Annie and Yda, were subjects of Lay-Ar's imperialist dreams. Annie's planet had been destroyed, as was Yda's Mu, and now Alexis' earth. While Yda became a priestess serving Lay-Ar, Alexis and Annie had been recruited by the Pulis Pangkalawakan to try to stop Lay-Ar. Yda had no previous knowledge of what had become of "her people," and it was only during the investigation of the Easter Island markings that she has come to understand how Lay-Ar was at the root of all these. Alexis himself had only vague memories of what transpired in Easter Island, where he had mysteriously disappeared two years before. It was only Annie who had a clear memory of Lay-Ar's destruction of her planet. Everyone is searching for their origins, and now they're slowly discovering how Lay-Ar had a hand in the disappearance of their roots.

It's interesting how cultural imperialism has been transmuted to a low-budget drama of tin foil, space invaders, recycled footages and flying kicks. What's even more interesting is to see how a primarily Japanese text, with its obsession with destruction and intergalactic colonization has been translated into Filipino. Babaylan Yda and Bathala Lay-Ar, and the ever changing gallery of monsters meant to put down Shaider, ang Pulis Pangkalawakan. It's the good old binary of good versus evil, the courageous local versus the usurpous stranger. It's entertainment on Saturday (or Sunday, as the case is now) mornings for ten year old kids. But just how much of this imperialist subtext is visible to those waiting for Shaider's Blue Hawk and Super Slash? In the late 80s, early 90s in which this series had been first aired, I doubt it that kids sat down to cheer the wiry and wily Alexis into destroying the evil empire. It was about flying kicks and glittering armor, and whether the knight would get the girl: "Shaider, Shaider love Annie." We couldn't care less, unless perhaps, when forced to sit down and realize the extent of that empire.


And now for this week's proper episode update: "Kapalaluang Mapagpahamak."

Alexis becomes too complacent in his abilities, loses the battle with the magnet-toting monster, and nearly gets Annie killed. Humbled, he retreats and is forced to take stock of his capabilities. He engages in a Karate Kid like regimen: he has to divert the course of a waterfall with a single samurai sweep. Meanwhile, Annie receives the challenge from Puma's lair: the usual ruse of hostaging a busload of
school kids and the threat to destroy those poor innocent children. Annie decides to take it on herself so Alexis could concentrate on his task. Not really a good idea, Annie gets endangered, in her mind she screams for help from Shaider. Alexis feels this, and gives the task one last burst of concentration and he succeeds to divert the water flow. He now takes on Lay-Ar's bunch with renewed flair and beats them all. Alexis has learned from his youth's folly: Don't be too mayabang or Lay-Ar will beat the hell out of you.

Quick discovery from Imdb: There's actually a Shaider movie. But not enough details in the database. Will further investigate soon.

Saturday, March 20

The lolas are leaving.

Or perhaps not. Earlier this week, there was this tribute party to those over 65, and a lot of them were literally lolas. I first knew some of them as teachers in my undergrad, and I couldn’t imagine them sporting anything other than a head of white hair or those balloon skirts, and they somehow all nod off in class, no matter what time of day it was. Anyhow, that afternoon, we were told how in the olden days, when Diliman was new and the lolas were fiery, one of them decided to elope. Yes, elope. Nagtanan. Complete with ladders and ropes and jumping out second floor windows, hoping that the parents don’t notice that they’re lugging away tons of clothing. Elopements sound exciting. It would be hard to do that if you lived in the middle of Ortigas, or like me, on a silong of an old house near the river. A new badge of courage for that one. Who would have thought she was some fiery goddess when you look at her now, frail and lola-like?

Thursday, March 18

Blogging and narcissism

Because it always goes back to ourselves, doesn't it?

Monday, March 15

The Exclamation Point Is Not Your Friend

It's not a rare occurence that I get essays which end like this!!! They seem to equate enthusiasm with punctuation! Thus the proliferation of exclamation points!!!! Especially now that there's a huge rush to make it to the deadline and they're all high strung and worried about documentation!!! And alas!!!! They frequently forget to put page numbers!!!!

Even if you bombard them with lessons on the proper use of punctuation marks, with words from Stephen King and Strunk and White and even good old Kate Turabian, they still love their exclamation points!!!! Their papers look like mid-50s American musicals, like say Oklahoma! and Oh Jackie Oh God No!!!! So in a last ditch effort to free myself from exclamation happy essays, I'm putting across Elmore Leonard's ten rules on writing, hoping that it would work miracles!!!!

I swear to wage a personal war against exclamation points!!!!

[ exclamation happy version, cross post from missives from the teacher, ]

Thursday, March 11

Shaider, en francais

**I just so hate Boologger right now because it ate my very long Shaider post, the way it made my Mike de Leon post disappear some weeks back. Well screw you, puny system!**

Wednesday, March 10

True love waits, not

According to this article in The New York Times, teenagers who signed virginity pledges end up breaking their vows sooner than later. Last count says 18 months. And when they do break their vows, these kids end up having more partners in a shorter period than kids who didn't sign the pledge, and then get married by the age of 23.

I mean, just look at Britney Spears. Publicly claiming the v-word and then trying to keep your word would probably make you insane and would have you running to the Vegas trail.

On the other hand, there's Manang Lea, who is probably the long standing poster girl (but not anymore) for this deprivation campaign for teenagers with raging hormones. In the late 80s, Manang Lea teamed up with Charlie Masso of the Menudo, and came up with "I Still Believe. This cross polination experiment of Sanrio and Latino cultures gave the world "That Situation." You may or may not read both songs as anthems to the entire waiting-is-good bit.

'The hair, the hair!,' muttered a la Brando in Apocalypse Now.

I want to see a Celebrity Death match between Manang Lea and Britney Spears. That would be fun. Death by Hair Suffocation.

Tuesday, March 9

On selling out and buying in

Found this interesting discussion on brain [g/dr]ain and the Pinoy migration over at Markmomukhamo. Opposing views everywhere, depending on which side of the fence you're sat.

Saturday, March 6

Boldstar Kantogirl survives jeepney-10 wheeler crash.

Yes, I'm still alive. And very glad to be especially after all the news about boldstars dying in car crashes, not that I'm implying I'm a boldstar or anything like that.

So last night, I met up with Team Angas to discuss our plans for Posterboy Nathan's LOTR-themed wedding this summer. It requires planning, and a treasure hunt for the perfect, precious baul. After many hilarities that went with the discussion, and since it was nearly midnight (which means we have already surpassed the loser mark of 10pm), we all decided to go home. Instead of taking the shorter Sta. Mesa route in a cab, I decided to take the long and winding Manila route.

The jeep was nearly empty. Three teenage guys joked around in the seats behind the driver, and I occupied the last seat near the exit, on the left side. Somewhere in Espa?a, a guy in gimmick clothes got in. It was a clear smooth ride. As we passed the Manila City Hall and emerged from the Lagusnilad tunnel, the traffic light was green. The jeepney driver charged on, and as we crossed Finance Road and Taft Avenue, there was suddenly a bright white light and there in front of us was this huge mass of steel. The jeepney driver stepped on the brakes but it was too late. All glass and burning rubber and there was no time for me to let go of my Kyle bag and Eng 10 papers and I found myself hurtling in space towards the front of the jeep and the huge mass of steel and a mash of arms and legs and other people's shoes.

We were hit by a ten wheeler truck, which still raged on and tried to get away if the taxi drivers near the National Museum hadn't blocked him.

All the laughter had stopped. People started to loom their faces inside the jeep, screaming words I could barely understand as they pulled the driver away from the wreckage. The teenage guys and the gimikero and I got off the jeep, still shocked. We stood on the sidewalk, not quite sure what to do. A cab stopped beside us, and the teenage guys wordlessly got in and they sped off. I don't know where they went.

Then it dawned on me that I was still alive, and I was standing there on the sidewalk amidst the burned rubber and the shards of broken glass. I used to joke that car crashes in the movies and on television were all the same: white light and people covering their eyes, a jolt forward and ear drum scraping noise. But it was like that, only it played out in slow motion and you have no choice but to go with the wave, your body out of your control and hurtling into space.

I whipped out my phone and dialled home. It was a liitle past midnight, surely my brothers would still be up, typing out papers or surfing or playing mp3s. The phone rang and rang in my probably darkened room. Nobody picked up. I texted my friends and nobody replied. I tried calling my brother one more time, he might have gone to his room already, preparing for sleep. But no, his phone was off. My hands were shaking as I looked at my phone's little screen, and I saw that there was blood on my hands. I wiped it off on my "I Love Boys" baseball shirt and dialled a friend one more time. When she picked up, I rambled on about the crash, that I was going to the hospital, and could she please go here, please?

I was becoming frustrated with all the inept policemen. They wouldn't even get our names and other details, because they said it was out of their jurisdiction and we had to wait for the traffic police. I wanted to scream, what if we were all dying and they're going to wait for the goddamned traffic police?

My friend arrived and wanted to whisk me away to the hospital, but the other police guys said we must wait for the traffic guy. By then, I could feel the pain on my hips and my arms and I had to lean on those orange roadblocks to keep myself upright. Gimikero guy wanted to slink away, because he only sneaked out of his house for a gimmick and his parents didn't know he was out, and he was 33 years old and whiny. When the potbellied traffic guy finally arrived an hour later in his boat car, he took all of five minutes to walk from the corner and our spot, which was like 5 or 7 meters away. He told us to go to the hospital. Duh. We wanted to do that ages ago, but those other police wanted us to stay. Gimikero guy wanted police assistance. In the frazzle, he lost his wallet and didn't have money to pay for the hospital. Traffic guy just shrugged. Gimikero guy ended up going home, and I suspect that he'd probably invent excuses and we'd never see him again.

We took a cab to PGH, where the Emergency Room was under renovation and you had to sit outside with confused people with bloody legs. They took my blood pressure, and of course it'll be stable because the accident was more than an hour ago, thank you. I told them about the pain, and I was told to wait, because obviously, the person with his leg in a mangled mess was in more pain than I was.

At the x-ray section, I laid down on the cold steel slab and watched the metal as it took pictures of my bones. The girl in charge asked my friend to go with her inside the darkroom to have the x-ray films developed. I never encountered an x-ray person afraid of her own lab. Duh. We were told to slide down the results under the doctor's door, where it magically disappeared and reappeared an hour later, after spending the better part of an hour hanging out by the benches and flinging mosquitoes off our arms and legs. I might have survived the crash, but if we weren't quick, dengue might have been the end of me.

The jeepney's operator approached me, asking what I needed, but I had already paid for the bill, and I just said that I'd go with her to make the statement. But the lab had taken so much time, and by 5 a.m. all the dizziness had come back. I could barely open my eyes. If we went to the traffic office, I knew it would be lunch time before they'd even get their arses going. I opted to go home and told her I'd give my statement in the afternoon.

I just hate this freaking bureaucracy where they make you wait and you have to repeat the same things over and over again. I had to give my name and contact numbers several times already, to police people who have no jurisdiction on the case anyway, and I had to give them my red pen because their pen wouldn't work. Now someone in the traffic division has my teaching load for the summer, and I don't even remember what my classes then would be. I really would like to follow up the case, but I'm daunted by the sheer amount of time that'll be wasted by going back and forth the police station and countless countless meetings. As if this lost weekend isn't enough. Sigh.