Friday, December 31

Kantogirl by the Numbers 2004

Here are the numbers which defined the past year for me:

1249 student papers read*
73 movies watched
52 books bought
41 books read
3 ATM cards swallowed by machine, stolen
3 out of town trips
3 computer f*ck ups
2 locked out of office moments
2 doppelgangers
1 bag snatching incident
1 survived truck-jeep collision
1 out of the country trip
1 Team Angas wedding
1 naked guy outside office window

*Rough estimate based on class density and requirements.

Tuesday, December 28

Sarongs on the sand

Lazy day at the beach
Originally uploaded by butasnachucks.

My friends and I spent a day at the beach before the news about the tsunami scared the beejeezus out of us. It was lazy afternoon fun for everyone. Can you guess which sarong is mine?


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

I say tsunami, you say tsunamu.

The Sisterhood of the Socks, our usual group of backpacker girls and boy (just one boy per trip, and this crucial role is raffled off, natch), had to abandon our beach adventure because we got word of The Big One which killed and affected an approximated 26,000 people.

It was quite sunny when we got there yesterday morning. We spent the afternoon lounging around on the sand. We even ran into a friend on holiday at the other side of the island. Then Ms. Lear texted us to say that a "0.9" aftershock hit Davao already. This started a geeky joke involving the singular and plural forms of tsunami. Then there's the theory that we can't be affected because the Philippines supposedly occupies a different tectonic plate than from the one which rocked the rest of South Asia. This discussion caused one of the girls to fall asleep inspite of the theatrics of a reggae man we shall dub EC-esque.

Then clouds started to get heavy, and the way the wind howled wasn't exactly encouraging. We packed up this morning, even if it was very tempting to stay. Better be safe than be eaten up alive by a tsunamu.

More later.

UPDATE: Here are photos courtesy of BnC's flickr. Although the SotS has more cameras than there are people, I sadly belong to the non-camera toting part of the party. But am hoping to improve that by next year. The key word is "hope."

Thursday, December 23

Too much WKW can kill you.

Spent most of today hiding under bedcovers, surfing, gorging down food, and staring at my suddenly luminous hands against my dark bedroom wall. Finally, in the late afternoon, I texted BnC.

I cursed the heavens for my inability to do anything substantial, BnC merely said it's "atropy. You've been watching too much Wong Kar Wai. Kailangan mo maarawan."

Watching WKW movies does that to you. If your life became a WKW movie, you'd be positively gorgeous, but eternally trapped in the same vacuum of exponential pain. Before I actually attempted to eat expired canned pineapples, she informed me she's been splurging her Christmas money at the big NBS in Cubao, so of course I just had to go. Must have arrived there in record time, like say, an hour or so from our initial sms exchange. (Which is really a huge improvement from my previous heartwrenching record.)

We ended up splurging for more books than we could actually read. BnC had to call in her sister for reinforcement. All in all, we spent a huge sum of money which could have gone to purchasing necessary things like a teflon pan, or maybe cough syrup for me. But am happy with the purchases we made. I plan to go back there when I scrounge around enough money.

Had dinner at the local Taco Bell. Their burrito lacks rice (phooey!) and the store itself doesn't even carry ketsup, just hot sauce, which looks like it was swiped from the Pizza Hut branch down the road. I demand rice in my burrito! But still a good day, after all.

Wednesday, December 22

You are Nicolas Cage

This is #5, swiped from Markmomukhamo's post about McSweeney's very helpful Guide to Determine if You are in a Jerry Bruckheimer Movie.

Some weeks back, I dragged my mother to the cinema so we could watch Santa-Santita. I had tried valiantly to watch this movie*. Unfortunately, in the papers that day was a small item about how the censors board wanted to pull it out because they showed implied nudity: while they didn't show the female lead really naked, they did have a scene wherein the male lead was taking off her skirt, her blouse and other articles of clothing. Which means, yes, folks, she must be naked at the end of the scene.

So my mother refused to watch the movie. I wanted to tell her, "Inay naman, singkwenta na kayo, you lived through Martial Law and at least seven Philippine presidents, mako-corrupt pa ba kayo nyan?" But, of course, that went unsaid and offered other options which included The Incredibles and some other movie. But she picked National Treasure, which was showing in a theater at the other side of the mall, so we made a run for it and entered just as the credits were beginning for the last full show.

National Treasure was like watching X-treme! History class for Fifth Graders, made more exciting by clues at the back of paper bills! Secret Societies! An uber cute museum curator who could be a model! And most of all, an underground tunnel straight out of a Nancy Drew mystery!

It's like watching the Da Vinci Code, only with more historical monuments. And I haven't even read the darn book. By the time we got out of the theater, I told my mother we could make a Philippine version that involves the mystery cat at the spire of the Barasoain Church, the Bonifacio-Mabini shared billing, the Golden Buddha, the Yamashita Treasure and the soldiers guarding the Rizal monument at Luneta. There would be chase scenes in the underground passages at Intramuros, culminating in an explosion near the Pasig River Malacanang boat landing and the discovery of a cave of amassed treasures of corruption! It would star Vhong Navarro, with cameos from all the big name stars and Kuya Germs! It would be called Philippine National Treasure! I wouldn't be surprised if some movie executive has pitched the idea already.

Star Cinema, are you listening?

*My last attempt was this last weekend. Star Mall was the only theater in town still showing it, but a quick consultation with a friend discouraged me from watching it there, alone, lest I go home with not just surot bites but something more, uhm, unsavory.

Tuesday, December 21

Super Inday and the Golden Bibe

Super Inday and the Golden Bibe movie poster

What better way to spend your lunch hour than to watch Super Inday and the Golden Bibe. It's one of the more campier superhero movies of the 80s starring Maricel Soriano. The film is unlisted in IMDb, so I'm not really sure what year this is from. But the very young Aiza Seguerra is there, dating this from perhaps a while after her Little Miss Philippines tilt.

Maricel Soriano appears as yet another regular Inday with a secret identity. She has previously appeared in movies like Inday Bote with Richard Gomez and Inday, Inday sa Balitaw with Matet de Leon. While there is no known narrative link to the three Inday films except that they all involve magical transformations, they were all directed by Chaning Carlos.

In this particular Inday incarnation, Maricel finds herself the talking Golden Bibe in the title. The duck, who can also transform itself into a little girl then dubbed Snow White, lays eggs which then gives the bearer magical powers to transform and do good. Very much reminiscent of that tale about the goose who lays eggs, evil people were soon after the Golden Bibe. Meanwhile, Inday enjoys her popularity, but still moons after The Guy She Loves From a Distance, a photographer played by Eric Quizon with ugly, oversized spectacles. As in all superhero types with secret identities, the objects of their desires never quite recognize them when not garbed with cape and spandex overwear. At one point he even asks, "Bakit di ko naisip na ikaw si Super Inday?" Kasi, you're blind, you dimwit. But to which Inday replies, "I'm sorry pero ang kabutihan hindi pina-publicize."

Another exchange I liked was when one of the younger loveteams serving as subplots, played by Janno and Manilyn in their hairspray days, had this exchange:
Boy: Mahal kita umaga tanghali gabi.
Girl: Sige, managinip ka umaga tanghali gabi.
If that hilarity still didn't get to you, try this one, wherein Inday even paraphrased Ate Guy, "Ang tunay na magic ay galing sa puso." O di ba, bongga? You got to give them snaps for all the snappy dialogue.

The film also comes with the requisite song and dance number, this time going uber retro with 50s kundimans like "May Isang Binata Akong Iniibig."

Evil doers go after the Golden Bibe, thinking it could lay more eggs. Even momentary greed subsumes Inday. When prodded to give Inday the powers to transform because the guy she loves is in danger, Snow White answers, "Ano ang akala mo sa akin, Araneta Coliseum?"

But all's well that ends well. And the previously talking Golden Bibe from another planet transforms into a real live girl. The Bibe as Aiza Seguerra then bids them farewell as she would return to her home--her "bayan." They ask, Saan ba bayan mo? She points way out there, "Doon sa bayan ng Pag-ibig."

O di ba, di lang campy dialogue. May concept pa of nation. Charing. Do not over read. Super Inday and the Golden Bibe is just good afternoon movie fun.

UPDATE: For more supercampfun, Super Inday is listed in Superheroes Lives! (uhm, yes). We are told to "[t]hink of it as Darna with a cape, and a sense of humor." Don't forget to check out the fun lists, where everything about Super Inday is virtually unknown. She is also at the International list of Superheroes, where she joins the fine company of Darna, Panday, and the other komiks based crusaders from the Philippines.

Meanwhile, also check out this Inq7 article about the Pinoy Justice League, if only to brush up on Pinoy superheroes before you hit the Metro Manila Film Festival on Saturday.

Sunday, December 19

Lantern Parade

There's a piece about the Lantern Parade in today's Inquirer. While it talked about the participants and the College of Fine Arts' inclusion in the Hall of Fame, the writer Tina Santos also said that the CFA's floats this year had "unfamiliar" figures in Philippine myths, "among them the "bangungot" ( a large woman that pounds on a sleeping person's chest till he or she can't breathe), the "bungisngis" ( a laughing one-eyed giant with tusks who picked up and threw carabaos at whim), and the "bakunawa" (a dragon-like creature who occasionally gobbled up the sun, causing an eclipse)."

Uhm, okay. But they must have "heard" of bangungot killings, right? Or perhaps people never thought of visualizing the bangungot before. People just think of it as some shapeless, faceless thing that kills people in their sleep.

Interesting bits though about previous practices in the university like the now obsolete Hay Ride and Parade King and Queen.

Also, there are photos from the parade from BnC and psychicpants.
Rebel Sell tells us how we can never escape consumerism. That while we think we have distinguished ourselves from the SUV-driving, Nike wearing, outdoor-vacationing throng, we actually just reenacting the same desires, only more expensively. By elevating our own tastes from that of mass society, we are only serving the machines of consumerism even more.

Rebel Sell insists that a "critique of consumerism," as exhibited in films like Fight Club and American Beauty, is actually just a "restatement of the critique of mass society." The two are not the same, although people tend to confuse the two. While Fight Club tells us the way to beat the machine is to blow it up, American Beauty encourages us to subvert it from within. And yet, both ways still end up serving the machine god of consumerism.

How did this happen?

Because capitalism is so embedded in our culture that our institutions have shaped us to have the same education, encourages conformity of desires, sexual repression and consumption. We create our distinctions by becoming more discriminating and sophisticated, often preferring the rarer, more expensive variety. Those who profess to not care about brands are actually more brand-conscious. In this kind of game, "anti-consumerism" is only a stance wherein we buy our distinction through positional goods.

So in the end, we are still our f*cking khakis after all.

Saturday, December 18

2046 is my new address*

2046 isn't something that goes down the throat easily. For one, it is not linear, and there are a lot of things that need explaining. Like when Chow said that that was the last time he saw Zhang Ziyi, and then they met up again. What the hell was that? I saw the film with a couple of friends who hadn't exactly seen all of Wong Kar Wai's movies, which made it a bit difficult because the film refers to the previous films, particularly In the Mood for Love and Days of Being Wild.

But what I like though is that it resonates and echoes. That all memory is pain, and pain is memory and remembrance. That the Tony Leung character made an unexplained appearance at the end of Days of Being Wild. That it seemed like an afterthought--him standing in front of a mirror, combing back slick hair, cigarettes and shadows. That when we saw him again in In the Mood for Love, he had this unconsummated (was it really?) affair with Maggie Cheung, which explains the recurring taxi sequences, but this time with covert hand actions. That this affair probably left him hurt, but he didn't want anyone to know that so he whispered his secret into a hole in a tree and sealed it in mud. So that when 2046 rolled along, everyone had secret pains that they had to release. Even the android with delayed reaction tries to whisper her own secrets. The repetition of action haunts you.

Part of me understands why Chow became such a cad. That love is all about timing. It was heartbreaking to watch Zhang Ziyi and her throve of tens stashed in a canister under the bed. Or when that lady talks out loud in Japanese in the next room, how they can't get together. If you think about it, if you're a character in a Wong Kar Wai movie and you fall in love, that affair is doomed.

So what is this film saying? You're not going to get your happy ending. That we're probably all doomed to live and process the same pain over and over again. That when pain bites you, you get the urge to bite back anything and everything that presents itself to you. That even if you try to "fictionalize" the experience and set it in the future, transform yourself into a Japanese man, you will still find yourself in a vicious cycle. Nobody ever gets together in a WKW world and live through it unscathed.

If you're in a Wong Kar Wai film, there are so few places to eat that you will bump into the people who caused you pain and you will have to make them dedma. Or that your hotel has only one phone in the lobby and you better be quick or you'll be at the bitching end of dedma. Or that you're doomed to listen to the same songs over and over again. Your world is excruciatingly small, but at least, you will always be fabulous and slick and you have nice clothes.

There's also this little Scorpio Nights moment in the film where Tony Leung peeks into this hole and he sees the other girl sleeping with someone and his tears fall through. I still don't understand everything in the movie. Probably need to sit through it 2 or 3 more times, and that's after watching Days of Being Wild and In the Mood for Love again. Maybe then I'll get illuminated.

*Way way back, BnC wrote a sci-fi piece that eventually became her undergrad thesis that is also my exact address. Now Wong Kar Wai made 2046, and while there is no futuristic postman in this one, it is a still a few numbers short of where you can actually find me.

Sleep, perchance to lose weight

According to a NASA study, trying to change your body clock is difficult enough in itself. Even more difficult is trying to adjust your sleeping pattern. But if forced to do so because of work or school, it is best to try to adjust it gradually over a few weeks. Otherwise, sleep deprivation will tell your brain that it needs more sugar. Which will then cause you to binge and gain more weight.

All this new data conspires to explain my current situation. And I always thought that a good night's sleep is the solution to everything.

Friday, December 17

saturatedtextmachine scores!

Today, Gwen of saturatedtextmachine turns twenty. So go on and greet the nightcallgurl, camwhore, and ex-art student (Although we're hoping she goes back and finishes the damn thing no matter how long it takes.).

Happy birthday, Gwen!

The Diliman Scandal (aka Faculty Follies 2004)

Apparently, I have a blackmail photo floating around.

I have learned my lesson: never decline lunch invites from friends with digicams, lest said people turn up at the college variety show and take photos which they will later post in their blogs.

And not only that, there's even video evidence of me dancing onstage along with my former lit theory professor. But I still think I got the better deal. I present you this photo from the 2004 Faculty Follies:

Mama Er, chair of the Department of European Languages, dressed in drag as Valentina. Photo courtesy of BnC.

Presenting Mama Er, the ever honorable chairperson of the Deparment of European Languages, here dressed as Valentina. This is arguably the most disturbing photo yet to come out of the event, unless they dig one up of Jovy Peregrino in drag and with arching eyebrows.

Tuesday, December 14

Da King is dead. Long live da King!

Fernando Poe Jr: 1939-2004.

Juday with FPJ

FPJ succumbed at 12.01 today after being comatose for nearly three days. For a lot of people, he would be remembered as an actor, quintessential hero, reluctant politician, and possibly the Bestest Friend ever:
While Erap is portrayed in most of his movies as a born fighter, his battle against forces of evil is informed by tragedy (i.e. he ends up being jailed, killed and executed). FPJ is projected as an immortal (either emerging from nowhere or rising above the circumstances). He is a peace-loving stranger pushed to the limits. He comes to the rescue, a reluctant hero larger than life, brandishing golden .45 caliber pistols or wielding a sword with supernatural powers. He puts an end to evil once and for all.
On top of everything, he is also the redeemer not only for the masses but also for Joseph Estrada. Granted that people ridiculed him for even daring to run in the last presidential elections, just how many of us can claim to have a friend who would dearly suffer life and dignity just to save his best bud? It was a fight worth fighting, and he was a decent man. Fare thee well, Sir.

[Photo taken from "Isusumbong Kita sa Tatay Ko," where FPJ co-starred with Judy Ann Santos.]

Sunday, December 12

Down the river, under the weather

It's time to extol again about the virtues of idleness. The past few weeks had seen me going on and running about for hours. Even during the week of the great typhoon, there was simply just a lot of work to be done. The morning shift required me to get up and do the grind with only 6 hours of rest, and use the weekends to catch up on whatever sleep I can.

And then last Tuesday, I woke up and realized that I couldn't even move to push myself off the bed. I was running a fever and lacked sleep. Those who know me would be the first to tell you I'm no good if I don't get my requisite 8 hours or more.

I've had 2 massages this week. Last Monday, between appointments I hurried down to Morato to get me a steam bath and a massage. The girl there pounded at my nape and my back. I thought she wanted to kill me. Even repeated requests to slow down didn't ease her anger at all the "lamig" and knotted muscles. (What the hell is a "lamig"? Her explanation is that when we're tired, our pores are more or less open and thus susceptible to "lamig." Knots of cold air enter the skin, especially when we sleep with our backs facing the electric fan or when we douse ourselves with water when we're tired. It somehow suspiciously sounds like "pasma" and I don't really subscribe to that.) The day after that, I had to stay away from school. Last Friday, I ran into BnC and another friend at the FC, and they were getting bargain massages. (P49.95 for 15-20 minutes! Not bad na.) The girl there told me I still had a light fever--"sinat"--and that I still had a lot of lamig on my back and arms. She told me to go easy and not to take a bath that night.

Initially, I resisted the morning shift, knowing full well that since I could only sleep at well past midnight, my optimal hours were really in the late afternoon. Then I thought that maybe the morning air would do me good, and just think of my (non)invisible roommate Sharon. She starts class at 7am and done by 10am. She has the rest of the day to do her own stuff. Now that's something. So I tried valiantly to be like Ben Franklin--or Sharon. Whatever. I'm not still not healthy, wealthy or wise. I probably have the intelligence of a sponge in my 8.30 class. I get by by swigging coffee and energy drinks. Grudgingly, I would have to acknowledge that I really am not a morning person. Believe me, I tried. But since it's a bit too late to swap schedules, I would have to stand by this routine for another three or four months. God help us all.

I don't know why we have become a society of workhorses. "Workaholic" is not something to be snooted at anymore. It is expected. But hey, even horses collapse when pushed to run too much. And by then, as they say, what's the use of giving it some grass? A little down time is good, if only to recharge not just physically, but also mentally and psychologically.

In the November 2004 issue of Harper Magazine, Mark Slouka writes that "Idleness is not just a psychological necessity, req­uisite to the construction of a complete human being; it constitutes as well a kind of political space, a space as necessary to the workings of an actual democracy as, say, a free press. How does it do this? By allowing us time to figure out who we are, and what we believe; by allowing us time to consider what is unjust, and what we might do about it."

Idleness in this sense becomes dangerous. By having enough time in our hands to consider who we are and what we can do, we can think up all manners of things, and not all of them good. It's not just about having the time to trash mommy's garden and getting your hand in the cookie jar, it's about planning revolutions and thinking that everyone has the right to moments of thought and relaxation.

But the world will have none of that. We must work to feed the god of time machines: the god requires sacrifices, give him our every second, minute, hour and days of our lives. And the key word isn't just "work," but two things: "work continuously." To go on and on and on, until one day, we will just stop and walk out of the paint factory that has become our lives. Sherwood Anderson, American literary giant and sometime copywriter of a line of paints, did just so. Tired of working, he walked away from his secretary in the middle of dictating a letter, marched out and trudged for four days until he was found and rushed to a hospital. When asked why he did that, he declared that work has become too taxing, that "to stay was to suffocate, slowly; to escape was to take a stab at 'aliveness.'" What the world needs is not an army of ants, but a new breed of people who "at any physical cost to themselves and others" would "agree to quit working, to loaf, to refuse to be hurried or try to get on in the world."

It's a nice turn of phrase: "To refuse to be hurried or to try to get on in the world." But, of course, if we do that, we'll be pronounced mad, or at least indolently lazy. So we get on that train and join the morning rush, one of millions of ants marching on to their colonies of work worship, and hoping that one day, maybe the god of idleness will wake up and make us smell and taste and see and hear and feel what it's like to finally be at rest.

Original kantogirlblues post here.

More doctrines about the Cult of Idleness:
Ted Rall's Quit Your Job. Work is a Sham.

MSNBC's report on "Take Back Your Time Day"

The Guardian on Tom Hodgkinson's "The Virtue of Idleness"

Wednesday, December 8

How to pack off your brain when you're brain dead

In case you conk out and you want humanity to benefit from your grey matter, that is. The New York Brain Bank at Columbia University tells you how to pack off that juicy brain of yours to their lab so they can use your donation to study Alzheimer's disease and help millions in the process. I just hope they have something of the sort here in the Philippines, where we have a pandemic of amnesia, if you believe what you watch on tv.

Go here to get their shipping information. It's complete with a step by step guide and lists all the things you need--ziplocs, ice packs, fresh brain, yum!--and how to do it.

fresh brain, yum yum

Brain in ice looks like something from Ice Monster. Yummy!

After this, you can go out and brag that all it takes to seal your brain is a 40x50cm ziploc bag. Yay.

Monday, December 6

How to hover piss

If you're a girl living in the Philippines, you are almost certainly familiar with the dirtholes and the strong olfactory effects of most public restrooms. In most instances, one would rather hold it inside and find something more suitable and less germ free, but that would have meant waiting for an eternity. The next best thing is this: you most definitely have to master the art of hover pissing.

Sandra Fu of morphizm tells you how to do it: "Stand with your legs about hip-width apart and slowly lower your butt towards the toilet, like a mothership looking to beam up her long-lost alien brethren, making sure to get low in the squat. Some women may find it useful to support their upper body by propping their hands or forearms on their knees. Once properly positioned go ahead and let loose the stream."

Saturday, December 4

Tomato Table and Ocassional Pissers

I want to make a tomato table just like this one:

Or perhaps, if I can't find any plastic tomatoes, lemons would do. But I don't know if I want a yellow piece of furniture. Ah hell. I'm feeling all DIY all of a sudden--either really bored or just antsy or both.

Which reminds me of my friend Ms G, who recently turned 40. The day of her birthday, I ran into her early morning when classes were cancelled. We were talking about roommates. I was lamenting the fact that mine is not invisible anymore. Not that it's all that bad because she's nice and all. I'm not just used to sharing my space, I suppose.

Ms G tells of her status as the official horrible roommate of that department across the hall. Ms G can't smell anything at all, so she never really cleans her place until absolutely necessary or when she spills ash and the room explodes in flames. So one time, they send the new French girl over to her office to be her roommate. There was no one around to warn her about the mess, so she marched upstairs, put the key in the lock, then pushed the door open only to be greeted by white tiles and a urinal right smack in the center of the room. Imagine a garage mess with Duchamp's masterpiece:

Legend has it that the girl ran out and never came back. Of course, Ms G could be making it up. I had dreamed of a thousand ways of scaring my roommate but never quite succeeded. A bit of history then: Ms G's pisser is a remnant from a short film she did eons ago about a teacher who is perpetually late for class. One day, she gets lost down the hallway and tries different doors and one of them leads to a huge restroom where a girl combs her hair while staring eerily at the mirror. And this was pre-Sadako. Anyhow, the urinal was too pretty to just throw away. So she hauled them, tile walls and all up to her office and scaring away the roommate she never saw.

But finally, last week, she got fed up of the trash and called in the manongs to spruce up the place. She set aside a few things then told him to throw everything in big balikbayan boxes and do whatever he wishes with them. The manong took one look at the place and resisted feebly to no avail. It took the manong 3 days to clean, and she only gave him the standard merienda fee.

"Meanie," I tell her.

"Well," she said between puffs. "Maybe I should have given him more."

"My dungeon may be occasionally stinky, by account that it's right beside the boys' bathroom and all, but that's not our doing. Ikaw kasi porke di mo naamoy okay lang."

"Which reminds me, I have no maid for three weeks now. I haven't put up Christmas decorations. But anyhow, that's not advisable if you have 8 cats. I asked mudra to come but she won't. I wonder why."

"Evil, you're just evil."

Friday, December 3

End of the block

43folders tells us how to hack our way out of writers' block. Don't go the way of Dustin Hoffman. Please.

I also wish they have some advice on how to hack your way out of your postcolonial ek homework. Wah.


Turn your old tshirts into cutesy underwear: "
It's true that, as an undergarment, not many people will ever see this creation. But those that do will appreciate it all the more. I like to make these for friends because they are all unique, and you can't buy them (except in the Getcrafty store). But good luck getting your friend's hip size without her/him noticing."
You can do boxers too. I can so see the Christmas gift potential of this. But, darn, I can't sew straight for the life of me. Hmm...

Wednesday, December 1

And you people insist Pinoy movies are bad

That most of our stuff are just ripoffs of the cut and paste variety. ("Let's do The Others but let's make it more Pinoy. Call it "D'Anoders!")

Just try to look at some of these Hollywood pitches chronicled by this guy in his blog:

"Carl Flue, a Los Angeles detective who suffers from a
paralyzing fear of knives, must face down an ancient
Aztec sacrificial knife that has possessed the minds
of several people and turned them into invincible
killers that serve the knife's bloodlust."

I personally like that one about the horror professor.

[Should have appeared yesterday via an e-mail post, but for some strange reason, Blogger did not put it up.]

Truman's Day Out

Just finished reading In Cold Blood last Monday, that loser and almost totally useless holiday. I've had the book on my shelves for like three years and picked it up and put it down, never really getting past the first page.

Then a couple of weeks back, I saw a post on Metafilter about the 45th anniversary of the crime that inspired the book. The four members of the Herbert W. Clutter family were found in separate rooms, tied up in a comfortable position, and heads blasted off with a shotgun. The killers made off with $40 dollars and a portable radio, no sign of violence, and the police were virtually clueless. So I started reading, inching forward a few pages, little snips during train rides and before bed, while munching lunch, before naps. Took me two weeks, and finally given a huge push last Monday when you really wouldn't want to do anything else except hide under blankets, dose and read.

In Cold Blood was billed as a "nonfiction novel," and it made its author not just quite wealthy, but also cemented his reputation in the literary circles. If you're a true crime sort of person, this is for you. Mr. Capote did what we tried and couldn't quite do as well before in my past life as a crime writer for tv. Galing, galing, galing. Of course, there are some people who are convinced the book's not 100% honest. In an interview with George Plimpton, Mr. Capote said that he's been on the look out for an event "would allow him to write a "non-fiction" novel – in his definition, a factual book written using the literary skills of an accomplished novelist." The main contention being that the book quotes lengthy passages of conversation, and yet Capote never took notes.

There were also some catty claims. One is that Capote fell in love with Perry Smith, the "gentler" one of the two murderers, enough to pay $10,000 to be let into his cell in death row. But the Kansas agents and prison warden denied the allegations, saying it was not possible. Nevertheless, it was a very good book, whatever his motivations were.

A while back, came across another MeFi post about Mr. Capote's first unpublished novel, Summer Crossing. Although the report says it's "kind of a pre-'Breakfast at Tiffany's," I think it suspiciously sounds like this movie. Better na nga siguro he didn't publish it.

[Links mostly cribbed from this MeFi post, which got me started on the book anyhow.]