Monday, January 31

Love on the Quiet

The UK Guardian gives us a tale wherein the fiance breaks it off with his girlfriend when he walks in on her doing the nasty with her biological dad. And she finds it a normal thing to do. Can sex between blood relations ever be acceptable? The reality of genetic sexual attraction (GSA) is slowly creeping into public consciousness primarily because of the talk that equates consensual incest with gay sex.

On one hand, there's the situation wherein siblings or fully conscious relatives get it on with each other. (Parang Flowers in the Attic, which people keep on telling me to read, but I haven't seen a copy of it in your friendly neighborhood Booksale bins.) On the other hand, in the age of sperm donorship, it is possible for two people to meet up and have an affair and then realize than they're related. According to experts, if you were separated at birth (or something like that), there's a high 50% chance that you will get obssessed with your sibling and/or very close relative.

So apparently, this isn't soap opera territory anymore, like amnesia and killing people. But given the chance, if you were allowed to marry your sibling, would you do it? A huge majority still says 'Eewww, hell no!' but then again, in some states, if said parties can't procreate anymore, maybe they'd be allowed to.

I'm just chewing on this because I had to reread Kathyryn Harrison's The Kiss some weeks back and most of the articles coming out on GSA mention the book. The Kiss was a memoir which came out in 1997, and chronicled the author's affair with her father starting at age 20. It more or less verifies what the experts (the so few of them) who did say that close blood relatives separated at birth have the tendency to have GSA.

Wednesday, January 26

Hail blood and gore

Janet Leigh is the original scream queen
tears in rain
See Bonnie dance

The UK's Total Film magazine came out with their list of 50 Greatest Movie Deaths in their July 2004 issue. You get to pick your preferred death scene as #50, and then it proceeds to give you, in reversed chronological order the blood and gore which seemed to be one of the more pertinent criteria. Action and horror movies dominated the list that included Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch , the pre-Passion Mel Gibson's Braveheart, a smattering of Ahnold and Freddie Kruger, and Bruce Willis with a wee bit more hair.

Among those listed, I like Quentin Tarantino's Resorvoir Dogs which contains the best ear cutting scene ever, Drew Barrymore hanging from the garage door in Scream, Rutger Hauer's "tears in rain" speech in Bladerunner, and Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty's bullet dance in Bonnie and Clyde.

The best death moment of all time is that iconic shower scene from the 1960 Psycho (definitely not the Gus Van Sant)
The list is supposed to encompass all of cinema history, but of course, there will always be something left out.

My personal blood and gore cinema favorite is the decapitation scene from 1984's Karnal. Karnal is set in a rural Pinoy town called Mulawin in the 1930s. While there are no bird people at war, what's there is a catty cast of small town folks who raise their eyebrows when Narcing (the pre-action hero Philip Salvador) brings home a wife from Manila, the despachadora Puring, who eeriely looks like Narcing's suicidal but now dead mother. Puring catches the fancy of her father-in-law Gusting (I don't know why they all end their names with -ing. Maybe they fancy themselves as a family of gerunds? Nyahaha.), and there's this father-son tug of war over the same woman. Gusting makes a pass at Puring, Puring is caught with Gorio the deaf-mute guy played by the very young Joel Torre, and things come to a head and that makes Narcing furious. Philip Salvador swings that bolo and down the ground rolls Vic Silayan's head. If that's not gory enough for you, I wouldn't know. The last scene pictures the lone survivor of that family, Doray, scurrying out of that town, never to be heard from again.

I particularly like this movie because everything is so understated. The time and space it creates is so suffocating, you would understand why everyone speaks in an almost whisper. And when the violence finally breaks out, in a vibrang spurting of blood, it makes sense. Karnal is one of my Top 3 Marilou Diaz Abaya -al movies, the other two being Moral and Brutal. When she came out with Rizal, it's not the same anymore.

Tuesday, January 25

History for free

Some weeks back, I bit my thumb on The New York Times' decision to charge for their online content in a near discernible future.

The news is a more viable currency than history, which is why it is mind boggling that news sites like The New York Times chooses to charge readers extra for trying to access their archives and give the fresh items away for free.

Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing analyzes this news/history dichotomy and traces the decision to charge for archives access to a deal with a search service for newsrooms. He also points us to Dan Gillmor who predicts a more radical approach to grassroots journalism: these news services will eventually open up their archives, and will find that it will not only increase traffic, but it will also be more valuable in the long run to charge people for the current news and just give history away for free.

The Greatest Essay Ever Written

The research paper writing class, otherwise known as Eng 10, is hands down the most troubling and debilitating you can ever have in any given semester. Excluding the fact that people don't really know when are where to put those, commas, and exclamation points!!!, you'd get brilliants nuggets of wisdom, like the classic "Gagamboy is nothing but a second grate trying hard copycat of Spiderman."

But this one has got to take the cake. I present you with Planes, Trains and Plantains: The Greatest Essay Ever Written about Oedipus, starring Lou Gehrig, Dr. Dre and a cast of a thousand cuss words in a stunning tale of sex, google and the works cited list.

I dig Page 3.

Twin beds for Twentysomethings

Douglas Coupland, author of Life After God among other things, talks g Room about his (not really) new book Eleonor Rigby and why your twenties is a good time for going mental:
You're stuck finding your own way and not quite sure who's good or evil, who's using you, "Is it me or is it the alcohol?" And in the midst of all this, you're feeling totally disconnected from a lot of people. Are you clinically depressed? No! You're just lonely, and no one told you what it was or how to identify it, the shapes or colors or forms of it, so you think you're going mental. And because people tend to hang out with people their own age, everyone around you looks great, like they all just stepped out of a shampoo commercial or something, so you think, "They couldn't possibly be experiencing all this crappy shit that's inside of me." Before you even discuss it with people, you've already shut yourself down.
I don't know about you, but I do know about me. Now some people out there in their twenties might be slap happy and, well, that's good for them. I never claimed to be a cheerful person, so there.

If there's one thing that Coupland sees as a bright thing, it's the vast unclaimed world of online dating. He claims that it eradicated loneliness by a long shot. And also, he claims that blogging is not good for writing fiction. Your paragraphs tend to be the length of a single post. A blog novel then?

Saturday, January 15

Will Life Be Worth Living In 2,000AD?

This article which appeared in 1961 predicted that by the time the new millenium swings by, everything would be so easy we'd all probably "die with boredom."

We'll be eating nutrient pills, there will be no more colds, and people will be generally healthier. We'll enjoy 24 hour work weeks, and the status symbol du jour would be home computers helping us with housechores and taking care of the kids.

If this came through, what would happen to our League of Longkatoots who send mondo dollars to keep our economy afloat? Maybe it's a probably a good thing all those predictions did not come true. Not.

On Being The Girl Formerly Known as Mrs. Pitt

I signed up for this so I could get the lowdown on how Jennifer Aniston went from being Mrs. Pitt to
The Girl Formerly Known as Mrs. Pitt. Nothing like good old showbiz tsismis to motivate me. Alas, I came too late.

The (fake) Jen has taken down her post explaining everything. And I can't believe how many people think that it's the real thing. Oh well.

How to judge a book by its cover

Unless you want to make like Melanie Marquez, Jessa Crispin of Bookslut has a guide on how to judge a good (or bad) book by its cover:
1. If there's a woman on the cover, kind of shadowy and arty, it's bad. If there's a man on the cover, shadowy and arty, it's good.

2. You can tell by color choices and how many fonts are used. If too many fonts were used, nobody cared. Nobody edited that book.

3. If you've seen that picture somewhere else, they are just using stock clip art [bad sign].

4. Any sort of a blurred photograph [another bad sign].

5. A good sign: very clean cover design, with white space or very striking photographs. "It seems like the more attractive it is, the more edited it was, the more people cared about the book. Someone was paying attention to it."

Wednesday, January 12

Fie on you, NYT!

The New York Times is considering making the readers of its online edition pay subscription fees. While the report does say there are no immediate plans to implement this, it will still be a blow to the 18.5 readers who regularly troop to the site to browse for free, although their archives can only be accessed if you pay for it. The move is also said to be influenced by other newspapers and sites who charge for reading online content, most notably the Wall Street Journal.

The end of the free web might be around the corner, and I have no beef about earning some dough from their online presence, but what bothers me is this comment N.Y. Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. who was quoted in the article as saying: "It gets to the issue of how comfortable are we training a generation of readers to get quality information for free. That is troubling."

People pride exclusivity and in certain instances like club dues and movie tickets in can be justified, but what if the exclusion marginalizes a whole lot of people who might otherwise benefit from a leveled playing field. It's the same beef I have with piracy and education. If you can't pay for it, there's no way of getting out of the dark hellhole you're in.

Monday, January 10

Poets are lucky.

They can getwomen to strip all their clothes off in the middle of the road outside their house. Of course, the poet in question wasn't exactly around to enjoy the said privilege, but hey.

The photographer responsible for Munvik, which means "naked" in Viking, said that he had to take the shot really quick because they did not have a permit. (I guess he didn't have to take so much time worrying about the correct shutter speed or aperture whatnot.) Which also means that the women had to take off their clothes real fast, pose and then get dressed just as quick to avoid being carted off by the police.

D'Bodies could have used this piece of information several months back. They needed not suffer the indignation of being carted off by the police while wearing nothing but skin tone underwear and transparent raincoats had they the sense to shoot elsewhere. No need to tell them, "wag diyan."

Tuesday, January 4

Smart girls don't get hitched

I know some people who probably wouldn't be too thrilled to hear this, or perhaps get disencouraged by the findings of British scholars that the higher a girl's IQ, the lesser the possibility of her getting married, but that the opposite is true for boys.

The study gathered 900 men and women whose IQs were surveyed after their 11th birthdays and then visited again some 40 years later to find out if they had ever been married. According to the results, bright boys did not have any difficulties in finding their mates, but bright girls suffered the fate of not finding a man "intelligent enough" for them. On the other hand, girls who left school at sixteen had a higher probability of settling down, raising kids, and constantly bitching about the high prices of a college education for their brood.

Which brings us to that long suspected notion that Freud was probably right--all men wanted to marry their mums, and then this: "IQ measurements are frightfully judgmental, but it is true that men do not want women more intelligent than themselves. It bolsters their position if their partner is not too challenging.” A true debacle in any case, since the post-feminist times we now live in is a constant battle between women wanting independence and yet retaining that "nourishing" (for lack of a better word) dependency that women used to enjoy in marriage.

Monday, January 3


5ives is a hilarious random list of fives from this guy Mervin in San Francisco. If you've been constantly pestered by telemarketers or credit card agents on the phone, and yes, we do have them in Manila now, consider one of his suggested replies:

1. I’m sorry, but what does this have to do with human sacrifice?
2. Seriously, will you still be this interested in me after we’ve dated for a while?
3. Would you be able to tell if I were defecating right now?
4. I am French. Your money means nothing to me.
5. I can smell your panties through the phone.

Other 5ives that I liked and should have thought of: favorite dining utensils, cats who hated him, things you learn after watching Under the Tuscan Sun with the sound off, and finally, useful tips about digital photography.

Sunday, January 2

Meet the Metlogs

Cubao is the Grand Central Station in the middle of EDSA, the ground zero of the city, bus station capital, Isetan and Ali Mall, Fiesta Carnival and Araneta Coliseum. Its constituents are the bakal boys, salesladies in their unblended eye makeup, obreros in ribtight Blue Corner shirts and denim jackets, the lumpen, the denizens of the dark alleys and curious side streets offering a cheap pair of roller skates and a good time between screenings of Puri and Laman.

But the armpit of the city has been given a facelift and the results seem like a half-hearted attempt to duplicate Greenbelt and its environs. Earthballed palm trees, zen-sculpted fountains and discreetly pruned greenery have been added for that heaven in the concrete jungle feel. In the very least, it could be surmised that the Master Planner must have wanted to take its consumers out of the shoebox life the SM malls offer and give them a glimpse of the Ayala Center life.

This is what the Gateway brings: a middle passage between the bottom rungs and the upper deck of a rickety city ship. Gateway has all the high end shops—Lacoste, Springfield, Starbucks and Taco Bell. Previously, Ursula Lear has bewailed that the Siberian climate of the Gateway, with its high end stores and the absence of a foodcourt would drive away the natural inhabitants of Cubao. Because how would they be able to afford what this new place has to offer on their meager, Fridays, three gives salaries? The new Cubao is better suited to the prowlers of Ortigas, Eastwood and Makati. Take away one armpit—the other is Quiapo, forever dingy—and what you have is rampant displacement of the urban jologs (is this redundant?) from their designated space.

But all is not wasted. Because with each disturbance to the social pool creates new breeds and stories of displacement and adaptation. Due to the drastic change of demographics in the Cubao area, a new species has evolved and was observed.

Meet the metlogs: the metrosexual jologs which inhabit and populate the Gateway mall, their official hangout.

The Old Boy and I exchanged notes about this new breed we have both observed in the area. Metlogs are low end metrosexuals, and are curious by products of our Queer Eye for the Straight Guy pirated DVDs and jologs existence.

Mark Simpson invented the term that decreed it okay for Western guys to be vain and preen in front of the mirrors and still not be gay. Vanity is still a costly virtue, and it takes money to get yourself a gym membership, monthly trips to the stylist, a frequently refurbished wardrobe and all the accroutements required of a metrosexual. If you’re a third world guy with a third world salary, how are you going to swing it without depriving yourself of food and lodging?

The answer, of course, lies in trying to make do with what you have and what you can afford. Bid adieu to Gold’s Gym, Fitness First and even Slimmer’s World, and say hello to your gym sa kanto with its 100% bakal sa talyer equipment. There are no shower stalls here, but plenty of pails of water if you’re lucky. If you’re not, there’s that sementado spot outside with a drum filled with water and a tabo.

After that workout, you prep yourself and get dressed. Kerastase and Revlon is out of the question. If you’re on a budget, get yourself some Michaels hair gel, or if you can spare more, maybe some Gatsby. But metlogs will always have some moolah stashed away to complete their set of Bench perfumes—or rather, body sprays.

Metlogs are a buy Pinoy bunch, and Bench is their brand of choice. They have the requisite Bench ribbed tight shirts, in crew or v-neck, but mostly v-neck, as it is very versatile for wearing on its own or layered on a Baleno button down short sleeved shirt. Take note that Baleno, with its ubiquitousness in our metro ukay-ukays, is the only foreign brand that metlogs will willingly purchase.

Then, it’s on to the gimik. Prior to their takeover of the Gateway, metlogs have also been observed littering the Baywalk along Roxas Boulevard. Metlogs, like the rest of the jologs bunch, pride themselves in the appropriation (or is it invasion?) of space and style of the coño as an answer to displacement and marginalization.

More information on the metlogs when we come back.

Saturday, January 1

Mga Siga ng Pandacan

Kanina bago maglipat taon ng 2005, pumaimbabaw sa tunog ng mga paputok ang lagatok ng mga boteng humahampas sa semento. Sumilip kami sa bintana at nakita ang pagsugod ng mga taga-kabilang ibayo sa lugar namin.

Riot na naman.

Tumawag ako sa Diyes pero ni hindi alam ng pulis kung saan yung lugar namin. Nagbigay pa ako ng direksyon. Dumami ang mga sumusugod. May dalang dos por dos, mga bote, sumpak pa yata. Matapos ang sampung minuto wala pa ring dumarating na tulong. Tumawag kami sa 171. May nagreport pa raw pero wala pa ring mga pulis. Naka-dalawang tawag pa akong muli sa istasyon.

Nung sa wakas nakita namin ang blue at pulang ilaw ng mobil, wasak na yung mga windshield ng mga nakaparadang sasakyan. Sabog na yung mga ilaw sa poste. Makapal na ang usok sa kalsada. May mga dinakip pero ganun pa rin naman. Nung isang taon ganitong panahon nagka-riot din. Muli, nagbabalak kaming pataasin ang bakod. Pero alam pa rin naming wala makakapigil sa mga siga pag sumiklab na ang rambol sa kalye.

Ganito ang bagong taon sa lugar namin. Pasiklaban ng mga pasaway.