Wednesday, November 30

Banana Hearts and Rainy Days

Was in Makati the other day stalking SEA Games athletes looking for my grad school reading requirement which is unfortunately nowhere to be found. (It's a long story, this. I had to beg and gnash my teeth and tear at my hair. But now I need to churn out 100 hundred pages of fiction. I had apparently enrolled in a novel writing class, wah! Now I still beg, gnash, tear etc.)

Due to many things happening at the same time, I don't really have time to form complete sentences right now. So go read other people's blogs:

Butch Dalisay now blogs!

Nerve's Scanner, which now comes out daily, wants us to ogle the French rugby team's calendar.

Or listen to Jessica Zafra's podcast, where she talks about having ancestors who favor grand entrances and ending up with one of the last items in the catalogue, the dangers of living in seclusion, the perils of minor pseudo-celebrityhood, and how the internet is changing the way we live.

Sunday, November 20

Hotness follows

Slate gives academics everywhere tips on how to be the hottest professors on campus:
Don't play favorites, yet don't deny students extra credit or a second chance on a paper or test. Don't "get sidetracked by boring crap." Don't refer to yourself in the third person. Don't ever call on students. Don't be "mean," "hateful," or "ambiguous." Don't take attendance. Don't be "high on Viagra and full of yourself." Don't be "distractingly spastic." Very important: Don't talk about stuff in class and then put other stuff on the test. Most important: Don't give low grades. Do show slides. Do offer easy assignments. Do crack jokes and "provide a fun teaching atmosphere." Do show up at your office hours. Do give A's on all group projects. Do walk your dog around campus. Do resemble a celebrity of some sort. Finally, try your best to be "awesome."
This wee bit of wisdom is taken from the site, where "the students do the grading." But first, certain heartbreaking facts: while 47% of American classrooms are wireless, a huge percentage of Philippine schools still lack classrooms--or a decent registration process, natch. Next, it says that language departments account for the hottest professors. What do they mean by "language"? Do they mean English (or Filipino?) or the more exotic sort that comes with accents. (Hmm.. if I sport a Visayan or maybe Batangas accent, will that make me hot? Hmmm...) Also, while the article says that "hotness can have a powerful effect on students," it must be said that there's a huge possibility that hotness might not be the very first thing on professor's minds.

If we do believe the said criteria, I can just imagine that I'd probably one of the avoided people on campus. ("She gives out 5.0s, ahhhh!") At any rate, hotness is a bit difficult to achieve when it's so hard to get up early in the morning in the latter -ber months. But, oh, we do try.


One of my online guilty pleasures, from the "land of the brown, l'exotique and the natives," has been posted on MeFi.

The post refers to him as a third world incarnation of Derek Zoolander. I ran across his blog earlier in the year, and hands down, my favorite moment is the one about this Vuitton bag where he even posted receipts of his purchase. Debauchery, my sweet folks.

Sunday, November 13

When in doubt, cut to seagull

Enjoyed this Mefi thread about cinematic devices, how they add to good storytelling, and what you lose when you spend too much time taking things apart:
One of the worst things about learning the hows and whys of any artform or craft is that the knowledge can detract from your enjoyment. I have cinematographer friends who, rather than, as an average filmmaker, asking, "What happens next?" (the goal of any good writer or director) while watching a scene, will instead ask herself, "Where are the lights?" or "How's it lit?". I find it very difficult to watch any film and not think about how it may have been written.
Also includes such gems like the power of the cut (Where shot A shows a gun, B shows a flock of birds all flying in different directions) and "When in doubt, cut to seagull" --or pitbull if you're Robert Rodriguez. The discussion is all very Film 100. But also got to agree with Manhasset there. And if it's not film school, it's a little like loving reading and writing and then suddenly enrolling in the creative writing program, where you are forced to have three markers ready in neon green, pink and yellow and you highlight like crazy for devices that show character, scenes where the conflict is condensed, good dialogue that works. You lose a kind of innocence that way.

Saturday, November 12

Dead Dylan Thomas Reading

As a tribute for his 52nd death anniversary, Swansea animation studio iCreate launched Virtual Dylan, a minute and a half 3D film of Dylan Thomas reading "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." The reading will be followed by a documentary.

But since there is no surviving film footage of the poet reading his own work, what they did was to combine existing photos, voice recordings and the molds of his death mask. The death mask itself was actually too flat for a 3D rendering so they also used footages of the actor Bob Kingdom reading from Thomas' work. The making of this project was dubbed a veritable "Madame Tussauds for the 21st century." Here's a glimpse of the Dylan Thomas' death mask:

The Deathmask of Dylan Thomas

Can you say creepy? They had to add another ten layers of virtual skin and added some hair to make it look more, uh, alive. While I heart Dylan Thomas (especially when you're sixteen and you spend your afternoons pawing the shelves of the Arts and Humanities section at the Main Lib), it's certainly a far cry from this photo where he was a bad, bad boy rockstar poet:

Here's also you can hear him reading the poem, which might be the same recording the iCreate people used.

The Backstreet Boys is good for you

English professor Josh Clover tells us what you reveal about yourself when you turn up your nose on pop culture:
“It’s more of a political decision than a choice of taste … a class bias against things that can be real expressions of human existence.”

One experience he remembers is a Backstreet Boys concert he reviewed in 1998. Walking through the audience while the boy band played, he watched as some people in the crowd wept with emotion.

“What the fuck am I to say? They weren’t having a real experience compared to my mom having an experience about The Beatles,” Clover said. “I wanted to find a way to honor that.”
That experience may partly have lead to his decision to leave the very glam world of music criticism. All in all, what Clover is telling us is that the dismissal of pop culture is largely an issue of class. Nevermind the debate about pop being ephemeral. Pop is about now, and how we use it to make it transcend boundaries of culture, class and even time.

This is for that girl way way back who turned up her nose on us who found simple joy in singing along to the Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears.

Wednesday, November 2

Love in the Time of IRC

Now if you have ever attempted to date online, here's an excerpt from the first chapter of ASL PLS, which you may either view as comedy or a very useful guide as to how people from different schools behave when doing an SEB:
16 year-old na Thomasian pa naman ang ka-eyeball ko. In fairness, guwapo (kung pic niya talaga yun ha), at mukhang mabait. Kaya kahit 1 am na, hindi ako natatakot makipag-SEB. Basta UST student, sweet lover. Parang driver. Medyo uptight ang personality pero wild makipag-sex. And unlike UP students, hindi sila basta-basta umaalis pagkatapos labasan. Yayakap sila, makikipagkwentuhan. Gusto ko rin ang Ateneans, kasi sobrang generous, mahilig mag-treat bago makipag-sex. Yung isa kong naka-fling for over a year, Philosophy student na hippie at kamukha ni Jesus. Kaya every time magsi-sex kami, feeling ko I’m being blessed. La Salleans are the worst. Sobrang vain. Lalabasan na lang inaayos pa rin ang buhok.
I would have objected to the quip about UP guys, but then again, I wouldn't exactly now. But them La Salle poeple they are funny ha. So do you find yourself in any of these descriptions? Hehehe.