Sunday, January 29
Weekends are the only days I get to sleep in, wake up late, and then have brunch. While I admittedly do not have full control of my faculties anytime before noon, I also think that flipping channels on the television doesn't take up too many neurons. You can even multi-task if you want to: bite bread, put milk in coffee (I'm not a big fan of milk in your cereal, coffeemate in your coffee--no matter what Alex Compton says), stir in sugar, push remote control button, gulp coffee, repeat.
I was in that state when I happened to catch this commercial on the travel and living channel. Apparently, it's no longer acceptable to have just your brown skin made artificially white by green/orange papaya extracts. After all, it would be terribly weird to have glowing and radiant skin all over, and yet your lips are darker. What a giveaway! Everyone will know that you are not a natural tisay. The shame! The horror!
Zora Ruth Andam, 2001 Binibining Pilipinas-Universe, extolled on the many wonders of Godiva Lightening Lip Gloss, which "contains Licorice Extract, a safe and effective natural ingredient." For the amazing amount of ninety pesos (roughly $1.60 here, but sold for $5 abroad), you can slip this product in your bag, jacket or even your pocket. Why suffer from embarrassingly dark lips when you can apply this product, moisturize your dry and parched lips for that perfect pout?
But wait, there's more! The former beauty queen insists, "Godiva isn't just for lightening your lips here," and she looks us in the eye and then she looks down engagingly somewhere below. She then samples us her now perfect pout. "Godiva, for lighter lips and nips."
I nearly choked on my own coffee, milk notwithstanding. What the hell was that? I have grudgingly accepted that people will now use papayas and whatever else they can get their hands on to have lighter, shinier and more glowing skin. I will even accept the explanation that these products just want to "even out" your complexion. But please tell me what does Zorayda Ruth Andam, who graduated from the UP College of Law and is currently part of the prosecuting panel in the Subic rape case, mean by that lowered gaze?
We're not just talking about visible skin surfaces here. Now you can't just be a girl with artificially whiter, pinker skin. You have to go the whole hog of pinker "lips and nips." What she means by that, I really want to know. (And oh, if you happen to have "ethnic skin" that you want to whiten, Godiva also has a product for that. Go check it out.)
I used to think that hey, here's a girl who proved that she was more than just a beauty queen. Now, something tells me maybe she had more than just creamer in her coffee.
Sunday, January 22
There's absolutely no explanation about the photo, but the comments are really amusing.
Some days back I caught bits of a TV Patrol entertainment report about the Lovapalooza party. Both Kitchie and Barbie were in attendance, and almost instantly, I got a text message from my friend Yeye.
"Hoy, Barbie's on tv. She's dating Senator Honasan's son!"
I don't know why people get the compulsion to do this. (Oh yeah, and this also happens whenever Lea Salonga is on tv.) I texted back, "Am watching it now. She looks kinda stressed. She's like owning all of her nearly 30 years."
"You are harsh."
"I'm just being affectionately bitchy, yo."
Anyway, my brother and I are also listening to the Eheads tribute album. We both think that Kitchie singing "Ilang ahit pa ba ang aahitin" is not only ill-advised, but also raises weird scenarios in one's head. What is she going to shave? And more importantly, the song makes out Kitchie to be a fiend. "Di naman ako manyakis tulad ng iba?" Gah. The people who thought Kitchie singing "Ligaya" was a brilliant idea should be drawn and quartered.
But then again, that's just us. We get cranky when hungry.
Friday, January 20
Macaulay Culkin, who stars in one of my top movies ever, is now a writer. We've been told to write about what we know, and Mac takes this advice to heart. He writes about what he knows best. His first book Junior is a semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical collection of journal-like entries, drawings, letters and poems – often about a troubled father-son relationship.
It also kind of weird how writers are really writing one story--but "Dad" also tops his list of "Things That Are Important." Also on the list? “Solar panels. Bananas. Carpenters.”
Sunday, January 15
Here's something I swiped off Mark that has amused me this weekend: two Chinese college boys lipsynching to the BSB. They've done quite a lot of the Backstreet Boys, and I like their version of "As Long As You Love Me" and "I Want It That Way." These days, it seems like the way internet notoriety is done by lipsynching and then posting it on YouTube. Rings true for their mantra: "Life is short. Make fools of yourselves while you can."
Anyway, back in the day, my blockmates and I had amused ourselves to no end with singing Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls and the occasional Britney Spears. It's a fun way to kill time if you don't want to go all geeky at the lib.
Now here's a bit of urban legend: there was this huge rumor in school that (a) one of the boys was actually a girl who had a sex change; and/or (b) the BSB were actually the Village People. At around the same time, word got around that Alanis Morisette--yes, that one time poster girl for angry young females--had killed herself. Supposedly, she's been gang raped and she couldn't take it anymore, so she put a bullet in her head. "Nah, can't be," I told this blockmate. "She's going to have a concert here." Weeks later, Alanis turned up in Manila for the Can't Not Manila Tour.
Nobody knew how the rumor got started, although one theory was that it was cooked up by the folks at MassComm: they wanted to find out how fast a rumor could spread. Now, there's a project. What's a better petri dish than a bunch of college kids, aight?
Which reminds me that the Backstreet Boys are actually back and they're actually staging a concert at the Araneta Coliseum. Is it worth your pretty penny? Is Nick Carter really a girl? Is the Alanis we now know actually a clone; and is that why she's so cheerful? I guess we'll never know.
Saturday, January 14
- Apples are covered with a thin layer of Jessel Duque!
- Jessel Duque is the world's tallest woman.
- The number one cause of blindness in the United States is Jessel Duque!
- Long ago, the people of Nicaragua believed that if they threw Jessel Duque into a volcano it would stop erupting.
- During severe windstorms, Jessel Duque may sway several feet to either side.
- While performing her duties as queen, Cleopatra sometimes dressed up as Jessel Duque!
- Scientists believe that Jessel Duque began billions of years ago as an enormous ball of dust and gas!
- Jessel Duque can sleep for three and a half years.
- There are 336 dimples on Jessel Duque!
- Humans share over 98 percent of their DNA with Jessel Duque.
After this, I think I can do #8. I can only hope that when I do wake up, I don't find any Nicaraguans attempting to throw me into a volcano. If so, I'll be forced into having a Jennifer Sevilla moment.
Now, that will be really ugly.
Swiped shamelessly from here.
PS. Here's an alternative that's also quite fun.
Tuesday, January 10
M.L. Johnson writes that Brown University has one such book, a "1568 edition of Belgian surgeon Andreas Vesalius' 'De Humani Corporis Fabrica.' For centuries, this was a primary anatomy text and it's still being used by classes up to now. The said volume is "[t]anned and polished to a smooth golden brown, its cover looks and feels no different from any other fine leather."
Laura Hartman, a rare book cataloger at the National Library of Medicine in Maryland, says that binding books in human leather was a "relatively cheap, durable and waterproof" way of covering one's books.
What's also interesting is the texture of these book covers. I didn't know that the human skin can still be separated into layers. One such book was "The Dance of Death" which dates to 1816 but was rebound in 1893 by Joseph Zaehnsdorf, a master binder in London. He didn't have enough skin, so he split it. The front cover was "bound in the outer layer of the epidermis, has a slightly bumpy texture, like soft sandpaper. The spine and back cover, made from the inner layer of skin, feels like suede." And if you looked close enough, you could still see the pores of the skin's former owner.
However widespread the practice was, at least until the late 1800s, it wasn't something discussed in polite society. Most human leather-bound books are medical related; the leather most probably acquired from cadavers in med school, unclaimed bodies of the poor or from criminals who were executed. It could also be a way of somehow achieving immortality, as in the case of the Arab man who had his Quran bound in his own skin when he died. Hartman said, "People kept their family histories written in Bibles, and what is a Quran?"
All I can say is: Ewan McGregor, is that you? Someone please hand me my moisturizer.
Monday, January 9
But when you actually get down to reading her article, that year in question is supposed to be something like a starter kit. Meaning the exercises will be in preparation to the actual writing. Which means that if you haven't really written a book before, it's going to take you around three years to finish that book.
And we're only talking about a draft.
And I'm part of a class that requires me to finish 100 pages in about, oh say, 100 days.
Sunday, January 8
When the SM chain of malls banned R-18 movies in 2004--which somehow coincided with that D’Bodies incident, but anyway—I sort of expected bold movies to go to an all time low. But 2005 proved me wrong as El Niño Films and Cesar SB. Abella, director of Tag-ulan Noon Ang Bukid Ay Basa, Malikot Ang Agos ng Tubig, and Kikay: Kaakit-akit, kaaya-aya, kikiligin ka, among other things, did brisk business as they churned out low-budget sex movies and comedies almost every month. It didn’t matter that they have no media mileage or big-name stars. And the ones with the longest credits for 2005 included starlets Raja Montero and Kat de Santos (of Teteng Baliw fame) and comedians like Bonnel Balingit and Palito. Who would have thought that they’d be even busier than the A-listers?
Of the 49 Pinoy films made in 2005, I only saw a baker’s dozen: Let the Love Begin, Bikini Open, La Visa Loca, Ang Lagusan/The Tunnel (which I thought was either sci-fi or horror, and I was horribly wrong), Pinoy/Blonde, Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros, Lasponggols, Sitak, Ang Anak ni Brocka, Ilusyon, Mulawin: The Movie, Blue Moon.
It’s actually more if I include So Happy Together, but I guess they counted it with 2004’s offerings. No bold movies for me. And I’m not even happy with all of the movies I actually watched. My top three include Maximo Oliveros, Bikini Open and Blue Moon. So there. Hopefully, 2006 will be better. And everyone’s predicting that digital movies will even be bigger this year. But we will see.
Monday, January 2
I fell in love the moment I saw her in her grandfather’s kitchen, her dark curls cresting over her Portuguese shoulders. ‘Would you like to drink coffee?’ she smiled.
‘I’m really not that thirsty.’
‘What? What you say?’ Her English wasn’t too good. Now I’m seventy-three and she’s just turned seventy. ‘Would you like to drink coffee?’ she asked me today, smiling.
‘I’m really not that thirsty.’
‘What? What you say?’ Neither of us has the gift for language acquisition. After fifty years of marriage we have never really spoken, but we love each other more than words can say.
The story above is taken from this book:
Anthropology and 100 Other Stories (Canongate Books, 2005) by Dan Rhodes. It's one of my favorites of the books I read in 2005. According to the website, it was the author's first published book. "It was written between October 1997 and November 1998, mainly while he was working on Cherry Gardens Farm, near Groombridge in Kent/Sussex border country. Rhodes would devise and draft the stories while tying in rows of raspberries or picking plums, often in the driving rain. The book consists of 101 very short pieces about the ins and outs of the modern romance."
Though it never was a bestseller, the book had enough cult following to have a reprint. I rediscovered the book by sheer serendipity while I was waiting for a friend in Powerbooks. The stories were really very short--just 100 words each, and in every tale was this Everyguy's woe about a girl who either cheated on him, left him, or died on him, usually in a very absurd manner. "Words" was the last story in the collection, and it somehow reminds me of one of the subplots of this movie. It wasn't as funny ha-ha or as absurd as the other stories in the collection, but I think it's terribly romantic.