Saturday, September 20, 2008

part 2 of that bora thing

From the moment our feet hit the beach, there wasnt a single moment that we were'nt smoked out. I had already promised myself that i wont do any, for the fear of completely losing every bit of customs review i have managed to store in this 486style processor of a brain of mine. But the weed was packed in cigarette sticks--and with the dilemma of a recent smoker, the thing was impossible to resist as an oral fixation at least

Most of our time was spent sitting by this stretch of sand far from all the commerciallness of boracay. Just staring by the sea and talking among other things economics, nationalism and yoga. I finally had enough of this seriousness and said.."fuck that! bring out your guitar--and let me show you an interpretative dance". Nobody budged..too bad--it couldve been fun

But i still managed to make these sometimes intensely serious folks smile... Whenever i would overhear a familiar word that was part of a song lyric in their conversation- i would instantly sing to that tune...for instance

Guy: "Yeah, their have been so many changes that have been happening in this country"
Me(in my best david bowie impersonation): "Ch-ch-changes! timmmee to makkkee a!"

Girl: "I love this moment right now"
Me(ala kelly clarkson).. "you mean".."a moment like this, some people wait a lifetime..a moment like this"

i think they got amused at first and then later on got mildly annoyed ...its level was directly proportional by the corniness of every passing song

But hey, i was perfectly fine to just chill and be steady. So steady enough that i didnt put enough sunscreen on--even worse, i havent put them on properly. By the end of the day- i had white streaking lines all over my back, i concluded that i got this from the way i hastingly put on the lotion at my body.

Sadly, i had to leave a day earlier from the rest of the crew-work is a responsibility bitch i know. Despite that i havent done every activity that i planned to do when i was there-mostly cliched bora stuff like riding the flying fish, getting a henna tattoo and having my hair braided-i had such a blast. From all that smoke, im still trying to remember all the memories i spent there for 3 days. but i do remember hanging out with these cool people.

Just in case you- pippo, rico and shiela are reading this and are thinking that i got bored because i hardly joined in your conversations.. i didnt and i was either just too spaced out or thinking about what to eat-as evidenced by my constant questioning "what and when are we eating?"... i cant imagine hanging out with anyone else except you guys the next time i go ...but this time can we at least have all matching hennas before we leave! :)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

part 1 of that beach thing

I am only writing this because people keep on bugging me to write about the bora trip i had a couple of weekends ago...normally, experiences like those are just too good to be represented in pixels. but here it is. part 1 of whatever

As most of my friends would attest, i would be the last person you would see in a beach-this will become obvious when you notice how pale i am. Its a combination of small nuisances that make me hate about it.- mostly its the sand being all over your body and your futile attempt to get rid off it. Its the same level of annoyance of getting glitter stuck on you. Sand and glitter--the most underrated scum of the earth.

"fuck you and your fucking early morning flight!"..those were the first words i said that morning when the rockstar called me to make sure that i was awoke by 5am. I got in the airport and met up with her and her friends, i already noticed one of the guys with a guitar in tow- now, this makes it interesting. As long as i have a pretentious silly moment where i get to sing ala jack johnson while im sitting by the beach--i would be fine

So, we stayed at this place not by the beachfront which was good for me and bad for everyone else-logistically, its just the right walking distance to completely shake off the sand so by the time you get there-the thought of it is almost tolerable. Someone shouted lets smoke..and thats where the fun started...

...more to come

Saturday, September 13, 2008

before the valiums kick in

two not so random thoughts

1. people who put "(insert name here) is hating the new facebook layout" in their status messages need to take a pill and relax--99% of the world didnt really notice any difference

2. listening to belle and sebastians "the life pursuit" album on constant loop is guaranteed to at least make you crack a smile

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

lets see where it goes from here

hello blog, its been 2 weeks since my last post...

i've been wanting to update since, but a lot of things have been getting in the way--my attention span is now measured in seconds..everytime i sit down in front of my pc and login my blogger account, i decided to otherwise pursue...answering messages in my facebook, circling thru my itunes playlist or even worse, starting a game of minesweeper.

and theres other stuff thats been keeping me busy-the dreadful review, beating someone's high score in geometry wars and finishing my dvd backlog. I so far managed to finish the last season of the wire(pure genius!), the first season of space (i dont get what the fuss is about) and half a season of the tudors(im still on the fence).

i am currently trying to get over this dreadful cold thats been bugging the shit out of me since yesterday, it was so bad that when i woke up this morning, my pillow is so damp from all the snot--it didnt help that i came home really late that night from an instant drinking session with faye at the old swiss inn-its that place where you'll most likely to see some really old guy with a couple of gro's in his table trying to sift thru their chocolate fondue. We didnt last long, a glass of wine is all that took for me to feel like ive snorted a couple of valiums-

i swore not to drink any alcohol again today for the fear that my system will just crash-but then again, here i am with an open bottle of wine in my disposal trying to numb everything else thats been going on..maybe the combination of these situations will help me to jumpstart this blog again...or there's always minesweeper

Monday, August 25, 2008


so its been weeks since a proper post, i was just being busy with the customs review--it has sucked every random creative thought out of me. This is what you get when you are technically cramming 4 years worth of customs and tariff materials in 2 months. Hooray for procrastinating thru grad school

In the meantime, my new favorite sesame street scene above

Friday, August 22, 2008

this is where it gets interesting

its all getting clearly now...


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

before "the man" edits it out

here's the self-absorbed/pretentious article that i wrote for manila bulletin for this coming friday's issue..enjoy! :)

Opening Credits

I blame it all on my parents and their Betamax copy of Seven Samurai.

Having been brought up in the 80s pop culture frenzy of Japanese cartoons and action series dubbed in English (Shaider, Voltes V, Daimos – if you were ever a kid in this era you know what I’m talking about), I was of course attracted to the Kurosawa classic based on the title alone. Never mind that it’s cover was in black and white, and of course I never bothered to read the synopsis; it had something to do with samurai, and in my child’s mind that’s all it needed to get played.

That, however, is as far as the logic goes in my head. That’s how it ended up in the betamax player – I have no plausible explanation as to why I didn’t turn it off after the first five minutes. I can’t justify a seven year old me sitting though a grainy movie that had nothing to do with the cartoons I so adored. It being the first serious movie I sat through, I could give it credit for opening up my film interest. But I suppose it really just awakened something in me that’s always been there – the ability to get lost in what most first graders would call a long and boring film.

Blockbuster’s Preferred Customer

Strangers who enter my den for the first time would immediately tag me a film buff. I’m guessing it has something to do with around 1,300 original DVDs lining my walls – in alphabetical order. When people pick up on this fact they also jump to the conclusion that I am obsessively neat.

The alphabetical order part I can easily justify – how else do you keep track of more than a thousand DVDs? Don’t even bring up the idea of one of those generic DVD cases – I keep all my movies in their original casings, thanks.

And the film buff part? Yeah, I have no argument for that – but I’d also like to point out that I didn’t just fill my shelves with Citizen Kane, Chinatown and A Bout de Souffle. Sitting among the more serious stuff (like The Simpsons Movie) are the likes of High Fidelity, Jerry Maguire, Spiderman I and II and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

It’s clear from my collection that I am not a film snob – I just love movies. All kinds of movies. From every director, in pretty much any language. As long as it has opening and closing credits, moving pictures and the ability to capture my interest (which when it comes to films is obviously not that difficult), I’m there.

What makes a good movie for me is the emotional response it draws – when it comes to the more popular films I consider it worth watching in my book if it triggers the reaction its genre is supposed to – comedies that make me laugh, horror movies that raise the hairs on my arms, dramas that make me give a crap about the characters on screen and identify with whatever crisis it is that’s going on in their fictional lives. Sometimes unintentional reactions work for me too – if a horror movie inadvertently makes me guffaw out loud in the cinema that’s good enough.

I don’t sit through every movie looking for breathtaking cinematography, Pulitzer-worthy dialogue and life-altering insight – most movies made and screened in public these days are for pure entertainment value, and as long as I am in one way or another entertained – visually, intellectually, emotionally – then I am one happy viewer.

Of course truly great movies – the ones I love and watch over and over again – set a different standard in my head. Over the years I’ve come to know and admire the styles of my favorite directors, their particular unique touch that make the movie truly their work – this is what makes a great film for me. I’ll site Kubrick as an example – he’s fearless, irreverent, almost self-indulgent. He makes a film that would obviously very much entertain him, and what everybody else thinks, he doesn’t give a damn. He would come up with the perfect film for himself, and if you get it, that film would be perfect for you as well.

If You Were Stuck On A Desert Island…

Or, my top ten movies of all time, the ones I would watch again and again if I had only these to play for the next 60 or so years:

1. A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971)
You sit through this movie and you just have to accept the fact that you are in a completely different world – what you know and who you are doesn’t count, the characters are people you probably wouldn’t want to meet in real life, and you’re jolted by a side of human nature you never wanted to explore. The senseless violence, the perversity and the weirdness leaves you disoriented for days after watching – that’s what makes it the perfect film.

2. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
Some films you have to watch more than once to truly appreciate*. Films like Vanilla Sky and Pulp Fiction didn’t really jump out at me as truly great from the first – until I watched it the second time and started paying closer attention to the dialogue. Then I realized what a great movie it is based on the script alone.
Pulp Fiction makes my list before Vanilla Sky does because its characters are way cooler and the interlacing stories more diverse.

*A Clockwork Orange also falls into this category but that’s only because it’s emotionally a bit too much to take in one sitting

3. Der Himmel über Berlin (Wim Wenders, 1988)
Which was remade into “City Of Angels” about ten years later. This movie I loved foremost for its cinematography – every scene in this film looked like a masterpiece. Plus Wenders also depicted angels in a most excellent way – the way I would imagine them to be, thus making the film something I could very much relate to.

4. Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson, 1996)
This was Wes Anderson’s first movie – one of my favorite directors of all time. This is where I first discovered his whimsical style, his knack for making a neat little package out of scenes that don’t really make any sense. The quiet strangeness of his pictures coupled with a really good soundtrack makes this movie one of my all time faves.

5. The Godfather II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
I wasn’t allowed to cheat and say the Godfather trilogy. If I had to choose I’d have to bring the second one with me because it’s like watching two movies in one – plus I liked the neat parallelisms Coppola made between the young Vito Corleone and the older, tougher Michael.

6. Jules et Jim (Francois Truffaut, 1962)
Not your typical love story, I believe this movie was way before it’s time – even for the French. It delves into love triangles and ménage a trois, and ties it all up with a very appropriate ending.

7. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
The cheesy dialogue, the overplayed and studied delivery of every line, the real old-world romance you won’t find in any film nowadays because nowadays we just can’t pull it off anymore– those are trapped forever in this film, stuff you can only preserve and never duplicate. It just won’t work if you make this film at any other time; this movie is an irreplaceable classic.

8. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
Having went on about the director attracting me to the film before anything else I had to put Scorsese on this list. And of all the great Scorsese films I had to choose this one. Very trademark Scorsese, with the essential de Niro thrown in as a disturbed prize fighter. Need I say more?

9. Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
Because it’s Kubrick, and it’s funny.

10. Requiem For A Dream (Darren Aronofsky, 2000)
Though I don’t really make it a point to seek out terribly depressing movies that leave you without even the tiniest sliver of hope in the end, I still loved this movie because of the impact it leaves on anyone who watches it. Much like a bad relationship, you’re left feeling abused, emotionally drained, depressed – but you can’t take your eyes off it and you keep coming back for more – you’re in love.

10.5. Tie between Revenge of The Nerds and the Back To The Future Trilogy
Ok, ok, I cheated. But I had to bring some of the whimsical along with me. Revenge of the Nerds I must have watched about ten times when I was a kid. And the Back To The Future Trilogy – it’s just the perfect 80s trilogy for me. Great concept, memorable characters, and of you pay close enough attention, some really funny inside jokes that only the greatest of its fans would get.

Is It Me Or The Film That’s Out Of Focus?

One sad thing I’ve noticed is that lately it’s been more difficult for me to concentrate on the longer films – the ones without the prerequisite car chases, one-liners and romantic interests. I don’t blame Hollywood – I respectfully thank the movie industry giants for mass manufacturing the saccharin cotton candy of entertainment, the releases I can sit through brain dead from the sugar rush without having to think too much about what this film is really saying – most of the time they’re not really saying much, that’s what makes them so entertaining.

But too much of a good thing can do its damage – my movie palate has gotten so used to the simple flavors of pop culture flicks that when confronted by the complex, delicate essence of the classics my now lazy tongue gets bored. I find myself getting annoyed at having to concentrate to pick up tastes subtler than explosive saccharin.

The good news is the movie taste can be re-trained. That little boy who sat though almost three and a half hours of Kurosawa twenty-five years ago is still sitting in me – he just needs to be woken up.

If you want to truly appreciate film in it’s every form and genre, try to strike a good balance between the fluff and the intense – you don’t have to eschew box office hits as beneath your taste, but you’d also like to explore something other than the latest amusing no-brainer to hit the cinemas. If there’s a film on my top ten list you haven’t seen, any of those would be a pretty good place to

I look at the 1,347 DVDs lining my shelves and I can proudly say I have a pretty good balance going on there. Yes, I know how many movies I have exactly – I counted.