29 02 2008

Caught sight of the infamous former First Lady a few hours ago prior to dinner at the Bahay ng Alumni. Her face was powdered white and she wore her green dress with regal poise and grace. I was totally starstruck.

Journeyed to northwestern Luzon over the weekend. First stop: surfing at San Juan, La Union. Here is me in various attempts at not embarrassing myself.

I think I did moderately well and I would’ve enjoyed it more had I not been too eager to please my Manny-look-alike instructor. Even in surfing, I can be such a nerd. But oy, another possibly expensive hobby. Also, I was told my surfing skills was featured on a photo in the Feb 24 Sunday edition of the Inquirer. Someone send me a copy!

Climbed Baguio for the festival with flowers in the afternoon and the city was in total chaos. I was never a fan of Baguio, maybe because of the disillusionment that comes with its claim as a relaxing City of Pines with cool, fresh air (none of these is true, except maybe for the term ‘City’). During the trip, I saw Baguio as kind of a cooler, hipper Quiapo with good places to eat, and this actually gave me a renewed appreciation for the sprawling mountain city of half a million people.

Showbiz people:

Kimerald (She waved at me!!)

Barbara Sta. Maria-Lacson and Jomari of Pops

Melanie Marquez was here. No kidding.

In possibly less happy matters, I finally received a first comment regarding my thesis and it was a mixture of mostly positive and strangely negative news. It was supposedly a ‘solid’ research, but it was apparently ‘bloodless’. How do you fix a ‘bloodless’ thesis??? Wrist-slitting over the title page? Transfusion? Rosa Rosal?



21 02 2008

A great writer once wrote that great writers would never let anyone read an unfinished work. I am not a great writer so allow me to present two sentences (a far from spectacular sentence construction but an appropriate start nonetheless), which are an hour’s worth of work that is uncharacteristically unpretentious and will most probably remain unfinished.

The minute I dug into the chocolate-sprinkled donut as I hastily climbed the steps of Palma Hall, I knew my teeth were doomed. I winced upon realizing that the first bite alone probably pushed scores of sprinkles deep into the gaps between my upper front teeth and the dental braces I have worn for the last two years.

To be continued…

Name the Show

19 02 2008

The first to name three TV shows that my new cyberfavorite, Agatha, regularly appeared in gets a chocolate! She officially joins the ranks of incredibly popular female showbiz luminaries immortalized on this site’s blogroll (see the right section of this page).

Meanwhile, the one-month wait for my thesis first draft to return and the resulting intellectual inactivity have been driving me nuts. Since the 19th of January, I have seen 20 films, finished several TV series, picked up a new book, been to many field trips and complained regularly to everyone I know.

In other lunacy-related news, here are five songs that have been driving me mad (in a good way!) during the past week:

5. Sci-Fi Wasabi by Cibo Matto (“Obi-wan Kenobi told me in the lobby.” Awesome.)

4. Where is My Mind? by The Pixies (You’ll fall in the love with The Pixies after this.)

3. Paper Planes by MIA (The US refused to grant her entry and so she sings sardonically in return, “All I wanna do is *BANG BANG BANG BANG!*/And *KKKAAAA CHING!*/And take your money”)

2. Birthday Cake by Cibo Matto (“Extra sugar, extra salt/Extra oil and MSG!” Miho Hatori is the greatest Japanese rapper in English ever.)

1. Bros by Panda Bear (Psychedelic. Proof that experimental indie rock does not have to be devoid of melodies.)

Wires and Empires

17 02 2008

At several points in Lynch’s 2006 bizarre/terrifying/hilarious/confusing film Inland Empire, we see people with rabbit heads conversing in a living room, whores dancing the Locomotion, a blond Japanese with a monkey, a woman with a car shift for a leg, Laura Dern getting stabbed by a screwdriver and many many other oddities. It is an excellent three-hour experience as long as you give up all pretensions of trying to make sense of it.

Those who claim that The Sopranos is the greatest drama in US TV this decade (at least) probably have not seen The Wire. On the surface, it is about police officers and drug dealers, but the real star is the city of Baltimore. The Wire is likewise unique for featuring primarily an African-American cast, including a black lesbian police officer and a black gay criminal. A scene from the first season’s fourth episode is illustrative of its storytelling genius; the dialogue between two cops who revisit a crime scene and discover new information consists solely of varying forms of the word ‘fuck’.

There Will Be Oscars

13 02 2008

There are films that are watched and then admired as they unfold and wrap up satisfyingly. And then there are those that seemingly answer nothing and refuse to deliver a clean and closed ending. Of this year’s Oscar nominees for Best Picture, two very good films (Michael Clayton and Atonement) belong to the former group, and two great films (There Will Be Blood and No Country for Old Men) belong to the latter. (The fifth nominee, Juno, is a good film but is a class below these four.)

The depth and breadth of There Will Be Blood is astonishing considering that PT Anderson’s last film was a darkly comic pleasant romance that starred Adam Sandler. But like his previous works, it is visionary, maddening and borderline over-the-top. The powerful title, which alone can bring shivers, is even outmatched by Daniel Day Lewis’ career-best performance, and by an ending appropriate for such a crazy, ambitious movie. Still recovering from the impact of this film several hours after (milkshakes and bowling pins will never be the same again), which is probably a sign of its greatness.

And so the final bets are:

Picture: There Will Be Blood; runner-up: No Country for Old Men (It is a great year for movies when the two Oscar front runners are non-audience-pleasing masterpieces from two [or three?] of this generation’s finest American filmmakers).

Directing: Paul Thomas Anderson for There Will Be Blood; runner-up: Ethan and Joel Coen for No Country for Old Men

Actor: Daniel Day Lewis for There Will Be Blood (no runner-up since no one comes close)

Actress: Marion Cotillard for La Mome; runner-up: Julie Christie for Away From Her (Tough call. Marion was all 50 years of Edith Piaf in the film and Julie was wonderfully subtle)

Supporting Actor: Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men (brutal, cold, creepy and it’s not just because of the hair); runner-up: Tom Wilkinson for Michael Clayton

Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett for I’m Not There (the most Bob Dylan of all the Bob Dylans in the film); runner-up: Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone (she was barely there but she made her presence felt)

Original Screenplay: Ratatouille; runner-up: Michael Clayton

Adapted Screenplay: No Country for Old Men (subtle, concise yet incredibly powerful dialogues); runner-up: There Will Be Blood

Foreign Language Film: the best film of the year from Romania was not even short-listed!


12 02 2008

Today, I bought a weather thermometer and it made me really excited because I’m a geek.

Tomorrow, There Will Be Blood in Gateway!

Meanwhile, I’m in love with this song (and its many many versions) for obvious reasons.

Children of Pasig

3 02 2008

Off we headed again to Manila yesterday. First leg: Guadalupe to Escolta via the surprisingly serene Pasig River on a river cruise. Along the way we saw houses, bridges, birds, water lilies, Jejomar’s office, Malacanang (no picture-taking!), oil depots, industrial laborers, exhibitionists and the many many riverside people who greeted us with smiles, waves and probably swear words.

Second leg: Escolta to Binondo via foot. The latter was a feast of pre-Chinese-New-Year colors. Everywhere there were things red and round and edible and Chinese.

Lunch of seafood, vegetables and amphibian limbs was immediately beside a stagnant estero.

Third leg: Binondo to National Museum via jeep. I saw Spoliarium for the first time and almost cried. I also saw Hidalgo’s ‘The Assassination of Governor Bustamante’ and almost cried too. And I wasn’t even pretending to be cultured and arty. At least during that moment, not yet.

Fourth leg: National Museum to Quiapo and its sea of DVDs. Then back home, traveled and tired. Manila is a new favorite place (and it will remain so as long as I do not have to actually live there).