Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Check out the reminders bar to the left, there’re a lot of new events coming up you may be interested in. Also added Wanda to the links box.

I sometimes forget about who reads this blog. A feeling of insularity becomes comfortable because it seems like the only people who read it are the ones who comment, or my close friends. So it still comes as a surprise to me when I get a nice email from my blockmate Criselle about the Ed being drunk post, or when Wanda chances upon the blog when we haven’t seen each other in months, probably since we were both technically students. Or when there’s an entry in the guestbook from someone I don’t know.


As if the new Macarena, that “Ketchup” song, weren’t dumb enough (and remember, the lyrics to the chorus are literally gibberish), we now have a contender in the post-ketchup-success-race-to-cash-in-on-people’s-stupidity: a twin act named the Cheeky Girls. In the video, Monica and Gabriela wear a spaghetti-strap tight top and really short shorts (or as they are affectionately called by Dos, “pukeh shorts”: “Kita mo na kaluluwa niyan e!”) and they have their own childishly ridiculous dance move but by far the best thing is the lyrics. The chorus goes, and I shit you not: “Don’t be shy/Touch my bum/This is life”

You can’t make this stuff up.


I just saw Guillermo Del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone. I liked the movie a lot; it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be a scare-fest, but it’s actually a bit of a coming-of-age drama, except with a vengeful ghost. I’m just so glad it’s completely unlike this idea I have for a horror film. Nice to see that it was produced by Pedro Almodovar, since this film is leagues away from the kinds of films he makes. Also don’t remember the last time I saw a film lensed by Guillermo Navarro. Was it Jackie Brown?

And all of a sudden, there are good movies out. I still haven't seen 8 Mile, and I plan to watch Femme Fatale and Catch Me If You Can, and The Two Towers at least one more time. Most of all, though, I cannot wait for next Wednesday, Feb. 5, when both Zhang Yimou's Hero AND the Pang Brothers' The Eye come out. Wooh!

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Last Saturday I was able to attend two events: the Levi's launch of their Type 1 Jeans at Visual Workshop, and the SugarFree album launch at Freedom Bar. The SugarFree launch was fun, even if I didn't get to see the band perform at all. The reason was we came late, so when we got there the place was already so full it was impossible to get in. At the door were people standing, packed like hamsters c/o SBC. So we hung out outside where we got to see so many friends, some we haven't seen in a while. Jeline, who's got a hapon man now (half-Japanese boyfriend). Her sister Jenny, on vacation from Japan. The Itchyworms!. Ciudad and Quark. Echo and Akon. Ruby Ang. My Comm blockmate Genie Ranada, who did the beautiful art for the album, called Sa Wakas, and who happens to be lead singer Ebe's significant other. Cog's Yagi and Eric Perlas (also a blockmate). Katrice and Le Sexy Mark Lavin from the Flip Sweatshop. Alia. Doranne. Joey and Jason of Twisted Halo. Ciudad-monger Kathy, who gave me two cool buttons (danke ulit! :). Carlo Eustaquio of the defunct blog. Sigh Maano from Heights. The Fatal Posporos girls, and Earnest and Buddy, who showed off pictures of their baby girl Veda, who's grown but is still adorable. Two grade school classmates, Rody and Carlito. Dicta License and fellow C-man Kelley Mangahas, with another high school classmate and ex-Dicta drummer Bryan Makasiar. Also met Lala and (who I assume to be her) husband John, red as a beet from Boracay. I must be forgetting some people, I'm sorry. So it was a great big catching-up. And you go home with a great album, to boot. Caught up on some chismis, too.

As for the Levi's launch, well… it was apparently the first in a series of launch parties for the Type 1, each party serving a particular niche. In this case, Artists. The next one is for Stylists/Fashionistas, which Mich has been invited to also, and we speculate the next two are for Yuppie Fucks and the Boring Rest. Either that or Trekkies. Maybe People Good At Trigonometry? The party scheduled for 6 began slowly at around 9-ish, kicking off with Lyle Sacris's thesis short film. So we were treated to 3 screens playing simultaneously, beginning with a man masturbating to a mineral water bottle and culminating in a 20-foot close-up of a singing vagina and Lyle biting down on a razorblade, blood coming out his mouth while the camera circles him. Groans from some of the audience. The party took place in an empty studio, with artwork hanging on one side. I have to admit that some of them were pretty interesting, and Mich wanted to buy one but the price given her was, to me, extreme. I'm sure people like Carlo can do much better. Across the artwork was the stage, and betwixt the two, pillows and tables for people to sit and eat free food from Cibo and free alcoholic beverages from who knows. Honestly, who cares? Free anything always tastes good, as us C-Men always say. The crowd was mostly pretentious faux-artiste types, the comfortably rich, unemployed stoners who think procrastination is an art form, or something to be lauded. Not everyone was like that, though. There were some honest, sincere types. Just outnumbered. Occupying the table beside us was Mylene Dizon and Ryan Eigenman. It amused me to be near stars of Agimat and Lastikman.

I left to go to the SugarFree thing but when I came back Epy Quizon had joined his Lastikman buddy. Strider was in the house! So was John Sobrepena, who I wanted to catch but his set was too late for me. Quark's poppa Atom was there, and Hannah had joined Goldie and Mich. Oh, the things we do when we're drunk. By the time I got back Mich was hammered. Goldie had already done her pass out bit but had already woken up and actually seemed sober. Usually the interns are noisier than Mich but this time it was the other way around. Mich was so drunk she didn't realize she was screaming. Even before I got back I was receiving text messages saying "Kami na ni Epy!" and when I got there she'd tell me again and again as if it was late-breaking news. Actually, screamed is more appropriate. And then five minutes later: "I love him!" Two minutes more: "He's cheating on me!" and I look and he's sitting with a girl me and Mich both know. While they're within earshot she shouts "He's only using [name] for sex!" For once Hannah and Goldie are the docile ones, sitting on the floor watching the bands. Later, yet another spectacle: Mich takes 4 pictures of her crushboy. Back to back to back to back. And there's also a verbal exchange that is too precious, I think I'll let her blog about it instead. On Monday I quizzed her about what happened; she only got about 70% right.


Saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind recently, and loved it. Watch it. Surprisingly, George Clooney's is the best directorial debut of the year. The script by Charlie Kaufman is pitch perfect, though actually this kind of film I would have expected more from Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, whose forte is biopic scripts (Ed Wood, Man on the Moon, The People Vs. Larry Flynt). Actors were all terrific, cinematography and colors were amazing, style is suited to the material, just a brilliant piece of cinema that came without too much expectation and blew me away. Awash in the post-viewing buzz, there is no better high than experiencing art that takes you by surprise, takes your breath away, sows seeds of thought and idea and concept that keep you up until the wee hours.


Two important film people died recently. Kinji Fukasaku, director of Battle Royale, The Green Slime, and co-director of Tora! Tora! Tora!, died of prostate cancer on January 12 at the age of 72 while in the midst of prepping Battle Royale 2 (you can find a 15-second teaser here), and now the project is in the hands of his son (who wrote the screenplay for both films, and was I think 19 at the time of the first). Hope he does good by it. Fukasaku is a pretty old director, but he has 61 films to his credit, and is cited as an influence by people like John Woo and Quentin Tarantino. However, it was only with the Kubrickian Battle Royale that he became known all over the globe. At the same press conference where he announced he'd be pushing through with a sequel to Battle Royale, he revealed that his cancer, which had been in remission, had returned. He said, however, that he wanted to use his remaining time left continuing to make movies.

"I hope to be able to continue to find wonderful projects with great directors and go on forever." - Conrad L. Hall

Which he had in common with cinematographer extraordinaire Conrad L. Hall. A legend in his own lifetime, Hall also succumbed to cancer, dying last January 4. He lensed 35 films. Some of his more famous films include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Cool Hand Luke, and In Cold Blood. Myself, I only really came to know him from his Oscar-winning work on American Beauty, but his best work in my opinion is his last: Road to Perdition. You could take every shot from that film and hang it on your wall. His son's also a cinematographer; he shot Panic Room with Darius Khondji. Of all people, Tom Cruise recommended him to Sam Mendes, who hired him for Beauty and didn't let him go for Road. I wonder who he'll get now that Connie's passed on. One of the great things about Hall is that he's just a nice guy. He enjoyed working with young and first-time directors, and kept abreast of new technology (though mostly eschewing effects-heavy stuff) and people in his field, particularly giving props to women cinematographers.

Raise a glass for both men.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Friday, January 17, 2003

I do believe this is the first time I've ever answered one of these things.

Which Ringwraith are You?
By Lisa

Am in Iloilo right now. Been here since Wednesday afternoon. The trip began badly because I lost my ticket and had to pay twice what I was going (and ready) to. Damn. Still, it's been tremendous fun. I'm here with Neva and PJ, one of my best friends from high school. As soon as I arrived we went to the local SM. Wow. Anyway, played some really old high-school-era arcade games, and I got PJ to buy a book that I will probably buy myself when I have the time, Donna Tartt's The Secret History. We also checked out this exhibit of various tribal costumes, which wasn't too interesting. However I did enjoy the adjacent exhibit, which featured all sorts of Sto. Ninos. There was a black one, a fat one (the creepiest, he looked like he'd eaten another poor Sto. Nino), even a female! Then all of us had a monster dinner, watched the Blue Roast videos from our respective batches, and went to sleep.

The next morning we went to Neva's family's mango farm in Guimaras, then another monster lunch, shot pool, and hit the beach for a couple of hours. Beach was fantastic: strong wind, coffee-mate sand, strong waves, freezing cold water that becomes better after a minute or two. best of all, practically secluded. After that we went to the Trappist Monastery, the only one in the country. There a decidedly gay monk gave us a tour, and we kept asking typically ridiculous questions. They're vegetarians who only eat once a day (you can choose the time), cannot leave the compound unless it's urgent or necessary, and cannot speak when inside the grounds proper (which is off-limits to visitors). The gay priest was quite proud of his order, showing off their two chapels (one donated by a couple who lost their only child in an accident when he was aged 27), pointing out how the bricks were made from Guimaras's natural limestone, etc. After all that, we went back to Neva's farm, had another monster dinner, talked and drank 'til 11 PM.

It's good to see PJ again. I miss his jokes, unfunny or successful. He told us about the people he's met in San Diego, the things he misses about the Philippines, the fears and wants we have for our future. As he said, "I can't remember the last time I had an intelligent conversation!" Must've been the beer.

We slept at the farm. It was unexpectedly cold, Baguio-cold, and we were wearing nothing but shorts and flimsy excuses for shirts. So we slept in the fetal position, under blankets, scared of the wind which would snap tarps against the windows every now and again. Of course, this being the province I should mention that the moon was bright as hell, like a spotlight bright. You could see the craters. The stars were also out in force, since there's no light pollution, and especially past 9 PM, when pretty much everyone on the island is asleep, you could walk outside without bringing any light. And the wind was so strong, you could actually watch clouds zoom past. Amazing.

And I forgot to mention that we of course had the sweetest mangoes for dessert. Mine had a hint of tanginess to it, but that gave it personality. Personality goes a long way.

Next morning we visited the Trappist Monastery again and bought some pasalubongs to shut my family up. PJ had to leave early but I'll be here until tomorrow afternoon. Am at Neva's family's house in Iloilo, and will probably watch something stupid like The Tuxedo while I wait for them to get back from a meeting. Had batchoy for lunch. I think I might gain a few pounds while I'm here.

Thursday, January 09, 2003

In the continuingly amusing referrals list of people who come here, the most recent noteworthy search words were:

pia guanio and mike (especially specific, aren’t we?)
lolita pics (is this some genre of cheesecake photography I am heretofore unaware of?)
erotic paperboy drawings (again, I’m curious)

And my personal favorite for this round, BLOGS WITH CHISMIS (yes, all in caps).

This time, though, a majority of my accidents are now from Aubrey Miles and Anna Shier fans, with two from Paz Lenchantin. Come on, where are all the legions that I know are out there who are in love with Melissa Auf der Maur? Show yourselves!


Googlism for: ramon

ramon is on island
ramon is helemaal niet lief
ramon is located on 11 square miles of the san ramon valley
ramon is a community where the quality of life is as important as the economic growth of the city
ramon is zonder twijfel de persoon die ik het vaakst bel
ramon is a brilliant mopey stroll through san francisco's slate gray streets (WHATTA DESCRIPTION)
ramon is usually referred to as a crater
ramon is another excursion into kozelek's brooding world
ramon is a young and prosperous city blessed with an idealic location
ramon is located in contra costa county on 11 square miles of the san
ramon is situated on 11 square miles of the san ramon valley
ramon is located in contra costa county on 11 square miles of the san ramon valley
ramon is sinuous and unhurried (A BIT ACCURATE)
ramon is tall (SOMEWHAT)
ramon is an extremely talented composer and musician (HOW I WISH)
ramon is an incredibly talented musician and composer with many great accomplishments yet ahead in his future
ramon is not the first jew to become an astronaut
ramon is adjacent to major freeways including #680 both north and south
ramon is not the filipino (HAHA)
ramon is not as delightful as it could be (UNFORTUNATELY)
ramon is a small town lying about halfway between jerusalem and the red sea resort of eilat
ramon is our future (THEN WE’RE DOOMED)
ramon is always on the run (SURE FEELS LIKE IT)
ramon is very good at predicting current events (YEAH?)
ramon is at the heart of the valley and is surrounded by the prosperous communities of alamo
ramon is extremely impressive; in fact (AGAIN, I CAN ONLY WISH)
ramon is unpopular even in labor
ramon is made up of single family homes
ramon is far and away the
ramon is always very calm (REALLY, NOW)
ramon is determined to convince mariah that their romance and friendship can peacefully co
ramon is clueless that delanie and lauren are sisters?
ramon is available in all eu languages
ramon is a dynamic young city
ramon is accomplished in many avenues of artistic expression (IN MY DREAMS, MAYBE)
ramon is like the little boy who believes so thoroughly in fairies and santa claus his family can not bear to disillusion him (BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA)
ramon is a complex presenting a rich collection of desert plants and animals
ramon is that the man is completely literal
ramon is working the afternoon shift at seven
ramon is a graduate of cornell university
ramon is approximately 41 (WHAT THE--?!)
ramon is a reminder that it is a lot more fun to train with a team as compared to training by yourself (HAHA THIS JUST SOUNDS GREAT)
ramon is ready to fight with him (YOU BET)
ramon is that the shuttle will orbit the earth every 90 minutes
ramon is a
ramon is god" on it in the picture
ramon is the breezy hillside of banawa is more than just a beauty to behold
ramon is a tall handsome man (FINALLY THE TRUTH!)
ramon is pretty much a story in itself (HMM…)
ramon is travelling around the world
ramon is too pleased with himself to notice that the ship is on "alarma"
ramon is a businessman (?!)
ramon is less worried by black widows than he is of the plight of the pronghorn
ramon is also a veteran amateur radio operator
ramon is 8 and his brain tumor is gone
ramon is a member of the plaintiff's executive committee in the now
ramon is expected to serve passengers from the livermore
ramon is a colt with great presence
ramon is taking out his anger on jeff hardy
ramon is not paying attention to him at all
ramon is an excellent worker and was employee of the year in 2000 (COOL SHIRT)
ramon is located in contra costa county
ramon is a growing and prosperous town
ramon is our version of jaime escalante of "stand and deliver"
ramon is committed to the advancement and awareness of the gay community
ramon is a transfer from mississippi state university who will contribute maturity and a work ethic to the chaparrals this season (THAT’S WHAT YOU THINK…)
ramon is an extended
ramon is confident that the service would be successful in this initiative
ramon is currently fishing with his hosts above the artic circle and contemplating world events but he will be leaving northern
ramon is a freelance illustrator who has worked in his industry since 1977 from his home in madrid
ramon is
ramon is ons tweede kind
ramon is that he was almost 200 years old before he even heard of amber
ramon is the latest in a string of new union organizing efforts statewide
ramon is pointing to
ramon is satisfied (UH, NO.)
ramon is one of ari's kids where there may be some doubt
ramon is badly injured by robert but he struggles up to fight on
ramon is in 1996 beginnen draaien op verschillende party's in nederland en
ramon is able to offer you the best and most reliable service in the areas listed below
ramon is a pretty weak park
ramon is south of walnut creek and the danville area in the diablo valley
ramon is due to begin his travel across the world on may 1
ramon is a surprisingly comfortable sounding album (COOL)
ramon is een zeer getalenteerde jonge musicus
Wednesday was such a fucking mess.

It was the day of the funeral. After the final mass at 930 AM, the coffin was brought by the hearse to Manila Memorial Park in Sucat, where my lola was to be buried beside my lolo. Final prayers, final viewing, and then finally the lid is closed, the casket is lowered into a cement case, we toss flowers down and watch as the cement lid is lowered into place. After this we’re supposed to have lunch. The food is prepared; plates, glasses and plastic utensils all laid out. But no. Because the stupid motherfucker of a driver, who among all the MMP staff is the only one wearing a sando, shorts, and slippers, backs up his mini-dump truck, and just drops all the soil into the hole. Except it ISN’T soil, it’s mud, wet earth, packed together and thus, falls into the hole as if it were one solid, heavy lump. And while people are already lining up to eat, curious me peers over the edge and sees that one end of the cement lid is raised. And that there are cracks crisscrossing, disappearing under the mud. Before Fucking Moron can dump his second load, I mention it to my parents, who are near the edge but not looking over it. They can’t see it from where they’re standing. So they see it, and my aunt sees it, and they tell the workers to halt. People stop eating, come over to the edge, look over, see the crack and the opening and murmur and my aunt and mom are really pissed. My dad is pissed, too, I can see, but he’s keeping quiet behind his sunglasses, since my tita and mom are already berating the driver and the other workers, asking for the officer-in-charge. Instructions are given to dig out the mud already in the hole to see the damage. Because we can see the cement lid is shattered. It’s broken. What no one wants to say out loud, but everyone is thinking, is what about the casket? We eat anyway because several of us are already hungry.

Later, when the mud is out, we see the damage: the cement lid has broken, caved in, and damaged the lid of the casket. Thankfully, because there are metal braces within the cement lid, it didn’t cave in all the way, otherwise the casket, glass, and my lola’s body may have been damaged. But still, due to the negligence of this moron driver, the casket we paid for is damaged, and at this point we don’t know about the inside. Trucks come to pull out the lid’s remains and the casket. Meanwhile I, who had been given the digital camera at the house before we left with instructions to take pictures of the mass and funeral, was now being told to take pictures of the damage, what the workers were doing, and the people present, particularly the driver. Behind me people are talking lawsuit.

The OIC arrives and tells us they’ll replace the casket free of charge. Thankfully there’s a PAZ funeral parlor within the memorial park, and the casket is brought to a truck, and taken there. I accompany the casket along with my dad’s eldest brother. We get to the parlor and suddenly I’m in the room where bodies are prepared. There are two steel slabs, slanted at a slight angle, with headrests. Hoses at their side. I wonder what it’s like to be lying naked on cold steel. Not that we’ll ever be conscious when we get there. They bring out an identical casket, though slightly longer and with less gildings. At this point, though, we can’t really be choosy. It’s more important that we get this over and done with, rather than prolong things because it’s not the exact same design. Finally comes the moment I’ve been dreading: after the opening of both caskets and the transfer of flowers, the transfer of my lola’s body. They take off the glass lid under the casket lid, and gently lift her up into the other casket. I was scared at first because I kept wondering about things that may sound ridiculous now: what if the body breaks? Will there be a sound like creaking wood? What if a part of her comes off? Thankfully, nothing happened, and apparently she was very light. The body was expectedly stiff, but it surprised me HOW stiff, as in she stayed perfectly straight even though she was only being lifted at her shoulders and legs, with no support under her back. Glass lid was placed, flowers transferred, lid closed. Into the truck and back to the burial lot where some people were still waiting, though most guests had already left. The casket is carried to the lot and there’s another last viewing, my dad and his siblings checking the casket. The casket is lowered, and someone makes a joke: “Take two.” We throw flowers in again. The cement lid is put in place again. This time, though, the soil (actual soil now) is shoveled in. We wait until it’s full, and I learn from my mom that while I was away my dad said something like, “She refuses to go.” It’s old-people humor. The OIC ordered a bunch of Jollibee hamburgers and drinks for us. So I don’t know if there’ll be a lawsuit or not.

What should’ve ended at 1230 ended at 4 PM.

I’m almost sorry I mentioned the smashed lid to my parents, because it became such a headache and caused all this trouble. But then, it was right, I think, to do so. We paid for the casket, after all, and I don’t think it would’ve been fair to keep her in the ground without knowing what happened. It’s just so damn ridiculous. I can only imagine what my dad and his siblings felt. How would I feel if my mom’s body was possibly damaged by the negligence of an overweight ignoramus? I probably would’ve clocked the guy. It’s a disgrace, an insult, disrespectful. If any of you are getting buried at Manila Memorial, be careful about how it’s done.


This is my first funeral since my maternal lolo back in around 87. I’d forgotten about the procedure. While everything was going on I just kept thinking about what other people must have been thinking. Old people in the crowd: were they contemplating their own funerals? Did the kids even realize what was happening? Did the workers appreciate the irony of making a living from tending to the dead? Or were they just numb and cold about it, seeing it only as a job? I wonder if my parents were thinking about what the view is like from the other side. It’s probably because I kept taking pictures, so I was just looking at people’s expressions.

I think I’d like my funeral to be kind of like a party.


On a lighter note, congratulations to Lia and Quark! The former for turning (only) 22, and latter for pulling off a sweet surprise party. And for giving Lia a lomo. Shee-it. Good food and company galore, plus some porn, which is always good.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

My paternal grandmother died last night at around 720 PM. I'm not particularly a religious person but I'm not partial to asking that you think of her in your prayers. It's strange because she died one week after her 98th birthday. And also because Neva's maternal grandmother died around a week or two ago, too. Which is actually the main reason she's in Iloilo right now.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Have I ever mentioned that I’m allergic to alcohol? Not deathly allergic (otherwise I’d be dead now), but I get this kind of rash on my back whenever I drink. And if it’s severe it’ll reach up to around my neck and shoulders and creep around to the sides of my front chest area. This has been going on since I first tried drinking beer on a regular basis in high school. Which of course ended prematurely (the try). Anyway, I didn’t drink for a while after that, and still don’t, actually. I only drink when I’m with friends and they’re drinking. Because of the allergy, I usually become the designated driver, or the person who tries to keep everyone else from drowning in puddles of their own vomit.

I did get really drunk once (and only once) in 3rd Year High School. I woke up the next morning in a stranger’s bed (and house). It belonged to a friend of the classmate I was with, thankfully.

Last two years of high school, we’d have occasional inuman sessions at Mike Jalbuena’s house here in our village. His mom has a good philosophy about it: she’d rather we get drunk and lose our wits under her roof rather than in some seedy bar somewhere and get stabbed. We’d bring clothes, gather whatever drinks we could, and just get smashed. It was always fun. Lots of memorable moments and behavior. Ben speaks only in English when drunk. Eumir somehow manifests a British accent, which is hilarious. Arvy becomes violent and gets mad whenever people disagree with him (he almost broke Mike’s SuperNES controller one time because he kept losing to Sherman in WrestleMania). JC passes out after one shot of tequila. Mike becomes flamboyant in both speech and movement, speaking more in those nights than he does in a regular month. Arvy talking about having sex with his girlfriend and all the rest of us virgins listening intently. JP passed out in the bathroom, taking a crap with the door open. JC waking up to say one sentence and then falling back asleep. Ping-pong tournaments while pissed. JP vomiting Exorcist-style, the stream from his mouth leaping clear across the room to the sleeping bags. Ugh.

Ed Ibarra joined us one time. He’d always wanted to go before but his dad was strict and he wasn’t allowed a lot of the time. But he finally got to go once in senior year. And since he wasn’t really used to alcohol he got drunk. The stupid fucker didn’t tell us he’d taken medication that afternoon so we were as surprised as he was when he started vomiting and there were red flecks of blood in there. It didn’t worsen so we didn’t worry about it. But he was out of it, and he started crying. He started talking about how he hated his parents because they were so strict, how he always felt he couldn’t satisfy them, how he hated this English teacher of ours because she was giving him such a hard time and he was doing his best. He was crying, weeping, bawling, the kind of cry that uses up your whole body and you’re clenched like a fist in a fetal position. I was cradling his head in my lap because he was thrashing around too much and started banging his head on the metal frame of the bed and on the cement walls. Mike held his feet down and was ready with a bucket in case he needed to vomit some more. The both of us were crying with him. I don’t know about Mike, but I knew I had issues with my parents in those days (still do), and I could relate to some of what Ed was screaming/weeping in a drunken stupor. Even as I type this I have to stop tears from welling in my eyes from the memory.

When morning came we brought Ed to the hospital, where he was given Milk of Magnesia and a big-ass injection. He wore a towel, shorts, black socks and leather shoes. :) When we finally got to talking about that night I found out he had no recollection of what he’d said or done that night. He didn’t remember the crying fits or breaking Mike’s mom’s lamp in the hallway. He barely remembered the hospital, but that was after he’d woken up already. I felt weird, having gone through that with him and he not remembering any of it. I really hope it had some good effect on him, even if it was subconscious. A feeling of purgation, if you will. Of catharsis. But I don’t know. Sometimes it feels as if everything he spewed out was passed on to me.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

I had my first-ever New Year’s gimmick yesterday, and it was a blast. Every New Year I spend with my relatives (Christmas is with immediate family). But this year, I got a pleasant surprise because I met up with Quark and Mich and the popettes and Joey and Margie. I thought we were only going to rescue Mich from “cigar-chomping old fogeys” and I’d get to greet my friends a Happy New Year. But we went to this party at the helipad of the Rizal building in Rockwell. First, the parking in Rockwell was horrible. The mall was closed, so their parking was too. Everyone had to park on the side of the street and it was pretty full already. I had to leave the compound and go back in, finally finding a spot beside the exit of an office building. Then I went to meet the kids at this waystation, where exclusive vans would bring us to the building. There was some other minor rave also in Rockwell that was the reason for all the traffic, I found out later. Then up to the 46th floor, then up another few flights of stairs before you get to the actual helipad. At first it was boring, but it started getting more crowded later on. The idea of a party on a helipad is certainly appealing to me: the view’s fantastic, and there’s a cool breeze. With free drinks, we crashed on a giant pillow and did the usual: make fun of people around us, shot the shit and traded tsismis and news. Joey got drunk fastest, I think, because he was telling the same pieces of news several times over. Margie and Quark and Mich all knew a lot of people at the event. Goldie got knocked out again, though she didn’t have any blue drinks this time around (to our knowledge, anyway). So she collapsed on the giant pillow and slept half the time. Whenever Mich and her popettes would start dancing these two skinny old bald men would approach and start dancing, until Mich would let out a piercing cry like a child lost in a mall and then the baldies would sheepishly slink back to their corner. There was a fire raging on the roof of another building that had me mesmerized for a few minutes. Food was served, including champorado, omelettes, tocino and tapa. None of it was good. Finally the whole thing was ended when we saw the sun rise. Cool. I don’t remember the last time I did that. It was fascinating to watch because while you could look down around you at the view, you couldn’t see the stars because of the smoke from all the fireworks that had gone off when it hit midnight. So gradually, everything just got brighter and brighter, the canopy of smoke above becoming more and more clear. And then the sun actually showed itself for a few minutes before disappearing into another bank of clouds, and then we went home.

So it was also the first time I’d ever partied ‘til dawn. Even if we did begin at around 3, 330.
One cry across the land unites the people: MANO PO SUCKS ASS!

This just goes to prove that you can spend however much you want, but if you start with a horrible story, it’s not going to save you. The only things decent in this film is the production design and the acting. And when I say acting, I mean decent, as in not exemplary. Certainly nothing worth an award. Hell, Maricel Soriano did a better job than Ara. But against Vilma in Dekada?! Who the fuck do you expect to swallow that? And I’m sorry, Eddie Garcia: you’re a fine actor with the right material, but winning for this role just means they all think you’re going to die soon.

Everything else is bollocks. You’ve got too many characters, and none of them are people, they’re all stereotypes. Some of them don’t even have an excuse to exist, like Tirso Cruz’s Daniel and Eric Quizon’s Joseph (not to mention the two kids who are supposed to be so important to Kris’s character, este, stereotype). The best actresses in the bunch, Amy Austria and Gina Alajar, are utterly wasted. The subtitles should be in Tagalog, not English. The accents are laughable, especially Eddie Garcia and that kid who played him (Cogie Domingo?). Why couldn’t they get even a few Chinoys in the cast? It’s not like we’ve a drought. Inconsistencies galore.

For one thing, they keep going back and forth between English, Tagalog, and Chinese, without reason. Second, director Joel Lamangan tries to employ these framing devices when obviously he doesn’t know what the hell he wants to say. The movie starts with a noirish non-linear intro, and you think the movie will be told in flashback. But no, it’s just a pa-cool intro. Beyond incidental flashbacks for certain characters (Daniel and his sister), nothing else is non-linear in the film. Then you have sequences where it’s obvious someone’s shooting a documentary, but it’s not on video, it’s on film, and the “handheldness” of these scenes is excruciating. It’s so obviously fake in its movement and look. That stuttering buffoon of a character should have been aborted upon pregnancy, because he serves no purpose other than to “chronicle” the family’s story, and this is laughable because he starts as a photographer, not a documentarian.

The transitions are all awful, abrupt and unwelcome. The one that interrupts the hospital scene is a particularly hated one. Most, if not all, add nothing to the story. Even my mom spotted this: since Boots Anson-Roa’s character is Filipino, that means they were never pure Chinese. So what’s the big fucking deal? Why do they feel they have to act all Chinese? And if Boots’s character had the strength of will to leave China for home, and the husband followed her, why is she such a complacent old bat in old age, to the point that she actually has to give a speech to Ara (in the church) that her fights are done with, and it’s their turn? Would you believe women paid to produce this? I’ll guess they’re not feminists. And what’s with all the interior monologues? One character’s fine, but everyone!? And in scenes that obviously don’t need it, like Richard Gomez staring at pictures of Ara Mina? Go ahead and insult your audience, why don’t you. We never expected anything more anyway. By all means, don’t show, TELL.

The ONLY thing that even resembled something interesting was the subplot where Amy Austria’s character found her missing husband. That scene alone held more promise than the rest of the film’s 95%.

Oh my God, and the score! What a horribly composed mess. Annoyingly bland and loud marches for China scenes, irritating muzak piano for drama scenes, and it’s as if he cues the entrance of music to the first tear in anyone’s eyes when it’s time for someone to fight/slap someone else/die (I was hoping it’d be Eddie’s character). Another thing that frustrated me is that Eddie’s character learned nothing from the death of his wife (oh sorry, was that a spoiler? Well TOUGH because this movie’s BULLSHIT!!!). He was still a hard-hearted son of a bitch. Worst of all, perhaps, the damn movie just WOULDN’T END! Way past the climax, I don’t know what they were thinking, since it didn’t do anything to save this train wreck.

And let’s not forget all the entertainment “press” that just fell over backwards trying to kiss this film’s ass, fawning over its “values” and “realism” and other words for “oh-I-don’t-know-anything-about-film-criticism.” Values my ass. I didn’t know it was a value to treat your family like shit and wait for the eventual life-threatening scene to remind you of the frailty of life. Hell, this territory was strip-mined already a few years ago by Tanging Yaman! Not that it was original, or any good either.

If I was of Chinese descent, I’d be offended. Thank God I didn’t pay for this shit.

Avoid this movie like you would HIV. One thing I remember is Mother Lily saying she’s so proud of the film she’s considering retiring after this, so that Mano Po can cap off her career as a milestone. All I can say to that is: please, PLEASE RETIRE!


Read this for a laugh. It’s wicked funny.

It’s nice to find out about another cool person who reads comics. And it’s even better that Nick Hornby actually writes about them in the New York Times. And he’s a Tomine fan!

Also found out that Carrie Brownstein is a big fan of Erik Satie. Coolness.


A while back I finished Summerland by Michael Chabon, which I got from Chris for Christmas. It's terrific. Obviously it can't stand up to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, the former being a young adults fantasy and the latter being a Pulitzer Prize-winning epic that spans decades in two lives. It's imperfect; certain "requirements" of the Quest I feel are missing, the main character is sometimes frustrating and least interesting (he makes up for the second with a few amazing last paragraphs of the book), and the last few chapters are incredibly rushed, as if he suddenly realized that either A) his deadline was looming, or B) he promised a 500-page book, had gotten to page 400, realized he was only halfway through, and crammed the next 400 pages worth of story into 100 pages. However, his language is graceful and beautiful and poetic and lyrical; when it's there, it's THERE, and you sometimes can't help but stop reading, put down the book, and let what you just read seep in a little while longer. One chapter about the Sasquatch was one of the most achingly beautiful passages I've read all year. Which brings up another thing: the supporting characters are almost all wonderful. Some actually don't need to be there, some outlive their purpose 2/3s into the book (they're needed to fill positions on a baseball team). However, I didn't like the way he handled the vanquishing of the antagonist. It was a deus ex machina, and for something he'd been building for roughly 400 pages, was a bit of a cheat. His world-building is impressive, descriptions of the different areas and world lingering long after their chapters in question.

What I just finished was Neva's gift, The Jew of New York by Ben Katchor. It's full of eccentric, charming characters, the art's pleasing to the eye and is unique, the tone is whimsical. Fascinating interweaving of different characters. For some reason, though, I couldn't read it straight, I could only do at most 20 pages a day. That doesn't mean it wasn't good, though. On the contrary, it's such a unique book, the kind that surprises you with its existence, which I'm always thankful for. To think that it's a comic strip; a page a day appearing in the newspaper. Most comic strips now are nothing; just excuses for sad gags. Back in the day long stories could be told by publishing a page a day. Now it's still sort of continued by the like of Brenda Starr and The Phantom and Prince Valiant reprints.

I've finally started on Michael Crichton's Timeline.