Thursday, May 29, 2003

Checking Neil Gaiman’s blog, I found some cool links: Oh, Mikey!, a show in Japan about Americans living in Japan, except the family’s… well, mannequins. And surely Mich will get a kick out of this: the Hello Kitty vibrator. More weird stuff at Jlist.


Had a great time the other night with Neva, Quark, Chris, and Mich. Mich gave us this weird Chinese boardgame called “Flight” and we had to play to get the rules down. At first we were just playing lifelessly, but then the concept of killing other players surfaced, and suddenly things got really interesting and lively. Quark and I stopped our discussion of Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People to join in decimating either Chris or Mich. Neva and I were, of course, a team, and we surprised ourselves by winning, when at the beginning we were the slowest to get ahead. But then people started killing each other and we squeaked by with the least number of casualties. Interestingly, the pieces are airplanes and the goal is to get them all to one airport (there are 4 pieces per player). But they can be “killed” when another plane lands in the same spot, and in this post-9/11 world, I guess that has to strike you as just a little bit wrong. We also had to bend one rule because if we didn’t it would take forever to finish.

Anyway, I had such a great time because when’s the last time you played a board game with friends? I was flashing back to the Great Brownout Year, when I would be at Mike Jalbuena’s house and we’d play all sorts of board games with his sisters. They have a great board game collection, but we never played with the obvious games. No Cluedo, no Monopoly. Sometimes we’d play Sorry and Life, but mostly it was Elixir, this great game where you’re competing wizards racing to accomplish spells and obliterate one another. Sometimes it was Taboo, or Charades. Once in a while it would be Trivial Pursuit. There were others, too, but I just don’t remember their names anymore. I wonder where my Operation went?


Also had (for the most part) a great time at Alexis’s house last week. That’s my ideal Friday night gimmick, these days: hanging out with friends at a house or other non-public place. Friday night traffic and parking drives me up the wall, so more often than not Neva and I just get together and watch a movie at home. It was nice seeing Ozzy again, who shared his sordid swinging stories. And Ernan, still a gaggle of arms and legs. And others, who shared their stories, knocked back their beers, told some dirty jokes. We watched some shorts, listened to some music, made fun of people who weren’t there.


Keka Shoot Day 1 was a blast. A good day with a lot done, I thought. With a much better vibe and general demeanor than I had seen on the set of Gamitan. Which is a good thing. I hope it continues on until the release date. But I’ll write the rest about the day somewhere else. I don’t want to jinx anything but I’m really excited for it.


Everyone watch 24 Hour Party People. It’s great. The best film about music since Almost Famous. Saw The Anniversary Party also, which was good. Better than I had expected, though it does have a couple of flaws. Phoebe Cates is still a good actress, and still so damn pretty. It’s a shame she’s not acting as much as before. There’s also a scene with Kevin Kline and his actual daughter that I just loved to bits, and is the most joyous cinematic scene I’ve seen in a long time, possibly since Amelie. It’s got that “joy of cinema” feel that Truffaut infused his films with.

And our new batch of referrals came from searches for:

goya loved cayetana
lesbian undertone images
pictures of a guy getting gored by a bull in a bullfight
pictures of nude runners
pictures of graphic fatalities
girl tap dance pics
removing hickie marks
takeshi’s castle pics
monologue of the merovingian
daddy daughter stories
dollhouse strip club chicago
japanese schoolboy

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Recently got to read this essay by another of my favorite writers, Ed Brubaker, where he recounts the tale of how he met his idol, Charles Schulz. It's a sweet little thing, with some interesting facts about Schulz. Like his daughter was an Olympic skater, and he built an ice rink for her when she was a girl, and he used to have breakfast there every day and anyone could just go up and meet him. Whatta guy. Oh, and he drives a Jag with the license plate Woodstock 1.


You'd think that, the way music video channels rely on VJs, they'd at least give them some kind of public send-off. But no, they just quietly and suddenly disappear, and they leave no trace of themselves behind, and no one ever mentions them again: it's as if they never existed. Remember when MTV was brand new in Asia? They had the best VJs then: Nonie, Sophiya, Danny McGill, etc. Where'd they all go? I know Nonie's now married to one of the richest men in Asia, Sophiya's an actress/musician in her home country, and Danny McGill married Kamal, who now hosts some extreme sports show on AXN. Nadya Hutagalung is also married to one of the richest men in Asia, after a failed stint as an MTV US VJ (which is where Sara Meier's disappeared to; good luck to her, she'll need it). Who gives a damn where Mike and sister Kerri Kasem went (probably back to dad Casey in the US)? David Wu probably went back to his acting career. Sarah, you never mattered anyway. G? Gone. And nothing anyone says is going to change my opinion that Jamie Aditya was always a talentless boob who couldn't deliver a joke to save his family's life. Rahul Khanna went back to being an actor (and is doing well, it looks like; his Bollywood Hollywood actually reached our shores). Sonia Couling, who was the last great MTVCrush (following Nonie and Nadya), has gone back to hosting variety and game shows, if I remember correctly. Shannen Torres; blink and you missed her. Belinda may be on her way out too, since I never seem to see her anymore. And I think Asha's been let go by Channel V because I never see her anymore: it's always either Paula (who I like) or Amanda Griffin, who I never used to see except if I happened to be up really early in the morning.

So why are they so unceremoniously dumped? Obviously, there are all sorts of possible factors: personal, maybe the person's lost his/her buzz, maybe the person never had any, maybe the person was giving management a hard time with an attitude problem or prima donna-style primping, maybe the person had skeletons rattling in their closet that started making too public a ruckus, etc. The real reason is probably very simple: the channel doesn't want you to think about and maybe realize that your liking the channel has anything to do with the VJs. So they're seen as expendable, replaceable at the drop of a hat or a whim.

I'm curious now about whether or not Donita will continue on with MTV past her marriage. And good luck to the VJ Hunt winners: unfortunately, most VJs really go on to nothing more lucrative, career-wise. Even in the US (uh, Kennedy? Pauly Shore? Anybody?).

And may I just say that I love the fact that complete unknowns won the recent MTV VJ Hunt. Mostly because it's a slap in the face to the "famous" people who thought they had it in the bag. You know who I'm talking about. Now it further confirms the sad, pathetic state of their careers. And the girl, Patti, is a Comm student at Ateneo. Which Sara Meier was before her "rise" to fame. She was in my block, apparently, but I never met her. She left before freshman year was over.



You can't not love this picture.

And more Red Meat is good for the body:

Thursday, May 22, 2003

And sometimes, people can be just magically great. Got this tonight in my email:

hello, and thank you -- what a nice note. really glad you enjoyed the book.
cheers, and best wishes,
susan orlean

Which made my month. Along with finishing the script (now in its final drafting stages). It was also a cute coincidence, since I mentioned her in the post I'd written below.


Last thoughts on The Matrix Reloaded:

I think I may have the answer. I think that the real reason most people are disappointed with Reloaded, whether most of these people realize it or not, is because unlike the first Matrix, which was unashamedly escapist fun and concerned itself with just posing and looking Fucking Cool, Reloaded pretends to be About Something. It tries to be important; have meaning. You feel it from the very beginning: why does everything smack of Star Wars after that opening fight scene? The shots of ships docking, the crew disembarking, Zion's architecture, its citizens' garb, hell, Zion's even got a COUNCIL! And in pretending to be About Something, it tried too hard, and choked on its own ambition. Reloaded is the Wachowskis taking everything waaay too seriously, and being unable to convey that feeling to the audience in any clear, logical, and concise way.

And that's that.

Doesn't change the fact that everyone's going to be lining up for Revolutions, though.


Yesterday was my mother's birthday, and she took the day off work, and we did pretty much everything she wanted to do, which was have lunch at Sonya's Garden in Tagaytay, and go to mass at the Church of San Agustin in Intramuros.

Neva and I gave her a cigarette case that comes with a lighter. Despite my disapproval of her vice, it doesn't look like she's going to quit anytime soon. At least she smokes much less than she used to. My dad used to smoke, but quit cold turkey one day and hasn't smoked a stick since, though he has the occasional cigar with his brothers. My mom quit cold turkey thrice-whenever she found out that she was pregnant-and then promptly resumed the day each of us kids was born.

Anyway, it took an hour to get to Tagaytay, surprisingly, and we got to Sonya's Garden, which is literally a compound devoted practically entirely to plants. There's a dirt road, and a quaint wooden fence, and a parking lot. As you go in, you notice lots of signs:

Arugula For Sale,
Sonya's Body and Massage Parlor,
Country Store,
Private Garden Not Open To Public, (which is, I assume, why it's called the Private Garden)
and three that made me smile:
Do Not Provoke or Tease the Dogs;
Well-Behaved Kids Are Welcome: No Running, Shouting, and Kicking of Pebbles;
and Strictly No Picking of Flowers, Picking Up Pebbles, and Banging of Chimes.

Which means that it used to happen a lot, I guess. Legions of misbehaving children terrorizing the dogs while picking flowers, kicking pebbles, running screaming at the top of their lungs, and banging chimes.

The story goes that the restaurant is really more of a hobby: Sonya probably makes most of her money from selling plants. But people liked the food and kept eating there, and kept recommending it to their friends, and more and more people kept coming. There used to be three separate cottages where people could eat, each with its own bathroom (which has a stone tub and a balcony). Now there's a larger covered area where the guests eat (though the cottages are still there in case they're needed, or for more private functions), and it's split in two: the other half is a garden. Occasionally, mist is sprayed on the plants and if the wind's strong enough it floats to the patrons. The ambience is wonderful: very natural, relaxed, peaceful. Soft music plays from hidden speakers. I should know, ''cause I looked for 'em (they're in the kitchen). The menu never changes: the three times my mom's eaten here she had the exact same thing. If you don't like it, you can leave. You begin with a salad, and you can choose what you want in it. Then the main course is pasta, with two sauces: Sun-Dried Tomato or White Chicken, and again, you make it yourself: there were bowls of scampi, capers, mushrooms, cheese, nuts, anchovies, etc. Drinks were dalandan juice with mint leaves. Dessert was turon and sweet potatoes. It's PhP500 a head, plus a 10% service charge. If you show up without a reservation they won't accept you. And reservations are only by cellphone. They rarely serve dinner, but sometimes they're open up to 8 PM.

After the meal we walked around the garden, admiring the plants and flowers. Having recently read Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief I tried really hard to appreciate the flora more than I normally would, but could only identify a group of plants: bromeliads. No specific species. I saw the dogs the signs mentioned, and some chickens running about. We also visited the other three cottages. I should've gone to the Conservatory, because Neva later told me that it was a butterfly conservatory. She'd read about Sonya's Garden in a magazine. Around the garden there are some shaded benches, and a cushioned seat or two, and about two full mattresses, where only the owner could sleep. It was so tempting, because the air's so clean and refreshing, and we were full from the meal, and the temperature was just about right (since it was colder than in Manila).

Our last stop was the Country Store, where they sold various sizes of ornate dreamcatchers; and an "oriental lazy boy," basically a wooden reclining chair from Vietnam; and assorted dried fruits, herbs, spices, lotions, shampoos, soaps, tchotchkes, gewgaws, etc. We got a bottle of their herbal salad dressing.

It rained after that, which ruined our plans of taking a swim, so we drove back to Manila. The mass at Intramuros was uneventful, except I had developed a horrible headache on the drive down and had a difficult time standing up and keeping my concentration. It didn't help that the priest was one of those guys who talked s o s l o w l y . The headache lasted all the way till I got home, had dinner, and took the miraculous Motrin-S.

It sucks having sinusitis.

Which, incidentally, I inherited from my mother.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

A bit of a spoiler warning. If you haven’t seen Reloaded, don’t go further. Though I don’t think I gave any major plot points away, better safe than sorry.

Now, on to the message proper:


You know what I don’t get?

Why were people expecting some kind of blisteringly good story from The Matrix Reloaded? Like that was what made the first great. What made the first great was the action, pure and simple. The effects, the bullet-time, etc. should be mentioned too, but they’ve become memorable, and the standard-bearer of films to come, and have been spoofed numerous times because of the way they were used to present what was the main attraction: the action. When people talk about The Matrix’s contribution to cinema and pop culture history, is anyone with a modicum of taste going to say, “Yeah, the acting in that film was really amazing”? Or “Such crackling dialogue, like a sci-fi David Mamet!”? Fuck no! It’s the action!

I’ve been getting these reactions from people, that they feel cheated or something by the story. I mean, we’re talking about a summer film here. Even if it is the most anticipated film since Episode 1, when was story The Matrix’s strong point?

The score was horrible. It was actually worse than Don Davis’s work in the first.

The dialogue is terrible, but it’s far, far better than in the first film. Neva and I watched it before Reloaded and it was amazing how some of them were able to keep a straight face during some scenes. There’s one part, for example, and I love this: Neo wakes up, right, and Morpheus IS IN HIS FUCKING BED! IN THE SHADOWS! AND BEHIND HIM! AS IN BETWEEN THE WALL AND NEO! WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?! Anyway, he uses the word “prophesized.” PROPHESIZED!!! And let’s not forget every single line that escaped the now-gone Tank’s mouth. Everything from “Mm! These are exciting times!” to whatever he said in that long sentence he mouthed off before finally shooting Cypher.

If you stop to think of it, the structure of Reloaded is actually simple: fight – monologue –fight – monologue – fight – monologue. And each monologue is a badly written, intentionally ambiguous/amorphous/confusing (take your pick) one. The Merovingian takes the cake for me personally because I FUCKING HATE his accent. The Architect was like the host from Masterpiece Theater: dry and boring, no menace (which would’ve been nice), and full of ten-dollar words you’d need a dictionary to decipher everything. He also used up all the clever Latin transitional phrases: vis a vis, apropos, ergo, etc.

If there is a valid reason for people to be disappointed with Reloaded, besides Keanu getting a butt shot while Carrie-Anne Moss doesn’t, it is because the fight scenes, so tantalizing in the trailers, could not possibly have met what we had in mind, what we wanted, what we demanded after four years of waiting. The CGI, in particular, was so obvious, it was distracting. The effects technicians still haven’t perfected human movement.

On the whole, though, I enjoyed myself. I loved the action scenes, even if the CGI sucked. That’s all I was really there for anyway. Story, dialogue, acting: call it window dressing. I was never expecting much in those departments anyway. The first is still better.

What scares me is that supposedly these guys want to do an adaptation of my beloved V For Vendetta for their next project.


Anyone seen the teaser trailer of Underworld? It’s an unabashed Matrix rip-off with what looks like the plot of Blade, except it’s werewolves (I think) instead of vampires. But still, it’s Kate Beckinsale in tight leather. I’m so there.


This week's crop of referrals came from searches for:

wasabi boys
aubrey miles megamall
transmetropolitan wallpaper
iraqi sexy pics
rachel roberts fuck
ateneo girls nude
copeland road prison
vanda porn video pics
concert yani metropolis
astral projection exercise
pictures of shower scenes in films


People suck. The past week I’ve heard about crazy-ass parents; ungrateful bastard children, and on one of my mailing lists, someone’s girlfriend’s been kidnapped and the poor guy’s at the end of his rope. I don’t even want to try to imagine what that’s like.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Neva and I saw My Wife is a Gangster last night, and it was a riot. I thoroughly enjoyed myself on all levels. See it if you can, you’ll be laughing your arms off, as Ernan would say.

This pretty much sums up my feelings regarding Bush and Blair being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

And Red Meat’s been a hit with me recently. Here’s the latest one.

And one of my former teachers has a blog. How… weird.


There is a classic sketch from the much-missed Late Night with Conan O’Brien wherein Triumph the Insult Comic Dog harrasses a group of nerds camped out at a theater anticipating Episode 2 (if you haven’t seen it, download it from the net. Life is not complete until you have seen this. Get the one at the Bon Jovi concert too, while you’re at it.). In it, he encountered a geek unlike any other: Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, a man who fancies himself a wizard and speaks with a ridiculous accent, who went to the group of nerds seemingly only to harrass them as well (but Triumph beat him to it and made him the butt of many, many sweet jokes). I have actually come across his website, and it is glorious. Exactly how I imagined it to be. Besides cracking up, I was pleased to note that there is a forthcoming album from Triumph the Insult Comic Dog called Songs in the Key of Poop. I look forward to it. Speaking of Triumph, check out his official website sometime. It’s been updated a little, with links to his fansites (where you can get some video clips of his sketches and appearances) and these zingers:

On the MTV Awards fiasco (Eminem picked a fight with Moby and Triumph):
“By now everyone knows what happened on the video awards. I bear no anger toward Eminem, who, as I've said in the past, I have great admiration for, particularly his smooth white hair, which resembles a beagle's nutsack. I'm also glad to see him prove he can act. He played a white rap artist...quite a stretch. Maybe I can do a movie about a guy who licks his balls.”

On Kermit the Frog:
“I really admire you, as a star but also as an amphibian. You can hold your breath for a very long time... which helps when you have to go down on Miss Piggy."

On Ellen DeGeneres, new center square on Hollywood Squares (replacing Whoopi Goldberg):
"Hey Ellen DeGeneres, the new center square. What a huge comedown. I kid, she's not here permanently, she's rotating with Burt Reynolds and Alec Baldwin. Interesting... I thought you only rotated with chicks."

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Blogger’s still fucking up. Everytime I check this site it gives me an old post. And for a long time now, using the gets me the April 16 post. And of course, since I’m not a paying user, I apparently can’t complain to them; just read a bunch of FAQs and hope for the best.


You know your bookshelf’s too full when it starts hurting you. I was getting a bunch of graphic novels to lend somebody, but the sliding glass doors are really stuck now because the whole structure’s sagging under the weight. So my hands slipped, and now I have a cut on my left index finger from the glass. And I went to play bowling right after, so of course the wound wouldn’t stop bleeding. Whoop dee doo.

And man, if ever there was a reminder that I’m terribly out of shape, the bowling was it. First few frames and my arm was already starting to ache. At the end of the day the inside of my left thumb was sore, and my right ass cheek was hurting. When I woke up Tuesday morning, it was worse. I really need to exercise. But at least I got a 145 in my second game. :) Not bad for someone who hasn’t played in months.


Saw Confessions of a Dangerous Mind for the 4th time; first in a theater. It’s still great. Was disappointed to see Pioneer Films, the distributor, cut three scenes that were sex-related so that they could get the rating lowered to an R13. They were very bad cuts that interrupted the flow of the film. Theater wasn’t full when I watched, but at least none of them walked out.

I enjoyed X2 a great deal. It’s certainly better than the first. They really benefited from the bigger budget, and I didn’t even notice the 133 minute running time. It was also great to see Wolverine in his murderous berserker rage. If you're an X-fan, though, you start seeing some gaping plot holes as you go along, but still, it was great. X3’s targeted at 2006 pa, so that’s going to be quite a wait to see the Dark Phoenix…

Also saw Bringing Down The House, which is completely and utterly predictable. These kinds of movies, I realize more and more, are just not made for me, and my appreciation and tolerance for them continues to decline. I didn’t laugh out loud once during the film, and I consider myself a Steve Martin fan, so that’s saying something. I chuckled a few times, but I can’t even give it the consolation-prize-comment of “It had its moments.”


Also finally got around to adding a lot of new links: Jason & Tina, Clar, Paul S., Elbert & Gio, and Nicole Campos. I don’t personally know Nicole, but I love her blog and on the links she goes.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

People recently stumbled onto this blog while looking for:

“she broke her ankle” chinese girl (just unique enough to have me wondering)
little red headed girl pictures (I really hope this has something to do with my recent peanuts post, otherwise… brr..)
narciso website pictures
voltron comics drawings
pictures of couples fighting fairly (this has me curious)
goldie poblador (twice!)
and, lo and behold,

Sometimes what I do now is actually go on a search engine and look for these things myself, and try to figure out why this blog pops up as a result, and what other websites came up as results.


It’s been a while since I’ve last blogged, and there are a couple of things I’ve yet to talk about. But right now, I just want to say that I finally got through this thing that took me MUCH longer than I thought it would, and am glad that the weight is off my shoulders. It’s the longest thing I’ve written since my thesis. Since Wednesday night I’ve only been sleeping 4-5 hours a day. Which doesn’t sound so bad if you’re used to it, but I’m no longer used to it. Since graduating my body’s become used to sleeping however long I want. There were periods in the past few days where I experienced hot flashes, dizziness, and just the exhaustion of staying up late and forcing yourself not to sleep until you accomplish certain things. I’d punish myself by not sleeping, and then a few hours later it’s like you can feel every muscle creaking. I ate chocolate, drank lots of mango juice and iced tea, a couple of pills of vitamin C, and pistachios.

If I told you what I was working on you’d feel what I just described sounds ridiculous. And I wouldn’t blame you. It sounds ridiculous to me. And, I’m sure, to the handful of you who DO know what I’m talking about. Suffice to say that the other night I was listing down various sexual positions and fantasies, and it occurred to me that what I was doing I could actually call work.

I don’t know why it took longer than I thought. I ran into some unexpected roadblocks, I guess. And took a hell of a time working some of them out. Sometimes I’d be stuck for an hour or two on the tiniest, dumbest thing, that I presume only I would ever care about, sometimes for something that I KNOW will be changed anyway. But I have to do it, because without it being behind me I can’t move forward. I wish I could explain this better, but right now I’m just glad I’ll finally be able to sleep for a day or two. Then on to the fine tuning.


Got some cool comics the other Saturday at CCHQ, thanks to Free Comic Book Day. I think they’re the only store in the country that seriously participated in the event. Props to them, they’re the best comics store in the history of the country. Shop there sometime.


Even though Richard Kadrey’s Nanotales have become monthly instead of weekly, he’s no less brilliant. The newest one is here, and it’s one of the best yet. I promise, read just a few sentences, and then you won’t be able to stop. One of the more light-hearted, yet no less thought-provoking, pieces.


Oh, and, uh, Happy Mother’s Day, you lot. Chiko, if you’re reading, happy birthday! :)