Saturday, December 20, 2003

My monitor blew up so I may not be as timely in replying (if you contact me through email).

Happy holidays to everyone! Be safe. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Last Saturday my grade school batch had a quasi-reunion. Around 20 people showed up. This number out of a batch composed of 35 ain't so bad. And to think that it's been 10 years since we graduated! We haven't all been in touch through those years; some credit has to go to friendster and the mailing list for getting a lot of us back in contact. It was great seeing Brandon, for example, who I literally have not seen since graduation. But my grade school batch has been surprisingly close, moreso than a lot of other batches. Maybe it comes from the fact that we were such a small school. Or because we were the first batch that merged AM/PM, who were usually kept separate. It was great seeing everyone. Best of all, there were no uncomfortable silences, we all just started talking and updating one another as to what we've been doing, where we're working, where we went to school and what we took up, etc. Some of the parents were exchanging baby pics (there's more parents in my grade school batch than my high school class, for some reason. I guess I expected it to be the other way around). I had a lot of fun and laughed a hell of a lot as we reminisced through the night. Some of my classmates haven't changed much, some have, some have just grown/matured in the direction I predicted (sometimes not such a good thing).

My high school class are also pretty close. The mailing list is active (what little porn I see these days usually comes from there) and we make it a point to see each other at least several times a year. I bump into them here and there and when we see each other it's like no time has passed either. I remember during senior year everyone was getting sentimental about it being our last year together and we would go home at around 5-6 every evening even when we were dismissed early. We'd play basketball/table tennis, or just hang out inside/outside the classroom, usually ending with a rice/egg dinner (a 10-peso meal for poor me) at the now-gone Goodah. Good times.

Anyway, that night I couldn't sleep. I just kept thinking how lucky I was that both my grade school and high school batches were pretty close and still kept in touch, still liked to meet up and see each other and hang out. And I got to thinking about one of my greatest regrets: the fact that I didn't stay in touch with my classmates in the US when I was there for 4th grade. I made a bunch of good friends there, had a greater time than I probably should have, and like a motherfucking fool I didn't stay in touch with any of them. It might surprise some of you that probably my best friend there was a black girl named Lenelle Moise. She was one of the few people who had a twisted sense of humor, and we got to know each other because we took the same school bus home. Another good friend was Wade, and it really pains me that I can't remember his last name. This guy was a comic-book geek like me, and he joined my Tae Kwon Do class after I recommended it. He was so nice he moved up his birthday party a few weeks so I could attend it because I was about to go back to the Philippines. Melissa, who sat across me, I became friends with instantly because she was such a reader. When our Scholastic book orders would arrive every month we'd see whose stack of books was taller.

Man, the regret kills me. If I could get to my 10-year-old self I'd kick my ass for being so heartlessly stupid.

Anyway, so I couldn't sleep. I went online and tried to find everyone on friendster. This wasn't the first time I'd done this, but maybe they'd joined in the interim. Still nothing. So just out of curiosity, I looked up the website of the school, and found a list of faculty, and lo and behold, one of my teachers was still there! So now I've got her email address. I'm going to write her and see if she's in contact with anyone (I doubt it); at the very least she can hopefully give me a class list from one of the yearbooks. Then I'll look for them again. My virtual fingers are virtually crossed.

Monday, December 15, 2003

This may seem a bit embarrassing but around lunchtime earlier today I was at the new Greenbelt 4 PowerBooks looking around and saw Gary Larson's The Complete Far Side, which to my surprise was more expensive at PB than Fully Booked (P6510, ouch). Anyway, this copy was open so I browsed through it. The table was near the cashier. I was just checking the pages, paper stock, binding, size of reproduction, etc., but came across one of my favorite strips, the one with William Tell's less fortunate son who had a humongous head. I started cracking up right then and there and for the life of me I COULD NOT STOP. I literally couldn't stop myself, but I was trying so hard my chest started hurting and tears started coming out my eyes but I just KEPT RIGHT ON LAUGHING. Finally the cashier girls were looking at me rather strangely and I decided to just put the book down and leave the store immediately. Even walking down the stairs I couldn't get rid of the stupid grin on my face and a girl who was going upstairs thought I was smiling at her. See the trouble you get into with humor?

You've gotta love The Far Side.

That book will be mine one day. Oh yes.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Neva and I went to her younger stepbrother's concert last night at IS. That's International School. He's in the advanced band. Plays the trombone. It was more fun than I expected it to be, honestly. The kids are more talented than I thought, and the selection of pieces was also surprising, from the themes of Ghostbusters and The Addams Family to requisites like Ode to Joy and Carmen Suite.

Going to IS is like going to another country. When you're inside almost everyone you see is Caucasian. The Filipinos are the janitors and security guards, with a few students here and there. Everyone speaks with an American accent, or in a foreign tongue like when groups of Japanese students pass by speaking fast Japanese with their tousled hair. The school really looks like those American high schools you see on TV, with the lockers in walls and all that. IS is also home to some of the richest students in the country. Ambassadors, politicians, diplomats, businessmen, etc. send their kids here. There's an Olympic-looking track, an Olympic-looking pool, most of their hallways are airconditioned and carpeted, their library is gorgeous (3 floors, with a great selection), their Fine Arts Theater would rival most legit theaters, and their cafeteria have stalls from places like Delifrance, Café Mediterranean, and more.

I think I would have loved being a student there, if only for the amenities.

I can't help but wonder, though, if the students remain sheltered. I mean, the school's purpose seems to be, to me at least, to allow families who are stationed here the opportunity to send their kids to an institution that follows the educational systems of their respective countries (The Japenese School and The British School are across the street). But shouldn't part of the experience be allowing them to integrate with their host country? Angus, Neva's stepbrother, tells us that some of his fellow students aren't allowed in most malls, aren't allowed out of the house all that much, for that matter, for fear of kidnapping. So much so that Angus had to buy a stuffed toy for his friend to give to his crush, because he couldn't go to a mall. I wonder, when these kids go back to their respective countries, and get asked "How was the Philippines?", will they be able to give an answer? The school seems adamant in making sure it replicates the US as much as possible. I just wonder if the kids get the cultural exposure they should, actually living in the third world.


Always good for a laugh, these particular annual lists: Film Threat's Frigid 50, and The Onion's Least Essential Albums of 2003. In the case of The Onion, often I don't know the artists they're talking about, but man, no one comes up with better put-downs than the staff of The Onion. If you've been ignoring the numerous links to The Onion that I've put on this blog through the years, you might not know that while it's essentially a humor paper, their arts coverage (The Onion AV Club) is top-notch.

Oh, and the new Fruit Basket yogurt of Nestle is deelish.

Thursday, December 04, 2003


First, a brilliant strip:

Heh. That post below sort of does sound like it came from someone who hasn't slept.

So. Quiz Night was last Wednesday night at The Craic, a bar along Jupiter St (above Max's), and it's a regular thing, with different sponsors. I wish I was able to post about it on this blog before the night itself. Next time I will, promise. We're thinking about having Indiefilipino and Hey, Comics! sponsoring nights.

Everybody should get the new Ciudad album! Now! It's terrific. And there's 18 songs, more than your measly PhP200 worth. And there's a hidden track, to boot! I have to admit, upon my first listen I somewhat felt that a few songs lost a little of their rawness, their edge, but now I'm really loving it. It grows on me the more I play it. Maybe my initial thoughts had to do with the fact that Ciudad is a band I tend to see live a lot. This and Urban Dub's Influence have given me new hope in the local scene. Not that Ciudad is a new hope, they're an old hope, have always been great.

Click here for a great, eye-opening poem about 9-11.


That's a picture from the upcoming The Mirror of Love, to be released in February by Top Shelf. It's described as an epic poem about the history of same-sex love, and if there's anyone who could get me to read an epic poem about the history of same-sex love, it's my favorite writer. Actually, it's an old story he wrote back in the '80s, for a book that he himself published called AARGH! (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia) It was an anthology of stories, and the book's proceeds went to combat UK legislature (under Thatcher at the time) specifically targeting and victimizing homosexuals/lesbians. Moore himself isn't gay, but was in a "different" kind of relationship at the time, where he and his wife had a common girlfriend. This was shortly before the marriage fizzled and they divorced, his wife going with the girlfriend. It was an 8-pager back then, illustrated by Rick Veitch and Steve Bissette, if I'm not mistaken. I've not read it but I do have Moore's script for it, one of the few scripts of his I have. So I've read the "epic poem." The new edition takes the text and is given new visuals, c/o photographer/colorist Jose Villarrubia (who is gay), and it's now a 128-page book. Hardcover, with a bunch of supplementary material. If the other pictures are of this quality, then I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

I have not slept for 42 hours, but I just wanted to say that I really enjoyed myself tonight at Quiz Night at The Craic on Jupiter; we helped raise 4K for a scholarship fund, and had great fun to boot.

My eyes are bleary and sting a little from being awake so long, and partly from the cigarette smoke earlier.

I gave up my opportunity to see Kill Bill for a good reason.

Caught Intolerable Cruelty instead. It's a lot of fun.

More tomorrow. I mean today. Ehhh-- when I wake up.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


More here.

If you can't appreciate the humor here... I'm sorry, how do we know each other again?

Sigh. Only about 60 strips. These are the kinds of great websites where you look up a little while later and realize 2 hours have passed.
Thank you once again to Steph, who provided the link to my new favorite website (and possibly the find of the year): Grouphug. It's nothing but anonymous confessions, and it's addicting as hell. It should be the new friendster, but I actually don't want too many people knowing about it because the bullshit factor will go through the roof. The entries can go from hilarious to sad at the drop of a hat. Some excerpts to pique your interest:

"Once i said that the BeeGees were not the best band ever, when clearly they are"

"i gave a turkey and ham sandwich, cookies, an apple and a banana to a bum who had no teeth"

"Even though my mother is delusional and has never approved of anything I have done, I love her.

I just can't bring myself to tell her."

"i went to a new kids on the block concert...with my sister and my parents...and I am a guy. please help."

"my cousin sexually abused me when i was 4 and he was 16. I dont remember it but i heard my mom telling someone. It's the reason my dad no longer talks to anyone on his side of the family. I feel like its my fault my dad doesn't have a family."

"I once helped beat up a retarded kid in grade school. Not because he was retarted but because he was annoying and nobody (teachers) would do anything about it. He'd speak out loud in class, pick his nose with impunity and wipe it on desk, make fun of you while you peed in the restroom, etc...

So one day, after school, we waited for him at the bus stop, and when he got off, we dragged him behind some trees and beat him within an inch of his life, telling him that if he ever did any of those things again, we'd come into his house at night and slit his throat.

If there was a plus side, this terrified him so badly, his behavior improved dramatically, and became fairly likeable until we all graduated high school and parted ways.

No one, including him, ever spoke of the incident."

"I stretch for about 1-2 hours a day so I will eventually be able to fellate myself. I'm getting close, because if I stick my tongue out real far, I can almost reach. I hope that I will be able to do it someday."

"i shaved my happy spot and now i have little red bumps. damn, it'd look so hot without the bumps! curses on you, bumps!"

"when i was younger, i'd planned out how to kill my mother. i always hated her. then one day, i just moved out and never went back. she has no idea how lucky she was.... it was a really good plan."

"My group of friends convinced a blonde that hobbits and stuff were real. It started out funny, now its just funny and sad at the same time"

"ive downloaded over 10GB of music. but i dont feel bad, most of the artists are dead."

There are some confessions that you can kind of "feel" are fake. Some are pretty rote; the most common one, for example, is basically a variation of "I masturbate X times a day." But the site as a whole is a revelation: it's like peeling the skin back on humanity and exposing just how petty, stupid, raw, vulnerable, manipulative, insane, and shallow we can be. But every now and then there's an entry that's got a glimmer of hope shining through the rubble.

I had a nice chat with Genie about it: there really is a feeling of... satisfaction, in reading some of the confessions. Though I somewhat feel as if I should feel guilty for it. Maybe it's perverted. Maybe it speaks to something shallow in me and, possibly, everyone. The anonymity, for example, helps us to believe each confession, just assuming that the honesty is there. Some confessions make you want to cry, and sometimes you wish that there was some way of communicating with that person to try to give them some reassurance, some hope, some solace.

One of the greatest things about the site is that at first, you think it's a peek into other people's lives and how fucked-up we all are, but if you start thinking about it, the site lets you find out things about yourself, in how you personally react to each confession. In that sense it doesn't even matter if the confessions are genuine or not. Your emotional responses are, regardless.