Monday, March 30, 2009
I'm exceptionally happy for my friends and former students who graduated from college and high school respectively, this past weekend. As a former teacher who still does what he can to teach, even just as a Philo tutor friend to some of my good friends from ADMU, I beam in pride as I see my friends and former students go forth to the next chapter of their lives with a pocketful of sunshine and a bagful of hope.
Last Friday, I was at the Ateneo graduation for SOH and SOSS. It was awesome seeing my friends graduate after all the stress they've had over their grades and all that jazz. From my friends in Philo to Ozy and to the ladies from I.D., and to even some of my random friends like Fideles, it was quite a moment, to say the least. I even ran into Alodia's parents, and my college batchmate, Darn, graduated from MA Comm that day as well.
The ceremonies were surprisingly short, though, considering about a thousand students or close to that number graduated last Friday, and I think the whole thing was finished before 7PM. If not that, well before 8PM.
I'm sure my friends will blaze their own trails with next to no effort. They're all awesome people, and I'm very honored to have been their friends. I wouldn't have it any other way. So to Darn, Crissey, Domz, Cat, Ozy, Arvin, Edjie, Fideles, and Karla, congratulations to all of you, and be the best you can be!
.:Reedley International School, March 29:.
I got a ticket from my former student Nicole, so I ended up attending the graduation ceremonies for Reedley International School. It was a very interesting experience, being there with former colleagues and former students alike, all things considered.
As an aside, this day was also Abby's birthday, and I even had a magic show shortly after the graduation ceremonies, for that matter. It was, without a doubt, a very action-packed day.
It was a pretty emotional event, what with the batch valedictorian really pouring her heart out in her valedictory address. It was such a raw, real moment, and I was proud of Joey Florento, even though I only ever subbed for her class when I was teaching. The only 3rd year class I taught last year was Yale, after all. That also explains why most of the people I approached were my kids from Yale.
Let me take a moment to beam about Dennis Kim, by the way. He was the Gerry Roxas leadership awardee, and I know that he has a lot going for him once he's in college. I truly believe he's got what it takes to continue being a great leader and a true paragon for his contemporaries.
Nonetheless, when I got there, a colleague suggested that I stand-in for Nicole's parents, since she had no one to accompany her onstage when she would receive her medals. I know the feeling of going up onstage alone at a time where someone should be up there with you, so I naturally agreed it was a good idea.
Anyways, when it was Nicole's turn, I sorta drew some minor controversy, but all in all, I think people recognized that it was just a simple gesture on my part, and there wasn't anything to read into beyond that. Nicole was one of my students, and if anyone else among my students asked me the same favor, I'd have done that for them as well, no questions asked.
So yeah, the RIS graduation, without a doubt, was very special to me. Yale was my favorite 3rd year class (Since they were my ONLY 3rd year class...), after all.
Congratulations, guys! You know I'm always here for you if you need anything from me that doesn't involve money or mathematics. =P
And who knows? Maybe my days as a teacher aren't quite over yet...
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying "Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness."
- Quote from the American version of "Shall We Dance"
As a blogger, I've always archived bits and pieces of my life because my greatest fear has always been Alzheimer's. That someday, my mind would be so battered and bruised that I could no longer even remember my own name.
For me, it's the worst way to go. It's not as agonizing as cancer, I'm sure, but it's every bit more torturous and humiliating because you don't even know you're dying to yourself with each passing day, as Alzheimer's eats away at your memories.
I blog because I want to archive my life. I keep telling myself that somehow, when I pass on, good or bad as my blog may have been as a whole, it's still a time capsule of my life. Something that could sort of be my stake on immortality, allowing me to still exist beyond my own lifespan, if only as written memories. It's a testament to the fact that at one point in history, you existed.
I preferred the Japanese version of "Shall We Dance". I saw that version for Fr. Nick's Asian film class, and I thought it was a great movie. The American version didn't have the nuances the original did, but I still appreciated it, nonetheless. I especially appreciated it for the quote up there.
Blogging is one way to archive your life and pretend to have some measure of immortality. It's one of the major vanities of why I blog, and I've never kept that a secret from people. But I think about the quote, and I realize how happy it would be if I had someone who could be a witness to my life. Someone who would care about every high, low, and plateau of my life, and give me every right to care about their life just as much. Someone who will see every quirk and idiosyncrasy I have and find it amusing or even endearing, and love me all the more for not being perfect.
Sometimes, I worry, with the way I live my life, perhaps, I'll never find that witness. Perhaps I'd continue being alone and just blogging my thoughts into nothingness, hoping that somewhere out there, though not to the level I'd wanted, someone is a willing witness to my life, taking the least bit of interest in what I have to say. Is it vain? Yes. But it's a basic desire, to have someone who does care about you, who does give a damn about your life. Let us not pretend that we are truly free from this conceit and simply accept it as a fact.
But I guess that's the way life is, and some people just aren't meant to find that witness in their lives. Among all the billions and billions of people in this world, what are the chances you would be so blessed? I suppose in reality, not too much.
One's life is so insignificant in the face of the cosmos. It's just another one in the countless throng that we can't even begin to make heads and tails of. Is it any wonder then, how meaningful it is when someone looks at you and validates your existence, telling you that from this point on, your life is not insignificant. Isn't that the magic of love, as sappy or trite as it may sound?
Can I get a witness?
Perhaps not. But I pray I can.
I'll be going to the graduation for Ateneo today, since my dear friends, Crissey, Arvin, Domz, and Alodia are graduating today, not to mention my friends from the Philo block.
More power to you guys! I'm proud of you!
Image courtesy of Yoga Jane
Tiffy is leaving for Japan as an exchange student this coming March 30, so I helped her organize her despedida, inviting her blogger friends to come on down to my humble abode and remind her that there will be a lot of people who will miss her. =)
Early birds were Yoga Jane and Christa, and then Josh and Arthur from The Chicken Mafia arrived shortly after. From there, while we were waiting for the celebrant who was late for her own party, I was swapping stories with all of them, having lots of reason to be amused about the stuff going on in our respective lives. That, and while waiting for other guests, me, Tita Jane, and Christa managed to finish "Sad Movie". Yup. That was how long we waited.
Anyways, afterwards, finally, Tiffy, Iza, Alex, Iza's date, Ozzy, and Barbie showed up, and the party was underway. With good food, awesome company, and even games, people reminded Tiffy how much all of us will miss her when she goes. Hopefully, she won't forget her friends here in the Philippines who are proud of her and all.
Unfortunately for me, as fun as the party must've been, I had to leave very early (Yup. I left my house at the mercy of Tiffy's guests.) because I promised sir Ony that I will watch his show, AMAGIKOMEDINAYT in the PETA Theater...
On a personal note, I've known Tiffy for a couple of years already, and she's always been a bright ray of sunshine to me. With her very honest outlook in life, and her infectious, mischievous smile, she never fails to brighten up my day when I see her and hear from her. She's been one friend in a million, and I can't help but beam proudly when I think about how awesome she's doing...
Tiffy, we are soooo proud of you! We love you, and go knock 'em dead there in Japan! Gambatte!
.:AMAGIKOMEDINAYT: Unparalleled Fun!:.
PETA Theater was ground zero for one of the best shows I've ever seen in my life. While waiting for things to start, we were treated to awesome acoustic music from No Drama, but we knew that tonight was going to be a big show. As a magician, I knew what the boxes onstage could do, so I was certain that the things lined up for that night were going to really astound people like anything.
This show featured three of the best performers in the country today: magician extraordinaire Jeffrey Tam, the country's premiere ventriloquist Ony Carcamo, and the ineffable Brod Pete. It was going to be a night of magic, comedy, and yes, music. Dice and K9 pumped up the crowd for the night, and after a couple of songs, in came sir Ony with a really amazing ventriloquism set that just made everyone sit and gape. Sir Ony is known as the best ventriloquist in this country with good reason, to say the least.
Afterwards, we were treated to some excellent magic from Jeffrey Tam, who was in character as a stereotypical Chinese magician living in the Philippines. His coin routine was hysterical and undeniably well-lauded. In case you didn't know, he won best Closeup Magician in IMC (Or was it Magfi?) for the past two years. I don't exaggerate when I say he's a phenomenon. He even did a bit of mind-reading, for that matter...
From there, while we were laughing at Jeff's unique brand of comedy and magic, we turned our attention to Brod Pete, who had everyone rolling in the aisles, gasping for air, as he went into a funny rendition of "Banal Na Aso, Santong Kabayo". The only lyrics he apparently knew were, "Hi hi hi hi", but he was so versatile that he can sing it for females ("She she she she"), and for everyone ("We we we we"). He then medleyed it with "Hello", and he even sung a cool medley of "You Are So Beautiful" with "Awitin Natin" and one more song that escapes me at the moment. (Sad...). The medleys were hilariously done, and he was obviously not playing the guitar, with the guys from No Drama playing while he pretended he was playing the guitar.
From that set, we then saw some amazing stage illusions courtesy of Oliver, then Jeff Tam, sans his costume, came in and introduced us to this guy who really talks so slow... I think his name was Gloc 9 or something. Needless to say, this show was an impromptu tribute to Francis M, as Jeff Tam showed that he was much better than yours truly because he sang "Kaleidoscope World" in a special segment where they gave tribute to the master rapper. I mean, I got into magic because I can't sing and dance. What's Jeff's excuse? Lol.
Anyways, afterwards, it was time for the Q and A segment, where Brod Pete answered our questions graciously. I had my fifteen seconds of fame when I actually asked a question, unfortunately, it was a question Jeff accidentally asked Brod Pete earlier on in their bit...
Ony Carcamo: O, sino pa may tanong?
Kel: Brod Pete, ako po si Kel, at may katanungan po ako.
Brod Pete: Hindi naman namin tinatanong pangalan mo, ah.
Jeff Tam: Oo nga.
Mukhang techie itong si Kel, eh. Techie ka ba?
Hindi po gaano.
Ano ba ang ginagawa mo, Kel?
Magician po ako.
Wow! Magician ka? Gusto mo, I will make you disappear?
Wag po, 600 po ang binayad ko sa ticket, gusto ko po tapusin yung show.
Okay lang yan, I will make you disappear, then make you reappear. Ready ka na? Ala-una, alas dos, alas tres! (Brod Pete covers his eyes.)
O, ayan... wala ka na. Now I will make you reappear...
Maraming salamat po. (Wild applause from the audience.)
O siya, ano ang katanungan mo?
A, Brod Pete, nagkakamali pa rin po ba kayo sa mga sagot ninyo?
You're not listening, ah! Sinagot ko na yan kanina. Dati, akala ko kasi mali yung sagot ko, yun pala, mali ang akala ko. Yun. Dun ako nagkamali.
Pasensya po, Brod Pete, nasusulat po kasi yung tanong ko, eh.
This was just a practically improv comedy segment, where they were ad libbing like crazy, answering questions here and there. Another excerpt...
Brod Pete, sino po ang mas matibay? Lalaki o babae?
A, may nasusulat diyan sa syento syento Hajji Alejandro. Mas matibay ang babae kesa lalaki. Basa, Jeff...
Hindi ka ba napapagod? O di kaya'y nagsasawa?
Ayan na, tinatanong na nung lalaki kung pagod na si babae. O, punta ka dito, Jeff. Basa.
Napahid nang mga luha, damdamin at puso'y tigang...
Kitam? umiiyak na siya. Nanginginig ang tuhod niya. Bakit? Basa, Jeff.
Wala nang maibubuga...
Wala na. Malambot na. Di na kaya. Kaya alam natin na mas matibay ang babae sa mga lalaki. Alien?
And then they broke into song, singing "Mr. Suave".
Of course, the infamous "hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy hoy" was used for a whole bunch of other gags like singing it for Erap ("Loi Loi Loi Loi Loi Loi"), or singing it for Nina ("Nyoy Nyoy Nyoy Nyoy Nyoy Nyoy"), or singing it for Vicki Belo ("Boy Boy Boy Boy Boy Boy Boy"), and so forth. Then, they said special guests were there to sing their versions of "Mr. Suave". At this point, Jeff Tam did awesome impressions of Rey Langit, Gus Abelgas, Leo Martinez, Mike Enriquez, and even Robin Padilla. He even regaled us with impressions of Rey and Mike during their honeymoon.
At this point, they ended the show, and people were more than satisfied with the sheer awesomeness of the show. It was well worth the 600 bucks I paid for the entrance, and I even got to rub elbows with the peeps there after the show, and I had some great ideas in anticipation of the Kel and Jay show this coming October... yeba!
To sir Ony, Brod Pete, and Jeff Tam, congratulations! I hope this isn't the last time we'd see a show like this! You guys are made of pure, unadulterated win.
That would be yours truly with the three main stars of the night.
Friday, March 27, 2009
If I Were A Boy (Remix)
by Beyonce feat. Lee Carr
If I were a boy,
Even just for a day
I'd roll out of bed in the morning
And throw on what I wanted and go
Drink beer with the guys
And chase after girls
I'd kick it with who I wanted
And I'd never get confronted for it
'Cause they'd stick up for me
If I were a boy
I think I could understand
How it feels to love a girl
I swear I'd be a better man
I'd listen to her
'Cause I know how it hurts
When you lose the one you wanted
'Cause he's taking you for granted
And everything you had got destroyed
If I were a girl
Even just for a day
I'd get out of bed in the morning
And take forever to get ready
Complain to my friends
As if they got a man
They talk about you cause they're jealous
I just stay and listen to it (I should get rid of them)
If I were a girl
I don't think I'd understand
How it feels to love a boy
I swear I'd be a better woman
I'd listen to him
'Cause I don't know everything
I would always try to tell him that he needs to treat me better
Like I don't gotta change at all
If I were a girl...
It's a little too late for you to come back
Say it's just a mistake, think I'd forgive you like that? (I don't)
If you thought I would wait for you,
You thought wrong (I did wrong)
But you're just a boy
(And you're just a girl...)
You don't understand
(No you don't understand)
How it feels to love a girl someday
You wish you were a better man
You don't listen to her
(And you don't listen to him)
You don't care how it hurts
(You don't care how I feel)
Until you lose the one you wanted
cause he's taking you for granted
And everything you had got destroyed
But you're just a boy
(And you're just a girl...)
Yesterday, I went over my older blog entries, and I realized how autobiographical I really was back then, how I would write about practically anything and everything that went on in my life. It was thoroughly exhaustive, and I must say that I seem to have lost the art of autobiographical writing in recent years. I mean, last year was my most active-blogging year, yet I could see that I wasn't recounting things as vividly as I used to back in 2003-2004. I guess I don't feel the need to archive my life as strongly as I used to, but I do feel a tad disappointed with how I haven't been writing the way I used to.
It's been a grueling past few weeks, and I've been doing everything I can to still keep going despite the rough spots I find myself in. At this point, I'm just really happy that I'm still alive. It's difficult, but these hardships are merely hurdles I need to overcome to be a better human being.
I do miss being able to practically transcribe conversations I've had, and just having so much to say and to think about, and not have to feel the crunch of deadlines looming over my head. Then again, I recognize being that carefree may simply be a thing of the past for me, as I'm still in the middle of a two-year long burnout that I still haven't gotten out of. I do need a change of scenery, and soon.
Having spent time the other night at the Blue Roast made me really think about where my life has been going lately, and to be honest, I'm not too happy with it, unless the direction changes drastically.
*sighs* five years in a graduate degree that appears to be for nothing...
.:Where Do We Go From Here?:.
I'm doing what I can to make sure I finish my Masters (Read: Thesis) by the end of summer, but really, I just question what all this was for, sometimes. I'm not teaching come June. A very enlightening heart-to-heart yesterday opened my eyes to that.
Well, so the eff what?
I love Philosophy, I love teaching, but I know I can do anything if I put my mind to it. I won't allow anyone or anything to hold me back any longer. Once I'm done with my thesis, as far as I'm concerned, the sky's the limit, and I'm going to drive myself harder than I've ever driven myself before.
This is my mantra. This is my battlecry. In a mere two months (I hope. Gawd.), I will pull out all the stops to finally live up to this so-called potential I've been hearing about all these years. I've underachieved for long enough. I've berated myself for long enough. I've pointed fingers for long enough.
Now, it's time to live.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Today's LSS is rather... religious.
Paghahandog Ng Sarili
Kunin mo, O Diyos, at tanggapin Mo
Ang aking kalayaan, ang aking kalooban, isip at gunita ko
Lahat ng hawak ko, ng loob ko, ay aking alay sa 'Yo.
Nagmula sa 'Yo ang lahat ng ito.
Muli kong handog sa 'Yo,
Patnubayan Mo't paghariang lahat
Ayon sa kalooban Mo; mag-utos Ka, Panginoon ko.
Dagling tatalima ako,
Ipagkaloob Mo lang ang pag-ibig Mo, At lahat ay tatalikdan ko, tatalikdan ko.
.:Yet Another Blue Roast...:.
I realized that I'm graduating next schoolyear, and I shouldn't have gone to this one, really, but I have a lot of friends who are graduating this weekend.
It was really good, spending time with my friends, all of whom I'm very proud of. From my Philosophy classmates to my friends Domz and Crissey, it was quite a ride with you guys, and though some of us may never see each other again, this slightly older friend of yours is grateful that I got to know each and every one of you, and somehow, we managed to share ourselves with each other be it on an academic or a personal level.
I got to the Roast and just really helped out Domz and Crissey (Sorta. Lol.) at the entrance, and it was just great meeting familiar faces and friends. People who are graduating this Friday or Saturday, and of course, meeting some of the faculty, especially Dr. Ibana, was a godsend, to say the least. For the most part, it was a fun celebration, and this is coming from someone who's not a part of the batch, to begin with.
Nonetheless, I availed of stuff, including a not-so-blue rose. The rain kinda washed the color away, but meh. It's a nice memento to keep, and of course, I had some great lechon baka, which I've been wanting to have for months.
There's something very sobering about realizing that all of this stuff doesn't mean much to me, but means the world to my friends. Even if I graduated from Ateneo in March, I know my days there aren't over, because I'd always have the time to see the people there often enough. Nonetheless, I felt the rush of nostalgia that day, and I got to thinking about the time my batch had a Blue Roast... really, it's quite a leap.
Graduating from my M.A. means a lot to me, but the feeling of completion is now tempered by the realization that it's only the beginning of a lot more things that I now cannot help but wish to accomplish. The milestone is a milestone only in name, but it's business as usual.
It's a bit unnerving, but thinking back to the alma mater song soothes my tired soul even just a bit. Thinking back to the songs I sing in mass reinvigorate me, and I hope I can make it through this tempest.
.:The Truth Is...:.
I'm happy for the people I know who are graduating. Whether they be my classmates or friends, or my former students from Reedley, I am proud to have known them, and I know that they will blaze a trail only they can when their time comes.
I may not show it much lately, but I still do have a soft spot for RIS, and I will be attending their graduation. I figured it's the least I can do, because I love those kids, and I'd go out on a limb for 'em if they asked me to.
I know that in the coming months, a lot of new horizons will be pursued, and it's a time to reminisce and then move on to the next chapter of your life. It's going to be an exciting time, be it going to college, or being officially unemployed, and I must say, there's no better time than the present to look at where your life is going and to ask yourself where you really want to be.
It's a cliche, but it's one of those anvils worth dropping. The world is truly your oyster. You have everything you need to make something of yourself. Believe in yourself. If you cannot, then believe in me who believes in you.
Congratulations, batch 2009. Give yourselves a pat on the back, and a beer, if you're of legal age. You deserve it.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Last Thursday, I ended up watching the Comedy Cartel's show in Mag:Net Cafe, Bonifacio High Street. This was the same place where BB Gandanghari had her amazing meet and greet courtesy of the POC, where we found out BB was a very down-to-earth and deep person who stands for her right to express herself, and hopefully, in turn, the right of others to express themselves as they see fit.
I'd love to go on more about the BB Gandanghari thing (which was most enlightening and definitely made me appreciate her more), but I'm supposed to talk about the Cartel, so, yeah... heh.
Anyways, I watched with a good friend of mine, Sarah, and it was a top-notch lineup, featuring Stanley Chi, Tim Tayag, Uni Oposa, Mike Unson, and quite a few more people including one of the most amazing magician comedians you will ever meet.
For three hours straight, we were treated to nothing but top-notch standup comedy, the kind that only these guys can deliver. It was awesome, to say the least, and I know I'll be catching them again in the future.
If you need a few payday loans to watch them the next time they perform, make sure to do so. Their next show is this March 30.
The whole night was one unparalleled laugh trip, but after the show, things got even funnier over a late dinner as the Cartel members regaled us with numerous stories about their experiences while performing all over the country, including a hilarious run-in with an overrated magician who ended up tripping over himself when he unwittingly trash-talked his former boss.
Laughter is a lot more enjoyable when it's shared with friends. My thanks to Sarah for making the night twice as enjoyable just because I know someone who can laugh with me at Stanley's classic routine (even if I've already heard it 2,000 times...) because the Cartel is just that good.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Sometimes, I still have to contend with a similar crisis of general propriety and decency on the internet.
Dear internet denizen, please stop demeaning the word "friend". No, really. Stop it.
I don't know you. Why should I add you? Who in the blue hell are you? Aren't "friends" supposed to at least know each other? Well, I have no idea who you are, so I guess that means you are not my friend, so bugger off.
And you're mad at me? For what? For taking umbrage to you invading my timeline on Plurk and acting like a general emo stupidiot, demanding I be your friend? Why? Are you that deprived of friends that you have to turn to complete strangers instead?
Look... let me make this painfully obvious to anyone who's *that* clueless on the internet... not everyone wants to be your friend. Nobody is obliged to. So take your dramu and histrionics elsewhere, because I ain't having it.
Image courtesy of Sir Ony Carcamo
You want to laugh? You want to be amazed? You want to bob your head to the beat? You want nothing but unparalleled entertainment? Well, then the new Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA. Yup. NOT the one for animals.) Theater this March 27 (A Friday night!), 8PM, is the place to be for "AMAGIKOMEDINAYT"!
Be witness to a night with magic, comedy, ventriloquism, and music, as brought to us by three of the top live performers in the country today. From the magic of the rising star, Jeffrey Tam, a multiple winner of various magic competitions, to the unbeatable ventriloquism talent of Ony Carcamo, one of the most esteemed artists of our age, to the ineffable sense of humor and sheer hilarity brought by Brod Pete, aka Ishko Salvador, you will be treated to a night that will astound, tickle your funny bone, and everything else in between.
Special guests also abound, including the European illusionist Oliver, and musical guests Gloc 9 and Dice and K9. This is a night you shouldn't miss if you want a Friday night worth remembering.
Tickets are priced at 400 and 600 bucks apiece only. For reservations, feel free to call/text Badette of PETA at 4108822 and 09175158433. I'm going to be there to support the event, and if you love these guys like I know you do, I'm sure you'd want to support them as well. =)
Catch you there!
Friday, March 13, 2009
... then drop in on the jocks at Robinson's Galleria (the drop-off area near the pretzel store) and make your presence felt from 1-7 PM.
I'm going to swing by them just because I miss the RX people a lot. Heh.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
.:Surviving The Amazing Race: The Island Cove Challenge!:.
Six teams of five bloggers each came together for a day filled with lots of running around and good-natured competition, and by the end of it, none of us cared who won, because the whole affair, held courtesy of Yehey and Island Cove, was just that fun.
It started off early in the morning, with the Blogventurers getting together at Bonifacio High Street before heading out to Island Cove. We got there and had a very hearty lunch, then proceeded to have a tour around the island, supposedly providing us a general idea and even clues as to how we woulhttp://www.blogger.com/post-create.g?blogID=3857574d approach the multiple challenges we would be undergoing.
By some twist of fate, I ended up being drawn as one of the six team leaders, along with Jonas, Tita Noemi, Dante, Jennifer, and Carl. I actually made this prediction at the start that elicited a look of surprise from Jonas, actually. With my ragtag team of Azrael, Fung Yu, Zee, and Omar, we were ready to take on all comers except for the fact that two of us cannot, under any circumstances, get wet. Which kinda assured us we wouldn't win. But hey, we were in the top 5, after everything!
So we started from a search for our adventure kit in the hotel, which turned us into the white team, then proceeded to the pseudo sack race challenge that I ended up doing twice because I started doing it before I even got the instructions. Afterwards, we had to go look for a half mask in the pavilions, and after a bit of a struggle there, headed off to what could only be termed as a "Fear Factor Eating Challenge", resulting in Omar's unenviable task of having to eat frog legs then downing a shake made of ampalaya.
From this point on, things got progressively crazier. We went to the pools to do the water challenge, but Zee and I couldn't go into the water, so we were signficantly slowed down, then we rushed off to a chess challenge where we moved the King piece once, and then we were done with it., had to sing "Gold" by Spandau Ballet, and I had trouble with that since I didn't know how the stanzas went. For some odd reason, I was constantly confusing the song with "You Can Do Magic" by America.
From this point, we headed out on bicycles to go to Animal Island, where Fung had to shoot a target. It was safe to assume that being a VR photographer, Fung was likely the most accurate shot in our team, and we weren't mistaken. At some point while headed to the crocodile farm, my bike ended up getting busted, so I had to hoof it to the farm, where we thankfully had a simple photo opportunity with a baby crocodile, which was certainly no problem for us.
Finally, we got to the fishing village, where the winners were awarded, but really, it felt like everyone was a winner there. We had the time of our lives, learning what it meant to literally hop, run, and skip our way past challenges, and there is no doubt in my mind that this esvent will go down as one of the most exciting ones we ever participated in. We can't thank Island Cove and Yehey enough for making this possible, and I must say, the moments to be had there were nothing short of splendid.
One of my funniest memories of the event was when Azrael was vlogging about the food-eating contest, he asked Hannah what she was eating, and she was clearly miffed at him because she was doing pretty fine not realizing she was actually eating pig's brains. Az was completely clueless to the fact that he was unintentionally distracting Hannah at that point.
Afterwards, we then headed home, but the day wasn't over for some of us, because we still had...
.:Film Review: The Watchmen:.
Needless to say...
Watcha gonna do, brother?
Fans of the beloved graphic novel waited (or dreaded) this film for years. With Zach Snyder at the helm, you knew this was going to be quite a romp, and his penchance for stylized violence and amazing shot choices was bound to play quite a part in this film, and if anything, definitely lent some life all its own apart from the original graphic novel's spirit.
The film was faithful to the graphic novel to a fault, making only a few changes here and there, the most major of which are either necessary to the flow of the film (such as changing the ending somewhat), or were excised due to time constraints but most likely will be reinstated for the extended versions.
Anyways, if you never read the graphic novel, it follows a seeming mystery, as the retired masked hero named the Comedian was murdered by an unknown assailant, and the only active vigilante, Rorscharch, believes a "cape-killer" is on the lose. In a world where vigilantes are outlawed, he was the one active crusader left, and he warns his ex-partner, Nite Owl, and does more of the same for Silk Spectre II and the only actual superhero (as in, one with powers), Dr. Manhattan. Nite Owl also looks into the matter and warns Ozmandias, the one hero who parlayed his career into a multi-billion enterprise.
As the plot unfolds further and further, things unravel at the seams for our heroes. Contrary to the pictures we may have in our minds of heroes as being heroic, we see a bleak reality that all of these people are messed up in their own twisted ways, from Rorscharch's uncompromising and ruthless demand for justice, to Dr. Manhattan's dehumanized nature due to his powers, to Silk Spectre II's mommy issues, to Nite Owl's sexual fetishization of being a hero, to Rorscharch's sheer insanity, to Ozymandias's Machiavellian leanings, this is not a triumph of the superhero story at all.
In fact, given the ending, it asks the question that some people who didn't read the comic may miss, sadly: did these "heroes" not cause more harm than good, in the end? And the answer seems to be a resounding "yes".
What the comic medium can aptly convey given its very nature, Zach Snyder attempts to recreate. A noble effort, but a failed one in that respect. While this may scare away the purists, some risks seem to have been necessary to make the film stand out on its own, exploring its own nature would've been a start, since Alan Moore, in the comic, stretched out the limits of the comic book medium, perhaps Mr. Synder would've been better served to stretch out the limits of his own medium, the way he initially seemed to promise to do with the opening credits. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case, but ultimatetly, this didn't make the movie a bad film. It just kept it from becoming an excellent one.
Ultimately, the Watchmen was influential for its time, but its impact on comics in general is either no longer noticed or merely taken for granted. And for all of its impact, it also unfortunately conveyed the wrong messages, if the people glorifying Rorscharch's "bad-@$$edness" is any indication. Nonetheless, the film tried to compensate for its natural limitations here and there, but in the end, it just had to realize that at some point, it needed to take some risks with the material to get it to the level it got to in the comics back in its day.
For the life of me, I can't understand why "mature" has to mean sex and violence. I find that fewer things are more juvenile than a petulant desire for sex and violence. Ultimately, this was a good film, but while the graphic novel "Watchmen" eventually wore out its novelty of being "influential", this film is unlikely to even yield comparisons in that regard. It lacks the oomph that the book had that put it to that level.
However, I can say this much. Given the nature of film, it was arguably a more fun experience watching the film than reading the comic. This does not make it better, by any means, but this comparison is a necessary distinction to make.
This film is not meant for kids. Neither is meant to be viewed as a traditional superhero story. It requires you to think and to understand what the issues at hand are. If you don't want that, then you might not like this film at all... otherwise, give it a shot.
Fun Evaluation: A+
Critical Evaluation: B+
.:Your Moment Of Zen:.
Taken by Karla Redor, this is proof how awesome "Petting Zoos" can really get...
... I have to thank Viva International Films, and my former radio station, WAVE 891, for letting us see this amazing film. It's been a while since I've been to a WAVE event, so I must say, it felt quite weird but good to see my partner, Gia, after a loooooong time. Everytime I go to WAVE, there's no chance she'd be there because I never go there on a weekend, after all.
.:Film Review: Taken:.
Let me warn you... >SPOILERS AHOY!
I'm taken by Taken...
If there's one thing you can say about Liam Neeson, it's that he's incredibly versatile. After having been a Jedi, he was also a ninja, and now, he's an ex-spy. And that's considering only his action roles.
"Taken" is the story of a dad who is trying to build a relationship with his estranged daughter after retiring from being a government field operative (read: a spy). Having been an absentee father for most of his daughter's life, he tries to make up for lost time while co-existing with his ex-wife and her new husband for their daughter's affection.
Unfortunately, a series of events leads to her being abducted, and now, it's up to good ol' dad to go all the way to Paris to rescue her from a woman trafficking ring within 96 hours.
In a nutshell, that's the plot, and I don't have to divulge much else about the movie, except to tell you that Liam Neeson was incredibly bad-ass in this film, and if you wanted to see brutal, efficient, unstylized (Compared to Watchmen.) action, well, you're in for one hellacious treat.
Here, we see Liam Neeson following an Albanian woman trafficking ring that has kidnapped his daughter, doing everything he can to get her back, including crossing old friends during his spy days, torturing someone effectively and brutally, and using his intellect to find her before it's too late.
It's almost a given that Mr. Neeson would acquit himself very well in the acting department, and "Taken" is no exception. He brought a complexity to your regular action hero type and hit the ball right out of the park with his performance. The many twists and turns for the storyline, as well as his being a step ahead of everybody else all the way was a nice touch as well, because they made him believable as a bad-ass without taking away from the credibility of his adversaries.
All in all, the film is an exciting romp sprinkled with great character moments. It's easy to stereotype the ex-spouses dynamic as horrible, or to typecast a stepdad role as villainous, but this film sidesteps a lot of conventions (and embraces about the same number of 'em) in order to tell a really good, entertaining story.
Give this a watch, if you want something exciting and fun. If you're looking to be bored to tears, I'm sure there are a bunch of other films showing right now that can fit that bill.
Fun Rating: A-
Critical Rating: A-
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
If you've ever loved Star Wars Episode I, Liam Neeson was probably one of the biggest reasons you liked that film. With his versatile acting talent and his excellent command of dialogue and character, casting Mr. Neeson in any given role is a no-fail prospect for any film producer worth their salt.
Expect "Taken" to be no different. A story about a man seeking to rescue his kidnapped daughter, this film is not going to be just an action-packed smorgasbord, it's bound to be a psychological thriller all at the same time. The gravitas a Liam Neeson can bring to any role he plays is undeniable, and you can expect nothing but excellence from the man.
This movie opens tomorrow at your favorite theaters, from VIVA International Pictures. Make it a point to watch one of the most heavily anticipated films this year.
.:An Interesting Past Few Weeks...:.
Despite the hurly-burly, the past few weeks have certainly been worth taking note of. From my fun Valentine's day show in Holy Spirit, to being on hand during Perya night where I met the great Ony Carcamo once more, to the closure of Scans Daily and the fact that in a world where he is your Oscar voice-over dude, the Oscars snubbed Don Lafontaine in their "In Memoriam" Segment, it has been quite an amazing past few weeks.
In any case, let me dwell on a few of those topics...
.:The Death And Rebirth Of Scans Daily...:.
By now, you know that Livejournal pulled the plug on Scans Daily, citing "copyright violation" as the main reason it was given the boot.
I'm sure nobody in their right mind would say that Scans wasn't guilty of copyright infringement, but you can't help but feel bad that the community suddenly died. Were we all there to get scans of the latest comics so we didn't have to buy them anymore? In my case, I can safely say "no". I don't care much for comic book events not named "Blackest Night", and I do intend to buy that anyways once it's out in trades in 2010, so the appeal of Scans to me was the commentary from intelligent members, and finding out that hey, comics isn't always a sausage-fest hobby, and that's a great thing.
I'm sure Scans is alive in Insane Journal now, but it won't be quite the same, especially now that the archive is gone.
.:You Snubbed Don Lafontaine?!?:.
The Oscars paid the ultimate disrespect to Don Lafontaine, the man known as "The voice of God", by not including him in their "In Memoriam" segment at this year's Oscars.
I know this is a delayed, delayed reaction, but I was not pleased when I looked at the lineup of people they tributed, and one man, one legend, was not there.
Don Lafontaine was that telltale movie trailer guy you heard whose voice sounds unbelievably deep. The guy who goes "In a world where...", he has lent his voice to thousands upon thousands of movie trailers, video game trailers, and even commercials. This man was even the bloody voice of the Oscars for years, and they couldn't even take the time to thank him for it.
Well, I don't care what the Oscars think. Don Lafontaine was a man worth thanking, and he will always be a legend. A man whose voice I can always look up to. The voice that gave even the crappiest movie a glimmer of being good.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
.:Meron Akong Kwento...:.
Nawa'y maibigan ninyo ang aking munting pagtatanghal. Isang taimtim na pag-alala sa isa sa mga idolo kong nararapat nating pasalamatan sa kanyang himig at puso. Marahil, hindi nga ako isang mangangawit, ngunit sana nama'y nabigyan ko ng hustisya ang awiting ito.
Hindi ka namin makakalimutan, Kiko. Hinding-hindi.
Friday, March 06, 2009
This is one of my favorite songs from the man. Every color, every hue, is represented by me and you. That kaleidoscope will forever be less brighter, without Francis Magalona here with us.
It makes me feel a little extra sad because my brother, Francis, was partially named after Francis M. I suggested that name to my parents before Francis was born because Mr. Magalona's name sounded cool at the time (He had yet to have an album in 1988). He ended up becoming one of my two favorite OPM artists of all time. He always will be.
by Francis Magalona
So many faces, so many races
Different voices, different choices
Some are mad, while others laugh
Some live alone with no better half
Others grieve while others curse
And others mourn behind a big black hearse
Some are pure and some half-bred
Some are sober and some are wasted
Some are rich because of fate and
Some are poor with no food on their plate
Some stand out while others blend
Some are fat and stout while some are thin
Some are friends and some are foes
Some have some while some have most
Every color and every hue
Is represented by me and you
Take a slide in the slope
Take a look in the kaleidoscope
Spinnin' round, make it twirl
In this kaleidoscope world
Some are great and some are few
Others lie while some tell the truth
Some say poems and some do sing
Others sing through their guitar strings
Some know it all while some act dumb
Let the bassline strum to the bang of the drum
Some can swim while some will sink
And some will find their minds and think
Others walk while others run
You can't talk peace and have a gun
Some are hurt and start to cry
Don't ask me how don't ask me why
Some are friends and some are foes
Some have some while some have most
Every color and every hue
Is represented by me and you
Take a slide in the slope
Take a look in the kaleidoscope
Spinnin' round, make it twirl
In this kaleidoscope world...
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
... or so I thought.
And I can't say it enough times, that I'm happy the universe proved me wrong on this one...
You see, I've lost a bunch of cellphones in taxis over the years. If I'm not mistaken, I've lost three phones because they invariably dropped out of my pocket or something, especially at the point when I was in Reedley, as I had slippery pockets.
So when my Smart cellphone was missing and I noticed it only after my dental appointment, I was kinda resigned to the assumption that I'd never see it again.
But creature of habit that I was, I decided to call my cellphone anyways, and it was ringing. Normally, at this point, the lucky person who would've gotten my phone would've simply canceled my call, and then turned the phone of. Finders, keepers. Losers, weepers. You know how it works.
This time, just once, I was surprised to hear someone pick up.
It was the cab driver who brought me to my dentist.
And he told me he was going to go back to where I was to give me back my phone.
So I waited for him where he dropped me off, and I was still dumbstruck when he did show up and handed me back my phone, no questions asked. I gave him a little something for his effort, but goodness, he went back all the way from Cubao just to drop off my phone when the easiest thing to do was to simply ignore my calls and just keep the phone for himself!
I'm sure people would say "that's what he should've done in the first place," but the reality is, this is not what people do when they find a cellular phone and the owner is nowhere in sight. As I said, save for the off chance that I might be able to plead with the guy who picks up my phone, I was resigned to the assumption that I was never going to see my phone again.
But lo and behold, the universe has proven me wrong yet again. I'm still dumbstruck, to be honest, but my wholehearted gratitude to the cab driver of cab plate number PXJ 652. I can't thank you enough for this, and you are living testament to the fact that there's still a lot of good left in this world.
I am still dumbstruck at your act of kindness, and I know I haven't shown you how grateful I truly was. Such integrity should never go unrewarded in this world.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Here comes another one of these inane articles: hello, homophobia!
What boggles the mind is why these military personnel think that being gay means they can't handle combat, and why being gay means they'll be any more "scandalous" than their straight members. This article reeks of homophobia and discrimination all around, and I can't help but shake my head at how backwards this kind of thinking is.
If there's one thing I'm ashamed of in being a Catholic (Or a Christian, for that matter.), it's the unbelievable amount of institutionalized homophobia we seem to mire ourselves in. Homophobia seems to be par for the course, something we expect because there's just something terrifying about homosexuals to those with narrow minds. Pardon me for scoffing aloud at this clear case of ignorance and bigotry.
We have racists who don't like the country they live in, we have a country that still asks for a picture for one's resume. Discrimination is still pretty much institutionalized here, and it becomes very much the case for homosexuals, more than anyone else.
Seriously, guys: what people do in their bedroom and with whom they do it is none of your fucking business.
From people who act disgusted over BB Gandanghari, to the people who voted for Prop 8, here's hoping that the tide of history will show you how wrong you truly are. If Jesus Christ were alive today, you think he would just condemn homosexuality?
Somehow, I think not.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Now, with it gone, I guess comic companies will not be getting any more money from me. Not out of protest, mind you, but because not enough people will recommend a good comic to me, and let's face it, I'm not chucking $4.00 or so on a blind guess that something could be good or not.
This was *not* a hotbed for piracy. Was it illegal? Yeah, I'll concede that much. But how does it figure in the big picture? Maybe the people who wanted it shut down didn't think it over too well in that regard...