Monday, May 26, 2014

Project 52 2014 (22/52): Sampip

.:Project 52 2014 (22/52): Sampip:.

Some people love shoes of certain kinds...

Different strokes for different folks. It's always been like that, hasn't it? It's good to know that no matter how things may change, some things in life are still reliable. Conflict may not be the most pleasant thing ever, but it certainly holds its appeal if only for being so predictable.

It's why I'm confused sometimes. I'm confused because it seems that conflict has only ever been considered negatively, when, in reality, it reminds us that choices are certainly free and open for each and every one of us.

Some people love afternoons or the way the moon shines...

It's always been nice to think about life when the rush of the day has finally passed, and you get to consider life, and the humdrum of it all becomes a welcome respite rather than a threat. But then, as you contemplate things, what's left to do afterwards? So much more, and it all just flies in the face of what we think we know.

And they have their reasons to feel the way they do...

It's easy to understand. It's easy to realize why people will never see eye to eye for all of eternity. It's easy to investigate the reasons behind them, if you really wanted to. It doesn't make conflict any less arduous or tedious than it always ends up being.

That's why I asked myself what it is with you...

So what is it with us, then? Why is it that you and I never seem to find ourselves at the same point in our lives? Is it a question of one or both of us adjusting more, or is it simply a case of things not being meant to be from the get go?

I ask myself because I'd like to think I've been practically exhaustive in doing everything in my power to make this work out. But I don't know anymore. It's like running your head against a wall, again and again. You know it changes nothing, but sometimes, the pain reminds you you're at least doing something about it.

Is there something wrong with the way I speak?

Saan tayo nagkulang? Saan ako nagkulang? Or am I just really asking the wrong questions here? Sometimes, the worst thing you could ever do to me is when you show me kindness, because I realize almost immediately after that you are just a good person, and not a person who treats me as someone special. You treat me kindly because it is your nature: not because I mean the world to you.

I wish you weren't that benevolent sometimes.

Do you even see me when I pass you on the street?

It's easy for you because it's gotten to a point where none of this means a thing to you now. Unfortunately, I can't quite find myself on the same level.

So I guess this will keep going on, and this won't change anytime soon, and that's why I guess after everything has been said and done...

I close my eyes and let it be, because I just can't see, why you love to hate me...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Date A Girl Who "Stuffs"

.:Date A Girl Who "Stuffs":.

Date a girl who "stuffs." Date a girl who finds new and creative ways of inserting an extra "h" in every single word she texts to you, who has no problems typing in sTiCkY cApS with such speed and precision, you wonder if she sold her soul to the devil to pull it off. Date a girl who insists that you look good in a rainbow-colored cap, and has one to put on your head the minute you heed her advice.

"'Beh, bagay naman sayo, ah!"

Find a girl who uses the word "stuffs" as a noun, because it's so bloody adorable. Gush at her as she asks you for your "inputs" on the kind of "equipments" she needs to buy that would go well with her "furnitures." Smile furtively as she thanks you for your "feedbacks," and as she praises you that you do not have a "close mind." She's the girl who will tell you that she has a "nosebleed" everytime you speak even just a smidgen of English, and will tell you "o sige, ikaw na ang matalino," if you so much as try to correct her grammar. Why you gotta be so smart and English good, boy? Intellectualism is for wimps.

She's the girl who insists you should try and Fliptop sometime, but wishes they sounded more like Salbakuta. If you take a look at her mug, it spells out her name: "Jhennahbhelle," as well as the names of every other member of her family inside little hearts. She might completely forget about you when she starts fangirling over her idols, who suspiciously all look pre-pubescent. And vaguely chinito.

Buy her a ticket to that Daniel Padilla back to back concert with Chicser.

And here you were, complaining about Anne Curtis.

Let her know what you think about her choice in music. Tell her the words verbatim: "neseye ne eng lehet," and watch her melt like pudding in front of your arms, unless you didn't say it nasally enough. See if she knows any good pickup lines, like "Hello, Kayla ba pangalan mo? Kasi Kaylangan kita sa buhay ko!" Understand that if she pretends to be good at it, she's just saying that to egg you on and make a fool of yourself. But do it anyway.

It's easy to date a girl who "stuffs." If you say anything remotely witty, she will exclaim "BOOM PANES" and point both index fingers at you, indicating that you are the man. Give her an MP3 mix for her birthday. Give her the gift of never taking yourself seriously, because doing that is the worst thing you could ever do around her. Understand that she knows the difference between proper English and whatever the hell she is trying to pass off as such, but by God, she will never, ever try to change that, because it's "kewl." It will never be your fault if she's just that atrocious.

And this is how her family picture looks like.

And she probably would give it a shot somehow, behind your back. And fail miserably.

Lie to her. If she understands you, she will realize that her quirks are grating on everyone's ears, and she will promptly hold it against you that this is the case. So you will both pretend this conversation about her will never have to happen.

Fail her. In English class, I mean, but don't be an arse to her just because she may not exactly be the sharpest tool in the shed.

She'll try to speak with a "slang," which is actually her ludicrous word for "accent," and it would even sound worse than if she just spoke in the vernacular. But by then, you'd realize that she actually does care, and you don't even know for sure anymore if the fact that she uses "stuffs" as a noun is such a big deal, after all.

Except it is. Because you're not an idiot, and you don't take kindly to anti-intellectualism.

But whatever you do, don't let her call Papa Jack and ask for love advice about you. The both of you will be worse for it, because Papa Jack is not a reliable source of advice, no matter how many people call him up in the middle of the night in a drunken haze. In fact, Papa Jack is not a reliable source of advice precisely because people call him up in the middle of the night in a drunken haze.

"Hi! How can I ruin your life tonight?"

If you find a girl who "stuffs," keep her close. If she gets far away enough, she might run into traffic or something. Remember: it's all fun and games, until the day she demands to know, "DOTA o ako?"

You will smile so hard and wonder why you even bothered listening to this advice from a grammar Nazi who clearly will brook no shenanigans upon the English language as egregious as "stuffs." You will look at her, give her a jacket, and both of you will move on because clearly, no matter how hot she is, it really wouldn't mean a damn if you can't have a conversation with actual, sensible words and coherent thoughts. Hotness is temporary, but stupidity lasts a lifetime.

So date a girl who "stuffs" only if you deserve it. Or if you're willing to put up with it. You deserve a girl who will challenge your stuck-up notions of proper language and sensible life-choices. You deserve a girl who will tell you how much better Daniel Padilla's cover of "Alapaap" is than the Eraserheads original. You deserve all of that, assuming you're a horrible person. If not, you're clearly not the target audience for this one. But if you want to suffer being surrounded by idiocy and an overwhelming stench of complacent mediocrity for all eternity, then by all means: date a girl who "stuffs."

Or better yet, date Kris Aquino.

Project 52 2014 (21/52): Find You

.:Project 52 2014 (21/52): Find You:.

Silent love is calling faith... 

There's a calm serenity that's come over me recently, after a bout with a lot of anger and hurt that took so much out of me. Now, I can breathe again. I can smile again. And ultimately, it's a smile that comes from within, not because I need someone to prop me up to be happy.

That's progress. I don't think I've felt this way in years, and I'm grateful I feel like this now.

To shatter me through your hallways...

It's easy to just allow myself to be broken. To walk through the memories and feel the crush of what has come before. But that isn't what I need. That isn't what's going to get me anywhere. I'm happy in spite of the things going on around me, and that's a beautiful place to find myself in.

I hope it lasts. But if it doesn't, at least, I know it's a point I can reach.

Into echoes you can feel...

The past is integral, yes. Despite that, the past should be a building block, not a stumbling block. There's so much more I can achieve, learning from what has come before, and what to expect from this point on. It's a magical feeling, knowing that I'm not meant for this drudgery forever. Surprise, surprise. I can move on! And here I thought that was never going to happen.

And rehearse the way you heal...

I was going through a lot the past few months. I was hurt, I was angry, and boy, was I really just not in a good place when all these woes piled on each other in rapid succession. But I had to keep willing myself on. I realize that sometimes, it just plain doesn't work, but sometimes, we also just don't want to try when we really, really should.

Time does heal all wounds. But you have to keep from picking at the scabs in your moments of weakness. Otherwise, it won't ever really go away.

Make them dance, just like you...

Dance like nobody's watching. Love like you've never had your heart broken before. But through it all, don't lose sight of yourself. It's really easy to ignore your own wants and needs when your heart is on the line, but if you do, it's much easier to pick up the pieces afterwards if things go downhill. And trust me: more often than not, they do head downhill.

'Cause you make me move...

My soul moves in tune with the universe. I don't really believe in new age bull, but in my moments of quiet, I recognize where I am headed and what I have to do far better. Introspection works. It really does. And I'm glad that no matter how little blogging time I have left nowadays, I still use that time to do all this introspection.

Yeah you always make me go...

It's the call that I need to answer. The call within me. Why do you need to have your spirits moved by just one person, when you have a whole universe that could move you instead? Isn't that something worth pursuing, something worth believing in?

I'll run away with your footsteps...

So finally, if and when I do open my heart to someone again, I could give my all. Because there is a whole all of me to give away, rather than a broken and scarred shell of myself. I could just get away from it all and not have any fear, knowing full well that even if my heart would break, it wouldn't be the end of the world. And why would it be? There's so much more out there.

I'll build a city that dreams for two... 

To whoever you are, or whoever you will be, let's build this city together. A beautiful city that focuses on what we have become and what we will be, rather than what we used to be. Let's build this city.

But let's not build it on rock and roll.

I have done so much soul searching in the past five years or so, but even though I may find my moments of bleakness, I'm ready for what the universe has to bring now. Somewhere, somehow, it will happen, and in the end...

And if you lose yourself, I will find you...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2

.:Film Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2:.

Sorry, Black Lightning! Beat ya to it.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Predictably heart-breaking.

I'll try my best not to spoil the key elements of the film, but any comic book reader would know what to expect when you put the Green Goblin together with Gwen Stacy.

The sequel picks up from where the original left off, with Gwen and Peter happily in love, and Gwen predictably graduating as class valedictorian, where she promptly launched into a graduation speech that talked about mortality faster than you can say "foreshadowing!" Of course, it helps that the topic would be very much in her head, since her father recently died, but that didn't stop Dennis Leary from still showing up all over the film, as if to remind Peter that he broke his promise to Captain Stacy to stay away from Gwen.

Wish it didn't stop this guy, either.

So as Spider-Man goes about heroing his way through New York, he wonders from time to time about his parents more, and ends up meeting Max Dillon: an employee of Oscorp who idolized Spider-Man, all the more when he met his favorite hero, who gave him the time of day. It was a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

As Peter waffles back and forth about Gwen, he ends up hanging out with his old best friend, Harry Osborn, and a bromance is born. As the mysteries about his family and Harry's desire for Spider-Man's blood to save his life come together as plot points, Max Dillon's transformation into Electro, a villain with electricity powers, will put Spider-Man to the test like no other.

So what worked in this film? Well, Andrew Garfield may not seem as sympathetic as Tobey Maguire, but I prefer the more assertive, less sad sack Garfield interpretation, even if he does get a bit too dramatic sometimes. He's supposed to be a teenager, after all, and that's teenagers are supposed to act. The action was pretty good, and very creative with how Spider-Man moves about, although he seems to like swinging stuff with his webs a lot in this installment. I'm also still hoping to see J. Jonah Jameson in this franchise at some point, seeing how amazing J.K. Simmons was as him in the original trilogy.

There's a lot of ground to be covered plot-wise, but it feels a little ridiculously convenient how everything about Peter's life is tied into Oscorp way too neatly. His girlfriend works for Oscorp, his best friend is the son of Norman Osborn, he gets his powers from a trip to Oscorp, Electro works in Oscorp, his parents worked in Oscorp, and so forth. I just feel that as opposed to how cohesive the first Amazing Spider-Man was except for the part where he randomly stopped trying to find his uncle's killer in the middle of the first flick, this film felt a lot more disjointed, almost as if it were trying to set up yet another film (Which is exactly what it's actually setting out to do.)

"Sup, guys? Couldn't you wait until Avengers 2 is out first before 
you start  making cameos all over the damned place?!?"

I like how fun Peter is as Spider-Man. I like his chemistry with Gwen. But the elements of the movie just felt so disconnected from each other, and it didn't really manage to tell a story, so much as it just said a few things, but not really form a cohesive sentence. 

I really don't expect much from my superhero flicks, though, so what I got from here is perfectly workable. It's just mildly frustrating to see so much wasted potential, and so much needless contrivances in a film franchise where you already have to suspend your disbelief that every single person who gets into a horrible accident involving Oscorp property ends up gaining super powers of some sort.

Overall, this film could have stood on its own better if it decided to scale back on planting the seeds for the Sinister Six so much. I get how important it is to get the buzz going about it long before it's even a reality, but when it hurts your overall narrative and diminishes a very credible performance from Jamie Foxx in favor of what seemed to be a tacked-on aftermath just to add drama, well, it just doesn't really work.

Heck, based on one moment in the film, I would even argue that Spider-Man seems far less heroic than Superman did in Man of Steel.  (You know the one, if you remember what happened immediately before the Goblin shows up.)

That moment right there? That's the moment where I wondered to myself if this Spider-Man was truly the hero I deserved. Or wanted. Or needed. Sadly, the answer seems to hover around "no."

Fun Rating: A (Great cast, great chemistry, great action, albeit not as iconic as the first Amazing Spider-Man!)
Critical Rating: B- (Convoluted plot, unnecessary drama, too many contrivances, and a particularly unheroic Spider-Man, as far as I'm concerned.)

Project 52 2014 (20/52): The Entertainer

.:Project 52 2014 (20/52): The Entertainer:.

Oh, look! I found a workaround to having to do lyrics every single time I write one of these things by picking a song with no lyrics! Ain't that a hoot?

Well, the past weekend has been all about being the Entertainer. As a member of Switch Improv, I've been part of a new and dynamic improv troupe that has been doing its own thing for the past year or so. It's definitely been fun, and something I've genuinely enjoyed doing, and our performance in Plantation Bar last weekend was one of our best shows to date, as we performed for an audience that was almost completely uninitiated to improv. We were there as a team, and we definitely delivered as a team, as we had a crowd that started off wondering to themselves what in the world those guys onstage were up to, and singing along and clapping along with us by the end of the night.

Switch isn't exactly trying to reinvent the wheel, though. There's no need to fix something that isn't broken. In fact, we want to call what we do "honoring the guard," because those that came before us, such as S.P.I.T., Philippine Playhouse, Big Bang Cheery, Kinenkoy, or even Whose Line Is It Anyway definitely paved the opportunity for a ragtag group of improv enthusiasts with mostly no theater experience to just have the chance to entertain people.

I relish that opportunity, and as does the rest of us in Switch. That night, we really had a great time, and we were on an emotional high that really kept us going all the way 'til Mother's Day the next day, when I ended up having an impromptu demonstration of levitation during lunch for my grandmother's 40th day. My mom was amused.

I guess that's what keeps me going. I like making people think when I write. Or when I perform. I like opening their mind to possibilities and to ideas. But at the core of it all, I perform to entertain, and that is my only drug: the rush of knowing people appreciate what we do and what we bring to the table. It's a kind of validation that comes with the hard work we put in, and definitely something I could never take for granted.

Unscripted, unrehearsed, a show from the top of our heads, Switch Improv brings you the high-energy art of improvisation that makes you, the audience, an active participant in the creation of entertainment. That's really the beauty of improv, isn't it? There's always something very special about seeing performers who follow their feet, and simply push themselves to a masterful performance without any actual idea where they're headed.

Every weekend for the rest of the month, Plantation Bar in Makati will be a hub for comedy. This Saturday, the one and only Ony Carcamo will be performing comedy ventriloquism as standup comedians strut their stuff as well, and the Saturday after that, May 24, Switch Improv will be back to do more improv comedy, as we continue to honor our roots and influences by entertaining people and spreading the cheer that improv brings.

The Comedy Cartel has always been known as the pioneer group of Pinoy point of view observational standup comedy locally, but as they welcome other comedy performance styles like ventriloquism and improv, they show that this ironically serious world of comedy can get bigger and better by dissolving boundaries. It's hard to argue with that kind of openness.

So here's hoping we get to see you guys at Plantation Bar this May 24. We're aiming to put a smile on your face.

Let's join us!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Project 52 2014 (19/52): Do You Know Where You're Going To?

.:Project 52 2014 (19/52): Do You Know Where You're Going To?:.

Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you?

I realize that I've been spinning my wheels in this blog for a long while, and I can't really help it. There's so much going on, and inasmuch as I like doing my usual fun stuff with the pictures and captions and the Cracked-style writing, it's really felt much smarter for me to focus on doing that for my work, instead.

But that doesn't mean I ever run out of things to talk about, or things I want to say. There's so much I want to mention, and so much that goes unsaid on a day to day basis. Heck, I'm willing to sneak them into the Project 52 if I have to, just because.

Like Hearthstone. Hearthstone has next to nothing to do with the rest of this post, but I'm gonna talk about it, anyways. Because it's an awesome game and I really, really like it.

Or the opportunities I've been having lately to meet new people. That has been nothing short of exciting too, as well.  Not a fan of tipping my hand too soon, but I have to admit, there are a lot of good things happening on that front as of late, so I don't want to jinx that by saying anything else at the moment.

But I'd like to think that I do know where all of this is headed to, and I'm hoping it's someplace good.

Do you get what you're hoping for? When you look behind you there's  no open door. What are you hoping for?

They call it a mid-life crisis. I call it life as usual. You always don't know what you're going to get, you always don't know anything for sure. The one thing you know is that you have to keep on keeping on if you want to get anywhere, because stopping to pity yourself is pretty much the worst thing you can do to yourself. What you hope for and what you work for should be one and the same thing. Otherwise, you're just deluding yourself, and it really won't be long before you discover, much to your chagrin, that you aren't really getting anywhere closer to where you really ought to be.

That's why sometimes, you really have to look at yourself long and hard. You really have to ask yourself the questions you don't want to ask. Because the answer that you don't want to hear is precisely the answer that you need to hear. And you owe it to yourself to listen, and to listen good.

Once we were standing still in time, chasing fantasies that filled our minds...

Nothing wrong with fantasies, and chasing dreams. But there's everything wrong with holding onto them and thinking they will take us where we need to go. It doesn't work that way. We need to make them happen ourselves. We need to believe in ourselves before we even so much as think about perhaps making brand new fantasies up in our head.

It's not simple, I realize. But neither is anything in life worth fighting for.

Do you know where you're going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to?

There's so much more ground to cover. So little time. But as our time runs short, all I can hope for is that in the brief moments I spend here, you learn to appreciate more what all of the things in your life you take for granted actually mean to you. It's a long, hard lesson to learn, but it's better to learn it while you still have those things in your life than when they no longer are.

Where are you going to?

Friday, May 02, 2014

Project 52 2014 (18/52): You're So Vain

.:Project 52 2014 (18/52): You're So Vain:.

You walked into the party like you were walking onto a yacht...

You always had to make a big entrance. You always had to remind everyone you were head over heels above them, and make them feel just a little worse off about themselves. That's always how it's been, and that's always how it will be, it seems.

Your self-absorbed, self-important aura permeates the air with the acridity of a gourd left to ferment in the desert for an entire week. Inasmuch as I find it all part of your appeal, it's hard to excuse the way you carry yourself when it rubs everyone the wrong way.

Your hat strategically dipped below one eye, your scarf it was apricot.

It's always about keeping pretenses. It's all about reputation, and all about trying to make yourself out to be more than you actually are. You tear yourself up and spit yourself out over guilt and grief and worries. You always do that to yourself, yet you come out afterwards and project all over everyone else around you.

You've been poison when all people needed was respite. And that's where we are today.

You had one eye on the mirror as you watched yourself gavotte.

Do you really need to be so self-absorbed? Do you really need to be oblivious to everything else going on around you just to take a good look at yourself and practically salivate over yourself? It feels rather embarrassing, to be honest. It's that kind of self-centered behavior that makes me wonder what happened to you. How you could have let yourself be this way, when you seem to project so much that you deserve better.

Instead, all we see is you floundering about, going on with life, completely oblivious to the fact that you really should just stop and realize for a moment that you're hurting yourself. Big time.

And all the boys dreamed that they'd be your partner, they'd be your partner, and...

Yeah, you know it. They want you. They want you because you have so much to offer. But you never let anyone forget it, do you?

You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you.

And you wouldn't care if it's not, because you've been making everything about you since day 1. It's a bit bewildering, really.

Why is it that the people who really shouldn't be throwing stones at glass houses are the ones who do? Why is it that instead of coming to terms with the truth, they end up surrounding themselves in the light of ignorance, and try to push blame elsewhere but them? It's really counter-productive, and not something you would expect from someone who should know better.

You're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you.

It's so easy to assume things. But let's face it: whenever you assume, you make an ass out of you, not me. All I can do is shake my head. All I can do is wonder if you really think this was all about you when it was really about something bigger and more important than you or me.

Don't you? Don't you?