Monday, July 28, 2008

Anita Blake



I chanced upon an interesting e-book today. It’s a number of novels written by Laurell Hamilton, the Anita Blake series. Anita is an animator (read: necromancer) and a vampire slayer. And we’re not talking about Buffy here. She’s not blond and she’s not cutesy. She works on retainer as vampire slayer for the St. Louis police force because in their reality, the US has just legalized vampirism (Bush is just a few years ahead of his time then). So instead of being able to kill them on sight, they need to get warrants of arrest. As an animator, she gets paid to raise the dead so that they could perform convenient functions such as relay lost pieces of information or give last messages. It also comes in very handy if there’s a dispute over a will. All people have to do is pay (dearly, if I might add) an animator to perform the rites and they could ask the person involved to clarify things up in the flesh, which is sometimes rotting and smelly to boot. Nifty, eh?

I’m already reading the third book in the series (the titles of which are listed in this order: Guilty Pleasures, The Laughing Corpse, Circus of the Damned, Lunatic CafĂ©, Bloody Bones, The Killing Dance, Burnt Offerings, Blue Moon, Obsidian Butterfly and Narcissus in Chains --- makes you feel all sunshiny inside, right?). It’s not as riveting as the Dresden Files, but it certainly engages enough of my interest to keep on reading until the end. I even almost, ALMOST don’t skip pages too.

What got me to stop reading for a while and write this though were the last few pages which just made me so depressed (well, what did I expect from a book called Circus of the Damned???). It was this part where Anita raised a man a week after his death so that he could sign his last will and testament. This will ensure that his property could be distributed to the letter. He was a haughty man, looked down on people, and he didn’t know he was even dead. After he signed his will, his family (we’re talking about wife and grown kids here) just left him standing there so that the animator could put him back to the grave. They didn’t even look back. The wife hesitated, but could only say I’m sorry before she was ushered to one of the many cars. The zombie (for that’s what you are once raised from the dead that way) was left like a child waiting in the gathering dark.

You can see where this is going now, right? Yep.

What I wouldn’t do with those miraculous minutes! I will bring them home and make them stay for weeks until they stink and rot and grow icky and I probably would still keep them. If only it wasn’t an abomination. If only playing God that way won’t be your ticket to eternal damnation. If only loving zombies is the same as loving people. But it wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t even be in the same highway as justifiable.

Made me rant a little again about how some families who swear never to talk to each other again and curse each other’s shadows are still alive, when here’s a perfectly happy family all torn up. The press release is that, Life’s not fair. Truth is, Life can get pretty sadistic too. Irony abounds and we live in paradoxes. These are the times I wonder what’s so hot about living forever. What could be a more hellish thing than immortality where all you would witness is people leaving and never coming back? Nobody deserves to live forever.
That would be just too, too cruel.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dark Knight, Finally



I finally got to watch Dark Knight with Ella last night. The movie was great. The movie house wasn’t. We made the mistake of watching it in MOA (not IMX, a regular cinema) and it would’ve been fabulous if there weren’t so many kids under 13 playing marching band games up and down the stairs while the movie was progressing. How the hell did they get in anyway? Wasn’t Batman a PG13 movie? Those kids were barely 6! I actually shushed a boy who was shouting for his sister. I told him not to play in the dark and to be quiet. He had the audacity to poke his tongue out at me. It took all my will power not to stand up and growl like an ogre at him. That’ll send him running and let’s see if he doesn’t bite his tongue off in fright. I mean, really. What kind of parents will let their kids play in pitch darkness? Oh wait -- I guess the kind of parents who will shout “Sino gusto ng ketsap!” in the middle of the movie. Yes. Screw those ill-bred half-wits. Then there was that man who did not just forget to turn his cellphone on silent mode, but also talked to someone while watching the movie. If I had popcorn, I would have definitely dumped it on his head. Se-rious-ly.

It was a friggin’ circus and I hate it. It ruined the full experience of Heath Ledger’s creepy genius in the film. But speaking of him, wasn’t he goosebump-y kind of brilliant? I didn’t even recognize his voice. And Christian Bale is shaping up to his role. He was almost believable as Batman this time around.

My friends were all agog about the character development of Joker and Two-Face. Shey said she never knew Two-faced was such a hot white knight. One said she didn’t know Lt. Gordon had family (that’s Lei). One even speaks in reverential tones about how the movie made the comic book more than a comic book and how it made everything more real. (yes, that’s you, Ian).

Obviously, this is the Obi Wan of Batman movies. Having watched all except Batman Begins, I have to agree.

It just bothers me that Heath’s last acting role was such a weird one. I mean, he’d be remembered as the better Joker forever. Which is good, talent-wise, but what did all his hotness and awesome cheekbones do for him now? If I was an actress, I’d want to be remembered as a dazzling goddess, not a freak sicko who loves to blow things up. But then again, a real actor would just want to be remembered, period.

And that Ledger would be.

-=-=-=-=-=

P.S. By the way, my favorite scene in the movie was when Joker did his little social experiment pitting two ships full of people against each other. One was full of convicts and prisoners, the other were filled with families from the city. Joker set up bombs on both vessels and told them to beat the other boat to pressing the switch to survive. The whole who deserves to die issue came up. Who will throw the first stone?

It turns out,nobody turned the key to the detonator.

They chose to trust in the good in people.

It was predictable, but it is something to believe in. Trust the good in people. And you will be surprised.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Elusive Dark Knight

Sigh. Haven't watched it yet. I was supposed to, pero nailang ako ng konti sa set-up. I came from a training and long day sa DLSU tomorrow. It's not the best time. Buti na lang hindi rin pwede yung ibang kasama ko. I would love to watch it, but right now, I'd rather be sleeping.

Maybe I'll get to catch Heath Ledger over the weekend.

-====-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-====-
P.S>
Ikaw:

I am so irritated with you right now. Sulk much?

I don't care about you THAT much to put up with your moods or immaturity.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Whimsy

Weird. Ang bait talaga ni Lord.

Just when I was flaming the Urban Poor for being hopeless, He sends me a little candle of hope. The day after I ranted against STEP-UP, we held a field trip where we visited our old areas to observe how our program has helped the community. I have been to all the areas, but I haven't met all the people. Sa unang community pa lang, when we asked them to share what they value the most about the program, halos paulit-ulit nilang sabihin ang training. Palagi daw may training, puro training, pero they claim it helped them become a better organization.

Hmmm... hindi naman masyadong timing diba? Just when I'm ready to believe they are the untrainables, they now say they got much from it.

I'm not saying I have made a complete turnaround... that I now love them again to bits... but it does lend me a better perspective. I cannot measure the impact of trainings immediately. It's something to be appreciated during crunch time andin hindsight.

Well. I hope I can develop the patience for that. But for now, it lights a small spark long thought of as dead.

I can't believe how dead it was before. Even with the La Salle CWTS, I'll be bringing my students back tomorrow. Buti na lang kids ang focus nila, tutorials. Or else, I would've been a useless facilitator.

Oh well. Thanks, Lord.

Monday, July 21, 2008

ThiSucks

I don't know if I'm just immature, but everytime I'm asked to work on STEP-UP, I'm as inspired as a dead frog. Financial trainings, investment management, housing loan, livelihood, drone, drone, drone, blah, blah, blah....That's all I hear.

So naturally, I can contribute naught to the discussions. I can't even bring myself to like it one iota. I honestly think the urban poor are hopeless. They are stubborn people to start with. They wanted to be there. And if they do want to progress, they will find ways on their own. With the countless opportunities being provided to them, they just suck on it until all blood's gone. Then they move on. Sometimes, it's not about the priorities anymore, it's their whole culture. And training, which I'm supposed to be doing, is SUPPOSED to help them. But one could teach them until their hair turns white, but if they don't want to do it, don't care to see it through, learn to find their own personal volition to do something, they would never really succeed.

Sorry. I gave up liking working with the urban poor. Time and time I have tried to see it another way, but they always disappoint. They are either smart alecky or bossy or stubborn. They think they are the world's worst off victims, they beg to be pitied and they think the world owes them a living.

This opinion is based on personal experience, but I hope I'm just wrong and stupid. Because if I'm right, then they all suck.

In the meantime, I'm to design trainings to help empower their asses off. A mighty hard one to pull if you just don't believe anymore.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kill One, Maybe Save a Thousand



I am now ready to admit that I am missing half of the world's imaginative genius because I don't read enough comic books!

I have heard the latest Batman movie is amazing, but I have very little to work on about Two-Face and the Joker because I never really read the comic books. I know absolutely nothing about Ironman before the movie and would've thought he was a construction worker. I mean, that is some major gap in my education right there. I cannot rightfully call myself a genius if these little things are beyond my grasp.

I watched Wanted today and I was blown away by the story. Half the time I was muttering "Astig!" to myself and the other half I spend wondering how come I'm not spewing something about begging too much for suspension of disbelief. After the movie, I realized it's because the story was tightly held together. It wasn't some half-baked glory shot of a violent fraternity; it has a kick-ass origin story that wouldn't let a microbe through it's seamlessness. But I was also told the movie plot was only a screwed up version of the real graphic novel mini-series. The book, as it turned out was much gorier and darker. Instead of trained assasins, they were a bunch of super-villains bonding together... which doesn't sound half so bad. Reading the synopsis though, I think I like the movie better... for the first time in my life.

I would've given anything to be the actress portraying Fox. Love it. And Angelina Jolie was sizzling in it. But I bet my behind wouldn't be half as appreciated as hers was in this film. At some point, I did think her character was getting on the edge of carboard-ish, but her supreme sacrifice and how she's still smiling at the end of it more than made up for it. Love her.

And James McAvoy. I finally get what my girl friends are gushing about. Not a pretty boy but extremely charming. For him, he was a believable office drone, and even more impossible, believable as the transitioned Wesley. That's talent and versatility right there. And did I mention a six-pack to boot?


So. The only thing left to say now is this: Can somebody educate me about this fascinating comic book world I have reserved as a past time for immature boys? I realize my mistake; I've transitioned. I'm ready for blood now. Any Yodas out there?

Unphotographed, Birthday Gifts and Seriously Hot Wristwatches

Unphotographed

I used to play this game a couple of years ago. I try to paint a scene I witnessed with words, usually because I had no camera to take a picture with. The other day while commuting from work, I saw something I really wou'dve like to have captured on film. But it would take more than one shot, so my title might be more aptly renamed as Unfilmed.

From the back of the FX I was riding, I saw a young couple in a red Honda Civic cruising Commonwealth Avenue. The roads were jammed and this gave me more time to play voyeur into their private world. (I am bad, but I am also compulsively observant). I couldn't see the girl's face, but she was thin and had long hair that she wore down. What captured my attention was this: she was leaning sideways and resting her head on the guy's shoulders. Awwww shucks, sweet, right? I know this is some feat to be accomplished. I personally think a girl would have to lean sideways so far just so to reach the driver's shoulder. I have tried it as a flirting tactic once and I nearly broke my neck trying to cross the wide gorge between passenger and driver seat. Maybe because I'm tall and guys are often my height or shorter and not taller and shoulders are often... well... shoulder-height and I have to bend lower, you know what I'm getting at. (My tip: Don't try it. It looks unnatural, cramps your lower right back and you'd feel TH afterwards. Wait til he's your boyfriend already and let him break HIS neck for a change).

Okay. Back to young couple. Awww, sweet right? But not from what I saw. The guy was a pale chinito, and as stiff as a board. His face all thoughout the sweet exchange was passive and he had a far-away look in his eyes. Actually, he kinda looked out of it and it ruined the pretty picture. I mean, sweet gf might as well have been an amoeba resting lightly on his right shoulder blade. After a couple of minutes, the girl sat up straight again, now with the same expression as robot-boy and I don't blame her. Shoulder-leaning can give major cramps, I told you. And at the same moment she sat up, the Meralco lamppost illuminating their spot on the street went "Pfffffft!" and blew out. Foreteller of things to come, I'm sure.

Life --- it's such an amazingly orchestrated movie, with its foreshadowing and drama, and we are all freakin' actors in it. It's amazing.


Birthday Gifts

I am friends with a newly-wed couple and I love hearing stories about their life together. The girl's a financial analyst and her husband is a goofy guy, which makes him the least likely person for his job, a lawyer. The other day, she was telling me how she told her hubby that he shouldn't get her anything for her birthday last week. Since purse strings are a bit tight, she said they were better off using it for groceries or their apartment. But when hubby's birthday came up two days after hers, my friend surprised him with a small bottle of perfume. She's been saving up for it for months. The guy was so flabbergasted he dragged her to a mall and asked her to buy something she really wanted. Begging her, actually. Budget be damned, they just wanted to make each other happy.

I know it doesn't sound as sweet as an anniversary spent on-board a yacht with live violinists making beautiful music, but it sounded so real to me and wonderfully sincere. Here's two young ones, starting their own life, very much in love, doing anything they can to keep each other smiling. It makes me feel melty inside, and just a tad bit envious. Now there's a real awww shucks moment for me.


Seriously Hot Wristwatches

I have a thing for men's wrist watches. I like them better than the dainty, tiny ones they manufacture for dainty, tiny ladies. I used to borrow my Daddy's watches all the time. It feels damn cooler than the pretty, floral ones, I assure you. But even then, my Dad had this kind of old-man's taste for his timekeeping devices. Most of them are gold with agey-crinkly leather straps, usually seen on wrists of successful businessmen all over the world. It was better than ladies stuff, but you know, not hot.

Kenneth Cole watches on the other hand, are hot. Rudy Project sports watches are sub-zero cool. Some Lacoste watches are contenders too. Sometimes, Gucci. Sometimes, Breitling or Perry Ellis. I seriously lust after cool watches and often refer to them like they were people, I call them either "guwapo" or "crushable." Wearing watches like that just makes me feel --- capable. Like I'm a man myself, and I have time in my own hands --- or wrist-- for that matter. (sorry, sorry, GIRL POWER will resume in 5...4...3...2...)

I don't think I have explained this to my friends. I don't think I have explained this to Ian who has got 2 Kenneth Cole watches and a Rudy Project sports watch, two of which I damaged while I was borrowing it from him.

I took this picture when I borrowed his silver Cole watch, a few hours before I broke the strap in the effort of removing it and handing it back to him. I felt soooo bad. Like I murdered someone (or what I think I would feel if I murdered someone; haven't had the chance to commit one yet). I honestly thought Ian would murder me instead. But of course, he didn't. Not even a bad word. He even made excuses about how it's disintegrating anyway. Like he'd fool me for a minute.

Aw, god, i still feel bad whenever I remember it and it's making my stomach hurt.


Oh well. When I become rich, I will buy myself a dozen hot men's watches and repay Ian his 2 damaged ones. Maybe. If I don't decide to keep it for myself.
But there it is. It's out. I have a thing for watches. I am deranged about it. I am not exceptionally good at taking care of it, but I will love it to pieces before it expires. Wanna win my heart? Forget the chocolates and buy me a god damn watch.
Bigger straps, the better. And a date monitor plus back lights. For seeing in the dark. Coz I will take it to bed faster than I will take a man. Seriously.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Journey to the Center of the Earth



Thanks to Sem's innumerable resources, we got to watch a special screening of the latest version of the Journey to the Center of the Earth. When she invited me to grab one of her free tix, I got so hyped cos you know Josh Hutcherson? He's my boy!
I have loved him since his stint in Little Manhattan. He is the darnest, most adorable kiddo on the planet. Brendan Frazer is, to me, a kind of blaaah --- never liked him, except maybe only for one shot in the Mummy (1). But Josh... he's the kid I want to have. I will even go as far a wait for him to legally cross his jailbait status unto the realm of legal age and marry him so we can make a lot more tiny Joshes for the benefit of human kind.
The movie was, of course, a no-brainer. But fun. And I'm not saying that cos Josh is in it. If I was a five-year-old kid wanting to be introduced to the world of fantastic cinema, this movie ain't a bad introductory film. I will totally bring Gabe to watch this.
Even though I did question some of the scientific facts they played with in the story (how fast a T-Rex can run, how clear they can see, and if you grab a gravitating rock how it will not flip back up if it already flipped down and the heaviest weight is the part where you're grabbing etc.. etc...) you know what I mean --- I still liked it.
I mean, I'm not there to question gravity. I want to be taken to the city within the earth. And it did its job well.
Thanks Sem. I liked the movie. Even though if we were with a couple of misers who wouldn't even buy girls popcorn. Next time, let Eman and Ian buy the popcorn and the nachos. better yet, let's leave them at home. :) j/k!
Sa uulitin.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yeah, So?

The gay, the fat, and the ugly...

These are the new addition to the socially-marginalized sectors. I, at least, can vouch for the fat one part. I grew up fat. I was, am, probably will be huge for the rest of my life. I have come to accept my peace with this, and I'm not even going to say some lame excuse about faulty genes or hereditary bullshit. I AM FAT, and I can turn you into a pancake any hot minute I damn want.

We're looked upon as pathetic & undisciplined porkers who ought to pay double everytime we ride public transportation. We can be just as large and looming as any basketball player, but no, they will probably get free rides in comparison.

And the verbal harassment --- my god. What kicks do they get from saying "Balyena" or Tambok" out loud? They can just be riding past me on a bicycle and as if some godforsaken force eats them inside and they won't be able to pedal one inch more if they don't spit out "Bigatin!"
And public transportation ---- whenever I ride buses with seats that still has handles on them? Which would've been fine if the seats weren't made for Nippon midgets? Yeah, those ones. Some people have the nerve to give you the evil eye when they won't fit on the seats. Sure, it is highly inconvenient for them. But God has given you freedom of choice --- Choose another goddamn seat!

They don't give this much heckling to huge men, do they? No, some of it, are only given to fat-assed women such as myself.

I used to ride at the back of public FX because it's roomier. Although your feet will cramp and your lower back will scream Nancy after a two hour ride home. With my recent scoliosis, I need to ride in the middle nowadays. Out of my desire to keep things fair, I do pay double sometimes when I feel like the present configuration won't fit four in the middle (ie. me, lean man, thin woman, thin boy vs. me, thin girl, fat guy, medium guy). But do they have to be as rude as saying "Buti naman" or "Wag ka na sumiksik, hindi na kasya butiki diyan."

And just yesterday, I crossed paths with Jessica Soho at Shangrila Plaza, and we genuinely smiled at each other. I mean, she's not the president, but she's accomplished. I know how hard it is to have a job on tv and not fit in the paper dolls category. Then some asshole behind her ruined the moment by sniggering and saying "Idol!" The wit astounds me. Yes, she is Idol material. You and your witticisms are not, I bet gerbils wouldn't even look up to you even if you're dangling frood from your nostrils. Penguins will eat you because they eat shit.

Often times I see white hot flames engorging me, but some times I just see gray --- the dull, smoky nothing of hopelessness that society would ever get over their discriminatory impulses.
Sometimes I just want to scream back that I'd rather be fat than stupid as most of the hecklers are, or compute my GWA in front of those who look at me as some undisciplined shmuck (how the hell would I graduate as a fuckin' _____ if I was undisciplined with myself as you are with your tongue?)

I have battle scars growing up fat and I have developed tools to deal with it. Writing is one of them. I am proud of my scars and I am proud of my weapons. The only difference is that I a have moved on from being domicile and hurting introvertly into someone who would actually cream some mean ass. I will whip you and let my dogs lick you off the pavement. All your teeth will fall of and that's would be just the start of it.

So sticks and stones may hurt bones, but words will never hurt me... but believe you me, it would be a world of pain for the next one who pushes me off the edge.

Be wary.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hancock

hancock



Superheroes based on comic book characters are the in-thing nowadays in Hollywood. See the umpteenth version of the Incredible Hulk, as well as the upcoming Dark Knight movie. Realistically though, Incredible Hulk was only cool because Liv Tyler's there, but guys I know expressed their disappointment they didn't get to see much rack or pursed lips as they wanted. The Dark Knight will be a blockbuster because a LOT of people will get a kick out of seeing Heath Ledger's last, last movie. I'm sure because I'm one of them. It'll be creepy good.


But --- as the tag line of the movie says, there are heroes, there are superheroes, and then there's Hancock.


I wanted to watch the film. As in I really, really was waiting for it. That's why I didn't mind falling in line for the ticket, and it was quite a long line. IMagine, barely 3 days into its showing, people were lining up for it! I can't imagine the weekend polls, it might go through the roof.


It was good, in all fairness. It managed to entertain me, and it made me laugh a couple of times. Besides, Will Smith ain't hard on the eyes --- even if he did look like a hobo most of the movie. The thing is, the movie itself? The plot, the logic of it all? It's kind of schizophrenic.


The last 20 - 30 minutes of the movie disappointed me. I was kinda feeling the groove of the assh*le Hancock, troubled, angry and lonely, turning into a new leaf. If they just focused on that vein, it might have been a better movie. But they inserted this twist, which came like a left-hand hook from a giant ladybug and I was sent careening to the edges of plausibility. What the f***? I had to physically make a fist in the effort to push back my incredulity.


But should you watch it? Heck yeah! Do!

Will Smith's burnin' behind is worth it. I think.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mamma Mia!



This has been a topic between two of my guy workmates (J and Ian) and it started when Ian asked if it was better to watch Mamma Mia than the High School Musical 2 on Ice. Given that we left high school 9 years ago (and for J even longer), we didn't have a choice but to recommend Mamma Mia instead. But J did emphasize that it sounds so ---- kabadingan was the term, I think. He didn't mean it as a cruel remark. He just meant, healthy males with proto-type straightness would generally find it --- too gay. We also agreed that only gays and uber chick-flick desperadoes will willingly watch the movie. And I am fairly sure that Ian is not gay, as much as he is sure of himself.

But Ian's tickets were for free and he is the conscripted family driver, so he went with his younger sisters anyway. He was forced to, right?

He texted me last night, after the showing and his texts say:

"Damn! This is the gayest movie I ever watched.... Tangna talaga sobrang daming kanta and I thought wala ng tatalo sa hs musical.... Mehn!"

and

"Kailangan kong manood ng patayan to shake this gay aura.."

And

"Nandito rin si **m*** sa mama mia..." referring to an office mate with interesting sexuality.


Which brings me to today:

I greeted the office mate and asked if he liked Mama Mia. With eyes brightly shining he answered, "Ang ganda! Ang galing paano nila napasok yung songs ng Abba sa script! Kumanta nga si Pierce Brosnan eh!"

I wasn't good at holding in the laughter. Napansin nya ata kasi, he said in a more defensive tone,"Nandun din si Ian!"

"Yeah, he was the one who told me you were there..." I replied.

"Ewan ko if he liked it, but --- (GET THIS) --- naririnig ko rin naman siyang tumatawa."

Ha! Buking ka, Ian!

Muntik na akong mag-internal hemorrhage trying to stop myself from rolling on the floor guffawing!

Lagot ka sa akin sa Lunes, you won't hear the end of this!

:D

Gayest movie ever, your arse!



In Keeping with the HAPPY theme

Here's the first part of a novella I'm writing about --- you guessed it ---- a girl who knew she was going to die. It's not gonna be so dreary promise!

Once upon a time, a little way off from the land made of asphalt streets and concrete palaces, lived a girl named Skylar. She dwells in a house at the foot of a small hill surrounded by trees and bugs. Shelves and shelves of books surround the walls of her home. Day and night, she pours over them carefully, making notes, and memorizing facts. She gathers knowledge like rose petals, like june bugs --- the more the lovelier. She believes she knows almost everything, and she is almost right. She knows so much that she knows even the event of her impending death. She knows it is soon, and she does not have a lot of time.

Skylar knew affairs had to be in order --- wills should be written, people properly said goodbye to, and places seen before she does pass on. It was quite a task and she knew she needed help setting it all up. This is why she looked for a conscript --- someone she can absolutely rely on. Her sister, Marisa, had a life. It’s quite a good one—work, boyfriend, parties--- and she did not want to bother her at all. Besides, she knows Marisa will flip her top if she tells her she’s about to conk out. She’ll insist on hospitals and daily medicines and, God knows, maybe even herbal whatnots. Skylar has tried to explain what she knows to Marisa before, and she only ended up convincing the latter that she was possibly insane. If she tells her she’s dying, she’ll laugh first, then fret afterwards. She wouldn’t understand that Skylar does not know what she’ll die of yet. No, it was better to look for someone else, she decided. Someone not so easy to upset, perhaps someone not so addicted to herbal pills.

Bastian seemed perfect for the job. Her next-door neighbor had a list of attributes: a) he’s not nosy, b) he’s got a car, and c) he keeps his lawn mowed. Skylar knew he saw her once flitting around her garden trying to catch insects but he did not give her the stink eye. He even gave her an empty jar of mayonnaise the next day, for the fireflies, he said. She’s not so sure how fast he’d understand her predicament, had no idea if he was smart or what, but she’s sure she can be clever enough for both of them.

Yes, Skylar was sure, Bastian was the right man to help her die. That is why she didn’t take very long setting out to ask him to join her cause.

“You’re what?” Bastian said. He was cutting the grass on his lawn when Skylar walked over to him the next morning. She was wearing a bathrobe over her pajamas and her pair of floppy bunny slippers. She had a cup of cocoa in her hand, a newspaper tucked under an arm and a yellow ribbon around her pigtails when she casually announced she was dying.

“I’m dying, I said.” she replied. She could have been commenting on the weather, for all Bastian knew. “I was just getting the newspaper and saw you there and I figured it’s a good time to tell you as any other.”

“It is?” He had no idea what made a good time to tell people you were dying, but announcements made while wearing a Winnie-the-Pooh bathrobe never came up in his imagination. His face grew solemn though, and he dropped the scissors. “I am so sorry to hear that. I never knew you were… I… I… if there’s anything you need…”

She widened her eyes and grinned at him. “Funny you should say that. I was actually thinking of asking you a favor. You see, I need some help setting my stuff in order. Documents, people, places, you know, stuff.”

“You need a lawyer? I know of some good ones.” He offered.

“Oh no, no, I have my own lawyer friends. I meant I need an assistant. Help me find people, schedule trips, drive me around…”

Bastian raised his eyebrows in surprise. “And you’re asking me to do all that? Because...?”

“Because you’re perfect for the job. And you don’t look awfully busy. You do lawn your mown every other day, I noticed.”

“I find lawn mowing therapeutic, as it happens.” He couldn’t help but defend himself, just a little. “And how do you know I am not some very important person who controls small countries from the convenience of the phone and the internet?”

“Really? I’ve always supposed you were a musician. Or a writer. I mean, to work at home like you do.” She tilted her head to see behind Bastian into the open window of his house. “Is that an electric guitar I see?”

He sighed in defeat. “Yes.”

“So you are a musician. Not a writer.” She sounded disappointed. “I mean, that’s nice.”

“Actually, I’m a musician and a writer. I write songs --- commercial songs. You know, for commercials.”

“You mean jingles!” she put down her cup on the flat top of his gate post and rubbed her hands. “What have you done so far? Have I heard them?”

“Well, I wrote…”

“No!” she screamed, hand flying to cover his mouth.

“Wuhf??”

“Don’t tell me the product. Sing me the song and I’ll guess.” She beamed at him.“Okay?”

He nodded. “K. No cud yo tek of ye hnnds me muf?”

“Oh, sorry.” She released him and took up her cup again. “Game, I’m game.”

She was looking at him so expectantly, Bastian found it hard to start. “I don’t have a good singing voice, you know. I just write the songs, I don’t sing them.” The red tinge was creeping from his ears down to his cheeks and his tongue started to feel a little thick. “A-nd some of them aren’t so famous, you might not have heard of…”

“Just sing, boy.”

Bastian knew he wouldn’t win the argument. So he just took a deep breath and dove into the songs.

“Every woman dreams of pots and pans, glinting as clean as it possibly can. That’s why in every woman’s hands -- Indispensable, irreplaceable…”

“Teehan’s! Dishwashing! You did that?”

He smiled and blushed. “Want one more?” he asked, to which Skylar nodded appreciatively.

“We do it like you want it, and you want the way we do it, it’s the perfect, ideal, top of the crop, swimmingly dreamy, incredibly yummy…”

“Harbour’s Ice Cream!” she finished for him. “Amazing, Bastian. I never knew. So what are you working on right now?”

“Uhm, I’m in between projects, currently.”

“Perfect! SO I am right. You can be my assistant.” Skylar looked so pleased with herself at that moment. “Everything’s falling into place. You will be remunerated, of course. We can discuss details tomorrow. But for now, maybe you should gas up your Honda. I was planning to go the city tomorrow, drop by my lawyer friends and draft a will. Do you see anything you want in my house? I can give you something, I think.”

Bastian scratched his head, blown away. “Did I say yes already?”

Skylar just stared at him, eyes wide and confused. “But, Bastian, I’m dying.”

And it was that moment he saw her for the innocent that she was. She actually believed he wanted to help her. She probably never imagined he’d even say no. And truth is, he can’t imagine it either. The girl’s kicking the bucket, he reminded himself. She’s got nobody else to run to. What the hell --- “Okay. Gas up Honda and go to city tomorrow. Got it, Miss.”

She grinned again, lopsidedly, and charmingly at him. “You are a brick.” She grabbed his hand and shook it. “Thank you.” And she turned back to her house.

“Bricks are good, right?” he called after her.

She whipped her head around, sending her pigtails flying too. “Solid.” And then she was at her porch and then inside the house with the door shutting close with a creak.

“Solid.” Bastian muttered and shook his head. He picked up the scissors, scanned the front yard and continued with his therapeutic lawn mowing.

-================================-


TO BE CONTINUED.......

Jacob's Ladder

I have been dreaming of it for so long...

I've always thought that one of these future Christmases, I'd like to surprise my friends with a copy of my book as their Christmas gift. Which book this is has of course changed over the course of 5 years. YES! I've been planning to do it for the last 5 years already, but even until now, I haven't finished a single story in the freakin' anthology.

This makes me feel really lousy. Loser kind of lousy, just so to be clear. But then, I read a book today called Jacob's Ladder by Colin McKay and it scared me to death. The book isn't a work of fiction. He wrote it nine weeks before he committed suicide. He just sent it to an editor and then killed himself right after. And throughout his whole prose, he was describing how writing affects him so much. How not being able to publish a single book has made him feel like a complete failure. That's just the start of it. His religion revolves around books and film (if he wasn't dead at 52, I'd fall in love with this guy). He didn't have friends nor family, just his cat, Max.

And he doesn't even come across as pathetic. He is very real. If you are a writer, you would feel what he feels. And if you happen to be just as unpublished as he is, it will make you want to check if you are going through the same downward spiral he got himself into.

He described killing himself with such clarity --- a kind of intelligent clarity only writers are capable of. And some of his thoughts ? They sound sooo familiar.


"Perhaps there is another world—perhaps there are
many worlds—perhaps the Cosmos is a Russian doll—and
in some other world I could find the tree of life or the
waters of oblivion. But not here. Not in this tedious place."


and this

"Here is a paradox: I do not want to die, but I wish to
kill myself. I wish to kill myself because it is an act which
will free me, but I do not wish to be obliterated. No. I wish
to return to the place my memories come from, with each
grain of dust, and each drop of rain, the place beyond time,
the land where no one weeps. Once upon a time all my life
was in front of me. Now all my life is behind me, and I’m
not entirely sure how that happened. Past and future seem
to have got strangely mixed up, but they are full of
excitement, and promise. The present alone is a dull place, a
flatland across which the wind sighs.

Just occasionally I wish I was back in that age of faith,
but it would be as easy to climb to the moon on a beanstalk.
So I will try to remember the time of loving kindness, the
days of gentle sunshine, the nights of moonlight—and then
the blizzard will blow it all away. And then—when life goes
and all is darkness—nothing."



Scary, scary. Scarier than any of the Jason books you might want to read.

Lord, if I don't ever get to write my books, or have it published, help me not to fall the same way as mcKay did. He was such a good writer. He can write! But he killed himself.

No. Don't let me fall the same way.

It just makes me wonder though. I'm thinking if that there was just one person who took the time to really see him --- connect with him. He'd still be alive.

Sad, isn't it?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Now I Get It

In a flash of sudden enlightenment, it hit me:

No, Liv. YOU grow up.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


You confuse me soooooooo much.

I don’t understand how you can get from being hair’s breadth kind of close to Grand Canyon kind of being apart. If you were anybody else, my reaction would be something to the tune of “Go screw yourself,” and it would be well said (or sung). But it’s you, and all I find myself doing is being utterly confused.

You’d go days on end without communicating, and I let you because I’ve learned my lesson about “soliciting” communications. You consciously avoid me (believe me, I noticed) and act like if you could go through the whole thing without me, you’d be happier. But then suddenly, you’d go all puppy-dog hang-about again and throw me out of the loop.

What I feel hasn’t changed but I can deal with it. Grow up and deal with yours. Let’s do away with this dreary middle stance weirdness. Let’s just deal.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stuff to Ask and Say

Ever noticed that people stop asking embarrassing questions once they grow up? Of course, the common standards of etiquette demand it; society calls for maturity and civilized behavior from its individuals. Don’t ask anything that will make other people frown, squirm or sweat (in short don’t make them feel any emotion except joy --- the spectrum of feeling has been relegated to just one acceptable form). But I’ve observed that the more we stop asking honest questions, the more confusing life becomes. How many families break because of questions left unasked and answers left unsaid? How many missed opportunities have we lost because we never dared to forward a query?

In celebration of the child who wants to know, I am listing down the things I would ask and do if I was only as courageous as a five-year-old.

THINGS I WOULD ASK:

Do you love me?
Can you?
Why are we friends?
Am I beautiful?
Will you share your pasta with me?
Am I needy?
Do you think I have what it takes to really succeed in life?
Would you miss me if I die?
Would you read my book when it’s done and tell me what you really think?
Would I make a good mother?
Can you help make me rich?
Would you treat me to dinner?
Can we get milkshakes some time?
Can you please kiss me?
Can you sing me your favorite song?
Could you paint or sketch my picture?
Am I still doing my job competently?
Should I quit my job?
Would you stay with me?
Could you bring me with you then?


THINGS I WOULD SAY:

I think I can’t ever finish my book, but I won’t stop trying.
I hate friend liver steak, liver spread and anything that has got liver in it.
I think you’re trying too hard.
She’s in love with you, and you’re breaking her heart.
Stop searching. I’m here.
You’re weirder than I am. I like you.
You can’t see me because I’m fat.
You make feel uncomfortable.
I want to crush your neck between my thunder arms.
You’re stubborn and immature, but I think you’re adorable.
I love you. I tried not to. But it’s hard.
I am scared of being alone all my life.
I think nobody on this earth really needs me anymore.
I think I have a blessed life, but without you, it feels wanting.
I am trying to get by as much as I can.
You are beautiful.
I know you love me. You just don’t want to.
I’m not chinita, slim or fair and I like me.
Yes, I am deliberately acting like a child.
Yes, I’m smarter than you.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hideous Liv


I have been beastly today. Snarled at my workmates, threw stuff around (including tantrums). I am not proud of it. But it felt ---- uncontrollable. Like a beast that tore away at my chest, roaring to get out, and I needed to let it out or else it will devour me from the inside.

Horrendous Olivia came out and slew everyone in its path.

The pain in my back MAY be the cause of it. I feel like a grandmother whose spine is about to break into two. SNAP! Just like that, and there'll be 2 Olivias lying useless on the ground.

Ugh. All over me, there's just PAIN.

Hate it, hate it, hate it.