Thursday, September 25, 2008

Farmer Boys



I'm chatting with my best friend right now and I kind of told her about a weird incident that occured the last few days. Not weird because it's the first time to happen, but you know, weird, because it baffles me.
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When you're in my line of work, scouring the plains and valleys of the Luzon provinces, you do meet the most interesting people. Being a single girl from Manila has it's disadvantages though. You get the weirdest propositions from people.
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Just today, a mother approached me and said I should think about marrying soon, and if I was interested, her son is single too. She was referring to a giant of a boy whose face turns red everytime anyone, anything looks at him. Maybe even passing dogs make him blush. I'm sure it was a joke. It always is. Or is it? But you know, I'm not likely to accept. Everyone in that room knew that, of course.
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I did get asked out too by another man and the pick-up line went, "Ma'm, nainom ba kayo? Eh, kung pwede kayo, bonding tayo. Single naman ako." Scintillating, right?
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Again, it was probably a joke because anybody can see I was going to say no. And I did say no and softened it by saying I don't drink liquor. But the thing is, a curious part of me, wanted to see what it would be like to say yes. This farmer boy was not hard on the eyes. Too dark-skinned, but he's got a dimple that makes his smile really nice.
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And I hated myself for the reason that bestilled my curiousity. To stop from thinking about it, I found myself saying, "he's a farmer, for godsake!"
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I am apalled, yes. But it also made me wonder how true the reason is too. Whatever could we have in common? He calls me Mam, and pronounces himself "Singgol." That's a lasting relationship there. So all this blabbering really is just due to idle curiousity.
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But it did give me an exercise on seeing how many ways a life can go. if I said yes, I probably wouldn't be seated here blogging. I'll be drunk... maybe unwittingly pregnant. Life can change in an instant.
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I am not extremely pleased with my life right now, so it lends me extra reason for wondering how else my life can go. If i was a farmer's wife, would I be happier? maybe not. If I was married to a fuckin' Ayala, would I be? Nobody could really say.
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So you see.... I do think too much. sometimes, it's not the healthy exercise people claim it to be. :D

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Belly of Mulanay

So... contradictory to my worst suspicions, there is internet access in Quezon, and I didn't even have to walk through valleys to get to an internet shop. One is situated right beside our hotel, and weird enough, the shop isn't full of kids playing games although it is already dismissal. What the kids are doing instead is: playing games. yes! It is confirmed, I am in the province. Children are still engaged in outdoors sports and not chained to the computer desk. :)

What's here in Quezon? Lots of coconut trees. Lots of unpaved roads (my butt doth protested much). Beautiful mix between rampant cocount filled hills and the sea. Beautiful. Quiet. Boring.

Oh, and it seems people here have the knack for standing or sitting still for hours on end. Honestly. It seems they can stand for long periods of time doing nothin, or maybe smoking ciggies or talking to other tambays.

I am amazed.

Anyhow, just checking in because I miss civvies. I miss my laptop. I miss the convenience of DVD shops nearby. I - am - bored.

And I hate my job. At least, right now. For the life of me, I just can't bring myself to care about OD. I don't believe in what i do anymore making it very difficult to understand why the hell should I still do it then.

I hope it's just a frustrated ego talking. I really, really hope.

Bye.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Off to the Boondocks!

I'll be gone for more than a week...

I'll be facilitating Organizational Dev't Trainings in the Quezon province and I don't expect to blog until October hits me in the face.

You all have a nice week!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Darn...

For some reason, Ryan contracted dengue fever over the week. How the hell did it happen? What irks me and scares me is that he probably got it somewhere around our house. So on top of everything else, I have to do a major survey of places where water accumulates. A stupid person told us to cut off all the trees and plants... obviously not knowing the dang insect breeds in water. Oh well.

We're understaffed as a family right now, and I find myself stepping up to the role of primary care giver while Ryan's in the hospital. When we lost our parents, we also lost people who made a lot of sense. There's just a lack of grounding, you know?

Life can suck.

Worse, Ryan is not on my medical plan because we're not directly related. So we're back to mobilizing resources (read borrowing from people) because the hospital bill will probably go deep. We're hitting 20K as of yesterday and we still have how many days to go.

Sometimes I have wondered why can't people just have one problem in their life, you know? Some would have to deal with disabilities, some with early deaths, some with pregnancies, and then that's it. I mean, why wouldn't it be that since we already went through 2 consecutive deaths of primary people in our lives, we can have the rest of our lives easy?

Darn it, I'm tired. And I'm not even in my 30s.

How much pain are humans supposed to suffer to be human?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Movies for the Infirmed

If there's one good thing about being infirmed, it's this: you have an excuse to watch all the movies you want while lying flat on your back. I did send and envoy (my cousin) to get me all sorts of videos I can watch while in pain. And I was pretty satisfied with the list.

Last King of Scotland

I didn't watch the LKS when it was shown in theaters because: a) I have no idea who James McAvoy is yet, and b) I have no idea who Idi Amin of Uganda was. Yeah, sometimes I wonder too why I consider myself smart at all. But since I considered myself having all the time in the world the past few days, I figured might as well get myself educated.

As it turns out, Amin is like the Ferdinand Marcos of Uganda. Enigmatic, charismatic but also allowed cruelty to rule in government. Amin had thousands of people killed, political prisoners abducted, and millions duped by his powerful presence. The movie advertised itself as about Amin, but honestly, I think it was really about Amin's Scottish physician, Nicholas Garrigan(James McAvoy). If anything, it was like the coming-of-age story of a man who had his eyes opened about violence and depravity in the most unfortunate way.

It was long-ish and I had to press forward a couple of times, but it was worth it. Oh, and there were a couple of times i pressed rewind too, but not because I was trying to catch an important conversation or anything. Embarassing as it is, I admit I had to look twice at Jame's frontal nudity and another disconcerting view of his backside. (Disconcerting because I know he can't see it, but I still blush).

I like.

Bridge to Terabithia

One of my favourite book growing up, and now it's a movie. More than that, it stars my favorite kid in the world, Josh Hutcherson! Cool!

You know, it was a twirl, the whole movie, all of it. The kids seem fit for the role (Josh as Jesse and Annamaria Robb as Leslie Burke aka the girl who dies in the end). Of course, no one should expect the complicated plots of adult movies, but this film has a lot to teach about vital issues too. Not fitting in, finding real friendship, losing it, death, redemption of self after losing someone you love... it's not a fairy tale at all. But the book was good at describing it, and the movie was faithful enough to the literature and they both get satisfactory ratings from me.

Cursed

I have no friggin' idea what this movie is supposed to be. It's about werewolves in L.A. and it's really odd. You'd remember I'm trying to find good werewolf stuff, right? This ain't one of them. What baffles me is that they have a fairly good cast... pop wonder exraordinaire. Christina Ricci (Adam's Family, The Gathering)? Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek, etc.)? Milo Ventigmilia (Heroes)? And the original cast was even supposed to include Skeet Ulrich and Mandy Moore (although I do not accept her as an actress or even as someone remotely able to act).

The plot was all over the place. Ricci and her brother in the film was infected by a werewolf and they turned into one. The only way they can save themselves is by killing the one who infected them (as awerewolf myth goes). Along the way they manage to screw our heads upside down. I don't understand if its supposed to be campy, but that's how it felt to me.

In short, it's : Sayang. Or shorter still: Eeww.

Air I Breathe

Was this ever shown in the big screen? I think it went straight to video, at least here in the country. It may be because not very many Pinoys would pay a movie which looks too intellectual. In some way, it was a mind-f*ck, you know? It had the feel of.. what was that movie? Closer? Where the story focuses on a number of people individually, but their stories are all connected? Yeah, that's how it was. You can look at it as vignettes, each one lyrically composed.

The first one was about an accountant who wanted to break free from the tedium of his life. When he heard that a couple of his workmates had inside info on which horse would win in a local race, he bet more than he has. The horse lost, and he gets into trouble with Fingers (Andy Garcia), the local shark. Scared to death, he tried to pay his debt by robbing a bank but failed and died in the effort. If you look at it that way, there's almost nothing beautiful in that situation. So when I realized there was a kind of beauty in it even as i watched the man being gunned down by the police, I was shocked.

The second one was about a hitman who can see the future and he had solid belief he was not supposed to do anything about it. But one incident provies him wrong and he learns that, prophecy or not, life is still a choice and he can still do something about it. The next story focuses on a pop star who falls in love with the prophetic hitman. Their story was not happy though because Fingers found out his hitman is hiding his popmoneymaker from him and kills him. The popstar tries to end her life, but was stopped when a doctor who needed a special kind of blood type which she happens to have. The movie moves on to the story of the doctor who needs the blood to save the life of the woman he has loved all his life, and who happens to be married to his best friend. This is the only happy ending in the story, but it's good even if there was a tad touch of deus ex machina in it all.

Stars Andy Garcia (yey!), Forest Whitaker, Brendan Fraser, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Kevin Bacon.

Shutter (American Version)

I haven't seen the Asian version, but maybe any other version, even the ones the 7 little Dwarves made, will be better than this limp, lifeless, and definitely lackluster version. What was supposed to be terrifying about the whole thing? I'm sure the Japanese version was freaky scary, Japanese people have a knack for the creepy being too familiar with it as they are. But this--- is not scary. Not terrifying. Not good.

I wonder what modern apparatus would pasty-faced ghosts will emerge from next? Let's make a checklist, we've made cellphones, televisions, now cameras. How about I-pods then? Or the air con remote control?

Sunday, September 07, 2008

We've Come to a Moot Point



Sent an email to my girlfriends about my marrying James McAvoy someday (even if he is already married). But it seems long-standing friendships may crumble if that future becomes apparent because Petit said, and I quote, "Not if I find him first..."
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And Mariel seems to have been harboring the same sentiments since she sent her version of Jame's hot pictures by sending photos of his naked chest way back during Children of Dune (and that's like at the onset of 2000).


Oh well... it's a good thing then he's not likely to cross our paths or friendships will become moot point. :) There is a God.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Atonement


As opposed to my usual practice, I have decided to forego reading Ian McEwan's Atonement before watching the movie. I don't know if it's a mistake yet since I currently don't have a copy of the novel. But the movie is saved as a file in my laptop hard drive (legit: borrowed from Video City then copied) and one thing I know: I am NOT going to delete it anytime soon. I rather like having James McAvoy's hotness available to me in just one click.

Oh of course, the movie was good. Not a rollickin' good fun type of film, no. It's the story of Briony Tallis - thirteen and in the throes of her puppy love for their gardener/right hand man Robbie Turner. As it happens though, Robbie is very much in love with Briony's older sister Cecilia. R & C has a brief courtship, supported by the many years they grew up together and finally professes love for each other in the heat of, aherm, passion. Brione wallks in on them, saw their uncompromising position and broke her heart. She's formed it in her mind Robbie is a sex maniac and so, when her visiting cousin was molested, by force of anger or vengeance, she pointed the judging finger on Robbie. He ends up in jail for a while, and then was given the choice to serve the war. He chose war. But in his ears, ringing still, was Cecilia's whispered reminder, "Come back to me, Robbie."

Really, it isn't fast-moving at all. But the patience you develop is almost unnoticeable because somehow, you do want to know how the 2 young protagonists' love will turn out. I suppose, only a few Filipinos will like it for its bittersweet ending, but I do. I like the writerly voice they used and the way everything unfolded --- like memory itself, pushing forward and rolling back.

And I like the older Brione's last act of kindness to her sister and Robbie. She gave them an alternate reality. Written in a book, it will live far longer than the 2 ever did and will live in the memories of thousands of people. Somehow, with so many people believing they did meet and love and lived, they probably would... in some other world, not this one.

Yes, it could be seen as a way to assuage her own conscience -- yet another cowardly act. But if you're a writer, you'll get it. You'll understand how writing about something can make it real. And how by writing, you can preserve something beautiful as a memory in the hearts of thousands, even if it never came to pass.

As long as it reaches its goal of teaching vicariously how many ways life can be lived, then it is real.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Vampires vs. Werewolves



Vampires: a) the undead; b) often times gorgeously irresistable but in other times ugly and as reprehensible as sin, c) often bored to tears of their immortal life; d) they're not nice when they're bored.

versus

Werewolves: a) some are born with a curse while some were bitten with the poison, b) always portrayed as tortured souls torn between their animal instincts and their human morality, c) rarely handsome, often hairy, d) with aversion to poodles (honestly, who wouldn't?).

For some reason or another, I find myself rooting for the "Go Werewolves" Team. They just make more interesting story focal points. With vampires you could only read so much about the sexual tension and the boredom and the blood. When it comes down to it all, they are dead. And the dead could only get any more deader.

With werewolves though, you get melodrama, you get guilt, you get insanity. Werewolves aren't dead, they're still very much alive... and sometimes their souls are still very much intact. Imagine that pain --- no aspirin can ever take that away. And there's the virility -- the sense of life and action and a full set of sharp teeth (not just pointed incisors at that). But I could only take so much of the "mating" stuff. I mean, really, scenting and the howling and all that. I could barely understand human sex, and that of wolves could only serve to baffle me even more. But they're more interesting, to me, at least.

There was a time I thought werewolves were second-rate topics. I thought, not seldom, that vampire stories are a little classier. Maybe because vampires don't howl or call sex as mating or whatever. Now I realize it's because vampiric literature is a whole lot more sanitary. The truth is, vampire novelsle often leaves me cold. Once I put down a book, my head says, its just that. You're safe now coz it isn't likely you'd come across one. Just watch out for sallow skin and people who smile with their lips closed. But lycanthropic literature scares the shackles offa me. And intrigues me. Skin-shifting and all that, you know?

Some literary vamps, I liked. Robin Mckinley's Sunshine introduced me to Constantine. Not as gorgeous as the Cullen-kid, but seven times hotter and more interesting. I also like Thomas Dresden, brother to Jim Butcher's wizard Harry Dresden. Add Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and you have my whole retinue.

Werewolves though are another thing. Sadly, I haven't read good enough literature that portrays werewolves real enough, but even then fleeting images of who Jacob Black could have been under a more competent author's hand tantalizes me. Also loved Blood and Chocolate and I saw the movie and read the book. No surprises. Book was better. Holly Lisle also wrote a book Diplomacy of Wolves, and I'm trying to track down a copy, so if you know where I can find one, give me a call.

Another voracious reader, Bookslut, had this to say on her blog:

"I'm a sucker for werewolves. Probably the result of seeing An American Werewolf in London when I was nine, as well as the usual assortment of late-afternoon werewolf movies on TV when I was young. As was the case with almost any of my youthful obsessions, I searched for every book on the subject, and I quickly came to a conclusion: Werewolf literature, as a whole, sucks. Sturgeon's Law underestimates just how bad werewolf stories can be. Frankly, you'd be lucky to find one good lycanthropy story or novel in every three hundred.

What's frustrating, of course, is that this shouldn't be the case. Werewolves, with their horrific transformations and bestial natures, offer all sorts of potential on the silver screen, and you would think the nature of lycanthropes -- man's inner beast emerging through a layer of repression, complete with atavistic sexual and violent urges -- would be just the sort of concept that a good author could have a field day with. Unfortunately, too many authors merely write werewolves as furry serial killers, or are so obsessed with exploring the animalistic natures of the wolves, they simply ignore the human side completely (I ranted about Laurell K. Hamilton last month, but she's got nothing on
Alice Borchardt, whose awful werewolf sagas are only in print, one would presume, thanks to the nepotistic influence of her sister, Anne Rice).

That said, werewolves are one of our oldest and most enduring monster myths, and over the years, there have been some worthwhile entries into the canon
."

That's about it. Tomorrow, I'll try to talk about something less... mythical and more realistic. But if you know me well, don't count on it very much.

For now, to bed and rest for my aged lower back bone. Hate it.