Archive for May, 2007

Updates and Gibberish

May 29, 2007

– Just watched History Boys. Brilliant storyline, excellent cast. My only beef about it is that there was just a bit too much homosexuality going on towards the latter parts of the film (not that I’m a homophobe or anything), but nonetheless it still made for a good plot. I really wish I had their smarts…I mean, those guys could quote Auden, Byron and Keats at the drop of a hat.

– Handed in three papers and delivered an oral presentation yesterday. At least part of my academic ordeal is already over. Two final exams, two presentations, one ginormous paper and three weeks of internship to go.

– It’s almost officially winter; the chilly nights and 10 degree mornings are heralding its arrival. Guess that explains my extra huge appetite as of late.

– I’m in a real adultsy-type dilemma right now, but I just spoke to a friend and we both agreed that we will take a big leap of faith on this one (even if we run the risk of moving in with strangers or being homeless in the process). It’s a calculated risk and we’ve drawn up a list of contingency plans. I’ve always believed that you should do at least one stupid/brave/rash thing (or a combination of all three) in your lifetime anyway. Besides, if everything works according to plan, the benefits would be really worth it.

– Really looking forward to the winter break. One whole month of reading and watching movies and basically just lazing around. That would be really sweet 🙂 If it’s not too cold, maybe I can go explore the city and check out the other free museums I still haven’t been to.

– Free TV over here is worse than free TV back home. But out of the six or so channels they have, the most decent one is SBS, since they air South Park episodes and a handful of good arthouse stuff (they have Bandila as well!). I checked this week’s TV Guide and Goya en Bordeaux is on this Thursday, plus Run Lola Run this Saturday. The first season of Big Love will also premiere this Sunday. Last week I was able to catch Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, one of my favorite, favorite films in the world. Two good scenes:

Ma Jianling sucking out venom from the finger of the Little Seamstress, who was bitten by a snake. Unbeknownst to the girl, he is madly in love with her. She asks him: Why are you shaking? It didn’t bite you.

The ending (a flashback sequence), where all the three of them were underwater, and the Little Seamstress’ head was on Luo Ming’s shoulder as he reads her a book (presumably Balzac). Ma Jianling was behind them, playing his violin. The bottle of perfume which he bought for the Little Seamstress in France was floating in the background.

I read somewhere (it was on amazon.com, I believe) that the flooding of the Yangtze River (which submerged the town where the story was set) was a metaphor for the loss of innocence of the three characters. In effect, the water drowned all the memories of their youth, which the two boys basically spent reading Dostoevsky and Balzac to the girl. Sadly the Little Seamstress was radically changed by the ideas of these European writers, and she abandons the two boys who absolutely adored her so she can try her luck in the city.
This is one of the few films that are just so heartbreakingly beautiful and it still remains as magnificent no matter how many times I watch it. Curiously, it was based on the semi-autobiographical novel (written in French) of Dai Sijie, who also directed the film.

The Science of Sleep

May 23, 2007

Saw this movie last night. It was a real charming gem of a film. I adore anything remotely surrealist, and that explains why Buñuel and Medem are among my favorite filmmakers (I love Miró’s and Dalí’s artwork as well). Michel Gondry is now one of my new favorite directors (he did Eternal Sunshine a few years back), and this movie has now secured a slot in my desert-island top films list.

Gael’s character and myself are very much alike, in many respects (except the artistic part…I can’t draw to save my life), but the fact that we are both big narcoleptics who can’t reconcile real life from reveries takes the cake. His saccharine yet childish antics moved me to pieces. Case in point, he gave Charlotte Gainsbourg a cool time machine he invented as a no-particular-occasion present, and when asked why, he sweetly muttered, “on the occasion that you’re pretty”.

Some have commented that the film left them monumentally bored, but surprisingly the montage of beautiful images and colors engaged my eyes and really left me in a dream-like state for almost two hours. Sheer genius. And Gael and his quirky officemates even performed a slow, jazzy and cutesy song called “If You Rescue Me” (which apparently is a pseudo-cover of a Velvet Underground song) while they were in cat costumes. Such cuteness…

One of the best opening sequences in a movie. Check it out:

A Work of Pure Genius

May 19, 2007

This was written years ago by my one of my uber bestest friends in the world, Noel (I kept your stuff in my hard drive!). I was totally blown away by this story, and apparently, it took him a grand total of just five minutes to write it. Dude, you’re on your way to perfecting the art of flash fiction. And hey, you should send me your new sketches. I wish you the best of luck in becoming the ultimate Renaissance Man 🙂

Here’s to all the liters of Red Horse which defined our friendship, all the lazy hours  swapping the corniest jokes at Oz Cafe/Brothers’/the Main Lib/Watering Hole, all the conversations laced with absolutely wicked humor (The Impregnator! Soon to be a graphic novel!), all the crazy afternoons spent at arcades trying to whip each other’s asses at racing games, hoops and air hockey…basta! Miss ya supah mucho! Send my love to Angeli 🙂

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A Poor Count Dracula Story

It was the 1920s. Dracula was afraid of spires. Dracula was afraid of other buildings atop other hilltops, obstructing his view of the great Transylvanian scenery all around. At night he would rise from his crypt and his heart would sink, looking at the other houses, some that blocked even the sanguine shape of the full moon. More and more houses were being built by more and more people. Peasants were building houses, villagers were building houses, mountains were being peppered with houses. Houses were everywhere. Dracula was afraid of houses. Dracula was afraid of architecture. He could turn himself into mist, bat, wolf, decay, any form of insect and he was afraid of architecture. He was afraid of building plans. He was afraid of the population encroaching his territory. And they were building. He could suck their blood and filch the souls off their bodies and these were all powerless to stop him yet he was afraid of cement and bricks and mortar. Dracula cried tears of blood and he shivered thinking of chimneys and windows and the compactness of stone. He was wary of hitting his head against stone. Dracula would stare at his own castle’s walls and over and over again ram his own body, inhuman, bat or wolf again and again against the hard stone. He did not wish to imagine the pain of hitting the stone from other people’s houses and so he began breaking his bones against his castle’s walls so that he may be made infirm and incapable of traveling out. But the houses were still waiting for him. He had never felt that much fear before.

One night, he stabbed his own heart and jumped from atop his castle’s walls. One by one, the villagers came out to stare at his body. Their laughs echoed throughout the night and a feast was held in the morn. Their houses laughed and ate the Count’s bones.

Si tú me olvidas

May 19, 2007
Quiero que sepas
una cosa.

Tú sabes cómo es esto:
si miro
la luna de cristal, la rama roja
del lento otoño en mi ventana,
si toco
junto al fuego
la impalpable ceniza
o el arrugado cuerpo de la leña,
todo me lleva a ti,
como si todo lo que existe,
aromas, luz, metales,
fueran pequeños barcos que navegan
hacia las islas tuyas que me aguardan.

Ahora bien,
si poco a poco dejas de quererme
dejaré de quererte poco a poco.

Si de pronto
me olvidas
no me busques,
que ya te habré olvidado.

Si consideras largo y loco
el viento de banderas
que pasa por mi vida
y te decides
a dejarme a la orilla
del corazón en que tengo raíces,
piensa
que en ese día,
a esa hora
levantaré los brazos
y saldrán mis raíces
a buscar otra tierra.

Pero
si cada día,
cada hora
sientes que a mí estás destinada
con dulzura implacable.
Si cada día sube
una flor a tus labios a buscarme,
ay amor mío, ay mía,
en mí todo ese fuego se repite,
en mí nada se apaga ni se olvida,
mi amor se nutre de tu amor, amada,
y mientras vivas estará en tus brazos
sin salir de los míos.

Apathy is a distorted form of kindness

May 18, 2007

The messages were few and far between, the tenderness in his voice has receded. In due course, correspondence was left unanswered, and he was washed away by the swift ebb of time.

She was shrouded in a plethora of doubts. To her mind, it was the most heinous crime of betrayal.

Years into the future, when she finally acquired the wisdom of sages, she had an enlightened awakening. His deeds were certainly no affront to her person, she acknowledged. In some peculiar way, it was a disguised gift of supreme compassion, for there is no offense more wicked than imparting false hopes to a heart which continues to love sightlessly.

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A conversation with L. was my inspiration for this

Double Celebration

May 18, 2007

The parental units are celebrating their 33rd (33rd!) wedding anniversary today. That’s certainly no small feat. They’re in Tagaytay Highlands right now with my two kuyas and their families. The other brothers had an earlier celebration with them last Monday. Sigh. The travails of a big family with weird schedules 🙂

Today is also the birthday of one of my dearest friends, Allan. ¡Feliz cumpleaños, macho! You are very much missed. You don’t know how much I appreciate your efforts to google-talk with me every once in a while. It has really helped keep loneliness at bay. I’m putting together your dibidees, don’t worry…Un abrazo muy fuerte

Swamped with work!

May 17, 2007

Currently inundated with academic shite. Between now and the end of June, I have to work on these things:

1. 3 big papers, 1 relatively short proposal and 1 750-word “mini” paper

2. 3 oral presentations

3. 2 killer exams

4. a 3-week intensive internship

To make matters worse, I seemed to have lost my studying mojo. Waaaah! Can’t afford to be kicked out of Macq. Help me, God!

Can’t sleep…

May 16, 2007

…too cold. Bad recurring dreams. I wish I can just undergo that procedure in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Out of nowhere, this old Sinatra song starts playing in my head. At 4:18 am.

In the wee small hours of the morning
While the whole wide world is fast asleep
You lie awake and think about the girl
And never ever think of counting sheep

When your lonely heart has learned its lesson
Youd be hers if only she would call
In the wee small hours of the morning
Thats the time you miss her most of all

 

Memory Differentials

May 13, 2007

She called him one cold night in winter.

“Hey. How are you?,” he asked in a voice permeating with icy indifference.

“I’m good, thanks.”

“It’s been a while since I last heard from you. So, why’d you call?”

“I just wanted to ask…do you still remember the 4th of July, in 2005?” Her question was loaded with undertones of hope that somehow, he might still remember.

“What are you talking about?” There was a glaring dryness and annoyance in his timbre.

“Don’t you remember? The fireworks…the slots in the wall —”

“You called me just to ask if I remember some random night two years ago?” He was visibly irritated.

“Yes…I…I just wanted to ask if you—”

“No, I’m sorry but I don’t recall anything special about that date.” His words sliced like daggers.

“You don’t really remember anything?,” she inquired, in a tone pregnant with sad exasperation.

“4th of July…independence day, right?”

“Yeah, and they had a fireworks display and we—,”

“Well, I’m really sorry but I don’t recall anything. All I know is that the US Embassy sets off fireworks every year to celebrate independence day. I may have seen some of the 4th of July fireworks on TV, or when I was a kid or whatever, but two years ago I don’t really remember if I saw them or not. I mean, that was ages ago already”. His voice betrayed such frost. “What’s it to you, anyway?”

At that point in time, it would have meant the world to her if he had even the slightest recollection of that exquisite evening. “But how could he have forgotten?” she thought to herself. It was just about the most resplendent event they had witnessed together. That night, their fingers were interlocked, and her heart rhythmically erupted with affection for the boy in synchrony with each glorious explosion of pyrotechnics in the sky.

Was the boy afflicted with such profound memory loss for him not to have recalled an otherwise significant event? Or could it be selective amnesia? Did he deliberately forget? Or maybe that night might not have been as momentous as she imagined it to be after all. Maybe it was just a night of meaningless noise and drab multi-colored sparklers. Maybe all along she was concocting memories unilaterally. Or did that incident even occur at all?

The girl was still plagued by questions, but she deemed it best to just surrender. Maybe there really was a sliver of truth to the boy’s statements. In the end, she just resolved to create the same memory, in the distant future, with a boy who would remember.

Lonesome Traveller quote

May 10, 2007

No man should go through life without once experiencing healthy, even bored solitude in the wilderness, finding himself depending solely on himself and thereby learning his true and hidden strength. – Jack Kerouac

My “true and hidden strength”. Oooh. Hope I find it soon.