Saturday, December 1, 2012

Some Reasons NOT to Read Fanfiction

For all those who have loved a book, a TV show, or a movie so much that they didn't want the stories to end, there is a world called fanfiction where both the best and the worst writers come together. Personally, I've read quite a few stories myself and have a lot of times been impressed with how creative fans could be and how they could weave stories that are sometimes even better than the originals.

However, anyone who has read fanfiction will tell you that for every one great story there are about a hundred horrible, pluck-your-eyes-out fanfics, and it can often get so frustrating that you just want to  take your computer and chuck it out the window. In light of this fact, I have put together a few good reasons NOT to read fanfiction. 

Close your windows; secure your devices; and hold on tight.

Fanfiction is a melting pot for the worst spelling and grammatical errors ever. This makes for the funniest lines and the biggest headaches.

I admit that I can be very meticulous when it comes to spelling mistakes and grammatical errors--of others, that is--but fanfiction is a whole different level. You either have to learn how to live with it, or stop reading fanfiction entirely, because while a lot of authors write well and will make the effort to proofread, most of them won't even bother. In fact, you'd swear these people make mistakes on purpose just to make your eye twitch. Here are a few examples:
  • "People's lives are at steak as is the fate of this country, our country." Mmm, steak!
  • "Everything was quite.Quite what? QUITE WHAT?!
  • " 'You saved me from getting a Paris Hilton p- video made from your shower scene and being vued by Snap and Loopin.' Who MASTABATED (c is dat speld rong) to it he added silently." I don't even...*gives up*...Nope, dat is not speld rong at oll. Gud job Harry Potter fanfiction writer.
My suggestion? This:

RUN M*****F****** RUN!
Still, you'd have to hand it to people, because I have read some of the world's funniest lines ever while skimming through random stories. Here are some of them:
  • "Shepard now struggled with his bowels, having to make the most difficult decision his long and eventful military career had submitted." 
  • "Oh! My panties are still in the elevator."
Just three examples. I'm lazy like that.

You'll know you're in for a ride when the author's notes starts of with this:
Rated R for strong adult language, sex, violence and blood content. 

And ends with this:


..BLAH BLAH BLAH... Something about not forcing people to read at gun point...Mentions of RESOPONSIBILITY... More ranting... By now, the author already probably looks like this:



****************END QUOTE********************

And so on, and so on. No, really. There's more. I find it funny because with all the time and effort the anonymous author put into making this, there's a good chance that he/she just received even more hateful reviews. I didn't even read past the author's notes and I felt like leaving a bad review. The entire internet is a playground for immature kids, you know.

50 Shades of Grey.

Harapang Pabalat

If you haven't read it yet, I suggest you try reading it. No wait, I dare you to try reading it. So far I can't really bash it properly seeing as I haven't even read any book from the trilogy (Yes, trilogy. I know.), but from what I heard from a friend and some random quotes I saw online, the book is pretty sick. Depending on your book taste and how you define the word "sick", this can either be a good thing or a bad thing. You want to know what I heard about this book series? I heard that if you made a movie out of it you've basically made porn. BDSM porn.

Seriously, though. 50 Shades of Grey is a book that came from a piece of fanfiction that was based on the bad-book-turned-bad-movie TWILIGHT. Now, I have to admit that this book sounds completely different from its inspiration, but honestly it doesn't really sound better, just a completely different kind of bad. Don't take my word for it, though. Everything above comes from someone who has not read one page of 50 Shades-anything, which means I could be right on the money or way way off . You read it and tell me how it is because it doesn't look like I'll be reading this trilogy because of this little spoiler:

"Christian pulls Ana’s bloody tampon out of HER ACTUAL BODY before boning." 

Talk about 50 Shades of GROSS.

As a conclusion, I feel that it's necessary to point out that the fanfiction world is a great way to read awesome, creative stories and get to know fellow writers. It's just that sometimes, you could land yourself in the bad part of fanfiction and are exposed to absolutely atrocious grammar, meaningless (take note of this descriptor) erotic literature, and crazy, schizophrenic authors. I know this because I've been to that area, and it's one place in the web that a normal person wouldn't particularly enjoy being in. 

Now I don't know how to end this, so here's a GIF on how to properly use chopsticks instead. I hope you learn something, because I sure did. o_O

How to Use Chopsticks

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Before the Internet, There Were Books

Being a huge nerd and bookworm, reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes, and books are something that I've always felt I had something relevant to say about. And seeing as Pearl did a music-themed post, I thought I would answer back with a post about my most recommended reads. To our readers who know how to enjoy a good book now and again, here are five of my most favorite books/book series that I would very much suggest reading. Enjoy!

Inheritance Cycle
“It's impossible to go through life unscathed. Nor should you want to. By the hurts we accumulate, we measure both our follies and our accomplishments.” 
― Christopher PaoliniInheritance

The Inheritance Cycle, in my opinion, is one of the best book series there is in the fantasy genre. At first glance it really just sounds like your typical story with magic, elves, dwarves, and a young unlikely hero destined to save the world from an evil king. However, read a little more and you would eventually realize that this world is entirely separate from LOTR or any other fantasy series you can think of, sporting its own fascinating rules on allegiance and the power of simple words. Really, this is one of those "you'd have to read it yourself" cases, because I cannot and will not try to condense four great books into a short, terrible summary.

Why I recommend it:
Anyone one who knows me would know that fantasy stories are some of my most favorite books to read. I first bought Eragon on a whim in high school and have since the first page been hooked into this whole new world that is Alagaesia. More than just an amazing read, though, the Inheritance Cycle, or more specifically Christopher Paolini, is one of the biggest inspirations to me because he has accomplished something that I could only ever hope to do. Paolini first wrote Eragon when he was just 15 years old; by 19, he was already an internationally acclaimed author. 4 books later and he has finished his "practice book" as well as cemented himself as one of the best fantasy authors in the world, showing that you can be successful at any age if you just have skills and determination. For anyone who wants some writing tips and tricks, you can see him sharing his experiences on Twitter with the handle InheritanceCP.

Les Miserables
“A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is visible labor and there is invisible labor.” 
― Victor HugoLes Misérables

I remember calling Les Miserables as the first ever romance book that I really enjoyed reading. I don't even know where to begin trying to make a summary of this story, because it is so complex and expertly weaved together that each character has a great story to tell on his own. I would say that this book is all about love: patriotic love for country, the pure love of a mother, fearless love for God, the powerful love between two paired souls, and even a twisted love for justice that could end up corrupting a man. Love, yeah, let's go with that.

Why I recommend it: 
Veering away from my terrible attempt at summarizing this classic, I recommend reading Les Miserables because it is brilliant, simple as that. I confess that the book I borrowed from a friend stayed for quite a few months inside my backpack, but when I eventually got down to reading through it, I found myself awed and genuinely touched. Believe you me, you'll get emotional too when you read of *spoiler* how an abused little girl gets her first real doll.*end spoiler* Having said this, I suggest reading the unabridged version because from what I've read, there are a lot of good bits removed in the abridged version.
The Solitaire Mystery“How terribly sad it was that people are made in such a way that they get used to something as extraordinary as living.” 
― Jostein GaarderThe Solitaire Mystery

The Solitaire Mystery follows the story of a young boy and his dad as they trek across Europe in search of the little boy's mother. Along the way, the boy receives a tiny book baked inside a sticky bun, which relates a colorful tale involving fate, rainbow fishes, and a particularly temperamental deck of cards. How these all tie up together with reality is the real mystery, and what an exciting mystery it is! 

Why I recommend it: 
Gaarder shows just how clever he is by weaving together this impressive story-within-a-story-within-a-story book. In contrast to Sophie's World, this is less of a history-slash-philosophy lesson and more of a fun puzzle to tear apart and put together. My warning to you is that it can get pretty confusing, especially when you miss out on little details that matter later on in the story. Well worth it, though!

To Kill a Mockingbird“I think there's just one kind of folks. Folks.” 
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

This book is definitely my favorite classic out of them all. In this coming-of-age story, readers get to look through the eyes of Jean Louis "Scout" Finch and see how she grows up along  with her brother Jem in a world full of mysterious neighbors, widespread racism, and an ultimately flawed justice system. To kill a mockingbird is a sin, the reader will ultimately learn, because mockingbirds don't really do anything except to make music and "sing their hearts out to us".

Why I recommend it:
I don't know how Harper Lee did it, but she made me feel incredibly nostalgic about a childhood that I didn't really experience. Her story telling is so genuine and timeless that whether you read this tomorrow or 50 years from now, you would always be taken back to the past where being colored is a bigger crime than rape and child abuse. This book shares great morals on being equal, having integrity, and all in all just being decent human beings no matter what day and age you may have been born in. If you haven't read it yet, do it now.

CRAP“And so the lion fell in love with the lamb..." he murmured.
I looked away, hiding my eyes as I thrilled to the word.
What a stupid lamb," I sighed.
What a sick, masochistic lion.” 
― Stephenie MeyerTwilight

Ahhh, Twilight. With the movie series just coming to an end, I figured it would be apt for me to add this particular book series to this list. This book is included for the simple fact that I want people to realize one thing: if Stephanie Meyer managed to get rich out of something like Twilight, then there's hope for anyone out there who has a half-baked idea and a reliable spell checker.  This and this alone makes Meyer a very inspirational person, because despite how many people absolutely hate Twilight, Meyer's still probably laughing along wiping her butt with dollar bills. What do you haters say now?

Why I recommend it:
I DON'T. For the record, I actually have read the series--skimmed, to be more accurate-- so I can talk smack about it all I want. Bella is so whiny in the first book that I actually got drunk reading a few chapters (yay puns!), and it didn't really pick up from there. Let's not even talk about how the ending to this series was the most boring, anti-climactic scene I've ever read, and that's saying something because it had to go against the encyclopedia for that distinction. I'm just bashing now, yes, but Meyer turned vampires, one of the toughest, meanest monsters in the world into shiny, sparkling fairies. This is UNFORGIVABLE. 

Also, 50 Shades of Grey. Enough said.

Do you have any suggestions for a good (or bad) read? Feel free to comment, like, share on Facebook, or something. In fact, please do. (^(oo)^)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

If Only Real Life Has a Soundtrack As Well

Music is an area I've never considered writing about. For the longest time, I've thought of it as a weak spot for me.  I’m not saying that my taste level has now reached an all-time high, but at least I have broadened my  playlist beyond mainstream pop and R&B. Much of the credit goes to my sister, who pesters me to download for the two of us thus, keeping me on my toes to update my playlist from time to time.

There's probably so much great music and artists I have yet to discover so to be on the safe side, I’ll limit myself to writing about movie soundtracks that have earned a lot of plays in my list. Since these movies are fairly popular, everyone has got to have a song or two saved in theirs. For easy listening, just click on the play button at the bottom of the screen. (It's purple, so you can't miss it.)

I love how she makes me feel, like anything's possible,
or like life is worth it.
I've never really given notice to the soundtracks played in movies until this one, so it should only be fitting that this OST comes first. Up to this point, I've been pretty much sucked into mainstream culture, as finding quality music requires a little more effort. This album definitely had given my iTunes a much needed updating.  All of the songs are worth the download purchase but for movie reference, the most popular track is from The Smiths (song below), which was played during the elevator scene (album cover). I've never even heard of the Smiths before but what JGL likes, scripted or not, I'll be sure to follow. Haha!

My favorites: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out- The SmithsSweet Disposition, Mushaboom, Vagabond

Well, you're two penises short of a Shania
Twain reimagination band!
Nick & Norah's INFINITE PLAYLIST. 'Nuff said. If the OST blows, then what's the whole point?

Unlike 500 Days, which offers a more subdued, happy, indie music (I think?), Nick and Norah's tracks are more of rock alternative. So if you're looking for a bit of noise that's not actually deafening, maybe you'll like this one.

My favorites: Lover- Devendra Banhart Middle Management, Riot Radio

Paulie Bleeker: I still have your underwear.
Juno MacGuff: I still have your virginity.
Well, who doesn't like this movie? And who doesn't think the soundtrack's cute? Remember the last scene? So cute. It's more of a teenage girl playlist but the protagonist is  your typical  teenage girl, only pregnant (which makes her all the more typical). Lots of cutesy (Yes, I said it thrice, but it is!), happy vibes coming your way.

My favorites: Anyone Else But You- The Moldy PeachesSea of Love, Tree Hugger

Ruby Sparks Soundtrack List
I'm sorry for every word I wrote to change you,
I'm sorry for so many things.

Fine, I admit I'm kind of cheating on this one because I only know one song and it's French! Hell, I don't even know what the song is about but I love it! When it was played during the scene streaks of zombie watching, arcade gaming, and club dancing, I swear it was love at first sound. I might have gone overboard and way cheesier than usual on this one, but you get the point. I can never get enough of this song! I had it on repeat for an entire day after watching the movie. (Don't) take it from me, the album's worth listening to. Must remember to get the entire playlist though.

And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.
From someone who had no expectations and no idea what the movie is all about except that it was a coming-of-age film, The Perks took me by surprise. Big surprise. I laughed, I cried,  and didn't even care what I looked like coming out of the cinema. I especially admired how they threaded on the sensitive eewie parts by showing restraint as not to make it too heavy.

Listening to the soundtrack just brings me back to the feel-good air of the movie. Even if you haven't watched it, the soundtrack's still pretty amazing. It also features a track from The Smiths.

My favorites: Come On Eileen- Dexys Midnight Runners, Heroes, Asleep

I'm a little worried about Edward... 
Can vampires go in to shock?
Don't judge me just yet. Though the movie saga kinda sucks, the soundtracks have great music in them. They have songs from some pretty popular artists by the likes of Muse, Linkin Park, Paramore, Deathcab for Cutie and other underrated bands. Admittedly, I have four of the soundtracks, excluding BD Part 2 (emphasis on the soundtracks and not the movies).

My favorites: Flightless Bird, American Mouth- Iron & WineMeet Me on the Equinox, Supermassive Black Hole

Still in search of awesome music. Share some if you have. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunset Limitations? Bayaran Niyo Laing Ko!

Recently, I had the misfortune of getting my first ever crappy airplane experience. Long story short, there was much turbulence, a cancelled flight due to "sunset limitations", and incredibly horrible customer service all around. It was interesting enough to warrant an errant blog post, and I am personally surprised that things like this actually happen on a daily basis. Still, in the spirit of being tactful enough not to bash any person or company, I  am not going to be mentioning any names in this one;  I will however say that the airline rhymes with "Best Fair" and that the name makes me think of oranges and lemons.     

By all means, I am not an experienced flyer, but here are some tips I can give to whoever is crazy enough to take them and a few realizations.

Ticket prices for airplanes change by the minute. 

This one is probably as helpful as I can get, so for anyone actually expecting real advice you can pretty much stop reading right after this one. I don't have the slightest clue on how airplane ticket prices go, but from my experience, a P98 ticket one day can become P4000 within a span of a few hours, which explains how I ended up with "Best Fair" in the first place. If you want to get cheap tickets for a good airline, plan way ahead, always be on the lookout for crazy sales, and never ever fly with "Best Fair".

Despite how realistic it may look, that pig is just a product of my insane photoshop skills. 

Angry customers are craaaazy.

Here's a short list of the people who completely freaked out when our flight was cancelled:

  • A staff member of "Be Careful With My Heart" who had props for a Magnolia commercial set for the next day. Living proof that most angry gay men can be quite intimidating and fluent when mad. Don't know what happened to him, but I hope he made it in time for his appointment.   
  • "Tito" and company. This was an older gentleman who simply could not wait to talk to the manager that he ducked into the hole meant only for check-in bags. It almost turned  really ugly when security stepped in while his niece and nephew were trying to get him back out. Quotable quote: "Pasukin mo si Tito!" 
  • Mayon groupie and high blood chick. One of my fellow Mt. Mayon picture-takers (who waited about 3 hours just for the crater to peek out from behind the clouds) apparently has a sister with some high blood pressure problems. Said sister was eventually rushed to the hospital, no thanks to the sluggish response of the "Best Fair" crew.
Cebu Pacific ground crew saying bye-bye!
  • Maalala Mo Kaya media guy. He was the one who was obviously trying to stir things just to get good news material.  He was also the one responsible for calling in the press. He was absolutely no help at all, in my opinion.
  • Laing group. *See below.
Bring Bigg's. 

An announcement of a cancelled flight always results to a stampede of furious customers. If you don't want your blood to boil and want to just watch from the sidelines, just do what I did and clutch some Bigg's takeout to your chest. With the aroma of delicious chicken and burgers wafting up into my nose, I was the calmest person in the room and was able to patiently wait until the angry customers managed to shout us into free lodging and a free rebooking. Bigg's is just that awesome.

Bigg's Diner - Philippines
The best stress reliever ever.

A "Laing Refund" needs to be mandatory for airlines.

Apparently, one group that I was scheduled to fly with bought and cooked an assortment of seafood as well as some Laing to take to Manila as "pasalubong". Obviously some people with a sense of humor, their joking scream of "Bayaran niyo ang laing namin" was the funniest moment of my whole experience. I'm no expert, but I think that this just further proves that flyers with food are generally more relaxed than those without.

As for the Laing group? I ended up taking a group picture with them and sharing a hotel room with one of them.

The last piece of advice I would give is to try out every other airline before booking with "Best Fair". Sometimes, you are going to have to stick to a rigid schedule, and by booking with a consistently unreliable airline (I checked online), you are taking a HUGE risk which is way more trouble than it's worth. I have come up with hopefully the newest tagline for this wonderful airlines: "Come fly with Zest Air 'Best Fair', but I'm telling you, the plane is never there!"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Of maids, mother complexes, and Filipino time

These past few days have been such a flurry of news, it becomes hard to keep up. There’s the editorial from UST’s The Varsitarian which sparked public outcry after lashing out on Ateneo and La Salle. We also have the recently concluded filing of Certificate of Candidacy, with Atty. Leni Robredo joining the ranks of hopeful candidates. And last time I checked, the Anti-Cybercrime Law has been put under a Temporary Restraining Order after numerous organizations have submitted petitions against it. But, the biggest news of all, the one that I think deserves attention is no other than the finale of ABS-CBN’s “Walang Hanggan”.

I may deserve some backlash right there, but with ABS-CBN counting down the days until the grand ending, it may as well be. Long ago, I may have reacted to this with absolute annoyance that local television is synonymous with soap operas. But I have long surrendered myself into accepting that this is an irrevocable part of Pinoy culture. Though I won’t go as far as liking them, I can now sit back and watch in peaceful tolerance.

With “Walang Hanggan” coming to a close (which means saying goodbye to the “yami” Coco Martin), I thought it only fitting to share some of the things I’ve picked up in soap operas in order to avoid the drama and stress of living in a teleserye. Though I’m pretty sure they are not at all helpful and I’m just deliberately wasting your time, read it nonetheless.

Is it me or Coco Martin looks a little bit off, to put it nicely?
1.       Never hire attractive maids.

If you’re the epitome of the classic doña, never get pretty ladies for hired help. This is applicable especially if you have an only son, who is going to inherit all your family’s fortune. Pretty soon, you may wind up with inday as your daughter-in-law. Sure, they may have found true love. And yes, they may find everlasting happiness. But better avoid going through all the mess and trouble you’re going to face before they get their happy ending. 

This may as well be next impossible since no good-looking girl will aspire to become yayas if they have a face for television. So, in amendment to the earlier rule:

Never hire maids your son’s age.

No matter how different your son’s type in women may be, never underestimate the power of proximity and small confines. Better opt for the elderly and maternal types, unless your son has a disturbing thing for mother figures.

Loving the hair and looking not at all like a wig. 
2.       DNA testing for instant family.

If you’re in serious rotten luck that you have a parent or sibling you've never known or met, just remember the saying “maliit ang mundo”. So, if the fates work their magic and you meet someone you feel a strong kinship to, then DNA testing is the way to go. Especially if physical resemblances won’t do it for you. You can stop wishing he is your long lost father and know once and for all. For starters, find out if your blood types match. (Tip: O parents can never have AB children. It’s all one Google search away.) Then, if there’s a match, then you can now proceed to comparing your DNA. 

Coco Martin turning out to be her long lost son. How convenient.
3.       Don’t start your wedding on time.

If you have unresolved issues with an ex or you've been estranged for a while but you are still harboring some feelings, better move your wedding down by a few minutes because if he or she is coming to stop it, chances are he/she will be late. Blame it on Filipino time. So better uphold the tradition and start your wedding late. No one will be surprised if you do so.

2 grand weddings. Lucky girl.
I may go on and on but I don’t want to lose any more self-respect in admitting more than I should. I’m just glad that “Walang Hanggan” is coming to a close. But then again, a new one will take its place. And so, the cycle continues.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rude Rant: 5 Tips for the Promdi

1.) Escalator Vanity encourages photobombers. 

Avoid taking pictures of your friends while on a mall escalator because it's annoying having to adjust myself just so that I don't accidentally photobomb your shot. Seriously, there's nothing special with this escalator and the next one won't be any better. The next time I see a person doing this, I will intentionally place myself in the shot with my best I-will-kill-you-in-your-sleep smile.

Beware the "I-will-kill-you-in-your-sleepsmile. 
Consequently, DON'T EVER take pictures when going up or down the stairs. I will push you, and I will laugh when you fall.

2.) Buses hate old ladies.

"Lampas na ho kayo. Hindi kasi kayo nagsabi."
The thousands of buses moving around Metro Manila all go to different places. Check twice before getting on any because it would be more than just a little troublesome figuring out where to get off without getting even more lost. NEWSFLASH (Even to frail old ladies): Bus drivers and conductors couldn't care any less about where you end up, and any mishaps will always be considered your fault.

Basic bus lingo translated:
  • "Maluwang pa" - Trip to jerusalem ang labanan at malapit nang matapos ang tugtog.
  • "Makakaupo" -  Asa ka pang makaupo.
  • "Usog na lang po sa likod" - Gumagawa tayo nang isang higanteng lata ng sardinas. World Record ba.
  • "Bawal magbaba dito" - Dun ka na bumaba sa kabila. Bawal din, pero dun walang pulis.

3.)  The LRT/MRT card is not rocket science.

That little hole is your friend. That's what she said.
You know what that little hole on one corner of the LRT/MRT card means? Surprise, surprise, it's to show you what orientation the card should be when you enter or exit the station. And that's assuming you don't notice the not-so-subtle arrows on the cards with the same purpose! 

Ideally, it should only take one journey on any of the train lines for you to figure out how that small piece of card works.  People on Manila trains already have no concept of patience and personal space as it is without having to deal with  people trying every possible card orientation BUT the right one.
4.) Provincial plate number? Beware the crocodiles.

If your car not only has a provincial plate number but is at the same time covered in the dirt and grime accumulated from hundreds of kilometers of travel, you are going to be a prime target for MMDA officials. If there's ever a time when you should drive perfectly then your visit to the city would be it, because one wrong move and you'll find yourself sponsoring the next snack or meal of some crafty policemen. Swerving, beating the red light, and not wearing seat belts are only a few of the usual culprits. 
NOT the answer, by the way. DON'T be like this guy.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not claiming that all policemen are corrupt. It's just that I've never seen any officer who has refused a few Ube or Yellow bills when it's time to eat. Just saying.
5.) Manila taxi drivers can be a big headache. Literally!
If you ever need to ride a cab in the big city, try your hardest to get an MGE taxi, Dollar taxi, or any of the other colored taxis. The white taxis are usually the ones who spell trouble and would try to get you to pay extra with excuses of traffic and such nonsense. Always stick to the meter, and don't let yourself be fooled by any of their ploys.
Be careful, though. Once, we paid the exact meter amount when we got off, and the taxi driver got p***ed. I got a 5-peso coin hurled at my head just because the taxi driver is an a** hat and felt entitled to more money.
NOT what I meant by colored taxi, by the way.

Does anyone else have any tips to share?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cine Europa 2012: Oui! Si! Belissimo! Nein! (and other random European words)

One of the reasons I like going to Shang, aside from the quiet and space due to the lack of crowds other malls normally have, is that they play host to different film festivals in which, for the sad unawares, admission is free. These past two weeks, Cine Europa, which showcased films from (surprise, surprise!) different European countries, was held. Compared to film fests in the past, the crowd of attendees this year has grown much bigger. It unsettled me that most who were there had no other reason in watching aside from the fact that it’s free. It made me feel bad that the movies were playing for the wrong audience who, being used to watching visually-arresting but mindless blockbusters, might not appreciate them. But, as my sister wisely pointed out, it can also serve as an avenue to educate people that there also films of substance out there that they can enjoy.

Out of the many films on schedule, I had the chance to watch three films, which was plenty enough for me. These three were all different from their country of origin, decade where they belonged, the storyline, of course, and the general atmosphere of the movie.

The first movie I was able to see was “Lidice” from Czech Republic. Because we had decided at the last minute to watch due to its convenience of time, we lined up, utterly clueless of what we were about to see. Had I known what was coming, I would have a very different reaction altogether.

From the first few seconds of the film, it was apparent that there would be no laughing involved. What we did not expect, was that it was a Nazi movie. Lidice, as it turns out, was an actual town, which took the fall for the assassination of a high-ranking official. Frantic to find a scapegoat, an innocent letter from Lidice was purposely misinterpreted and used as evidence for the shooting. The result was a town genocide of horrendous proportions. I will no longer describe the details beyond the words death by weighing scale and gas chamber trucks. The protagonist was the only male survivor of the town because he was in prison when the whole thing happened. He had no knowledge of the incident until he, as a free man, found himself standing on a wide patch of snow where the town used to be. The story has more to it, with its sub-plots, but you get the drift. Although I should do more than tell the story and at least give a reaction to the film other than exclaiming my horror, I cannot get past the lifeless faces of the dead and the anguished cries of the mothers to see it as a movie and not as history unfolding itself.  If I have learned anything from this film, it’s that one Nazi movie is enough to watch for a lifetime and in my case, I had two (“Life is Beautiful”). So much for including “Schinder’s List” on my bucket list.

Determined not to make the same mistake of watching unknowingly, I read the synopsis of “The Rest is Silence” (Romania) before heading out. Because it was a labeled as a comedy and as one review puts it, “an intelligent crowd-pleaser”, I was all set to watch. And I was not disappointed. The film is about the making of the first full-length feature film about the war in Romania. In a time where the theatre is watched in throngs, short silent films are a big joke to the arts. And so, it was a huge feat, that a two-hour long film, ambitious as it was, was completed. It highly contrasts the two performance arts. “Hamlet” in theatre is a four-hour long show of colourful and elaborate costumes and poignant poetry uttered with the grace and eloquence that can only be perfected by years of study. Whereas, in film, it is only a ten-minute sequence of black and white images, with the actors gesturing wildly as they have to convey emotions without any audible dialogue and assisted with short intertitles instead.

Carol I: A "director"...?... So what the 
hell does this child do?
Grig:  Me, I reign, Sire!     
The film is ridden with hapless but comical situations brought to life by characters with their flamboyant personas. The chubby young director, determined to break film grounds despite the objections of his father, who happened to be a renowned comic theatre actor. The investor, albeit his reservations, upon watching his first short film cracked up the most long after the laughters have ended.  And the mysterious, beautiful lady, who after the director’s first encounter with her, which was seeing her posing with her breasts au naturale for a painting, keeps popping up in his life. But true to the movie’s promise of a tragedy-comedy, the characters took the turn for the worst, as they faced their dreadful and lonely endings. Still, the somber ending did not taint the post-movie glow I have whenever I enjoyed watching. And as to the title “The Rest is Silence”, aside from the reference to silent films, it was drawn from the last line uttered in “Hamlet” right before he died, which also pertained to the death of the movie characters.

Being second is to be the first 
of the ones who lose.  
The film I am most excited about is “Senna” (UK). It is a actually, a documentary of Ayrton Senna, a racing driver legend. He is the Manny Pacquaio of Brazil, only handsome. He has three Formula One World Championships under his belt and numerous podium finishes. In every win, he never hesitates to wave his Brazilian flag up high (literally), a testament that he is proud of his roots.
The documentary captures the very first time he raced in Europe, up to that faithful day of his untimely death. It features footages from the races, including his in-car camera, interviews, and closed-door meetings. We are given front row seats to the highs and lows of his career, which I never imagined to be ridden with so much controversy and drama. It was as if his life was made for television.  I never knew of his existence before I sat down and watched him on the screen but his death affected me so even though I am 18 years too late. I guess that’s our general reaction whenever someone still young and at the peak of his career dies.

In the first few minutes upon realizing that the film was nothing more than a documentary of some race car driver, a number of people made their way out of the theatre. Some tried to hold their ground but eventually followed suit. It was a documentary and not a biopic because despite the lack of glitz and glamour one could in add in films, it would be hard to capture the raw intensity, uproars of the spectators, and the breathless anticipation of every turn in the tracks from watching the real thing. I myself don’t really watch documentaries but this one was able to get me to hold on to my seat. It took some strategic emphasis, camera angles, and the right commentaries to make it as exciting as it can get. I don’t know if it was intentional but the bromance relationship between Senna and his doctor was a happy departure from the grim scenes presented. It got me laughing when the doctor said that “His (Senna’s) face lights up whenever he sees me.”  

I’ve written more than I intended to and I have to stop myself from gushing about Senna’s cute smile or his endearing Portuguese accent. I should just end by saying that I hope people should take advantage of the various film fests malls, like Shang, have to offer. There are plenty of others film festivals aside from this one to choose from. With so much black hole-sucking movies right in front of our faces, it’s nice to use our brains once in a while. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Plagiarism Sh*t

Let me make this clear. This is not a blog about the RH Bill. There are enough know-it-alls and self-righteous people talking about that particular topic without me joining into the foray. Instead, this entry aims to tackle a certain issue that is  close to the heart of just about anyone who has been to college or high school.

Let's talk about plagiarism.

Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work,[1][2] but the notion remains problematic with nebulous boundaries.[3][4][5][6] The modern concept of plagiarism as immoral and originality as anideal emerged in Europe only in the 18th century, particularly with the Romantic movement, while in the previous centuries authors and artists were encouraged to "copy the masters as closely as possible" and avoid "unnecessary invention."[7][8][9][10][11][12]

THAT, my friends, is plagiarism. And I'm not talking about the definition I just wrote down either. In copying part of a Wikipedia entry verbatim and not even bothering to cite it (or even removing the links and in-text citation for Christ's sake), I have willfully committed plagiarism. Pretty much, this was what Senator Vicente "Tito" Sotto III did when he presented his "turno en contra" speech against the RH bill a few weeks ago and what sparked an ongoing public outcry to do everything to Sotto from having him resign to taking him to court. So, what's the big deal?

I can't speak for the other millions of Filipinos stomping their hooves and snorting their noses, but I at least know the reason why I am angry. It's not because I am pro-RH bill and want to discredit one of the biggest threats to the bill. It's not because I consider plagiarism to be a condemnable act and am shocked that the senate seems to take the matter too lightly. It's certainly not because I have never committed plagiarism in my entire life of writing.

Simply put, It is because I hate shameless people. No, wait, that doesn't have as much impact as I want it to have.

Translate: Ayaw ko sa mga taong makapal ang mukha.

In my opinion, Sotto could have avoided a lot of grief these past few weeks if he had just come out and apologized outright--and personally-- the first moment that Pope called him out on his plagiarism. Sure, that doesn't make anything right, but it would have at least shown that he recognized his mistake and acknowledged that yes, he's just as proficient at writing speeches as the average high schooler and yes, he was caught red-handed (scratch head sheepishly). Instead, he hides under the desk and has his staff take the blame and Attorney Villacorta start a battle for him, furiously scrubbing his hands clean of any wrongdoing in the situation. This is why even weeks after his speech, the media is still needlessly talking about plagiarism and bloggers, leaving the real issue of the RH bill buried under the confusion.

I am sure I am not the only who palmed my face in shame for the shameless display.

Here are a few more things about the topic.

*Plagiarism is common practice in the Senate and is not a criminal act.

 -Fine, whatever. Just have the decency to apologize to the real author when he/she calls you out. Don't start a war against bloggers and make the people ashamed to have put you in Senate. Also, way to set an example to the students nationwide. I can already imagine myself saying "Eh kung si Sotto nga ma'am..."

*The plagiarism is a ploy by Sotto's detractors in order to discredit him and strengthen the pro-RH stand.

-You know what, out of the millions of people in the Philippines, this might very well be true. Still, this is a real issue which should be dealt with nevertheless. Maawa ka na, nakakahiya ka.

*Sotto is a victim of cyber bullying.

-Oh, yes. Bullying. Because everyone is THAT immature.

*A blogging bill should be made.

-Oh boy...

I am ending this with the reminder that I have written this with not an ounce of pro-RH intentions. I am just sick and tired of hearing Sotto in the news every other day just because he doesn't want to say sorry. It's true that the people are making mountains out of mole hills, but I think it can be safely said that a big part of the fault lies in Sotto.

Right now, I'm supposed to be getting some exercise, but got stuck in this chair writing about plagiarism of all things. Dying of a heart attack because someone copied someone else's work without permission just isn't the way to go.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony

If there's one thing I could say, it's that the British certainly know how to put on a good show.

I swear I know that guy--third person waving from the left.
This post comes many days after the London 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony and yet I still feel all giddy and excited from having watched even just the replay of it. Even now, "And I Will Kiss" is still on repeat in my phone's playlist, a song that accompanied what had to be one of the most impressive and dynamic Olympics opening scenes ever to have been conceptualized. 

It's weird coming from me, because I rarely have high regard for anything that can be considered as "hype", and yet here I am devoting an entire blog post just to say how awesome I think the ceremony was.So have I taken the effort to start this, then so shall I finish.

The opening was a special kind of history lesson that showcased everything from the British industrial revolution to children's literature, to the evolution of British music and culture, and even a bit of  James Bond action with Queen Elizabeth herself.

Whoever made these chimneys is permanently on the naughty list.
Above all else, though,  my most favorite scene would be the transformation of the stage from lush green pastures of the stage to loud and chaotic industrial structures as Isambard Kingdom Brunel heralded the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.  This portion of the show was named Pandemonium, and to anyone who watched, it would be pretty obvious why.  One moment everything was peaceful and calm, then a blink and a thousand drumbeats later, the stage is thrown into controlled chaos.

As the people rolled up the grass and tore off all the natural aspects of the stage, you could see how Britain developed through the years, growing wealthier and more productive but at the cost of disfiguring the beautiful rural areas of the past. All the while, important historical figures and groups that have contributed to British history march, only stopping for a brief while as the entire stadium paused to honor the sacrifices made in both World Wars. 

Now that's how you open up the Olympic Games.
The real star of this part of the show, though, is a ring--well, five of them, actually. Pandemonium came to a climax as the stage was set up and actors worked together in order to forge a single ring. You could almost feel the heat and smell the smoke as the forged ring rises to the top of the stadium, ultimately meeting up with four others to form the familiar symbol of the Olympic rings. Just seeing them bursting into sparks and fireworks as they are melded together must have given someone somewhere seizures I'm sure of it. All in all a very goosebump-inducing sight which I would have paid to see live.

The second best part of the entire ceremony for me was the lighting of the Olympic cauldron. It's yet another reinforcement of the "Coming Together as One" idea that they seemed to be advocating as 7 different athletes each lit up a single petal of the cauldron. Actually, it wasn't so much a cauldron as a collection of 204 different torches/petals that rise up and come together as one gigantic flame. I read somewhere that the designer of the cauldron was not supposed to use moving parts for it, and believe me I'm glad he broke that rule.  
The London 2012 Pyrolympics has a better "ring"to it. LOL Pun-demonium!

With all the sparks, the flames, and the fireworks, though, I'm completely convinced that the games should have been named the London 2012 Pyrolympics instead. Always next time, though.

All in all, the 2012 Olympics Opening ceremony was a very good watch. I'd go so far as to say that it was loads more fun than the one held in Beijing four years prior, but perhaps that's just personal bias coming in to the mix. i certainly haven't covered everything about this and if you have the time, I recommend that you watch a video or a replay of it. Sure it's four hours, but it would be four hours well spent in my opinion.  You can check out this blog as the best quality full version video of the event is embedded on this page

Also, here is the song to Pandemonium. Turn your headphones up and enjoy the brilliant drumwork!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Oh no she didn't!

In my crusade to keep this an "All Things Kristen Stewart" blog, I have to post something about her recent promiscuity.

Who would have thought that she'd be 'that kind of girl'?

Did they really think they weren't going to get caught, 
especially if it happened in a popular Hollywood make out place?

After the news broke out, she seems too distraught to pay attention to inconsequential things 
such as washing her hair or wearing fresh clothes.

On the positive side, I really ought to be thanking her. It's always comforting to know that when celebrities f*** up, it's open season for everyone. It makes your anonymous existence seem a little bit brighter.

I still <3 you KS!