Actions and Reasons

30 11 2009

I write to remember.

Someday when my body has taken its long journey, when the lines on my face shows years of life handled and my mind has taken its stretched flight – that may or may not make me forget – I will need something to remind me that I once tried to live every moment possible. That as much as I can, I aimed to take in as much of life can offer and I did the things I liked the most without pretence or hesitation.

And today is a good day to write them down. Because after running this month at full speed I have passed a handful of dates that I would like to remember when I am grey. Days that are simple but entirely worthwhile and happy.

I had two good Saturday’s for November and because I had so much in my plate, I could not find the time to write about it. First it was a dinner with Reb (he refuses to be called Bernard, for reason’s I think is silly), Arlyn and Jen at Tender Bob’s in Shangri-La. For appetizers, I had Artichoke and Spinach Dip followed by their Tomato Soup. I can do without the soup (since it was a little too salty for my taste) but I thoroughly enjoyed the Dip. It was subtle at first but the flavour gradually introduced itself. By then the four of us are dipping away. I noted that in the event I return, I will order this again without hesitation. For my main course, I had Tropical Salmon. It was just like every other grilled salmon I’ve had only this was served elegantly.

After a hearty meal, Arlyn and Jen had to run to their dates so me and Reb walked our meal off and eventually headed to Starbucks. Enjoying my peppermint mocha, he talked about his life while he smoked, who he is and what makes him happy. Me on the other hand, talked about my frustrations at work and how I feel my life is going round in circles. With our little conversation, I learned that Reb is very smart, kind and a good listener. Some of the things that came out of his mouth are pretty quotable and I like that he never diminishes my problems as useless fits of the sullen.

He did not keep me long. We parted before midnight and I was happy to realize that in that little window of interlude, I got my reprieve.

A week later it was time to meet with my best friend Ayie. It was a long time coming given that both of us are buried neck deep with work. However, both of us could not keep it off anymore; we needed to celebrate me and Mona’s birthday (do the math: a week before = me. A week after = Mona). We met at my building then commuted to Shangri-La and took a beeline to Claw Daddy. We had corn for appetizers and immediately picking it off its cob, we jumped to each others updates. Laughing and swapping funny stories we then ordered pepperoni and cheese pizza, rustic carbonara, two glasses of 7 Up and a HUGE Thypoon Shelter Deep Crab that nearly broke the budget.

It was a blast eating with our hands and taking pictures with our huge bib (just like when you eat lobsters). But we soon realized that as much as we’d like to devour everything, we can only eat as much. So after an hour, we called for our bill (that topped all my bills for all eat out I’ve had in my entire life) and had the rest packed so I can take them home. Then we walked it off (I went to Powerbooks to grab a Marcus Sedwick novel and she went to the hardware). When we could not find any nice clothes to buy, I took out our movie tickets and asked her if we can already go so we can still watch the movie trailers.

Eating our Singapore Sling and Rum chocolates, I remembered how thankful I am for having her around. That even if we barely see each other, the few times we do are marked with genuine friendship and the familiarity never wanes. I met her when I was around seven or eight years old, after that we’ve been inseparable.

This is what keeps me calm, what keeps me sane and what keeps me grounded. The little interludes that tells me I was not born to slave away in the corporate world but to live. Live a life that can never be compared to a zombie. And when I write I get to untangle my thoughts and remove it from the violent hours I so intensely fight.

Yes, to write is to remember but to write can also be to forget … the things that are not important.

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Taming The Beast

26 11 2009

Taming The Beast

Have you ever read a book and soon after finishing it, realized that you should not have read it because of the horrors it can bring? I have.

Taming the Beast is not the type that wastes your time only to be forgotten; this book will tear you apart and leave you dazed and ultimately frenzied. It is much too painful and much too dark. Instead of providing something warm and tender, it gave horrors. As for me, my head was spinning in anger. Author Emily Maguire painted a love that has the ultimate power to damage; comparable to watching a train derail while you’re in it.

Sarah Clark is a young smart girl of fourteen who falls in love with her English teacher. On the side is her dutiful best friend Jamie Wilkes whose only wish is for her attention. Their lives are tangled in a muddled painful existence after Mr. Carr, their English teacher molests Sarah. Throughout Sarah’s struggle Jamie will look pass her obsessions and her complex appetite to self destruct.

Jamie knew he had to tread carefully with Sarah. Two days ago she had all but said she loved him, and he has been so elated that he pushed too far, and she freaked out and took it back. He has to remember that Sarah had never made a commitment, that she was terrified of losing her hard-won independence, and that better men that he has failed to win her. Jamie had waited for her for so many years and now that she was almost his, it was vital for him to bite down on his joy and let her take the lead.

The book explained so astutely the unadulterated reality of never getting back what you deserve and the gut wrenching reality of losing your mind after getting hurt one too many times. It also showed a picture of how depraved, sick and twisted a mind can become after realizing the sytem meant to secure proved only as a facade. Corrupt and heartbreaking, Taming the Beast is a tour deforce of raw, disturbing and difficult love story.

Throughout January and February, Jamie and Sarah saw each other as much as they ever had, but instead of watching movies or getting drunk or going out for lunch, they climbed into Sarah’s bed and stayed there until it was time for Sarah to go home. Sarah was surprised by how much she liked fucking him, but more that that she was surprised at how easily she fell asleep when he was by his side. His breath in her ear, his hand on her waist, the scent and sound of him, tranquillised her. Many times he has to wake her to tell her it was time for him to go, and she would spend the night trying without success to recapture the serenity he took with him.

I felt that the book incessantly spoke of how a warped mind can journey from falling in love with its own molester to the need to be enslaved. To conclude that the unlimited capacity of a person to go beyond disgusting in order to fill the void diminishes the journey of the three characters (Sarah, Jamie and Mr. Carr). They are more than the sum of their portrayal; they are a full thesis of their profile. Example:  (1) After realizing that Mr. Carr is a paedophile and that she was actually a victim, Sarah still choses to be in love with him. (2) Jamie would allow  Sarah to sleep around so she won’t think  he’s clingy. As much as he hates this, he feels that it is the only way he can let Sarah see his intentions of keeping her. (3) How much Mr. Carr enjoy’s peeping at Sarah’s window while she’s with a man and soon after she is done sleeping around, he would beat her and would make her believe it was her fault.

Equally harrowing is that it can be real. The pain, the confusion, the backwardness of it all … it can be real.  Love that has the power to damage and a love that can turn even the smartest of us to blind monstrosity. Both challenging and engaging, this heartbreaking novel resonates abuse over passion, tragic over control and ignorance over will.

The author was painfully reckless and the storms she puts the readers through is so satisfying you can’t help but admire the story she built. Primeval, passionate and frightening, Taming the Beast is a book that can cut.

Notes:

Taming the Beast

First Novel of Australian author Emily Maguire

Published by Harper Perennial

ISBN-10: 0061122165

ISBN-13: 978-0061122163





New Moon (Movie)

22 11 2009

New Moon Poster Laying its every useful plot to inevitable appealing use, New Moon hit every note possible for fans. 

I don’t know about you, but I think maybe director Chris Weitz was nervous; while making New Moon he had to pull all stops available to his budget to please everyone. As we all know, the first instalment’s director was rumoured to have been fired. Why not? Her frenetic directing was widely panned. Perhaps Weitz identified that he needed enough verisimilitude to hook the audience, but not too much to freak them out. In short he did not find any need to add more than what was provided; the plot was by the book, enough to be plausible for the rabid fans and enough not to keep them for longer than two hours and ten minutes. And so far via that simple formula he achieved his commercial success. 

Within New Moon’s small universe, all it really wants is to jumpstart a tale of love triangle to end all love triangle stories, and it’s quite successful frankly. New Moon is a story of a young girl coming to terms with the absence of option to be with her choice and gets tangled with a rebound.  But I don’t want to spoil the grand narrative that so many young girls have fallen for, so you either read a decent summary, read the entire series or just watch it yourself. 

What was first notable in the opening scene was the musical scoring. It seemed to have made an effort to blend the scene well in order to guide the viewer’s focus on what emotion the scene is trying to convey. Although the pacing of the moon in the opening (to introduce the title of the movie) looked like an eclipse to me, I found that it was a decent attempt to be artsy. In addition, given that the demographic New Moon is catering to, there is a significant amount of quality non-commercial-formula music here. Artists  like Thome Yorke (Ear Damage), Anya Marina (Satellite Heart) and Bon Iver & St Vincent (Roslyn) graced the film and the collaboration was not as disposable as Paramour. 

Pattinson, Stewart and LautnerNow let’s get down to the actors and their characters. 

Kristen Stewart who plays Bella has remarkably improved her stoic acting. There are now more ranges in her facial expression compared to Twilight and she gradually owns a character so many of us doubted her with. While I felt the need for more acting flair, I’ve identified that there was a significant amount of effort in her part. It seems that she is more akin to looking tired, tortured and depressed than looking forlorn. The best scene she’s done was when she was static while the months from October to January flew by. I also enjoyed the simple way she looked when Billy Burke (Charlie Swan) was telling her that she needed to go. 

Robert Pattinson on the other hand, who for all his deficiencies as the main squeeze and wrangler of young girls, can never be accused of not trying. Although I’ve identified that he is chugging laboriously towards Edward’s essence (come on people, what is up with the unsightly stubbles and eewish chest hair?), he did try his best by spewing as much chutzpah proper for quoting Shakespeare. That, and getting his ass kicked by a little girl. Talk about well-mannered torture.Lautner, Stewart and Pattinson 

After Twilight presented us with the two main characters, the dust settles for the new hero, Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner. 

I am telling you he is a dead-serious hoot. I think I need not say more but for a warning, you’ll need to stitch your enthusiasm to keep from snickering over his hot bod. I am not afraid to admit that watching Lautner strut around sent scintillating chills down my spine. Depending on your tolerance, he can be brutally convincing that he is Jacob Black. And because of the ease, Lautner looks like he’s actually having the kind of good time morphing actors achieve. And I must say that his discipline to gain 30 lbs to earn the role roundly delivers. 

Unlike the book there’s no time for real tears in movies of this sort, though there’s plenty of space available to marvel the director’s ability for pacing done in soundless speediness (his time-lapse are smooth). Trust me, given that New Moon is over two hours, it held together quite well… well for the fans of the book.

 Ratings: starstarstarstar_halfstar_2





Treading On Thin

18 11 2009

It hasn’t stopped being crazy since last week. I was quite wrong to bitch about being stuck at home with nothing to do two Sunday’s ago. Right now all I wish is to rest.

I think I haven’t worked this hard and frantic since … ever. And mind you, that’s saying a lot specially coming from someone who use to have two full time jobs. The level of difficulty is so high not because the work is hard. I don’t mind the work load, I’m trained and seasoned for that but some other things like emotions thrown by people on all sides are hard to manage.

I’ve never really been good with volatile individuals. It takes a lot for me to manage it; I’m no shrink you know.

I usually flow smoothly doing what I know and adding things in the mix to improve but for the past days at work, it seemed to come in waves of sloppy tangles brought about by frenzied delivery. Truth be told I’m growing unhappy of how things are happening.

When your days are filled with tension and the thought of something is always wrong you grow tired. Irrevocably drained.

If eight days can do this to me, what would become of me after thirty?





2012

15 11 2009

2012This movie is polarizing. You either hate it to hell or you’ll love it… you’ll even recommend it in your blog.

I’m going to be brave enough to say that hey this movie is worth watching. I found what I needed (entertainment, good story, hell of an effect and the need to go call everyone I’ve ever known and say ‘thank you and see you on the other side’ just in case we go kaput today) and sure hell that’s enough.

2012 sits on a premise long predicted by the Mayan civilization. It states that a cataclysmic event will plunge the world into chaos and darkness by December 12, 2012 – if this be true, I’m totally screwed for buying a life insurance. What the producers and writers pitched in was the thesis of men’s thought process (ordinary, filthy rich, virtuous, twisted, sane insane, religious yadda yadda). As we all know the human race is capable of being resilient, creative and magnificently destructive.

Yet still some of the audience don’t get it. They wish to see a titanic-ish relevance to human progress aptly explained by the wide riffraffs of existential theorists. So let me smack you with the gist: You. Will. Die. And. It . May. Be. So. Damn. Horrible. Before. You. Bite. The. Dust. You. See. The. One. Dearest. To. You. In. Inexorable. Anguish. What do you say, feel, hear, and perhaps in a single split second do, when this proposition comes your way? You want titanic-ish? Watch Titanic. Until that substantial dissertation gets to anyone’s head they can pretend to be smart.  The little zooming in and outs of thoughts and emotions that can come out from any regular Joe and the astounding feat one can achieve or neglect. That is the story of 2012. The relevance can only be relative if you allow yourself to it.2012_movie_stills 

To be fair, Roland Emmerich pulled every stop currently possible to our technology and he delivered it well. There was a resounding terror watching the first wave of destruction after the protagonist Jackson Curtis (John Cusack)  finds out the end is near. The visual manipulation and artsy way of ruining, demolishing and sinking things were so astute you’d start to have flashbacks of the recent earthquake in Indonesia, tsunami in Samoa, fire storms in the US and flooding in the Philippines.

To ground us (audience) closer to the story, Emmerich pitches a dysfunctional family to play us in the film. John Cusack’s character is a divorced unsuccessful writer who is trying to pick up the pieces of his life and who secretly still wants his family back. The reconnecting protagonist is so disconnected it will take the end of the world to shake him out of his inability to identify his failure and how to fix it. By doing so, the producers achieve the correlation of life and destruction and the need to survive any carnage.2012 movie stills

We also briefly meet Woody Harrelson’s character, Charlie Frost, whose performance is both hilarious and sharp he made sense of the insane. There are more characters that may or may not represent so many of us out there. But unlike what other’s are saying, I did not feel the need to see more people dying – which this movie achieved – I know that nightmare already exist and visiting those horrible thoughts are never clever.

Be warned, 2012 may not be for everyone. But for those who feels the need to be thoroughly awed by effects this one goes home with an Oscar.

Ratings:  starstarstarstar_halfstar_2





Out There

12 11 2009

Crescent Moon





Stuck At Home

9 11 2009

This whole marooned to rest to ready myself for launch week is doing my head in (for those who don’t know what I do, I’m now working for a mortgage company and I’m helping launch a new center in my area). So rather than going crazy staying at home to rest, I went and grabbed some rentals of Yes Man, Juno, The Secret of Moonacre and The Ugly Truth.

Soon after I finished a grocery full of healthy treats, I tried my hands in designing.

Now don’t jump into conclusions, I have zero background and I’m not going to pretend I know what I’m doing. Usually, playing dress up would only need a little imagination (at least for me). And I pretty much have a whole stack of that.

The following are some of what I’ve put together via digital designing.

Okay, so maybe this one is not so rad. But hey, a girl can be goofy right?