Wednesday, August 29

Bamboo rocks Bacolod Friday night

Okay. Nobody paid me to do this. But I'm seriously recommending you to check out this event.

This Friday night. Bamboo rocks Bacolod.

Yes, you know who he is/they are. A band worth listening to (for the songs aren't just rock hymns, they're strong social commentaries as well, in case you didn't notice) and a band worth most of our time and P300 (for VIPs) and P100 (for regular seats, I guess).

One of the few really good Pinoy bands. But if you like Cueshe, don't come, we'll murder you there.

Again, that's Friday night (2000H, August 31) At the UNO-R Amphitheater. It's a UNO-R Student Gov't and Smart Buddy event. Sponsored by Killerbee, Sueño, etc.

Thanks to Andoni (of Bangon Kabataan and USLS PolSci) for getting me the tickets.

So we'll see each other there. ;-)

Sunday, June 24

before i fly free and limitless according to the great jonathan livingston seagull

Lately, I'm enjoying myself quite well.

Hanging out late nights at McCafe with Jong (why do I always pronounce that as McAfee? I wonder...) , or at StarMart East with Dondon, or at Piazza Sorrento with Alex - just breathing through the urban atmosphere and gazing at the cars and neon-lighted motorbikes passing by, while happy people around me celebrate their victories, whether little or major.

This is why I love Bacolod. Just calm, but vibrant. Being a true blue Bacoleño, my hometown is special and stimulating, especially with coffee, cigs and a sensible conversation. Giving me reasons to smile.

However, I know I'm leaving it all behind. I know I have to fly away, like the legendary Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I have to free myself and chase my dreams. And my heart tells me it's happening soon.

I ask Jong (much alike Richard Bach's enlightened bird named Chiang): "Where are we headed?" - a question which she, at her wisest, never really answers. Because truly, we can never tell. Every day we take a step forward, thinking we know where to go, then we always take a turn.

Saying this, I remember "Goal", a brilliant and inspiring movie about flying free and chasing dreams. The protagonist, Sebastian Munez, went for what he desired, taking steps backward as well as forward, taking sharp turns, sometimes pulling over, but always driving on. If Sebastian hesitated or lost courage, he would never have left his Mexican community in LA and would never achieve his ambition to play professional soccer in Europe. (There I go relating film to life, again. Can't help it!)

The time will come that I have have to say goodbye, without any idea when or how I'm coming back. I don't know if I will make it big in the film industry or whatever I'm dreaming about. But I know I will get there.

But right now, I'm just enjoying as much as I can, because I am happy with the decisions I have made. I quit college, breaking loose from academic boredom and creativity-constricting class monopolies. I took responsibility of my actions - got a job that paid the bills (although that job is another story) and braved the world of entrepreneurship.

Doubt and pessimism will certainly stand my way, and soon I will be facing my own fears and insecurities but the prospect of making dreams come true is much stronger than negativity.

Like the gull, I prepare myself for Level Flight, stretching my wings and bending my knees to start a jump... A jump that will launch me in the air and remind me that "a seagull is an unlimited idea of freedom, an image of the Great Gull, and my whole body, from wingtip to wingtip is nothing more than my thought itself."

As I wait for that day I pack my bags and climb a cab, a cup of cappuccino is good company -and of course, friends (whose friendship goes beyond the limits of space or time, and) who speak of ancient truths in modern tongue.

No limits, Jonathan? Well then, the time's not distant when I'm going to appear out of thin air on your beach, and show you a thing or two about flying!

I thought, and I smiled.

Friday, June 15

twenteens and tequila

Nothing beats a night out with friends.

I was at Kassel Serfino's birthday party last night at the Korean Grille Bar. I brought her a sweet li'l teddy bear with a heart that says "Happy Birthday". (So gay, I know!)

Although a bear isn't obviously not enough to show how much this friend means to me, I did my best to make her feel that she's special and being loved. To make her feel that celebrating her birthday with her is actually celebrating her life. More like a victory party for going through her early twenties and the ups and downs that come with it.

The barkada was there. Dondon Casila, Carrie Mendoza and Andy Molina were the usual fun-to-be-with but at the same time, there-when-you-need-them friends. I'm glad I hanged out with them again. Too bad the rest of the gang couldn't come---Awoy Cariño's in Manila and Kayzie Zepeda's in Cebu.

Sharon, Franco Villo and a good friend Sonny Cabahug (all from Xpresscom Channel 11) were there too, and a few other classmates of Kassel's. It's been a long time since Sonny and I saw each other, so we were catching up (and discussing his/her bleached hair and what she thought of Silip, hehe).

This kind of time you spend is invaluable, priceless, timeless --- singing along (Bamboo's songs mainly, as Kassel is the guy's number one fan in Bacolod), drinking tequila and eating sisig-flavored chocolate cake with your good old friends. (Carrie protests--she's not a good old friend, if you know what she means).

Then it dawned on me, only I and Andrea are 19 in this crowd. Everyone else is in their twenties already. We're not getting younger. (KZ hates that phrase, I remember).

And honestly, I am not really looking forward to turning 20.

But then again, if you're no longer a teenager, you can always shy away from adulthood a little bit. You can be a twenteen.

Thursday, June 14

my cheap mac emulation

I was reading strangers' blog-posts through my Gmail-configured Outlook and I came across The Four-Eyed Journal by a guy named Jhay Rocas. His post was "One Step Closer to Owning a Mac". I can't help but comment on this review of the Safari 3 Beta, a browser released by Apple that can finally run on Windows.

I did a test drive for the Safari 3 Beta on my Windows XP. I kinda like it because it completes my Mac emulation that I am running for two months now. But I still prefer using Firefox 2.0 with the MacFox II Graphite theme/add-on--it still looks like it's running on a Mac!

(Click here for a Safari 3 beta download... or if you're not ready for Safari, choose the MacFox II Graphite theme/add-on)

And speaking of my Mac emulation, I love how my UI looks right now. It totally looks like an authentic Mac OSX Tiger! I am using this system files enforcer called FlyAKite OSX, that includes software like QuickDock, WinRoll, UberIcon, iColor Folder, Y'z Shadow, Y'z Toolbar.

FlyAKite OSX is a safe, complete Mac makeover pack. It tweaks registry and installs cool sounds, cursors, and visual styles that are truly Mac. Even the boot screen and the welcome sound are authentic Apple. QuickDock gives me that cool, fluid-like icon toolbar like what's at the bottom of every Mac screen. Winroll allows me to minimize/maximize windows and open folders/files with animation. UberIcon changes ALL my icons into Mac icons. iColor Folder allows me to assign colors to my file folders like what you can do on a Mac. Y'z Shadow and Y'z Toolbar transforms your scrollbar and close/restore/maximize buttons and adds shadows to your windows.

(Want to fly a kite too?)

As a bonus, my Winamp 5.35 is running with an iPod Nano skin. (Here for the Winamp skin.)

I know you want to see how it looks like. So here's a screenshot: (Click it to see it real-sized).

Definitely you can't get any closer to owning a Mac than this. (Although I actually own a vintage iBook Clamshell Graphite, which is good as dead---prayers for the departed).

As an alternative, there are Yahoo! Widgets you can use to add more Mac-emulating elements but they eat up much of your virtual memory. What I like about my combo right now is that it's so minimal and so smooth to use even on a 256MB PC.

Of course there is no better way to be inspired by a Mac by buying one. Hehe. :-)

And for whosoever not in his right mind to dare ask why a Mac: get lost.

Monday, June 11

silip: not another bold movie

After a tiring shift I went to see a movie. Only one title sold itself - Silip. Yeah, I heard about it. Maybe saw some 30-seconder on TV and had the idea it is going to be the classic Seiko bold film. (I wonder why they're called bold?)

I was furious. 5 minutes inside the cinema I was about to leave and demand for a refund. I found myself watching a ridiculous soft porn that didn't even have a love scene worthy of an erection.

"Celia? Rico? Celia?! Rico?!" Diana Zubiri's character was foolishly calling out for his husband (Polo Ravales) and a mysterious guest (Francine Prieto) while the two are obviously beating it around the bush, and that's to be literal about it.

I mean, it's a stupid scene. You totally can hear your husband's monkey business and you keep on calling his name as if you don't know what's going on? Duh. More funny is that the cheating husband and the slut are not even hushing themselves. They keep going on. This outrageous setting is somewhere in the middle of the film. The scene is crazy.

But I decided to stay. I closed my eyes, just too tired to actually go away from the shame of seeing a really bad movie. I thought, probably I could just sleep here a bit.

And then it hit me. There's this pop-culture adage that you should never get into a movie halfway. It rings true for this catch.

The story progressed and I found out that part of the movie I hated was intended to be absurd and unrealistic. Part of the plot.

How can I judge the story so easily? I was mistaken. I soon realized I was watching a good film. 'Twas not perfect; not the best screenplay either. But it's a good story. And it is not soft porn. It might be classified as a sex drama, or a suspense-thriller, or a next-level bold film. It's a serious, dramatic peek into a woman's psychosis. The character is so alike Mort Rainey of Stephen King's Secret Window. And that's a good thing, considering this is a Tagalog movie with lots of skin.

I watched the film all over again and everything fell into place. Although Diana Zubiri's acting isn't superb, she got the message across. Francine Prieto and Polo Ravales are mere elements to the cinematic effect of the mind's confusion. In fact, the scene I bashed earlier did not really include the husband or the other woman. Diana was all alone all along.

Romy Vitug's cinematography is beautiful and the Nueva Ecija (remote village) setting is perfect. Lighting (and all that) made the night scenes clearly visible, and at daytime made the characters' skin look sacred and golden. A pointer for us who plan on shooting a project with extra skin and sweat and you-know-what.

I give it 7 out of 10 stars. And I definitely recommend it. It's not a no-brain film like it appears to be. And true to Director Joel Lamangan's word and despite its misleading sex-filled teasers, it is not a Peeping Tom's fantasy! It is in fact something that will make you think--- to connect the dots and in the end congratulate yourself that you understand what it means. Ha!

Like what my special friend Jong and I always have - parallel conversations. You know, those talks that you have many topics being discussed at the same time. You might need to stop and shut up a bit and make the connections. Then you appreciate the big picture.

By the way, thanks to Jong for another rendezvous at McCafe. Cappuccino and cigarettes and conversation. I told her about Silip and I give her credit for apparently paying attention to my usual geeking-for-a-film-I-just-watched.

And as usual, her analysis comes up with this: Moral of the story--- Always watch a movie whole, form start to end. It's not good to take a peek.

Sunday, June 10

smoking kills

Nicotine, nicotine, good old nicotine.

As if some higher force has commanded, I dug through my shameful lady-bag and looked for a fag. No cigarettes here, sir. Just tobacco debris that pollute the shallow darkness. I curse.

And I panic. There must be some cigarette somewhere. It's the devil's hour - 3AM, and I can't get a ride to rush to the nearest StarMart. There's hope. There must be Hope or some other stick somewhere.

I didn't give up digging. This time, I swam under my desk, into the jungle of my drawer. It is here I keep the bills, pills, phone numbers, old notebooks, my box of reserve contact lenses, an empty canister of Wrigley's Orbit, and heaps of mysterious white paper-crumpled and stuffed into the belly of my wooden shrine to a cheap Mac emulation. There must be some forgotten, bent cigarette here.

Of course this is also where I keep some used packs, twenty-two crumpled or folded Lucky Strike soft packs, and four Black Bat hard packs to be exact. But I couldn't find any Strike or Bat. My un-Lucky day.

But wait --- Sandwiched between the hard covers of my deserted journal that holds the keys to my secret daydreams and the passwords to all my accounts in the cyber-universe --- is a flat Philip Morris. Shaped like a coffee stirrer, I patiently rolled it into the original form that God intended for it.

If cigarettes had expiration dates, this unholy find would have been way, way unacceptable for my choosy lungs. But I couldn't complain. (Yeah, it tasted like cockroach urine).

I smoked. I waited for the ghostly tendrils to form rings or claws or strangers' faces. I stared.

A dead pack was staring back. Its facial expression was imposing, it's message was clear. As if this nonliving thing intends to insult me, to mock my existence, to condemn my addiction.

It was a government warning. Smoking kills.

And it got me thinking. Wasn't I already dead when I first dated the cunning Marlboro Man? Or did he murder me?

Thursday, June 7

IQ of a filipino-american serial killer

I was, as usual, wandering around Wikipedia. Trip ko subong, famous serial killers. And to my surprise, I found a Filipino-American in the list. His name sounds gravely familiar. A name I can trace back to my conscious childhood years.

His name, Andrew Cunanan.

I was engrossed reading his 13-chapter biography and the story of his killing spree ten years ago. (Found this bio in; if you want to read it, click here at your own risk).

I might sound sick in saying this, but it seems that I felt both shame and pride of what this Fil-Am criminal has done. Before he committed suicide, he killed 5 or more people for three months across at least three states in 1997.

Here's an excerpt:

When he graduated from high school, the outgoing seniors were asked to describe themselves in a single quote for the yearbook. Andrew chose one that might have had in it a warning, but, as usual, made his peers -- probably even himself -- laugh. It was viewed as a typical Andrew Cunanan stunt. His quote was one attributed to King Louis XV: "Apres moi, le deluge." "After me, disaster."

And disaster was after him. Andrew Cunanan's murder frenzy created news in the US --- Andrew was not your typical serial killer. Before he started planting bullets in heads, he was a smart-ass, sophisticated 21-year-old socialite. His IQ was 147.

The fact that he grew up around a conservative Filipino soldier as a father did not stop him from being gay. He was pretty famous back in his California high school days, before of course turning into a murderer, because of his jolly, winning, court-jester personality. And just a few years after, he became one of the most wanted criminals of the FBI in the late 90's.

He killed his two ex-lovers, two complete strangers, and the world-renowned fashion designer Versace before he shot a bullet into his own head. And his was a "beautiful head - smart and warm". It was a tragedy... A story of the real-life Talented Mr. Ripley... The modern Dorian Gray.

Again, I might be sick. I wondered, how much was my IQ? Could I qualify as a serial killer, maybe? Not that I imagine myself drilling holes for bloody brains to gush out of them - I was just pathetically curious.

So I googled for an online IQ test. And got this:

I got 133 IQ. I was not focused while I was taking it (was chatting with my friend Kayzie Zepeda) and this test might not be standardized Mensa measurement, but it said I am Mensa-level and I am a little over ten points away from 147. Something close to a mad scientist, or a serial killer. Eerie, eh?

To be really honest about it, if all else fails, if hell breaks loose, if I lose myself, I might turn into a spree murderer myself. Now isn't that more creepy? According to Kayzie, it's "brilliant and scary". I call it beautifully tragic.

I know. I can be that sick most of the time.

And if you also want to know your IQ score and find out if you are also serial killer material (gulp), click here.

Sunday, June 3

why i can't come to the office today (copyright-protected reasons for calling in sick)

It's 12 midnight and my shift starts in a couple of hours. And it's one of the days you know you're not going to work. I'm stressed, sleepy, distraught by my recent dogfight with Dad, underpaid and undersexed. So I decide to pick up the phone and dial my office's Sick Hotline.

I'm calling in sick today.

You know of course, that I'm not biologically sick. Maybe mentally? Emotionally? Am I sick? Like a sick, lonely bastard? Fortunately, what Sick Hotline wants to know is the reason (must be good enough) why I can't come to the office today.

And I remembered. I have this archive in my email, of the Daily (well, almost Daily) Dose of Nonsense by Vimrod, the Bard of Suburbia. Maybe Vimrod has something to suggest...

Not good enough? Here's more:

You're probably right. The reasons above are just too crazy and Sick Hotline won't buy any of it or I'll get myself fired and end up being a truly sick, lonely, Unemployed bastard not to mention being totally broke.

So I pick this more mundane, more believable copyrighted reason for calling in sick.

Okay. Maybe not the epic part. Hehe.

Vimrod's Daily Dose of Nonsense isn't nonsense after all. So if you are in doubt and you're lacking options, you might want to try subscribing with email. And that "Swerling & Lazar", the legendary couple who started all these great strips including "Harold's Planet" and "Glass Cathedrals", will not sue me for posting their artwork here without consent.

(Yeah right. Welcome to the world of Blog It! and Mozilla Add-ons like ScribeFire, where I can just grab anything even with copyright and post it in my blog. Unoriginal, but modern and convenient.)

Go get Vimrod yourself. I like receiving these very simple yet very hilarious cartoons in my mail. In a day of distress, I like to laugh after reading Vimrod's sarcasm about life's humor and horror, ups and downs. So come on, Click here to subscribe to the daily cartoon.

Now I can go back to my issues in NationStates. ( - More about that next time. Promise).

Thursday, May 31

the corporate curse

I never even thought I could land a job so easily. And to fit in quite fine in an air-conditioned, corporate environment? Definitely a far cry from my left-leaning / tree-hugging / peace-volunteering days.

But the pains of working for a trans-national company begin to kick in. I can feel the rising tension between manager and subordinate, between policies and employees, between a job that pays the bills and a dream career that is obviously not this.

I am feeling the corporate curse. That eerie knowledge that you have a Boss, someone who perpetually questions your performance, your office ethics, your punctuality, your adherence to the dress code, and even the authenticity of your reasons for calling in sick.

That guilt, knowing if not for that goddamned pay, you don't have to deal with overreaching, over-competitive, ultra-conservative co-employees who all plan to climb that narrow corporate ladder.

That moment I become possessed by greed and pride, spending away my half-month's pay for petty things like overpriced pizzas and vices like Lucky Strikes and Chardonnay bottles.

That certainty you are under the spell of your payslip. The corporate curse.

Wednesday, May 30

dan brown week

Four bestsellers (aren't they all?) in one single week: two second-hand paperbacks and two ebooks. One author everybody knows.

Dan Brown.

You know who he is. The Da Vinci Code guy. The heretic, the anti-Christ, the malicious mind behind the faith-mocking tales.

I'm quite impressed by his work. It is a conspiracy buff's fantasy of weaving plots about real organizations like Opus Dei, USA'S National Reconaissance Office and NASA, even the United Nations, CERN, and the Swiss Guard of the Vatican.

I started with a 150-peso copy of Deception Point from BookSale at SM West Bridgeway.

I was surprised at first; Brown's writing style isn't that good. His plot structure seems suspicious--as if generic, and unoriginal. Yet Brown found courage and a helluva info regarding NASA, NRO, Space Frontier Foundation and the White House. And I mean a hell lot of information!

Written in as-a-matter-of-fact approach, I know there are loopholes in the scientific basis of Deception Point. But who cares? Everyone loves to read a good conspiracy. Nevertheless, Deception Point can be absurd that at some point it talked about extra-terrestrial life and inserting meteorites under ice shelves. That's how big time a hoax can be for Dan Brown. And I was shocked with the twist in the end of the novel. Not shocked like, "Gosh,it was him all along!" But shocked like, "Come on!"

And then I moved on to a downloaded ebook of Digital Fortress.

I was not prepared to discover that Dan Brown was a formulaic writer! He basically had the same structure with Deception Point! And the same shock that comes with the twist in the end! How can he get away with this? But Digital Fortress is a boo. I'm not even sure why I kept on reading. Maybe I'm just letting it rain because I already got wet.

Maybe because the background issue of the book is an issue that interests me. Information privacy. Email tracing, information security, password encyrption. That kind of stuff. I'm a geek and I am definitely pro-EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation); I believe in keeping some privacy on the internet.

However, I hated Digital Fortress. How stupid can the National Security Agency's Cryptology Department be? And duh, if you'll read it, you'll know what I mean. Stories like this make me despise the word -- Love. Eew. Hope that wil l discourage you enough and not make the same mistake I did by reading through Digital Fortress.

Now, Angels and Demons.

It's the talked-about prequel of The Da Vinci Code, the next Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon movie. And yes, my dear fellow bookworms, this guy Dan is surely a formulaic writer. You can almost predict the twists and exactly when they happen. Angels and Demons, though, is a good read. (Thanks GreyLib for the ebook).

It is surprisingly well-researched, although I know the antimatter concept is not that serious. CERN totally bashes Brown for the wrong science he presented in the novel. It's impossible to create antimatter bombs.

But the Vatican's maze of architecture and art, Church inside secrets and national security issues provide an exciting background for the fiction to take place. Brown's Vatican and Rome suddenly sprang up to life, and interests the reader to find pictures of the places he involves in the adventure, and for the richer readers, to go buy the ticket for the next plane to Italy.

The Papal election or the Conclave, an important event in the book and of course, in the real world, is also well-described that we can easily verify it as factual, witnessing what happened after Pope John Paul II's death. Matters of the Papal office are well-described that you swear what you're reading can be real.

What's not real is of course the big-time cinematic ending. "God!" That's all I can say. Ha! No pun intended. And to think that the novel's valediction includes humanity's renewed faith in the Catholic Church and the power of miracle... Not to mention Illuminati's nonexistence. So anti-orgasmic.

Lastly, The Da Vinci Code. The ever perpetual modern heresy.

Dan Brown should be burned at the stake. He's an Anti-Christ. Like a Priory of Sion Grand Master wearing nothing but an androgynous mask and leading an orgy. He's the draconian devil, the lame saint! Yeah right.

I liked The Da Vinci Code. I read it on paperback and can't stop turning the pages. It's an engrossing story, even though I already saw the movie and that I can recognize what exact lines are in the Hollywood adaptation.

Hey, I obviously will not make the mistake of arguing why the novel deserves praise and not condemnation. It's just one freakin' clever plot!

And as they say, it's just fiction! It's just a test of faith! It's not real!

Hello? Fiction or not, it will make you think. That's the point. It will make you question practices and doctrines passed on by tradition. It will challenge you, to what faith really is. Does that include religious zealotry? Talk about burning at the stake.

By the end of The Da Vinci Code, we already know how Dan Brown writes. Starts with a death, roll up a mystery, assign a sleuth, attempt to find who's responsible for the crime, and uncover the real big-deal conspiracy of all time. Glory for the conspiracy buffs!

Whew. Whatta week! And I'm blaming Dan Brown.

Tuesday, April 10

the lords shall be remembered

I don't skateboard simply because I have no interest in such a "sport". But why not watch a film about skateboarding?

So I did, and found out "Lords of Dogtown" is a film that anyone shouldn't miss. It is as revolutionary as its subject, which is the origin of the Z-Boys - the skateboarding punks that have become legends in what has become an art and a sport.

(L-R) Three good young actors as the legendary Z-Boys.
John Robinson as Stacy Peralta, Victor Rasuk as Tony Alva,
and Emile Hirsche as Jay Adams.

This film is so beautifully made you wouldn't mind if it justifies punk culture. By punk, I mean the 70's definition of it, not the pretentious punk culture that we have right now. (Blame it on Avril). This film is awesome: the semi-documentary narrative written by an original Z-Boy (Stacy Peralta)the rock n'roll soundtrack, the almost-authentic production design, and the adorable and well-cast actors, all sewn together perfectly by the infamous directing style of Catherine Hardwicke.

Hardwicke and Peralta are both Sundance winners for their previous works. Hardwicke directed the hardcore teenage drama "Thirteen", and Peralta directed the documentary "Dogtown and Z-Boys". Lords of Dogtown is actually just a dramatized version of it.

Victor Rasuk (from "Raising Victor Vargas") plays the role of skating legend Tony Alva. Alva himself supervised all the skate stunts in this film, giving it more authenticity. Emile Hirsche is Jay Adams, John Robinson (from "Elephant") is Stacy Peralta, and Heath Ledger is Skip Engblom.

Everyone is cast right. You can see the actors believing in the material, and the director capturing all the great acting with its hard-edged, gritty but honest plot.

The film is technically a melodrama, but it's a violently vivid story of a real revolution in the 70's, full of the nasty things like sex/drugs/alcohol/etc (What? Did I just say they're nasty?) that the melodrama might just be an afterthought.

You know what's strange? Even if I don't know much about skateboarding, I felt the nostalgia and passion of the Lords of Dogtown. That's how good the film is.

Tuesday, February 20

not another chick flick

Picture this. I was watching The Devil Wears Prada at 1 AM, alone, with PowerDVD without subtitles. I was listening through headphones so if you were around you wouldn't hear any words from the "chick flick" I was concentrating on. I know. That's a little bit funny. But funnier yet, I was laughing so hard by myself. The fact I was watching the film after midnight can't stop me from laughing so hard, especially at the part when Andy outwitted the Devil during the impossible Harry Potter manuscript search.

The movie is mainly comic, but in a classy way. It is a based on Lauren Weisberger's roman à clef and chick-lit novel of "a naive young woman in New York scoring a job as an assistant to one of the city's biggest magazine editors, the ruthless and cynical Miranda Priestly."

Miranda Priestly is the most beautiful and elegant form of evil ever seen in the movies. I couldn't see any other actress of Meryl Streep's caliber that could possibly pull a Miranda off, without being a total bitch and nothing else. Meryl Streep did not play Miranda a total bitch. She might have been a little, just a little, bitchy but it's mainly because she should be. She's supposedly a Boss from Hell. Her rudeness is in the form of creepy sacrasm, of catty compliments, and of impossible orders. But she's not the loud, cussing boss that you could have expected. She's a more sophisticated monster. She speaks in this whispery, almost soothing, almost hushed voice, but with terrible command and definite fatality.

Even her complaints don't sound like bitching. She expresses her disappointment in form of questions: "Why is it so hard to confirm an appointment?..." Why is it so difficult to get my car?..." And yes, she doesn't require answers to most of her questions.

Miranda always, ALWAYS, says "THAT'S ALL" as if you were doing small and simple errands. Irritating, but altogether amusing. Even adorable and of course, hilarious.

Which is the strongest hold for any viewer of this smart, sexy, sophisticated chick flick: Meryl's Streep performance is stellar, original and just plainly best. She deserves another Oscar and all the credit for the film. (Stanley Tucci and Emily Blunt are in their best acts too, but sorry guys, it's Streep's solo today, maybe tomorrow night).

Anne Hathaway is not the best casting choice, but she was not a miscast either. She still has a long way to go, for acting the part and not just looking the part. Know what I mean? At least she's so over being a Disney girl (unlike Lindsay and Hillary). Anne Hathaway's Andy is a clumsy but later courageous character. I laughed at her awkwardness since the first phone call she answered as Runway editor-in-chief's junior assistant. "How do you spell Gabana?"

But the moment Andy steps in with her Chanel boots, and after that excellent montage with virtual wardrobe change, she transforms herself into a Runway girl. She starts getting into her work and in her boss's footsteps. Fortunately, she never did. She realized in the end she did not want to become Miranda. She walked away.
The Devil Wears Prada might or might not be a realistic portrayal of the industry, but I think it is a truthful presentation of the brutality and necessary rush of the fashion/advertising/glamour/glossy magazine business. Beauty is skin deep and expensive.

If you don't like chick flicks, or movies about skinny models and overpriced clothes (by the way, this is the most expensively costumed movie of all time), at least watch it because of Meryl Streep's version of the Devil. You will not be scared, but stunned. Beware of Hell on Heels.

Friday, February 2

bamboo revives 'tatsulok'

I don't know if most of us or our generation understand the word "LEFT" or "PROGRESSIVE" or related political ideologies...

But the upcoming album from the current No. 1 Pinoy band-BAMBOO- presents in its new songs lineup a classic hymn for the progressive-minded / leftist. - "Tatsulok" (originally by Buklod, who also wrote the classic "Kanlungan").

TATSULOK - is Tagalog for "triangle", symbolizes the Filipino class structure. The bottom of the pyramid represent the "masa"- the large chunk of the population which is overimposed by actions of the class on top of the pyramid (tuktok ng tatsulok) which of course represents the "elite" or the "rich few" who manipulate and exploit the poor.

Pardon my progressive tendencies, but what can I do? That class structure sucks and I think we can do something about it.
But sorry, I can't be extremely left-wing, I am not militant. I am at the LEFT OF THE CENTER.

So let me post the YouTube video (and lyrics, yehey!) of this great, moving song. Hope we find the message in it, and if we sing it, we mean every word! PADAYON! :-)


Totoy bilisan mo, bilisan mo ang takbo
Ilagan ang mga bombang nakatutok sa ulo mo
Totoy tumalon ka, dumapa kung kailangan
At baka tamaan pa ng mga balang ligaw

Totoy makinig ka, wag kang magpa-gabi
Baka mapagkamalan ka’t humandusay dyan sa tabi
Totoy alam mo ba kung ano ang puno’t dulo
Ng di matapos-tapos na kaguluhang ito

Hindi pula’t dilaw tunay na magkalaban
Ang kulay at tatak ay di syang dahilan
Hangga’t marami ang lugmok sa kahirapan
At ang hustisya ay para lang sa mayaman

Habang may tatsulok at sila ang nasa tuktok
Di matatapos itong gulo

Lumilipas ang hininga ng kay raming mga tao
At ang dating munting bukid, ngayo’y sementeryo
Totoy kumilos ka, baliktarin ang tatsulok
Tulad ng dukha, nailagay mo sa tuktok

[repeat Refrain and Chorus]
[repeat Refrain and Chorus]
[repeat Chorus]

Di matatapos itong gulo

CREDITS: Bamboo's official website:
Youtube user for posting the video

Thursday, February 1

tell me who your friends are and i'll tell you if they're on my friendster too

Friendster still alive huh?

I've been a member since 2003. I had seven Dave AL accounts. Remember those series of accounts that are known like Dave AL UNO, Dave AL DOS, Dave AL TRES, Dave AL CUATRO, Dave AL CINCO, Dave AL SEIS and the cunning Dave AL EXCLUSIVE?

Please don't laugh at that. It was popular in years 04-05, right? Having multiple accounts was a norm two-three years ago because one Friendster account can only accomodate 500 friends (or sometimes 502) back then.

It was an elitist cyber-space race.

If you had three FULL accounts, you're popular. You're an online extrovert. You're Mr. Friendster. You're an official web-slut.

Of course we agree. I was one of the web-sluts. I don't even know who these people were, these faces without names on my Friends list. Whatever happened to the definition of the word "friend"?

Heck, I never even met most of those hundreds of friends. I never got introduced, never got acquainted, never talked, never mailed, never texted, never hanged out, never had time to drink coffee OR beer with.

So you get my point. Or let me ask this:


Pardon my French. It just helps to belt it out sometimes. So that I'd wake myself up from a very bad, fad nightmare.

(To my Caucasian friend's question: "Has anyone in the Philippines ever thought of migrating to MySpace? Friendster lost steam in the West" My answer is Naah. Never crossed our Third-World minds. Let the American teenage girls and trying-hard rock bands deal with the hacker-friendly MySpace... Filipinos are Friendster fanatics-loyalistas, so f*ck off)

Last week, I canceled all my other Friendster accounts except the one I'm using now (the former Dave AL Exclusive account -- Exclusive accounts are supposedly the accounts that hold real-life friends/acquaintances)...

I felt pride and relief when I let go of those slutty Friendster accounts with all the cam-whoring pictures that come with them.

Goodbye Dave AL UNO FULL!
Goodbye Dave AL DOS FULL!
Goodbye Dave AL TRES FULL!
Goodbye Dave AL CUATRO!
Goodbye Dave AL SEIS!
Now I'm wondering, what will I do to my fake and ghost Friendster profiles? Hehe.

Thursday, January 25

so you're from science high?

OKAY. You're from Science High.

Don’t say you weren’t warned. Being a science high school student is not easy. And I’m not even talking about the academic overload, the expensive science experiments, or the colossal pile of paperwork and projects. They’re all breeze to me, looking back at my four-year tenure in Nosci. I’m talking about the sheer label - “Sci-High student”. Just by being a graduate of a science high school means a lot. Most of the time, that means Great Expectations. Does that sound familiar to you?

When I was asked by The Scholar to write about life after Nosci, I was extremely hesitant. I couldn’t do it. What would I write about? I’m not even much of an achiever or a star when I went to college. In fact, I think I’m even a slacker, or a failing mark. But hey, I thought, why should I be ashamed of that? I have a message to the young people that is about to take the path I chose, or the paths I did not. Life after Nosci was both good and bad. But mostly bad. I’ll tell you why.

Let me first get back to my primary thought. You now all know that, by being a Noscian, the moment you stepped in your first class as an Einstein or Edison student, your whole perspective in life changed. You started forgetting about childhood – instead you got excited learning who Archimedes was or how different speed is from velocity. You took note of formulas in Physics or Chemistry and always made sure your grades in Math can make it to the cut-off score. My point is, you matured early because of an advanced education. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. That’s a fact.

Now, by the time you get to senior year, it’s either that you are already exhausting your brains out, OR you are just beginning your Golden Era in Advanced Physics, Advanced Chem, Advanced Research, whatever. And then you plan your after-high-school-life. You take all the qualifying exams for top universities in the island, in the country or abroad. You straighten yourself out – this is it. You have gone through a tedious preparatory program that readied you to face the big C – “College” – where you are of course, expected to excel at. Magic word is – Expected.

This is one topic that my batch-mates and former schoolmates have oftentimes debated upon. What is expected of a science high school graduate? Is he or she required to finish a Bachelor of Science degree at the least possible time (which is usually 4-5 years)? Is he or she obliged to maintain a respectable status, or a reputation of excellence? Is he or she invincible to failures and shortcomings in the decisions he or she make? Is a Noscian supposed to be bound by an unwritten contact to be the best?

The truth as of the moment is, indeed, yes. If you’re from Science High, you should be intelligent. Make that really intelligent. You should be good in the Sciences. You should be good in Math. You should be good in this, in that. You should know the answer to this, the correct procedure for that. Get the drift? To illustrate, try to see what reactions you get when you meet new people who’d find out you’re from a science high school: “Really? Alam ka gali?”

This is what’s wrong with the society that we ourselves have created. We have allowed people to impose standards on us, on our performance, on the decisions we make every day. We have allowed people to tell us what to do with our lives. This is not to discredit the noble intentions of the founders of Nosci or to dismiss the great efforts to gather the intellectually-capable Negrense youth for a top-class secondary education program. But this is to remind us that we are 13-year-olds, 14-year-olds, 15-year-olds, 16-year-olds. We are ought to commit mistakes, to stumble, to fail, to make wrong decisions. This is the most effective way for all of us to learn.

My life after Nosci, as I wrote earlier, is mostly bad. I was overwhelmed by my ambitions and when I was unable to reach most of them, everything became a frustration. There was even a point when I gave up, and never thought of picking myself up from hurt and disappointment. But I figured – there was something else that Science High taught me, other than chemical symbols or endangered species. There was an even more important thing that I learned in Science High, which makes me ultimately proud and confident to stand up and face the world.

I learned how to be tough.

So this is the bottom-line of it all: You are from Science High. You are smart. You are strong. Even if your plans don’t work out fine, or you don’t get that scholarship for college or no matter how you fail the people that expects too highly of you – Go on. The tenacity of your Noscian spirit will make you go through all sorts of challenges. Be confident – You are capable of adapting to different kinds of people and environment. Don’t think about the path you have to choose – as long as you have the guts to carry on. Don’t be afraid to fail, for you will always make it in the end. It’s in your blood, in your head, and in your heart. You are a Noscian.

I just hope that the Noscian community, which is by the way happily growing, will cultivate among ourselves a culture of liberation from unhealthy expectations. It is not by scientific method we mold persons of great value – it is by giving ourselves all the chances in the world to learn both from our notes and from experience. It is not by advanced education that we can build humanity from; it will only produce either premature intellectuals, or intellectual monsters. It is by providing enough opportunity for the humans in ourselves to develop, to strengthen our character and to unravel the meaning and lay out the direction of our own lives, on our own.

***This was published in the Alumni page of The Scholar 2007, official student publication of Negros Occidental Science High School. Dave was the Editor-in-Chief of the said school paper from 2003-04.

Sunday, January 14

BOND 007

Bond. Dave's bond.
Nope, I didn't go to the movies for c-ASS-ino royale. I am refering to a "bond", which is according to the Reader's Digest - Oxford Complete Wordfinder (a childhood friend since the late 90's), a thing that "ties another down or together... a binding engagement; an agreement."

And BOND 007 is just my trite label for the brand new set of personal new year resolutions.

Since new year resolutions always end up eaten up by circumstance and therefore they never really got resolved at all, I will post my 2006 new year res's again.

1. Lose weight
2. Quit smoking
3. Stop biting my nails (it's so
redundant for a smoker)
4. Never commit
5. Maintain a blog
I had other res's on that 2006 list, but all the others I unbelievably managed to execute. Like, eating slower, talking slower, writing more than talking, loving life, moving on, and all those lame emotional promises I made to myself. Really. Got over my frustrations and I feel good I ended the year right. I ended 2006 the way I started it: with conviction to get rid of emotional and psychological baggage and just to sit back, relax and accept my life's pace and direction.

Congratulations, Dave. You made it.

This year I stand up and take back what I lost. Sure, I pacified myself in '06 and temporarily put my dreams at halt. It was like sailing in the Pacific Ocean without the storms. But for '07, I gotta move my ass. I got to chase my dreams and make things happen in my life. Enough of the meditations and silent pauses for Zen rituals.

I want to stop aspiring and dreaming. I want to start dreaming stronger and doing things like I should. The storms of the Pacific are gathering, and I should sail through them all. Typhoon after typhoon I shall withstand the rough and violent waves of this sea, for I know there is always a calm after the storm.

An elegant, beautiful, inspiring, rewarding calm after the storm.

In addition to those 5 res's I haven't managed to execute well in 2006, here are my Bond 007 resolutions:

1. Get a job
2. Win back some friends
3. Make decisions with conviction
4. Work out my aspirations
5. Move my ass to where I should belong
6. Prove my worth to myself
7. Stop bitching about how bad life is
8. Start rolling up my sleeves and do the dirty work
9. Keep a wallet for money and receipts and photos and condoms
10. Arrange my books in my study shelf
11. Win a Palanca award (haha, I think this one res would run up to 2020)

Now I feel like James Bond with a Great Mission for Her Majesty.
(insert Agent 007 theme song here.)

Tuesday, January 2

new year, new blog

Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it hundreds of times.

That was what I always remember from Sam Clemens (Mark Twain)'s brilliant catch-phrases. And to para-phrase that:

Giving up blogging is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I've done it approximately eleven times.

Started the whole blogging thing in the year 2003. My first blog was called "Disturbing Derelict", proof of my habit of alliteration with the letter D. My email back then was (I don't even know if Techemail still exists) and my forum/radio codename was DearDaniel (male partner of Hello Kitty). I know. That was four years ago. It's almost cyber-nostalgia.

So the Disturbing Derelict became just plain derelict. I lost all my posts there. Then I started posting at It's not really a blog, but a personals site where you can post your poetry, stories, writing contests, etc. I still have my profile HERE. The writeups there are totally disturbing,and immature. Read at your own risk. Just don't tell me I didn't warn you.

And then I started my first Friendster blog year 2004, along with my Downelink blog late that year. Both blogs in the said personals site are all gone since I canceled my accounts from both sites. Back in 2004 I had my Old Blogger account, too. But all my posts in the old Blogger are so three years ago. Then I have a few other, negligible blog attempts. I estimate I had eleven blogs for the last four years.

My problem with blogging is that I start pretty good, I maintain it for a week, and lose time and interest for it the next. I always forget I have a blog to maintain, concluding that I didn't have to keep a blog anyway because blogging are just for bored and boring people.

I am wrong, of course. Or right. I don't know. BLOG=BORE?

So what. Now it's 2007 and I want to re-live my blogging habit. My mind has been stagnant (but pacific, to be positive about it) for the past year. And this year, I want to get crazy with my thoughts again.

THUS, THE TRAUMESTURM. (German phrase for "dreamstorms").

Träumesturm is my sojourn through the violent storms of my imagination; it is sailing through the vast ocean stirred by supertyphoons of ideas, thoughts and sensations. My dreamstorms take me away from reality... But the calm after the storms always bring me back to life.

So there.

(I am simultaneously posting at my Friendster account)