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).