Friday, December 31, 2010

Is Anyone in the Mainstream?

... I could have simply sung "La Vie Boheme" last night and I might have rocked it. Of course I'm being outrageous - you don't do that song solo and without the matching choreography. Perhaps I could have enlisted the help of the half-drunken party people of Smallville? Anyway, tonight is Maureen's performance down at the lot, so this is going to be one cool New Year's Eve.

... I watched "Closer" again for the second time last Wednesday. I'm now totally sure I have this thing for films with heavy dramatic moments. Natalie Portman and Clive Owen did amazing performances there, and everybody rocked the language. The film's now in my top ten list (of what specifically, I cannot answer yet).

... Dearly beloved, we gather here to say our goodbyes. And I still hate cats, even with Eli's slightly successful attempts to make me love them yesterday.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moments in the Woods

Now there's that relative we all can't escape from, that annoying whining bundle of undesirable matter perpetually stuck in bratty pre-adolescence. Every family has such a relative or two. This is the social structure as we know it.

P.S. The sty was unusually noisy today, and the sounds echoed immaturity.

This might just make it to the cover of our yearbook.

I want to make a thank-you list, since everyone who writes seems capable of conjuring one up at the end of every year. But aspiring writers, fret not: Know that the ability to put gratitude into words and the talent to write are not, in any major sense, related. So you may thank me in the future if you prove me wrong. 

Now 2010 has been another colorful year for me. There were moments of inspiration and moments of covert madness. There were moments spent by the lakeside on a beautiful Sunday, and there were moments spent traversing the dark of the woods. There were moments when the air smelled of mountains and leaves and grass, and there were moments when the air was hardly breathable. So here goes.

Thank you for the gift of theater. Thank you for the gift of film and music. Thank you for the gift of beautiful masses. Thank you for the gift of scholarship. Thank you for the gift of aviation and technology. Thank you for the gift of food. Thank you for the gift of friendship and company. Thank you for the gift of art and culture. Thank you for the gift of fresh air and scenic seas and distant mountains. Thank you for the gift of hope and determination and courage. Thank you for the gift of writing and speaking and acting. Thank you for the gift of thought. Thank you for the gift of love and sincerity. And thank you for the gift of family and life. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

No Room at the Holiday Inn

Christmas lights at the plaza, municipality of Pototan, Iloilo. December 2009

... Today is Christmas Day. We celebrate it as the birth of Jesus Christ, but no one really knows when that actually happened. If you count using the Gregorian calendar, the Immaculate Conception took place on December 8 and Jesus's birth comes almost a year and a month later. Isn't that biologically weird? Enlightenment on the biology aspect of the matter is most welcome.

... When I think of Christmas, I find no better way to describe it than by alluding to Rent. There's nothing like friendship, love, and the mantra of No Day But Today to remind us of the true holiday spirit. P.S. Aren't Christmas lights a bit ironic for a world that's supposedly doing its best to conserve energy and preserve the environment?

... It's fun how, in the middle of a conversation, I'd spit out a line or two from a musical and people would give me furrowed brows and blank faces in return. It's like someone would say, "Damn it, the power's out again," and I'd go, "We need some light. First of all, we need some light."

... I'm sick. Well, I was sick. I'm better now. I think I am.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunrise, Sunset

 P.S. I do not own this picture.

... I discovered while watching Sondheim: The Birthday Concert that when Patti LuPone sings, her mouth transforms into a trapezium. It's all part of the way she opens her mouth and enunciates her words. Listening to her sing, you'd think she's grown weary of the task.

... American Beauty is a masterpiece. I think it's one of those films that should be made required viewing for college students - high school, even, if almost inexistent codes of morality would allow it. The whole cast hit all the right spots with their characterizations, and whoever thought of that suggestive dialogue by Spacey in his final garage scene is a genius.

... Seen at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, December 20th, afternoon: Cathay Pacific 777-200, Singapore Airlines 777-200ER, Korean Air 777-300, Asiana A330-300, China Southern A320-200, Japan Airlines 767-300ER, Emirates 777-300, Qatar Airways 777-300, Etihad (unknown), Saudi Arabian Airlines (747-300/400?), FedEx A310-200F, Thai Airways A330-300.

... It's film awards season! Alice in Wonderland for Golden Globe Best Picture Comedy or Musical?! What the eff. I should've watched The Social Network during the semestral break when I had the chance.

... Gibbs Cadiz released his theater roundup in the wee hours of Sunday/Monday, and here are two points that I strongly feel about: Miguel Faustmann should have been nominated for Best Actor in a Play for Equus, while Phoena Baranda's turn in the same production was too annoying to have merited a nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play.  There are still other matters, of course, but anyway, opinions vary. I'll be releasing my roundups at the end of the school year, which will serve as my 'season divider': one for 2009-2010 and another for 2010-2011.

... Jenn's debut was awesome. The host, the venue, the photo booth, Madi's dance moves, and all the processes that defined that night. 

... An interesting piece of ruckus graced Lea Salonga's space in Twitter the past few days. I must say, those people really have nothing better to do. Why did they even bother following Lea in the first place?! 

... Here in Iloilo, there's clean, cool air. The sunrises and sunsets are just beautiful, and there are coconut trees taller than a three-story house all over the suburbs.

... currently reading Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

On Inventions

The following is a reaction paper written for Science, Technology, and Society (STS) - a 3-unit, 3-hour, once-a-week subject we're currently required to take. Our teacher made us guess which 100 inventions composed Tom Philbin's list. Who our teacher is, you need not know; what the 100 inventions are, you may buy the book by Tom Philbin, whom you may hunt down in Google.

Anyone who attempts to list down humankind’s greatest inventions and narrow the roster down to a hundred never succeeds in echoing the unified sentiment of the other six billion members of his species. An invention or two – or ninety-nine – will always be left out, much to the dismay and disapproval of the person who ever gets hold of such a list. Therefore, the easiest way to not attract the ire of the many is to include the magic words: ‘personal’, ‘my’, ‘private’, as in “My Private Personal List of the World’s Greatest Inventions.” Of course, this is assuming that everyone understands the virtue of respecting one another’s opinions, which is not the case at all – but this is a totally different story in itself. Here, then, are my top three inventions.

At the top of my list is no other than the airplane. The reason for my naming it the greatest goes way beyond the fact that I correctly named it as one of Tom Philbin’s one hundred during last week’s meeting, or that I’m secretly a huge fan of the Wright Brothers (which I don’t think I am).

It’s foremost because of this peculiar love for the big metal birds of the sky, a fanaticism of some sort that runs deep down the boys of my family. It’s because I grew up to the daily roaring of engines and the sight of these huge flying machines, almost an arm’s reach in my mind’s eye as they soar past our house in the provincial suburbs. It’s because my childhood bookworm spent half his time engrossed in books and pictures of airports and commercial airliners, to the point that his teenage incarnation now has a mental pantheon of all things modern aviation. And with the current state that I’m in, it’s because airplanes have become an indelible part of my life, the carriage that can take me in an hour from home to college and back.

But the reasons go beyond my personal life, too. Because of airplanes, continents have become much closer, people brought to one another more easily, and time spent less and less whiling away on the road to wherever. The internet may be able to let us talk to loved ones ‘face-to-face’ from halfway across the globe, but the airplane can bring them right to our faces, clothes and arms and all. I’m aware, though, that pitchfork-bearing environmentalists may come chasing after me anytime now.

The second on my list is the camera. There is no point asking me as to what specific type – digital, SLR, etc.; to me, they are all the same image-capturing devices whatever the size of the lens. And the reason all of them made it to this list as a technological generic is defined by their primary function: to capture moments in time.

Imagine what it would be like today if all we could ever do to bring back the past is dig into history books that are all words, or talk endlessly about it and let the mind summon the images on its own. Not a single historical account or recollection of what’s done would ever be accurate anymore, and the only thing that we can do to bring past experiences back is to willfully wish in vain. There would only be the ‘now’ that is so fleeting, and the ‘what has been’ which we can never fully grasp again.

Writers and artists have long talked about preserving the past; historians have always insisted on reopening it; present-day techies are always into transforming it. Thanks to the camera, and as the University course Archeology 2 would have it, the past is never a distant land.

Finally, the third in my top three is something that has, for the past five years, served as a sort of lifeline for me: the eyeglasses. One may argue that the more correct term for this would be the lens, but I’m currently not exactly a big fan of contacts, so there. Anyway, let’s say that 96 million of the world’s population is either near- or far-sighted, or have astigmatism. Without eyeglasses, are these 96 million to just spend the rest of their lives bumping on walls or walking with the aid of squinting or another person? Or take President Ninoy Aquino III, for example: How is he to read a top-secret document without the precious eyeglasses? Truly, the eyeglasses transcend personal use; they have become integral to the internal functioning system of humankind.

The rest of my list is as follows:

4. wrist watch

5. shoes

6. the World Wide Web

7. paper

8. flashlight

9. toothbrush

10. calendar

To repeat what I’ve pointed out earlier, lists such as this are all largely or entirely composed of personal preferences. On Philbin’s list, I have only one thing to point out: He included a lot of the specifics and mostly technological stuff, which have undoubtedly made life easier. But how is a microwave oven any better without the plate, or a spoon and fork, or that thing that’s used to get freshly heated stuff out of the microwave itself? In the process of going through his list, it feels as if Philbin somehow forgot to include the basics – clothes, for instance. Maybe shirts and pants are not specific nor technological enough to qualify?