Monday, November 24, 2008

Cry me to the moon.

If you have read Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 and at the end you feel disjointed, disoriented, if you feel like you have been catapulted to Jupiter, you’re still sane. Thank Pynchon even for not sending you out of the Milky Way galaxy. I feel like reading through a David Lynch film with lesser tendency for migraine. I got the hang that was Vineland after one chapter, but with this one I still feel like struggling after four, but the novel is short with six chapters. Probably because, Pynchon meshes imagined worlds of the rock and roll mania, drug culture, and the conspiracy over the courier system all of which is suppose to mirror the confusion that is America itself. It’s like a reinvented detective story with a more perplexing, labyrinthine and interesting chase, full of sadness and loss and search for meaning. If Pynchon wants us to place ourselves in Oedipa Maas’ shoes, then all the confusion, loss and seemingly perpetual search for meaning definitely hits home.

On one hand, everybody seems to be jumping on the Twilight bandwagon, so I digressed by picking up another vampire of sorts novel by Elizabeth Kostova called The Historian. It’s too early to tell some of the probable highlights of the voluminous book (so no spoilers please) but speaking of digression I think it offers to shed light on the true Dracula, the inspiration of the Bram Stoker novel, who wasn’t a vampire in the first place, Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler, because, yes, he impales people like lechon. Like skewering them with long pointed wooden sticks and displays them in such a manner as the barbeque vendor displays her freshly grilled, with sauce, barbeque, intestines and lamang-loob. And yes, according to the book, which is partly autobiographical, back in those Ottoman empire days, this happened people.

I just came from the pantry to drink water and walking from the dark hallways of our office (yes, the sun has set and I have to keep reminding myself I’m suppose to be a bureaucrat) and scarily chanting The Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson (with all the larynx-tearing growl), when the guard freaked the hell out of me. So much for stress.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What I need is a good defense.

Oh my friggin' gulay. This definitely made my day. Or my week, which was unbelievable grueling. The top 100 music videos of all time according to Stylus magazine. This is what you call a no-bullshit list. I couldn't really contend on the spots and who's occupying them because I think this is well-deserved. Why it rocks? Because these are videos that went beyond the boundaries of music videomaking, these videos created haunting, sad, classy, poignant images that I think can never be matched. And because they never make music videos like this anymore.

Because it brings back memories of a high-school me glued to the TV set, being mesmerized by videos such as Nine Inch Nails' The Perfect Drug or blown away by Blur's Song 2. Perfect Drug lands in the list but not in the top 20, though I think it should have been there, easily one of my favorite videos. Other faves that were in the list includes Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai, Criminal by Fiona Apple which is at # 11, Tonight Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins and Just by Radiohead, which is at # 5. I expected Bjork's All is Full of Love and A-Ha's Take on Me. U.N.K.L.E. and Thom Yorke's Rabbit in your Headlights is at # 1.

Some names would be familiar as some of the music video visionaries landed on film themselves: Michel Gondry, Jonathan Glazer, Chris Cunningham and Anton Corbijn, who directed Joy Division's Ian Curtis' film biopic Control, one of my 2007 best. Gosh, I didn't know it was Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris who directed some of Smashing Pumpkins videos. Of course, you know, they went on to make that little movie that could, Little Miss Sunshine.

Monday, November 17, 2008

surviving the fear, reality tv-style.

Watching Pinoy Fear Factor, Argentina, South America, World, Milky Way Galaxy, Universe last night. I needed to emphasize that because Ryan Agoncillo, the host, wants us to always remember that they were able to produce a show - another Pinoy franchise of Western reality shows - that they were able to shoot it, in Argentina, which come to think of it is not really a remote possibility. What they were able to do really is to transport half the globe a bunch of fuckable (of course, sex sells) twenty-something lousy retards who flinch and fall and fail most of the challenges (at least for two weeks it has been airing).

But for sheer consumable entertainment, I think I’ll score it a little notch higher than the Pinoy version of Survivor which really sucks like a vacuum cleaner. Having watched many seasons of Survivor hosted by Emmy-winning Jeff Probst, watching Survivor Phils is like watching the same Survivor dubbed in Tagalog. The scheming, the issues, the personages, it’s all the same, and with challenges that are not-so-challenging I could laugh. Even Paolo Bediones, who really sucked in this, rehashes Jeff’s line in Tagalog: “Nagsalita na ang tribo… (The tribe has spoken…)” Sheesh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Earth-check, loser.

What I’m going to say is remotely significant to what is happening in my life right now but I’m going to say it anyway because I want to and I’m tired of saying shitty things that don’t work themselves out and I don’t have anything life-changing or awe-inspiring up in my sleeves right now, it will probably take more than that.

Well at least I have a new zipper to the slacks I wear regularly which is good news for somebody who has been parading himself in the public without a zipper for more or less 3 weeks. I finally mustered the time to have it repaired. It’s kind of gross but I really couldn’t care less because I don’t usually tuck in my polos and I stopped wearing icky long sleeves which force me to tuck it in. I also realized that I don’t look good anymore when I tuck myself in because I’ve been a slob for months now which explains my protruding gut. But what do you care anyway.

So by some major force of nature, I realized that I have been blogging for two years now. 199 entries, and perhaps a bazillion more to go. This is not an obligatory entry really. I haven’t written an anniversary blog last year as if it is some kind of an annual thing. It’s so happen that I was browsing past entries and I stumbled upon that very first entry two years ago. I realized I’ve been a humongous blabbermouth with all that shitty crap I spew forth in this blog. It’s a wonder that some of those entries that I find meaningful, given that they bring some sort of meaning, are those short, amusing and don’t-give-a-shit entries and sometimes sort of recapitulatory, if a word ever exists. Like this one or this one.

Maybe if there’s anything that’s celebratory, it would have to be that this blog (and I guess you reader) kept a semblance of sanity in an otherwise crazy world and an even crazier, unbelievably shitty life. Maybe if there’s anything that’s worth amounting to, is the fact that I still give a great deal about this life and struggling through it rather than pathetically cutting it short, about straightening things out, and actually calling it a life. I’m still thinking, for crying out not-so-loud. I still believe that there’s something that’s amazingly big and wondrous out there for me. And really, I can’t wait.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I am way beyond happy. I mean, I'm ecstatic.

Americans made it happen. They put the first black president in the White House, something which had never happened for some 200 or so years. And hopefully after 200 years of independence, I sure do hope, even if I don't live up to see that day, that our country would elect a leader everybody can be proud of. But I don't think it will be 2010, unlike what Binay said in the news last night. We won't be replicating such a historical election in the Philippines. Taking our lot out of our quandary as a nation will go beyond 2010. We need some major CHANGE, people.

Obama did more than just win an election. He took people to voting precints - youth, women, elderly - in a turnout that's historical in itself. Obama didn't encourage them just to vote him. He made the people believe they can realize that change by exercising their right.

Meanwhile, some excerpts from Mr. President-elect's speech: The Independent has the full text or you can listen to it here courtesy of NPR.

"...You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime - two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century."

"...But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years - block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand."

"...And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

"...And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

"...This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can."

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

History in the making

Up to date news on the historic 2008 U.S. elections.

Breaking news: Barack Obama, first-termer Illinois Senator is the 44th U.S. President as projected, and the first African American to hold the highest executive position, with 324 electoral votes against Republican nominee John McCain's 124 as of 11:01 US time, according to AP cited in Yahoo News. Click here and here and here for some straight from the pan news.

Update: Listening to Obama's victory speech live at Grant Park, Chicago. "The new dawn of American leadership is at hand," said the historical president in his raspy but charismatic voice. Punctuated by jubilant, resounding cheers of "Yes, we can."

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Dear Ma

I’m sorry for coming here alone, with this simple bouquet and a single stubby candle to light. They will be bringing in the rest of the candles later and an even bigger, if you can call it that, arrangement of flowers. They will have the cleaning materials too so I didn’t hire the insistent boy who keeps tugging me for cleaning services.

The bouquet, with its pink anthuriums and white chrysanthemums look simple enough but I think you will like it. I picked it up while on the way passing by the church. I feel bad today so I came early and I’m sorry for feeling bad. I know, you don’t need to visit me in my dreams to remind me to stretch my patience. I think you know I’ve stretched it too much. And I’m sorry if I snapped, sometimes at Papa, which I don’t mean to. I know you know that I still respect and love him as a father. But things are different now, it won’t always be the same when you were here. All attempts at being and living normal are futile. I always return to that unbalanced, confused state. But I get by. Times are getting really tougher, which you might see in the conditions we are living now. But I think we’ll get through this, or else, you wouldn’t have left us in peace.

Funny, the guard at the office made me teary-eyed. Before going here, I dropped by the office to iron out some things. We talked about things and came to the topic of your death. Funny how they all are inquisitive, these people. But they are the most worthy of serious conversations. He said I never looked like those people who have got the world on their backs. Now, that’s a good sign, don’t you think?

I am looking around and seeing less people than before. While walking the street, there was less traffic. People are busy perhaps, there are no holidays. Some graves are left unattended lucky to have a single candle lighting it, or a handful of cheaply arranged daisies and chrysanthemums to color their drab outline. People look glum too. I saw the same old woman again one grave next to us but she didn’t manage a smile.

I think I’ll be going now - a drop of rain fell into the book I’m reading. I think they will be here soon. Bye, my prayer and longing remain the same.

Your son.

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family, Choose a f—king big television. Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose a three piece suit on hire purchased in a range of f—king fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the f—k you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing f—king junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, f—ked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose a future. Choose life . . . But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin’ else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got heroin?

Renton, Trainspotting