Tuesday, January 27, 2009


It is only a matter of time before the TELUS bosses decide to kick me out of the office. That is, if all my pleas come to naught; though I remain hopeful that my abilities to kiss ass have not waned. I have not stayed in this company this long if I am entirely ignorant of the many ways to kiss ass. Other people in my circumstance (habitual absenteeism, chronic case of tardiness and overbreaks) would try to reason out, but the pet in me will always reason out nicely.

I was not always a pet. In fact, I used to have a tendency to question authority and to avoid being subject to the rules. Perhaps, the pet me in has been repressed too much that when given the chance to kiss ass, it comes out frenzied, ready to prepare to lick the rear of the first boss in sight.

I shall give it a try one more time, my charms are not nil--and so are my metric scores. If it does not work, then I would have to revert to my old self. I write brilliant resignation letters.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


he fusses over the already neatly arranged college books
in his office station, these crowded tombstones,
these memorials to a still fresh and unfinished past

beside, the computer screen and telephone
like harsh, postmodern twin churches

a ghost of a poem lingers in the air, haunts him,
but a long loud beep in his ears
sends the specter gliding away, into thin wisps of smoke
he adjusts his headset and says thank you
to a person at the other side of the world

This is misposted, my bad. This is what happens when you have one too many blogs than you can manage. LOL. Click on the blogtitle to get routed to the right blog.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Man Booker Prize

Before I bought my own DVD player and started doing movie marathons, I used to have the impression that I'm a book geek. When I was still in school, I'd scrimp on my food allowance so I could buy books. Or if I don't even have money for lunch, or I'm feeling particularly brave, I'd shoplift in book stores. I'd like to feel guilty when I do it, but there's always the romantic justification that good literature should not be accessible to only those who have money. Of course, at the end of the day, I feel guilty nonetheless.

When I do shoplift, though, I follow certain rules. One, that the risk must be worth it. Two, that I have a plan B, in case I screw up. Most usually, I follow the first rule the easiest way: I pick a Booker Prize winner. As for the second rule, well, that should remain one of the secrets of my trade.

I owe my discovery of the Booker Prize to my Creative Writing 10 professor Butch Guerrero, who gave me my much needed 1.0 to offset my 3.0 in Calculus the previous semester. I think the class was discussing plot and "crucible" when he mentioned Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. One of Rushdie's short stories, The Prophet's Hair, was on the list to demonstrate how a certain circumstance or object could guide characters towards an inevitable end. Right after class, I haunted the library to look for Midnight's Children, but of course, it was only for overnight lease and all the copies were already out. I ended up nicking a copy from a small discount book store. I think it's best not to say which book store.

Right after I finished Midnight (on which I shall dedicate a lengthy post when I find time and the necessary brainpower), I began looking for other Booker Prize winners. I cant recall which came after Midnight, but the Booker Prize winners have since became my default fallback if I want anything good to read.

Booker Prize 101
The Booker Prize right now is officially known as The Man Booker Prize, funded by Man Group plc, an investment group that claims to specialize on "alternative" investments in 13 countries worldwide. It awards the best novel written by Commonwealth and Irish authors. Aside from the prospect of fame and renown, not to mention increased book sales, the Man Booker Prize offers a prize money of 50,000 euros ($66,695.29, at the current exchange rate of 1 = 1.33391). A hefty amount, in comparison to Pulitzer Prize's $10,000.

Judges of the prize range from literary critics, writers, academicians, and, now and then, a "notable public figure" (sic) to give pomp and style to the panel. Remarkably, though, very few Bookers are considered boobies.

In 1993, Booker celebrated its 25th anniversary by awarding the best Booker novel of the past 25 years as the "Booker of Bookers." Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children won the prize. Last year, the same author and book won "The Best of the Booker," an award given to the best novel to have won the Booker in the 40 years of existence.

Rushdie must now be very rich, he no longer cares a bit about that fatwa.

Somebody in an online forum once commented that you fall in love with the first Rushdie you read. I agree, and Midnight shall always be my favorite Booker novel, all 250 pages of it. It's both ridiculously serious and seriously ridiculous, it's my favorite oxymoron of a book so far.

Trailing closely behind would be five-time nominee Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin, which won the Booker in 2000. A novel of three stories braided into one, Assassin demonstrates Atwood's ability to conjure vivid characters and maneuver them in a surreal chessboard of events. Many consider Atwood (below) a feminist, but this is a topic that would need a whole post to itself.
Yann Martel's Life of Pi, which won in 2002, is also a favorite. Another novel that plays with surrealism, Pi tells the tale of a shipwrecked boy who endures 227 days in the Pacific. A Royal Bengal Tiger keeps him company in the lifeboat.

Martel has been accused of plagiarism by Moacyr Scliar, to whom Martel dedicated his book, thanking him for "the spark of life." Though Scliar eventually dropped the charges, many of Pi's most ardent fans were dismayed. Which is interesting, since aren't all novels a form of plagiarism, in one way or another? I have always believed a good novel is a well-written collection of borrowed truths and lies. I should know, I plagiarize my life all the time.

Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal, this February

I read the graphic novel back in high school but I still remember specific scenes, frames in the book. And that says a lot, since I am never really much of a "graphic-visual" person.

I also have not dared to see the movie version yet, but if ever, I am just going to see it not because it's a movie, but because it's a version of a vastly entertaining work in another genre. And of course, there's Rustom.

A friend informed me Zsa Zsa Zaturnnah Ze Muzikal will be back this February for its sixth run. Here's what I gleaned from Carlo Vergara's blog:

Ze Schedule:

Feb 6, 13 (Fri) 8PM
Feb 7, 14 (Sat) 3PM & 8PM
Feb 8, 15 (Sun) 3PM & 8PM
Mar 6 (Fri) 8PMMar 7 (Sat) 3PM & 8PM
Mar 8 (Sun) 3PM & 8PM

Ze Ticket pricez:

Ticket prices will be at P500, P600 and P700. (Still pretty reasonable, if you compare them with the ticket prices of other professional theater companies.)

Reserve your tickets thru Lorelei or Paolo at TP:832-1125 loc. 1620 to 1621. Direct Line 832-3661. Or you can contact Lorelei through 09285518645.


I've seen Eula Valdez once in Mafia in Malate, during an event sponsored by One Bacardi sometime early last year. She's stunning, and she's, what, in her late thirties, early forties? She was with Rufa Mae Quinto, who was ridiculously pretty in a skimpy white dress. Ah, I remember now. It was White Party then at the gay district. Early February-ish.

I have invited friends already to see Zsa Zsa with me, but they wouldn't give me a definite answer. This is one of those times I miss my old friends back in UP; they're always game for even a semi-nice play. Then again, I could book a ticket for two for the 14th or the 15th, and see Ada transform to Zsa Zsa. With my ma.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

ABC cancels Pushing Daisies

Are we saying goodbye to Ned, Olive, and Chuck?

ABC did not explicitly say they are axeing Emmy-nominated Pushing Daisies. But when people start mumbling euphemisms, one immediately notices mean things are being done in a polite manner. And that last phrase is, of course, an oxymoron.

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, ABC President of Entertainment Steve McPherson broke the news on November last year that the network was giving up on three second-season shows, Pushing Daisies, Dirty Sexy Money and Eli Stone. I should have found out about this a long time ago, if not for my firm resolve to avoid sites related to Pushing Daisies for fear of second season spoilers.

ABC has maintained that though they will not order more episodes of Daisies, "the door is still open." This is hardly any consolation to viewers, since talk of ABC's final decision has prompted stars of Daisies to look for other jobs. Director Bryan Fuller has returned to writing for Heroes. while I've read somewhere that Kristin Chenowith has been signed up for another TV show.

Dirty Sexy Money is a friend's favorite, though I personally haven't seen an episode. I am more concerned with Daisies, because the show's originality is so refreshing after heaps and heaps of reality TV serials. Plus it bears resemblances to Amelie and Stepford Wives, of which I am both immensely fond of.

At the end of the day, the rationale behind all this is as simple as ABC (pun intended): These shows, Daisies included, has not drawn enough viewership as to make them profitable enough to be kept spending on. I guess the real chief nemesis of good TV shows is not any writers' strike, or even censorship, but the business of attracting advertisers for more profit.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Curious Case of Pirated Pushing Daisies

It's a curious coincidence that it was Lee, a Bacardi friend, who introduced me to Pushing Daisies, an American TV series about a piemaker who can bring back the dead to life. Lee Pace stars as the piemaker Ned. I lent him my Roald Dahl and Margaret Atwood books, and I told him it must be a sort of swap, so he lent me his pirated copy of Pushing Daisies. Ah, the wonders of piracy.

In her better days, Jessica Zafra once said in her columns that piracy is not the consumer's problem. It is the movie studios' and record labels' problem. For exploiting the talents of artists and mass producing their work, they rake in millions of dollars. Sure, artists get something out of royalties, but it's a pittance compared to the huge profits the Big Guys amass.

If anything, piracy, she says, bridges the gap between artist and audience. There is no middle-man who, by working the economics of price and supply and demand, hinders the audience's appreciation for the artist's work .

But I guess I'm saying this, only partly because I hoard pirated DVDs. Those peddled in the streets with up to 18 movies. And with the second season of Pushing Daisies coming to an end, I am wildly excited about the prospect of seeing the whole second season of Pushing Daisies sold in the streets of Guadalupe. Marathong umaatikabo na naman ito.

Even though YouTube has uploaded episodes already, I opted not to watch any since I intend to do the whole second season in one sitting--which is not an easy feat since, considering the cliffhanger episode at the end of season one where Vivian reveals to Olive that she is Chuck's mother.

Hopefully, I'll have money next week to buy a pirated copy of season two and finally find out what happens next.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Things to Look Forward to this 2009 (1)

This is long overdue, but I can't think of anything else to write about. My creative juices are at an all-time low. It must be the cold weather, my blood is having difficulty in reaching my brain.

Anyway. Now that the Metro Manila Film Festival is (finally) over, the backlog of foreign movies are now trickling in. Not that I am not fond of homegrown films. But this year's MMFF offerings are as uninteresting as the offerings for the last several years.

I have noticed theaters are now showing The Curious Case of Button Benjamin Button, starring Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt. Loosely based on the 1921 short story by Scott Fitzgerald, the film has a premise that should draw hordes of moviegoers. It actually did. Benjamin (Pitt) is born with the appearance of an old man, as his years go by, he "grows younger" until he becomes a baby. Along the way he meets Hildegarde Moncrief (Oscar winner Cate Blanchett), the daughter of a Civil War veteran, with whom he falls in love and eventually marries.

Benjamin Button boasts of being the product of two talents known for being great in adapting books into movies: Director David Finch (Fight Club) and Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, 1994; Munich, 2005), who won an Oscar for Forrest Gump.

This years seems to be a rematch for Oscar laureates, because Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslet of the Titanic fame are back in Revolutionary Road, a movie about the a couple with differing dispositions and apirations. Sam Mendes of American Beauty is at the helm of this long-awaited reunion of two of Hollywood's box office darlings. Man Booker Prize nominee Justin Haythe (The Honeymoon) wrote the screenplay.

There is also Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in July. Steven Kloves, who wrote the first Potter films, returns as screenwriter for this sixth installment of the Potter saga. When I first saw the trailers, I instantly noticed the beautiful black-and-blue themed cinematography. Then I found out the movie's cinematographer is Oscar-nominated Bruno Delbonnel of Amelie. No surprise there. David Yates of the fifth film also returns as director.

Angels and Demons also conquers theaters this year, with Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) as director again. The Da Vinci Code was a bore and a disappointment, but hey Ewan McGregor is the camerlengo Carlo Ventresca, so I will see this film and watch Tom Hanks humiliate himself.

There is also another attempt to redeem the X-Men franchise from complete waste with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which traces the early life of Logan who will eventually become Wolverine. To obviously pander to comic geeks, this installment also promises cameos of future X-Men.

For those who pine for Heath Ledger, there's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, a movie about a traveling theater troupe who made a truce with the devil. Heath's death prompted director Terry Gilliam to recast Heath's role with Johnny Depp (oh), Jude Law (oh), and Colin Farrell (oh) playing Heath's character's many transformations. Terry Gilliam is a member of the phenomenal Monty Python comedy troupe.

A fan of Alice Sebold? There's a film adaptation of the 2002 book The Lovely Bones, a tragic story about a girl who was raped and murdered by a local serial killer. BAFTA winner and Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan stars as Alice Sebold. Susan Sarandon and Rachel Weisz also star in this much-awaited film by LOTR god Peter Jackson.

So many films to see. So little time. So little dough.

PS. I'm going to see Benjamin Button on Friday, with someone which I wish to be the One who shall finally break my long-cherished singlehood. Yeeha!