Thursday, August 21, 2008

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Who watches the Watchmen?

I finished reading Watchmen the other night, and am sufficiently floored. Perhaps now Porky can forgive me for referring to Dr. Manhattan as the glowing blue man.

It is the 1980s and the world teeters on the edge of chaos. The Cold War is reaching a climax and the public grows restless. Former costumed hero and war veteran The Comedian is murdered and draws the vigilante Rorschach into a dangerous investigation. Dr. Manhattan, the superbeing maintaining the fragile peace on Earth, goes into exile after being verbally assaulted by the press. The other ex-adventurers deal with the stigma of their nebulous past and struggle with their existence, seemingly robbed of purpose. Some are wistful, others are bitter. Hope is hard to come by, and it is only the hidden deepest self that cries for a warmer world. The future of the world is vague.

Even behind masks and elaborate costumes, we cannot hide from our own demons. The glass castles we build eventually shatter in the face of truth. Once the rubble has settled and our sight has cleared, the view may not often be pretty. We will see that reality does not operate in black and white, but in shades of red.

Eye-candy! The trailer is awesome.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

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Tennis look-alikes

I got this hilarious YouTube link from Joyce, who was busy swooning over Marat Safin. I always thought Amelie Mauresmo was a disguised man playing in the women's circuit. Federer and Tarantino share a nose. I wonder if Martina Hingis cares that her boyfriend looks like a ruined hobbit. I finally understand where The Djoker finds comic inspiration. Marilyn Manson needs make-up, but Myskina is all natural. Enjoy!

The pile is growing

Update 7.31.2008: The city council has trashed (ha-ha) Vice-mayor Fariñas' proposal to place Baguio under a state of calamity. This article reports the decision and talks about alternative solutions.

Updates on the Baguio garbage problem.

City officials are looking to declare Baguio City in a state of calamity (more here). Vice-mayor Fariñas says that tapping into the calamity fund may assist in financing possible solutions. It may take about Php9 million monthly to have the trash transported to dumpsites outside the city. Clark, Pampanga is one possible destination.

Health officials warn that poor sanitation in the city could lead to disease. Tourism will likely suffer ("On your right, ma'am, is last week's uncollected garbage. Notice how the colors and smells just come alive! They jump right at you!"). People are grumpy about seeing garbage at every turn and grumble about bad governance. The entire city feels neglected.

But, again, we can do something about our own trash. You can refuse plastic bags in stores and carry your purchases in your own bags. Jessica Zafra writes that plastic is evil and suggests that we don't need it when we shop. And a manicured, sili-buying lady convinces Padma that all is not lost for Baguio.

Friday, July 25, 2008

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Trash talk

"Kubi! Kubi! KUBIIII!" my tita screeched, knocking wildly on the gate. I was napping and the sound of my aunt's slightly hysterical voice shocked me into waking. I ran to the door, and yanked it open.

"Darasem! Agiwar ka basura yon ta adda diyay truck!" (Quick! Take out your trash because the truck is coming this way!) she told me in one breath, her eyes wide with urgency. I sobered at that and felt the sleep seep out of my limbs. I nodded and walked purposefully to the back room. I hauled out an immense black plastic bag and carried it out unto the street. There, in the distance, I saw people busily loading similar burdens into something I had not seen in weeks: a garbage truck. I felt a rush of relief, heartened by the prospect of bidding two weeks' worth of accumulated garbage adieu. I spent the next few minutes methodically rounding up stray bags. The truck was mere meters away. My titas and I waited outside, bristling with unconcealed excitement.

"Does it look full to you?" one of my aunts whispered to no one in particular. I squinted into the darkness and made out three men jumping up and down on the back of the truck, heroically defying the laws of matter. I shook my head vehemently. This lone truck, I liked to believe, held the ticket to our sanity(-ation). My tita's doubt was infectious, but I beat it back.

The garbage truck started to move. We leaned forward hopefully...and watched an impressive pile of refuse make its slow procession down the street, completely ignoring our own expectant heap. Looks of bewilderment, cries of dismay! My titas and I waved frantically at the barangay kagawads following the truck. It's full, they said. We'll be back tomorrow, they assured us. Heads bowed and shoulders slumped, we carried our bags defeatedly across the street. We would have to wait until the next day before we could rid ourselves of this bane.

So it goes in Baguio City these days. The Irisan dumpsite has been closed, because many fear a repeat of the Payatas tragedy and because there is just too much trash. Negotiations to share dumpsites with neighboring towns have been futile in the hands of our blundering mayor. Government action is achingly slow. Our streets are lined with garbage bags trying very hard to look neat, but failing miserably. The wind carries a rotting, putrid smell not even pine can mask. The rain hastens the decomposition process so that maggots and other fauna easily colonize the accumulated waste. Why not, my dad suggested over dinner, hire a dumptruck and have them unload all of our garbage in front of City Hall? That would definitely get the officials moving.

While we consider the logisitics of this plan, we can try to ease up on trash production. The action of one will hardly make a dent, but the collective efforts of many will. Also starring in this great act are the basic R's we couldn't get enough of in elementary: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The simplest things really work. For instance, you can avoid throwing away food by cooking just enough for you and your family. Carry groceries in your own canvas bag. Buy a sturdy water bottle and keep refilling that instead of adding to the growing heap of plastic bottles. Recycled paper is always the bomb-- print a report on the clean side of used paper. It's back to basics for the people of Baguio.

For this city, the garbage problem is a fall from grace. Is it possible for Baguio's Cleanest and Greenest Hall of Fame spot to get revoked?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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Birds in the news

A lumad farmer shoots and kills a large bird perched on a tree near his farm. He cuts up the meat into fine pieces, making the bird ready for a soupy tinola dish. Its head and wings are buried, a neat finish. Then the farmer and his friends sit down to a nice meal. Elsewhere, a red flag goes up. Satellite and radio transmitters lead conservationists to the buried remains of Kagsabua (="unity"), a juvenile Philippine eagle rescued and released back into the wild four months ago.

Brian Balaon faces 10 years in jail for killing an endangered animal and violating the Wildlife Protection Act. There are less than 300 eagles remaining in the forests of Mindanao.

Hundreds of baby penguins wash up dead on the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Pollution, overfishing, and climate change are the suspected culprits. Human beings are infinitely creative in their ways to kill.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

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Here, can you handle this?

Before all the Feists and Regina Spektors, there was Alanis Morissette. Her iconic 1995 album Jagged Little Pill made her a permenent fixture in pop culture (What am I even saying? Of course you know Jagged Little Pill). She was the first singer-songwriter. Her lyrics, intelligent and razor-sharp, dissected the ails of our generation with harsh precision. Morissette dared to be honest while everyone else was just trying to be popular. She unleashed her powerful voice and gave us music we would listen to again and again. Morissette gave us poetry our souls would gravitate to and remember.

After such monumental success, she continued to make music. She played hits that would get considerable airplay, but were nevertheless forgettable. She eventually slid from the limelight. Many believed all her creative brilliance had gone into her first album.

On June 10, 2008, she released a new album Flavors of Entanglement. This undertaking was a form of therapy for the musician, whose recent split from Ryan Reynolds was a nasty kind of business (He is now engaged to Scarlett Johansson. Ooh-la-la.). She started writing to get "it out of her system." Reviews say Morissette does not repeat the anger that was so palpable in Pill, but engages in a spectrum of emotions. There's nothing like darkness to give a person inspiration.

I say, if you can find the mojo again, kudos.

P.S. If anyone has Flavors and wants to share...? Pretty please? ^__^

Friday, July 18, 2008

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Losing my religion

The 2008 Wimbledon men's final was more than tennis. It was human drama, awesome in its scope and intensity-- the kind of bittersweet story one craves for in sports. After four hours and 48 minutes of stunning play and frayed nerves, Rafael Nadal inched ahead to defeat five-time champion Roger Federer 6-4 6-4 6-7 6-7 9-7. The final moment of that match was nebulous. Nadal's unbridled ecstasy. Federer's look of heartbreaking loss. The crowd rippled with varying degrees of happiness and disappointment. They celebrated with Nadal, but sympathized with Federer. Emotions ran amok.

Just as Nadal's back touched the worn grass on Centre Court, the TV winked out. It was 4am on Monday morning and my champion lost. All the oxygen got sucked out of my living room.

Nadal found the cracks in Federer's armor and bullied his way in. Brute force eventually won out over innovation. The Spaniard was simply unstoppable, persisting with rallies until he had the upper hand. Still, that same pressure pushed Federer to further elevate his game. He fought to the bitter end, shocking everyone with a beautiful backhand return winner even as his opponent served for the championship. The man went out in style.

Looking back, I realize I should have watched the awards ceremony. I should have borne the agony of watching another man lift the Wimbledon trophy. I should have, because Federer did. And did so with grace, knowing he lost to the better man. Even in defeat, he sets the example for the rest of us.

I am not alone in my grief. Eben Harrell comes to terms with the fall of our hero, saying that Federer's loss spells the death of beauty.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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Fathers and forgetful angels

Mamma Mia. Meryl Streep isn't a bad singer and uses her body as if she is not about to get a hip dislocation at any moment. Everyone in that film looked happy- even when they were sad, they were cheerful about it. I do not see Colin Firth as a gay man. Stelan Skarsgard kind of creeps me out. When Pierce Brosnan sings, there's a point at the beginning of the song where it sounds like he's still clearing his throat. The scenes these three men share are the most endearing, but the hilarious Julie Walters could give them a run for their money. People in musicals clearly haven't heard of paternity tests.

Hancock. A couple of questions. Why did Hancock get amnesia if he had healing abilities? I mean, it took Peter Petrelli a while to regain his memory but he managed it. Also, if Mary didn't want to be found out, why did she go on a rampage in downtown Los Angeles dressed in that fetching black outfit? Way to hide your superpowers. And also, why did she keep bringing up details about their past? The man has amnesia, woman. He has no idea what you're talking about. Which brings me to: why was she acting like everything was his fault? Didn't she abandon him for the last eighty years? Aaand, what did Hancock use to attach that huge heart on the moon? (Or was it paint?)


And did those inmates feel awkward around each other after they got his head out of his ass?

Friday, July 11, 2008

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I got you babe

I have developed a strong resistance towards anything productive. My turbulent adjustment to free time has caused most of my family considerable stress-- only Rako appears to understand my awkward evolution. His tolerance knows no limit, showing no apparent distress even when listening to my interpretations of songs by the Pretenders. That's love.

Here he is on guard dog duty.

Friday, June 13, 2008

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Location chart

Looks like I'm going to be back in Baguio for the next four months. I took home most of my stuff from the House of M yesterday. I was sorely unprepared for major hakot, so in an act of desperation, I packed most of my readings and books in a black trash bag. There were mixed looks of amusement and disdain. Nicole and Lem sniggered when they saw my trash bag (Nicole when I was leaving Marikina, and Lem when I got to Baguio). The security guard at Victory informed me that I shouldn't stray too far from my bags because the resident basurero might mistake them for the morning trash. I think he was kidding.

Monday, June 9, 2008

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Resurgent blogger? Not.

I feel I need to reach out. I haven't written in a while though, so this will come out in random bursts.

I space out a lot these days and feel sleepy even when I shouldn't be. One forgets how to socialize after being on field for a while. The seas and the mountains are more tame than the city.

Even when one misses their pine trees, the Universe will compensate somehow. I think of agoho trees growing on a cliff, all bending where the winds blow them.

Roger Federer. The French Open finals. (...hargh)

Been hanging out in Marvel 1602 (Thanks Fifi!) It makes for good dreams.

Regina Spektor makes a recent appearance in my life. Listen to the "The Call" on the Prince Caspian soundtrack. I realized how much I missed her and revisited Begin to Hope this morning (Come in to my world, I've got to you...bum bum bum).

Skadoosh. Pandas kick kung fu ass.

My armpits are bleeding. And with this visual thought, I leave you.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

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Anger and a lesson in snot

I'm back in Manila now, and for reasons I probably will never admit, everything pisses me off. I have a feeling the people at home are beginning to suspect that there might be something up my nether region. This morning, I decided that I should try and manage my mounting rage. I fear that if I don't, I might lash out and break someone's face. Otherwise, I got nuthin' but love.

In more news, I'm recovering from the ravages of the Common Cold. I spent my last three days in Baguio with the flu.When my cough decided to go the distance, the depressing weather in the city decided to make a turn-around. I had my blankets up to my chin, and outside the damn birds were singing, the frickin' sun was shining, and the blasted sky was the perfect shade of ice blue. I didn't mind. Truly.

Here's some information you may have already realized for yourselves (but I'm going to write about anyway). Remember that when one is sick with the flu, it is usually best to drink plenty of fluids. I was wise to follow that advice and drank as much water as I could. Have you ever noticed that when your nose is jammed with snot, and you have water in your other breathing orifice, the effect is like drowning? It is an unpleasant, sputtering experience. Now, I am careful to blow my nose before I lift a glass of water to my mouth. Everyone should remember to do likewise.

Oh, and don't forget to wash your hands.
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