Monday, August 30, 2010

'I need a dump truck to unload my head'

That's a line from Bob Dylan's From A Buick 6, which was alluded to in a friend's FB status today. He posted some lines from his new song, and somehow was able to weave this in. I never really related to that Dylan song, but that line so sweetly articulated my state of mind at the moment. Thus, this blog entry with it in the title.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lightness of being

People often mistake me for nice and sweet. At least people in Manila. The culprit's my accent. I find it funny when people get shocked to discover that I'm actually very mean and dark. Back home, people who know me would laugh at the suggestion that I'm sweet. Truth is, I feel like puking when people say that. Other times I get pissed.

But lately, I'm finding it easier to not disappoint them. I find that it actually works to my advantage--them thinking I'm nice. And I don't mean that in a self-serving way. What I'm saying is, I actually draw inspiration from their expectations. I get motivated to be nice and polite, to see the good in people, and to not think ill of anyone. And I find that it makes me like myself better. I feel light and positive, like a Jedi.

Is this age kicking in? Am I finally maturing? Or, will I cringe when I read this entry tomorrow?

Lightness and positivity aside, I accomplished something very important today: I passed the exam for my open water diver's license. It wasn't exactly a walk in the park, considering that we were usually very tired during the classroom sessions, so I'm really proud of my performance. Or perhaps I'm just relieved to know I still have it. These past months I've been feeling slow and stupid. I don't absorb new learning as easily anymore. I blame age, but then again, it could be my diet.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Consolation prize

Okay, by this time the whole universe knows the Ms. Universe crown almost sat on Ms. Philippines Venus Raj's head today. But that's a big almost. At 4th runner-up, she was three steps behind the title winner, Ms. Mexico.

So why does it deserve a mid-workday entry here?

First, because I have nothing to do and 6pm is 68mins away. And second, like most Filipinos, I was hoping for some good news today to wash down the bitter taste of last night's national nightmare. But it wasn't meant to be. The almost good news is just not enough to wipe away the country's grief and shame.

But I don't want to dwell there. I'm going now. Have to see a doc.

I Got Life

I got life, mother
I got laughs, sister
I got freedom, brother
I got good times, man

I got crazy ways, daughter
I got million-dollar charm, cousin
I got headaches and toothaches
And bad times too
Like you

I got my hair
I got my head
I got my brains
I got my ears
I got my eyes
I got my nose
I got my mouth
I got my teeth
I got my tongue
I got my chin
I got my neck
I got my tits
I got my heart
I got my soul
I got my back
I got my ass
I got my arms
I got my hands
I got my fingers
Got my legs
I got my feet
I got my toes
I got my liver
Got my blood

I got my guts (I got my guts)
I got my muscles (muscles)
I got life (life)
Life (life)
Life (life)

- From the Broadway musical 'Hair' (Nina Simone has a mean cover)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Am I too drunk on Hollywood trash?

Today's protracted hostage drama in Luneta didn't end well. Lives were wasted. Blame's flying around like the proverbial shit that hit the fan. I, too, spewed a few mouthfuls laced with invectives, especially at the 'maso' portion. Mga h!jo de put@! Saka l!nt! nila! Where did you leave your brains today?

I criticized left and right, like I was a some big-time crisis management consultant.

Why didn't a sniper take him out when he was standing by the bus door earlier? Were the authorities being soft on a fellow uniformed man? Were they perhaps sympathetic to his cause, regardless of how stupid his means of getting it out?

Why didn't the police come prepared with masks if they knew they were to use tear gas? They looked stupid and unprofessional holding hankies over their faces. They didn't inspire confidence, to say the least. Talk about getting caught with your pants down while the world watches!

Why didn't anyone think of pulling out the spec sheet for the bus? The police obviously didn't know about the shatter-proof windows and the emergency door. I kept posting comments on FB about how operations should always be backed by relevant intel, and about how this one clearly wasn't.

Why didn't they immediately cordon off the site to keep people away? Not only so they won't get in the way of police operations, but for their own safety. The media and the curious onlookers (mga 'usisero,' as they're called here) obviously got in the way. And the whole world saw that.

I had a lot more nasty things to say, the nasty person that I am and this being the mother of all nasty hostage crises I've ever 'witnessed' by proxy (through media). But now that the smoke has cleared, and I've calmed down somewhat, I realized a few things:

  • This is not a plot from a Tom Clancy novel, and the maneuvers I've read in Rainbow Six may not be workable in actual situations where real lives are at stake. A real-life hostage situation is always volatile. You can never predict where it will lead. There is no simple if-and-then logic at work, especially since hostage takers are usually suicidal and impulsive and are rarely rational.
  • The ground police team did what they could--which, it turned out, wasn't much--given the resources at their disposal and the time constraint. Except for what I heard on the radio, and read from tweets and blogs and FB posts, I wasn't privy to the circumstances that led them to do what they did, and not do what I thought they should have done. But a postmortem of the incident should be in order, not so much for blame pinning but so they could better prepare for similar cases in the future.

  • The police is still smarting from accusations of brutality and overkill, that's why they allowed the media to cover the negotiations. They made sure there was transparency so they wouldn't be accused of excessive use of force or human rights violations, in case they saved the hostages but ended up with a dead hostage-taker.

    Remember that military officer who hijacked the flight control tower some years back? No one else was hurt but he ended up dead. The police was accused of excessive use of force. But what would have justified the use of such force? A downed airplane? Unfortunately, such was the case today. Because some hostages were killed and others were hurt, the killing of the hostage-taker was justified in everyone's eyes.
Now I'm not trying to be an apologist for the police here. No way! That would be like being Lindsay Lohan's publicist, except I don't get paid. But I just thought it would be fair to everyone if I took a step backward and look at my initial viewpoint critically. In short, debate with myself. So there!

But to wrap this up, I noticed there's one missing piece in this puzzle. How come the Palace is silent? The world just saw us shit in our pants and now we're stinking up the place. Where is PNoy? I understand if he chose to distance himself while the crisis was ongoing, but it's over now, and we are suffering from a collective national shame! Where the f*ck are you?!

Oh boy, there's nasty me again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I got rose-colored toes and bloody fingernails. Had the toes done by a professional at David's-Robinson's Galleria for P130+tip, and the nails by Jovy at home for zilch. And looking at them closely, yes, there's a difference. I want my nails redone by a pro, but how do I do that without hurting Jovy's feelings? And is there really a need to spend some more just to see color on my nails, which will look perfect only for 2 days max?

Geez, the issues I'm concerned with these days. But while I'm at it...

I want to say to James Yap that the breakdown of his marriage may yet be the best thing that happened in his life. He has so much future ahead of him, and he deserves better. I didn't know him from Adam until the day he married that fat game show host, but now that they're all over the news, and I've heard his mom speak in his defense, I have somehow formed my opinion of him--accurate or not, doesn't really matter.

And I want to say this to Kris Aquino: Shut your pie hole, b*tch! The more you yak about your sad existence on TV, the more you sink in your own sh*t. Stop insinuating that James Yap is solely responsible for the failure of your sham of a marriage. You and he were doomed from the start, and you don't have to be smart to see that.

But between you two, it was you who stood to gain from that ill-advised union. You, with your colorful past and the unresolved father issues. Sure you had more money and a (somewhat sullied) pedigree, but what did he need those for? He was already a promising basketball star with a respectable salary when you met him. He was not doing so bad. He could have met someone more deserving of him than you, and by that I mean any Filipina under 30 with a pleasing personality.

But you had to enter the picture and ruin his life, you sl*t! And now you shamelessly project yourself as the aggrieved party. Just listen to yourself, and see if you won't make yourself want to kill you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Reunited with Lyra and Pan

Not because I particularly liked 'His Dark Materials' but because the audio book production is excellent. Better than the novel itself. It could be the distinctly British accent of the narrator and voice actors. Along with the slow pace of the novel--almost boring actually--it makes the book a great bedside 'read.'

I wish the people behind this production would do a better novel. Jesse Bernstein of the Percy Jackson series is still among my favorites. He can bring to life a heavy fantasy story all by his lonesome. He did all the parts himself. But he is best as Percy, and I couldn't imagine a better Percy. His delivery of Percy's lines shaped Percy's character in my mind, and made the actor in the film adaptation seem lame.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Speaking of overrated...

I rarely get disappointed when my expectations are low, but damn you, DB! When I picked up your book I expected to at least be gripped by suspense, not by rage at how your bad writing ruined a promising plot. And this comes from someone so lowbrow she actually has a Twilight blog.

It was so predictable that that bit of drama about the villain's true identity at the end almost made me laugh, because I smelled that 'twist' from the onset. Geez! And for supposedly smart people--a Harvard professor and a bleeding-edge scientist--the characters made stupid decisions. Case in point: if you knew the information you had is the only thing keeping you alive, would you reveal it and expect to live? Guess what... that's exactly what the main protagonist did! And the information he revealed, of course, proved to be pivotal in the plot, as it set in motion the sequence of events that the reader was led to believe could end in a cosmic Armageddon.

That part about the protagonist revealing crucial information at the threat of death was just an obvious cop out, an indicator of a lack of sound technique on the part of the storyteller. It's such a pity because the plot had a lot of promise. It was also obviously well researched. It had the potential to spark curiosity, to trigger questions of long-held beliefs, but that opportunity was wasted. Now, why would anyone take seriously the part that tried to debunk popular beliefs, when the characters that challenged these beliefs were obviously just caricatures of real people? That's what I mean about the bad writing distracting readers from whatever nuggets of gold are in the book.

Overall, reading it felt like watching a B-movie. No, worse--it felt like watching that ultimate bomber, 'Legion.'