Monday, November 26, 2007

A Life Stranger than Fiction

"Little did he know that this seemingly innocuous act would be the cause of his imminent death."

And so narrated the Karen Eiffel about the mundane life of Harold Crick (an IRS agent). He, living a boring and repetitive life, having no friends, and filling his days by counting brushstrokes and steps. And she, a writer who smokes a lot and gets a writer block when it is time to kill Harold Crick.

This is not about that movie, which is very good by the way. But about how I identify with and envy Harold Crick. He's an IRS auditor, I am an external auditor. He lives alone, I currently live alone (still looking for a housemate). Ahhh, he likes the girl who works in the bakery, I like cute guys who work in coffee shops. Hmmm, all right, my life is not the same as his. I can only go so far with the comparisons.

Unlike Harold Crick who lives alone and doesn't realize the boredom in his life, until a strange voice began telling him how mundane and seemingly insignificant his days are, I live with the knowledge that my life is boring. No strange voice need to tell me this. But familiar voices are telling me otherwise, that I have a lot to be thankful for (which is true), that I am cute and attractive (ahem!!!) and so many other things. I guess they're right. But my emotions and my thoughts are not controlled by what others tell me. It is controlled by my sometimes hyperactive brain, which finds unhappiness in the most joyful surroundings and happiness in the bleakest landscapes, which can find the good in the most despisable people and fault in the most likeable persons. Yes, my mind can control a lot of things in my life and I can't seem to control my mind.

I wish that some voice would narrate my life so that I can find busi-ness in the most routine task and in the most empty times. I can just listen to that voice and admire how the most seemingly routine task can be described in the most eloquent of words. But I just wish it would be someone who can speak perfect english (in pronunciation and enunciation) and with a good vocabulary. Otherwise, I'd be spending the rest of my life being irritated and distracted by the grammatical errors and lapses, gross mispronunciation and badly constructed sentences, phrases and clauses. Boring as my current life may be, I still deserve to have someone of talent to narrate my existence.

* * * * *
(Update) On my way home from the office, it came to my mind that I made a grammatical error in this blog. Something on the cases of two pronouns. And on this very blog where I expressed my disdain for those English-speaking charlatans whose grammars are so bad they sound like the scratching of a fingernail against a chalkboard!!!


Today, I went to the office early... or earlier than the usual time I go to the office.

I finished editing an FS for an audit that has extended for more than 2 years.

An earthquake shook Metro Manila and other provinces. Being on the 19th floor of our building, the earthquake seemed strong.

I went to lunch at our building's foodcourt. Couldn't decide on what to eat so I bought salisbury steak with buttered vegetables, which is just bland ground beef with hardly any gravy and with a few slices of buttered sayote.

While eating, I saw a guy I went on a date with. At first I did not see his face. I just saw him put a plastic cup of frappe with his name on it on a nearby table. I remembered his name and figured it must be him. It was him and he went to where I am eating to exchange some words. He was with a girl.

I texted him about having a "gf". Of course he found it ridiculous, him being out to his friends and family (except to his lola who is too old to handle such news).

I smoked some cigarettes and went back to the office.

I edited some portions of the illustrative FS, particularly on the portion of cash flow statement. I stopped doing that.

I am now writing this blog and am very sleepy. I want to go home and sleep.

In a few hours, I would be going home to sleep. Most probably I'd be watching some TV, then a movie in DVD then go to sleep late.

Tomorrow, it will probably be the same, except that there may not be an earthquake and there is a very small chance that I will accidentally met a guy who I went out on a date with.

Haaaay. Mundane life. Boring days. Unexciting nights.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My Latest Treasure

Yesterday, I went to Quiapo to buy DVDs. I bought some DVDs but nothing worthwhile.

Then, I went to Makati Cinema Square to look for new DVDs. There I found some treasures. DVDs I've been looking for for quite sometime.

Among these are:

1. Intolerance - Directed by D.W. Griffith in 1916 and produced in response to criticism to his earlier film, Birth of a Nation.
2. Ivan the Terrible, Part I - A film by the legendary Russian director Sergei Eisenstein.
3. L'Atalante - Jean Vigo's film that has been in the Sound and Sight film surveys.
4. Rebecca, Marnie, and Vertigo - Directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.
5. Mariscos Beach - A comedy set in ..... tada! Mariscos Beach.
6. Pixar Short Films - A collection of the short films of Pixar - from the earliest short to the latest.
7. A Streetcar Named Desire - I have this in VCD but a DVD copy would be better.
8. Sunset Blvd. - I also have this Billy Wilder film but again, a DVD copy would be better. "All right Mr. De Mille, I'm ready for my close up."
9. La Strade - by the Italian master director, Federico Fellini.
10. Like Water for Chocolate
11. Kolya - a Czech film which won the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Foreign Language film.

I consider these DVD my treasures and as of now, they are my most proud material possessions. I currently have about 400 DVDs and 300 VCDs. The total cost (acquired through the years) exceed about P70,000. Wow!

I haven't watched all of these and I watched some movies more than once. I'm just collecting and collecting and selecting the best for my viewing pleasure.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Last night, while my parents were in my apartment and sleeping, I watched Shortbus, "the most sexually explicit film that is not pornography." I had the dvd for quite sometime but when I watched it in the past, I usually go to the "good parts" and skip the rest. But watching it last night, I found the movie really good (I haven't finished it yet).

It tells about the lives of different people living in New York (after the 9/11 attack) who go to an underground club "Shortbus." The movie is full of sex scenes but it is not about sex. It is about sexuality. The main characters have sex with other people (a lot too) but they don't get sexual gratification, such as the case of the sex therapist who never had an orgasm in her life.

But underneath all the sex, there's a strong emotion of sadness in the characters' life. Is it really that the lives of New Yorkers are sad and lonely?

* * * * *
It is Friday and I still haven't finished watching Shortbus. I am here in my client, which fortunately, has an unencrypted wi-fi.
I don't really know how to close this blog about shortbus. Once again, I just want to write. I know what to write about but I don't know how to write the things I want to write.
I liked Shortbus and I will be looking for Hedwig and the Angry Inch. That's all for now.
* * * * *
(Updated 11/28) I finally watched the end of Shortbus last night. While watching the last 15 minutes or so, I realized that the movie is not just about sadness. The movie is about sadness and not being able to feel, of being desensitized to love and sex:
James is a guy who's been with a partner for a long time. His partner loves him but somehow he can't feel the love, or at least he cannot feel the specialness of his partner's love. Only when he was fucked by another guy (he's never been a bottom) was he able to feel.
Sofie is a sex therapist, who also has a partner, and has never experienced an orgasm.
The dominatrix is a girl who makes a living by hurting people but inside she feels nothing.
The movie ends, as expected in Shortbus - James at last fell in love with Jamie, Sofie achieved an orgasm while having a threesome with a couple and the dominatrix woman was finally able to cry.
It is a very sad and intelligent movie.
And the music's really great.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm Rich!!!


On that fateful night, I learned from the Weekend Report that I was the sole winner of the P105 million lotto jackpot. I simple couldn't contain my joy. I didn't know what to do or who to tell the goodnews to. I simply couldn't sleep.

The news did not mention where the winning lotto ticket was purchased nor did it tell about the person who won. Well, of course, they should protect the winner's identity, they should protect my identity!

After the excitement has finally worn down, I made the right thing and went to sleep. Early the following morning, I got up early and went to the lotto office to claim my prize (To hell with work that I missed. After all, what is my daily salary compared to the millions of pesos which I just won). I requested that my price be made in 10 equal checks payable to me. I deposited these checks in my different bank accounts. I just couldn't put all my eggs in one basket. I wouldn't take the chance.

During that week, I paid all my credit card bills, finished my pending client (despite the difficulty in focusing on work, who could think about work when he has millions to spend?) and informed my bosses that I would be taking a leave the following week. They did not approve of the vacation leave but they couldn't stop me.

I couldn't sleep during the week, I kept thinking of how best to manage the fortune that came my way. I decided that I will not tell anybody about this fortunate event, though bursting my heart and head is. I created a separate blog and wrote all the things that I couldn't tell anybody. Not that I didn't trust other people - my parents, my dear friend who was in Jersey. It's just that it's better that my hidden fortune remains a secret until I could decide on my course of action.

I would, after a week, tender my resignation from my work, citing health reasons for my decision to leave the firm.

During that sleepless week, I made a decision to surprise my parents and other family members. I asked them a supposedly theoretical question of where they want to go if they can go outside the Philippines. My father, being the foreign-loving person that he is, wanted to go to Europe. My mother, the good Christian that she is, wanted to go to Jerusalem. After that theoretical question, I talked about other mundane things to erase whatever hopes they have of going abroad but I did made them get a passport, so as my other family members (my sister, sister-in-laws and nephews and niece).

After a week of secret meetings with my travel agent, I finally decided to tell my family that we are going on a tour. . . abroad. My agent made the plans. We would go to Israel to visit Jerusalem, then off to Europe - UK, France, Italy, Greece and Switzerland. They were, of course, ecstatic. I told them that a good client-friend offered my his ticket for the tour for a very reasonable price. I still couldn't tell them that I won the lottery. They were bugging me with questions but I kept my mouth shut. They will know in time.

The tour went well and we had a great time.

Upon arrival back home, I finally told my parents about the fortune. They were very happy for me but being the simple folks that they are, they had no big or expensive request. They simply wanted me to buy the plot of land where our house is located and repair the house. I did all that and that made them very happy. I bought them an entertainment package and expanded our sari-sari store. I gave them money to do as they please.

And yes, I bought a house (in Laguna) as an investment and a condo in Makati. I also bought my very first vehicle, a Hummer. I invested 2/3 of my remaining fortune in mutual funds, and the other half in time deposits. I know money won't last so I need an investment that will pay an annuity.

I went to Channel Islands to surprise my best friend and she was very happy, especially after I told her of my recent luck. We went on a tour of France, as her work schedule permits, and promised her that when her contract there ends, we will go someplace else for a longer tour.

. . . . .

That was a year ago. After nine months of travelling and buying stuff, I was once again bored of my rich life. I rejoined my audit firm as an audit manager so that I would have things to do during my time.

And yes, after working again for three months, I have a client meeting tomorrow. All meeting materials were already prepared by my trusted audit senior. And now, I have to sleep, rich as I am, I still need to look my best tomorrow for the meeting.

Ahhh. The sweet life! I would like to say I lived happily ever after but I don't know that the future holds. And so with a smile on my face, I am going to sleep.

* * * * *

Last night, I watched the Pinoy Meets World tv program. The hosts went to Switzerland, explored the country, visited a Swiss clock shop, sampled its cuisine and met Filipinos living there. It was an interesting show and the country is simply beautiful.

After the show, the Weekend Report featured the news about the sole winner of the P105 million lotto jackpot. And so my mind wandered. . .

After about an hour of (day?) dreaming, I had to sleep. I have a lot of work stuff to finish tomorrow. I sighed and accepted my current situation.

Like the mosquito that bit me during that night:

Reality bites. . . and it sucks too!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Wizard that is Oz

Having come to the office after lunch (like in so many other days of my working life), I was able to catch The Oprah Winfrey Show. Today's show (or at least today's episode as featured in Studio 23) is sort of a health quiz with Dr. Oz.

I don't know if Dr. Oz is a wizard or a genius but he sure made watching an episode about health issues entertaining. He brings body parts (yes body parts) showing what the internal organs of a healthy person looks like compared to an unhealthy one.

Anyway, some things I learned from him:

1. The fat around the midsection (or the beerbelly) is called omentum.
2. You get enough water when your pee is clear (or you can read through it). A yellower pee means that you don't get enough water and your body waste is not all washed out.
3. The best way to remove the sting of a jellyfish is by rubbing it with vinegar (acid).
4. People who have orgasms at least 200 times a year age better (haha!). - This translates to sexual intercourse which results in orgasm of at least every other day.
5. If you lose 35 pounds, you gain about an inch of your penis. :-)
6. More people have heart attacks on Monday mornings due to stress.
7. The most important number in a persons health is his/her blood pressure.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Movie Dreams

I watched in Hollywood squares that a person has an average of 1000 dreams per year. That translates to 2 or 3 dreams per night. Though most of us don't remember about our dreams, some fragments stay with us, even if only during the first few waking moments.

Having been on earth for 26 years and 7 1/2 months, I had approximately 26,600 dreams. But of course I don't remember all of them, I can barely remember the dream I had last night.

From the dream fragments that I remember, I recall dreams about flying (or more correctly, hovering, just like the way kung fu fighters skin over the treetops) and being pursued by someone who is just running below me.

Lately, however, my dreams seems to take a kind of movie-feel. I don't remember exactly what these dreams were, but I can remember that when I wake up, I have the feeling of having just watched a movie or participated in one. And, mind you, these are no ordinary movie-dreams. Not the trashy violence and sex ridden types but first rate movie-dreams. If there is someway I could remember these dreams and write them into a screenplay, I'll be a famous screenwriter.

One dream I can still remember is something like a drama. I forgot how the dream went but I can remember that in that dream, I was supposedly the son of somebody called Harry Hausens. I did an internet research on this name and I came up with a person named Ray Harryhausen, a pioneering model animator who did work on some old movies like Mighty Joe Young, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and the Argonauts. How appropriate that my supposed father in my dream is someone who is or is named after a famous movie person.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Digital Life

Yesterday, I was finaly able to buy an external hard drive. My company issued laptop is running out of space because of the redundant back ups of files (very redundant indeed). I no longer have space (in my laptop) for my mp3 files and movie files.

At least with an 80gb external drive, I will be able to save a lot more files of whatever nature.

I used to have 13++gb of music files, most of which were deleted, thanks to our ever reliant Technology group. All music and video files are no longer allowed to be saved in our "d" drive but you can't store much in the "c" drive because your computer will runout of operating disk space or something like that. And now I am storing all my music cds into wma format. So far I have used less than 8gb for my music files. Much less than my original files.

My internet life (in the office) is also severely limited by the various programs that blocks most of the good stuff: no friendster, no g4m, no game sites, no job sites and no porn sites. I don't mind much blocking the porn sites, but the inability to access the other sites is very frustrating. And we can't even use proxies anymore.

Because of all this internet blocking, my internet life is limited to very few sites, like blogspot, imdb, wikipedia, yahoo, my banking sites and some other "harmless" sites. I'm only able to access friendster and g4m through my cellphone (which most of the times have network problems) or when I go to internet shops.

Friday, November 9, 2007

These are a few of my favorite.... movies.

I am a movie lover and if you have the opportunity to go to my apartment, you will have no doubt. I collect DVDs and VCDs of different kinds of movies. Here is a list of some of my most favorite films:

  1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Ang Lee's best film. A hybrid of HK wuxia films and western style sentimentality. Every movement flows, every dialogue a poetry.
  2. Moulin Rouge - My favorite musical created by the visionary Baz Luhrmann. The films is very energetic and fresh that no matter how many times I see it, it always brings a smile to my face.
  3. The House - A film I rediscovered and loved the first time and second time I watched it. Wonderful screenplay, direction, acting and editing.
  4. 2001: A Space Odyssey - The film that inspired Star Wars. Kubrick's opus stands the test of time and looks great 29 years after its original release. Forget the story, just be astounded and awed by the wonderful special effects.
  5. Delicatessen - Jean Pierre Jeunet (pre-Amelie) working with Mark Caro. A funny film set in post-war France.
  6. Cidade de Deus - A powerful film about a place as told through the lives of the people who live in it.
  7. Gone with the Wind - Beautifully photographed. The colors alive after more than 50 years since its original theatrical release (thank God for Technicolor!). Almost 4 hours long but not a dull moment. After all, tomorrow is another day.
  8. Casablanca - Hmmm, watch it again, Sam.

Someday when I have the time, I may be able to expand this list and be more concrete on why I love these films.

On Writing

Having just recently watched The Hours, I was reminded of what I always wanted to write and how words always seem to not enough to express what I feel. It seems like human vocabulary will always be inadequate in expressing and writing down our experiences.

Even Shakespeare's works is just a drop of water in the Pacific Ocean of human experiences.

I am also reminded of Douglas Adam's books. In his book (in the Hitchhikers' Guide to Galaxy), he says that the universe has no literature since literature supposedly mirrors life and there is no mirror large enough to reflect the universe.

When writing, as when working, my mind always wanders such that what I put in words almost always meanders. I cannot get focus.

Again, I stop here. I would like to claim that I can not put a sensible conclusion to this blog because I have the writer's block. But then I am not a writer. At least not a writer of belles lettres.
* * * * *

. . . I wanted to be a writer, that's all.
I wanted to write about it all.
Everything that happens in a moment.
. . . All our feelings - yours and mine.
The history of it.
Who we once were.
Everything in the world.
Everything mixed up.
Like it's all mixed up now.
And I failed.
I failed.
No matter what you start up with, it ends up being so much less.

- Richard Brown, The Hours

Blogging Envy

Friday afternoon and work time is almost over. Here I am again surfing the net. After downloading posters of some movies I like, I chanced upon a blog created by a creative gay guy. I am struck by how easy word seems to flow from him. Once again, I feel envy... envy because he is creating something that I wish I could do effortlessly. But then, I do write pretty well (at least grammatically).

When I was in high school, I used to join and win in essay writing competitions (local and provincial). On ordinary occasions, I write good. When I am inspired I write better but when I am inspired and really know what I want to write about, I can produce a finely written work.

Hmmm, that reminds me, his way of writing is not very different from mine. It's just that he seems to have more life experiences than I have. But then I cannot blame him or myself. The events of my life will not make an interesting Maalala Mo Kaya or Magpakailanman episode. My life's a bore.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


The suicide of a 12-year old girl in Davao was in the news last night. Nothing particularly new about suicide, except that it was done by a 12-year old girl, a child. I am shocked that someone as young as twelve would take her own life.

* * * * *
Her suicide is such a waste! I believe that she is an intelligent girl. Her diary indicates that she committed suicide because of extreme poverty and how it affects her ability to get education. She may be no Anne Frank, nonetheless, here intelligence is above average. Not everyone keeps a diary, much more a twelve-year old girl living in a barrio.
* * * * *
Suicide, to some, may be the fastest way to escape problems. A sure way to put an end to it all. I say, these people are selfish. They only think of escaping and ending their problems. Have they no idea that by killing themselves, they are creating problems (emotional and financial) problems to their loved ones who get left behind?
* * * * *
My current attitude on death is summed up in a song Old Man River:
"I'm tired of living but I'm scared of dying."
* * * * *
There are times when the idea of suicide entered by mind. I cannot do it and I will not do it. Life's still beautiful. We just need to go out once in a while and, as they say, smell the flowers.
* * * * *

LEONARD: Why does someone have to die? . . .
In your book, is it someone have to die? . . .

VIRGINIA: Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.
It's contrast.

LEONARD: And who will die?
Tell me.

VIRGINIA: The poet will die.
The visionary.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Hours

After more than a year of searching, I finally found a copy of The Hours with an ensemble cast of Nicole Kidman (unrecognizable due to her make up and prosthetics), Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Ed Harris, John C. Reilly and Claire Danes.

The movie is one of the best films I've seen. From the powerhouse cast, to the good screenplay, nice editing and good direction, the movie really deserves a 10/10 rating (or 4 stars from movie critics).

The movie is the story of the lives of Virginia Woolf, Laura Brown and Clarissa Vaughn.

Virginia Woolf struggles with her "insanity" and the restrictive confines of her society. She writes Mrs. Dalloway while undergoing through her struggles.

Laura Brown is a middle aged mother who is bored with her role as a housewife. She reads Mrs. Dalloway and decides on a drastic course of action that will have an impact on the lives of others.

Clarissa Vaughn, who is living the life of Mrs. Dalloway in modern-day New York, is planning on giving a party for her dear friend, who just won a major literary prize.

I have seen this movie once before and I was struck on the beauty of the film, the great acting and the very fine interweaving of the three stories. Seeing the film for the second time gave mo more time to understand it.

The screenplay is really really good. No dialogue in the film is wasted... no chatty talks, no unnecessary curses, each word has a meaning and adds a meaning to the story. The screenplay is very well complimented by the nice direction and film editing. During the first few minutes of the film, the parallel cuts of the three stories seems so fluid that it seems as if the action is taking place in only one place and one time.

Of course, a big part of the credit should go to Michael Cunningham for the wonderful novel (it did after all, win the Pulitzer Prize).

I'd like to say so much more about this movie but words escape me at this point.

* * * * *

to look life in the face,
always... to look life in the face...
and to know it... for what it is...
at last to know it...
to love it... for what it is...
and then...
to put it away...

always the years between us
always the years...
always the love...
always the hours...

Random TV Thoughts

Last Saturday night, I was able to catch some of Kuya Germ's Walang Tulugan. To people who don't know Kuya Germs, it is surprising to know that this man dominated GMA during the 80s and early 90s. Back then, he works seven days a week. He works in the afternoon from Monday to Saturday in That's Entertainment and on Sundays in GMA Supershow.

It was in these shows that many talents were discovered. That's Entertainment is practically a factory for young stars. Then, that format for discovering talents passed out of style. With the coming of such shows as Ang TV.

GMA Supershow dominated Sunday afternoons. It was at this time when stars would grace the show and fans could come up to stage and put leis of sampaguita on them. Some would go as far as to wipe the perspiration off their idols and even kiss their idols.

Today, Kuya Germ's is reduced to a very late night TV show. Talking and still trying to kindle that STAR MAKER quality at a time when people are either sleeping or out on gimmicks. I bet his show was just GMA's way of showing gratitude to a man who was of great use to the station a decade ago.

Kuya Germs remind me so much of Kris Aquino. Whereas Kris dominates ABS-CBN shows today, Kuya Germs dominates channel 7 a decade ago.

Will Kris Aquino's fate be the same as that of Kuya Germs.

* * * * *

In fairness to Kuya Germs, he spent his TV life helping (careerwise and financially) many people. I cannot say the same for Kris as I do not know where she spends her money.

* * * * *
I don't watch much TV. And if I do, I usually watch shows in studio 23 (at night) and GMA 7 (during the day).
Lately, however, I am getting hooked on Marimar Aw! Something about the show makes me want to watch it. Probably because I missed out on the Marimar phenomenon several years ago.
* * * * *
My nephews and niece (and other people) are hooked on Kokey, the fantaserye. I cannot understand this. I cannot even understand why ABS-CBN made the show.
The movie Kokey was corny enough (a rip off of E.T.) but to make a teleserye about Kokey?!
I guess I'll never know. TV executives may have a different idea on what the masses will accept and what they will not.
* * * * *
Fantaserye, I believe, began with ABS-CBNs Marina starring Claudine Barretto. It was quickly copied by GMA with its own mermaid fantaserye starring Rufa Mae Quinto. However, fantaserye boomed when GMA produced and aired Mulawin.
And now, many fantaseryes are being produced.
* * * * *
A month or two ago, I finally saw the end of Voltes V. Nothing spectacular about that, except that I saw Voltes V when I was a kid, which was more than 15 years ago. And only after 15 years was I able to finally see the series' conclusion.
Maybe in a few years, I will finally see the end of Shaider.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Random Thoughts

This week (November 5 to 11) is Money Market Consciousness Week. I don't think the celebration of this event every year has yielded results. Too many people don't know and don't care what money market is. Even I, a person who studied business and is a practicing CPA, have only a vague idea of what money market is.

* * * * *
A few weeks ago, there was an explosion in Glorietta 2, killing 11 persons and hurting more than a hundred. On that particular day, I was itching to go to Wade (which is above where the explosion happened). Days before the explosion, I was planning on a buying a new pair of shoes from Wade. On that particular day, my resolve to buy a new pair of shoes was even greater since the pair I was wearing on that day does not match my pants. And so I thought of going to Glorietta 2 during lunch time. Lucky for me, somehow I wasn't able to go. Or else, I would have been one of those six feet underground or one of those hurt.
* * * * *
After months or even years of searching, I finally found a copy of The Hours in pirated DVD. I also found a copy of Magnolia, The History of the World Part I (by Mel Brooks) and Cashback (starring Sean Biggerstaff).
* * * * *
After having a copy of Blue Velvet for quite sometime, I finally was able to watch it. It was ok. I like Mulholland Drive better. Kyle Maclachlan was very young in Blue Velvet. Isabella Rosellini (the daughter of the Swedish Ingrid Bergman and Italian director Roberto Rosellini) seems to look today the way she did in that movie.
* * * * *
I also watch Death Proof and Planet Terror (yes, separately and not the Grindhouse film). Death Proof, as Roger Ebert put it, has some very exciting chase scenes but very long periods of dialogues where nothing seems to be happening. Planet Terror, considered by many as the inferior one, is better since it's something is happening all throughout the entire length of the movie.
The two films definitely capture the feel of b-movies, with all the scratches, jumps and even the burning of the film stock being shown.
* * * * *
For the nth time, I watched Friends in DVD. I just love friends.
I love Phoebe who is "wonderfully weird" but I can relate very much to Ross who is geeky and knows a lot of things and trivia.
I just love the wedding of Phoebe. It was sooo romantic, with the falling snow and with her friend (who hasn't taken a bath for years and will only take bath when Tibet is free!) playing "Here, There and Everywhere" on steel drums.
* * * * *
Mel Brooks film that I have:
1. Blazing Saddles
2. The History of the World Part I
3. High Anxiety
4. Twelve Chairs
5. The Producers - 2006 (produced by Mel Brooks)
6. Silent Movie
7. To be or not to be
8. Young Frankenstein.
I just love Mel Brooks.
* * * * *
Q. Tarantino films that I have:
1. Kill Bill vol. 1
2. Kill Bill vol. 2
3. Reservoir Dogs
4. Pulp Fiction
5. Death Proof
6. Natural Born Killers (screenplay)
I have seen the first five and started on the sixth film. I stopped watching the last film since the film is violent ( as Tarantino films are) but lacks the direction of Oliver Stone lacks the style of Quentin Tarantino.
Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2 are good and so is Pulp Fiction. Death Proof has some good parts but somehow I was bored through most of the other scenes. Reservoir Dogs, well, it is finely written but again, I was bored.
Tarantino is a good scriptwriter and a better director. But I believe he has to cut down on unnecessary dialogues that lengthen his films.
* * * * *
I saw Goodfellas. The film looks like and feels like a diluted The Godfather. Well, some people say it is more realistic in its portrayal of crime organizations. I just find the length of the movie tiresome.
* * * * *
Don't get me wrong, watching a long movie is fine with me.... as long as there is something to the length. As long as something is happening during the movie. Take for instance, Gone with the Wind and Doctor Zhivago, these films are really long but I was not bored since things are happening that pushes the movie along.
* * * * *
Last November 1 was the date I first went to Glorietta after the explosion. I was still apprehensive. Something may still happen there. On that date, there were very few people in the mall. It seems like the old tradition of going to cemeteries is still alive.
* * * * *
Films that I'd like to have a copy of:
Stanley Kubrick Films:
- Dr. Strangelove
- Paths of Glory
- The Shining
- That other Kubrick film (his second feature film)
D.W. Griffith's Intolerance
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Groundhog Day
Giuseppi Tornatore's Star Maker
Films of Federico Fellini
- 8 1/2
- La Dolce Vita
- Fellini's Satyricon
- Michaelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura

On Buying DVDs


Last November 1, I went to Landmark and was surprised that DVDs which were previously selling at P299 or higher were on sale and were selling at P199. Of course I was enticed to buy some of the titles. I bought Bambi (which I have not yet seen), Toy Story 1 and 2 and A Bug's Life (which I have seen but I am collecting Pixar feature films, so I bought them anyway), and Borat.

I have a pirated DVD copy of Borat which doesn't work well so at P199, I thought why not buy the original. I have seen HMV copies of Borat in Makati Cinema Square and even bought one of these I think months ago (I eventually returned this since the the sound is not in English). Also, the writings on the cover of the copy that I bought is Greek or Russian. At that time when I bought (and returned) the pirated copy of Borat, an original copy of Borat was selling at Landmark for P550. Such a big difference.

Then, when I got home, I was excited and opened the Borat DVD. The DVD is in a DVD box with a "DVD jacket" that boasts of additional 30 or 60 minutes of previously unseen footage. Then, when I opened and removed the DVD jacket, I was surprised and very disappointed that the DVD cover on the box itself is written in the very same Greek or Russian. The disc itself is not printed with the Borat picture. Instead, it was like one of those discs you can buy in CDR King and other stores. The name "Borat" is just written in black marker, I think. When I played it on my DVD, it doesn't work. Well, my DVD players is kinda old and it doesn't read most DVDs the first time you put it in. I no longer tried it again and returned it to the box, thinking that I could replace it with a different DVD from Landmark. I even saved the tape receipt.

Yesterday (November 4), I went back to Landmark to exchange the DVD for a new title. The salesladies told me that the disc I bought was indeed like that. They also refused to exchange my disc citing that the disc I bought already have scratches and they don't change DVDs on the basis that I did not like the content of the disc.

Well, I guess the few scratches on the disc were my fault. However, I still believe that I have the right to return the DVD because the DVD jacket of the disc is in English and boasts of DVD features and the disc itself looks like pirated.

Since they refuse to exchange my disc for other titles, I was so frustrated and irritated that I couldn't help but blurt out "Dapat pirated na lang ang binili ko."

And yes, I am planning to buy pirated DVDs when I could and buy only original DVDs when I really like the title.


Edu Manzano's Optical Media Board (OMB) frequently conducts raid on sellers of pirated DVDs. It is on the premise of intellectual property rights and that sellers of pirated DVDs are "stealing" from the copyright owners of these works. That, I can't refute. Copyright owners should be given due compensation for their work. However, due compensation as defined by these owners seem to be very expensive, especially for a country like the Philippines.

As I said, I understand the need for these war against piracy being waged by the OMB. It needs to protect the copyright owners from "robbers" who steal their work. However, I believe that the OMB should also ensure that consumers are being protected from businesses. If they are conducted raids to ensure that noone is stealing copyrighted works, I believe they should also be reviewing the quality of the "original" discs being released by film distributors.

On certain occasions, I have bought "original" DVDs which do not seem to be original. To all buyers of "original DVDs", avoid these:

1. The aforementioned Borat title
2. All foreign titles released by Viva where you can see at the back of the DVD cover the logo of Viva.

These so called original DVDs have quality that are so bad you'll feel like you're watching a VCD. For one, they are usually released in full screen. The quality of the picture is bad - as I said, something like the quality of VCD releases. And some have no subtitles.

It is sad to note that while the OMB, through the push of American distributors, are raiding pirated disc sellers, nothing is being done to protect the consumers.

It is also very sad and very frustrating that while the quality of pirated discs are ever improving (there are DVDs that are now sold with complete features) and their price going down, the quality of so-called "original" DVDs have not caught up. If film distributors, like Viva, want people to buy original DVDs, they should do something about the quality of their products. Furthermore, they should reduce the price of these DVDs even more.


Like many other people, I have several reasons why I buy pirated DVDs.

1. Of course the price. Original DVDs generally cost P299. Pirated DVDs cost P60 or less.
2. The available titles. There are more (and I mean MORE) titles available on pirated DVDs than in original DVDs. For instance, I was able to buy very old titles like "Birth of a Nation", "M" and "Metropolis" in pirated DVDs. These titles are not available in original discs, at least not here in the Philippies.
3. And now because of the Borat incident, return and exchange policies. I have bought several defective DVDs and I was able to exchange them with their sellers. There was only one time that I wanted to exchange and original DVD and I was refused.


I read an article in a magazine, either GQ, Vanity Fair or Details, about internet piracy in Sweden. The article talks about the prevalence of internet piracy and how it is affecting film companies in the US. No less than a leading officer of Disney was quoted as saying that piracy is a new business model and that film companies should be able to adapt to such model.

Here in the Philippines, internet piracy is not as prevalent as piracy through physical discs (mainly because of the underdeveloped internet infrastructure). I can say that pirated DVDs are here to stay.

As the saying goes, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.


Saturday, November 3, 2007

Housemate Hunting

I am hunting again for a housemate, though halfheartedly somehow.

I have been living in my apartment for more than three years now. And I don't want to move to a new place because: (1) I have a lot of stuff to move and that would be difficult; and (2) it's difficult to find a good place in makati. Besides, I've grown accustomed to that place.

Well, I started living there with two college friends. One of them moved out after less than a year and the other one moved out several months after. I stayed alone for about two or three months. then I had siblings for housemates. They were there for more than a year. Then they left and I was left alone again for two months, I think. Then my first housemate moved back in again, but she just left to go to UK to work.

And so here I am again, searching for a housemate.

My first housemates were ok. Well, why shouldn't they be? They were my friends and I can say that we had some good and memorable times at that apartment. Then the second set of housemates was not so fun. We hardly talk. We each have our own TV in our rooms so the common area became just a place we pass through on our way the CR or on our way out or when we come back from outside or when we wash the dishes and do some other routine stuff. Hell, we lived together for more than a year and we spoke only when it is the time of the month when we need to pay our rent. And even then, very laconically.

I am looking for a housemate who I can talk to. Friendly, accepts me for who I am (all my loud -watching, smoking habit, etc.). I am so bored out of my mind being alone that I need someone I can relate to and interact with.


Here I am again... bored with my life and with no one to talk to. As Leah Salonga (as Eponine) sung:

And now I'm all alone again
Nowhere to turn no one to go to
Without a home, without a friend
Without a face to say hello to
And now the night is near.... now I can live inside my head.

Well, luckyn for Eponine, she has someone to obsess about. AS for me, I am here, stuck with nothing to obsess about.

So here I am in an internet cafe at 11:30 in the evening, pouring my mind on this very impersonal thing. Lucky if someone would take the time to read my blogs.

And so the day began with me waking up at 10am. Nothing to do (I was supposed to go out with a friend the whole day, but I guess she is not that enthusiastic about going out today with me).

Watching TV the whole day, going to Puregold to buy that roasted chicken which doesn't tast that good, and watching the first half of Blue Velvet are all that I done today. I would've said accomplished but looking back, these are not really accomplishments. Just things I did.

Oh! And I washed the dishes which have been sitting there for a few days.

Well, I just wished I had the drive to go to work today and finish my work. I am so damn lazy these days (well, lazy at work for more than a year now).

Movies, Movies, Movies

Finally, I am happy that the website that I usually visit now has a forum for movie lovers. And by movie lovers I mean movie lovers. People who go the extra length and watch movies other than summer blockbusters and films that are lucky enough to be screened in cinemas here.

These people are the those who watch foreign language films, art house films, classics and even some trash movies.

I hope that sometime we can get together and have a movie marathon or something. Or just even watch movies in cinemas together. What a refreshing time that would be from watching movies on my own alone in my apartment.