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Sarcasm Aside

random thoughts of a self-diagnosed neurotic with the attention span of a five-year old... a blog by Alternati

Alternati, Heal Thyself

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nearly everyone in the house is infected by a cough virus that's been an unwanted visitor for weeks now. I am surprisingly one of the uninfected ones. I received the label of "weakling" from my mom not in a derogatory sense... she merely stated a fact. If anyone is bound to get the flu during the rainy season, it would be me. My mom blames my smoking and my indifference to citrus fruits, I in turn think it's inborn.

The brother passed it my mom, my nephew to my niece, and so forth. The cough virus relay made me impose a quarantine on myself. I hate having the cough... your throat aches, you sound like a rabid dog, medicine sucks and I don't find chucking up phlegm particularly alluring. But worst of all, I miss my golden Marlboros whenever I'm fighting the cold war.

Everyone is on antibiotics now. The first thing my family drinks during the onset of cough is the premier drug of self medication... Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My sis discovered this during the "neozep-causing-heart-ailments" scare. We turned herbal. Aside from actually getting immediate results, loquat and honey based cough syrup is yummy. I've been perpetually scared of the taste of Benadryl, so this sweet syrupy medication earned an immediate rave. (Do I sound like an endorser now? haha)

I never looked at the packaging before. I saw a pamphlet that comes with the bottle lying around the dining room... informative AND hilarious.

These are the normal understandable ones. The old guy looks like Pai Mei from Kill Bill.

Awww... Look at the subtle use of a clock and the crescent moon to tell the time. The woman in bed showing the international hand gesture for "mind over heart"

The man on the left showing the international hand gesture for indigestion. The illustration on the right is a riddle. The caption: "Dryness of the skin caused by lung infections" is illustrated so intelligibly by a woman with red earring holding a glass and a chicken leg.

Right: Lung infections cause pimples? Gawd, I never knew that.
Left: I wonder if the opened window (with wafting leaf) contributed in any way to his cough... hmmm... lemme think...

Left: Honey, that's not dryness OR soreness... That's an Adam's apple.
Right: That woman sure looks agitated. Kudos to the artist.

I found that Pei Pa Koa is effective only for me during the onset of colds and cough, a sort of preventive delicious medication. However, I need an actual non-imaginary doctor when things get worse. I'm an extremely pathetic self-medicator.

It has a website: Nin Jiom

New Tenant

Check out The Dana Files. I had four bids this time and I chose Dana because she too likes the Charlie Brown cartoons. Thanks to Stev, Ivan and Blondechick for bidding.

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Retail Therapy

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am sitting on my bed marveling at my recent purchases. Everybody knows the satisfaction of buying, the power of purchasing, the unparalleled pleasure of trading bills stamped with the faces of heroes and past presidents for things... especially things you don't really need, but want... and even more particularly when they are inexpensive.

I went to three evanescent bazaars this afternoon with my sis, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. The first is an annual Christmas Bazaar at the Brent International School. They raise money for some cause, I've been going to said yuletide sale for four years now and I'm still shady with the details... I come for the merchandise. Christmas tree skirts, gold tinted candlestick holders, reindeer cookie molds, elf outfits for toy poodles... Red, green and glitter all over, it's as if Santa and a couple of multi-sequined drag queens exploded in the auditorium. Technically, these aren't what drag my lazy ass here, it's the little knick knacks hidden among them. Last year I found a complete set of the Narnia Chronicles, which I read like an avid ten year old for the week that followed. This year, I hit the jackpot...

Felix the Coin Purrs Purse
Retail Price: 70 pesos
Real Function: To hold change
Actual Function: To display my age whenever I draw the thing to draw change AND my penchant for monochrome felines. Hmm, hmm... Two birds with one stone! Me likey.

The next pit stop was a weekly sunday garage sale about 5 blocks away near this cool, relocated fifty's themed restaurant with waitresses on rollerskates. A lot of interesting stuff here as well, you just don't know what you'll see on the particular Sunday you go there. And I bought my very first...

Chicky Bank
Retail Price: 20 pesos (Beat that!)
Real Function: To hold savings in coin form
Actual Function: To have a delightful yellow ornament in my room that seems to have hydrocephalus. I know I'm not the only one hoarding 5 and 10 peso coins (I heard it was illegal or something) I've transferred the coins I have from their original container (a sunglass holder), and I've got the thing filled right under its bulbous head.

The last place was PEZA (formerly EPZA, and nope, I don't know the reason for the name change and pretty sure you don't even care... hehe) It's a clothing factory and weeks before the yuletide season they sell turtlenecks and 6 feet scarves and table napkins and what nots. I bought tube socks. *Yawn* Although they did sell some incredibly scrumptious "Chicken Nuggets". Not the frozen chicken fillets in sealed packages they sell in supermarkets, these are the streetfood variety. Basically, breaded chicken intestines. I just might convince a couple of friends to go back there just for them.

In the tri-colored pink (arguably mauve) car on the way back home, my nephew used a toy gun to shoot plunger like ammo that stick to the car windows, my niece bobbed her head feeling the pink dangling earrings swing on her lobes like pendulums, and I hold my coin purse of a washed-up monochrome cat and a ceramic chick with a head larger than its torso... I may be mistaken, but... I think I'm the adult.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

If you haven't watched the TV series Lost... just read the text in red, I might bore you to death or worse, scare you from reading my blog again.

I guess the easiest way to lose interest in Lost is to not watch the pilot and not watch several key episodes. Like say that episode where they showed the crash of the tail section of the plane or the death of Shannon, you're just lost without knowing these bits and pieces. The easiest way to regain that interest is to watch the series like a crazy conspiracy theorist living in a hatch... from the very beginning to the end, everytime you find the time to do so.

I have spent a total of approximately 48 hours in the hatch watching the first two seasons of Lost. The secrecy is addictive.

The plot is fast paced and extremely engaging. Most of the time, the secrets are implied, however, I feel some secrets are revealed a little too bluntly... perhaps to make sure the audience grasps these plot-changing secrets clearly. (Give us a little more credit) I really can't imagine the thought process of the writers of the show. I wonder if they started with the idea of a plane crash in a deserted island and brainstormed their way into an intricate web of secrets and connectivity or if they worked from the greatest secret to the plane crash, making the possibly farfetched scenario believable by making it relatable. Details outward to the whole or vice versa.
Everyone can detect special effects now, "That looks so real"... looks being the operative word. Knowing they're not real dilutes their potency. The minimal discerning use of great special effects makes the mysteries of the island more powerful. Shaking trees and camera angles from the viewpoint of the "monsters" tickles the imagination more than say a 30 foot gecko wearing red armor and standing on its hind legs.

Ian Somerhalder, or Boone to the Lost audience, was why I wanted to watch the show when it first started airing. I loved him instantly in Young Americans, a short-lived TV series. And who could forget Matthew Fox as Charlie from Party of Five. I had reservations with the initial plot... pre-hatch, pre-Anna Lucia, pre-"The Others". Having a limited number of characters limits the growth of the story and the whole deserted island storyline... we've already seen that perfected in Survivor. Once that Polar Bear came out, I knew my initial thoughts were wrong. The issue for me became the long list of characters and how each would be memorable and relatable... enter six degrees of separation and excellent casting agent.

With the insanely hungry for more info ending of the second season, it's inevitable a better understanding of the island and "the others" is imminent. I wonder how big and complicated the story will become. It could go either way, it could be even more engaging than the first two season or overwriting can cost public interest. The writers should be wary when too much is too much.

One of the problems with living in the third world... There is a TV show timewarp. The local cable networks are still showing the tail end of the second season while in other places, they're already watching the seventh episode of the third season. Look at me complaining about air dates when there are real problems in the world... It's the cabin fever, I'm on TV rehab.

If for anything else, Lost makes you think. Would you believe it if you saw it? Would you believe in fate or faith? Would you kill to save your kid? Would you like to kill me now for stating the obvious? And the numerous conspiracy theories about the show is evidence enough that people are thinking. Okay, so most of the people may be dorks like me, but I'd like to believe it has a wider audience. My conspiracy theory evolved from purgatory to something between privately owned corporations, pyschology and the Head and Shoulders commercial of Evolution.



Monday, November 20, 2006

Manny Pacquiao won. Whoopee... (roll eyes here) The rich get richer. Show the slightest bit of non-support for the boxer and you are labeled "unpatriotic". When did nationalism become an issue of which Everlast boxing glove wearing pugilist you root for? I am not pro-Morales... just anti-Pacquiao.

He is one cocky midget vertically challenged person. If I hear him telling Dianne Castillejo another one of his ridiculous sound clips, I swear I'm gonna start sparring just to be the one to knock him out. Teach me to box Mr. Eastwood, manage me Mr. King.

He's got endorsement contracts with every possible product. If they could write him into a mosquito repellant lotion commercial, he'd probably do one. Don't let mosquitoes get you down, fight back! (Play boxing sound here as Manny squishes the Dengue carriers)

He sings. I'm not even gonna expound on this. Why can't boxers just be boxers like the good old days sans Mike Tyson's carnivorous craving for human ear.

Why I dislike him is not entirely his fault. Media presents him as a Bayani (National Hero) Barf bucket please. He wins millions in prize money and endorsements AND we they call him a Bayani? Some people CAN have it all. I'd like to think he is only an athlete whose timing for fame is perfect. With numerous awful things happening, he is the perfect distraction... hopeful, you could actually project yourself in his Burlington socks and imagine the cash flowing in like Niagara Falls... the bills are almost tangible.

The moment he kills Magellan, writes a novel rip-off of Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo, gets shot in the back at Luneta, organizes a revolution with red hankies tied around their necks... then... I could possibly call him a Bayani. Right now, He is just a great boxer who sings awful meant-for-karaoke songs and hauls millions. Anything beyond that is wishful thinking or media distortion. Boxers are prizefighters people!

They have a term for what I'm thinking... Something mentality... hmmm... I think it's a type of crustacean.

Useless info: I watch boxing matches only if I can't avoid them. Even without the lions, the lances and shields, the armor, the screaming audience from the tiers of the Colosseum... It is still Roman Gladiators with foamed gloves and a referee. I always turn to the cinema for things I dunno. Enter Rocky, Million Dollar Baby, Girlfight, Cinderella Man, etc. etc.

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Me Likey 002

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Two Smacks

I have been an occasional lurking gawker at Italk2much. It is like the New York Times Book Review, but with the utmost ruthlessness and an OD of expletives. When I discovered the site while I was random bloghopping about a month ago, I instantly submitted my site. I belong to a subgeneration of closet people-pleasers... You know, the type that takes what other people say about you more seriously than you ought to but you keep a guise of apathy and a defensive "i-know-you-are-but-what-am-I-?" look in your eyes. Submitting my blog was a personal test of some sort, If I read the review I could either laugh and feel elated or laugh and feel irate. I did the former. It wasn't a rave but it was gratifying to know you're not THAT sucky. hehehe... My IT2M review here by Sassy Sadie.

One 44-Peso book
Who does second-hand bookshopping at 830 on a Saturday Night? I was thinking about that as I scanned the titles of upright books on the twelve foot bookshelves in one of the literary thrift shops I frequent. Tom Clancy... pass. John Grisham... pass. Sidney Sheldon... *barf*. The stack of unfamiliar authors not on the shelves proved more interesting for me. I found a pop-art book cover of Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz. I have no idea who she is and the 1978 copyright probably explains why. The pages are yellowish but the parts I scanned are as new as newborn spring chickens. At 44 pesos, it was a steal.

It is fairly easy reading. Ms Lebowitz has developed a sort of "lazy writing" I haven't seen before. I am reading the book very lackadaisically holding a cigarette between a couple of fingers and imagining a martini glass held by my other two fingers and opposable thumb. Here are some of the chapter titles: Breeding Will Tell: A Family Treatment, Better Read Than Dead: A Revised Opinion, Good Weather and its Propensity to Frequent Better Neighborhoods, and The Primary Cause of Heterosexuality Among Males in Urban Areas: Yet Another Crackpot Theory.

One Scarlet Johansson, Two Christian Bales and Several Hugh Jackmans

Ely, Tine and I saw The Prestige last Saturday Night, the bookshopping was my foreplay. The movie is basically about the rivalry between two young illusionists who are both obsessed and extremely vindictive (Ooh... Batman versus Wolverine) It has numerous twists further concealed by sometimes incomprehensible British accented dialogue and by flashbacks within flashbacks. I hadn't spent that much time figuring out the twists since The Matrix. But, plots with doppelgangers, hidden twins and cloning is cheating. Halfway through the mvie, I still hadn't seen Ms. Johansson that I could have sworn the actress playing Sarah, Borden's wife was also Scarlet with prosthetics. IMDB put an end to that theory.

I liked the movie primarily because of the four main cast members, the Vargas Girls outfits, minor roles done by David Bowie and Smeagol, and engaging my often bored mind from movies trying to conceal obvious twists. Twists have stopped being interesting since O. Henry. If you're gonna attempt one, make it so effective three friends are left in a deserted cinema talking about how's and why's.

Oh, and here's an addendum to my previous post:

One of the favorite characters in the Addams' Family. I think mainly because he doesn't speak and he doesn't have a face/legs/body. Without him, the Addams household would fall to pieces, sure Lurch is omnipresent... but little old agile Thing always does the heavy lifting. Thanks howling for my thirteenth Faceless Character and everyone who suggested characters. I always have a blast with my 13th posts.

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13 Faceless Characters

Monday, November 13, 2006

I have been meaning to post this entry for some time now but I couldn't complete the list as soon as I wanted to. Faceless characters. Sometimes heard but not seen, sometimes seen but not heard. Sometimes partially seen and sometimes never seen or heard at all. I like these characters, they introduce the whole face imagination thing we only do now when we read books. The shape of their eyes, the orientation of their mouths and the flaring of their nostrils revealed to us only by the other characters they interact with...

Here are my favorites:

Mammy Two-Shoes
I am not sure who baptized her, but I love the name. She is Tom's owner. Not that Tom, dummy... Tom the cat, Jerry's nemesis. She has a Southern accent and always walks into the scene with bedroom slippers and most times an apron. The thing is, she is only shown from the neck down. I think the idea was to put emphasis on the show's toon fauna, but I'd like to believe the "cameraman" either had poor framing skills or he's got issued with Mammy Two-Shoes.

The Grown-ups
Parents, teachers and every other adult in the Charlie Brown movies talk in the same ambiguous way, "Wuohwuohwuohwuoh... Wuoh?... Wuohwuoh" (I nearly had a migraine translating that sound into text) It's like saying "wah" in slo-mo. Aside from the grown-ups being unintelligible, they are never seen in the movies or in the comic strips. They are conveniently located off camera, and their presence is only shown by the sideways glance of characters and their "wuoh"s. I am guessing the whole idea is to show that kids (that are older than me but never age) hear white noise when grown-ups talk.

Mom And Dad
Cow and Chicken puts the truncated adults into a whole new level. In a normal below the belt shot, Mom and Dad appear Mammy Two-Shoes-ish. However, In some scenes where it is impossible not to show the upper part of their bodies, you see that the lower half of their bodies is all they have. They are anatomically faceless... make that torsoless. How they can speak, I have no idea... and furthermore, how a cow and a chicken can be siblings and how half a woman and half a man can have them as children is beyond me. But I enjoy this show, especially the obnoxious Red Guy.

Charles Townsend
"Hello, Charlie". He is the secretive, probably agoraphobic, boss of The Angels. He is extremely wealthy, I am not thoroughly sure how, but I guess pimping may not be too ludicrous a reason. Anonimity comes hand in hand with espionage. I can't help but picture Charlie resembling Stephen Hawking. Why can't I google an image of his speaker box thingamajig? Hence the logo with a silhoutte of the classic Angels' pose.

Miss Sara Bellum
She is the secretary of the Mayor of Townsville. She is the one that inspired this whole blog entry. She is tall, has curly orange hair and eternally wears that red two-piece suit and the staple black belt with a golden buckle. Most times her face is just cut off from the screen. Sometimes you see her from the back, that towering coif covering her head and sometimes a foreign object just happens to block the view of her face. The Mayor is a dimwit, and Miss Bellum is a shining beacon of feminism. "Once again, the day is saved. Thanks to the Powerpuff Girls".

Ugly Naked Guy
He is the voyeuristic obsession of the cast of FRIENDS. He owns an apartment whose interiors are comfortably seen from Monica and Chandler's (formerly Monica and Rachel, and for a brief period, Chandler and Joey's) apartment. He is a nudist. The FRIENDS often see him doing mundane things in his birthday suit, often accompanied with disgust but with optical magnetism similar to car crashes. The audience never sees Ugly Naked Guy's face... You could be dating him without your knowledge.

Who remembers Mighty Man? This was one of those awful formulaic Action Hero cartoon shows of my generation. Mighty Man is minute and his trusty sidekick is Yukk. I think he is a dog. His head is almost always covered with a dog house. He is supposedly very ugly and scary, that he only removes the dog house on his head to scare off enemies. If you ain't got it, don't flaunt it. I had a hard time looking for his name that I even thought that I might have imagined the whole show altogether.

Maggie Simpson
Ok, so the youngest Simpson isn't faceless. She is however voiceless. Yes, I am aware she is a baby and is only capable of cooing. But Maggie's voice is one of the Simpson enigmas. In an episode where Lisa "flashforwards" to the future where she is about to get married. Every chance a grown-up punk-rock Maggie has to talk, someone interrupts her. Her voice was finally heard when Maggie uttered her first word, "Daddy". The lovely but oft member of the worst-dressed list, Elizabeth Taylor, lent her voice to Maggie.

Kenny McCormick
He has died a gory death in every episode of South Park, but always gets resurrected to mumble in the next episode. Kenny is half faceless, half voiceless. He wears that hooded orange windbreaker so tight around his face, his covered mouth muffles every word he says. Matt Stone and Trey Parker did this on purpose so that Kenny can say the most perverted or politically incorrect statement and get away with it, cause no one understands what he says. His face and voice are revealed in the South Park movie.

Stan Walker
He is Karen Walker aka Anastasia Beaverhausen's husband in Will and Grace. Little is known about Stan... he is extremely rich and obese. Karen's scenes with Stan often involve a back, darkness, steam from a sauna, etc. to hide most of Stan. You never hear his voice. He has been imprisoned for tax evasion and faked his death. I really don't know why Stan was left faceless in the show, but I'm guessing as long as Stan is an enigma, Karen can remain the lovable shrieky, apathetic, frank, flamboyant, alcoholic woman that we love.

Maris Crane
She is Stan's female counterpart in Frasier. Like Stan, Maris is a spouse of a supporting actor in the show who is never seen by the audience. Sheis married to Niles Crane, Frasier's brother. She too is rich. Why do rich people hide in their houses? The writers of the show painted themselves into a corner. They had intentions of revealing Maris in the later seasons, but alluding to her as domineering, trivial, manipulative and appearing "reptile-like", they couldn't find an actress to play her justifiably.

The Banker
Deal or no Deal. He is the looming figure shrouded in darkness in a loft above the stage whose voice is only heard by the host. Unlike the other characters in this list, my curiousity never reared its ugly head when it came to the Banker. He just seems to be a relatively useless person on that show, whose purpose is to add drama and rack up phone bills. There are many franchises of this show so I'm not only thinking about the chauvinistic, seemingly psychotic banker in our TV sets that Kris Aquino mildly flirts with. Charmel?

Faceless Faceless Character Number 13
I ran out of faceless characters... Can you think of one to complete my list?

Happy Thirteenth SV2G!

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"To Hold to Love"

Friday, November 10, 2006

I used to watch the ATP tour like a stalker. This was sometime from 2000 to 2002. The stalking was mainly because of a 6'-4" Russian with a killer two-handed backhand and temper with a very short fuse, usually taken out on rackets. Marat Safin. The name is short, potent, easy to enunciate and sounds militaristic.

What I like most about Marat is his volatility. He is as likely to dish out a 136 mph match point ace as he is getting eliminated in the first round. He could be playing the best tennis of his career and suddenly lose the last three sets after an altercation with the ump, or because of a rowdy fan of his opponent. Or he could drop his shorts after winning a point. He is so unpredictable... He got an anti-sports sloth like me watching ESPN. (Jessica Zafra describes him a whole lot better in her writing than I do...)

My disinterest in tennis comes in the form of a Swiss resident of Boresville. Roger Federer. That smug mutated Quentin Tarantino irks the hell out of me. He is such a good tennis player... it's actually sickening. He has zero charisma... I just wanna paint his face red and put a white cross on his forehead just to make him a tad more interesting than a tree stump. How many Grand Slam tournaments has he won? I stopped counting after the first one. Mr. wickedly perfect is a cyborg running on Techron.

Federer is the Chicago Bulls (circa a 23 - Michael Jordan) of tennis. He has held the ATP #1 slot for more than 3 years (nearly the length of my abstinence from tennis). Whereas Marat was only #1 for 9 weeks in 2000. I first saw Marat when he beat Pete Sampras' hairy ass in straight sets during the 2000 U.S Open. I was a fan ever since. After that win, rooting for Marat has been a lot like rooting for the Boston Red Sox. You are hopeful every Australian Open but eventually get depressed come Wimbledon and suicidal when the US Open starts. As far as Marat is concerned, I remain a devout Boston Red Sox fan awaiting the 2004 World Series with a total lunar eclipse on the night sky... and *psyche* Federer *psyche* *psyche* *psyche*!

I am watching tennis again. The Masters Cup in Shanghai. Of course the douche bag Federer is there. I never liked Nadal, like the French, I am offended by men wearing sleeveless shirts... too Midnight at the Roxbury. (Where did Ferrero go? I really missed a lot) I dunno why, but Nalbandian creeps me out. Roddick is too boy bandish (a friend of mine will shoot me if she reads this), well he is! Blake became bland when he lost the afro. I have no idea who Robredo is and Ljubicic is only mildly interesting.

Nikolay Davydenko. I am in love with another Russian tennis player. He is currently seeded at #3, and after watching a delayed telecast of his win over Hrbaty last night. I am an instant fan. He is skinny but a powerful server. His eyes on court are fierce and very prominent against his pale complexion. I have yet to watch more of his games to get a grasp of his playing style. He ran a lot attempting to return even the most dire dead net ball. He has excellent stamina and has ball placing ESP (haha... like my pseudo-tennis talk?)

Davydenko and a Shrimp

He is no Safin. But he too is from Russia, also currently resides in Monte Carlo, Monaco and is equally unsuccessful on grass.

Hail Russian Tennis players!
Kill Defeat that Federer!

I wanna go to Monte Carlo...

Pics from:
Marat Safin Official Site
Nikolay Davydenko Official Site
ATP Site

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Phone Prank

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I just finished watching the simultaneous Midterm Midtacular special of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report (I still utter the "t's") With a freshly lit Marlboro Light between my fingers, I slumped on my bed intending to blog about Voltron (Defender of the Universe), I recently rewatched the first four episodes, Pidge is so gay... Anyways... The moment my butt touched my mattress, a familiar tune resonated from my bed. This is a silly prank me and my brother pull on each other.

My dad gave my niece a toy phone. It plays a number of dreadful tunes (I could not even make myself call them songs) whenever you press one of its "astronomical" buttons. One of the tunes is a remix/mutation of what I think is an Aqua song. This is the group that did the anti-Grammy hit, "Barbie". The phone plays a bubblier, Alvin and the Chipmunkish version of the song... as if the original one wasn't bubbly and chipmunkish enough.

My niece and nephew pressed the phone's buttons alot when they first got it, much to the exasperation of my brother and me. Listening to the sounds from that toy phone is a lot like being one of those martians in Mars Attacks when they played Slim's Whitman's Indian Love Call in the movie. A neural implosion was inevitable, so I hid that phone whenever I could and never divulged it's whereabouts until one of the kids asks for it... crying.

I lifted my mattress to see the toy phone placed intentionally with it's buttons up so that the slightest pressure would trigger this push-you-over-the-edge audio device.

This reminds me alot about the time when we, SV2G, lived in an apartelle. We were preparing material for an architecture exhibit we were organizing. (We made a +/- 8 foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower) On one of the mornings we spent there, we planned to wake up early to do some "jogging". To me, "Jogging" = walking with a cigarette. I bolted right out from my sleep/bed when an alarm clock with it's volume at maximum resonated in the loft we slept in. Still half asleep and fully irate I overturned sheets, pillows and beds to find the drasted alarm clock. Bert placed it under my bed. The Doppler Effect doesn't work at 5 in the morning. Well, it could have been worse... Bert once left the same alarm clock, volume at max and with a new AA battery, in his locked drawer in the apartment he lived in during college. While he was happily enjoying his Sembreak, his roommate who stayed behind suffered the wrath of that alarm clock for 5 minutes everyday at 5 am... and again at 5 pm... until the battery died, which was close to the length of the Sembreak.

And so, while I am posting this entry... the toy phone is lying snug under my brother's pillow, awaiting for the weight of his head. Mwahahahaha... Revenge is best served cold... at 1230 in the morning... Mwahahahahaha!

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Running with "Running with Scissors"

Monday, November 06, 2006

All Friday night well into Saturday morning, I was deeply engrossed in the twisted memoir of Augusten Burroughs. I was powerless to put the book down. From burlap lined hallways to masturbatoriums, from electroshock therapy machines to Queen Helene Cholesterol, from Bible dips to fortune telling with turds, from eating McNuggets to eating candle wax, from psychotic parents to sociopathic offspring... This is a pageturner.

I owe the discovery of Running with Scissors mainly to book lover extraordinaire, Kat. (Thanks, I had such a twistedly fabulous time reading it!)

A quote from Jules Renard in the first pages of the book sums it all up... "Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it." Although the "names and other identifying characteristics" of the people described in the book have been changed, this is an Augusten Burroughs autobiography... dark, twisty and uber hilarious.

Most of the stories he confides here border on preposterous. In Toilet Bowl Readings, one of my favorite chapters... Dr. Finch, his mother's beyond peculiar psychiatrist, discovers divination with feces. The chapter begins with Augusten and two of the Finch daughters, Natalie and Hope, gathered around a toilet bowl examining Dr. Finch's floating turd. The doctor was astounded by the way the tip of his turd was above water and pointing upwards (I was gagging, but I couldn't divert my eyes away from the pages) The Finches were undergoing some financial problems, so the doctor instantly took this as a "sign from God" that things will be turning around. The grossest part yet was Hope, as ordered by her dad, scooping the coiled feces with a spatula and setting it out in the front yard to dry. (hahaha) And they do not stop there... they continue to scoop daily #2's and set it on the front yard picnic table as a chronicle of "messages from heaven". Dr. Finch kept a journal (with turd illustrations) to grasp the "bigger picture". Things did change for the better... well relatively, Hope won a frozen turkey from a radio station contest and the doctor received $1000.00 from an insurance company. This divination with feces episode of the Finches finally ended when the doctor became constipated. He lost his "gift" after that. The story is sooo ludicrous, that it HAS to be true.

Augusten (actor) vs. Augusten (writer)

The cover of the book I bought had a "Now a Major Motion Picture" tag on it. My curiosity made me click on IMDB, one of my really used bookmarks, in an instant.
  • Ryan Murphy directed and wrote the screenplay of the movie. I have no idea who he was, as it turns out, he is the director of the Nip/Tuck series. I haven't seen an episode of that show yet (aside from the opening sequence with the twitching pinky)
  • Augusten will be played by an unknown (for me at least) young actor named Joseph Cross who had numerous TV roles.
Main cast with corresponding previous borderline psychotic roles:
  • Joseph Fiennes as Neil Bookman (Augusten's lover) His was the first name that caught my eye. What can I say, those Fiennes brothers sure are fine. He repeatedly bashed a guy's head using a phone booth door in Killing Me Softly.
  • Annette Bening as Deirdre Burroughs (Augusten's mom) She was amazing Carolyn in American Beauty. I absolutely adore her in that dining room scene... "Then, I must be psychotic then! What is this? Let's bring out the laugh-meter and see how loud it gets!" Remember that scene in the take-out window? "Smile! You're at Smiley's!"
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Natalie Finch (Augusten's bestfriend) I was actually thinking about her in that character while I read the book, especially so because of her role in Thirteen. Although, she does fit the role talent-wise, Natalie has issues with her weight, I dunno how they'll translate that into the movie.
  • Brian Cox as Dr. Finch. For me, he is one of those old actors you see everywhere and they are really good but you can't seem to remember their names (like that actor who played Saruman as opposed to Sir Ian Mckellen). He was in Troy, the 25th hour, Adaptation and the Bourne movies.
  • Alec Baldwin as Norman Burroughs (Augusten's Dad) The first crazy role of his I could think of is that chipper person he plays in FRIENDS (I would like to take a mental picture! Click!) Norman was often times just referred to in the book and has dialogue only when he and Deirdre fight, and he is drunk everytime he speaks.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow as Hope Finch (Natalie's older sister) I loved Gwyneth as Margot in The Royal Tenenbaums. That mink jacket was to die for.
  • Honorable Mention: Patrick Wilson as Michael Shephard. I can't for the life of me remember this character in the book! But I do remember Patrick Wilson in Angels in America.
There is an extreme amount of talent in this cast. However, books turned movies rarely live up to their expectations. I guess it's time for a bible dip ala Hope Finch. A bible dip is basically asking a question and then opening a bible to a random page, pointing your finger on that page and making sense out of the phrase/word you're pointing at in response to your question... only I'm gonna use Running with Scissors instead of a bible.

Here goes: Will the movie be as good as the book?

(point) ...stove...


I read the whole paragraph just to get a grasp of the context...
"Your father isn't going to kill me," my mother said, switching on the front burner of the stove, pulling a More from her pack, and leaning over to light it on the heating coil. "He'd rather suffocate me with his horribly oppressive manipulation and then wait for me to cut my own throat."
huh? I can't get how that relates to my question. "But, Roll of the eyes, What can you do? Shrug."

Winsome Gunning Art Walk
Oh, I've been a terrible lessor... I'm late introducing The Artist. She is my tenant for this week. She creates amazing paintings in her posts that are reminiscent of the art in The Little Prince. Do check out her blog at Winsome Gunning Art Walk. :)

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What is the Best Way to Pop a Balloon?

Friday, November 03, 2006

I personally go for the two step method, stepping on a balloon with my left foot then popping the now bulbous part of the balloon with my right. Sir Rodel went for the car key method poking at a rate of 1 balloon per second. Ma'am Marie and Tine went for age-old method of sitting on baloons. So why were we popping balloons? Let me trackback...

A BFitcsh called LiWanda
Day 0: Friday Afternoon.
Our call time for all venue preparations for the 15th National Conference of Architects (NCA) was 3 pm. We were welcomed by an ongoing supermarket convention. Thanks to the event coordinator of the CAP Convention Center, Linda, we waited on the boxes we brought until 5. "Linda" apparently gave a two hour extension without informing us, her name became synonimous with a female canine through the extent of the event. So there we were, bored to death with "This Side Up" letterings nearly tattoed on our asses. It was fortunate though that we caught a waning supermarket convention eager to dispose their promos. We had coffee, cheap wine, M&M Kissables, bisected shampoos, and bars of laundry soap. All appeared edible.

Ms. "One-line"
Day 0: Friday Night.
My tasks were relatively easy compared to say erecting scaffolding or coordinating with the caterer. I had the valuable job of organizing conference kits. Whoopee! Nothing is more fulfilling than stuffing a Boysen bag with souvenirs. (Insert forced smile here) The only "danger" involved in this job is papercuts. A number of student auxiliary were assisting me (I miss my capricious college days) We were actually having fun doing this, we had about four hubs of openers, stuffers, closers, and packers. Our efficiency was superb! When we were down to our last 3 boxes, some snot-nosed student auxiliary from "Manila" entered the room we were in and with a sneer said: "Ay sayang mas mabilis sana kung one line" (Too bad, it would have been faster if you did it in one line) then left. It was a hit and run! The daft ingrate became the subject of our insults and unflattering impersonations. Fueled by our loathing for this mutant, we finished the job in no time. Nothing like a wannabe with a linear way of thinking (that looks like that 3-eyed fish in The Simpsons) to increase work output by 100%.

Exercising the other 15 muscles
Day 1: Saturday
Lately, the only time I see the sun rise is when I've stayed up all night. I was nauseous when I arose from the double deck in our inn at 5 frickin 30 in the morning. "I am sleepwalking", I kept muttering to myself. It took a warm bath, a cup of cold pineapple juice and a couple of Marlboros to jumpstart my higher brain functions. That whole morning was a daze. I was stationed in the "war room", a rectangular arsenal of nuclear office supplies and a risograph with a mind of its own. This was the Secretariat base.

Here is the dialogue I used and made my assistants use (it became our stress mantra):
Good morning (change with time of day) sir/ ma'am!!! (smile)
Can I please see your I.D.??
Thanks!!!! (smile wider)
Can I please have your conference kit stub??
Thanks!!! (you can smile wider than that!)
Here's your kit!!!
Have a wonderful day at the conference!!! and may all your wishes come true!!!!!

I dunno what's worse, having lunch at 3 pm or forcing a smile the whole day. It took me so long to get my Ally Mcbeal pout down to a tee, and now I was smiling like a chipper fastfood employee. "Here's your conference kit! Would you like to supersize it?!" Whoever said "it takes 37 muscles to frown and only 22 muscles to smile" was a sloth. Aren't we supposed to work out as much as we can? (Oooohh... look at me endorsing working-out) Exercising another 15 muscles is my work-out.
At the end of the day, I must gave gained 5 pounds with all that smiling and my face was aching.

Wake up and Smell the SNAFU
Day 2: Sunday Morning. (Not the No Doubt nor Velvet Underground nor Maroon5 song)
I slept like a baby the previous night, but my face was still swollen. We still woke early early, but we moved a tad more lackadaisical. Most of the tasks we needed to do have been done on Day 1. We hovered over our breakfast longer. We arrived at the venue sometime around 8 and we were greeted by a frantic deputy chairman. Apparently whoever locked the war room the night before was nowhere to be found. Gentlemen, draw your cellphones! 3... 2... 1... Go! It took about thirty minutes of calling and texting to find out who had the key, and another thirty for him to get to the venue. Thankfully, "Eleven" knew how to open doors with a credit card (He didn't tell me how he acquired that skill either). The War Room was opened at 0845 hours. The person with the key arrived T + 30 minutes after.

Lucky M3!
Day 2: Sunday Afternoon
I have no luck with raffles. I can not recall a single instance where I've won a prize based solely on luck. But when it comes to picking the shortest stick... I'm a shoo-in. However, a raffle solely dedicated to the OrCom (Organizing Committee) (Thanks Arch. Roldan) was atypical. Knowing my luck in these things, Tine and I went away from the venue to buy stuff for an event later in the evening. On the taxi ride home, my phone kept ringing... numerous SMS saying I won something in the raffle. I was skeptical until Arch. Jovit handed me a white MP3 Player. Yey! This will free up space on my Palm! and... Tine won a TV!
In order for me to win a raffle: lessen the number or participants vis-a-vis increasing the statistical probability of winning AND go as far away from the venue as physically possible.

Was that Scary Pretty or Pretty Scary?
Day 2: Sunday Evening
The closing ceremonies was brief and straightforward. Speeches. The OrCom were called one by one and occupied the stage. Clapping for Orcom. Speech. Clapping for speaker. Someone stood up and made a speech about how hard the Orcom worked and that they deserved "something"... He left us hanging and kept elaborating on "something" we deserved... A car ala Oprah?? N93's?? A trip to Barbados?? We were all waiting for him to get to his point, the point being that "something"... and that "something" turned out to be... a... because we deserved it... that "something" is... you wanna know what it is?... it... is... a... Standing Ovation! My initial feeling was disappointment and my intial thought was clapping doesn't pay the bills...
As it turns out, the older members of our chapter told me that that never happened in the history of the NCA before. It was bigger than I gave it credit for... but hey, I would've loved sipping pina coladas with my feet in the Caribbean Ocean more.
The Fellowship Night soon followed. It is a euphemism for Get-drunk-and-do-the- Chicken-dance night. I was busy transforming Tine into a "white lady" (a local mythical hovering female ghost with long hair wearing a white ensemble) Our chapter was entering her in the "Pretty Lady in White" contest. There was no appropriate dressing room, so we claimed the Ladies' comfort room. When we were nearly done, Ma'am Mylen, Ma'am Marie, Ma'am Joy, and Star joined us in that small comfort room to do a test run. Tine was holding a lit candle to her face, we flicked the switch... We all screamed, including Tine (the white lady), Star ran outside as the 5 of us left chuckled all the way to the backstage.
We didn't win... The criteria clearly said "no blood or faux blood", the other contestants of course had ketchup smeared all over them, brilliant! And, the thing that irked me the most was that the contestants had to be Scary Pretty... ala Cate Blanchett as Galadriel or Morticia. Again, the other contestants must've heard "Pretty Scary" instead of "Scary Pretty", cause most of them were pretty dang scary, but not in a good, halloween appropriate way. What's worse than contestants who interpret criteria as the total opposite? Judges who think the same way! Bah!

Day 2: Sunday Monday Morning
What really signalled the end of the conference for me was singing REM's The One I Love at the top of my lungs. My whole UAP chapter, young and old(er), were singing.
And so that was how we found ourselves popping red and white balloons (see picture) at 3 o'clock in the morning.

Thanks to UAP National!
Thanks to all the Student Auxiliary (sans Ms. One-Line)!!!
and, Congratulations UAP Summer Capital the youngest chapter to ever host the NCA!!!

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Tweak or Tweet

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Finally back to my old routine... sleeping for 8 hours, waking up after the sun has fully risen, blogging at night and sitting more than standing. The National Conference of Architects is finally over! I have yet to digest the events of the past days... It felt like a 3 day somnambulist expedition, waking up before 6 am has that effect on me.


My first experience of Trick or Treat was last year... ok so it was second-hand. Here's a pic of nephew and niece in costumes my sis and I rushed a night before the event. Who knew I had "stage-mom" genes...

Trick or Treating isn't too big in the Philippines. Kids here do their Christmas carolling instead (Like a reversed Nightmare Before Christmas) The old hide-and-seek with the carollers dance begins sometime in October. Aside from visits to the cemetery, scaring one's self shitless during this blessed night is the tradition my generation has embraced.

I am channel-surfing like a minesweeper. I make mental notes of channels that are showing horror flicks and skip said channels with the memory of AJ, for fear that I may retain some creepy imagery which my hyperactive imagination might feed on. The thing with me and scary movies is when I happen to stumble upon one, I need to finish it. By doing so, I tend to criticize the pathetic storyline, my inner critic overshadows my inner scaredy cat. An unresolved movie is a phobic's imagination's playground.

Horror films on Halloween... I made that stupid mistake with Halimaw sa Banga (Ghoul in the Big Clay Jar) when I was 10 (who knew a movie with cute girl named Matet could cause me several years of utter fear of huge ornamental jars)... with Amityville when I was 14 (the scarier part is that it's based on actual events)... with the Shake, Rattle and Roll movies when I was in highschool (I know the special effects are pathetic but Mary Walters, bless her soul, made me gerontophobic)... with all three Scream movies and both I Know What you Did... movies when I was in college (Just kill Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt so we can get on with our lives!). I have yet to make that mistake after I left the academe.

My checklist for watching scary movies: foremost, the date must be nowhere near October 31, noontime, lots of friends, a back-up plan to spend a late night spent trying to forget what I saw. I remember watching a Scream marathon alone in an empty house, everyone went down to Bulacan for Undas (All Saints' Say)... I unplugged the phone. It isn't as scary on hindsight, especially thanks to the Wayans Brothers parody. I am such a wuss. That coupled with my morbid curiosity makes for a lethal combination, drawing out any notion of sleep from my head... eyes darting between window, door and mirror... making sure an elongated skull mask with a Rambo knife or that damn crawling Japanese girl with wet hair doesn't catch me off guard.

Ok, all this talk of horror movies has unleashed repressed images in the recesses of the "Do not open" chambers of my brain. I guess I made the mistake again... and I guess whoever declared November 1 a holiday must've been a pansy like me, Heshe didn't sleep the night before and needed a day to recuperate...

My back-up plan: watching my movie backlog.

Where is a Julie Andrews movie when you need one?
Raindrops and roses and vindictive kittens...
Bright copper kettles and warm blood stained mittens...
Brown paper packages, decapitated heads of things...
These are a few of my favorite things...

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