Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Work before play

I had to postpone a dinner and a lunch this weekend because we have guests coming from Thailand-- some people from the Ep Espada mother company-- and we're obliged to play gracious host to them all week. I hate cancelling social engagements because of business, but what's a devoted/indentured C.O.O. to do? I'm also going to miss our weekly badminton game, but I may still be able to drop by the Wish bazaar Saturday night (I need to get Christmas gifts for my high school barkada and my LM girls and some other people on my shopping list... only a few weeks left 'til the 25th!).

Anyway I rescheduled the dinner (December 7 or 9? still waiting for people's votes) and took a rain check on the lunch (the 3rd so far, I'm already feeling guilty about it), then I still have a pending get-together with my high school barkada (if you don't show up, you don't get a gift, simple as that-- how's that for motivation, Michelle? :p), an impending family reunion with my mother's side of the family (Chaya and Abi are home! this calls for a cousins' night out!), and a slew of Christmas parties to attend. But even before I get around to those, we're opening our first Ep Espada boutique in SM Sucat Annex tomorrow, all the malls are having Christmas sales this month, and I'm drowning in a sea of sales figures, delivery schedules, store visit reports, and emails from overseas. Methinks the holidays are going to be helluva hectic.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Pinoy: ipakita sa mundo (or at least to the rest of Southeast Asia)

The SEA Games has kicked off with a whimper, and as host country we've done a bang-up job thus far. Yesterday at the flag-raising ceremony at Rizal Park, all the delegations from the participating nations were there... except the delegation from the frickin' host country, who arrived LATE and missed the flag-raising rites all together. I hope someone was singing Lupang Hinirang that morning. What a great demonstration of the infamous cultural practice of "Filipino time". I am postively brimming with national pride.

Another cultural practice which my parents frown upon (and which I sometimes find myself guilty of) is our verbal wishy-washiness. We pepper our sentences with cushion words like "parang" and "yata" and "siguro" and "baka" and "malamang"-- it's like we're not sure of anything we say. My dad says it's because we Pinoys like to play it safe (read: we're yellow-livered sissies): we don't want to offend anyone, and at the same time we don't want to say something inaccurate and be humiliated later on when proven wrong. This cultural quirk is wonderfully highlighted by the seemingly inspiring SEA Games-themed ad campaign by Globe Telecom. Along EDSA, they have lined up these banners that go, "Tapang? Posible." followed by "Pagkakaisa? Posible." then "Tagumpay? Posible." and capped off with "Basta Pinoy, POSIBLE." True, "posible" sounds more decisive than "pwede" but they might as well have used that word. "Mananalo ba tayo? Umm... pwe-deee..." Translated, the ad campaign's theme boldly declares: "Victory? Errrr... yeah, it's possible, I guess. Let's see." What does that say about our morale? If we don't have confidence in ourselves as a nation, and if we can't show the world we are a country worth respecting (we missed our own flag-raising, for crying out loud!), then it's no wonder the Philippines is where it is today: stuck in an economic, political and socio-cultural rut.

And it's no shock that no one really cares about the SEA Games. At least, not until we've bagged a decent number of medals. Only when victory is a sure thing will we be able to muster up enough spirit to cheer on the home team. Until that time, it's all we can do to manage a half-hearted "posible".

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Revenge of the nerd

During my schooling years, I always winced inwardly whenever someone referred to me as a nerd. But those people were wrong, I wasn't a nerd... I was actually more of a dork (until my senior year in high school when I got a life, thanks to serendipitous reshuffling ;p). The difference between a nerd and a dork? Some definitions draw the line by saying a nerd is someone alienated for being unusually smart or academically outstanding, whereas a dork is not necessarily brainy, but lacks social skills or exhibits weird personal traits (ergo the alienation). And a geek is not the same thing either, it refers to a person who is so absorbed in a particular field (e.g. nuclear physics :p) that he alienates himself from others.

Several years later, I have taken to labeling myself as a dork, in a mixture of self-deprecation and strange pride. But I am actually more a nerd now, and an online quiz I got from fellow nerd Rachel's blog proved it. My results show that I am 52 % Nerd, 30% Geek, and 43% Dork. It also said I scored higher than 46% girls my age on nerdiness, higher than 38% on geekosity, and higher than 74% on dork points (must be all the Star Trek I watch, right Mads?). Funny that this doesn't cause me any embarrassment now-- in fact I find it amusing and even a compliment to my intelligence to be called a nerd. I guess in high school, alienation is a big deal and tough for a teenager to handle. As you grow older, you realize that being alienated from people who make you feel bad for being smart isn't so bad at all. :)

P.S. I bought a Happy Meal and got a Chicken Little toy! Whee! *clap clap*

Monday, November 21, 2005

Wedding banned

We attended the wedding of a family friend yesterday, and during the reception, as we were being tortured by bland Chinese food and mushy mood music, my siblings and I started compiling a list of songs that we would never, ever play at our own weddings (Bens even said he would create a playlist for his iPod just for laughs... or just to inflict pain on our eardrums when called for). The following were included in our list:
  • It Might Be You (the king of all senti songs)
  • Love Moves in Mysterious Ways (my sister's personal favorite)
  • On the Wings of Love (we always find this one hysterical, especially when performed by overenthusiastic wedding singers)
  • You (or any other Carpenters song for that matter)
  • Born for You (sorry to any David Pomeranz fans out there, but he just makes us want to vomit)
  • Because of You (the one by Keith Martin, not the one by 98 Degrees-- I actually like that one)
  • The Gift (Jim Brickman songs at a wedding? how novel! it's positively revolutionary!)
  • My Valentine (unless we're getting married on Valentines Day, which is not going to happen because c'mon, that's cheesy as hell)
If anyone thinks of more songs to add to our list, feel free to post your suggestions. We'll try to squeeze you into the guest list. :p

Saturday, November 19, 2005

What myths are made of

I don't feel like writing a lengthy review of the 4th Harry Potter movie, simply because it took all my high Harry hopes and dashed them to bits with all the force of an Unforgivable Curse. I won't go into how the epic proportions of the book were hacked and mangled and amputated until all that remained was a mediocre, weak storyline. Neither will I dwell on the choppy editing (fine, I realize it's impossible and impractical to include every tiny detail and subplot, but jumping from the opening of the Quidditch World Cup to a Death-Eater-triggered stampede is not what I call smooth transition), nor will I harp on the sporadic and frustratingly-- for lack of a better English word-- bitin appearances of acting legends such as Maggie Smith, Alan Rickman, Gary Oldman and the fabulous Miranda Richardson. Suffice it to say that the 3rd movie is still by far the best adaptation of the series (I knew Cuaron shouldn't have relinquished the directing reins, argh), and the only bright spots in Goblet of Fire were James and Oliver Phelps, who play my beloved Weasley twins (I ran into my student Cla after the movie, and she told me she now understands why I adore Fred and George so much =D).

My ranting stops there. Now I want to share an observation I've made about popular fantasy series that have such rich material that they have evolved into modern myths. I will use Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Lord of the Rings as examples. They all seem to follow a formula that includes the following elements:

1. the young, vulnerable hero on whom all hope rests
  • HP: Harry
  • SW: Luke Skywalker
  • LOTR: Frodo
2. the loyal sidekick/best friend
  • HP: Ron
  • SW: Han Solo
  • LOTR: Sam
3. the allies secretly (or not so secretly) in love with one another
  • HP: Ron and Hermione
  • SW: Han Solo and Princess Leia
  • LOTR: Aragorn and Arwen
4. the comic relief tandem/s
  • HP: Fred and George
  • SW: Han Solo and Chewbacca/C3PO and R2D2
  • LOTR: Merry and Pippin/Legolas and Gimli
5. the wise old mentor
  • HP: Dumbledore
  • SW: Yoda/Obi Wan Kenobi
  • LOTR: Gandalf
6. the menacing, all-powerful villain
  • HP: Voldemort
  • SW: the Emperor Palpatine
  • LOTR: Sauron
7. the good guy turned bad guy (or the other way around)
  • HP: Snape
  • SW: Darth Vader
  • LOTR: Saruman/Boromir
8. the antagonist who makes life extra hard for the already beleaguered hero
  • HP: Draco
  • SW: Jabba the Hutt
  • LOTR: Gollum
So if anyone out there dreams of creating their own modern myth worthy of Hollywood's attention, you might want to take note of what key components to include in your saga. And do us all a favor and get a better director than Mike Newell.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Shameless plugging

Ep Espada, Thailand's top female apparel brand, is now here in the Philippines! Visit our outlets at Rustan's Makati and Rustan's Shangri-la Plaza and check out our collection, featuring both work wear and weekend wear for the modern woman. Spread the word: Ep Espada is now in Manila!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


It was lunch break, I was bored, I took this Tickle online quiz, I laughed at the result:

"Aileesa, your most unique quality is that you're unusually Intense.

"You're wound up and have a lot going on. Others may have trouble understanding what you're going through, but they generally find your intensity very compelling and are drawn to you. This happens even without effort on your part. Compared to others who are also intense, you are unusually quick to react when someone tries to hurt you. Only 2.1% of all test takers have this unique combination of personality strengths."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

After all, Maroulis is just a Muggle...

Many have asked me if I'm planning to go see Constantine perform at Greenbelt this Thursday, and many have reacted in surprise when I answer in the negative. My reasons: 1) I don't like sharing my men, and certainly not with manic mobs of screaming-silly female fans (Ivy, Kat Co, Karyl-- you guys don't count ;p); 2) I adore Con and all, but I can think of other performers I'd rather watch in concert (my respect for him is founded largely on lust and not musical appreciation); and 3) I believe you should never meet your heroes (celebrity crushes included), lest you get disillusioned or turned off. And I have a sneaking suspicion that behind Con's smoldering sex appeal lies very little else. I'd rather preserve my flawless fantasy, thank you very much.

Despite all the hoopla surrounding Con's arrival in Manila (and MiG Ayesa's as well... fancy that, the two Bohemian Rhapsody rockers/Rent alums flew in on the same flight from LA :p), I'm more excited about watching the 4th Harry Potter movie this week. Although Book 3 is still my favorite of the HP series, Book 4 in my opinion is the most filmable, what with both the Quidditch World Cup and the Tri-Wizard Tournament. I hope director Alfonso Cuaron and company do not disappoint (but let's not get started on the girl they chose to play Cho Chang-- I agree with Jo that there are hundreds of Fil-Chi girls who are way prettier than her ;p).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Fair is foul, foul is fair

2 noteworthy events from yesterday: I got my hair straightened, and I finished reading Wicked... and I did them at the same time. I ate up-- nay, devoured-- page after page of Gregory Maguire's wonderful, wonderful novel as I sat through the tedious process of having my frizzy mane tamed (I blame my mother's genes for giving me accursed wavy hair). They call this new-fangled procedure "hair management", the effects of which lie somewhere between those of rebonding and relaxing, according to the stylist. Since the salon was having a 50% anniversary discount on all services, I took it as a cosmic sign to go ahead and get my messy mop "managed" (I also got a manicure and pedicure while I was at it-- hey, it was 50% off on all services!).

Now I hate time-consuming beauty regimens (especially when smelly chemicals are involved), so it was a good thing I had brought along my copy of Wicked to get me through the afternoon. Wicked is a retelling of the classic tale The Wizard of Oz, this time centering on the Wicked Witch of the West as protagonist rather than antagonist. It was such an enthralling read that I barely flinched whenever the stylist accidentally touched the hair iron to my scalp. If I were asked to write a book review of Wicked, I would fail miserably, because I haven't the words to describe Maguire's mesmerizing masterpiece. I am reduced to a shameful puddle of incoherent ineptitude as I even consider coming close to capturing the powerful prose, inspired imagination, provoking profundity and fiery feeling-- not even emotion or passion, but feeling-- woven together in Wicked. I haven't been attacked by writer envy in so long, but I was positively green (how appropriate) that Maguire could be credited with such a clever, creative, and devastatingly delightful concoction. After I finished the final page I wanted to put down the book and applaud (but I was still at the parlor so I restrained myself). In short, I was bewitched, bothered, bewildered and blown away by Wicked. Bravo.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

It's Kat's party and I'll sing if I want to

Kat celebrated her birthday with AP-Annex last night with dinner at SuperBowl Promenade followed by KTV at World Music Room. I'm posting these pix at the request of the celebrant (I am not, however, acceding to her other request :p).

From left to right: Joy (our newest addition to AP-Annex), Loids, Shirl, Kat, Elyse and LynnThe Ateneo side of the table (minus Shirley)AP-Annex + KTV = fun, fun, fun
Me and Fara with Lynn in the background
Margaux doing some serious damage, um, I mean singing :pHaving a barrel of laughs with Kat in control

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Of House and home

Paraphrased transcripts of 2 conversations I had last night:

Conversation # 1: text exchange with Fara while we were both watching House
F: Magaling ba talaga si House or yung team niya yung magaling? And is he really that weird??
A: I think he's brilliant by himself, but he's just a lazy ass, and he wants to push his team-- who are all potentially brilliant by themselves-- to develop their potential brilliance. That he's an erratic SOB just comes as a bonus.
F: You're right. It's like he lets them do all the thinking, then he just pieces 2 and 2 together in the end.
A: He leaves the dirty work to them then steps in at the last second to save the day with some burst of genius. (changes topic) Chase is such a cutie. I love it when he says all those medical terms in that accent of his. Sana ganun kagwapo doctor ko.
F: Kung ganun kagwapo doctor ko, araw-araw akong magkakasakit! Haha. Wag lang biglang papasok si House, he might start insulting me!
A: Take his cane and beat him over the head with it. Haha.

Conversation # 2: casual pre-bedtime chatter between Hanks and I
H: Do you like living here?
A: Here in this house, here in Greenhills or here in the Philippines?
H: Here in the Philippines. Don't you ever think about getting away from here?
A: Used to. Not anymore.
H: How come? So you do like it here?
A: I don't like it here, I like being here. There's a difference. (reflective pause) I guess it's because "here" holds everything valuable to me, everything I don't want to leave behind, everything I can't live without. It's... home.
H: (ends conversation with own reflective pause)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Starbucks sucker

So I heard on the radio yesterday that Starbucks is at it again with their devious holiday promo/scam: collect 21 stickers on a card and get a limited edition planner worth far less than the 21 overpriced coffee beverages consumed. It was also mentioned on air that aside from the Toffee Nut Latte and the Peppermint Mocha of last year, Starbucks has added Creme Brulee Latte to their holiday specialty drinks.

So like the gullible chump/caffeine junkie that I am, this morning I drop by 1 of the 5 Starbucks in Greenhills (can you believe there are 5 Starbucks in such a small area?) to test a Creme Brulee Latte and to get my 1st sticker.

Baaad idea.

First, the Creme Brulee Latte tasted nothing like creme brulee. It had more of an Irish cream flavor to it, and while I actually like Irish cream (I looove Bailey's), it's a letdown when you're expecting something as sinfully sweet and rich as creme brulee. Second, recall that I have been avoiding coffee ever since I learned of my heart condition. I didn't ask for a decaf, so I think my system couldn't handle the sudden caffeine jolt after having been deprived of it for so long, and it wreaked havoc with my digestive functions, to put it discreetly. Third, it occurred to me that the 2005 Starbucks planner I got from last year's manic sticker-collecting has nothing but blank pages from the month of June onwards, owing to the acquisition of my Palm and my inherent ningas cogon tendency. I seriously doubt I will have much use for a 2006 planner.

Like I said, stupid, stupid idea.

Maybe I'll have the Peppermint Mocha tomorrow.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugh

I wasn’t in the mood to blog the past 4 days, which explains the unusual absence of new posts recently. Here is a recap of my supposedly long weekend (funny how one feels even more drained after a “long” weekend as opposed to a regular one).

Thursday - My folks and I had dinner at Marina with a business associate from China.
The good: The guest had a healthy appetite and an even healthier loquacity, so it wasn’t that boring an evening.
The bad: My listening and speaking skills in Mandarin have always been weaker than my reading and writing, so I had to concentrate very hard to keep up with the conversation (and I hardly contributed to it).
The ugh: The sisig, my favorite part of a Filipino meal, tasted funny, so we returned it to the kitchen, complained to the manager, and had it taken off the bill (Gerry’s sisig is still the best).

Friday - We watched The Legend of Zorro at the Promenade.
The good: The movie was a rarity— a sequel that lives up to its predecessor. Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have obviously grown into their roles and matured as both actors and movie stars (yes, there is a difference). The void left by Anthony Hopkins was surprisingly unnoticeable, thanks to spunky sparkplug Adrian Alonso, who played Alejandro and Elena’s son Joaquin. Looks like another acting career is to be launched by the Zorro franchise (and if Zeta-Jones’ career is to be any indication, little Adrian should be saying hola to more Hollywood blockbusters in the near future).
The bad: Or should I say “the weak”. Admittedly, the plot called for a lot of willing suspension of disbelief. And the whole saved-from-the-bullet-by-the-crucifix bit has already been done (does anyone remember Disney’s The Three Musketeers? Charlie Sheen as Aramis takes one in the chest but survives thanks to his being an ex-priest).
The ugh: We arrived late for the movie (I hate arriving late for anything, especially a movie), so I don’t know what transpired in the first 10 minutes or so. Anyone care to give me a detailed rundown?

Saturday - We attended the wedding of one of our brand heads, who also happens to be the daughter of one of Ma’s high school classmates (so we’ve known each other since we were kids).
The good: The ceremony was short, and the reception was short, so it was all over very quickly.
The bad: The church was as hot as a freakin’ sauna. You could see the poor ninangs (my mom included) sweltering in their gowns and guests furiously fanning themselves with invitations and mass booklets. You can be damned sure that when/if I get married, it’s going to be in a venue with A/C.
The ugh: I got roped into joining another lame who-gets-the-bouquet game (thankfully, I did not get the bouquet). When Claire gets back from her honeymoon I’m going to strangle her.

Sunday - We spent a lazy (that turned out to be not-so-lazy) day at home.
The good: We watched a few episodes of TNG (any day with TNG is a good day).
The bad: We got interrupted by Ma (who has been in a really foul mood lately… I suspect the onset of menopause, eek), who told Hanks and I to march upstairs and clean our room.

The ugh: We cleaned our room (the upside to this was that I unearthed a copy of the novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in the box of books my aunt in Australia sent to us many months ago, and some letters from students that made me go “awww”).

Also worth mentioning:
The good: Finished reading Book 12 of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Lemony Snicket rocks my socks!
The bad (but in a good way): Started reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. The title says it all (used in a British slang context).
The ugh: My sister the jazz junkie bought John Stevens' CD (the redheaded crooner from American Idol, that John Stevens), and I listened to it last night. The kid sings the standards quite well, but his version of Maroon 5’s This Love is really, really scary. Stick to Sinatra, Johnny boy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lived it, loved it

Saw: Book 12 of A Series of Unfortunate Events (but decided to wait and buy it from Fully Booked), the latest Coach collection (so many pretty, pretty bags... sigh), a lovely nappa leather jacket at Giordano (if only I didn't live in a tropical country)

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett (actually cheaper at Page One than Fully Booked), an issue of GQ with Orlando Bloom on the cover (one look at his gorgeous face was all it took), a Coach bag with a 4-way convertible strap (it cost big bucks but Coach is my favorite bag brand in the whole wide world and my parents said they'd just deduct it from my salary, so there :p)

Ate: Haagen-Dazs red bean ice cream, lots and lots of xiaolongbao, Peking duck (we did it! one whole bird! haha), wonton noodles, and liver and kidney congee (trust me, it tastes better than it sounds)

What my family looks like on vacation:

Me and MaShoti and xiaolongbaoPa and Hanks (even in Hong Kong Pa has to have his cup of UCC)Wuzzat?Me and Hanks goofing around in our hotel roomSweethearts in Sweet Dynasty (congee/dessert place across our hotel)All mine!