Sunday, October 29, 2006

When Batman and Wolverine get into a pissfest

Where oh where do I begin writing about Christopher Nolan's The Prestige? My brother and my best friend both summed it up best: "Nakakapagod." As Raqs described it, the entire movie was like a string of climaxes, having you holding your breath and wondering what was going to come next, only to plunge you back into suspense and leaving you as dumbfounded as you were a few minutes ago. I guess that was precisely Nolan's point: he conjured up this magic act of a movie to stump as all.

At face value, The Prestige is a film about magic. The term "prestige" was coined by author Jonathan Priest, who wrote the novel on which the movie is based. It comes from "prestidigitation" or sleight of hand. Priest's invented term refers to the last of 3 acts of a magic trick: first there's the pledge, where the magician shows you an ordinary object; then comes the turn, where the magician does something extraordinary with the object; and finally, the prestige, where the magician shows you something "you've never seen before". But beyond being a movie about disappearing acts and escape tricks, The Prestige tells the tale of the heated competition-turned-obsessive-quest-for-revenge between rival magicians Angier (Hugh Jackman, with X-men abs and pecs intact) and Borden (Christian Bale, radiating Bruce Wayne sex appeal through grimy make-up and even the rattiest costumes). Angier is the showman, but Borden is the true talent. A deeply personal grudge sparks the enmity between the 2, with each trying not only to outdo the other, but bring him down. Their feud escalates to a level of madness that is both frightening and mesmerizing, and the various twists and turns in the plot are very much like sleights of hand that keep you on the edge of your seat, and completely captivated. As Borden's catch phrase goes, "Are you watching closely?" Well, with actors like Bale and Jackman, hell yeah.

The cast delivered solid acting all around, which is not surprising considering that the 2 protagonists (and alternately antagonists) are not just your run-of-the-mill Hollywood hunks, but talented actors who happen to be hunks. Jackson's charisma, with its odd mix of animal magnetism and dapper savoir faire, suited his turn as the flashy but cold-hearted Angier, while Bale's intensity (hot, hot, HOT) made his Borden compelling despite his seeming cruelty. The supporting cast, led by the always reliable, always classy Sir Michael Caine, was as outstanding as the 2 leads... although Scarlett Johansson should really reconsider accepting roles that insist on showcasing her ample bosom more than her acting prowess. The surprise performance of the movie came from an unrecognizable David Bowie, whose turn as the eccentric inventor Tesla was understated and convincing. There's one guy who can quit his day job.

But make no mistake, no one else owned this movie but Chris Nolan. Anyone who has seen his breakthrough film Memento can detect his signature style of breaking away from chronological sequence, choosing to tell his story in cleverly interwoven scenes from different points in the time line. In some parts of The Prestige, Angier and Borden read from each other's diaries, and the narration shifts from one magician to another. Flashbacks are used generously as well, to help shed light on a puzzling plot point or remind the audience of something they already saw, but did not apprehend nor comprehend. By the time the conclusion is reached, the viewer is a bit disoriented, short of breath, and already replaying the movie in his head trying to figure out what he missed, and not without the sneaking feeling that he has just been bamboozled. I don't know if that was Nolan's intention, but I certainly exited the cinema feeling as if I'd just watched one long, elaborate magic act.

The Prestige is the kind of film that you'll want to watch a second time to better understand and appreciate what really happened, and how it was pulled off. It's also the kind of film that makes for great dinner conversation and endless debate ("So he was actually the..." "What made her do..." "How come they didn't..."). Watch it with friends who have sharp eyes, calculating minds, and the willingness to suspend disbelief and just let Chris Nolan work his magic on them.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

Ever since the 3 of us got old enough to be left at home by ourselves whenever our parents go out of the country, they inevitably leave me, their eldest child, in charge. I never like being left in charge, obliged to be "the adult" and designated leader in the house. The responsibilities that come with keeping an eye on my siblings, overseeing the household, and running errands weigh heavily on my shoulders... not to mention if anything goes wrong, it will all be on my head.

Now it's even worse, because aside from being temporary queen of the castle, I'm also holding down the fort at the office. Any false steps or poor decisions, and I take the flak when the bosses get back. Plus there are just so many matters vying for my attention all at the same time, stuff that my parents usually attend to: signing documents, issuing checks, approving drafts, checking reports, answering overseas phone calls, interviewing applicants, finding solutions to problems of various shapes and sizes that crop up without warning and at the most inappropriate moments (you'd think a multi-tasker like me would find fire-fighting a breeze, but no, it's a pain in my multi-tasking arse). That's not even mentioning the various regular tasks I do even when the top brass are in town. And while all this is going on, I'm texting my parents every so often to update them, or clarify a point, or get their green light for something. Thank goodness there are no more international roaming charges for receiving text messages.

The constant chaotic flurry of activity at work keeps me on my toes, but also on edge. The anxiety of being the lone leader and the fear of messing up big-time are overwhelming, and even after a few days of playing commander-in-chief, my nerves are frayed to very thin threads. I could never do this for the rest of my life, the kind of omnipresent, omniscient, crazy-juggling-act managing my parents do day in and day out. I'd suffer either a breakdown or a meltdown, and neither would be very pretty.

Can I abdicate the throne, please?

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's all over

The day of two events I had been looking forward to for the past month finally arrived last Saturday. Around noon, Pia Girl and I headed to Ateneo for the OpMan defenses. We met up with some of the other LM girls-- Anj, Yang, Ria and Juls-- in the SOM office and partook of the free buffet lunch. Sir Mike Tan (who happens to be Juls's significant other) told us we were the oldest among all the panelists (ack!) he had invited, which put pressure on us to be even nastier than usual. ;p With the exception of Yang and Juls (lucky!!), we all got MEco groups who had done audits on existing companies' operations (unfaaaiiirrr, LM had to formulate start-up businesses; why does LM always get the short end of the stick?).

After lunch, we proceeded to watch the benchmark group present their project on frozen chickens, and since they didn't exactly wow the panelists, they set the bar for even lower scores to be handed out the rest of the afternoon. I didn't flunk anyone though, and admittedly the groups I got this year were slightly better than the ones I got last year (or maybe it's because an audit really is easier to do... or because my 2 fellow panelists were too nice and they hampered me from flexing my evil muscles :p). The highlight of my stint as a panelist this sem was when I chewed out 1 group for having used plagiarized material in their paper (yes, Ms. Lim, the scourge of plagiarism strikes again, haha!). Almost 3 whole pages contained material copied verbatim from online sources, plus 1 very poorly paraphrased page. I couldn't fail the group because of it though, since I wasn't grading their paper, but their presentation. All I could do was report them to the SOM faculty, and hope that their teacher deals with them justly. I did manage to give the group a piece of my mind (and scare them shitless) before I let them leave the room. I told them that even if they did cite their sources, it's no excuse for the word-for-word duplication, and I reminded them that in the Ateneo handbook, plagiarism is an offense punishable by disciplinary action. I ended by saying that as a former teacher and an Ateneo alumna, I was disappointed at their disregard for academic integrity (how's that for dramatic? :p).

I hate plagiarists. Especially Atenean plagiarists. They give writers and my school a bad name.

After the OpMan defense, I rushed back to Greenhills to catch the fashion show of the ICA Variety Show. I thought Joy Lo and her VSC girls did a terrific job putting everything together. Our Ep Espada items were given a very young, hip look the way they were coordinated, along with various accessories and "bling", as Joy put it. :) The models' funky hairstyles and makeup also helped, as well as the disco dance moves they had to do as part of the show's retro theme. It would have been all just peachy, but one not-so-little incident did piss me off: the dumbass emcee (Vince somebody from Wazzup Wazzup) mispronounced our brand name not once, not twice, but several frickin' times!! He said "Ep Espada" ("Ep" as in "ep-isode") instead of "E-p Espada" (as in the letters "E" and "P"). The more infuriating thing was, after screwing it up in the introduction, he corrected himself after the fashion show... and said the EXACT SAME WRONG THING AGAIN!! He even said "MISTER Ep Espada" (whatthehell?!?). At that point I felt like picking up the vacant monobloc chair next to me and hurling it at him. I had to run up to the ballet room and get Joy to straighten out the inept emcee. I shall have to do some editing before I can send the fashion show video to our principal in Thailand. The introductory spiel was so nice too (mispronunciation aside) but now I'll have to cut out that entire embarrassing bit. =S The only good thing that came out of the whole mortifying gaffe was that we got more verbal exposure than expected-- the idiot emcee did mention our brand more than a dozen times, never mind that more than half of those times he got it wrong. :p

One last thing: after over a week in confinement, Guakong was discharged from the hospital today. =D His sodium levels are still low, his vision is blurry and the fingers of his right hand are still stiff, but he can walk slowly by himself, and he's very much lucid. I still feel happy whenever he calls my name. :)

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I vividly remember when I got my first John Mayer CD. It was a present from my dear friend (and fellow square ;p) Chris, right before I left to study in China. John Mayer was still an obscure name back then, but Chris, who's a talented musician himself and always in the know about the latest in music, had already discovered JM's first commercially released album, Room for Squares, months before it would make waves in the local scene. As his farewell gift to Beijing-bound me, Chris decided to let me in on the wonderland that is Mayer's music. Because he couldn't find the CD in any record bar in Manila yet at the time, he gave me his own copy (I don't think I ever thanked you enough, Dee =D), and I brought it with me to China. That album became the soundtrack to my stay in Beijing, a period when I was going through an emotionally charged phase in my life, and Mayer's wistful-without-being-whiny, soulful-without-being-sentimental, poignant-without-being-painful songs were the perfect accompaniment to my soul-searching. I don't know how many times I played that CD during my 7 months in China (I think I barely took it out of my Discman), but I never got sick of it. To this day, I can still listen to the whole album over and over again, and still feel stirred by each track, every one of which I know by heart.

Today I bought JM's latest album, Continuum (yes, some of us still do buy CDs-- I only do so for artists I really, really like and would not mind supporting with 460 of my pesos). I ripped open the plastic covering of the CD (why do they make it so dang hard to tear open, huh?) and almost dropped it in my excitement. The crystal case came in a paper sleeve, and when I slid it out, I saw the album cover, and thought I had gotten a defective CD. The cover was blank, a pure white square with nothing on it. Then, upon closer inspection, I realized that the title "Continuum" was UV-printed on the cover in white, making it invisible at first glance.

I liked the album already, and I hadn't even listened to it yet.

I got around to popping the CD into the player, and the first track was the already familiar "Waiting on the World to Change", which has been played on the radio for quite some time now. This weak attempt at a voice-of-our-generation, hippie/pacifist ditty is not my favorite JM song, and I question the grammatical correctness of the preposition in the title (if you can't spot it, never mind). But I do like the line "It's not that we don't care/ we just know that the fight ain't fair." It's reminiscent of words from a Bob Marley song: "
People are crazy and times are strange/I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range/I used to care, but things have changed." Now there was a song of passive aggression.

Aside from "Waiting...", "Gravity" (Track 4) is the only song that has gotten airplay locally, as far as I know. I like Gravity for its laid-back and bluesy sound, but it doesn't have the most impressive of lyrics. The rest of the songs on Continuum are more mellow compared to Mayer's previous hits; the upbeat tempos of "No Such Thing" and "Bigger than My Body" are scarce to be found in this album, although "Vultures" (Track 6) does have head-bop-to-the-beat potential (even if Mayer's falsetto on the chorus bothers me a bit), and "The Heart of Life" (Track 5) and "Stop This Train" (Track 7) approximate the whimsical tones of two of my favorite older JM songs, "3X5" and "83". But the tracks that I enjoy the most are, inevitably, the songs that deal with that nasty 4-letter word: love. "I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You)" (Track 2), Dreaming With a Broken Heart (Track 10), In Repair (Track 11) and I'm Gonna Find Another You (Track 12) are classic Mayer in the sense that they border on being cheesy and lame, but stay safely within the confines of plaintive and tender. Even the quality of JM's voice tends to change a bit when he's singing about heartache; there seems to be a more raw, honest timbre to it that heightens the emotional appeal.

Continuum does not surpass JM's previous albums in terms of lyric and sound quality, entertainment value and overall impact. I don't know if it's just my strong attachment to Room for Squares, but in my opinion, none of his succeeding albums have come close to topping it. However, no matter what he continues to come out with for the rest of his musical career, John Mayer will always be one of those musical acts I adore unconditionally for deeply personal reasons (2 others who have that distinction: Alanis Morisette, and the defunct matchbox twenty). Though some critics dismiss him as pop-disguised-as-alternative (my brother would be among them), I consider JM one of the best song-writers of my generation, and his lyrics never fail to touch a nerve in even this most jaded of twentysomethings. A line from Mayer's first hit, the overplayed-yet-never-cloying Back To You, best captures how I feel about his music: "Something about you/ it's just the way you move, the way you move me..." He may be no Marley, but Mayer knows how to tug at the hardened heartstrings of our generation, and his voice, his music, speaks volumes for us-- frustrated loves, discontented lives, bittersweet lessons and all.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What went on in my week of silence

One reason I haven't been able to blog over the past week is that the DSL service in our office has not yet been restored. For someone who managed to survive on dial-up at home for years (we only emerged from the Stone Age and got DSL this year), I am really getting frustrated with the lack of convenient and quick Internet access at work. Not only is it doubly difficult to check and reply to email from our overseas correspondents, I don't have YM to distract me from the tedium of checking reports, and I can't blog or blog-hop during lunch break.

Another reason for my blog silence-- which is actually thanks to reason number 1-- is that I've been busy at the office. Ever since we moved to our new building, I've been quite productive (and I'm guessing this is owing largely to the absence of YM messages popping up on my computer screen every 10 minutes). Because our work spaces are so much roomier now, I tend to do a lot of walking around (whenever I need to get something or find someone). Also, there's been so much stuff to pay attention to aside from the usual workload, like rearranging desks and chairs, checking to see what additional supplies are needed, taking note of new office procedures, etc.

However, there was the third and more important reason for not blogging in a week: my guakong (maternal grandfather) has been confined at Cardinal Santos since last Thursday. Over a month ago, he had an accident while traveling with friends in China, and he sustained some very nasty injuries, including an ugly bump on the head. CT scans of his head showed no internal bleeding, and after his bruises healed, we thought he was ok. Then last week he started getting disoriented, and his feet were swollen, so he couldn't walk. An MRI showed that he had a blood clot in his brain. Luckily, the neurosurgeon my parents found was a man of action (and not one to mince his words-- reminds us of House, actually), and he scheduled Guakong for surgery immediately.

The night Guakong was checked into the hospital, we had a mini-crisis of sorts. We needed type O platelets for the surgery the following morning, and Cardinal was all out of type O, and so were other major hospitals in the metropolis. Apparently, donating platelets is more complicated than whole blood, because they use a bigger needle, it takes 2-3 hours to extract the platelets, and their shelf life is shorter (hence, no ready stock). One by one, possible type O donors in the family were eliminated: my cousin Amuy for having high white blood cell count; me for having small veins (who would have thought anything about me could be small??); my brother for having had 3 glasses of beer for dinner; my dad for taking cholesterol medication; my cousin Kev for having low hemoglobin; my uncle for having had Hepatitis B. Finally, past 1AM, I managed to get hold of my cousin Norman, and he qualified for the platelet donation. After the procedure, they rushed his platelets to St. Lukes for radiation (a precaution taken when the donor's a blood relatives), and they got back just in time for Guakong's surgery.

After the surgery to remove the clot in his brain, Guakong was kept in the ICU for 2 days for observation, and now he's in a regular room resting. His vision is still blurry, his sodium levels are low, and he has coughing fits from time to time, but otherwise he's showing encouraging signs of recovery. A sure sign that he's getting better: tonight when we went to visit him, he was telling everyone to go home because it was late. I had just arrived barely 2 minutes, and he turned to me and said in Chinese, "Ailee, you go home too." I laughed and replied, "But I just got here!" That's Guakong for you, always in a rush, to the extent of rushing others around him (Ma and I got that from him).
I was actually glad that he was shooing me out, and showing some of his old impatience, and that he recognized me. I don't think I've ever been so relieved to hear someone say my name.

The doctor says he might be able to discharge Guakong by Friday. We all know that he will never fully regain his strength (before the accident, he was such a vital 82-year-old), and perhaps his mental faculties as well (armed with an abacus, the man could outdo anyone with a calculator). He'll probably need constant care from now on, and he definitely won't be traveling alone anymore, even on his frequent trips to Ongpin. He may not be able to walk for the next month or so, he may not be able to play solitaire with his trademark deck of Bicycle cards. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that he'll be back to being the same impatient, stubborn, proud man we all know and love.

Get well soon, Guakong.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The dramatic, the demented, The Departed

I can’t quite decide whether I liked The Departed, Martin Scorsese’s latest contribution to that great cinematic sub-genre, mobster movies. But I can safely say that the best part about it, obviously, was the stellar cast who delivered gritty, manly-without-being-too-macho performances. Foremost among them, naturally, was my darling Matt Damon, whom Jo accurately dubbed “the thinking woman’s man”. Matt (who could stand to teach bosom buddy Ben the art of not overacting) was a steady, strong presence onscreen as devious double-agent Colin Sullivan, showing encouraging signs of maturing gracefully as a thespian (I see a future DeNiro here). Along with Mark Wahlberg (hafta hand it to the guy, he still managed to look hunky despite a very bad hairpiece), the 2 native Bostonians took perceptible pleasure in emphasizing their “ahs” throughout the movie, lending The Depahted some authentic local flavor. I thought Wahlberg had some of the best lines in the sharp, almost-staccato-paced script— unabashedly crass, in-your-face cop talk. You gotta love a guy with a filthy mouth who makes cussing sound cool.

Meanwhile, Leo DiCaprio, of whom I have never been a big fan, seems to have shed his teenybopper Titanic image for good, and as beleaguered, struggling-to-keep-sane undercover cop Billy Costigan, he convinced me that there’s hope for pretty pin-up boys after all (but he still sucks with accents— aside from his lapsing Bostonian drawl, there was a preview of his movie with Jennifer Connelly, The Blood Diamond, and he was speaking in a ghastly brogue that seemed to be a muddled mix of Australian, British and South African). As expected, veterans Alec Baldwin and Martin Sheen were both ideal supporting players, subtle yet commanding— not overshadowing the leading men, but not blending unnoticed into the background either.

At this point, you might be going, “Hey, what about Jack Nicholson?” Well, dear reader, I deliberately left him for last, because he is actually the main reason for my ambivalence about this movie. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have as much respect and fondness for the many-time-nominated and multiple-awarded legend as any voter in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, but in The Departed, Jack was just way too… Jack. If the film had been a Lakers game (appropriate metaphor, given that it’s Laker loyalist Jack we’re talking about), he would have been a grandstanding, ball-hogging Kobe Bryant. This was a perfect case of the actor being bigger than the film. The New York Times’ review of The Departed put it well: “This Janus-like actor has long presented two faces for the camera, the jester called Jack and the actor named Nicholson. He has worn both faces for some of his famous roles, but over time he has grown fond of the outsize persona called Jack, with his shades and master-of-ceremonies sneer, and it’s hard not to think that the man has become his mask.” To his credit, Jack kept his larger-than-life persona under control during the early parts of the movie. But after letting it seethe and percolate at the start, toward the middle of the movie, he threw the lid off and it just boiled over. His mob boss Frank Costello was slick, slimy, sinister... and a wee bit mentally deranged (in one scene he squishes a fly and licks it from his fingers, eww). This wild performance was disturbingly similar to two other Nicholson roles memorable for their madness: the Joker from Batman, and Jack Torrance from The Shining.

Jack’s over-the-top antics were so distracting that I almost didn’t mind the convoluted plot of the film. I think it might actually have been more entertaining had Scorsese not attempted to make it so… deep. I have a suspicion the Hong Kong action thriller Infernal Affairs, on which The Departed was based, might be more entertaining, if only because it might be more coherent in its simplicity: that is, no attempts to present the characters’ duplicity in an intellectual, if not philosophical, light. It just struck me as pretentious at some point, possibly during one of the consultation sessions between Billy and the police psychiatrist, where Leo gets to flex some acting muscles by acting all tortured and tragic. Maybe it’s just me, but being scared shitless doesn’t make one a Shakespearean hero in my book. It didn’t help that the shrink happened to be Colin’s girl, and Billy eventually boinks her as well— apparently that’s supposed to show the connection between the sides of good and evil. If you ask me, it was simply a far-fetched plot twist.

The Departed is no Donnie Brasco (1997 Pacino and Depp starrer), which was a mafia movie that succeeded in depicting a more difficult and plausible ethical dilemma an undercover agent faces. I was looking for the same emotional depth in The Departed, but all I got was a mostly well-acted but hollow imitation of a Hong Kong action flick. I was hoping for more, and got less— or was it too much? blast you, Jack— than what I was expecting.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Truth, justice, and the Filipino way

The past few weeks, much has been said but little has been done about the nursing licensure exam scandal. It's been quite a while since the leakage of answers to certain portions of the test was uncovered, but several protest rallies, dozens of debates and hundreds of news pieces later, we still have thousands of unlicensed nurses whose fate remains in question. The Arroyo administration has flip-flopped so many times on the issue, they're giving Havaianas a bad name. "There will be no retake of the nursing board exam. No way, no how. Oh, hang on a sec, GMA changed her mind. There will definitely be a retake of the exam. Whoops, did we say retake? No, no, the case is still with the Court of Appeals, so we can't say anything at the moment." It's always reassuring when the government displays such firm, decisive resolve.

I've been following the news on the nursing board exam with more than my usual interest in current events (more so than the knee-jerk overreaction to the whole billboards brouhaha, which I find tiresome). It's always a gas to see our country's leaders' pathetic attempts at dealing with cheating, when we live in a culture that not only condones, but often rewards dishonesty and unscrupulous practices. It's like watching someone bailing water out of a sinking boat with a sieve. Personally, I believe there should be a retake, if only because the arguments for NOT having one are just too ridiculous. "Why punish the ones who took the test in the Visayas and Mindanao? Surely there was no way the leakage reached them!" Oh yeah, of course not. There are, after all, no such things as cell phones that could reach that one nursing student in Cebu whose boyfriend just happens to have a cousin who took nursing board exam review classes in Baguio. Inconceivable!

There is no foolproof way of ascertaining that the leak was contained to a minority of the test-takers. And even if the leak had reached only a handful of nurse hopefuls, the results of the entire exam are already tainted, and hence, invalidated-- including the results reached without the advantage of leaked test items. That is one hard-to-accept but necessary consequence of cheating: even if only a few commit it, the rest have to pay for it as well. Both the guilty and the innocent are punished... and that doubles (or in this case, magnifies by the thousand) the guilt of the cheaters. I truly feel sorry for those who did study their asses off to pass the exam, but I also wish some of them who are refusing to retake the exam would just quit whining already. Yes, you were not privvy to the items leaked. Yes, you really did technically pass the exam on your own merits. Yes, it's unfair. But it would be even more unfair NOT to have retake, to let some undeserving bum get away with cheating and obtain his nursing license (read: one-way ticket to the US of A). Your chances of getting hired by a hospital in the US are shot anyway, if there's no retake. So curse the cheaters all you want, but just retake the damn exam, not only because it's for your own welfare, but because it's the right thing to do. It's the just thing to do.

Justice is not always fair. We always confuse justice with fairness, or worse, mercy (that's like saying love and romance are one and the same). We Filipinos are soft-hearted shmucks by nature, so whenever someone screws up, forgiveness is always expected. The philandering husband. The corrupt politician. The tax-evading celebrity. The doping athlete. We grow up in an environment where cheating is punished by nothing more than a slap on the wrist, glossed over by the most lame excuses: "it was a moment of weakness" or "he didn't know better" or "she was merely coerced" or "there were mitigating circumstances" (the latter being my personal favorite).
We're so used to pardoning liars and cheats, we tend to turn a blind eye to all other acts of questionable morals or ethics. It's like, we might as well skip the trouble of conducting a thorough investigation and subjecting the suspect to public scrutiny and/or censure. What's the point, if we all know he's going to get off the hook anyway?

Thus, you don't hear much about the NBI's ongoing hunt for the source of the nursing exam leak, or the UAAP digging for the people behind the fake academic papers of the 2 LaSalle basketball players, or the government exerting any effort to discover the real identity of either Jose Velarde or Jose Pidal (the fact that it took you a couple of seconds to recognize those names proves my point), or a renewed attempt to get to the bottom of those accursed "Hello, Garci" tapes. After the initial furor has died down, and given a conveniently distracting side issue (retake the exam!) or a development masquerading as a solution (DLSU suspended for one year! Erap impeached! GMA apologized!) it doesn't matter anymore who the mastermind was, which accomplices were involved, and how the devious plan was carried out (you get more concrete conclusions from a game of Clue-- "It was Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the candlestick!"). We Filipinos are not interested in pinning blame, or assigning responsibility to the guilty parties, much less punishing them for it. Maybe it's because we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, or we're just pacifists by nature, or we don't want to inconvenience anyone. Or maybe we're just too lazy and apathetic to give a shit. Or maybe we've been burned one too many times before. Maybe we're just tired, and jaded.

The truth may set us free, but tragically, we seem to prefer captivity in ignorance and deception.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Love at first sight

Meet the latest object of my affection, the Coach Legacy Stripe Top Handle Pouch.
As soon as I laid eyes on this baby's picture in the Coach website, I was smitten. I instantly put it on the top of my Christmas wish list... and then I found out that Santa's coming to town early. Actually, it's my mom's high school classmate Auntie Cita, who will be flying in from L.A. this month. My mom emailed her that I was lusting after a certain Coach bag, and she asked her to buy it for me. So before October's over, I will be holding the new love of my life in my arms. =D

Who needs a man when I can have a Coach? ;p

Monday, October 02, 2006


Ok, so I need to get this out of my system so that I can move on with my life.

Ateneo lost to UST in a heart-stopping (at one point in the 4th quarter, I was seriously scared my MVP would act up again), closely contested match that went into overtime. It was a heartbreaker of a loss for Ateneo, who came so close to claiming the championship that everyone thought would be theirs from the very start. But I have to hand it to UST, who played a terrific game and proved that a combination of raw talent and hunger can work wonders. My hat also goes off to Coach Pido Jarencio, who (as some very reliable inside sources tell me) motivated his players and molded them from a fumbling team of inexperienced ballers into a resilient group of hardcourt warriors.

However, I am Atenean, and this blog post is dedicated to our boys in blue, who fought the good fight and gave us much to Halikinu about this season. Our loss to UST only hurts so much because of how much heart and fire we saw the Eagles pour into all their games this year. Right down to the very end, our team gave it their all, and there was no shame whatsoever in our defeat. I got misty-eyed as the Ateneo crowd gave Intal, Escalona and Kramer a rousing ovation after the match. For those 3, who just played their last year with Ateneo, this loss is all the more painful. But they can hold their heads high because without them, we wouldn't have even gotten as far as we did. I am especially grateful for JC, who truly was our King Eagle this year. I really hope he is picked first in the PBA draft next year-- the kid has mad skills. Though it was Macky who stepped up (sorry Jo, haha) in Game 3 with a whopping 28 points, JC was the guy who carried us throughout the entire season. Much love and gratitude goes out to him from the Ateneo community, and we'll be sure to miss his presence on the court next year.

So to all our boys on the team, many thanks for a most memorable season. And again, congratulations to UST for a well-deserved win.

Before I wrap this up, I want to send shoutouts to my Upper A posse: Rach, Den, Shereen, Des, Margaux and of course, Fara-- the people I watched this year's Semis and Finals games with, my fellow maniacs who arrived hours ahead of game time to grab good seats (or in Fara's case, sent her maltreated maids to Araneta at 5 in the morning to line up for tix ;p). They were my devoted ducklings who patiently put up with and efficiently carried out my complicated ticket-switching logistics, my hyperactive seatmates who wouldn't quit yelling "GET THAT BALL!" or "FIGHT!" even when we were trailing (and who were nice enough never to wince whenever I sang the school hymn out of tune, haha). You guys made this season extra-enjoyable. And you're 6 damn good reasons I'm proud to be Atenean, win or lose.

Until next year, ball fans. Go Ateneo, One Big Fight!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I blame Milenyo for...

...postponing the blessing of our new office building to Saturday. Talk about bad timing. Not only did we not get to move on time, all our office transactions have been severely set back the past 3 days because of the havoc wreaked by the storm. Read on for more.

...making Thursday one of the worst business days in the history of our operations. Several of our stores had to close early, 2 didn't even open at all, and it actually flooded inside SM Lipa, destroying a lot of our stocks.

...cutting electric power in practically the whole metropolis. (But I blame Meralco for the inefficient restoration of power. We only got our electicity back late Saturday.)

...depriving Greenhills of cell phone reception. We had so many pockets of "dead spots" in our house the past few days, I had to put my phone in one very specific spot beside my window to get a signal from Globe.

...felling the kalachuchi tree in front of our house, a tree that has been around ever since we moved in in 1986. (Good thing the tree didn't hit our brand new Nissan van which was parked right below it.) It has also been reported that Milenyo managed to uproot thousands of other trees around the city. Poor trees.

...toppling the Madison Square signage post in front of our village, which in turn destroyed a portion of the wall running along the entrance to North Greenhills, and blocked the way in and out of our subdivision.

...destroying our Arrow billboard along SLEX, the southbound-facing one. The structure wasn't damaged, but the whole image itself was ripped into shreds. At least the other side was spared.

...ruining my plans with Mini-me. Argh. Sorry Jen, next time you're in town, I promise, we WILL meet up (that is, unless another storm decides to visit at the same time you do :p).

...Ateneo losing to UST in Game 2 of the UAAP Finals. While this is completely irrational, I have a feeling that if Game 2 had pushed through on Thursday, we would have been crowned champions that night. Momentum was on our side, and besides, the Chinese astrological calendar says Thursday was an unlucky day for Tigers. :p Instead, we had our blue butts whupped by UST yesterday. Here's hoping we prevail in Game 3. I really, really want to attend an Ateneo championship bonfire at least once in my lifetime.