Friday, April 29, 2005

The man with two novels, and the scientist

My curiosity was piqued when Aissa posted about her baby Chase's upcoming first birthday, since it seems just like yesterday when it all happened. It made me think about how I'll soon have a high school friend who already has a one-year old, and then I remembered that another high school buddy, Karl, already had a little girl who has to be more than a year old now.

I finally did get my mind wrapped around those facts, and earlier today I tried going over entries in my, ahem, secret online journal to find out when Chase was born, thinking that maybe I had made an entry about him and his mother then.

(I didn't find an entry about them, but I was able to find through our group mailing list archive that Chase was born last June.)

Anyway, I found another interesting entry exactly a year ago from that journal:

National artist Nick Joaquin passed away earlier this morning at the age 87. Aside from his work, Nick Joaquin was also famous for his beer drinking. It just made perfect sense that before his death, his niece said, "He was drinking beer and writing."

His most enduring work was The Summer Solstice, which was later adapted into the movie Tatarin. is May Day Eve tomorrow night, perfect time to lock yourself in a room with a mirror with no light other than a single candle. If you go by Nick Joaquin's story, you'll see your future husband/wife in the mirror... if everything goes right. If something went wrong, you might end up seeing the devil or a witch instead.

Almost a year later, we hear news of the tragic death of former Phivolcs chief Raymundo Punongbayan. Paolo Manalo put it best:

For most of us who were ignorant and didn't think it was possible to be a scientist in this country, Punongbayan showed us that it was possible, and that it was worthwhile to serve the country using science.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Sad day

PCGG Chair Haydee Yorac resigned from her position yesterday. The blurb under the photo said it all:

HAYDEE YORAC was overruled by Malacañang on key issues affecting Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco’s control of San Miguel Corp., according to sources familiar with the matter. She was a Ramon Magsaysay awardee last year for recovering $684 million from Marcos Swiss deposits.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

More quick hits

-- Wired is carrying a feature on George Lucas. It focuses mostly on his directing, which is odd because Lucas hasn't directed a good film in what, 25 years?

-- I've been listening again to Franz Ferdinand almost exclusively this week. It's been a while, since I listened to them for most of last year until I was sick of them, and then I listened to The Killers until last week, when I finally got tired of those guys. I almost forgot how great their record is, from top to bottom. If The Killers were Duran Duran, Franz Ferdinand are totally the Talking Heads.

-- Paul Graham wrote his most interesting essay in a while (since he slammed Java as a language for the unwashed masses). This time he talks about PR firms and how much influence they wield. Good read.

-- Got a chance to catch the pilot of Veronica Mars last weekend, which had been given glowing reviews (and Buffy comparisons) by both Salon and Pop Matters. It was alright, I'll probably watch it again. It doesn't carry Buffy's sardonic wit, but the title character Kristin Bell is more likeable than Sarah Michelle Gellar (I think she's prettier too). She's just a little too old to be playing a teenager, which could be a problem if the series lasts more than a couple of seasons. No Xander or Willow, but her dad's played by Elliot from "Just Shoot Me".

-- Between JAm, the "Anna" Sunsilk Pantene commercial, and Jim Paredes, I've got the song Anna stuck in my head. Oh Anna, can't you tell and see, what you're doing to me? Oh Anna, this feeling I just can't hide, keeps driving me wild, oh Anna...


Tuesday, April 26, 2005


I'm a Nick Hornby fanboy. My favorite books are his novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, and the movie adaptations for each also count among my favorites. Aside from an articulate discussion of the contemporary male psyche, the novels also contained a light, humorous prose that cleverly encapsulated the underlying loneliness of his characters.

His books were about people. They were also about music, books, and other aspects of popular culture that we use to define ourselves as persons. These things are often used to mask a certain emptiness made more apparent by the glimmer of human relationships, but they also make interesting lives that would otherwise be banal. His writing is simple, funny, honest, and heart-breaking, sometimes all at the same time.

"What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"

-- High Fidelity

His last novel, How to Be Good, did not really speak to me the same way his other books did, probably because it focused on a middle-aged couple, but I did find it to be a good read. I'd been dying to read Fever Pitch, Hornby's breakthrough memoir about his passion for the football team Arsenal, but I hadn't been able to find a copy.

(It's also the same book that the Farrelly Brothers have adapted into a cheap Jimmy Fallon-Drew Barrymore movie. I mean, you've got Colin Farrell, John Cusack, Hugh Grant for all the previous Hornby adaptations, so why go with someone who looks like he gets his eyebrows waxed every weekend. Needless to say, I won't be watching this one until it's on HBO. But I digress.)

I was at Gateway on Sunday afternoon, whiling away the time, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the mall finally had a bookstore (Fully Booked, whose shelves were ironically still half-empty). I was delighted to find the (cheaper) pocketbook editions of Hornby's books available, including Fever Pitch.

So most of my Sunday afternoon was spent with a large cup of hot chocolate at Starbucks, deeply absorbed in the book. On yet another parethetical note, I wonder why I hadn't thought about this before; I've got a stack of books in my shelf still unread, and I blame the television in my room for that. As pretentious and, well, "yuppie" as it sounds, I quite enjoyed my afternoon at Starbucks with a book. I should do it more often.

But back to the book. I've read quite a few sports books, but this has to be the best, if only for its candor and its passion. Hornby *gets* it. For a guy who plans his weekends around Purefoods basketball games and who got into a number of fights with an ex-girlfriend over browsing too much, well, the book's impossible not to like.

I'm only halfway through the book, so I figured I'll try not to write too much about it yet until I finish it. But there's a passage I particularly like early in the book, where Hornby discusses male stereotypes, and how, in his experience, females have a harder time wrapping their heads around the fact that these stereotypes are quite untrue.

He cites one time when a female colleague of his couldn't believe the fact that he was into football, simply because they once had a discussion about a feminist novel they both liked. In fact, society in general tend to overgeneralize masculinity.

You like football? Then you also like soul music, beer, thumping people, grabbing ladies' breast, and money. You're a rugby and cricket man? You like Dire Straits and Mozart, wine, pinching ladies' bottoms, and money.


It's easy to forget that we can pick and choose. Theoretically, it is possible to like football, soul music, and beer, for example, and abhor breast-grabbing and bottom-pinching (or, one has to concede, vice-versa).

He goes on to point out that we can pick and choose, and that men are generally less aware of this fact than women are. It's a very good point. I like basketball, but I don't like Hollywood action films. I like reading Conrado de Quiros, and I like Joey Marquez movies. I listen to The Killers and Kylie Minogue. I mix and match.

Anyway, I came in to work earlier, verses of Hornby in my head, and was pleasantly surprised to find tha the Guardian books section published a feature on Hornby this weekend, as well as an extract from his latest novel, a novel about four suicidal depressives written in a jolly tone.

I like it already.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Go Suns!

The NBA playoffs are starting Sunday morning here in Manila, and like a lot of other basketball fans, I'm rooting for the Suns to win it all. There's just so many reasons to like this team, aside from the obvious fact that they're the best offensive team in the league. They play a style straight out of the '80s, they have a likeable bunch of players, they're very unselfish on the court, they hustle and play hard, and their 12th man has the coolest blog in all of sports.

Also, their leader, Steve Nash, has been my favorite player in the NBA for the last five years, way before he emerged as the most unlikely MVP candidate in NBA history this season. Before this season, I was rooting for him in Dallas, where he made a mark for himself as the engine of the Mavs' offense.

But even though he's a whirling dervish on the court which makes him really fun to watch, I became a fan because, well, he's cool.

He looks like a rock star, and listens to Radiohead and Coldplay. He's was born in South Africa and grew up in Canada. He comes from a soccer-playing family, which was his first sport before basketball. He reads Marx and Dostoevsky during road trips. And a couple of years ago, he was the most prominent athlete to speak out against the war in Iraq, wearing a protest shirt during the NBA All-Star Game. "I'm not embarrassed by America. I'm embarrassed by humanity. More than embarrassed, I think it's really unfortunate in the year 2003 that we're still using violence as a means of conflict resolution. That's what I'm speaking out against."

And he's a hell of a basketball player too. How could you not be a fan?

Heaven must be missing an angel

Happy birthday Angel!

Uhm, this Angel. We were asked to do a microsite for her in time for her birthday, which was why I was at a taping last week to take pictures. Because of all the delays with the process, we ended up putting up the website only today, on her actual birthday :p

Ayun, happy birthday ulit Angel!


Friday, April 22, 2005


Recently, Bill Simmons wrote about Vince Carter's extraordinary screwjob on the city of Toronto during the season. For the uninitiated, Carter was dogging it early in the season, basically not trying, which forced the Raptors to trade him to the Nets for a bag of donuts.

Anyway, once traded to the Nets, he started playing like the Vinsanity of old, only because he was now *trying*. And then Carter returned to Toronto and dropped 39 on the Raps, just to twist the knife a little bit more.

The whole thing got a lot of funny email from Toronto fans, including this gem:

Now that he is gone, he is like the ex girlfriend you thought you were going to marry, you can curse his name and rip up his posters, but deep down you can't ever hate him, but it's also physically impossible for you to see him happy with anyone else. All you want to do is pretend that he doesn't exist and move on with your life. It is too emotional to wake up everyday and realize that we're not together anymore and that there's nothing we can do to get him back.

All we want is a clean break, we don't want to hear about vinsanity and we don't want to see vinsanity, no law suits to drag it out more then it already is, just give me back that empty void and stop tearing my heart out. Maybe, just maybe we could meet up in a few years, when the wounds aren't so fresh. We can do it in the spring when the flowers are blooming and maybe just maybe we will have truly met the one and we can reminisce of the past and what once was. Until then stay the eff off my morning loop.

PS: Seeing him torch toronto for 39 was like watching your ex make out with that sleazy dude at the bar, just knowing he was gonna go home and take care of business with her.

Hehe, bitter. Parang si Jem.

More pope

Just following up on a previous entry, here's an interesting post by Vince about the reaction of feminists in the country to something the new pope last year regarding the role of women in the Church, a pastoral letter that was widely criticized for promoting narrow-minded thinking for Catholics regarding issues vital to women.

The Cardinal wrote of feminism that “strengthens the idea that the liberation of women entails criticism of Sacred Scripture, which would be seen as handling on a patriarchal conception of God nourished by an essentially male-dominated culture. Second, this tendency would consider as lacking in importance and relevance the fact that the Son of God assumed human nature in its male form.”

This is the most startling part of his letter to the Catholic bishops. Feminists criticize not Scripture, but some of its patriarchal interpretations that exclude women from the promise of fully human life in our male-dominated societies. feminist debates the fact the Jesus was born a man. Instead, we Catholic feminists cherish Jesus Christ as a feminist man and a sign of the feminine principle in God.

In less serious matters, The Onion is running a Pope tribute issue this week. Be sure to check out the slideshow featuring his greatest moments. All of it's good, and this one's my favorite, but don't laugh out too loud... you might go to hell.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Quick Hits

Some random stuff:

-- This Sunday will be the start of the PBA National Team's first pocket tournament. I know we've been making plans for yet another get-together this weekend, so why don't we watch it? At least it's a team we could all get behind. The team has been divided into two and will play an Iranian team and a young Italian team (which they say has a 7-3 center). The game is at Araneta (the upper B and general admission sections are free to the public, but those are terrible seats), and we could even have a nice dinner at Gateway after. What do guys think? Nood tayo!

-- The Darna episode that aired last night, as well as the one that would air tomorrow night, was the episode they were shooting when we came in for a visit.

-- Has anyone else been watching Pinoy Abroad? It's such a great show, reminds me of those documentaries on Probe about Filipinos living abroad, usually by Cheche Lazaro and Howie Severino. I can't believe ABS-CBN didn't come up with this kind of show first; after all, they've had stations in Filipino communities abroad for the longest time. Also, the show uses that Metropop-winning song by Bayang Barrios for the theme. Sa alaala ng ngiti mo, lumiliwanag ang mundo... Malayo man, malapit din ako... Malayo man, malapit din sa 'yo.

-- Tomorrow's episode of Magpakailanman features the gorgeous Ryza Cenon in the Manilyn Reynes story. Hahahaha! Sayang na sayang lang, ang pag-ibig mo, laan pa naman ang puso ko sa 'yo... I'd be very surprised if the show didn't get a monster rating.


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

All Pope, all the time

I was still here at the office last night when news broke that a new pope had been chosen. Since I was already here, I ended up with the task to produce the story on the website, and by 1:00 AM last night we had already broken the story.

It was pretty cool, witnessing history like that, but I have to admit, I was pretty disappointed with the choice when it was first announced. I was hoping the College of Cardinals would elect someone more progressive, but they went the other way.

I would like to think that this decision wouldn't affect me, but I couldn't help but be affected by it. As Father Robert Reyes said, "The Catholic church should be a vehicle for social change in a way that it failed to be under Pope John Paul... I believe Catholicism and liberal and progressive ideas can come together."

Of course, some people point out that Cardinal Ratzenberger wasn't as inflexible as his public image seemed.

We'll see. Chances are there won't be a miracle and all we'll get is more of the same. Tough luck for a country full of people who go to church every week, praying for some sort of miracle in their lives.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Memories from dinner the other night

Had a blast at Rico's graduation bash last Saturday. Great to see familiar faces from the batch, this time under much happier circumstances. Some photos...

I've noticed that lately whenever Jam, Leks, and I go out to drink, we always end up talking about girls. It's not because we have colorful lovelives, but because we probably get drunk a lot faster now.

Jonas also likes to talk to us about girls, but not because he gets drunk fast. Atat lang siya talagang mag-share.

Frank and Ria. Don't they look like a couple having secret plans of getting married soon?

Po tells Torveks and Leks a story, and while waiting for the point of the story, they decide to strike up a pose. The point never comes. Yun na yun.

Nikki and Aidz share some laughs with Raul Roco.

Batch reunion special.

Patrick and Jopex, bored kasi wala raw tsiks sa party ni Rico. Hehehe.

Oliver. Pa-cute.

Draw your own conclusions, part 5.

Angel and me, just because I was the one taking all the photos that night and I wanted to put a photo with me in it on this post.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Gusto kong matutuong mag-drive

Last night, Alekos and I were talking about this girl we both kinda liked, and talk turned to the guy this girl kinda liked. We both (bitterly) agreed that there was nothing special about the guy, except that he had his own car. "Kotse lang naman lamang niya sa atin eh."

And then Alekos pointed out that in our circle of friends, everyone who has a girlfriend had one thing in common -- they all had cars.

I thought about it the whole time, and realized he was right. And I figured, this was just one of those crazy coincidences. It must be, right?

Anyway, a couple of hours earlier, Alekos and I had this exchange over IM:

Me: "Coincidence lang yun."

Alekos: "Oo nga."

Me: "So, magkano na ba yung kotse ngayon?"

Alekos: "Ewan ko, bukas pa ako magtatanong eh."

Friday, April 15, 2005

Date with an angel

Was at the Darna taping earlier to take some photos and get some soundbites for various features, including Angel's upcoming birthday. She was so pretty even in her Narda clothes, and she was so nice too.

Best of all, she actually remembered me from our previous interview. I never did tell her my name the last time (I just said I was from the website), so before we started she reached out for a handshake and said, "Hi, I'm Angel, I've met you before but I didn't get your name. You are?"

Wala na, natupad na yung mga pangarap ko. Pwede na akong mag-resign, hehehe.


Tuesday, April 12, 2005


We just got hold of Melanie Marquez's celebrity profile for the website (in line with her new show), and here's my favorite part (I swear I'm not making this up):

Favorite Book: Bible (King James version)
Favorite Author: King James


Monday, April 11, 2005

It was only a kiss, how did it end up like this? It was only a kiss (it was only a kiss)

Hey guys, what's up? Had a bum weekend. I just discovered this girl I'd been dating, the one I met in AP Physics class, is actually the bastard daughter of the father of my surrogate mother's son. What a coincidence, huh? And I thought things couldn't get any weirder after coming back from doing construction work in Chino to be with my ex-girlfriend whom I knocked up at the end of spring.

Apparently, they gave me a personality transplant over the summer, because now I'm zinging out one-liners like I'm Chandler Bing, after I groaned and grunted my way through all of last year.

Speaking of last year, things have been getting worse for my other ex-girlfriend. Even I'm beginning to see that she doesn't have any redeeming value whatsoever except for her nice rack. All summer she'd been getting drunk, fucking the gardener, and doing her best Kelly Taylor impersonation at every party. Next thing you know, she's turning into a lesbian. I'm glad I don't have to deal with her shit anymore.

Oh and my surrogate parents' nerdy son? Yes, I've seen the way he looks at me, and yes, it's been creeping me out. And yet, he's hooked up with the two hottest chicks I've seen in my life. Beats me.

Anyway, he spent the early part of the school year trying to win back his ex-girlfriend, only to realize that even though she's still totally into him, she doesn't want to take him back because her new boyfriend is so much like him, so he hooked up with this really really really hot chick who's into girl-on-girl action and owns The Bait Shop. It's our new hangout, the best bar in all of America. Imagine, bands like The Killers and Modest Mouse play there every week, and yet it's never full, no one cards you at the door, and you never have to shout at the top of your lungs to carry on a conversation.

Oh wait a minute, that wasn't my life. I've been watching nothing but The OC all weekend, after I discovered last Saturday that someone had the episodes from season 2 here at the office. I could write 3,000 more words on the topic (none of which would make me not look gay), so I guess I'll just say this: Chrismukkah came early for me this year.

Friday, April 08, 2005


After spending most of last week working on the Darna microsite, doing the backend programming, slicing the images, proofreading the articles, and even writing an episode guide for the pilot. I'm glad we've let up on the updates this week; if I had to go through that for another couple of weeks, I swear I'd end up naming my daughter Narda.

As for the show itself, I'm proud to say I'm enjoying it very much. It has a bit to do with the fact that I work for the company that produces the show, but I'd like to think it goes beyond that. After all, I'm also planning to watch ABS-CBN's Panday when it premieres, and I'm excited about that show, too.

I wanted so much to like Darna because of what it represents; I feel like it's my last chance to be a fan, to be completely hooked on something homegrown. I grew up with fond memories of many of our local shows, and I'm a big fan of our own popular culture, but there hasn't been too many bright spots as I've grown older. Maybe Darna would be that show that takes me back.

Judging from the first few episodes, it just might be that show. Sure, there are parts I could do withou (like the crying, crying, crying), but you figure the creators of the show have to throw a bone to the masses (or at least, to their bosses who figure that everything "masa" is dumb). But the graphics are good, the framing of the story arcs is solid, and of course, Angel Locsin as Darna is the ultimate trump card. She isn't just playing Darna; she *is* Darna.

Lots of people agree with me. Here at the office, a bunch of people stop whatever they're doing at 8:45 PM just to gather round the big TV to watch the night's latest episode. Those who miss it for some reason (like when we go to basketball practice) watch the digital capture later the same night.

The people apparently agree, too. The Darna pilot got a 47.1 rating, which is sensational considering the Mulawin finale only got about 46. The second episode drew a 50.3, which is crazy, because everyone was expecting interest to taper off after the pilot. After a bit of drop-off (49.4) on Wednesday, Darna "rebounded" with a monster 52.1 on Thursday night. The opposing show "Hiram" only got a 17, a third of Darna's rating.

I guess everyone wanted to see Angel swallow the mystic "puting bato" for the first time. Can't say I blame them; I got chills when I watched her first transformation. It was that good.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to finish work, because Darna will be starting soon.

Update About thirty minutes after writing this post, they decided to air the worst Darna episode so far. Terrible effects, like in Mulawin, plus nothing really substantial happened. Just a disappointing night over all. So am I still watching this Monday? Absolutely!


Thursday, April 07, 2005

Don't you remember you told me you love me baby? You said you'd be back again this way, oh baby... Baby, baby, baby, baby oooh baby

Overheard from the Saksi news telecast over dinner a couple of hours ago:

"NBI at PNP, magkasalungat ang pananaw tungkol sa kaso ni Superstar Nora Aunor sa Amerika dahil sa drug possession. Handa raw ang NBI na tumulong sa mga otoridad sa Amerika sa pagsulong ng kaso, habang ang PNP, hands-off ang policy tungkol dito."

I was waiting for the part where the newsreader would go:

"Napag-alamang ang PNP Chief na si Arturo Lomibao ay isang solid Noranian, habang si NBI Director Reynaldo Wycoco ay pawang tagahanga ng kaisa-isang Star for All Seasons, si Ms. Vilma Santos."


Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Everybody's a comedian

I actually posted this yesterday, but because Blogger sucks, I ended up losing the post. AJAX (and DHTML, for that matter) is great and all, but it doesn't degrade gracefully. And unlike, say, a plain HTML text field, you can't just go back after the post interface if you post and blogger vomits up an error -- your entry is lost forever.

(I hope blogger makes a plain text field option available for the posting interface. Like I said, as great as AJAX is, I've reverted to using plain old HTML for my Gmail interface -- it just plain works.)

Anyway, last Saturday, Leks, Frank, Jonas, Rico, and I met up with JAm at Gateway to celebrate JAm's birthday. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun.

You know that old saying, Everybody's a comedian? I don't know if this is true for any other group of friends, but when my friends and I meet up, it's like there's a competition between everyone to come up with the funniest lines during the conversation. As in, wala nang matinong usapan, puro joke na lang. It's virtually Comedy Def Jam out there. I enjoy it a lot, because my friends really do have funny jokes.

(Except for Jonas, who has nothing but corny jokes. But at least he makes us laugh with the serious things he says, like last Saturday, when he asked me in all seriousness, "Pare, alam mo ba kung saan umuuwi si Angel Locsin?")

The line of the night came from Alekos, while we were all talking about this girl JAm has been dating. "Labas kayo nang labas, pa-dinner-dinner, pa-sine-sine, wala namang nangyayari, hindi naman nagiging kayo. Para kang ako eh.."

Hehehe. Para kayong ako eh.


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