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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.


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Friday, October 31, 2003

Horror Story #4



For our Guards or Drag Halloween costume party tonight, M. insists I go as Marilyn Monroe.





I'm going to die.

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Horror Story #3



Marian Ty Lim calls me up today.

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Horror Story #2



Excerpted news item:



Writing and Ricky Lee

Posted:11:43 PM (Manila Time) | Oct. 25, 2003

By Jo-Ann Q. Maglipon

Philippine Daily Inquirer News Service



... The big difference this year is that Ricky is collaborating with ABS-CBN, the station with which he is under contract as creative manager.



That means ABS-CBN is picking up the bill. The amount, say reliable sources, reaches a very generous one million pesos.



"They didn't tell me what their budget is, but already I am so grateful to ABS, kina Charo [Santos-Concio], Cory Vidanes], at Malou [Santos]. They are giving writers the respect that's always been given sa mga artista. ABS has always been open to training and employing new writers, but this year it's on a grand scale. Nagi-invest sila nang pangmatagalan sa writers."







Testimonial from writer Beverly Siy:



Gusto ko lang pong ikuwento ang kaaya-aya kong karanasan nang mag-apply akong writer sa kapita-pitagang TV network na ABS-CBN.



Last year, may umikot na text na nangangailangan ng writers ang ABS-CBN. Pagdating ko sa venue, mga 10 am, may mga 30 applicants ang naabutan ko. Marami na raw ang nainterview at nasabihang, "Tatawagan na lang." Ibig sabihin, sowi, u didn't make it! May nakita pa akong kaklase ko na isang magaling na fictionist. Habang naghihintay kaming ma-interview, nagkakuwentuhan ang mga aplikante. Nakakatawa dahil may mga 1st year college students na nag-aapply din. Mga taga-UP Diliman. Iba-iba ang background ng mga aplikante pero iisa lang ang hanap: trabaho.



Na-interview kami bago maglunch time. Ang tanong sa akin, "familiar ka ba sa mga soap opera namin?" Ang sagot ko, "medyo lang," dahil wala kaming TV noon sa bahay pero may nabasa akong undergrad thesis tungkol sa isang soap opera ng ABS CBN at binanggit ko ito. Dinagdag ko ring nakapagsulat na ako ng isang script na pampelikula. Nagname drop pa ako. Sabi ko, si ganito po ang prof ko sa scriptwriting. pinakuwento ito sa akin. Sa awa siguro ni Mother Ignacia, pinabalik ako ng 2pm. Mga sampu din kaming pinabalik (yes, nakapasok ang dalawang 1st year college student dahil ikinuwento raw nila ang paborito nilang soap opera sa nag-iinterview). At pinakilala kami sa dati nang nagc-CDG sa kanila. Anong CDG? Concept Development Group. Hinati kami sa 3 grupo at pinagawa ng storyline ng soap opera para sa tambalang Kristine Hermosa at Jericho Rosales. Mula 2pm hanggang 630pm, nagkuwentuhan, nag-isip, nag-away, nagkaisa ang bawat miyembro ng grupo. Masaya ako dahil buo ang storyline namin. May opening scene pa nga na napaka-cinematic. tinawag na kami nung taga-ABS CBN at ikinulong kaming lahat sa isang kuwarto para ikuwento ang storyline ng bawat grupo. Walang naaprubahan. lahat, may butas, hindi maganda etc. Pero inutusan pa rin ang bawat grupo na magproduce ng hard copy ng storyline. At ok na raw. Maghintay na lang daw kami ng text nila. Awang awa ako sa sarili ko dahil kinain na ng malalaki kong bituka ang maliliit kong bituka paglabas ko ng ABS-CBN mag-aalas nuwebe ng gabi. Ni hindi man lang sila nagserve ng tubig. Noong nagmeet ang tatlong grupo, may naglabas ng iisang piraso ng chichirya. Sorry daw at yun lang ang naibigay nila. Sa isip ko, ok lang. Ganito talaga ang naghahanap ng trabaho.



Kinabukasan, nakatanggap naman ako ng text at pinababalik nga ako. Nagbaon na ako ng biskwit at kendi at tubig. Pagdating doon, mas konti na lang kaming mga aplikante at yung mga dati nang nagc-CDG. Hinati ulit kami sa dalawang grupo at pinagawa ng storyline para sa soap opera nina Robin Padilla at Judy Ann Santos. Nagkanya-kanya ang bawat grupo nang ilang oras pagkatapos ay nagkita-kita ulit para ikuwento ang nabuong storyline.Inutusan din kaming magbigay ng hard copy. Ba-bye na ulit! Awang awa ako sa mga hindi nagdala ng biskwit at kendi at tubig dahil maghapong wala na namang laman ang tiyan nila. Sabi nung taga-ABS CBN, "ite-text ko na lang kayo." I thank you. After a few days, nakakuha ulit ako ang text message, ang sabi ay kailangan daw nila ng writer para sa show ni Ms. Tessie Tomas. Ha? E, anong nangyari sa mga storyline ng soap opera? nabayaran ba yung mga nagCDG? Kami kayang mga aplikante, baka may nabayaran kahit isa sa amin?



Paglipas ng ilang araw,sa Philcoa, nakasalubong ko ang isang lalaki na nakilala ko sa CDG ng ABS-CBN. Tanong ko, binabayaran ba kayo? Madalas daw ay hindi. Kung tuloy-tuloy lang daw ang attend ng CDG at nagkataong magustuhan ng headwriter ang isa sa mga ideya mo, saka ka lang bibigyan ng pagkakataon na makapagsulat. Pero kung palpak, sorry na lang. Grabe pala ang puhunan doon ano? Pawis at utak at katakot-takot na panahon. Magugutom ka talaga kung yun lang ang aasahan mo. Isa ring fellow applicant ang nakita ko sa campus. kamusta, kako. Sagot niya, "Di na ako bumalik kahit pa tinext nila ako. sayang lang ang oras ko doon. Niloloko lang nila tayo. kinuha lang nila ang idea natin tapos itinaboy na parang askal."



Hindi ko napanood ang unang episode ng bagong soap opera nina Kristine at Jericho. Nainis kasi ako sa channel 2. parang walang respeto sa mga manunulat. Sabi ng kaibigan kong fictionist na isa sa mga nakarinig ng storyline ng aming grupo, kahawig daw ng opening scene namin, ang opening scene ng bagong soap opera. Hay, buhay.

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Horror Story #1



Blood Dripping on Your VCR



SOMETIMES, in the middle of the night, I’d wake up with a muted scream, convinced—in the nether world of half-sleep—that the bed was shaking. Shaking, with a malevolent force that I do not really understand except that it forces me to switch on my bedside lamp to doze through the rest of the night blanketed under the comfort of light. I swear by the monsters of dreams. They come out of hiding, too, at the eve of each November—a celebration of the spectral. Hallow’s Eve.



There are still bogeymen in my closet, and under my bed, there are infestations of demons.



That I love horror movies may be another matter altogether, but therein may lie the source of my fervent imaginations. Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead was an early childhood favorite—right up there with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (a horror movie that makes your spine tingle just by watching a kid ride a bike through the hallways of an empty hotel), John Carpenter’s Halloween, Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby, and William Friedkin’s The Exorcist—the latter of which features a possessed girl with a rotating head, green vomit, and, of course, a shaking bed.



Noted film analyst Edward Behr once said that our favorite films were our unlived lives unfolding in a magic mirror. “Films have the authority of our dreams,” he wrote—and in my case, they also have a hold on my nightmares.



I remember my first movie. I was a child watching The Swarm with my brother in a small Bayawan movie theater. What I remember most was this: the scene of a swarm of ravenous bees going for the kill, they actually toppled over a trainload of people. The horror was inexplicable—and fascinating. It is the same feeling one gets cringing over the opening sequence of Wes Craven’s Scream. Drew Barrymore made horror almost look sexy.



What is the fascination? Adrenaline. Nothing excites more than the rush of adrenaline at the sight of a bloodied knife, or a decaying corpse, or a malevolent spirit. The alien bursting through John Hurt’s chest in Alien. Freddy Kruger’s bladed hand breaking through soapsuds in the bathtub in Nightmare on Elm Street. The Grim Reaper in Peter Jackson’s The Frighteners. Jason on the rampage in Friday the 13th. The dread of ghosts in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Sixth Sense. The strippers dancing naked in Paul Verhoevens’s Showgirls. (Ehem.)



Horror movies have always been popular, as long as hot-blooded teenagers exist to patronize the box-office. Hollywood had been trotting out cadres of scary films they actually form a long-term trend, starting with the original Dracula movie, Nosferatu near the turn of the last century. Time Magazine once noted that “Hollywood is pursuing subtler demons, deeper themes: matters of life and death, life after death, and life just before death.”



The trend was so much worse when the last millenium was just ending, and the unknown promised by the 2000 was getting on everyone’s nerves—relentlessly mined, of course, by such pop cultural hits like The X-Files with its evocations of the unexplained and the subtly horrifying monsters in our everyday existences. To scare ourselves silly may have been everyone’s popular reaction to a four-digit number: 2000 indeed promised to be more than an attraction for the possibly unknown havoc of the Y2K bug, or a harbinger to Armageddon—the end of the world as we know it. To wit: there was just nothing like the end of the millenium to scare the jeepers out of us. And rather than panic in the streets, we transmitted the fear inside us through the medium of the movie screen. Even that both didn’t happen when the clocks struck the New Year of the new millenium was beside the point. We’ve already celebrated our most favorite neuroses of all—and even now, we have not quite finished celebrating. There are newer monsters that lurk in our everyday lives—widespread terrorism, worldwide unemployment, the 2004 elections, George W. Bush—that we still go to our favorite horror movies to alleviate, or mitigate, the darkness within.



My favorite horror movie, however, has become my favorite because it made use of what I always think as the very idea of suspense: a meticulous use of the unseen, also put to great use by Shyamalan in Signs. My favorite horror movie is also something I do not want to see again, if only to spare myself a night of migraines. It was famously a cheapie production (made from a $30,000 budget—it has since earned more than $100 million) that had critics and Sundance Film Festival audiences calling the greatest horror movie ever made ever since the 1970s’ The Exorcist. In a way, the independent film made by the creative team of Eduardo Sanchez and Daniel Myrick deserved the hoopla it got. While The Blair Witch Project is not a perfect film (grainy shots, unfocused and unlighted cinematography…), it succeeds in two ways:



One, it subscribed to the basic tenet of the true horror film: that what we do not see scares us the most. We fear the bogeyman, yes, but what we fear most is the fact that he is hiding in our closet. In the film, we do not see the horrors plaguing the trio, only haphazard video footage of a camera running through the pitch dark (as they are “chased” by an unseen specter), the camera lights setting off an eerie glow off the deadened trees and shrubs. We hear noises and eerie screams—and the fact that we do not really know what is going on scares us the most.



Two, that the film had the audacity to purport it is real. I still have a friend who is convinced the whole thing is real, and another friend, Kristyn, still gets the jitters every time she thinks about it (I had dragged her to watch the film---and she still hasn’t forgiven me). All its hype, starting from the trailer and its Internet website, banked on that incredulity. The trailer ominously explained that, “On October 21, 1994, Heather Donahue, Joshua Leonard, and Michael Williams hiked into the Black Hills Forest to shoot a documentary film on a local legend called ‘The Blair Witch,’ and were never seen again. One year later, their footage was found.”



To drive home the effectiveness of its purported reality, the filmmakers took Method Acting to its farthest extreme. Sanchez and Myrick instructed their actors to videotape whatever happened to them in the woods, gave them individual notes and instructions (not to be shared with the others) on what to do and react in lieu of a script, hid from the actors, and scared the bogeyman out of them while they were sleeping. The result of that experiment was that footage that was supposed to have been found in an abandoned house in the forest, edited together from the 16mm and video formats the “lost” trio used to shoot it on. The “finished” product comes off with a documentary feel, chronicling the story of three young filmmakers slowly descending into blossoming terror—a perfect model for the deterioration of group dynamics. (The fact that the “actors” used their real names for the film also added to the realism.)



In the beginning, we see them as a brash and self-assured trio getting into town of Burkitsville, Maryland interviewing people (some coached actors and some real personages) about the legendary Blair Witch who is accused of murdering a string of children in the 1940’s. The headstrong Heather, with a Hi-8 video camera in her hand and armed with a map and compass, leads Joshua (who is filming with a grainy black-and-white 16mm camera) and Michael (who is there to pick up the sound) deep into the woods for what is supposed to be a simple two-day excursion. It doesn’t turn out that way, however.



Little by little, they notice they are just going in circles, lost, beaten, and hungry. Forced to set up camp for another night, they hear faint footsteps, and discovers, the next day, voodoo dolls and eerie symbols hanging over the trees. More days pass by and their food begins to dwindle, their map gets lost, and the freezing October nights grow more and more intense.



Somebody seems to be following them, and loud cackling noises and screams haunt their nights. They become hysterical, forced to confront what raw, unadulterated horror really is. In one sequence that will make the film history books as one of the most intense scenes ever filmed, Heather breaks down in front of her camera and makes one last tearful apology.



When the finale comes, it is abrupt. But the chill stays a little longer.



Is the film real? No, it is not. Then again, I may be lying.



Welcome to Halloween. Your deepest terrors may lie in the whirrings of your VCR.


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Yeessh. I'm reading chick lit....





My favorite excerpt from Tara's new book, Almost Married:



You get home to your apartment and find that your whole living area is covered with colorful blooms—gardenias, zinnias, daisies. Suddenly Bert bursts from the field of flowers, naked and yelling happily, “I SAID I’M SORRY!!!”



Pause. Shove your immediate thought balloon (Who’s going to clean up this out of your head and try to appreciate the act of sweetness.



Then smile brightly, albeit belatedly, because you’ve got yourself a great guy who went through all the trouble of doing something cliché simply because he’s not aware that petals on the floor leading into the bedroom is such a Maricel Soriano-Edu Manzano moment, at the height of their short-lived love affair (don’t bother telling him this unless you’re prepared to hear, “They got together? When?”)



Then self-destruct into uncontrollable weeping. If Bert ever cheated on you, you might die, or worse, turn psycho Janice-style and plan his wedding to someone else without his knowing it. Cry until your shoulders shake, but lest Bert think you find his naked glory disgusting, try to smile through the tears. Nod a little to let him know that yes, you appreciate the sweet gesture. Cry some more because now that you’ve got it going, you might as well purge yourself and find great relief in shedding tears. Cry harder still when you realize Bert is looking at you funny, as though you’ve gone mad, when in fact it’s him who’s standing amid a sea of flowers with his balls and penis hanging out there in the open. Then cry some more because somehow, you can hear yourself laughing.





Interesting Pinoy chick lit, courtesy of Summit Books. The brown Bridget Jones! Wohoo!

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Thursday, October 30, 2003

The reason why I wasn't sleeping two years ago, when I first got hooked into the Internet. Now, it's back.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

I may have a short story (or essay?) for this one. Hmmm....

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I am slowly getting back to the grind after a lazy vacation from life for two long (but cute) months. Whew. It was expected naman: we do need a honeymoon period, but now the real deal sets in. I tell M.: "Well, if you want a big wedding in two years, we need to work hard and earn the bread." Hehehe.... But frankly, I like work very much. It makes me human and keeps me going, because I know that doing absolutely nothing except watch TV or surf the Net drives me totally mad. One thing I realize now is this: it's not the work that keeps me stressed out, but the procrastination that comes before it. When I work, I'm in the zone. And I'm in the zone right now. So if you do not hear from me for a few days, don't worry, it's just Ian buckling down to get the load of his back.

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Saturday, October 25, 2003

Now I've seen everything. Real (and very cute) Roman Catholic priests -- as calendar pin-up models.



Makes you want to go and be a seminarian, eh?



According to Piero Pazzi, the photographer: "I know the priests are handsome, but what’s wrong with that? If I was doing a cat calendar I couldn’t show old moggies with no teeth." Uh-huh.



For orders, click on the above link for the website.



{Note: The pictures from the website can't be swiped, so you have to click on the above link. Don't ask me why these things happen....}



[via elephant still missing]

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Thursday, October 23, 2003

Writer-friends! Here's a poem by ____________. Needs workshopping daw. Please be honest as possible (you can even be like Rolando Tinio if you want!) and post your comments below...



Pixelord



shatterwire realities

bygone from my canvas

these burlap of soon-to-be's

spreadheaven in your eyes,

awaiting the next level,

but never a gaussian blur

to gloss a heavy burden

hope inserted like opacity sliders

let us make new paths

our thick strokes to success



success is a complete montage

of planned images in the mind

live your power,

believe and see

see the end results!



things change

because they do

are you a futile

changing-spot leopard?

i'm no leopard

be not!



i just change.

and i go with its

wild tide.



success is a complete montage

of planned images in the mind

can you picture it now?

live your powers

and see the end without even

trying to believe at first.



ebb with might

for the only flowing

of sensibilities

is felt to those

who are strong and brave

for life can never be a dull moment

even if we prefer it to be!







What do you think?

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Oh, this is soooo good. I can't pass up posting this recent senate floor remarks by Sen. Ted Kennedy. Excertps:



Before the war, week after week after week after week, we were told lie after lie after lie after lie.



Nearly six months have elapsed since President Bush flew out to the aircraft carrier and declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq. Today, we all know all too well that the war is not over; the war goes on; the mission is not accomplished. An unnecessary war, based on unreliable and inaccurate intelligence, has not brought an end to danger. Instead, it has brought new dangers, imposed new costs, and taken more and more American lives each week.



We all agree that Saddam Hussein was a murderous tyrant, and his brutal regime was an affront to basic human decency. But Iraq was not a breeding ground for terrorism. Our invasion has made it one.



The trumped up reasons for going to war have collapsed. All the Administration's rationalizations as we prepared to go to war now stand revealed as "double-talk." The American people were told Saddam Hussein was building nuclear weapons. He was not. We were told he had stockpiles of other weapons of mass destruction. He did not. We were told he was involved in 9/11. He was not. We were told Iraq was attracting terrorists from Al Qaeda. It was not. We were told our soldiers would be viewed as liberators. They are not. We were told Iraq could pay for its own reconstruction. It cannot. We were told the war would make America safer. It has not.



Before the war, week after week after week after week, we were told lie after lie after lie after lie.





Read the rest here.



[link forwarded by E. San Juan]


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Excuse me? Me? Envious? Eherm. I don't think so.

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I just took KK's test from Oprah's Dr. Phil. According to my 45 points, this is me...



Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting; someone who's constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well-balanced not to let it go to their head. They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding; someone who'll always cheer them up and help them out.





But, of course.

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This is why I love Art Spiegelman's Maus -- the first graphic novel to win the Pulitzer Prize.





The first time I read it, it blew my mind and changed my conception of literature forever. (The same way I am in awe of the emotional charge of the Japanese animeGrave of the Fireflies...) (Scott McCloud and Neil Gaiman only came to the picture much later...)



Philip Pullman, the author of the His Dark Materials series, ponders about the book in The Guardian...



[via bookslut]

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Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Para sa Binatang Nakasabay sa Loob ng LRT

Ni Raymund Magno Garlitos



Ipinagkakanulo tayo ng asiwang panahon

Sa loob ng hurnong ito na may gulong

At tumatakbong mataas na mataas pa sa lupa

At mga kabahayan ng kalakhang Maynila.



Prenteng-prente ako sa pagkakaupo.

Ikaw naman, kunsumido sa paglambitin

Sa estribo. Pagod na pagod rin ang alikabok

Sa hangin, at dama ko ang paglapot

Ng iyong pawis na parang sukong-suko

Sa walang kasing-bagsik na Lunes.



Narinig mo ba ang hinaing ni Manang

Na walang sawang nakakapit sa bakal?

“Aru, Diyos ko, para akong piniprito!”

At sabay tayong mapapatawa kahit dinudumog tayo

Ng init ng bawat pagsusumiksik.



Panaka-naka ang bugso ng lamig

Na dumadapo sa mga balikat natin.

Nilililok ng pawis ang katawan mong

Nahahagingan ng kamisetang manipis.

Humihingal ang bawat balahibo

Sa iyong dibdib at braso.

Umaalsa ang bawat kalamnan sa hita

Na parang naghahanap-ginhawa.

Doon, sa kalugod-lugod mong pagod,

Ko mapapansing ikaw pala’y guwapo.



Napapansin ko ring di mo sinasagot

Ang bawat taimtim na paglunok ko ng laway.

Sumisigid ang init at lamig sa mga matang

Di ko matantiya kong ika’y natutuwa

O nababastusan sa bawat dighay ko ng init.

Habang ako, atubili sa pagpaypay

Ng abaniko, ay walang imik.



Nang humantong sa Monumento,

Naglaho kang parang pawis na hinigop

Ng panyo kong bagong bili.

Kanina pa ako dapat bumaba sa Buendia

Mula sa hurnong ito na de-gulong

At tumatakbong mataas na mataas pa sa lupa.

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Just planed in from Manila VERY EARLY this morning, and I know this has got to be the weirdest -- and shortest -- trip I've ever had. Flew in to Manila just yesterday morning in the haze of rain that's been afflicting Dumaguete of late. My trusty friend Eric met me at the airport, and good thing too since I couldn't have managed the tricky route from airport to Malate.



After a brief rest, I just went around Robinson's, bought some books (Noelle Quintos de Jesus's Fast Food Fiction and J. Neil C. Garcia's Performing the Self: Occasional Prose), had terrible ice tea in San Francisco Coffeeshop, had lunch in this quaintest carinderia with Allen and his Ian (a Manila boy who was sporting a snow cap), and then it was preparation time for the Catholic Mass Media Awards. The invitation said to go to Ateneo's Lee Irwin Theater in Quezon City (Malate to Quezon City!!!) by 5 p.m. Our cab was dexterious, though, and we wheezed and weaved through the traffic in 45 minutes flat. Which was all for naught because the show (which was taped for a TV program for RPN 9) started at around 7 p.m. Grrrr. Donita Rose is a cutie. TJ Manotoc, too. Hehehe. Sat a few feet away from Jaimee Rivera and Korina Sanchez. My column lost to goddamn Nestor U. Torre in the Best Entertainment Column category. Grrrr. And I had my acceptance speech prepared pa naman! Hehehe. I would have said:



Wow. This is totally unexpected. I didn't know one could write about a small city's cultural life, and still land in the CMMA! But I would like to thank first the CMMA for recognizing talent, and to my editor in the Visayan Daily Star Allen del Carmen for taking a chance on me. This one's for family, and for my friends, especially Mark, for the inspiration. And this one's for God whose blessings I am utterly grateful for. Thank you very much, and good evening.





O, cute di ba? Hay naku, next year na lang.



It was such a boring show. TV taping kasi, at ang dami mali and gaffes. Halfway throughout, we thought of going out na lang. Eric and I met Naya Valdellon, Allan Pastrana, and Darryl Delgado in Starbucks just along Katipunan, and later sa 70's Bistro along Anonas, Mark Cayanan and Vincent Coscolluela joined us for a night of Beatles songs. Got a bit drunk, went back to my hotel around 2 a.m., woke up at 3 :30 a.m. for the ride to the airport. My flight home was 5:30 a.m. kasi.



The female flight attendants in Air Philippines are stupid. There, I've said it. Next time, I'm flying Cebu Pacific.



Landed 7:30. Dumaguete from above looked soooo misty and green. Beautiful. The tricycle driver tried to extort P50 for the ride home. I told him I worked for the mayor and could report him, then threw my P5 at him. Went staight to bed. Woke up at 3 p.m.



Jesus.



By the way, my website is mentioned in this month's issue of FHM magazine. Repeat after me: FHM magazine. Why, why, why?

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Monday, October 20, 2003

Goddamn. Rutger van den Hoven, my ol' Dutch buddy, Pia Guanio, and even freaking Claudine Barreto are in Friendster!



I also noticed this in Friendster: people who are worth their shit DO READ. And watch a lot of movies. And do not apologize for liking the very jologness of pop culture. (Eat Bulaga!) And travel extensively. To live, it seems, is to move. And it shows in the quirky, brilliant, rich lives they lead.

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New poem from my favorite pixie-poet Mark Anthony Cayanan....



         Against



         Before you was myself,

         before being a lost reason

         behind a photograph, or a few

         erased words in a poem’s

         draft, or a moment,

         or a somewhere of moments

         formerly inhabited, even

         habitable: the cold

         as a comfortable

         abode—

                  Where I am now

         is near you. Or much closer,

         against you, against being

         more than it often is:

         your wingspread of sky

         encroaching mine, and then

         talon to talon, beak breaking

         beak, and then the plumage

         of plummet.

                  What I mean

         is shadow to surface:

         on you, I rest, or am: the dark

         as defined by the wall, without

         which this shape will go on

         sinking, releasing itself,

         sinking into—

                  Hostility

         and dependence—one

         for the other, one as the other:

         how this opposition is my form

         of “touching”

                  —Don’t you know

         it’s not a matter of choice,

         love? It is survival.



....



Mark, I'm saving this in my blog for a while because my inbox is so full. When I'm back from Manila, I'll....

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Love Letter, Part One



The beginning of a letter in my head I’ve heard from somewhere else, I don’t remember where, yet it bears your face: “Do you know how much in love with you I am? I have fallen in love with you without taking a single step.” I carry a mounting elation that borders on a certain sadness, close to tears as it seems: to have seen your face yesterday while I was walking home was enough of heaven—and enough of dangerously longing dreams that tell me I must touch your face, soon, or crumble in my silence. What is it of you that captures? Your eyes, perhaps, but they tell me nothing, except that you do not really see me yet, but I see you, and I can only dream of running my fingers through your hair, and touch your face, gently, the way the moon touches the night waves.

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Monthsary



For M.



What I would give

For the kiss to be new again,

That same trembling that colored

That night, that bed—

Would fade as the yellow roses

You gave three nights later did.

Today, we speak volumes of

Tomorrows but always, now,

With the knowing smiles that we

Live only for moments, these stubborn

Minutes of utter conviction in an us,

—and love, that dainty,

dreadful thing, is nothing

More than you and I, trapped

In a shell, praising naked skin,

But knowing nothing more

Except this denial of days and nights

So slow they become old, and nothing.

[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





I remember this story made me cry a long, long time ago. Wanggo just had to do it and make me remember it. "The tree in the story, that's me. That's exactly who I am," Wanggo says. Me, too! So, anyway, here it is...





The Giving Tree

By Shel Silverstein



There was once a great apple tree and a little boy. They would spend hours and hours together. The boy would play in the tree's branches, sleep at her roots and eat of her apples. And the tree loved the boy.



One day, the boy came to the tree. The tree was delighted and beckoned, "Come and play!" But the boy was no longer a boy; he was now a young man, and he was interested in making a living, but he didn't know how.



"Here," the tree said, "take my apples and sell them." The young man did just that, and the tree was happy.



Years passed, and the tree was lonely without the young man. One day, he returned, and the tree was delighted, but he was now interested in settling down. He wanted to build a house.



"Here," the tree said, "Cut off my branches and build your house." The young man did just that, and the tree was happy.



Years passed, and the tree still missed her friend. One day, the man returned, and the tree was again overjoyed. But the man was now older and tired of life; he wanted to get away from it all.



"Here," the tree offered, "Cut me down. Make for yourself a boat, and sail the world in it." The man did just that, and the tree was happy.



Many years passed, seasons came and went, and the tree was very lonely. She missed her friend, and she often thought about the old days, when they had such fun. Finally, she saw her friend coming over the hill, and she was delighted.



But the boy was now an old man, no longer able to play or make money or to sail away. And he was tired.



"Here, my friend," the tree said, "I still have a pretty good stump left. Won't you sit and rest?" The old man did that, and the tree was happy.







Sob.

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Sunday, October 19, 2003

"It has often struck me as peculiar that there are so few words for love. The term is forced to span such a large area of emotion. For me, there's such a distinct difference between 'to love' someone and 'to be in love' with them. Be in no doubt that 'I'm in love' with you. It's not infatuation or lust, it's a profound longing to be with you."



--Isabella to Matthew, in Nick Bantocks's The Gryphon



[from sundialgirl]

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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Life, for the meantime, is a rainy day. It shifts like the clouds, dark one moment, gentle the next. On some given instances—when the rain stops, for example, and there is only the ample cool that hides the sun, kisses the skin, calls for warmer clothes, and makes the grass greener than usual—I adore it. This is my type of day, since I really have no uses for sun. Autumn is the life, and for a moment, it makes me forget this is tropical country. But then the rain intrudes again. I have just managed to escape the bed and its prolonged invitations for sleep. It was already way past noon and the antibiotics I am taking was making me hungry for the nth time since late last night. I hate antibiotics. There are no clear-cut schedules to govern what to do on a Saturday, so I have been following my feet. M. follows me around like a sweet puppy, which I like. How fast we get used to sleeping touching somebody else’s skin! How long has it been since we got together? More than a month, and although we have our moments of the cutest rancor, I’m convinced I am in love, and him with me. Sometimes, I catch myself staring into his beautiful face, and I wonder, what did I do to deserve this? We met when I lectured on feature writing in his school—and within two weeks, we were texting each other like mad. Love happens that way, I guess: like a bus that runs you down from nowhere, when you least expect it. This weather gets him down, however, and I can’t help not smiling for a while. I want to be Clown for him, and he pretends to smile JUST to make me smile, which is sweet—but… Then again it was also the sadness in his eyes I fell in love with. I love people with sad eyes. They look at you with such yearning…. Here I am in Scooby’s, wanting to write something, an email, whatever. In his seat, M. marks time watching his cellphone. He plays bowling or sky-diving, and he smiles just a bit sometimes. It should be sad. His yellow shirt is sad. The computer is not helping, either. I’m assigned to PC #28, which used to be my favorite PC, but somebody has tampered with its monitor settings and the color are awash in strange hues, and all the desktop elements have become these giants. Icons the size of a dwarf’s head. There is no other computer for me to use. It’s the semestral break, and the place has been hijacked by young people with knowing to do for a rainy day except chat, play games, email, surf, flirt online with fat videofreaks, blog, or get stoned on friendster.com…. New computer. PC #34. What am I doing here? Except for M., somehow I feel my life’s a bit empty. Coffee doesn’t even help anymore. Something’s missing. YET: I have a good job (although I could use a raise), great opportunities, considerable writing recognition (I was just nominated for a Catholic Mass Media Award, got chosen for the NCCA’s UBOD New Writers Series, won two Palancas, got my first book nominated for a National Book Award…), great friends, great family, great love, great sex.... BUT. There is one big but in my life. I just don’t know what it is.



Please, anybody, give me a clue on what's going on.

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Scrutinizing the Stone Sisters



What’s the deal with the monument to the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres? Perhaps to answer that question, it is best to deal with the bigger context, and start from there.



A great monument to people of rank, or of substance, must have the power to awe—a tenuous translation of that relationship, almost an aesthetic, between viewer and art object, which is more or less metaphorical for what that person represents in his or her life. American democracy, for example, blasts its importance and earnestness onto the bald rocks of Mount Rushmore, etching the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It says “grandeur” on those granite faces, and perhaps that is also the way we must somehow feel—the way it is as well for us, beholding the trench-coated giant monument (of an otherwise dwarfish) Jose Rizal in Luneta, or the bronze importance of Dr. David Hibbard in front of the CAP Building, or the immaculate sorrow of the marble Pieta in St. Peter’s Square, or the concrete hideousness and dictatorial testament to self-importance that was Marcos’s bust which once jutted out of a mountainside in Benguet province, and which Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon has called “a monument of hate.” So much hate stemming from the symbolic that it was summarily bombed in December last year. Any worthwhile monument is not just a silent work that begs to be treated cursorily. It necessarily provokes reaction.



The medium, after all, is the message.



And there is also the story a monument tells.



For this article, we go to the Boulevard some time on one lazy afternoon—to peek at the work in progress, timed for completion just before the beginning of the centennial celebration of the founding of St. Paul’s in the Philippines (yes, the first Paulinian institution in the country was founded in Dumaguete—a Catholic answer to the Protestant Silliman University). The work is draped in tarpaulin, like a wrapped secret.



“Why this spot?” I asked Mark, viewing the monument’s place in what may the heart of the Rizal Boulevard. In front of us, the Tañon Strait looked placid for an October day. There were people milling about the promenade in search of a life, and hawkers, too, of various trades, and sometimes joggers rushed past in search of sweat, while tricycles rambled away to make their Dumaguete day.



“This is the spot where they landed,” Mark told me. Although there are still debates about the authenticity of the claim, he continued.



We looked at the cement statues (in a white coat of paint then when we first visited).



Seven nuns on a boat, in various poses of queer reflection. One is pointing—at something. One is praying the rosary. A few of the sisters just sit, as if waiting for divine answers to an alien destiny. What was immediately striking were the individual characteristics of their faces—and no mean feat here: the makers of the statue were certainly going for the facsimile of their very faces. All austere and proud and… nun-ny. Nobody looked like Julie Andrews, or the Flying Nun.



“There’s Sister Josephine,” Mark said, pointing at one sister. She has an oblong face.



“There’s Sister Marthe de St. Paul,” Mark continued. She looks like Bette Davis with a dash of Mickey Rooney. “And there’s Mother Marie Micheau, the Mother Superior.” Or not. “I’m not really sure, maybe she died early,” Mark smiled and scratched his head.



They came in 1904 on a boat straight from Hong Kong. It was in response to a request by Archbishop Father James Rooker (of Iloilo, and the former Diocese of Dumaguete), who was reportedly alarmed to know that the only school in Dumaguete was run by… Protestants. In one of his trips to Hong Kong, he saw some Paulinian nuns with their curly wimple (which was actually designed by the Christian Dior) and pointedly asked them whether they could perhaps establish a school in the Philippines. They said yes. And soon arrived in Dumaguete’s shores and promptly set up shop in what is now the premises beside the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria. The original school burned down, however—and the sisters were forced to decamp to what is now the present location of St. Paul.



“What does this monument tell you?” I asked Mark again. And what does this mean to a typical Paulinian?



He gave his silence a consideration. He thinks like that. “I am,” he began, “very proud of being a Paulinian, and this monument reminds me of all the things the first seven sisters had to go through in order for me, and many others, to get an education.” Which was as well. This was a guy who’s been with St. Paul since kindergarten, and now goes to its college hoping to become a marketing executive.



Perhaps that is how we must look at the monument itself: as a kind of history lesson to remind us of all those who came to our shores (Catholics or Presbyterians), to give Dumaguete the intellectual vibrance it boasts of being a “University Town.” That is enough reason for awe: seven sisters out to sea sailing from a faraway place. One must admit that notion contains a very romantic idea—an adventure with a humanist appeal. The statue deserves its place then in the Boulevard—



“But if only they didn’t have to paint it,” Mark and I, however, agreed. Which made the whole thing somehow tacky. And perhaps this is enough of an aesthetic criticism, which this article was meant to be in the first place.



“It reminds me of those unfortunate painted figures in front of the Capitol na lang,” Mark said, pouting a bit.



“Yup, sayang no? It was already great when it was just white,” I said.



“Oh well,” Mark said.



Oh well,” I nodded.



And that was that.

[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Friday, October 17, 2003

I have to follow-up a dreadful blog on dreadful Bush with beautiful poetry. Call it cleansing. Call it exorcism. (But I swear I'm not going to blog about Dubya again. He just irritates me so much....)



This one's an email from dear Naya, who's infectious about her new poetic find Silvia Curbelo...



         Kailangan ko lang i-share. May bago akong paboritong makata (flavor of

         the month daw ang dating) -- si Silvia Curbelo. She's Cuban, American,

         and fantastic! Available pa ang libro nya (The Secret History of Water)

         sa Aeon Books. :) Mabuhay ang tula sa panahong lubog ang lahat sa trabaho.



         Naya





         FOR ALL THE GOODBYES

         By Silvia Curbelo



         In a room not unlike this one

         someone is always leaving someone else.



         Someone blows out a candle.

         Someone has finished the wine.



         The single glove laid open

         on the windowsill tells only



         half the story. Try to imagine

         the hundred metaphors for flight,



         for endings, a door finally closing

         and what is left behind--



         the robe with its torn lining,

         a scarf, cufflinks, an old shoe.



         A man's abandoned overcoat

         brings to mind train stations,



         suitcases, footsteps

         vanishing down the hall.



         There is no mistaking

         the closet door left ajar,



         the empty hangers

         like the thin shoulders



         of loss, of distance.

         If you have loved



         someone like that

         you have imagined his hands



         opening other doors, unbuttoning

         his shirt in other rooms.



         Even as the buttons fall away

         there is no turning back.



         A dropped shoe is an island.

         A scarf will break your heart.





         JANIS JOPLIN

         By Silvia Curbelo



         There is a song like a light

         coming on too fast, the eyes

         blink back the static of the road

         and in the distance you can almost see

         the clean, sweet glow of electric guitars.



         Call it the music of the rest of our lives,

         a stranger's face peering through

         a window, except that face is yours,

         and mine. Music like backtalk,



         like wind across your heart,

         cigarette smoke and bourbon.

         Music our mothers must have held

         softly between damp sheets,

         before taxes, before layoffs,

         before the first door closing.



         Not piano lessons, not a hymn

         or a prayer, or a soft voice

         singing you to sleep, but a song

         like a green light on summer evenings

         after a ball game, after rain,

         when the fields finally let themselves go,

         and we'd drive past the Westinghouse plant,

         past Vail and Arcadia. Music

         of never going back.



         I'm talking about car radios,

         about backseats and hope,

         and the jukebox at Pokey's

         where the local boys tried

         their new luck on anyone

         and the real history of the world

         was going doan, nickels and

         dimes, the music floating

         at the far end of a first kiss--



         the first light of the body

         that isn't love but is stronger than love,

         because it must not end,

         because it never lasts.



Thanks Naya!

[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Tomorrow, we welcome Mr. President of Liars.







News excerpt from The Olympian:



WASHINGTON -- Letters from hometown soldiers describing their successes rebuilding Iraq have been appearing in newspapers across the country as U.S. public opinion on the mission sours.



And all the letters are the same.





And now we're giving the Master Clown of All the red carpet treatment. Jeez.

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Thursday, October 16, 2003

I mean, really, C. sounds so sad in his LJ. Hasn't he gotten over the post-collegiate angst yet? I love you, C. but what's this? ...



You miss the comforts of college, of groups, of socializing with the same people on a constant basis. But then you realize that maybe they weren't so great after all.





I mean, we are your college people.



Oh, well.



Hey, maybe he just needs a dose of.... Friendster! Hyukhyukhyuk!

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Bernice Roldan has provided me the perfect quotation to describe Check Test Papers Week:



"What fresh hell is this?"

       -- Dorothy Parker

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A Little Something for a Wet Thursday...



     


This is a poem by one of the best young Filipino writers I know, Lille. This one has been anthologized in Eros Pinoy (published by Anvil and edited by Virgilio Avialdo, Ben Cabrera and Alfred Yuson) and rendered in performance in the spoken word album Uniberso: New Poets Calling (published by NCCA and edited by Mayo Uno Martin):



Why I Won’t Have Sex With You



By Lilledeshan Bose



If you really want to know, it’s because my thighs are too big. They slump across the bed, too heavy to move apart, but slightly, at the knees. Waves of cellulite lolling across seas and seas of undesired flesh. Mapped out by white webs of stretch marks, this wide expanse spills out of your grip, easily. I doubt if you would want to graze your fingers across a bedimpled, blotchy crack. I have trouble lifting my legs up for the perfect position (around your neck, perhaps, or my left knee hugged to my chest) because of this unwieldy weight, and I am so afraid to disappoint you. How your sweat drips down your brow in this great effort to get me to take my pants off. I try to distract you by sitting up, but my stomach rolls forward too fast and loose, to my dismay. I lie back down thinking, sex belongs to skinny people: the stick figures with melon boobs I know you fantasize about. I try not to bite my lip as you go down on me: I fail to keep a moan that half-arcs across this dark and sad motel room. I feel too big for the bed, too ugly for these mirrors, unworthy of this pleasure that I feel. I want to envelope your body with mine, enclose your being, but I fear losing you. I am too thick and oily: what if you suffocate within my folded flesh?







This is an homage of sorts by another great writer-friend Dinah Rose Baseleres Ladia who SHOULD START GOING BACK TO HER WRITING ROOTS AND START PUBLISHING SOON (pant... pant... pant...), in response to a shit of a man who crossed her recently (so it seems, anyway; don't ask me for details):



Why I Won’t Have Sex With You



By Dinah Rose Baseleres Ladia



If you really want to know, it’s because my thighs aren’t too big. They are smooth and creamy against the sheets, so smooth you are driven to madness imagining your cum splattered on them. You have never run your fingers across such brown smoothness, have you? The perfect swell of hip narrowing down to that perfect stretch of leg. I imagine your hands lifting my legs up for the perfect position (around your neck, perhaps, or my left knee hugged to my chest) and bile rises up my throat. I am afraid the sight of you will disappoint me: how your sweat drips from your brow, your chest heaving on top of mine. I try to distract you by cocking a loaded gun before you can cock yours (tiny little thing, sorry), but you fail to grasp the subtlety of homicide, intoxicated as you are by the sight of my naked breasts. I lie back down thinking, “When is this fucker going to stop?” I bite back profanity when you utter words that sound sacrilegious coming from you. Tiny thing that I am, I feel too big for your bed that is devoid of love. You are unworthy of the pleasure you want to feel and thus will never thrust yourself deep into my dark wetness, never feel yourself enclosed in my being, because you are thick and oily with the immensity of your arrogance. I know to you a blowjob from me will equal me loving you. And forgive me, but that is why I won’t have sex with you.





Ahhh, beautiful, beautiful poetry both.



And whoever said this was a wet Thursday may not just be talking about the weather...

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Well, what do you know.... I just learned from my editor that I'm a finalist pala for the 2003 Catholic Mass Media Awards, Best Entertainment Column category.



It's for my column for the Visayan Daily Star called "The Spy in the Sandwich." Hehehehe. Entertainment column? I sound like Inday Badiday, may her soul rest in peace.



I'm dedicating this nomination to Marian Lim. Really.



The results will be announced in an awards ceremony next week, October 21, and will be broadcast daw over RPN-9. Oh well, but I'm not going.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the lovely Beth Castillo has a new blog.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Friendster is evil. I spent five freaking hours in the shit last night, and was flabbergasted by the company of friends and major (and minor?) acquaintances that I keep, in a kind of Six Degrees game. Heck, even Damon Sattler's in it!

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How about this...





Guys (and I mean Kristyn, Bechang, Eric, Tedo, Mark, Teng, etc....), I am thinking and really getting tempted to get addicted to Friendster, which Lille declares is The Shit. I actually signed up a long, long time ago, but never really gave any of it a shit before. Now, I just want to know, what's the fuss ba? Why's everybody really into it? Even minor Manila celebrities? And who shall I find when I venture into its murky waters? My high school crush? Errr...



{On another note: The above image really grates at my obsessive compulsion. It illustrates what I hate about having a blogfield that's another color other than plain white. Grrrr. So unsightly.}

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Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Somebody asked me why I don't have links to other blogs. Oh, but I do.



See left? Yes, that orange bar over there. See it? Very good... Now, see the tag Ghostdancers? You do? Good.... Now, let your cursor hover over the space below. Great lord, what are those? Links!



Ghostdancers... Ghost. Dancers. Get it? Get it?



Aww, nobody cares. Now back to Dunkin Donuts for coffee and checking term papers. It's really a wonderful life. It's really a wonderful life. It's really a wonderful life....

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Monday, October 13, 2003

Something Sir Butch said in his column today arrested my attention:



True evil knows exactly what it wants and what it’s doing. It has a mind, it plans, it executes, it responds creatively to changing situations. And sometimes we can’t see it for what it is. It isn’t even necessarily a tangible person, but rather a presence, an invasive yet also a seductive force.





I'm thinking: My God. Marian Lim.

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Saturday, October 11, 2003

Four words: final exam week aftermath.



Wish me luck for the blood bath.



On a lighter note: Yes, Oliver, it's been a month since M. and I got together. We're celebrating tonight the only way we know how.... look at the stars. Ehem. So eat my cornhole.



I really should make this blog become more literary. Oh well...

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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I didn't know there was such a thing as an Ig Noble Prize. Now I do.



But the funny thing is, many of the recipients actually take it as an honor instead of the joke/ridicule the award really is.

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My God! I am so impressed! Wow. President George W. Bush. Poet. Amazing! Here's a sampling from his jaw-dropping poetry, which the First Lady unleashed to a grateful literary world recently:



         Roses are red

         Violets are blue

         Oh my, lump in the bed

         How I've missed you.



Now, if that is not poetry, I'd die. In fact, I'd rather die right now. I'm not worthy to be called a writer in the glare of such brilliance!



Wow.



{So, quick! Click the above link NOW to get more of that brilliance!}



[via bookslut]

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Tuesday, October 07, 2003

... I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

I love you because I know no other way



than this: where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.



-- Pablo Neruda



[from creating space 101]

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Can I be mean for a while? For a while lang...



Anyway, here's this article from the BBC [via bookslut] about the outrage over Pakistan's staging of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. From the article:



Eve Ensler, the writer of the monologues, stressed that Pakistan's reaction was similar to the one the show had received around the world.



Ensler says the show receives the same reaction around the world. "It doesn't matter what city, what country I've gone to, there's been incredible outrage. And then what happens is that suddenly people realised how great it is to be talking about vaginas.



"But there's always that initial panic, and terror, and desire to shut things down when the word is mentioned anywhere."



Ensler added that fear of the vagina was universal, and something she hoped her monologues would continue to open people's eyes to.





Which is sooo true. When we first staged TVM in Silliman University two years ago, we encountered so much resistance. Some even called us pornographers! The venerable Evelyn Aldecoa, for example, lambasted us with so much moralistic fury, and rumor was that she went to the opening of TVM in the Luce Auditorium, posted herself backstage to tape-record the whole thing, hoping probably to catch something "pornographic" and blackmail us. Ngek.



Maybe she's angry because she can't find her vagina. All that fat....

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Monday, October 06, 2003

ARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!



Explanations later. When I'm more composed.



(But I just wish SO MUCH right now that that the frigid cow, that bitch, that Dementor, that Hag of Evil drops dead. And stays dead. I've never wished harm on anybody in all my life -- but this one takes the cake!)

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Friday, October 03, 2003

Ehem. :)

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And this is why Rush Limbaugh is a stupid, fat, asshole. Jeez! This sicko, of course, is the ideological contemporary of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Anita Bryant, Bill O'Reilly (and the rest of that clown network known as FoxNews), John Howard, and Anne Coulter....



The world is a bad, moralistic, hateful place because of these people.

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The comedy of Kris and Joey, by an unknown ABS-CBN staffer.



[via mom's closet]

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A forwarded email from poet Mila Aguilar:



Pilger claims White House knew Saddam was no threat

From Sydney Morning Herald, 23 September 2003



Australian investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie which could cost George W Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.



A television report by Pilger aired on British screens last night said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice confirmed in early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been disarmed and was no threat.



But after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 that year, Pilger claimed Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of these new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of its oil.



Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."



Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."



Powell boasted this was because America's policy of containment and its sanctions had effectively disarmed Saddam.



Pilger claims this confirms that the decision of US President George W Bush - with the full support of British Prime Minister Blair and Howard - to wage war on Saddam because he had weapons of mass destruction was a huge deception.



Pilger interviewed several leading US government figures in Washington but said he did not ask Powell or Rice to respond to his claims.



"I think it's very serious for Howard. Howard has followed the Americans and to a lesser degree Blair almost word for word," Pilger told AAP before his program was screened on ITV tonight.



"All Howard does is say 'well it's not true' and never explains himself.



"I just don't believe you can be seen to be party to such a big lie, such a big deception and endure that politically.



"It simply can't be shrugged off and that's Howard's response.



"Blair has shrugged it off but Blair is deeply damaged.



"It's far from over here, there's a lot that is going to happen and much of it could wash onto Howard.



"And it's unravelling in America and Bush could lose the election next year.



"I've not seen political leaders survive when they've been complicit in such an open deception for so long."



Howard last week dismissed an accusation from Opposition Leader Simon Crean that he hid a warning from British intelligence that war against Iraq would heighten the terrorist threat to Australia.



In his report, Pilger interviews Ray McGovern, a former senior CIA officer and friend of Bush's father and ex-president, George Bush senior.



McGovern told Pilger that going to war because of weapons of mass destruction "was 95 per cent charade."



Pilger also claims that six hours after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he wanted to "hit" Iraq and allegedly said "Go Massive ... Sweep it all up. Things related and not."



He was allegedly talked down by Powell who said the American people would not accept an attack on Iraq without any evidence, so they opted to invade Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden had bases.



Pilger claimed war was set in train on September 17, 2001 when Bush signed a paper directing the Pentagon to explore the military options for an attack on Iraq.

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From an email by UST poet Gerald Feljandro Ramos:



Who understands men?



1. The nice men are ugly.



2. The handsome men are not nice.



3. The handsome and nice men are gay.



4. The handsome, nice and heterosexual men are married.



5. The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men, have no money.



6. The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men with money think we are only after their money.



7. The handsome men without money are after our money.



8. The handsome men, who are not so nice and somewhat heterosexual, don't think we are beautiful enough.



9. The men who think we are beautiful, that are heterosexual,somewhat nice and have money, are cowards.



10.The men who are somewhat handsome, somewhat nice and have some money and thank God are heterosexual, are shy and NEVER MAKE THE FIRST MOVE!



11.The men who never make the first move, automatically lose interest in us when we take the initiative.



NOW... WHO IN THE HELL UNDERSTANDS MEN?



Men are like a fine wine. They all start out like grapes, and it's our job to stomp on them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd like to have dinner with.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2003

My very good friend, the UP poet Vincent Coscolluela whom we all call Cos, has written a new poem titled "Why I Never Go to Discos," which I am totally in love with. It's a departure from his earlier works (which were already quite heady, I tell you). This poem is part of my second book, FutureShock Poetry: An Anthology of Young Writers and New Literatures, which is the second volume of an anthology I am working on now (the first one was nominated -- surprisingly -- for Best Anthology in the 2003 National Book Awards!). So, without even asking for his permission, I am posting this poem in my blog. Why? Because it rocks!



         Why I Never Go To Discos



         I don’t know how to dance, and the language

         of moving bodies has never been

         my specialty. Instead I like to pair up words

         and look them up. Today

         I googled God and found

         42,700,000 matches, Freud among them.

         Freud? Freud says cigarettes

         should remind us of penises, and if so

         no wonder many people smoke at discos.

         Like you, I go out at night sometimes

         but it is to take long walks

         to see lights of a non-fluorescent kind.

         Did you know in the Discovery Channel

         they’re making fluorescent mice?

         They’re patented even, since scientists

         created them. Something in the genes, and yes,

         when they make love, they have fluorescent

         babies. The mice of course, not the scientists.

         I once wrote my name and number

         at the back of a bus, but nobody called.

         I blamed my handwriting all week.

         Do you mind if I say

         make love instead of have sex?

         Do you mind? I don’t smoke

         and my penis is small, but

         I make great pancakes and am often kind

         especially on Sundays. Despite

         my loneliness I have my ways

         and will only kiss you if it rains.



Love it. Love it. Love it.

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Mitos,



      Happy birthday.



                      Jaguar.

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