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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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Wednesday, October 27, 2004

entry arrow7:41 PM | Fools

While I was out trying to solve my problem, some wacko posted a very bad comment in my tagboard, in my name. That, plus the cause of my primary problem, have me convinced that this world is full of sickos. Anyway, I've erased the comment and the related replies.



And my nightmare is over, too. Thanks, guys, for the prayers.



Will I blog about what happened? Mmmm, maybe ... maybe not. :) I'm just glad it's over. I just could not believe the outpouring of support from friends and peers. But the life changes continue! I'm quitting teaching soon. It's not worth my life. I'm doing something else that makes me happier.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow7:41 PM | Fools

While I was out trying to solve my problem, some wacko posted a very bad comment in my tagboard, in my name. That, plus the cause of my primary problem, have me convinced that this world is full of sickos. Anyway, I've erased the comment and the related replies.



And my nightmare is over, too. Thanks, guys, for the prayers.



Will I blog about what happened? Mmmm, maybe ... maybe not. :) I'm just glad it's over. I just could not believe the outpouring of support from friends and peers. But the life changes continue! I'm quitting teaching soon. It's not worth my life. I'm doing something else that makes me happier.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow7:41 PM | Fools

While I was out trying to solve my problem, some wacko posted a very bad comment in my tagboard, in my name. That, plus the cause of my primary problem, have me convinced that this world is full of sickos. Anyway, I've erased the comment and the related replies.



And my nightmare is over, too. Thanks, guys, for the prayers.



Will I blog about what happened? Mmmm, maybe ... maybe not. :) I'm just glad it's over. I just could not believe the outpouring of support from friends and peers. But the life changes continue! I'm quitting teaching soon. It's not worth my life. I'm doing something else that makes me happier.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Tuesday, October 26, 2004

entry arrow11:07 PM | About Silence

Dear Friends,



I'm sorry I've been silent lately. First there was enormous work to accomplish, but right now I am in the middle of a major life-earthquake, which will have far-reaching consequences, I think. I need your prayers, especially yours, Beth. I'm fine, health-wise, so don't worry about that. It's something bigger than that. Because I might have to get another life, somewhere else. But I'll get through this. The funny thing is, I think I need this. This is the wake-up call I've been waiting for the past five years. Kokak, sorry if I haven't been telling you everything, but I will soon, okay? I just wanted to keep everything to myself man gud. I was trying to be brave. Call me when you can. I love you. And M., thank you so much for being there. I couldn't have gone through tonight without you.



I love you all. And don't worry. This blog will not die. It's about "how to live," right?



Ian


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow11:07 PM | About Silence

Dear Friends,



I'm sorry I've been silent lately. First there was enormous work to accomplish, but right now I am in the middle of a major life-earthquake, which will have far-reaching consequences, I think. I need your prayers, especially yours, Beth. I'm fine, health-wise, so don't worry about that. It's something bigger than that. Because I might have to get another life, somewhere else. But I'll get through this. The funny thing is, I think I need this. This is the wake-up call I've been waiting for the past five years. Kokak, sorry if I haven't been telling you everything, but I will soon, okay? I just wanted to keep everything to myself man gud. I was trying to be brave. Call me when you can. I love you. And M., thank you so much for being there. I couldn't have gone through tonight without you.



I love you all. And don't worry. This blog will not die. It's about "how to live," right?



Ian


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow11:07 PM | About Silence

Dear Friends,



I'm sorry I've been silent lately. First there was enormous work to accomplish, but right now I am in the middle of a major life-earthquake, which will have far-reaching consequences, I think. I need your prayers, especially yours, Beth. I'm fine, health-wise, so don't worry about that. It's something bigger than that. Because I might have to get another life, somewhere else. But I'll get through this. The funny thing is, I think I need this. This is the wake-up call I've been waiting for the past five years. Kokak, sorry if I haven't been telling you everything, but I will soon, okay? I just wanted to keep everything to myself man gud. I was trying to be brave. Call me when you can. I love you. And M., thank you so much for being there. I couldn't have gone through tonight without you.



I love you all. And don't worry. This blog will not die. It's about "how to live," right?



Ian


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Saturday, October 23, 2004

entry arrow11:10 PM | Missing Some Fine Movies

I miss Fred Schepisi's Six Degrees of Separation all of a sudden. Also Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters. Has anyone seen these cinematic gems? Everyone should. I'm in that introspective cinematic mode again.





I asked my pirate if they had these titles stashed somewhere. Nada.



[sighing dramatically]





But if you want a creepy "love" story, try Takashi Miike's Audition. The last scene will have you gripping your seat like a dentist just drilled through your mouth. Which means, buy the DVD at once.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow11:10 PM | Missing Some Fine Movies

I miss Fred Schepisi's Six Degrees of Separation all of a sudden. Also Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters. Has anyone seen these cinematic gems? Everyone should. I'm in that introspective cinematic mode again.





I asked my pirate if they had these titles stashed somewhere. Nada.



[sighing dramatically]





But if you want a creepy "love" story, try Takashi Miike's Audition. The last scene will have you gripping your seat like a dentist just drilled through your mouth. Which means, buy the DVD at once.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow11:10 PM | Missing Some Fine Movies

I miss Fred Schepisi's Six Degrees of Separation all of a sudden. Also Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters. Has anyone seen these cinematic gems? Everyone should. I'm in that introspective cinematic mode again.





I asked my pirate if they had these titles stashed somewhere. Nada.



[sighing dramatically]





But if you want a creepy "love" story, try Takashi Miike's Audition. The last scene will have you gripping your seat like a dentist just drilled through your mouth. Which means, buy the DVD at once.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Saturday, October 16, 2004

entry arrow3:14 AM | On Edward Hopper

For Marie La Vina, who cares about such things



The first Edward Hopper painting I saw was, of course, Nighthawks. It's iconic, and it's everywhere. Sooner or later, anyone would have stumbled upon it, the way we do with, say, the Mona Lisa. I was a college student ... angst-ridden, and possessed with dreams of running away to the big city. It was always New York in those dreams. My movies informed me about this place of eternal flux, unforgiving and exciting at the same time, where creativity feeds on beautiful, dramatic loneliness. I was browsing through my painter-friend Krevo's postcard collection, and there it was. Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. It was the painting's subversive sadness that attracted me most -- the way its realism seems to spring out of a Saturday Evening Post Technicolor mold, which is to say that its grand, saturated colors almost invoked a kind of cheeriness ... and yet, there isn't really any. See the painting for yourself:







The always brilliant Sister Wendy talks about this masterpiece in her book American Masterpieces:



Apparently, there was a period when every college dormitory in the country had on its walls a poster of Hopper's Nighthawks; it had become an icon. It is easy to understand its appeal. This is not just an image of big-city loneliness, but of existential loneliness: the sense that we have (perhaps overwhelmingly in late adolescence) of being on our own in the human condition. When we look at that dark New York street, we would expect the fluorescent-lit cafe to be welcoming, but it is not. There is no way to enter it, no door. The extreme brightness means that the people inside are held, exposed and vulnerable. They hunch their shoulders defensively. Hopper did not actually observe them, because he used himself as a model for both the seated men, as if he perceived men in this situation as clones. He modeled the woman, as he did all of his female characters, on his wife Jo. He was a difficult man, and Jo was far more emotionally involved with him than he with her; one of her methods of keeping him with her was to insist that only she would be his model.



From Jo's diaries we learn that Hopper described this work as a painting of "three characters." The man behind the counter, though imprisoned in the triangle, is in fact free. He has a job, a home, he can come and go; he can look at the customers with a half-smile. It is the customers who are the nighthawks. Nighthawks are predators -- but are the men there to prey on the woman, or has she come in to prey on the men? To my mind, the man and woman are a couple, as the position of their hands suggests, but they are a couple so lost in misery that they cannot communicate; they have nothing to give each other. I see the nighthawks of the picture not so much as birds of prey, but simply as birds: great winged creatures that should be free in the sky, but instead are shut in, dazed and miserable, with their heads constantly banging against the glass of the world's callousness. In his Last Poems, A. E. Housman (1859-1936) speaks of being "a stranger and afraid/In a world I never made." That was what Hopper felt -- and what he conveys so bitterly.


See more of Hopper's works in this wonderful website.



[what painting changed your life?]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow3:14 AM | On Edward Hopper

For Marie La Vina, who cares about such things



The first Edward Hopper painting I saw was, of course, Nighthawks. It's iconic, and it's everywhere. Sooner or later, anyone would have stumbled upon it, the way we do with, say, the Mona Lisa. I was a college student ... angst-ridden, and possessed with dreams of running away to the big city. It was always New York in those dreams. My movies informed me about this place of eternal flux, unforgiving and exciting at the same time, where creativity feeds on beautiful, dramatic loneliness. I was browsing through my painter-friend Krevo's postcard collection, and there it was. Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. It was the painting's subversive sadness that attracted me most -- the way its realism seems to spring out of a Saturday Evening Post Technicolor mold, which is to say that its grand, saturated colors almost invoked a kind of cheeriness ... and yet, there isn't really any. See the painting for yourself:







The always brilliant Sister Wendy talks about this masterpiece in her book American Masterpieces:



Apparently, there was a period when every college dormitory in the country had on its walls a poster of Hopper's Nighthawks; it had become an icon. It is easy to understand its appeal. This is not just an image of big-city loneliness, but of existential loneliness: the sense that we have (perhaps overwhelmingly in late adolescence) of being on our own in the human condition. When we look at that dark New York street, we would expect the fluorescent-lit cafe to be welcoming, but it is not. There is no way to enter it, no door. The extreme brightness means that the people inside are held, exposed and vulnerable. They hunch their shoulders defensively. Hopper did not actually observe them, because he used himself as a model for both the seated men, as if he perceived men in this situation as clones. He modeled the woman, as he did all of his female characters, on his wife Jo. He was a difficult man, and Jo was far more emotionally involved with him than he with her; one of her methods of keeping him with her was to insist that only she would be his model.



From Jo's diaries we learn that Hopper described this work as a painting of "three characters." The man behind the counter, though imprisoned in the triangle, is in fact free. He has a job, a home, he can come and go; he can look at the customers with a half-smile. It is the customers who are the nighthawks. Nighthawks are predators -- but are the men there to prey on the woman, or has she come in to prey on the men? To my mind, the man and woman are a couple, as the position of their hands suggests, but they are a couple so lost in misery that they cannot communicate; they have nothing to give each other. I see the nighthawks of the picture not so much as birds of prey, but simply as birds: great winged creatures that should be free in the sky, but instead are shut in, dazed and miserable, with their heads constantly banging against the glass of the world's callousness. In his Last Poems, A. E. Housman (1859-1936) speaks of being "a stranger and afraid/In a world I never made." That was what Hopper felt -- and what he conveys so bitterly.


See more of Hopper's works in this wonderful website.



[what painting changed your life?]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow3:14 AM | On Edward Hopper

For Marie La Vina, who cares about such things



The first Edward Hopper painting I saw was, of course, Nighthawks. It's iconic, and it's everywhere. Sooner or later, anyone would have stumbled upon it, the way we do with, say, the Mona Lisa. I was a college student ... angst-ridden, and possessed with dreams of running away to the big city. It was always New York in those dreams. My movies informed me about this place of eternal flux, unforgiving and exciting at the same time, where creativity feeds on beautiful, dramatic loneliness. I was browsing through my painter-friend Krevo's postcard collection, and there it was. Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. It was the painting's subversive sadness that attracted me most -- the way its realism seems to spring out of a Saturday Evening Post Technicolor mold, which is to say that its grand, saturated colors almost invoked a kind of cheeriness ... and yet, there isn't really any. See the painting for yourself:







The always brilliant Sister Wendy talks about this masterpiece in her book American Masterpieces:



Apparently, there was a period when every college dormitory in the country had on its walls a poster of Hopper's Nighthawks; it had become an icon. It is easy to understand its appeal. This is not just an image of big-city loneliness, but of existential loneliness: the sense that we have (perhaps overwhelmingly in late adolescence) of being on our own in the human condition. When we look at that dark New York street, we would expect the fluorescent-lit cafe to be welcoming, but it is not. There is no way to enter it, no door. The extreme brightness means that the people inside are held, exposed and vulnerable. They hunch their shoulders defensively. Hopper did not actually observe them, because he used himself as a model for both the seated men, as if he perceived men in this situation as clones. He modeled the woman, as he did all of his female characters, on his wife Jo. He was a difficult man, and Jo was far more emotionally involved with him than he with her; one of her methods of keeping him with her was to insist that only she would be his model.



From Jo's diaries we learn that Hopper described this work as a painting of "three characters." The man behind the counter, though imprisoned in the triangle, is in fact free. He has a job, a home, he can come and go; he can look at the customers with a half-smile. It is the customers who are the nighthawks. Nighthawks are predators -- but are the men there to prey on the woman, or has she come in to prey on the men? To my mind, the man and woman are a couple, as the position of their hands suggests, but they are a couple so lost in misery that they cannot communicate; they have nothing to give each other. I see the nighthawks of the picture not so much as birds of prey, but simply as birds: great winged creatures that should be free in the sky, but instead are shut in, dazed and miserable, with their heads constantly banging against the glass of the world's callousness. In his Last Poems, A. E. Housman (1859-1936) speaks of being "a stranger and afraid/In a world I never made." That was what Hopper felt -- and what he conveys so bitterly.


See more of Hopper's works in this wonderful website.



[what painting changed your life?]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Friday, October 15, 2004

entry arrow8:56 PM | Last on Dubya

I promise, Kokak, this will be my last post on Dubya, but I just can't resist this...



Watch Dubya try to define "sovereignty"! This is so much more interesting than hearing him say "nu-cu-lar"!



[via histrionics of a balding drama king]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow8:56 PM | Last on Dubya

I promise, Kokak, this will be my last post on Dubya, but I just can't resist this...



Watch Dubya try to define "sovereignty"! This is so much more interesting than hearing him say "nu-cu-lar"!



[via histrionics of a balding drama king]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow8:56 PM | Last on Dubya

I promise, Kokak, this will be my last post on Dubya, but I just can't resist this...



Watch Dubya try to define "sovereignty"! This is so much more interesting than hearing him say "nu-cu-lar"!



[via histrionics of a balding drama king]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow5:36 PM | On Noam Chomsky




Noam Chomsky has a website? Whoa. Giddiness!



[via notes from dumaguete]




[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow5:36 PM | On Noam Chomsky




Noam Chomsky has a website? Whoa. Giddiness!



[via notes from dumaguete]




[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow5:36 PM | On Noam Chomsky




Noam Chomsky has a website? Whoa. Giddiness!



[via notes from dumaguete]




[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow5:24 PM | The Sound of No Hands Clapping

You remember the song we used to sing in Sunday School?



If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!



What if no one claps?


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow5:24 PM | The Sound of No Hands Clapping

You remember the song we used to sing in Sunday School?



If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!



What if no one claps?


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow5:24 PM | The Sound of No Hands Clapping

You remember the song we used to sing in Sunday School?



If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands!



What if no one claps?


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Thursday, October 14, 2004

entry arrow9:48 PM | Britney for Bush

If one had to believe in celebrity endorsers in choosing who will best lead America for the next four years, what would your choice be?





Bruce "I'm for Kerry" Springsteen?



Or





Britney "I'm a Slave for Bush" Spears?



If I were an American, I'd choose the endorsement by the one who gave us "Born in the U.S.A." over any by a brainless ho, any day. I mean, geez, she can't even stay married for 24 hours once. And now she's pretty sure about Bush?



There's really no getting around it. Stupid people love Bush.



[read the CNN article, and I mean, come on ... Kerry has won all three debates]



Perpectives to ponder, and both caught on tape. When the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, Kerry was in the Capitol, according to a report by the New York Times Magazine. From the article by Matt Bai:



"You know, my instinct was, Where's my gun?" Kerry told me. "How do you fight back? I wanted to do something." That evening, sitting at home, he called an aide and said he wanted to go to New York that very night to help the rescuers...


And we all know what Bush did the first time he heard the news. He sat for -- how long? seven minutes? -- in a kindergarten classroom, paralyzed, and continued to read a book called My Pet Goat.



I call that decisive leadership.



[read the New York Times Magazine article]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow9:48 PM | Britney for Bush

If one had to believe in celebrity endorsers in choosing who will best lead America for the next four years, what would your choice be?





Bruce "I'm for Kerry" Springsteen?



Or





Britney "I'm a Slave for Bush" Spears?



If I were an American, I'd choose the endorsement by the one who gave us "Born in the U.S.A." over any by a brainless ho, any day. I mean, geez, she can't even stay married for 24 hours once. And now she's pretty sure about Bush?



There's really no getting around it. Stupid people love Bush.



[read the CNN article, and I mean, come on ... Kerry has won all three debates]



Perpectives to ponder, and both caught on tape. When the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, Kerry was in the Capitol, according to a report by the New York Times Magazine. From the article by Matt Bai:



"You know, my instinct was, Where's my gun?" Kerry told me. "How do you fight back? I wanted to do something." That evening, sitting at home, he called an aide and said he wanted to go to New York that very night to help the rescuers...


And we all know what Bush did the first time he heard the news. He sat for -- how long? seven minutes? -- in a kindergarten classroom, paralyzed, and continued to read a book called My Pet Goat.



I call that decisive leadership.



[read the New York Times Magazine article]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow9:48 PM | Britney for Bush

If one had to believe in celebrity endorsers in choosing who will best lead America for the next four years, what would your choice be?





Bruce "I'm for Kerry" Springsteen?



Or





Britney "I'm a Slave for Bush" Spears?



If I were an American, I'd choose the endorsement by the one who gave us "Born in the U.S.A." over any by a brainless ho, any day. I mean, geez, she can't even stay married for 24 hours once. And now she's pretty sure about Bush?



There's really no getting around it. Stupid people love Bush.



[read the CNN article, and I mean, come on ... Kerry has won all three debates]



Perpectives to ponder, and both caught on tape. When the planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on 9/11, Kerry was in the Capitol, according to a report by the New York Times Magazine. From the article by Matt Bai:



"You know, my instinct was, Where's my gun?" Kerry told me. "How do you fight back? I wanted to do something." That evening, sitting at home, he called an aide and said he wanted to go to New York that very night to help the rescuers...


And we all know what Bush did the first time he heard the news. He sat for -- how long? seven minutes? -- in a kindergarten classroom, paralyzed, and continued to read a book called My Pet Goat.



I call that decisive leadership.



[read the New York Times Magazine article]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Wednesday, October 13, 2004

entry arrow3:21 AM | Writers Hate Bush



This is interesting. America's novelists are voting for Kerry. "I'm voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he," says Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club).



[via bookslut, and still crying]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow3:21 AM | Writers Hate Bush



This is interesting. America's novelists are voting for Kerry. "I'm voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he," says Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club).



[via bookslut, and still crying]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow3:21 AM | Writers Hate Bush



This is interesting. America's novelists are voting for Kerry. "I'm voting for Kerry, because I have a brain and so does he," says Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club).



[via bookslut, and still crying]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow2:39 AM | Like a Burst Dam

I have been crying since late evening. I don't know exactly why, but the tears just gush out in a terrifying flow, sniffles stirring the quiet of the night. It's 2:30 in the morning now, but here I am still, crying, my eyes all red and my nose puffy. It all started with the deepest argument I had with M., which began with me silently storming out of the house to a cafe downtown. The reasons are better left unsaid. Getting home a while later with M., we had the most cutting quarrel ever on the eve of our thirteenth month, on the thirteenth day of October. It was not the most dramatic or the most physically taxing -- we've had those before, and I have the scars to prove it -- but this one, I think, cut closer to the heart. We said things we've been meaning to say but kept hidden for the past year, afraid of our vulnerabilities, content in our efforts to keep things intact. But how suddenly all recrimination spring out, how suddenly we want to sound logical and damning in our crusades, and how infinitely absurd we all sound in actuality. Nothing is as silly, and as truly heartbreaking, as two people in love trying to make sense with the mud we throw each other. Later, as we lie down to truce and sleep, M.'s back faces me as M. cries into the pillow. I start to pray. And in the darkness, everything comes to me -- not an epiphany, no, nor a realization that should set everything straight. It is a dam of confusing emotions breaking. And then I begin to cry. I begin crying for M. I begin crying for myself. I begin crying for all the silly things and for all the little sadnesses this past 29 years. I did get a few hours of sleep, but later, while in our sleepy state we grappled to make love (early mornings always have this effect), I came to my peak and at that precise moment, collapsing down on M.'s chest, I burst out crying again. Bigger this time, and equally puzzling. I cry as my body settles down from its heaving. I cry as I take my shower. I cry in the dark as I get into my clothes. It seems suddenly that I am crying for all innocence lost, for the fact that in our pursuit of love and loving, the thing we do best is hurt the ones we truly love.



[When was the last time you cried?]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow2:39 AM | Like a Burst Dam

I have been crying since late evening. I don't know exactly why, but the tears just gush out in a terrifying flow, sniffles stirring the quiet of the night. It's 2:30 in the morning now, but here I am still, crying, my eyes all red and my nose puffy. It all started with the deepest argument I had with M., which began with me silently storming out of the house to a cafe downtown. The reasons are better left unsaid. Getting home a while later with M., we had the most cutting quarrel ever on the eve of our thirteenth month, on the thirteenth day of October. It was not the most dramatic or the most physically taxing -- we've had those before, and I have the scars to prove it -- but this one, I think, cut closer to the heart. We said things we've been meaning to say but kept hidden for the past year, afraid of our vulnerabilities, content in our efforts to keep things intact. But how suddenly all recrimination spring out, how suddenly we want to sound logical and damning in our crusades, and how infinitely absurd we all sound in actuality. Nothing is as silly, and as truly heartbreaking, as two people in love trying to make sense with the mud we throw each other. Later, as we lie down to truce and sleep, M.'s back faces me as M. cries into the pillow. I start to pray. And in the darkness, everything comes to me -- not an epiphany, no, nor a realization that should set everything straight. It is a dam of confusing emotions breaking. And then I begin to cry. I begin crying for M. I begin crying for myself. I begin crying for all the silly things and for all the little sadnesses this past 29 years. I did get a few hours of sleep, but later, while in our sleepy state we grappled to make love (early mornings always have this effect), I came to my peak and at that precise moment, collapsing down on M.'s chest, I burst out crying again. Bigger this time, and equally puzzling. I cry as my body settles down from its heaving. I cry as I take my shower. I cry in the dark as I get into my clothes. It seems suddenly that I am crying for all innocence lost, for the fact that in our pursuit of love and loving, the thing we do best is hurt the ones we truly love.



[When was the last time you cried?]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow2:39 AM | Like a Burst Dam

I have been crying since late evening. I don't know exactly why, but the tears just gush out in a terrifying flow, sniffles stirring the quiet of the night. It's 2:30 in the morning now, but here I am still, crying, my eyes all red and my nose puffy. It all started with the deepest argument I had with M., which began with me silently storming out of the house to a cafe downtown. The reasons are better left unsaid. Getting home a while later with M., we had the most cutting quarrel ever on the eve of our thirteenth month, on the thirteenth day of October. It was not the most dramatic or the most physically taxing -- we've had those before, and I have the scars to prove it -- but this one, I think, cut closer to the heart. We said things we've been meaning to say but kept hidden for the past year, afraid of our vulnerabilities, content in our efforts to keep things intact. But how suddenly all recrimination spring out, how suddenly we want to sound logical and damning in our crusades, and how infinitely absurd we all sound in actuality. Nothing is as silly, and as truly heartbreaking, as two people in love trying to make sense with the mud we throw each other. Later, as we lie down to truce and sleep, M.'s back faces me as M. cries into the pillow. I start to pray. And in the darkness, everything comes to me -- not an epiphany, no, nor a realization that should set everything straight. It is a dam of confusing emotions breaking. And then I begin to cry. I begin crying for M. I begin crying for myself. I begin crying for all the silly things and for all the little sadnesses this past 29 years. I did get a few hours of sleep, but later, while in our sleepy state we grappled to make love (early mornings always have this effect), I came to my peak and at that precise moment, collapsing down on M.'s chest, I burst out crying again. Bigger this time, and equally puzzling. I cry as my body settles down from its heaving. I cry as I take my shower. I cry in the dark as I get into my clothes. It seems suddenly that I am crying for all innocence lost, for the fact that in our pursuit of love and loving, the thing we do best is hurt the ones we truly love.



[When was the last time you cried?]


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Monday, October 11, 2004

entry arrow4:05 PM | Bad Massage

I think I'm coming down with fever today. Had bad massage yesterday over at the new massage parlor downtown. The first session I had two months ago was actually quite relaxing, but this time -- with an older masahista who was sniffling while doing his job -- I felt like battered chicken. I have bruises all over to prove it. So, anyway, I'm still all stressed out because I have thousands of papers to write and grades for my students to make. I think I'm coming down with fever today. I hope to God it's not dengue.



[five minutes later...]



But you know what? I sound like a wuss. I can't let my hypochondria get the better of me. I'm just going to get up now, stretch a bit, drink plenty of liquid, find some food to eat, continue my work, and think Oprah.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow4:05 PM | Bad Massage

I think I'm coming down with fever today. Had bad massage yesterday over at the new massage parlor downtown. The first session I had two months ago was actually quite relaxing, but this time -- with an older masahista who was sniffling while doing his job -- I felt like battered chicken. I have bruises all over to prove it. So, anyway, I'm still all stressed out because I have thousands of papers to write and grades for my students to make. I think I'm coming down with fever today. I hope to God it's not dengue.



[five minutes later...]



But you know what? I sound like a wuss. I can't let my hypochondria get the better of me. I'm just going to get up now, stretch a bit, drink plenty of liquid, find some food to eat, continue my work, and think Oprah.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow4:05 PM | Bad Massage

I think I'm coming down with fever today. Had bad massage yesterday over at the new massage parlor downtown. The first session I had two months ago was actually quite relaxing, but this time -- with an older masahista who was sniffling while doing his job -- I felt like battered chicken. I have bruises all over to prove it. So, anyway, I'm still all stressed out because I have thousands of papers to write and grades for my students to make. I think I'm coming down with fever today. I hope to God it's not dengue.



[five minutes later...]



But you know what? I sound like a wuss. I can't let my hypochondria get the better of me. I'm just going to get up now, stretch a bit, drink plenty of liquid, find some food to eat, continue my work, and think Oprah.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Sunday, October 10, 2004

entry arrow9:00 PM | Derrida's Dead

Jacques Derrida died today. Deconstruct that.







In honor of this immensely influential French thinker, I am posting an amusing, but useful, article by Warren Hedges, about...



Using Deconstruction to Astonish Friends and Confound Enemies (In Two Easy Steps!)



1. Identify a Binary Opposition



1.A. Notice what a particular text or school of thought takes to be natural, normal, self-evident, originary, immediately apparent, or worthy of pursuit or emulation:



* group x (whites, middle class, Americans, etc.) is "inherently virtuous"

* group x (darker skinned people, youths, etc.) is "natural and spontaneous"

* men are naturally x (rational, aggressive, desirous of women, etc.)

* women are naturally x (nurturing, connected to the earth, etc.)

* "everybody knows that" x is true

* everybody wants x, it is natural to want x, x is an inherent trait of human nature



1.B. Notice those places where a text is most insistent that there is a firm and fast distinction between two things:



* men and women, black and white, straight and gay, subject and object

* x precedes y (text: interpretation, Adam: Eve, heterosexuality: homosexuality)

* x is more natural than y (female: male, heterosexuality: homosexuality)

* y is derivative of x or a perversion of x (Milton's Satan: Christ, "normal" sex: fetishes, criticism: fiction)

* y has a parasitic relation to x (fiction: truth, criticism: fiction, interpretation: text)

* x is original and y is imitative (the book: the movie, life: heaven)

* y is a manifestation or effect of x (culture: economics, surface: deep structure, gender: anatomy, practice: theory)

* y is an exception or special case and x is the rule



2. Deconstruct the Opposition



2.A. Show how something represented as primary, complete and originally is derived, composite, and/or an effect of something else.



* Because writers always write in relation to prior writers they learn about in school, fiction is a result of criticism. It depends on criticism, and is derived from criticism.

* Our sense of Winnie the Pooh when we read books about him is shaped by our memories of the movies. The voices we hear when we read are the movie voices, and the "original" text is partially an effect of the movie.

* Because consciousness is actually "self-consciousness," (i.e. a self and a consciousness) consciousness is always already divided, never simply present to itself.



and/or



2.B. Show how something represented as completely different from something else only exists by virtue of defining itself against that something else. In other words, show how it depends on that thing.



For example:



* Mulder and Scully do not so much pursue "the Truth" as uncover errors. If they ever find the whole truth, the show will end.

* Heterosexual only makes sense when opposed to homosexual. Without homosexuals, there would be no heterosexuals.

* Truth depends on error. Without the concept of error, truth does not exist.




and/or



2.C. Show how something represented as normal is a special case.



* "Truth" is a story that people find especially convincing.

* "Normal" sexual reproduction is the result of several components that, taken alone, would be called perversions. Thus normal sex is in fact a specialized perversion.

* Whiteness is an ethnicity that disguises the fact it’s an ethnicity.




The General Way It Works



In general, as Jonathan Culler puts it, deconstruction works "within an opposition," but "upsets [its] hierarchy by producing an exchange of properties." This disrupts not only the hierarchy, but the opposition itself.



Note how this is different than simply reversing an opposition. For example consider these reversals of a culturally prevalent opposition:



* The Pooh movies are better than the books (reverses the usual assumption that the book is better and more original than the movie).

* the Joker is cooler than Batman (reverses notion of the hero).

* women are smarter than men (reverses chauvinistic "common knowledge").

* Native Americans are more heroic than cowboys (reverses the Western).



Reversal is a valuable move, but deconstruction is after bigger game, because it "deconstructs" the underlying hierarchy. For example:



* Our sense of Pooh books is derived from the movies,

* Batman is a special kind of villain called a vigilante

* Men's sense of their intelligence is dependent on a belief that women are bimbos

* "Cowboy heroism" cannot exist without "bad Indians."



Notice how these statements cripple the underlying hierarchy by "deconstructing" the opposition that it depends on. Deconstruction doesn't simply reverse the opposition, nor does it destroy it. Instead it demonstrates its inherent instability. It takes it apart from within, and without putting some new, more stable opposition in its place. If you want to really mess with something, deconstruct it.



A Note On Practicalities



In Stanley Fish's words, we can deconstruct anything in theory, but not in everyday practice. The fact that in principle we can deconstruct anything doesn't mean that we can deconstruct everything, all the time, and still communicate. We can, however, deconstruct things that annoy us, point out where a text already deconstructs an opposition, focus on oppositions authors and poets try (often with difficulty) to keep intact, and gain insight into how our own sense of ourselves (as well as the way the culture tries to interpret us) depends on oppositions that can be deconstructed.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow9:00 PM | Derrida's Dead

Jacques Derrida died today. Deconstruct that.







In honor of this immensely influential French thinker, I am posting an amusing, but useful, article by Warren Hedges, about...



Using Deconstruction to Astonish Friends and Confound Enemies (In Two Easy Steps!)



1. Identify a Binary Opposition



1.A. Notice what a particular text or school of thought takes to be natural, normal, self-evident, originary, immediately apparent, or worthy of pursuit or emulation:



* group x (whites, middle class, Americans, etc.) is "inherently virtuous"

* group x (darker skinned people, youths, etc.) is "natural and spontaneous"

* men are naturally x (rational, aggressive, desirous of women, etc.)

* women are naturally x (nurturing, connected to the earth, etc.)

* "everybody knows that" x is true

* everybody wants x, it is natural to want x, x is an inherent trait of human nature



1.B. Notice those places where a text is most insistent that there is a firm and fast distinction between two things:



* men and women, black and white, straight and gay, subject and object

* x precedes y (text: interpretation, Adam: Eve, heterosexuality: homosexuality)

* x is more natural than y (female: male, heterosexuality: homosexuality)

* y is derivative of x or a perversion of x (Milton's Satan: Christ, "normal" sex: fetishes, criticism: fiction)

* y has a parasitic relation to x (fiction: truth, criticism: fiction, interpretation: text)

* x is original and y is imitative (the book: the movie, life: heaven)

* y is a manifestation or effect of x (culture: economics, surface: deep structure, gender: anatomy, practice: theory)

* y is an exception or special case and x is the rule



2. Deconstruct the Opposition



2.A. Show how something represented as primary, complete and originally is derived, composite, and/or an effect of something else.



* Because writers always write in relation to prior writers they learn about in school, fiction is a result of criticism. It depends on criticism, and is derived from criticism.

* Our sense of Winnie the Pooh when we read books about him is shaped by our memories of the movies. The voices we hear when we read are the movie voices, and the "original" text is partially an effect of the movie.

* Because consciousness is actually "self-consciousness," (i.e. a self and a consciousness) consciousness is always already divided, never simply present to itself.



and/or



2.B. Show how something represented as completely different from something else only exists by virtue of defining itself against that something else. In other words, show how it depends on that thing.



For example:



* Mulder and Scully do not so much pursue "the Truth" as uncover errors. If they ever find the whole truth, the show will end.

* Heterosexual only makes sense when opposed to homosexual. Without homosexuals, there would be no heterosexuals.

* Truth depends on error. Without the concept of error, truth does not exist.




and/or



2.C. Show how something represented as normal is a special case.



* "Truth" is a story that people find especially convincing.

* "Normal" sexual reproduction is the result of several components that, taken alone, would be called perversions. Thus normal sex is in fact a specialized perversion.

* Whiteness is an ethnicity that disguises the fact it’s an ethnicity.




The General Way It Works



In general, as Jonathan Culler puts it, deconstruction works "within an opposition," but "upsets [its] hierarchy by producing an exchange of properties." This disrupts not only the hierarchy, but the opposition itself.



Note how this is different than simply reversing an opposition. For example consider these reversals of a culturally prevalent opposition:



* The Pooh movies are better than the books (reverses the usual assumption that the book is better and more original than the movie).

* the Joker is cooler than Batman (reverses notion of the hero).

* women are smarter than men (reverses chauvinistic "common knowledge").

* Native Americans are more heroic than cowboys (reverses the Western).



Reversal is a valuable move, but deconstruction is after bigger game, because it "deconstructs" the underlying hierarchy. For example:



* Our sense of Pooh books is derived from the movies,

* Batman is a special kind of villain called a vigilante

* Men's sense of their intelligence is dependent on a belief that women are bimbos

* "Cowboy heroism" cannot exist without "bad Indians."



Notice how these statements cripple the underlying hierarchy by "deconstructing" the opposition that it depends on. Deconstruction doesn't simply reverse the opposition, nor does it destroy it. Instead it demonstrates its inherent instability. It takes it apart from within, and without putting some new, more stable opposition in its place. If you want to really mess with something, deconstruct it.



A Note On Practicalities



In Stanley Fish's words, we can deconstruct anything in theory, but not in everyday practice. The fact that in principle we can deconstruct anything doesn't mean that we can deconstruct everything, all the time, and still communicate. We can, however, deconstruct things that annoy us, point out where a text already deconstructs an opposition, focus on oppositions authors and poets try (often with difficulty) to keep intact, and gain insight into how our own sense of ourselves (as well as the way the culture tries to interpret us) depends on oppositions that can be deconstructed.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow9:00 PM | Derrida's Dead

Jacques Derrida died today. Deconstruct that.







In honor of this immensely influential French thinker, I am posting an amusing, but useful, article by Warren Hedges, about...



Using Deconstruction to Astonish Friends and Confound Enemies (In Two Easy Steps!)



1. Identify a Binary Opposition



1.A. Notice what a particular text or school of thought takes to be natural, normal, self-evident, originary, immediately apparent, or worthy of pursuit or emulation:



* group x (whites, middle class, Americans, etc.) is "inherently virtuous"

* group x (darker skinned people, youths, etc.) is "natural and spontaneous"

* men are naturally x (rational, aggressive, desirous of women, etc.)

* women are naturally x (nurturing, connected to the earth, etc.)

* "everybody knows that" x is true

* everybody wants x, it is natural to want x, x is an inherent trait of human nature



1.B. Notice those places where a text is most insistent that there is a firm and fast distinction between two things:



* men and women, black and white, straight and gay, subject and object

* x precedes y (text: interpretation, Adam: Eve, heterosexuality: homosexuality)

* x is more natural than y (female: male, heterosexuality: homosexuality)

* y is derivative of x or a perversion of x (Milton's Satan: Christ, "normal" sex: fetishes, criticism: fiction)

* y has a parasitic relation to x (fiction: truth, criticism: fiction, interpretation: text)

* x is original and y is imitative (the book: the movie, life: heaven)

* y is a manifestation or effect of x (culture: economics, surface: deep structure, gender: anatomy, practice: theory)

* y is an exception or special case and x is the rule



2. Deconstruct the Opposition



2.A. Show how something represented as primary, complete and originally is derived, composite, and/or an effect of something else.



* Because writers always write in relation to prior writers they learn about in school, fiction is a result of criticism. It depends on criticism, and is derived from criticism.

* Our sense of Winnie the Pooh when we read books about him is shaped by our memories of the movies. The voices we hear when we read are the movie voices, and the "original" text is partially an effect of the movie.

* Because consciousness is actually "self-consciousness," (i.e. a self and a consciousness) consciousness is always already divided, never simply present to itself.



and/or



2.B. Show how something represented as completely different from something else only exists by virtue of defining itself against that something else. In other words, show how it depends on that thing.



For example:



* Mulder and Scully do not so much pursue "the Truth" as uncover errors. If they ever find the whole truth, the show will end.

* Heterosexual only makes sense when opposed to homosexual. Without homosexuals, there would be no heterosexuals.

* Truth depends on error. Without the concept of error, truth does not exist.




and/or



2.C. Show how something represented as normal is a special case.



* "Truth" is a story that people find especially convincing.

* "Normal" sexual reproduction is the result of several components that, taken alone, would be called perversions. Thus normal sex is in fact a specialized perversion.

* Whiteness is an ethnicity that disguises the fact it’s an ethnicity.




The General Way It Works



In general, as Jonathan Culler puts it, deconstruction works "within an opposition," but "upsets [its] hierarchy by producing an exchange of properties." This disrupts not only the hierarchy, but the opposition itself.



Note how this is different than simply reversing an opposition. For example consider these reversals of a culturally prevalent opposition:



* The Pooh movies are better than the books (reverses the usual assumption that the book is better and more original than the movie).

* the Joker is cooler than Batman (reverses notion of the hero).

* women are smarter than men (reverses chauvinistic "common knowledge").

* Native Americans are more heroic than cowboys (reverses the Western).



Reversal is a valuable move, but deconstruction is after bigger game, because it "deconstructs" the underlying hierarchy. For example:



* Our sense of Pooh books is derived from the movies,

* Batman is a special kind of villain called a vigilante

* Men's sense of their intelligence is dependent on a belief that women are bimbos

* "Cowboy heroism" cannot exist without "bad Indians."



Notice how these statements cripple the underlying hierarchy by "deconstructing" the opposition that it depends on. Deconstruction doesn't simply reverse the opposition, nor does it destroy it. Instead it demonstrates its inherent instability. It takes it apart from within, and without putting some new, more stable opposition in its place. If you want to really mess with something, deconstruct it.



A Note On Practicalities



In Stanley Fish's words, we can deconstruct anything in theory, but not in everyday practice. The fact that in principle we can deconstruct anything doesn't mean that we can deconstruct everything, all the time, and still communicate. We can, however, deconstruct things that annoy us, point out where a text already deconstructs an opposition, focus on oppositions authors and poets try (often with difficulty) to keep intact, and gain insight into how our own sense of ourselves (as well as the way the culture tries to interpret us) depends on oppositions that can be deconstructed.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Saturday, October 09, 2004

entry arrow10:55 AM | American Fart

WARNING: PARTISAN COMMENTS AHEAD. IF YOU ARE A BUSH LOVER (WHICH SOUNDS VERY KINKY, ACTUALLY), THEN DON'T READ THIS POST



The greatest Filipino dream is to become an American.

--Jessica Zafra



Well, not for me, baby. Although, considering the long line I've seen inside the U.S. Embassy, there may be a kernel of truth to that. I've written about this before: people so want to go to the United States you can feel it for real in that embassy line. The smell of so much fervent, nervous hopes to get a U.S. visa is the smell of fart. People fart a lot in the visa line. People bedecked with jewels, people dressed up to the nines... They all fart in the line.



A friend recently asked me, "Why don't you apply for scholarship to an American university?" I found myself -- to my surprise -- making a face. And thinking about it now, I think I'd rather be in Australia, or Europe, or New Zealand. Even China or Malaysia. America is our modern mythological land of milk and honey, yes ... but, frankly, it's not worth all that fart.



We were Americans once, New Yorkers specifically, when September 11 came barreling into our consciousness. We felt for America. But the way America's Top Cowboy has gone about dismantling that sympathy in the last three years is just so... sad. So much have been written about this terrible turn of affairs, so I won't even elaborate, at the risk of sounding redundant.



Here's a thought, though. Why don't we do what the U.S. State Department (or is it the Department of Homeland Security now?) does everytime "something goes wrong" in the Philippines? Why don't we issue a travel warning? It would be futile, of course, because people still find America alluring*, but just to turn the tables, you know?



WARNING: Don't go to the U.S. Handguns abound that will kill you. High schools are ticking timebombs, like Columbine. Fear has gone amuck. Traveling is such a hassle, they even label Cat Stevens a terrorist. The President is stupid, and the Vice President rejoices in pushing the panic button just to see if America jumps. (It does.) Plus, Dubya's "Evil Doers" constantly want to bomb it.


Some might say: But that isn't America. That's just the headlines. America is the Land of the Beautiful.



Oh yeah? That's what we Filipinos keep saying to our defense every time we are portrayed as this modern-day version of a black hole. Sometimes, when I walk down the Boulevard in Dumaguete, I ask myself: Is this the Philippines I see in the headlines? No. But headlines are like that, myopic.



So yes, everybody has problems. A friend dies in a freakish cellphone robbery, for example. It breaks my heart to pieces. Is the Philippines evil? But consider this as well: Four years ago, in Flint, Michigan, a kindergarten boy finds a handgun in his uncle's house. He brings it to school one day, and shoots a six-year old girl classmate in the head.



The truth of the matter is: Evil is everywhere. Good is also everywhere.



Oh, don't mind me. Was watching Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine (about guns in America) last night, right after Fahrenheit 9/11 (about terrorism and the culture of fear in America), and with fresh memories still of Roger & Me (about corporate greed and unemployment in America). This three-part punch may be the 21st century equivalent of Tocqueville's Democracy in America (which I read in high school), the way it tries to paint the real face of the Home of the Brave.



I switched channels just now, from CNN to an old Bette Davis movie in TCM. Couldn't stand the commentaries after the second debate between Kerry and Bush. One swing-voter was asked whom she would vote for in the coming elections, after seeing this debate. She confidently said, "I've finally decided on Bush." My heart sank. It sounded like a death knell.



* I read somewhere that a majority of Filipinos prefer Bush as American president. And I remember thinking, what the fuck?



Pahabol: Psychicpants wonders:



Why the fuss over Jasmine Trias? Yesterday, all these local news programs on television and radio kept announcing that our AmericanPinoy Idol is home. But if we listen closely, at least Ms. Trias clarifies it and says that "Home for me is Hawaii....Home will always be Hawaii, and elsewhere is just work." I don't understand the need to claim some connection with her or to insist on her Pinoyness...


Read the rest here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow10:55 AM | American Fart

WARNING: PARTISAN COMMENTS AHEAD. IF YOU ARE A BUSH LOVER (WHICH SOUNDS VERY KINKY, ACTUALLY), THEN DON'T READ THIS POST



The greatest Filipino dream is to become an American.

--Jessica Zafra



Well, not for me, baby. Although, considering the long line I've seen inside the U.S. Embassy, there may be a kernel of truth to that. I've written about this before: people so want to go to the United States you can feel it for real in that embassy line. The smell of so much fervent, nervous hopes to get a U.S. visa is the smell of fart. People fart a lot in the visa line. People bedecked with jewels, people dressed up to the nines... They all fart in the line.



A friend recently asked me, "Why don't you apply for scholarship to an American university?" I found myself -- to my surprise -- making a face. And thinking about it now, I think I'd rather be in Australia, or Europe, or New Zealand. Even China or Malaysia. America is our modern mythological land of milk and honey, yes ... but, frankly, it's not worth all that fart.



We were Americans once, New Yorkers specifically, when September 11 came barreling into our consciousness. We felt for America. But the way America's Top Cowboy has gone about dismantling that sympathy in the last three years is just so... sad. So much have been written about this terrible turn of affairs, so I won't even elaborate, at the risk of sounding redundant.



Here's a thought, though. Why don't we do what the U.S. State Department (or is it the Department of Homeland Security now?) does everytime "something goes wrong" in the Philippines? Why don't we issue a travel warning? It would be futile, of course, because people still find America alluring*, but just to turn the tables, you know?



WARNING: Don't go to the U.S. Handguns abound that will kill you. High schools are ticking timebombs, like Columbine. Fear has gone amuck. Traveling is such a hassle, they even label Cat Stevens a terrorist. The President is stupid, and the Vice President rejoices in pushing the panic button just to see if America jumps. (It does.) Plus, Dubya's "Evil Doers" constantly want to bomb it.


Some might say: But that isn't America. That's just the headlines. America is the Land of the Beautiful.



Oh yeah? That's what we Filipinos keep saying to our defense every time we are portrayed as this modern-day version of a black hole. Sometimes, when I walk down the Boulevard in Dumaguete, I ask myself: Is this the Philippines I see in the headlines? No. But headlines are like that, myopic.



So yes, everybody has problems. A friend dies in a freakish cellphone robbery, for example. It breaks my heart to pieces. Is the Philippines evil? But consider this as well: Four years ago, in Flint, Michigan, a kindergarten boy finds a handgun in his uncle's house. He brings it to school one day, and shoots a six-year old girl classmate in the head.



The truth of the matter is: Evil is everywhere. Good is also everywhere.



Oh, don't mind me. Was watching Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine (about guns in America) last night, right after Fahrenheit 9/11 (about terrorism and the culture of fear in America), and with fresh memories still of Roger & Me (about corporate greed and unemployment in America). This three-part punch may be the 21st century equivalent of Tocqueville's Democracy in America (which I read in high school), the way it tries to paint the real face of the Home of the Brave.



I switched channels just now, from CNN to an old Bette Davis movie in TCM. Couldn't stand the commentaries after the second debate between Kerry and Bush. One swing-voter was asked whom she would vote for in the coming elections, after seeing this debate. She confidently said, "I've finally decided on Bush." My heart sank. It sounded like a death knell.



* I read somewhere that a majority of Filipinos prefer Bush as American president. And I remember thinking, what the fuck?



Pahabol: Psychicpants wonders:



Why the fuss over Jasmine Trias? Yesterday, all these local news programs on television and radio kept announcing that our AmericanPinoy Idol is home. But if we listen closely, at least Ms. Trias clarifies it and says that "Home for me is Hawaii....Home will always be Hawaii, and elsewhere is just work." I don't understand the need to claim some connection with her or to insist on her Pinoyness...


Read the rest here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow10:55 AM | American Fart

WARNING: PARTISAN COMMENTS AHEAD. IF YOU ARE A BUSH LOVER (WHICH SOUNDS VERY KINKY, ACTUALLY), THEN DON'T READ THIS POST



The greatest Filipino dream is to become an American.

--Jessica Zafra



Well, not for me, baby. Although, considering the long line I've seen inside the U.S. Embassy, there may be a kernel of truth to that. I've written about this before: people so want to go to the United States you can feel it for real in that embassy line. The smell of so much fervent, nervous hopes to get a U.S. visa is the smell of fart. People fart a lot in the visa line. People bedecked with jewels, people dressed up to the nines... They all fart in the line.



A friend recently asked me, "Why don't you apply for scholarship to an American university?" I found myself -- to my surprise -- making a face. And thinking about it now, I think I'd rather be in Australia, or Europe, or New Zealand. Even China or Malaysia. America is our modern mythological land of milk and honey, yes ... but, frankly, it's not worth all that fart.



We were Americans once, New Yorkers specifically, when September 11 came barreling into our consciousness. We felt for America. But the way America's Top Cowboy has gone about dismantling that sympathy in the last three years is just so... sad. So much have been written about this terrible turn of affairs, so I won't even elaborate, at the risk of sounding redundant.



Here's a thought, though. Why don't we do what the U.S. State Department (or is it the Department of Homeland Security now?) does everytime "something goes wrong" in the Philippines? Why don't we issue a travel warning? It would be futile, of course, because people still find America alluring*, but just to turn the tables, you know?



WARNING: Don't go to the U.S. Handguns abound that will kill you. High schools are ticking timebombs, like Columbine. Fear has gone amuck. Traveling is such a hassle, they even label Cat Stevens a terrorist. The President is stupid, and the Vice President rejoices in pushing the panic button just to see if America jumps. (It does.) Plus, Dubya's "Evil Doers" constantly want to bomb it.


Some might say: But that isn't America. That's just the headlines. America is the Land of the Beautiful.



Oh yeah? That's what we Filipinos keep saying to our defense every time we are portrayed as this modern-day version of a black hole. Sometimes, when I walk down the Boulevard in Dumaguete, I ask myself: Is this the Philippines I see in the headlines? No. But headlines are like that, myopic.



So yes, everybody has problems. A friend dies in a freakish cellphone robbery, for example. It breaks my heart to pieces. Is the Philippines evil? But consider this as well: Four years ago, in Flint, Michigan, a kindergarten boy finds a handgun in his uncle's house. He brings it to school one day, and shoots a six-year old girl classmate in the head.



The truth of the matter is: Evil is everywhere. Good is also everywhere.



Oh, don't mind me. Was watching Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine (about guns in America) last night, right after Fahrenheit 9/11 (about terrorism and the culture of fear in America), and with fresh memories still of Roger & Me (about corporate greed and unemployment in America). This three-part punch may be the 21st century equivalent of Tocqueville's Democracy in America (which I read in high school), the way it tries to paint the real face of the Home of the Brave.



I switched channels just now, from CNN to an old Bette Davis movie in TCM. Couldn't stand the commentaries after the second debate between Kerry and Bush. One swing-voter was asked whom she would vote for in the coming elections, after seeing this debate. She confidently said, "I've finally decided on Bush." My heart sank. It sounded like a death knell.



* I read somewhere that a majority of Filipinos prefer Bush as American president. And I remember thinking, what the fuck?



Pahabol: Psychicpants wonders:



Why the fuss over Jasmine Trias? Yesterday, all these local news programs on television and radio kept announcing that our AmericanPinoy Idol is home. But if we listen closely, at least Ms. Trias clarifies it and says that "Home for me is Hawaii....Home will always be Hawaii, and elsewhere is just work." I don't understand the need to claim some connection with her or to insist on her Pinoyness...


Read the rest here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





Thursday, October 07, 2004

entry arrow11:13 AM | On the Grave of the Fireflies

Thank you, Angeline Dy, for making me a copy of.... Grave of the Fireflies!





Has anyone seen this beautiful movie and not cry? If there is one must-movie in the world, this is it.



The film critic Roger Ebert writes about it as one of the greatest movies of all time:



Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation. Since the earliest days, most animated films have been "cartoons" for children and families. Recent animated features such as The Lion King, Princess Mononoke, and The Iron Giant have touched on more serious themes, and the Toy Story movies and classics like Bambi have had moments that moved some audience members to tears. But these films exist within safe confines; they inspire tears, but not grief. Grave of the Fireflies is a powerful dramatic film that happens to be animated, and I know what the critic Ernest Rister means when he compares it to Schindler's List and says, "It is the most profoundly human animated film I've ever seen."


Read more here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow11:13 AM | On the Grave of the Fireflies

Thank you, Angeline Dy, for making me a copy of.... Grave of the Fireflies!





Has anyone seen this beautiful movie and not cry? If there is one must-movie in the world, this is it.



The film critic Roger Ebert writes about it as one of the greatest movies of all time:



Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation. Since the earliest days, most animated films have been "cartoons" for children and families. Recent animated features such as The Lion King, Princess Mononoke, and The Iron Giant have touched on more serious themes, and the Toy Story movies and classics like Bambi have had moments that moved some audience members to tears. But these films exist within safe confines; they inspire tears, but not grief. Grave of the Fireflies is a powerful dramatic film that happens to be animated, and I know what the critic Ernest Rister means when he compares it to Schindler's List and says, "It is the most profoundly human animated film I've ever seen."


Read more here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow11:13 AM | On the Grave of the Fireflies

Thank you, Angeline Dy, for making me a copy of.... Grave of the Fireflies!





Has anyone seen this beautiful movie and not cry? If there is one must-movie in the world, this is it.



The film critic Roger Ebert writes about it as one of the greatest movies of all time:



Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation. Since the earliest days, most animated films have been "cartoons" for children and families. Recent animated features such as The Lion King, Princess Mononoke, and The Iron Giant have touched on more serious themes, and the Toy Story movies and classics like Bambi have had moments that moved some audience members to tears. But these films exist within safe confines; they inspire tears, but not grief. Grave of the Fireflies is a powerful dramatic film that happens to be animated, and I know what the critic Ernest Rister means when he compares it to Schindler's List and says, "It is the most profoundly human animated film I've ever seen."


Read more here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow10:58 AM | Life Lessons

I was texting Robert the other day. I don't even know his last name, except that he is a lean young man given to wearing a brownish baseball cap; he used to be from Iloilo, but now makes Manila home. We met in Friendster, like one of those strange connections that seem to sprout from somewhere and can take you anywhere, and we have never really met face-to-face just as yet, although he studies in Dumaguete and I teach in Silliman. It's amazing how, in a small city where there is only one street for everything, there are still strangers to give names to; and there are still souls and small little corners to get familiar with.



We got to talking about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and how One Hundred Years of Solitude was one novel that -- although complex in its plot and serpentine in its use of magic realism and genealogy -- seemed to be anchored by a passionate regard for things happening. I told him there was one more Garcia Marquez novel I liked, something I read recently for my Latin American literature class with Prof. Philip Van Peel: the tragic, but beautiful Chronicle of a Death Foretold, all of its reportorial prose rendering murder in its various facets and sides, Rashomon-style.



It was one of those "getting to know you" conversations. How one hops, for example, through a litany of likes and dislikes to gather momentum towards the connection of similar favorite things. "I've always thought of Steven Spielberg as an underrated genius, undermined by his commercial success," one might say. Or: "Wakagi is a terrible restaurant, not because of the food, which is more than passable, but because of its incredibly inept waiters who also just happens to be exceptionally rude," one could also say. It's a ping-pong of ideas and explications, all measured to create a semblance of character for people whom we have just met, and are interested in knowing. Everybody has been through those.



But there was one movie Robert mentioned -- "a favorite," he said -- which made my soul skip, because I thought I was the only one in Dumaguete (save perhaps for Bing Valbuena and Marge Udarbe, who were the first ones to make me pay full attention to the title I am to reveal in a moment) who bought it and really liked it.



The movie is Audrey Wells' Under the Tuscan Sun, based on the autobiographical novel by the renowned travel writer Frances Mayes, and which stars the infinitely beautiful Diane Lane.



I've read the good reviews of the movie when it first came out in the United States about a year and a half ago, but I was never really interested. Because -- although I am a big fan of Oprah Winfrey -- movies with smarmy, Oprah-ish inspirationalism makes me sick with their Hallmark greeting cards approach to life. Not to sound like a gnarled pessimist, but I've always thought of life as something that went beyond cheap spiritual mantras and easy fixes a la Dr. Phil, or Steven Covey, The Celestine Prophecy, or The Purpose-Driven Life.



And then, of course, I had to first see a copy of Well's film as a pirated DVD over at the local barter trade with a picture of Diane Lane dressed in an Italian linen white shirt, leaning against an open window which overlooks the sun-drenched Tuscany countryside. There are red flowers in the trellis above her, and she is being handed a bouquet of yellow sunflowers by a disembodied male hand. How Oprah, I thought. And decided never to buy it, even for the cheap price of P85.



But Bing and Marge managed to convince me somehow to try it out. What I got was an uplifting story, which did not insult intelligence. I'm not quite sure why, but it must have been the combination of the believable (and sometimes quaint) characters, the plausibility of things happening, and a story that strikes deep into our urban anxieties without giving us sugar-coated resolutions. It was, needless to say, a movie with a smart heart.



Diane Lane plays Frances Mayes, a writer broken by a crippling divorce, forced to sell her house in San Francisco over to her philandering husband. In the middle of depression, she is handed by her friends a plane ticket to a "gay tour of romantic Tuscany" ("No one would be there to hit on you. So you could concentrate and listen to your inner voice," says Patti, her lesbian friend, who is played by the always-delightful Sandrah Oh). After a brief hesitation, off to Tuscany she goes and during one of the guided tours felt compelled to buy Bramasole, a small and run-down villa in need of much repair. The story involves the quintessential journey of transformation, both of the house itself and Frances, who learns many things from a motley crew of lovable supporting characters, including a beautiful, aging English woman who lives a Federico Fellini fantasy, a remodeling team of Polish workers, and a sweet Italian lawyer with a yen for ladies in distress.



One gets, for example, that life is always full of fantastic, terrible ideas: "Terrible ideas are like playground scapegoats. Given the right encouragement, they grow up to be geniuses." That seems to be the spirit of the movie, and also that life will always resolve itself -- so one should just go and lie down somewhere, and soon one will be covered with ladybugs. (Ladybugs? You have to rent or buy the DVD to find out what that means.)



Sometimes, it takes a movie like Under the Tuscan Sun to get us out of a rut.



Books can do that, too. On my bedside table right now, there's this novel by Brian Morton, something called Starting Out in the Evening, which I found in one of those glorious second-hand bins over at Lee Super Plaza (a section, by the way, which is apparently under-appreciated by management; how many times do they have to move that section all over the second floor like an unwanted department?).



The book, which was nominated for the Pen/Faulkner Award, is that "rare event," says Elle, "a finely tuned serious novel that conjures a fully formed and vibrant sense of life in all its complexity and eccentric character." It is about an aging New York writer whose literary legacy has become forgotten, a young graduate student -- "a miniskirted biographer" -- who wants to resurrect his reputation with her master's thesis on his novels, and his forlorn and tattered forty-year old daughter who is always looking for love beyond the ticking of her slowing biological clock. Somehow, their chemistry, their interactions seem so real as to give us a panoramic view of life in its various stages: old and becoming insignificant, middle-aged and plateauing, and young and full of life and promise, but also full of an inchoateness that handicaps a fuller understanding of what life really is all about.



Again, the novel is about life, and about the choices that we make when we are young and when we are old. I've taken to underlining many of the insightful poetry that leaps out of the pages. For example: "You seize your freedom in a spirit of rebelliousness, exuberance, defiant joy. But to live that choice -- over the weeks and months and years to come -- requires different qualities. It requires that you turn hard, turn rigid. Because it isn't a choice that the world encourages, you have to wear a suit of armor to defend it." And I think that speaks for most of us, especially those who are brave enough to make one defining stance in life: the choice is dramatic, but to live it everyday... it requires a kind of dying.



But always, after I turn the DVD off, or turn the last page of any book, there is that sad acknowledgment of a return to real life, which is teeming with real heartaches and real struggles. There is, of course, a starkness to this that belies the ordered narratives of movies and books. But we need these, I guess -- books, movies, art, music -- to reaffirm our understanding of everything and readjust our perspective of life after the distortions of having to live moment to moment the draining seconds.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow10:58 AM | Life Lessons

I was texting Robert the other day. I don't even know his last name, except that he is a lean young man given to wearing a brownish baseball cap; he used to be from Iloilo, but now makes Manila home. We met in Friendster, like one of those strange connections that seem to sprout from somewhere and can take you anywhere, and we have never really met face-to-face just as yet, although he studies in Dumaguete and I teach in Silliman. It's amazing how, in a small city where there is only one street for everything, there are still strangers to give names to; and there are still souls and small little corners to get familiar with.



We got to talking about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and how One Hundred Years of Solitude was one novel that -- although complex in its plot and serpentine in its use of magic realism and genealogy -- seemed to be anchored by a passionate regard for things happening. I told him there was one more Garcia Marquez novel I liked, something I read recently for my Latin American literature class with Prof. Philip Van Peel: the tragic, but beautiful Chronicle of a Death Foretold, all of its reportorial prose rendering murder in its various facets and sides, Rashomon-style.



It was one of those "getting to know you" conversations. How one hops, for example, through a litany of likes and dislikes to gather momentum towards the connection of similar favorite things. "I've always thought of Steven Spielberg as an underrated genius, undermined by his commercial success," one might say. Or: "Wakagi is a terrible restaurant, not because of the food, which is more than passable, but because of its incredibly inept waiters who also just happens to be exceptionally rude," one could also say. It's a ping-pong of ideas and explications, all measured to create a semblance of character for people whom we have just met, and are interested in knowing. Everybody has been through those.



But there was one movie Robert mentioned -- "a favorite," he said -- which made my soul skip, because I thought I was the only one in Dumaguete (save perhaps for Bing Valbuena and Marge Udarbe, who were the first ones to make me pay full attention to the title I am to reveal in a moment) who bought it and really liked it.



The movie is Audrey Wells' Under the Tuscan Sun, based on the autobiographical novel by the renowned travel writer Frances Mayes, and which stars the infinitely beautiful Diane Lane.



I've read the good reviews of the movie when it first came out in the United States about a year and a half ago, but I was never really interested. Because -- although I am a big fan of Oprah Winfrey -- movies with smarmy, Oprah-ish inspirationalism makes me sick with their Hallmark greeting cards approach to life. Not to sound like a gnarled pessimist, but I've always thought of life as something that went beyond cheap spiritual mantras and easy fixes a la Dr. Phil, or Steven Covey, The Celestine Prophecy, or The Purpose-Driven Life.



And then, of course, I had to first see a copy of Well's film as a pirated DVD over at the local barter trade with a picture of Diane Lane dressed in an Italian linen white shirt, leaning against an open window which overlooks the sun-drenched Tuscany countryside. There are red flowers in the trellis above her, and she is being handed a bouquet of yellow sunflowers by a disembodied male hand. How Oprah, I thought. And decided never to buy it, even for the cheap price of P85.



But Bing and Marge managed to convince me somehow to try it out. What I got was an uplifting story, which did not insult intelligence. I'm not quite sure why, but it must have been the combination of the believable (and sometimes quaint) characters, the plausibility of things happening, and a story that strikes deep into our urban anxieties without giving us sugar-coated resolutions. It was, needless to say, a movie with a smart heart.



Diane Lane plays Frances Mayes, a writer broken by a crippling divorce, forced to sell her house in San Francisco over to her philandering husband. In the middle of depression, she is handed by her friends a plane ticket to a "gay tour of romantic Tuscany" ("No one would be there to hit on you. So you could concentrate and listen to your inner voice," says Patti, her lesbian friend, who is played by the always-delightful Sandrah Oh). After a brief hesitation, off to Tuscany she goes and during one of the guided tours felt compelled to buy Bramasole, a small and run-down villa in need of much repair. The story involves the quintessential journey of transformation, both of the house itself and Frances, who learns many things from a motley crew of lovable supporting characters, including a beautiful, aging English woman who lives a Federico Fellini fantasy, a remodeling team of Polish workers, and a sweet Italian lawyer with a yen for ladies in distress.



One gets, for example, that life is always full of fantastic, terrible ideas: "Terrible ideas are like playground scapegoats. Given the right encouragement, they grow up to be geniuses." That seems to be the spirit of the movie, and also that life will always resolve itself -- so one should just go and lie down somewhere, and soon one will be covered with ladybugs. (Ladybugs? You have to rent or buy the DVD to find out what that means.)



Sometimes, it takes a movie like Under the Tuscan Sun to get us out of a rut.



Books can do that, too. On my bedside table right now, there's this novel by Brian Morton, something called Starting Out in the Evening, which I found in one of those glorious second-hand bins over at Lee Super Plaza (a section, by the way, which is apparently under-appreciated by management; how many times do they have to move that section all over the second floor like an unwanted department?).



The book, which was nominated for the Pen/Faulkner Award, is that "rare event," says Elle, "a finely tuned serious novel that conjures a fully formed and vibrant sense of life in all its complexity and eccentric character." It is about an aging New York writer whose literary legacy has become forgotten, a young graduate student -- "a miniskirted biographer" -- who wants to resurrect his reputation with her master's thesis on his novels, and his forlorn and tattered forty-year old daughter who is always looking for love beyond the ticking of her slowing biological clock. Somehow, their chemistry, their interactions seem so real as to give us a panoramic view of life in its various stages: old and becoming insignificant, middle-aged and plateauing, and young and full of life and promise, but also full of an inchoateness that handicaps a fuller understanding of what life really is all about.



Again, the novel is about life, and about the choices that we make when we are young and when we are old. I've taken to underlining many of the insightful poetry that leaps out of the pages. For example: "You seize your freedom in a spirit of rebelliousness, exuberance, defiant joy. But to live that choice -- over the weeks and months and years to come -- requires different qualities. It requires that you turn hard, turn rigid. Because it isn't a choice that the world encourages, you have to wear a suit of armor to defend it." And I think that speaks for most of us, especially those who are brave enough to make one defining stance in life: the choice is dramatic, but to live it everyday... it requires a kind of dying.



But always, after I turn the DVD off, or turn the last page of any book, there is that sad acknowledgment of a return to real life, which is teeming with real heartaches and real struggles. There is, of course, a starkness to this that belies the ordered narratives of movies and books. But we need these, I guess -- books, movies, art, music -- to reaffirm our understanding of everything and readjust our perspective of life after the distortions of having to live moment to moment the draining seconds.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





entry arrow10:58 AM | Life Lessons

I was texting Robert the other day. I don't even know his last name, except that he is a lean young man given to wearing a brownish baseball cap; he used to be from Iloilo, but now makes Manila home. We met in Friendster, like one of those strange connections that seem to sprout from somewhere and can take you anywhere, and we have never really met face-to-face just as yet, although he studies in Dumaguete and I teach in Silliman. It's amazing how, in a small city where there is only one street for everything, there are still strangers to give names to; and there are still souls and small little corners to get familiar with.



We got to talking about Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and how One Hundred Years of Solitude was one novel that -- although complex in its plot and serpentine in its use of magic realism and genealogy -- seemed to be anchored by a passionate regard for things happening. I told him there was one more Garcia Marquez novel I liked, something I read recently for my Latin American literature class with Prof. Philip Van Peel: the tragic, but beautiful Chronicle of a Death Foretold, all of its reportorial prose rendering murder in its various facets and sides, Rashomon-style.



It was one of those "getting to know you" conversations. How one hops, for example, through a litany of likes and dislikes to gather momentum towards the connection of similar favorite things. "I've always thought of Steven Spielberg as an underrated genius, undermined by his commercial success," one might say. Or: "Wakagi is a terrible restaurant, not because of the food, which is more than passable, but because of its incredibly inept waiters who also just happens to be exceptionally rude," one could also say. It's a ping-pong of ideas and explications, all measured to create a semblance of character for people whom we have just met, and are interested in knowing. Everybody has been through those.



But there was one movie Robert mentioned -- "a favorite," he said -- which made my soul skip, because I thought I was the only one in Dumaguete (save perhaps for Bing Valbuena and Marge Udarbe, who were the first ones to make me pay full attention to the title I am to reveal in a moment) who bought it and really liked it.



The movie is Audrey Wells' Under the Tuscan Sun, based on the autobiographical novel by the renowned travel writer Frances Mayes, and which stars the infinitely beautiful Diane Lane.



I've read the good reviews of the movie when it first came out in the United States about a year and a half ago, but I was never really interested. Because -- although I am a big fan of Oprah Winfrey -- movies with smarmy, Oprah-ish inspirationalism makes me sick with their Hallmark greeting cards approach to life. Not to sound like a gnarled pessimist, but I've always thought of life as something that went beyond cheap spiritual mantras and easy fixes a la Dr. Phil, or Steven Covey, The Celestine Prophecy, or The Purpose-Driven Life.



And then, of course, I had to first see a copy of Well's film as a pirated DVD over at the local barter trade with a picture of Diane Lane dressed in an Italian linen white shirt, leaning against an open window which overlooks the sun-drenched Tuscany countryside. There are red flowers in the trellis above her, and she is being handed a bouquet of yellow sunflowers by a disembodied male hand. How Oprah, I thought. And decided never to buy it, even for the cheap price of P85.



But Bing and Marge managed to convince me somehow to try it out. What I got was an uplifting story, which did not insult intelligence. I'm not quite sure why, but it must have been the combination of the believable (and sometimes quaint) characters, the plausibility of things happening, and a story that strikes deep into our urban anxieties without giving us sugar-coated resolutions. It was, needless to say, a movie with a smart heart.



Diane Lane plays Frances Mayes, a writer broken by a crippling divorce, forced to sell her house in San Francisco over to her philandering husband. In the middle of depression, she is handed by her friends a plane ticket to a "gay tour of romantic Tuscany" ("No one would be there to hit on you. So you could concentrate and listen to your inner voice," says Patti, her lesbian friend, who is played by the always-delightful Sandrah Oh). After a brief hesitation, off to Tuscany she goes and during one of the guided tours felt compelled to buy Bramasole, a small and run-down villa in need of much repair. The story involves the quintessential journey of transformation, both of the house itself and Frances, who learns many things from a motley crew of lovable supporting characters, including a beautiful, aging English woman who lives a Federico Fellini fantasy, a remodeling team of Polish workers, and a sweet Italian lawyer with a yen for ladies in distress.



One gets, for example, that life is always full of fantastic, terrible ideas: "Terrible ideas are like playground scapegoats. Given the right encouragement, they grow up to be geniuses." That seems to be the spirit of the movie, and also that life will always resolve itself -- so one should just go and lie down somewhere, and soon one will be covered with ladybugs. (Ladybugs? You have to rent or buy the DVD to find out what that means.)



Sometimes, it takes a movie like Under the Tuscan Sun to get us out of a rut.



Books can do that, too. On my bedside table right now, there's this novel by Brian Morton, something called Starting Out in the Evening, which I found in one of those glorious second-hand bins over at Lee Super Plaza (a section, by the way, which is apparently under-appreciated by management; how many times do they have to move that section all over the second floor like an unwanted department?).



The book, which was nominated for the Pen/Faulkner Award, is that "rare event," says Elle, "a finely tuned serious novel that conjures a fully formed and vibrant sense of life in all its complexity and eccentric character." It is about an aging New York writer whose literary legacy has become forgotten, a young graduate student -- "a miniskirted biographer" -- who wants to resurrect his reputation with her master's thesis on his novels, and his forlorn and tattered forty-year old daughter who is always looking for love beyond the ticking of her slowing biological clock. Somehow, their chemistry, their interactions seem so real as to give us a panoramic view of life in its various stages: old and becoming insignificant, middle-aged and plateauing, and young and full of life and promise, but also full of an inchoateness that handicaps a fuller understanding of what life really is all about.



Again, the novel is about life, and about the choices that we make when we are young and when we are old. I've taken to underlining many of the insightful poetry that leaps out of the pages. For example: "You seize your freedom in a spirit of rebelliousness, exuberance, defiant joy. But to live that choice -- over the weeks and months and years to come -- requires different qualities. It requires that you turn hard, turn rigid. Because it isn't a choice that the world encourages, you have to wear a suit of armor to defend it." And I think that speaks for most of us, especially those who are brave enough to make one defining stance in life: the choice is dramatic, but to live it everyday... it requires a kind of dying.



But always, after I turn the DVD off, or turn the last page of any book, there is that sad acknowledgment of a return to real life, which is teeming with real heartaches and real struggles. There is, of course, a starkness to this that belies the ordered narratives of movies and books. But we need these, I guess -- books, movies, art, music -- to reaffirm our understanding of everything and readjust our perspective of life after the distortions of having to live moment to moment the draining seconds.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich





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