Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eh-hum # 254

Something to inspire us all (especially now with the problems the world is facing; let's not forget how blessed we are to be alive):

Feel free to sing along. ;) Indeed, this will never get old.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Eh-hum # 253

I went to school today hoping for some good news regarding my survey/Stat assignment. Unfortunately, things did not went according to plan so I have to make some adjustments in my schedule to meet my requirements for this semester. This is important because:

1. I have to maintain a certain grade (praying for at least a B-); and
2. This is my only subject for the semester, thus it would be extremely embarrassing if I fail (a big IF! Eh-hum).

Dear Lord...


This calls for some retail therapy. And I am very pleased I found this in my preferred bookstore:

Hard cover and less than a thousand pesos, very good indeed (of course am biased since its written by my favorite Python). The book is a, uh, book version of Mr Palin's latest adventure in what he describes as the "New" Europe (a discovery of the Europe he haven't explored, thanks to the Cold War). I have read the introduction and seen the initial photos (courtesy of Basil Pao). I must say, I am looking forward to finishing the rest of it (in due time, because I am still busy with my second Umberto Eco novel). Examining the book reminded me of my other dream job (next to Pixar animator): professional traveller/ adventure host, like Ian Wright (or Michael Palin in this case).

Wouldn't it be cool to travel the world for a living (and have the network pay for everything)? So many places to visit, cultures to experience, people to meet and food to taste. But of course, we will not be restricted to tourist destinations and fancy restaurants ala Lifestyle Network (which are not bad, by the way); I am talking about the travel shows in Discovery Channel and National Geographic Channel. Quite difficult since there will be situations wherein you will be forced to step out of your comfort zone (e.g. whacked-out bodily functions, near death experiences, exotic illnesses, custom officials); but I guess these challenges make the exploring and the travelling much more interesting, fulfilling, and life-changing.

But if I am bent on becoming an effective explorer and adventure host, I should learn/develop the following:

1. Learn to swim, or else will be forced to totally ignore places near coastlines and large bodies of water;
2. Develop one's immune system or resistance. Effective when you make your way through rainforests, mosquito infested areas and survive winter;
3. Travel light, or develop a strategy to cram everything you need in just one big back pack;
4. Work on my weak constitutions. To date, the only thing I ever eaten that's considered icky by many is an underaged chick in balut. I remembered trying not to smile after eating it for fear that the chick's feathers were still lodged between my teeth;
5. Nerves of steel, related to number 4. Useful when you ran out of tissue paper, or don't have a proper lavatory to begin with;
6. Map reading;
7. How to assemble a tent;
8. Hunting or food gathering skills (when push comes to shove);
9. Writing skills and a vast knowledge of adjectives, etc. (for good, impressive and share-worthy notes);
10. High tolerance for alchohol. Comes in handy in case a tribal chief force gallons of their nasty local liquor down your throat; and
11. Patience


Monday, September 15, 2008

Eh-hum # 252

I was passing by Gateway the other day and a promo lady (for lack of a better term) gave me a Survivor Philippines button pin. It got me

Philippine television airwaves are flooded not only with telenovelas (local, Korean and Mexican/Puerto Rican), but with imported reality tv shows and concepts. When reality shows first invaded normal TV programming, they were, in fairness, good. I distinctly remembered watching and enjoying Mark Burnett's adventure race show entitled Eco Challenge. The first seasons of the original Survivor were enjoyable, my favorite being Survivor: Africa.

Nowadays, reality tv shows (especially those centering on dating, that encourages catfights, etc.) shown in cable are poor quality and looks fake (meaning the producers deliberately create scenarios for the "contestants" to create controversies; the editing also misleads audience; more of a contest than a show about real life), which makes the reality tv tag a misnomer. I mean, I doubt if networks are really interested in investigating the complex facets of human nature.

In the Philippines, reality tv served another purpose: to find new talent. And judging from the tarp I saw while riding at the MRT, our version of Survivor aims to find that lucky guy and lucky girl to be the next Sam Milby, Kim Chu, Gerard Anderson, etc, etc. If the contestants are cute and pretty enough (not necessarily talented enough), they might get an offer from GMA, the network producing the show.

Aaahhh, yes. If you want to join Philippine show business, join a reality show. That's the message I've been getting. Well, it worked for the Pinoy Big Brother contestants as mentioned above. Whatever happened to doing things old school? Like joining school plays/theater groups for experience, attending workshops, auditioning first for supporting roles then working your way up. In order words, really working hard for it. Oh well.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Eh-hum # 251

1. My simple take on the race to the White House:

“Tina Fey with a moose gun”

That’s one way of describing Alaskan Governor and Vice Presidential hopeful for the Republicans, Sarah Palin. Although, I am not sure if both ladies found the depiction amusing, I sure did (by the way, found it in Mr. John Nery’s opinion column for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 9, 2008).

Many have expressed concern for Barack Obama’s inexperience for the US presidency. Well, their fears are not unsubstantiated; the most powerful leader in the world would also have to muster a great deal of political will, discretion and acumen in order to handle challenges and tribulations within and outside the US. Experience would direct the US commander-in-chief towards the best and feasible decision for US interests. Experience is necessary, but a lot of it does not necessarily make one an effective leader. The future US president should also be tolerant and earnest.

Between the two, Obama would be more of the last point. Moreover, I think he is more capable bringing people together, regardless of race (“there is no Black America, or White America; there is only the United States of America). No offense to John McCain, he is what we call in Philippine politics as “trapo”, or traditional politician. McCain has the experience, but I doubt he can convince people that he is significantly different from Bush. And unfortunately his running mate, pretty and likeable as she is, is not free from criticisms. Palin’s acceptance speech at the recently held Republican National Convention brought the house down, but it became a target due to some inconsistencies. Then there’s the issue of Palin’s 17-year-old pregnant, unwed daughter, which is said to be opposed to the Republicans’ policy on family values (being underage, unmarried and pregnant, I mean).

The government is not made up one person. While the head honcho (President) would have to have the determination to pursue policies that would be beneficial (even though unpopular at the beginning), he or she would be supported by experts on areas of public service. Obama may not have a thick record of governments he has run, but he has the vision and strategy. To achieve this, he and his “chosen ones” would have to work smart and work hard. And guess what, the Americans would also have to lend him a hand (remember what the late JFK said: “Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”).

I may be called na├»ve for choosing Obama over McCain, but in these trying times, it wouldn’t hurt to be sanguine; how else are you going to move forward? The challenge now for Obama is to put in detail his promise to the American people and to attest once and for all that he is more than just stirring rhetoric.

Yes, if I am able to do so, will vote Democrat.

2. On Pinoy movies

EH-HUM!!!! Let me congratulate KC Concepcion and Richard Gutierrez for the success of their movie, For the First Time. Its performance at the box office proved the following (and perhaps more, feel free to add):

a. Majority of the Filipinos are hopeless romantics;

b. Movies with titles based on love songs/ballads will do well (we have shortage on quality movie titles);

c. Majority of our films are vehicle for young stars. Or, its all about the actors/love teams, the story plays second fiddle. Or, nevermind if the story's crap as long as you have the kilig factor going on;

d. Casting (in general) needs improvement;

e. Romance, in movies, only involves beautiful people; and

f. We should really, truly, and indubitably support Pinoy indie films.

Wonder if GMA Films will provide a different approach. Oh wait, the second KC-Richard flick will be shown on Valentines' Day next year. Eh-hum.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Eh-hum # 250

I am so in love with Michael Palin that it is almost laughable. But I guess most Monty Python fans would choose Palin as their favorite, or at least the next favorite after John Cleese (who is familiar to non-Python people). And why not? Anybody who has ever watched the Python’s sketches would agree with me that Palin is not only funny (duh), but extremely charming with a smile that could light up a whole city (see picture above). Plus, he giggles easily, which makes him more adorable, albeit he is now in his 60s:

Yes! I am a new Monty Python fan, and I am proud to admit it (better late than never). The name I’ve heard before, but what they were exactly was totally beyond me. And thank God for YouTube, which shall serve as my primary source for classic Python sketches and movies, until I am able to fruitfully track down their DVDs on this side of the world. Or at least, until I am able to convince my cousins based abroad to send me the precious cargo without any charge…that’s what relatives in the US are for…BWAHAHAH.

For non-believers, Monty Python refers to a British comedy group composed primarily of six men: Cleese, Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam. The group perform sketches on television and on stage that range from the very sardonic to the very silly; some lampoon facets of society (religion, government) and others without any bearing at all (just for the heck of it). It can be offensive, but hey, this is comedy, deal with it. Comedy is something I really enjoy and I prefer it over romance and definitely horror (the monster, ghostly kind).

Many comedians of today consider the Pythons as inspiration; one of these is Eddie Izzard. They can be regarded as the forerunner of today’s Saturday Night Live (SNL) or Mad TV, with the humor more dry and stylish. Moreover, I noticed that they don’t do impressions very often, or have celebrities host their show like their American counterparts. Aside from their TV show (Monty Python's Flying Circus), they also have three (or four) critically acclaimed movies under their belts. Many critics regard their materials to be very sharp and the Pythons are said to be proud of the research they do when writing their scripts.

Unfortunately, the group went their separate ways in the late 1970s/early 1980s. More bad news was the untimely death of Chapman in 1989 . Even though one member is missing and the group now successfully working as individuals, Monty Python lives on for the benefit of the new generation. Their skits, catchphrases and songs will be enjoyed for the years to come and we credit the tech-savvy fans for that.

I cannot tell you how I enjoy watching their sketches and I do have a few of my favorites. For your viewing pleasure, we have Palin (ehem) and Cleese perform live the legendary “Dead Parrot” sketch. Watch Palin lose focus after Cleese delivers the memorable "pining for the fjords" line.