Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wondering how to spend your date-less Valentine's?

Take your pick.

Repertory Philippines

Orosman at Zafira
Dulaang UP

Romeo and Juliet


Hamlet and Skin-Deep have shows on the 15th, but not on the 14th.

More choices? How about Tanghalang Ateneo's Hakbang sa Hakbang (Measure for Measure)?

All photos by Jojit Lorenzo. Winner cast photos!

MA dissertation update #7

How I spent the weekdays of January:
  • Nine hours (on average)- mentally wrestling with the dissertation, interspersed with listening to podcasts and watching video podcasts. I usually start at 10 or 11am, then finish between 6 and 8pm. If I write quickly, I'd churn out an advertorial. Ika nga ni Sr. Iris, "Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can; found seldom in a woman, never in a man..."
  • Lunch and snack- toasted wheat bread with whatever filling I can find. Quick and easy, but nowhere near Pret. I also do a bit of reading during breaks.
  • Nightcap - a movie, usually Korean. My impression of Korean cinema has been shattered by some terrible films. I skip this when I'm online late.
I'm keeping to this routine until 18th February, when the draft is due. Do I get bored? Of course I do. That's why we look forward to weekends, right?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The massage is the medium

My family picked up a habit while I was away: having a massage before taking a flight. But I didn't have to wait for trip to have one. An hour-long bed massage for the whole body is only P280 ( £2 ) at Vibes, Robinson Place Metro East. The price is ridiculously cheap by any standards, though I am told that there are people who offer home service at a cheaper rate.

The last time I had a massage was a couple of years ago in the office, a free 15-minute chair massage (seated, but with a masseur/masseuse, not the La-Z Boy variety). Before that, I had a half-hour massage in full view of the mall crowd years ago and interviewed the blind masseur about his job. Earlier than that, there were free chair massages in college. At least now there's more privacy. The blind masahistas are trained in Shiatsu, Swedish massage, reflexology and acupuncture, arguably a decent way to earn their keep. On weekdays, Vibes offers a 25% discount on one-hour massages from 10am to 1pm. Sounds like an idea for a relaxing lunch break.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Birthday feast

Sumo Sam, Shangri-La Plaza
Treated my mom to lunch. This is all I managed to shoot. It's the anchovies covered with something gooey and sweet (honey or caramelized sugar?). We had gyoza, and grilled chicken with linguine, the name of which escapes me.

Casa Armas, The Podium
Dinner at a Spanish restaurant is usually pricey, so we reserve it for special occasions. We had croquetas with jamon and croquetas with pollo (jamon is way better), paella and a seafood mix in red sauce. We stuffed ourselves with the complimentary bread that we could barely finish all the prawns.

I was disappointed that the in-house singer-guitarists didn't know how to sing Happy Birthday in Spanish but was surprised when they started singing in Chinese for the other tables.

Not in a blogging mood then because I was jotting down an idea for a story. I would have forgotten to bring out my camera if my brother did not shoot any pictures with his.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Malang at Eighty + The Forgotten Malang

[I just finished re-reading Art of the Western World, which breezes through Western art history in under 350 pages, using the minutes I would have unproductively spent waiting for the PC to start up. Sadly, my Philippine art history doesn't just need a brushing up--I need a complete life course in it. But at least I know that Malang is one of the living titans in Philippine art and his paintings of Filipino women are iconic.]

We happened to pass by the Malang at Eighty exhibit at Megamall Art Center and simply had to stop to take a closer look. The show reflects how prolific the artist is. There were dozens of pieces, not just because the space is huge, but also because the pieces are relatively small (some are postcard-size). Here is where my art history needs help. Does anyone know if it's always been that way?

Women vendors are still his main subjects, but my mom and I reached a consensus on what our favorite was: an abstract piece that was entirely expressionistic. Maybe I got tired of looking at moon-shaped faces, long black hair, skirts and shawls.

Right across the venue was The Forgotten Malang: A Career in Cartoons, at The Crucible gallery. I enjoyed this retrospective of his editorial cartoons and comic strips of Chain-Gang Charlie, Beelzebub and Kosme the Cop because they show a side of the artist that younger people do not know.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Funny interview with a gamer girl

jumpcut movie:talking to my mom about games
[click for video]

...who turns 55 today and still manages to play online games of suicidal monkeys jumping off cliffs, and impatient models taking turns at hair, makeup and wardrobe. I edited out my favorite part: "Pakpakpakpakpak!!! Maniac yata ako." That's because we were guffawing uncontrollably. Happy birthday, ma!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Kaleidoscopes 2

news rose frame 1 rose frame 2 cups theatre books
bedsheet 2 pink poinsettia cups taking my shot unidentified lines
pink blinds more theatre books noli and l'engles self-portrait in kaleidoscope hamlet and company
More stuff from my room, including titles off the bookshelf, a couple of self-portraits, a rose patterned photo frame, cups and the bedsheet.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

MA dissertation update #6: Demystifying data analysis

I happened to have enough colored paper, one shade for each participant. (I maintain that I'm not even OC at this rate!) After this shot, I got a pair of scissors and started cutting up the sheets. Manual coding, literally.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Auditions for Huling Pasada (Cinemalaya 2008 Full Length Category Official Entry)

Auditions for the Cinemalaya 2008 Independent Full Length HULING PASADA will be on Thursday (Jan.24) and Friday (Jan.25), 1pm to 6pm at the TINY DINOSAUR MEDIA Office, Unit 203-B Xanland Place Condominium, 323 Katipunan Ave, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
* Male: 20ish for the role of Darla/Darwin
* Male: Late 20s to early 30s; tall and attractive with oozing sex appeal
* Female: Mid to Late 20s; attractive, "bargas", secretive, intense
* Girl: 5-10 years old; knows how to dance ballet, must be pretty, endearing and sensitive
* Boy: 8-14 years old; can pass off as a street child, gaunt with expressive eyes, intense

For further inquiries, please contact 0917 328 5167

Tsoko.Nut Batirol, SM Makati

I didn't know what to say about Tsoko.Nut Batirol's Tsokolate Ah. It wasn't as smooth as I hoped it would be. Taste-wise, I couldn't compare it with any hot chocolate I've had. It's just different. The ensaymada topped with queso de bola was something else. Tasty and light as a feather, it was gone in a minute.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Greenbelt and the arts 2: Tuesdays with Morrie @ Rep

The last Rep show I had seen was their wonderful staging of Man of La Mancha in 2005, so I felt that it was about time to go back to Greenbelt 1. I computed that the Silver Pass (P1,200) costs roughly £15, which would get you the cheapest seat in one West End show. Good seats in four plays versus a bad seat in one play--no contest.

After getting season tickets, my mom and I found ourselves in a long queue. It was a good thing a front-of-house staff member sought us out and told us to use the other door.

The first production of the season is Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie running until next weekend. I read the book in college and, despite my friend Nikka's gushing, I was not sold on it. Repertory Philippines, I am pleased to report, successfully brought it to life.

As expected, the set was simple. The size of the playing area was decreased in keeping with the scale of the show, so the orchestra side sections had to be adjusted for sight lines. I came to the theater with a bias: Bart Guingona is one of my favorite thespians. But here, I was completely taken by Jose Mari Avellana's performance as sociology professor Morrie Schwartz.

The play, like the book, was relatively brief (running time 105 minutes without interval). But the lessons should last a lifetime.

Verdict: don't read the book, see the show instead.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Greenbelt and the arts 1: Galerie Hans Brumann

What first drew me to Galerie Hans Brumann was the familiarity of the geometry and the hues on the canvases. The circle in the square. Three distinct colors. The first artist I thought of was Nestor Vinluan, whose work I had encountered before. Stepping inside the gallery, I was surprised to see my former teacher Antonio Salac Santos "keeping house". He showed me Norberto Carating's acrylics , showing different facets of the artist's work. At times rigid and governed by order, resulting in textures resembling woven plant fibers, Carating (who is indeed Vinluan's contemporary) does not completely succumb to structure in his other pieces, as if seized by a frenzy of color half the time in the work process.

But my favorite piece has to be Brumann's skillful nacre-and-steel work set against a pure white background. The slender posts break into the third dimension in elegant angles, if angles could be called such.

Catching up with Antonio was such a great release for me. I had wanted to get in touch with him three years ago but could not find his contact details. Just talking about Italy and work and the future felt like synchronicity. It's as if the universe was telling me, "You're not sold on your mom's advice? Puwes, here's a second opinion." So that's why I was itching to go to Greenbelt 5 since I arrived!

Although Antonio's and Jim Paredes' classes were the least academic ones I took in Ateneo, they were the best in preparing me for life in the so-called real world. We are all travellers and artists on this journey after all.

Biyernes sa Katipunan

Isang taon na rin akong hindi nakakabisita sa Comm Dept. Madalas na ang takbo ng LRT mula Santolan (di tulad ng dati) kaya maaga akong nakarating. Kung tutuusin, pwede naman akong maglakad mula sa LRT station. Pero naisip ko, maalikabok at baka hanapan pa ako ng guard ng ID. Naunahan ako ng dalawang ale sa upuan ng tricycle. Baby seat o likod ng driver? Likod ng driver it is. "M'am, hawak ho kayo," ang sabi ng driver. Bakit, akala ba niya tatalsik ako agad sa kalye? I'm made of stronger stuff naman!

Binaba niya ako sa kanto ng kalye papuntang dept. Nakaharang kami sa likuan kaya binusinahan pa kami ng kotse. There goes my pride.

Pag-upo ko sa sofa, katapat ko ang mga pigeonhole ng faculty. May isa pang bakante. Hmmm.

Nginingitian ko si MT tuwing dumadaan siya. Naaalala kaya niya ako? Pwede kong sabihin na pinaarte namin siya sa short film namin. Teacher siya dun. Nahuli niyang nangongopya si Joey kay Dave. I love that shot.

Nakita ako ni Sir Sev. Mga ilang segundo siguro bago nag-register sa kanya kung paano niya ako kilala. Buti naman si Mang Manny, naaalala pa ako kahit sa malayo.

After sitting in for the first third of Jason's class with Jon guest lecturing, I had a chat with my former thesis advisor about research. I felt like a senior again. The feeling wore off quickly after walking through the caf all the way across the overpass. Geez, ang tanda ko na.

The way I feel about the place has changed. The place itself has changed. Pati ako. Noon, akala ko mahaba na ang Katipunan. Pero ngayon, wala lang yun kung ikukumpara sa Strøget hanggang Hovedbanegården, Monument hanggang Houses of Parliament. Habang naglalakad, inaalok ako ng trike. Pero hindi ko na kailangan. Lalakarin ko na lang mula Jollibee hanggang kanto.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Lessons from Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the founder of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. His books are available under a Creative Commons license. Right now, I'm reading Free Culture and I've downloaded The Future of Ideas. I'm no cyberlaw person, but the ideas of thinkers like Lessig mean a lot in our Internet society.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Library of Congress photos

Am loving these now. Am feeling like painting some Filipinized derivative works. Tag some copyright-free photos over on Flickr today!

From Russia with love

Just flown in from St. Petersburg: Hermitage Magazine #4(9), which has my photo of Opera de Bastille (below, lower right) in it. "Unprepossessing from the outside," wrote Alexey Leporc of the opera house. Honest guy, he is. I wonder what he has to say about the photo.You'd think that after working in magazines the thrill of being credited is gone. But I dream of visiting the Hermitage Museum, so this was quite special.

Return to the native

I saw a basket weaver and a wood carver silently demonstrating their work inside SM department store. My guess is that this was intended for the Chinese and Korean tourists whose presence has become a mall fixture. I was so tempted to ask the crafts[man and woman] but was afraid of shattering their concentration and/or of me getting embarrassed for assuming that they could speak in Tagalog, in case they could not answer me. (They were both wearing sashes made of traditional weaving, so they could have been from an indigenous group.) It felt awkward watching them even though the crowd was made up of locals. Sure, it was not a spectacle and for sure, they were just earning a living, but the setting appeared so odd that I felt uneasy, as if I was an accomplice in some kind of essentialising-the-native kind of crime.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do I sense a subculture?

Walking into Booksale, my initial reaction was "A magazine about call center life?!?" (Yes, I overreacted.) More about the contents of the first issue of Spiff magazine here. Niche marketing can be a smart move, but whether this will not fold in a few months or years, we'll just have to wait and see. Still, my congratulations go to Atlas Publishing for launching this new title.

"Pag na-bore ako, magco-call center ako (If I get bored, I'll take a job at a call center)," I said to my mom in jest last week. Although the pay is good, possibly more than what an instructor at university gets, it's not the kind of life for me. Though they both require staying up at night at some point, it's easier to see myself as a stage manager than as a call center agent.

cover image from marieangelagarces (tweaked a litol bit)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Family potluck

greens + fruit + vinaigrette

We're not used to having people over, so it was a bit stressful thinking about receiving half the clan at home. But as it was my uncle's last weekend before going back to the US, last Sunday was the only chance to say a proper goodbye.

finger food: banana chips, prawn crackers and roasted peanuts

Towards the end of the evening I was running some kind of playschool. Three tweens were on my left, singing songs with me; three tots were on my right, drawing on paper with markers, looking for my approval.

the desserts needed as separate table

At the end of the day, when all was said and done, there was a lot of pabalot (leftovers) for everyone take home (because we were still full from merienda). Finally, we could sit down (we didn't have enough chairs!) and take it easy.