Friday, February 29, 2008

The meat of going meat-less

Because it is Friday and it is Lent, let me say a few words on going vegetarian.

If there's one thing our project work on environmental campaigns last spring taught me, it's that if you're serious about saving the environment, you should be a vegetarian. (Yep, I've said this before.) But how about the meat producers, the supermarket staff and owners, the restaurant cooks, the traders and middlemen who will lose their jobs if we all go meat-free? People, we have to accept that we need to radically change the way we live if we want to make a noticeable difference. In the final analysis, capitalism and saving the planet do not go together. However, we can make better choices. Or choose not to consume at all. We will have to challenge notions of progress and development.

That said, I wish I could live a vegetarian lifestyle. Of course, I can be if I choose to, since I don't get cravings for meat. Besides, I enjoyed all the food we had during our project meetings at Irene's place, though we never had meat because Hanna is a vegetarian. But unless and until everyone in my household can be a vegetarian, I don't think it will be easy to stay as one.

Which leads me to the Adventists, who do not smoke or drink, and are vegetarians. Yesterday, I had a great vegetarian lunch at the cafeteria of the Manila Adventist Medical Center in Pasay City. (Why I was there is another story.) I had spicy tofu, sinigang and soy milk. It was an unlikely combination, but everything tasted good. MAMC also bake their own bread, so I bought a cinnamon twin loaf to take home for merienda. It's less fattening than most cinnamon rolls but very delicious. The canteen is by no means a fancy place, but it's the only hospital canteen I actually want to eat in.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


This is one of the things I like about blogging: not only potential audiences read what bloggers write; people in the production do, too. For instance, Rep picked up on what I wrote about Hamlet. And EJ cast members reacted (positively) to my comments[updated 29 Feb] and even left a comment on my post. Nevermind that Rep (accidentally?) made it seem like I was referring to Nic Manahan when I was referring to Kenneth Branagh because "this guy" links to a photo. The point is, they heard me. And for me, that is more than enough.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

More experiments

a.k.a. what to do with broccoli and mushrooms

no, it's not pesto: vinaigrette and mushrooms

chicken and broccoli stir-fry

mushroom and broccoli in oyster sauce

I think that I still don't know how to cook. The best thing I've made recently is a batch of oatmeal cookies (although yesterday's tuna rigatoni with capers and olives wasn't so bad). Maybe I should bake instead.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

If not now, when?

Attending the Team RP concert for Truth, Accountability and Reform yesterday was slightly out of character for me.

I'm not the most actively political young person (I'm still officially young, in European terms, at least for another month). Perhaps the most political thing I ever did was trooping with orgmates to EDSA Dos seven years ago and leaving immediately because we had a show that night (which nobody saw).

So I surprised myself by participating in a noise barrage causing slow traffic flow along Katipunan, listening to Joey de Venecia, a Sumilao farmer and a student leader, and staying for a concert where some bands performed. Noel Cabangon sang this song.

It drizzled on and off, but the candles were alight all night. The crowd from EDSA joined us, but had to take down their banners inside Ateneo. Although at some points, the aims of the different organizations diverge, it is good to see people coming together for what they commonly believed in.

Towards the end of the concert, a former student of mine approached me and said that she was already working. To think that she was just in high school when I met her. I am getting older. And maybe more political

Panahon na para makialam. Kung hindi ngayon, kailan?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Battle with an ancient gadget

Big day today. But I won't talk about the Oscars or EDSA. I'll talk about the teenager in the house. I don't mean the househelp--it's the fax machine, all of 14 years.

Round 1: setting up
It took half an hour to get it to work. At first, there was no dial tone. Then there was a dial tone but it would not dial.
Winner: the fax

Round 2: the first batch
Switched the receiver with that of the landline so I can speak into it. Hissy, but it worked. For a whole hour.
Winner: me

Round 3: the blackout
Sending the last page to an embassy, the LCD went blank. No beep to confirm transmission. For a whole hour.
Winner: the fax

Round 4: on a roll
After the fax conked out, I tried plugging and unplugging it after every few minutes. For a whole hour. Then it worked again for the rest of the afternoon.
Winner: me

Result: draw

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Twice the Freddie, half the fantasy

I've been rooting for Freddie Highmore since Finding Neverland-- victorious when he got the Golden Ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and gushing when I saw him in person at Leicester Square. In short, I'm fond of the boy. In The Spiderwick Chronicles, I got to see him twice as much: as Jared and his twin brother Simon. Growing up hasn't exactly been kind to Highmore--he's in that awkward lanky period. I can't wait for his voice to change and deepen because his current husky voice has a tendency to become monotonous, (though his American accent must be commended). I wonder what his mom (who is also his agent) has to say about him dating Sarah Bolger (who plays his sister in the movie) and the rumors that she is pregnant. :( Get them out of LA, please!

I have never read the books on which the movie is based and I feel that it lacks that sense of grandeur that I was expecting. I'm sure everyone thought of the Harry Potter series when the griffin appeared (my mom thought of The Neverending Story). The story does not maximize its fantasy potential or stress the scale of destruction that the ogre is capable of. Instead, it becomes more about absent parenthood. The film has enough splatter and goo to call itself a Nickolodeon movie, but not enough wonder and the wide-eyed wow factor.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

talking parts + MV

Listening to MusicalTalk, I prayed there would be a Filipino arts podcast like it. Then I found out about Jenny Jamora's blog+podcasts through Gibbs Cadiz and promptly subscribed to it.

You've probably seen Jenny before.

The last time I saw Jenny, she gave me a lift to EDSA. I don't think she'd remember that because I don't remember when it was, either. Three years ago, I suppose?
The last time I saw Sugarfree was two summers ago at NBC Tent while I was covering a Nestea event.
The last time I saw Marie Jamora was when I sat in in her Comm class to watch some music videos of my friends early last year.
The last time I saw Niccolo Manahan was in Hamlet early this month.

Small world.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Where the chicken is always good

With former teammates at JT's Manukan with JT himself. (Not Timberlake, ha.)

taken by A with Mems's cam

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

MA dissertation update #8: draft done

I am pleased to say that I have finished my draft of roughly 20,000 words, but I know it needs a lot of work. I'm taking a break before performing the necessary surgery on it. In the meantime, here are a couple of jewels from the wayback baul.

Other than the Martial Law musical, we also set Shakespeare to music in high school. I don't know how we arrived at the choice of the play, but it was stressful fun. I was still in do-it-all mode then.

Guess which musical this is from. Hint: I mentioned it a few posts ago. Jon, ask Bel which line ours was.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Whisper into Oblivion*

Name that Com dept classroom!

Semi-spoiler: Mama and Anne

Nolin and Papa

Anne and Nolin

BSK screencaps. I resisted the temptation to post spoilers. There's even an IMDB page for it. (Legit!) Nevermind that Dave and I aren't there though we have more screentime. Hahaha!

*The writer/director's translation

Monday, February 18, 2008

Two causes, what effects?

Quite disparate issues, but I think these are worth discussing. Whether or not you agree with them, it's better to have an opinion than none at all, and to discuss than to keep silent.

Draft Lessig for US Congress

"Where are the Filipino Youth?" by Harvey Keh

Stefan's shorts

When I first saw Food Fight, I didn't think about the wasted food (CG or not). I thought, this guy is good. Take a look at Stefan Nadelman's work at Tourist Pictures, especially Latin Alive and the video for Menomena's Evil Bee. That's his dog above, impersonating Orson Welles. Cute.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson

[updated 2/19]

One of my fondest memories of high school was doing a class musical set during Martial Law, so I didn't mind seeing another one.

I rarely go all the way to CCP to see a show, but Tanghalang Pilipino's rock musical EJ: Ang Pinagdaanang Buhay nina Evelio Javier at Edgar Jopson seemed to have all the qualities of theater worth seeing: script by Ed Maranan, music by The Dawn, a cast that includes Ricky Davao and Jet Pangan, direction by Chris Millado. A few minutes into the show, it was clear to me that while there was a lot of potential in the material and the production, a number of things were bogging them down. If you've seen the show, let me know if you agree or disagree.

It was the first weekend, so I will forgive the forgetfulness of Juliene Mendoza (Evelio Javier) and Riki Benedicto's (Edgar Jopson) not being in tempo with the music. Benedicto has strong stage presence, but the strongest presence and male vocals belong to Nar Cabico as the narrator figure (Jun Yango). Tex Ordoñez (Joy) and Wenah Negales (Precious) hold their own both as actors and singers. The ensemble get plenty of chances to show off their character acting abilities. (They also look very young, which makes me wonder how Davao and Pangan would look when sharing the stage with them.)

As the story spans decades, it is sensible that there was no effort to recreate the period. The projections were enough to give the audience a sense of history. The handheld mics had a concert-like effect, but tended to be distracting and cumbersome, especially when the actors had other props like in hand.

There were some well-executed numbers like Salimpusa, which to me was definitely performance art pregnant with symbolism. The band played consistently well, but the volume could be lowered. My favorite scene was Edjop's China visit, which was a great way to end the first act. The quartet for Salamat was very beautiful. Wish I could hear it again.

Now...this. The running time of nearly three hours could be shortened considerably by some judicious cutting. I was nearly pleased when Iisang Bangka Tayo was sung, thinking that the show would end without showing how the leads died. But no. They had to be killed, which didn't work for me because I feel that for the deaths to be potent, they must either be extremely stylized or horrifically real. Since that scene was neither, I did not feel a thing.

I had a problem with fitting existing songs to a true story. Although this has been done, this is usually reserved for the life stories of the musicians who played them (Jersey Boys, Buddy!). Otherwise, it's arguably better to have original music to go with an existing story (Phantom, Les Miz) or have existing music go with an original story (Movin' Out, Mamma Mia). The music then ably drives the story forward instead of freezing the action. The narrator could have been used more effectively (see Evita and Pippin) or not at all. It seems that he is the trade-off: the only way some songs could be used. But other than morphing into Marcos, he did not engage in dialogue with the EJs. If the songs did not constrain the action, the focus could have been on the conversations between the two EJs, which could make their connection more solid.

I wish the show was done in Ateneo because of the Ateneo connections of the characters and because it would have been an inexpensive way of getting a bigger ensemble, which I think would help.

There, I've said it. You've got four weekends left, TP. It's not too late to tighten the show. Or at add an overture.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The return of the quotable quotes

Since high school, I've been the supreme keeper of quotable quotes. Pored over my notebooks while spring cleaning and found some from my college teachers. Here are a few of them (long stories and R-rated ones excluded).

In this class, we encourage insanity.
I'll be your psycho teacher. You'll be my psycho students. It's a two-way street.
[I am] handsome, contrary to popular belief.
It is hard to determine love juridically.
Benzene is the component of rugby, glue that smells very *sniff* nice.
Mice are nice and handy. You can grow them.

[On grades] Zero if you're beating around the bush and it's the wrong bush.
[Another teacher's name] is one of the great yellers of this university.
How come nobody loves me? I have love to give.
I have everything in my Palm Pilot, including my sins.
My neighbors used to eat all my dogs.
[Quiz] Bonus question: what is the latest single of my band?
I lost my glasses so funky yung mga images na nakikita ko.
Give me... wag naman SPACE. Para namang may relationship tayo.
This is what I like about the MWF class... madaling matapos.
Life is shit talaga.
Girls are what boys want, what young men get, and what old men like me only dream of.

Friday, February 15, 2008

My offbeat valentine

He may look strange, but this guy is a major sweet tooth.

That I was watching the film Death Note and its sequel around V-Day was just a coincidence. (I'm trying to learn Nihongo, hahaha.) The story, based on a manga, was very interesting but slightly disturbing. Though it's nowhere as violent as Battle Royale, which also topbilled Tatsuya Fujiwara (lead character Light Yagami in DN), the premise was just as creative. I cannot wait for the Ryuzaki (Ken'ichi Matsuyama) spin-off, L: Change the World. It's funny that I didn't know what L stood for until I looked it up online. That ought to be in the movie.

Hearts' Day at home: a photo essay

Thursday, February 14, 2008

College musicals

Malakas magpatugtog ng radyo ang kapitbahay namin, pati na rin ang mga kasambahay ko. Kaya araw-araw kong naririnig ang "Way Back Into Love" galing sa soundtrack ng Music & Lyrics sa Energy FM (Hi pangga!) . Kahapon lamang, tatlong beses: umaga, tanghali, gabi. Hindi ako nagbibiro. At sa loob ng isang buwan, ilang beses ko nang narinig ang mga kantang "Larawang Kupas" (4), "Kanlungan" (4), "Kung Ako Na Lang Sana" (3), "Bakit Pa" (2), "Muli" (1). Napahalungkat tuloy ako ng aking mga VCD at DVD ng di oras.

Cue to:

Before Quark Henares channeled Donna Cruz in Keka, before John Lloyd said "!" in One More Chance, before Ellen Page used a funny phone in Juno and before they did this (above) in HSM, we did!

(L to R) Kim Chiu, istatue? The Miriam Quiambao wave.
Melodrama ang drama ng comedy!

Tres malditas

So-bad-it's-good acting

Asianovela camp! MG or HYD?

Sinong nagsabing high-brow at puro theory ang mga academics? Hindi ako pakakahon. Mwahahaha!

Seriously now, the only film-related role I play these days is that of a gadfly to Bobi's yet-to-be-filmed screenplays. I always get a kick out of making comments and suggestions.

Happy hearts' day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Taken too late!

Pre-theater lunch at Recipes by Cafe Metro at Greenbelt is habit-forming. For under P200, their Rice +1 meals have a viand, rice and iced tea. We've tried adobo flakes, Korean spare ribs, chicken teriyaki and garlic chicken, all of which are good. The downside? Overpriced desserts.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fun lessons on YouTube

I've never seen any of the Star Wars films, but don't we all get it. Yeah, while I was buying at grocery, i didn't want to know where my produce came from.

[via Jaguarito]

Math formulae

[via Ceci]

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Backtrack: BBFW CNYE on The World Tonight

Look ma, we're on TV! She's in the shirt with white piping; I'm in the patterned dress. Image redirects to the video.
[via crystal]

Missed the post about this? It's here.

Wondrous strange

Repertory Philippines' Hamlet is a fresh, nay, an exciting take on one of the Bard's most famous works. (So exciting I can't even sleep without blogging this.)

The set is nothing like Denmark, except maybe Skagen. (The beach in Elsinore is rocky.) The weapons were fantastic. (I was hoping that sparks would fly during duels.) Mohawks and waxed hair: perfect. The opening tableau made me stop and think. Wait, this looks like a guild! You must forgive me for being in gamer mode, but the staging reminded me of the ROSE online, but much, much darker and with more belts. (If only there was a photo of Hamlet's dad with the Viking headgear for comparison!)

There were times when the actors were in the shadow, but the lighting in Claudius' praying scene makes up for it. The sounds in between scenes made me think of the music played when entering another map in a game. All that was missing was the "Loading" bar on the screen.

Niccolo Manahan (above) is a worthy Hamlet. Of course, it's hard to top this guy (good luck, Jude Law), but Manahan's clarity of speech and thought make you almost swear he lived in Elizabethan times. There's a classical ring to it. During the performance I saw, he had a near-miss (or was it a trick?) with his dagger and was shaken for a few moments, ad libbing and recovering soon after. Well done.

I wanted to like Cris Villonco as Ophelia, but the portrayals of Kate Winslet and Helena Bonham-Carter are etched on my mind. Still, I would like to see Villonco in a play again.

There were some interesting cast choices. After the show I couldn't help thinking "Who could also have played who?" Having young actors was generally a good thing for this production. I'd like to switch the roles of Joel Trinidad (Polonius) and Jamie Wilson (Laertes) and I think that would also work. The supporting actors were given the chance to shine. The players were effective. I only wish they had more to do. It was my first time to see Felix Rivera and I felt bad that his character was a simpleton. He'll have his chance some other time.

Director Ana Bitong reduced the play-within-a-play to a pantomime, which effectively cut down the running time. But I must ask: Where is Fortinbras? (Not that it matters. It was good to not have him around.) Hamlet drinking the wine surprised me but that made sense. (I don't mean Danes drinking makes sense. Of course it does.) Then again, Hamlet could also philosophize until the poison kicks in. Hamlet smoking: ok. Ophelia smoking: not ok. (Am I being sexist?)

Favorite bit: the funeral scene. Great execution, starting with the gravedigger's exchange with Hamlet and highlighted by Hamlet's too-late profession of love.

Sorry for over-analyzing now. I have loved Shakespeare's Hamlet since junior year high school, when we had to read the play and no one was spared from delivering a monologue in front of the class. I had butterflies in my stomach then, just like everyone else, but I enjoyed being the brooding Dane for a few minutes. Who would have thought, a few years later, I'd be brooding in Denmark myself?

One last bit (can't help it!) : when the players were spritzing the sand during intermission, I wished they had the big spray pumps you carry on the back like a rucksack--consistent with the concept.

photo by Jojit Lorenzo (cropped by me--sorry, idol!)

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Today she takes the big leap

My travel buddy gets a partner for life today. Kærlig hilsen, ate! Per cent'anni!*

*For a hundred years, an Italian toast to newlyweds

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Oliviers noms are in

According to Variety, Hairspray has received the most number of nominations (11) in the history of the Laurence Olivier Awards (the West End equivalent of the Tonys). I really wanted to see Macbeth, Parade and War Horse, but since I didn't, I can only talk about Hairspray, Lord of the Rings, Othello and King Lear.

Is LotR even a musical? (It depends on your definition.) I must say I had tons of fun with Hairspray (and it's won the other theatre awards in London already), but I feel for the effort put into LotR.

Actress in a Play
Not Kelly Reilly in Donmar Warehouse's Othello, sorry. Zoe Tapper was better as Desdemona at The Globe.

Actor in a Play
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Othello or Ian McKellen as King Lear? This is tough! I go for McKellen.

Newcomer in a Play
Tom Hiddleston in Othello. Yes, please! Anyway, he's already a winner of sorts, being twice nominated in this category (the other for Cymbeline). Watch out for him.

Actress in a Musical
I liked Leanne Jones as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray better than Nikki Blonsky in the movie version. That's as much as I can say.

Actor in a Musical
Michael Ball in Hairspray. It's not just the fat suit that will get him votes here. The acting was superb, though the singing doesn't show off his pipes (the category is called actor in a musical, so that's alright). Light years ahead of John Travolta's performance in the movie.

Supporting Performance in a Musical
Between the two nominees from Hairspray: Tracie Bennett, whose Velma Von Tussle is scary, (not seductive like Michelle Pfeiffer) and Elinor Collett's Penny Pingleton (who puts Amanda Bynes to eternal shame for robbing the character of any erm, character), I'd say my dime's on Penny. Not that I expect her to win.

As for Direction and Choreography, there's no way for me to tell how Hairspray measures up to the other nominees. But in the technical categories (Lighting/Set/Costume/Sound Design) where Hairspray and LotR are battling each other, I say LotR is the lord of the ring. Being a stage manager, I have so much compassion for the people who run that show.

Graphs and maps

Visualcomplexity has visualizations of all sorts. From transport maps to social networks, you'll find something that interests you.

Playing again

These PC games, ancient by gaming standards, are the last ones I played for my class the other autumn. After these, I did not play games other than casual online (Flash) games for a whole year.

I've stayed away from the more modern-looking war games for as long as I can remember because they look too real to me. Give me fantasy or pre-20th century anytime. But two weeks ago I begged my brother to reinstall an old game because I don't want to play Sims 2. (I don't want to do the installation myself because I don't know how much our five-year-old PC can take.) I asked him for a strategy game. He installed this World War II RTS, so I had no choice but to give it a shot.

At first, I really didn't like it, but after getting hooked on the Campaign mode, I gave up my nighttime DVD watching last week. It still feels like a duty, though. (Yeah, it is combat duty.) I'd still rather have magical powers in an MMORPG, except that our computer lacks the disk space and processing power. Speaking of MMOGs, here's the trailer of the docu Second Skin. [via Boing Boing]

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Citizen Dog

Welcomed the Year of the Rat with this Thai movie. I must admit that the Amelie-like devices count as a point against Citizen Dog, but how can I resist the lovely colors of these shots? I also like the theme song, though I cannot understand a word of it.

[Spoiler alert!] I wonder what happened to Tick?

Now please excuse me while I have tikoy for lunch (what else would you do with four boxes of the stuff? must give some to the neighbors!).

May everyone grow tails (watch the movie first on crunchyroll-thanks for the heads-up, Bobi) this year!

European Higher Education Fair, Manila

In college, Ledz and I were already dreaming of further studies. The goal: an MA in NYU. I ended up not in New York, but in London (and was all the better for it). And here I am, at the tail-end of my Master's, already thinking of studying again. Maybe I'm a bit extreme, but I don't think I'm the only one who has ever considered going back to school.

If you're open to earning another degree, then come to the European Higher Education Fair and find out about different programmes offered by various universities, including information on scholarships (I wouldn't have survived without one). It could be your turn to hit the books next.

European Higher Education Fair
Rizal Ballroom, Makati Shangri-La Hotel
February 23 to 24, 11am to 6pm
Free admission

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Na-touch naman ako

Sometimes it's surprising when people express their faith in you and your abilities, especially when they are people whose opinions you value. Think of those sweeping statements that have been said to you that make you feel as if others believed in you more than you do in yourself. What my teachers say, for example, stay with me for a long time. Although what friends say matter, some situations carry more weight than others. Recently, a friend from college said something that meant a lot to me but was probably a throwaway statement for him. It's the kind of thing you should take note of and go back to when you're feeling down. (Maybe I should.) Tough luck finding a compliment to top it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


You don't see 21 artists from the esteemed Saturday Group having a drawing session in public every day. Nangawit ako for the sitter (in pink).