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Archive for March, 2011

Suck me, punch me!

 I thought the movie was gay. Don’t blame me, blame the title! The first word sends a clear picture to any gay man, at least, it was a very vivid picture for me!

But I was happily disappointed. Sucker Punch is one hell of a movie! James and I saw it at Galleria before attending mass in the evening.

Sucker Punch is set in the ‘50s with young Baby Doll as the lead character. The eldest daughter of a rich woman who passed away, she inherited, together with her only sister, the fortune of their mother which is being covetously targeted by their father. One night, her father was supposed to rape her but she fought hard and so her father turned to her younger sister. Escaping through the window, she managed to get a gun and to get to her sister’s room. She fired but it was her sister who took the bullet after hitting the light bulb. Her father sent her to a sanitarium, bribing the orderly to ‘take care’ of her so she would not be a bother to him anymore.

In the sanitarium, she met four other girls who went to plan their escape with her. While doing so, she went into a trance – sanitarium was transformed into a prostitution den with the orderly as the big boss, all girls are prostitutes, the head psychiatrist as the dance instructor. She were asked to dance, as a  weapon for her survival, then she went into another trance, one that involves a man who told her to gather a map, fire, knife and key and one more secret thing, five things which would help her and her friends escape.

They were able to gather all four and the fifth secret thing was indeed a surprise.

Sucker Punch shows girls set in the 50s with costumes as if taken out of anime parties. It was a bit discomforting to see her in her school uniform as if I am one very old, rich but sexually aroused man who enjoys doing it with girls in uniforms. I was excited to see how she really danced that made all those who’s watching her forget everything else. But until the end, you can only see her moving her torso from left to right, as if mimicking Sheryl Cruz singing Mr Dreamboy in That’s Entertainment!

Although the movie would not get an Academy nod, it sets itself different from the movies in a sense that it was a combination of several – Street Fighter for the moves, Inception for the several layers of trance, Black Swan for the dance studio, Burlesque for the cabaret performances, definitely so Watchmen for the settings and costumes (for the two movies have the same director). It is a movie worth remembering and talking about albeit for a week only.

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Of the seven intelligences, no doubt I excel in linguistics. Speaking in public, articulating my points of view, inspiring the team to do better, these are just walks in the park. I appreciate this gift (although sometimes I swear I want to exchange my English fluency for a good singing voice) more so when I remember that there are those who are not good at it.

King George VI had trouble speaking in public and was known to stammer especially in front of a crowd. The King’s Speech, the Academy-award winning movie about the royal who swallowed his own pride to take on a job meant for his older brother, that is, to be the King of all the British Empire. Starring Colin Firth and Helena Bonham-Carter (I promise you, Helena would surprise you because she looked decent in the movie – I was silently waiting for her to brandish her wand!), the movie showed how difficult it was for monarchs to have the disability when the very empire is built on articulate leaders who can rouse a whole nation to war.

The King’s Speech is an inspiring movie telling us that no one is too great to learn, that no one is too rich to admit one’s insecurity for by doing so one can only true overcome it.

The English countryside gave way to dark forests, deep ravines and snow-capped mountains. Red Hiding Hood is a fantastic twist to the toddler tale of a vicious wolf pretending to be a grandmother. I almost thought the movie was an adaptation of Jerry Maguire’s books, who has written magnificent re-telling of classics such as Cinderella (The Tale of the Ugly Stepsister – one which I’ve read and loved) and Snow White (Mirror, Mirror – one that I’ve bought while waiting for James at Greenbelt’s Powerbooks before we went to watch Red Riding Hood). Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (director of Twilight – no wonder you’ll see lots of pine trees again) and starring Amanda Seyfried and Lukas Haas, the movie blends children fiction with adult fiction. A werewolf stalks the forest and is one of the villagers during day. The quest to find out who that is leads to suspicions amongst families and friends. I like the movie for I was not able to guess who the werewolf was and I kept guessing until the end.

Just remember not to wear red if you plan to see the movie!

Then forests and hills once again in Season of the Witch starring Nicolas Cage. I did not think much of this movie and I thought it can serve as a lullaby as I convince my mind to sleep. The movie was set in medieval Europe during the Holy Wars when witchcraft and witch-hunting were the pastimes of the people. Like in modern times, they usually persecute the innocent and allow the guilty the free roam. However, they struck gold with the hanging of a real witch (or so we thought) that brought pestilence to the land. Now, Cage’s group has to travel through dark forests (good thing illegal loggers had not been there yet) and rickety bridge to the monastery to have another accused witch presented to the monks for further action.

The monastery was not what they expected, and so was the girl they thought was a witch.

The movie is indeed a lullaby, not much of brainpower to use, thought it can amuse you with shots of wounds, dirty streets, smelly-looking men and thick coniferous forests, just remember to close the curtains and pray before you sleep!

There are lots of movies I want to watch – but the Lucas and Titan Men titles I’ve recently bought has been kept in the corner for too long. Let me watch them, though I may not be able to tell you anything about them on this blog for Stepfordboy is one nice boy – by day! 

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I was on my way to one of the training rooms for a meeting when an officemate called me from the floor pantry and there I saw a large number of employees watching the TV hanging from the wall.

It took some seconds before I realized what I was looking at – fast running water carrying small debris over what looked like rice fields. My brain quickly went into recall and I remember the movie 2012 only that the logo at the bottom of the screen did not say ‘HBO’ and besides, no movie channel is allowed in our office pantry TVs.

In fact, the logo at the bottom of the screen said ‘CNN’ and this channel never made a spoof of anything. I suddenly rushed back to reality when a colleague nudged me aside to get closer to the screen.

March 11 was the day when Japan experienced its worst earthquake – an earth-moving 8.9 shock on the Richter magnitude scale that sent powerful tsunami over Sendai, Japan. The destructive wave took lives, properties and even led to a nuclear meltdown.

No words can describe the anguish shown in the news of the people who lives on to witness what happened and to endure the loss of loved ones.

One afternoon back in 1990, I was taking a nap in my lola’s room when I heard shouts and I found myself being carried in one arm by my lola. We went out of the house and I saw throngs of people on the street. I did not feel the 7.9 earthquake that destroyed most of northern Luzon but I saw pictures, heard news but was not old enough to grasp the severity of the issue.

A year later, I thought I was seeing snow. My older cousins were on the roof sweeping heaps of ash. Mount Pinatubo erupted after almost half a millennium of sleeping – an eruption that was dubbed as the most destructive in modern-day history. Still, as a young child, I was not able to fully understand how worse the event was on agriculture, climate, economy, lives of those who once lived around the volcano. My life immediately went back to normal.

September 2009 was when I was old enough to understand. To fear. To act as an adult. We experienced Ondoy in such a way we thought we would only see in the news. What we thought is only possible in far-flung places, not in suburban Cainta.

Now, I fear for the future. Christchurch, New Zealand had an earthquake before Sendai, Japan. Both of them lie on either side of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Sitting like a duck on the midpoint of these two places are the Philippines and the Marikina Valley Fault System (MVFS).

Running through the most expensive villages in Pasig City all the way to the Taal Volcano, this fault line has not produced a sizeable earthquake in recorded history. And it is long overdue, taking into consideration the activities of the tectonic plates around that of the Philippines.

What is even scarier to think is that the movement of MVFS could lead to the eruption of Taal just like what happened when Pinatubo was ‘awakened’ by the 1990 earthquake.

No one knows for sure when these things will happen or whether we will be prepared for it.

This is just a testament to how unpredictable life can be. And how important each breathing second is.

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In Loving Memory of Mitos

Death is probably the most painful thing to accept.

February 2009 was when James and I decided to have a dog as our first child. We studied different breeds and ultimately settled for a mini-schnauzer after receiving a postcard from my boss at The Bank with a picture of a schnauzer.

Together with a dear friend, Ms Hope, we went to Quezon City to see the ‘breeder’ from whom I will buy our dog. The moment I saw the only mini-schnauzer puppy for sale, I knew something was wrong. His hair was very short and skin had flakes. I asked the breeder what was that and he said that it was just dandruff and that it would go away. I knew he was lying. Logic tells me to back out from the deal but my conscience was telling me otherwise. The puppy was sick and I have the resources to take care of him. The breeder will just put him to sleep and no one knows if it will be humanely done so.

I bought the puppy with me and James and I named him Mitos. Mitos was well received by our family. We bought him all his needs – playpen, bowls, food, water spout, toys, treats. He even only drank purified water!

When we brought him to the vet to have him checked, our suspicions were confirmed – he was suffering from demodex, a life-threatening skin disease that is hereditary and is due to very weak immune system. According to the vet, there is a treatment for demodex but it would be long and expensive. James and I were of single heart – do whatever it takes, no matter the cost, just so our child would be well.

For the next weeks, Mitos was well taken care of by our family. Mitos would not be able to get out of his playpen until the floor has been mopped clean with zonrox and water. His toys and bowls were regularly washed. But amidst these precautions, his weak immune system allowed him to suffer from parvovirus infection, a disease characterized by diarrhea and lethargy. The disease has an 80%-90% mortality rate and Mitos survived not just one but two infections.

Mitos was a regular patient at the vet’s clinic. He had been hospitalized for a total of more than a week. But my family, James and I were very positive that after Mitos received all his treatments, he would live the life of a regular happy dog.

On his sixth month, after James and I returned from our Boracay trip, and days before Mitos’ last vaccine, he died.

He collapsed and we rushed him to the vet and left him to be confined. Moments later, the vet told us that Mitos would no longer survive and I quickly decided to put him to sleep. We rushed to the clinic but it was too late. Mitos died before euthanasia can be done.

I saw his dead body, his dead stare. I could not control myself but cried as hard and loud as I can. James was with me, trying to be strong for me and for himself.

I hated myself for some reasons – I should not have bought him and spared me and my family the heartbreak. I should have allowed him to play, get dirty, instead of giving him a hospital-clean home.

But I know there is a reason for everything – Mitos came into our lives to remind us that life is short and that it should be enjoyed and well-spent. That love often protects people up to the point of imprisoning the other.

That even gay couples can have children, in this case, dog-children, and lose them just like heterosexual couples.

That love transcends life and death and I know Mitos is happy wherever he is right now.

In loving memory of Mitos (December 26, 2008 – May 24, 2009).

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