Thursday, December 29, 2011

Welcoming 2012: That time of the year

I think I was fairly successful with my 2011 New Year's Resolutions:

  • To not sweat the small stuff - This really referred to how I easily got ruffled by news reports, by the CBCP, by jerks, by random strangers, by both major and minor events and incidents outside my control etc., and how I'd immediately vent out my frustrations in this blog and on Twitter. I'd like to think there has been less angry posts from me because seriously, the world has enough haters in it without me in the bandwagon. I'd also like to think I've been constructive in my criticisms, or if I do paste an entry or re-tweet tweets, I present them as is, without sensationalizing it. One question I ask myself whenever I feel like expressing my anger is: So, how are you going to act on it? I think I can't be vigilant just from my couch alone.
  • Write more handwritten notes: not just thank you notes and gift cards but also letters even if there's no special occasion (target: at least once monthly) - FAIL! LOL! Ironic considering this was the year I received so many notecards as present––and I truly love all of them––except I guess, I love them too much? Also, this was the year I found it difficult to express myself poetically. I guess being in corporate communications for so many years has completely affected my writing style. (Also, I want my sense of humor back!)   
  • To actually read one new book each month, not 12 books a year as I did in 2010 - Yahoo, check na check! I got a bit nervous in the last few weeks because I thought I wouldn't finish the Steve Jobs biography in time. However, the last few chapters of the book got me really hooked (and sad; I might review it later) so I found myself finishing the last page with four more days to spare. Here's the list of what I read this year. The best one, hands down, is The Exact Location of the Soul, followed by A Sense of the World, Tess of the D'Ubervilles, and Pacific Rims. You know what my worst book is. 
  • I will not buy a trend but only classic pieces which I can imagine myself wearing until old age (weight permitting) - I may have bought no more than five items of clothing this year. I think. I guess I did take this bit to heart, and I'm happy with it. I don't think I can stand cleaning my closet again and seeing so many clothes that I don't need––such a waste. At partida, nanalo pa ko sa office ng fashion award kahit paulit-ulit na lang ako ng sinusuot, lol. So it really works for me :-D  
  • De-clutter periodically - Passing grade; I've de-friended someone in real life because life is too short for you not to surround yourself with the best and kindest people. I say no a lot. I'm trimming the excesses, streamlining my life. (Sorry, for the corporate jargon, lol.) Now, I must move on to the boxes of junk hidden under my bed. 
So my 2012 resolutions are:

  • Don't sweat the small stuff––Avoid stress by all means. Online, this means not being part of the lynch mob, especially if I'm not being part of the solution
  • Write letters once a month––it doesn't even have to be handwritten
  • Continue reading one new book each month––Nope, I'm not increasing the number, di ko talaga carry, lol
  • De-clutter every quarter
  • I must be able to do 100 pushups––in one set––by the end of the year.
  • Be more demonstrative in my appreciation of other people; constantly give positive feedback
  • Master the art of tolerance––not everything is about me or pertains to me. It's not about me unless you categorically address it to me; otherwise, dedma!
  • Use my Fisheye 2 again: develop one roll each month
  • Write at least one feature article a month
  • I want to do more for the Pinoy LGBT community






Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Goodbye, Hitch

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of the Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow



This quote was included in Christopher Hitchens's biography, Hitch 22. I meant to review the book, but then I realized, how exactly does one critique an autobiography; and second, how dare I. I also have to admit to the fact that I'm intellectually inept to fully comprehend his work. In Tagalog, nosebleed talaga sya, 'teh.

Here's his second to the last article for Vanity Fair, Trial of the Will, wherein he questioned the wisdom of Nietszche's maxim 'What doesn't kill me, makes me stronger' as he reflects on his mortality. (I think VF will be releasing his last column in the January issue.)

And here's one of my all-time faves, which I also blogged about here, The New Commandments:





Tuesday, December 13, 2011

iHermit


In the battle between print and digital media, I was all about "Oh, but the smell of paper! The crisp sound that they make as you turn them page by page! The joy of hearing trees scream to their death as you beat their trunks to a pulp!"

And then I got an iPad.

I'm stuck at page 352 of the Steve Jobs biography after having progressed at a glacial pace of two pages in two weeks and thereby threatening to ruin my NY 2011 resolution despite only having 18 more days in the calendar year left. I've stopped using my desktop computer, as well as my TV and DVD. I got my electricity bill last night and it's the lowest it's been since the start of 2011. I haven't updated this blog in a month. My eyebags qualify as luggage.

It's the last thing I hold at night, and the first thing I grab in the morning. (And no, I wasn’t making you guess.) I forget I have a cellphone. My cellphone is on the verge of disintegration—the top and sides have holes in them; the aluminum case smiles open so that if I don't hold it carefully, the keypad would slip out—and I don't care.

I am online 24/7 which means I know what everyone is up to, particularly everyone who has no concept of online privacy. I'm subscribed to various magazines and websites and I get free books—I finally have a copy of Art of War. I may not be able to smell the addicting aroma of a newly bought book, but I can gorgeously flip through an e-book's page with a fingertip. I slide my forefinger across the screen and the page's tip curl everso beautifully; I give it a playful tap, and I don't even have to reach out for my dictionary.

Not that I have a dictionary on my bedside table because I don't.

I rediscovered the joys of chat rooms and emoticons in the company of other Apple-loving friends, particularly how, through emoji alone, we managed to recount how a becky acquaintance must have felt when he married his beard. I've yet to get hooked on any of the games though; I barely have time to go through all the reading material available to me. Or do geeky stuff such as find myself on a map, or find friends on a map and check if they're really where they said they were, or look at the state of parts of Metro Manila traffic in real time, or pose for pictures photo-booth style, or make e-cards to post on friends' Facebook walls, or video YM-ing or Skype-ing anywhere I want to.

I can also stare endlessly at swimming Japanese koi but I was never a fan of the aquarium channel.

And oh my god, Flipboard, how I love thee. My RSS feed is now as pure and pretty as an angel's breath. And thank you for allowing me to mute certain people whom I have no guts to unfollow for fear of hurting their sensibilities. My cojones owe you.

It's got everything I need, and it weighs less than the tears that KC Concepcion shed during her Boy Abunda interview.

When friends asked me how my romance with my iPad has been going along, I answered, "Life-changing." It truly has been.



But for the love of Steve, the camera quality and battery life suck. Otherwise...


Monday, November 14, 2011

S & M, part 2

Part 1 here.

My entry title has taken on a different meaning after reading this book. Sure, there are still the similes and metaphors, but going through Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco has been nothing short of masochistic—especially since I'm itching to read my recent book purchases: the Steve Jobs biography and Cain by Jose Saramago. (Friends have asked me why don't I just stop but that would mean I'd only have three weeks to finish my November book. I haven't read an average-length novel that 'fast' and so I'm afraid I'd break my New Year's Resolution of reading one book a month if I give up on Ilustrado.)

It’s masochistic in that I derive my pleasure from catching on to more of the author's artistic flourishes and sadist in that I pass them on to you:

“The bloody neck part's covered by the grass, so it looked like that's what our lawn would've looked like if our lawn had a face and was sleeping,” p. 152

“I fanned his work out on my bed, and looked at it like pieces of a puzzle in which the picture will only be recognized once it is solved,” p. 156

“Traffic moves through a corridor of hand-painted movie signs, which rise three stories high and block out the squatter areas like some Potemkin village of celluloid fantasies. It is not too strained a metaphor,” p. 157 (Getting defensive, aren’t we?)

“These billboards are the iceberg's tip of the melodramatic tradition that links every genre...” p. 157

“... the faces of the artistas tower like egos,” p. 157

“I slide down in my seat, quick as an eel,” p. 158.

“It passes unhindered through a roadblock of soldiers and disappears in the distance, like an apparition from the past,” p. 158

"Manila's one big Roschach test," p. 254

"... fucking her is like throwing a hot dog down the hallway,” p. 257

"But the dancing artista is a bright nebula, it's like the music is coming from her. To a colorful, arcing bass line, a man with a voice like gravity sings about melodies that getcha so... Vita has her eyes shut and is doing this repetitive move where her face goes one way while her hips swing out in the opposite direction. Like a snake... The very snake who gave Eve that apple she gave to Adam,” p. 257 (I don’t even know how I survived this.)

"The phone is like the moon and her face is being bathed in it,” p. 264 (Ergo, her face is bathing in the phone. Let me know how that works.)


Now, here's what really gets me. If you thought that "his epiglottis was seized" was bad, then this one's worse:

He is pushed onto his back and seven-inch spikes are driven between his radii and carpals, his patibulum is lifted onto an upright stipe. Another spike is banged through the intermetatarsal spaces of his feet.

- p. 155

If that had you at "patibulum," the author was basically saying that a person was nailed to a cross.

Compare this to an excerpt of The Exact Location of the Soul, a book I reviewed early this year, which was written by an actual doctor, Richard Selzer:

The cancer had chewed through Joe's scalp, munched his skull, then opened the membranes underneath... until it had laid bare this short-order cook's brain, pink and gray, and pulsating so that each beat a little pool of cerebral fluid quivered...


Suddenly, Syjuco's take is not only pretentious but also pathetic (since he's the writer).

In the comments section for the preceding entry, I mentioned how the characters sound so "curated" that one cannot imagine them being actual persons. They're so heavily 'processed'—from their "perfectly round, black plastic frames, usually seen on purposefully hip doctors and Asian architects" and "brilliantined salt-and-pepper hair," to their Lexus cars and units at the Trump Tower in New York. They’re all so perfect, they deserve to be exhibited in the National Museum, perhaps, hung to the wall by their carpals.

Consider this character, Sadie:

"Her room smells innocent, like a girl before fashion magazines turn her into a woman. In one corner sits a Fender Stratocaster... (Note: earlier, "vintage hip-hop [was flying] out" of her car, p. 173)... A brass bed is buried almost completely under stuffed animals... A pantheon of Steely Dan, the Spiders from Mars, and a sweat-drenched Neil Diamond stares at me from the wall. Sadie bends down to search a desk drawer, exposing her red thong panties and the tight crack of her plumber's butt. Atop the clutter on her desk is [sic] a Hello Kitty diary, a sketchbook, and a plastic pistol case open to reveal blackened rags and a disassembled Glock...”

- p. 177

"... but where the fuck is my poetry diary?
"Is it the Hello Kitty in front of you?"
"That's my dream diary."
"How about the one with Fabio on it?"
"That's my diary diary."
"What's the poetry diary look like?"
"It's green and, um... oh, here it is! I was sitting on it. Hehe."

- p. 178


This Filipina—this person—sounds as foreign as the author's convoluted medical fiction.

And then later:


"Her hair has the scent of Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoo... I tell Sadie: I'd have thought you use some fancy shampoo."

"Yeah, well. I'm just a simple kind of girl."

- p. 272
*rolls eyes* By the way, she's the one driving the Lexus.

The last book I read prior to this was Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo. I made sure to schedule my reading list this way because, according to reviews, this was a modern-day retelling of the national hero's novel.

I didn't get that anywhere; this book is not about the Philippines. The novel is all about the author himself, and that's fine really, especially if you give a shit about the author’s life. (Unfortunately, I don't, despite what my extensive review might imply.)

I conclude my review with an excerpt from Sadie's poem, written not on her Hello Kitty dream diary or her Fabio diary diary, but on the green diary she sat on:

"Night falls / like an overwrought theme; /  in comes the tide / of a sea of bad metaphors. / O flower, / O rain, / O tree. / Ow! Formulaic poetry! / Will my great epiphany come at my last sentence?"

p. 179


Ilustrado is exactly like that, although it wasn't so much punctuated by an epiphanic lightbulb moment as it was drowned by a sea of bad metaphors and sweeping vanity. 


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

S & M, part 1


I've been wracking my brain, trying to determine what was jarring about the author's writing style, until I reached a new chapter and the culpable phrases began jumping off the pages...

... like pearls cascading the stairs from a broken strand of necklace.

Erm. You'll get what I mean.

From Ilustrado, the book I'm reading this month:
"Jacob ran like his pants were on fire," p. 111

"They waited for what seemed like an eternity," p. 112

"Miguel comforts the dying man, 'who cradles his entrails as if they were the entirety of his life lived previous to this scene in chiaroscuro,'" p. 113

"The plane's shadow is like a water-skier on the meniscus of the unknown," p. 114

"He thrashes his arms above him, as if having just walked through a spider's web," p. 114

"... his posture peaceful, curved like a closing hand," p. 114

"Sits in a gridlock like a patient waiting his turn for the dentist," p. 114

"He watches the big metal gate as if he has X-ray vision and can see the house beyond," p. 115

"He watches the wall as if old home movies are being projected on it," p. 115.

"He looks like a man waiting for the firing squad," p. 115

"There are only faces in the crowd, like a field of flowers, if flowers could frown and spit and look at their watches," p. 115

"(Vendors) carry newspapers, like waiters with armloads of dishes," p. 116

"(Vita Nova is) dressed like a rape victim," p. 116

"That sensation of being watched. Like when you sit through a horror film then come to an empty apartment," p. 117

"A driver is gazing ahead as if willing the traffic forward with his mind..." p. 117

There is none on page 118; it's like a wrinkle that is suspiciously absent from your grandfather's face.

At this point, I hope you've noted the frequency they appear on one page alone. Alas, we forge onward.
"They edge sideways like adolescent boys along the wall at a school dance," p. 119

"Signs flash like a row of pantyless chorus girls," p. 119

"His apartment was above the famous Corner Bistro, and he said it was like living upstairs from your favorite brothel," p. 120

"It started to rain, and he and I ran, like lovers in a romantic comedy..." p. 120

"The kids began jumping over the puddles, the eldest, about eleven, laughing like a seagull," p. 120

It has come to a point that I can't even concentrate on the story; page after page, I'm on the lookout for the similes and metaphors that the author may have employed this time around.

I would have given up, really, especially after reading this sentence:

"His epiglottis has seized," p. 114

but the book has won the Palanca and the Man Asia Literary Prize, and earned raves from the Guardian and New York Times, so what do I know right?


Friday, October 21, 2011

Work Clothes


Okay, I've always tipped my hat to layout artists, especially those I've worked with in PDI, but doing that (points up) made me appreciate their skills and talent even more! Anyway...

I learned about Polyvore from Weekends in the City and I enjoyed reading her entry so much that I decided to try the fashion website as well.

Like WITC, I don't consider myself a fashionista, although, yes, there was a time when I was included in a glossy magazine for being one of the most fasyon college students in Manila. It wasn't a big dealthere were 25 of us (lol)but that experience made me realize that it is my responsibility to the public to look good. 

LOL.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding!

Seriously. Having to do interviews as a student-journalist, i.e., introduce myself to people and gain their trust, made me conscious of the first impression that I gave. And I was in a creative field, so I had to keep up with the trends, and being young, I just had to belong. So yep, I did put a lot of effort into dressing up. Now, not so much because now, I have a desk job :-P Plus, I have that thing about editing my wardrobe down to the barest essential. Plus, dios mio, it's soo hot in Manila for guys to dress up. At least the ladies can twirl around in their dresses and air whatever needs airing, while we have to cover up our legs (although I think that's really for everyone's visual benefit).

So that above is pretty much my work look. I always roll up my shirt sleeves. Although standing next to the crisp-looking bankers in our elevator building each morning makes me look shabby, I just can't stand looking that yuppie. I commute to work so I always wear my sunglasses. I do have a scarf with a skull print, but I usually wrap it around my wrist. The bracelets, I've written about, though I don't wear them especially when I'm running late because it takes time to pull all those strings tight. And yep, my leather wallet is green, just not that exact brand but the shade is pretty close. I never leave home without a handkerchief. I've blogged about my Casio watch, which by the way, has been bought by many a friend because it is truly classic and inexpensive (though I need to replace my strap).

Bought a similar-looking woven belt from F21 last weekend. That led me to suspect that I am presently in love with the color green. Sneakers, check. Humongous leather bag, check. I'm all set.

By the way, I don't go around carrying my Moleskine outside my bag. I just had to place it there due to layout issues :-P



Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Change-Up


rating: 4.9/10




The trailer says it all.

I'm too bored to even write a review of the film. There were funny moments and I wasn't particularly irritated by anything in the movie (except for the cuts made by the  Movie and Television Review and Classification Board) but still, I could only muster a 4 rating because I'd much rather you spend your money on food or drinks or on dudes who'd be happy with lugaw and yosi. It seemed other people had that bright idea (lugaw sales were supposedly up 5 percent over Monday figures) since aside from my group of friends, there were only two other people in the cinema.

That isn't to say we weren't very bright, just equal opportunity enablers because we believe a movie that underscores Ryan Reynolds' finer qualities as a sit-ups enthusiast deserves our money. Unfortunately, the movie decided not to highlight such splendor, and instead focused on Ryan's ability as a thespian. This is sourly disappointing because as much as we love good acting, Ryan Reynolds's abs alone had a better shot winning the Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Visual Effects, and Best Actor in a Supporting Role than Ryan himself being nominated for any category for this role.

Nevertheless, it's a good movie for guys and I won't even mention the few number of nipples that assaulted us onscreen (oops, I just did) because aren't we all dying to know what it feels like to be on the other side of the fence? Granted what I see across mine isn't filled with imageries of fatherhood and marriage and a law career, the heart-warming cliches this movie offers make me thankful for the wonderful things I have and do not have in life. But for P190? You can charitably feed lugaw to someone for several days for that amount and get the same satisfying feeling of virtuousness.


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Shamcey x J.Walking

Pam invited me to join the Inquirer Lifestyle staff in interviewing Shamcey but unfortunately I had work.

I know, I know :-(

She and Tatin did ask her to say hi and I pretty much bounced with glee as I saw this on Twitter, lol.

I never owned an Apple product, but now I can actually say thank you, Steve Jobs.






Figure drawing for men's fashion

One of my frustrations is that I can't draw guys. I find it more difficult to draw their proportions correctly and make the sinews look as natural or realistic as possible. I rarely draw them that I only have one drawing of a guy on record, and it's way too simple at that. If I could read my signature correctly, I made this 12 years ago:


A few months ago, I bought drawing materials and began sketching again. This was largely because of the Miss Universe pageant so I never really thought about men's fashion illustration until Mon gave me this yesterday:


I was blown away, first by the idea that I may still work on this frustration after all; and second, by how detailed this book is. It gives lessons on proportions and features chapters on details such as facial features, hairstyle, hands, feet, draping, lighting, and poses. It left no stone unturned!

Skipped this part for now

Interesting and helpful but I skipped this part for now, too.
Same with this, although this should also be helpful in my women's fashion illustration.
Hard to skip this part but yeah, lol!
So that's how you draw those armpits

I like how the authors were considerate so as to include as many poses as possible, lol.

Hip hop! I like hip hop fashion :-)

Lots of tips for runway illustrations

Here's my first attempt. I want to train my hands to draw a masculine figure as naturally as possible. Whenever I sketch, I automatically create curves for the boobs and I cinch my models' waist so when drawing dudes, I find it hard to keep the torso boxy yet sexy at the same time.




Ayan, armpit pose, lol. Drawing those abs is really tricky.




For now, I'm going to concentrate on finding my model's balance; I want my guys to have a natural swag. Here, I'm trying to make him look like he's a Dolce & Gabbana model but instead, he's looking pretty stiff and constipated here, lol:



When I've improved maybe I can ask real male models to pose for me no? ;-)


Wednesday, October 05, 2011

No Other Woman


rating: 3.5/10 (plus 0.5 for the welcome absence of product placements, which Star Cinema is known for)





At the beginning of the movie, Ram (Derek Ramsey), a furniture designer, explains how you make someone fall into your trap so you could eventually get what you want from him/her. The advice only works for hot people because the way to do this, as perfectly demonstrated by the lead characters, is to preen and pout the whole time, show off your armpits, flip the hair, flash the underside of your boobs, flex your biceps, and once you have your target panting after you, leave him/her for good. No one in the screenwriting department bothered to give these characters wit, humor or intelligence because apparently, good looks and wealth are enough; although let's face it, that is true as far as some cases in the real world go.

So we see hot people with no ability to draw me into their conversations: they talk about themselves a lot, including problems that are really non-problems.

Cara (Anne Curtis): I don't like big beds because I don't like it if there's too much space. It makes me feel alone... you know what I'm saying?

Me: Girl, kebs.

Such convoluted explanations are what's so frustrating about this film. At one point, we even see Ram having a conversation about golf with his lolo on his deathbedwhat for?! This is a movie about Ram's adultery! If we saw Derek's bulging crotch, that would have strengthened the movie's premise much better, and yes, I'm being serious about this. (e.g., "Ang laki naman pala ng etits ni Derek kaya pinag-aagawan sya nila Anne Curtis at Cristine Reyes [the wife, Sharmaine].") It's also curious why Cara, a man-eater and who could otherwise get any man she wants by flaunting her armpit, would fall in love with Ram. He's not smart, funny or witty; he plagiarizes the designs of Kenneth Cobonpue; and his good looks can only go so far as a few trysts may goso what makes these gorgeous women salivate over Derek? The film might as well have demonstrated the power a huge penis has over its sexual subjects if it couldn't provide its female characters depth (there's a bad pun in there somewhere).

If they are not talking, then they are having sex. The "sex scenes" weren't good enough for me either because I've seen sexier times between Jollibee and Twirlie.

The characters are vapid; no one seems to be in need of money; no one is likely to be the country's president; and they don't appear to be having great sexwhy are these people so desperate for each other?

For all its over-explanations in areas which are non-concerns in the realm of adultery, the movie failed to establish why having sex, and consequently, falling in love with a person you're not committed to is worth gambling your relationship with your husband/wife for.



Monday, October 03, 2011

Friends with Benefits


rating: 9.9/10





I was smiling, if not laughing, the whole time the movie was shown because, aside from the stellar casting and dialogues, it was amusing to watch our heterosexual sisters and brothers jump through hoops just to have meaningless sex!

One would think it shouldn't be a problem to engage in such coupling really, especially if you are Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. We assume that by their hotness, whoever they are paired up with end up deranged or in a fit of hysteria brought by unrequited love. However, in the movie, as it is in movies, they're the ones who apparently need to keep their emotions in check.

There's a newsflash: hot people get rejected too!

Once you get over thatactually, it shouldn't be hard as you'll see in the beginning of the movie; they get dumped respectively by hot people toothen it becomes easier to ride along the premise because Justin and Mila are very casual and nonchalant about their hotness, and so you think it may just be possible that they have to deal with these proletarian issues like we normal people do, lol.

Digression: Don't you just love hot people who are like that? Yesterday, I was watching this reality show which featured couples preparing for a dinner party. This guy, who was otherwise gorgeous, prepared the meals shirtless under his apron! Yack; god knows what bodily sheddings ended up in those dishes. I'm not really a fan of hot people who are ingratiating in their hotness, if that makes sense :-P To demonstrate: I love Hideo Muraoka but Fabio Ide irritates me. Both are hot, but they 'deal' (lol) with their gorgeousness differently.

Going back to the movie, aside from the leads' onscreen chemistry and hilarious conversations, I really loved Richard Jenkins, who played the father of Justin. That scene wherein he gripped his head in frustration because life is so shortwow, that really provided me with a beautiful perspective, particularly on birthdays. Mine is coming up and I always whine about how I'm getting older blah, blah, blahbut that scene made me think about the people who would love to have more birthdays but their clocks just won't tick further for much longer, or they've stopped ticking altogether.


Saturday, October 01, 2011

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star




"The past few months we've been filming time lapses of the beautiful desert sky in Utah. These ended up working perfectly with Jon Schmidt and Steven Sharp Nelson's arrangement of 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.' We hope you enjoy it!"

Childhood, stars and nighttime...


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Much ado about bracelets

Over a year ago, I wrote about how I wanted to trim down my number of clothes after I was inspired by an article on The New York Times.

Although I haven't even attempted to cut down my wardrobe to 14 items of clothing (that would be the day), I think I've been fairly successful in being calculated in my purchases. I'm pretty sure I've bought no more than two shirts in the past 12 months *thinks long and hard* (and I also only bought one pair of jeans) and I think that goes to show that as long as you have the classic pieces in your closet and (your weight has remained pretty much the same :-P), then you can survive not shopping for clothes for several months.

OK, I think I got too carried away by my intro because what I really meant to write about are my accessories, lol. Ang layo no?

Several months ago, while Pam and Jill were discussing ways to raise funds for their friend who has cancer, Pam thought about selling friendship bracelets. My reaction was something like, "Ngek, sino naman bibili no'n?" (Who'd buy them?)

A few weeks after that, Kanye West performed at Coachella wearing these:

www.shop.burkmanbros.com
Btw, I also love that Celine top :-)

and since Kanye was wearing them, I wanted them badly na, lol. (I did try to buy from Burkman Bros. but they ended up being sold-out.) And besides, I've never really been the silver (or gold) type of guy.

Then I saw our friend Coco wearing a long leather strap from H&M, and I asked him to buy for me too. But Tatin was quick to the draw and saw a similar bracelet at Papelmeroti of all places, lol, and bought it for me after co-signing on it via MMS:



I'd usually wear it with my other leather cuff from Armani:


so I'd look like a leather daddy, chos. LOL.

Then my bracelets sort of piled up within weeks.

Tatin got me this from Singapore:



When I'm feeling down, I either wear them individually or pile them all up and smell them because I find that the smell of real leather is a good pick-me-up :-)

During Giff's birthday dinner at Eastwood, Pam pulled me aside to bring me to a stand called The Bead Shop, and lo, friendship bracelets galore!

I love this shop because they use indigenous fiber. Like for example, this really strong abacá:

"Ayan sir, lalaking lalaki," the becky SA told me, lol.

and this waxed strips of I-forgot-to-ask-what-type-of-fiber. I like that the colors remind me of UP and that they look like rubber bands from afar:




They also have the usual friendship bracelets but this one's made of suede:



They're pretty costly though for friendship bracelets at about P300-P400 apiece, but again, they aren't made of synthetic materials. I'd mix and match them depending on my mood and what I'm wearing:



Then last night, Pam asked the gang to select from her charity bracelets loot from Cotton On. I selected this because it's color black:



Only to realize later that the bird is a swallow. Swallow! The opposite of spit! LOL!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Revlon Professional Makeover Weekend


Two Saturdays ago, hours before the UAAP Cheerdance competition, Pam invited me to join her and Tatin for a free makeover at Revlon's training center in Brgy Kapitolyo in Pasig.

We were given the option to choose one of the following:  haircut + hair treatment; color + hair treatment; or color + highlights. I selected the third option and it was perfect timing because I had been itching to color my hair.

I told the stylist that I wanted something "subtle, parang naarawan lang" lol, and from the swatches, she picked out dark and light chestnut and I agreed.

My hair's very shortI had a haircut a week before thisso one of the colorists, Michael, had to painstakingly foil strands of my hair to achieve the highlights. Kudos to him!



This is not the first time I had my hair coloredthough it's been years since my lastso I pretty much expected the stinging sensation (I shampooed my hair about 45 minutes before the procedure, from home) and the nauseous smell.

There was none of that. I mean, I could smell the dye but it wasn't aggressive at all and my scalp felt nothing. It was as if the stylist slapped a chunk of brown conditioner on my hair and left it there for 20 minutes.

The product they used on methe Revlon Nutri Color lineis a hair treatment and hair color rolled into one. And true enough, after they've shampooed and blow-dried my hair, it was so soft! (And it remains soft to this dayI'd let you touch it when you see me in person, lol.) I was absolutely blown away because my hair never felt this awesome after a color. And my brown hair and highlights are so subtle that no one has commented on it yetno one from my family or work, lol. But Pam and Tatin liked it, and I do too. 

The colors are seen only when light is hitting my hair.


I can't wait to try other colors. The goodie bag had these:




but I think this one's for touch-ups only. Not too sure if the color's going to stickI'd try it once I have the courage to go "pearl blond". (Tangerine is out of the question.)

I also received a sample bottle of Orofluido,




which is a fantastic serum for my hair. It's very light and not sticky or oily at all. By the time I get back home from work, my hair's still not gooey from the product, so I like it very much.


The salons offering Revlon's hair color products are listed here. You may also follow Revlon Philippines on Facebook and Twitter.




Wednesday, September 21, 2011

UP Pep Squad 2011: Express yourself!


Here's what I ended up writing for InterAKTV about last Saturday's UAAP Cheerdance competition. I did think I'd be criticized for over-analyzing the routine (and I was; but it's a fair criticism, in my opinion :-D). In my review, I looked at UP's cheerdance routine as performance art, hence my article.

* * * *

Now, as to my all-time fave (and heavy stuff aside), I can't decide between this and their 2008 routine: their Tribo routine had drama, and I really loved what they did for the drumbeat, segment and pyramid/mounting transitions, costume, and choreography.





This Madonna routine had the most difficult stunts (the men are soo strong; no wonder the routine focused on partner stunts) and it's one of the most fun perfomances they've had. Regarding the technical aspects: in the past, UP usually opened its routine with tosses, but this time, they started it with four sets of double cupiethat's a single base carrying two fliers, one on each hand.

More from the article:
The ladies were just as strong; in the routine’s first pyramid (0:47), four mid-fliers balanced five top fliers on their thighs, shoulders and arms. You can also just imagine the strain this placed on the four bases below. The way this pyramid was mounted—the third set of fliers were merely thrown to the top—made this an extremely difficult stunt.

The team launched into full-on assault mode beginning at the 3:26 mark with six scorpions (3:31) to arabesque (3:37) with full-down dismount. Four fliers performed a double back handspring to cradle position (3:44) and then from an extended level, they were tossed to a single-base extension (3:47), dismounting with a bird-front. The craziness continued as they did four rewinds (3:57) finishing with a double full-down dismount. At 4:23, two fliers did a double full twist, the team’s most complicated tosses for this piece.

Also, I can't believe the ladies managed to pull off wearing cone bras, which turned into pompoms (1:05), lol! They looked gorgeous in their blond hair plus, ang daming gwapo, lol! At syempre, I loved the cheerdance mix :-D

So yeah, I'm still on the fence as to which my number one fave routine is, but then, I can also have two number #1s, right?


Friday, September 16, 2011

Ready? OK! The 2011 UAAP Cheerdance preview






The UAAP Cheerdance Competition has gotten so competitive that a major error in a routine — that means falls in partner stunts and pyramids — will leave you out of contention for a podium finish.

Last year’s top three, the UP Pep Squad, FEU Cheering Squad and UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, had no such mistakes. The Ateneo Blue Babble Battalion and the DLSU Animo Squad attempted to surpass UST in terms of their respective routines’ difficulty — and in some areas, they did — but major errors cost them a placement in the top three last year.

So do you remain relatively safe in your stunts in the hope of avoiding errors that can prove too costly to gamble? Or do you take risks, hoping that the routine you’ve practiced for several months will be perfect on the five minutes on Saturday that you need it to be perfect.

Such is the story of this year’s competition. For UP and FEU, there is no question that they have perfected taking risks and having a flawless routine, making them the best cheerleading teams in the country. For the rest of the squads, we’ll know how they’ll play their cards at 3 p.m on Saturday.

Here’s how we’re ranking the eight UAAP cheerdancing teams based on their historical performances in the UAAP, as well as on cheerleading competitions outside the league, where some of them have performed.

Continue to Ready? OK! The 2011 UAAP Cheerdance preview...


Horrible Bosses


rating: 10/10


Finally, I'm giving a perfect rating to a movie that I found completely enjoyable, well-written, well-cast, and brutally funny.




Management candidate Nick (Jason Bateman) is stuck with a twisted boss (Kevin Spacey), who is not only a slave driver, but also heartless enough to penalize him for coming in at work at 6:02 am, or two minutes later than he wanted him to.

Accountant Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) is being ordered by his supervisor (Colin Farrell) to fire fat people.

Dental assistant Dale (Charlie Day) is being harrassed by his nymphomaniac boss-dentist (Jennifer Aniston) and it's hilarious how Dale screams hell while the other two sees heaven, as I assume 90 percent of the straight male population would too.

The plan: annihilate the horrible bosses.

The fun never stops in this filmfrom the beginning wherein we see the leads' miserable lives to the point where they strategize their revengeit's one sidesplitting scenario after another, thanks largely to the spectacular cast who relish their roles so well; Jennifer Aniston, for example, would put Linda Lovelace to shame. (Kids, don't google that.) Charlie Day is also a revelation, and I'm sure women would swoon over his undying loyalty as he refuses Jennifer's sexual advances that many men would be glad to be a recipient of.


Horrible Bosses opens in theaters on September 21.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My post-Miss Universe 2011 thoughts

I got 7 of my 15 predictions. Bagsak, lol!

* * * *

I'm still smarting from Shamcey's "loss" at yesterday's Miss Universe. I'm placing it in quotes because to me, she really did win, having given her best; also, fourth place is nothing to sniff at. So to Shamcey, congratulations! Your answer was worthy of a Miss Universe crown and I couldn't have been prouder as your pageant whisperer.

Now to ALL her fellow candidates in the Top 5, here's my lovely message:

Bwakanginanyo, ang dadaya nyo!!! Kung maka-English sa Top 10 video package, ang gagaling, tapos pag dating sa final Q&A, biglang may mga interpreter?!

At yung Angola, di naman sinagot yung tanong. "Here's an advice: respect one another"ano naman kinalaman nyan sa original question?! Obvious bang she was only pandering to the masses? (Bukod pa sa ang patronizing pa. You look perfect because you are respectful, and so ano kami? Ulol.) At syempre, mas nakakainis na bentang benta naman sa mga judges yung sagot nya.

Because of the time pressure, Shamcey only had one second to go over the question in her head and immediately state her answer; the rest of the candidates had as much as 30 seconds because their interpreter would let them pause while he/she would translate their answers in installments. Then during those intervals, they were able to compose their thoughts for as long as possible.

For the first time since I started watching Miss Universe, I finally felt that our candidate deserved to win the title after hearing her Q&A. It was a shame the judges thought otherwise.


* * * *

Nakakainis din yung mga nag-twee-tweet na "I don't care about beauty pageants," sabay tweet ng "If I were to answer Shamcey's final question..."


So feeling mo matalino ka? Sige, tayo ka muna in front of millions of people, with everyone's eyes on you, tapos saka ka sumagot sa panibagong question in your high heels after having been onstage for close to two hours. 


Inggit ka lang. 

* * * *

This brings me to the value of beauty pageants, particularly Miss Universe because that's the one I actively follow. I won't even discuss how it raises funds for charities, specially for HIV awareness. Details on that can be found here: www.missuniverse.com/charities/index

In life, kanya-kanyang diskarte lang yan. You can work extremely hard in a multinational and climb up the corporate ladder until you have that corner office with the magnificent view.

You can hone your basketball skills in your neighborhood kanto, sacrifice going to the best school in the country in favor of another university with an excellent basketball program, top the league, enter the PBA and earn millions of pesos and secure the future of your generation.

You can rely on your mestizo looks and chiseled body, drop your pants in a billboard, create controversy and finally put your sport in everyone's radar.

You can have the grossest values and also earn millions by hosting a noontime show—or by becoming a politician.

Or you can twirl around in your bikini, navigate through steps and turns in your long dress, risk slipping or falling flat on your butt in front of millions of people, and answer a question that can potentially be a YouTube sensation for the wrong reasons—but the rewards are limitless.

Where life is commerce, how are those different from sacrificing family time for work? From honing your basketball skills when there's school? From gaining publicity through your crotch and not by actual talent?

Answer: in winning a beauty pageant, you need to be both beautiful and smart. Otherwise, these are only different ways of doing one thing: getting ahead in life.


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