28 September 2012


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 12

So you remember what I was saying about going all out for October . . . ? What that means for the "Two or Three" Book Club is a Horror novel. You probably already know what's coming, but let me drag it out a little. =P

The beauty of declaring a theme beforehand is like the beauty of a scratched up metallic surface when a candle is set before it. (If you were on of those who read George Eliot's Middlemarch with me off this blog, then that image probably rang a bell!) As the scratches seem to rearrange themselves into a perfect halo, totally random accidents seem like magical gifts falling into pre-ordained places. After I announced the Burial Grounds theme for next month's Locus Focus (You're totally linking up, right?) and silently worried that I wouldn't be able to complete my own challenge, a slew of literary and cinematic cemeteries started agitating for my attention which had always been around just looked a little more obvious.

You'd be surprised at how many final resting places there are in fiction--and how diverse they are! . . . Or maybe not! ;-)

Two books with prime Burial Ground settings are now up for consideration as "Two or Three" Book Club picks. But we can only have one . . .

26 September 2012


Concert Notes

Now, why didn't I think of this sooner? Like, last month, when Tears for Fears were here? Tears for Fears Live in Manila 2012 is still the standard against which all other concerts I've been to and will go to are measured--and I'm going to have quite the time not contrasting it unfairly with this humbler show, which I almost didn't attend.

For those who have better things to do than read dispatches from the front lines of the boy band wars, it's like this: you're either for One Direction or you're for The Wanted. And I was for One Direction. But 1D weren't going to be in town and TW were. So I bought a ticket . . . and now I don't think I'm with 1D any longer . . . LOL!!!

7 Notes on The Wanted Live in Manila

24 September 2012


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 11

Brownie points to whomever remembers this painting and when it figured in Shredded Cheddar history!!! =D

The first one to answer will get his vote counted twice in the upcoming "Two or Three" Book Club poll! But now I'm getting ahead of myself . . . (Oooooh!)

23 September 2012


Twelve Things about What to Expect When You're Expecting

12. You'd think my teenage brother would be happy to have a "cool" older sister who takes him to Action movies-- but I end up watching those with my friends because he's too embarrassed to be seen with me in public. In the privacy of our own home, however, he has no shame about renting Chick Flicks that he can watch with me. And no one is more surprised than I am that his latest choice was as fun as it was dumb.

(Apparently, I will forgive anything that is pro-child.)

11. I really thought I would hate it, too, after it opened with a TV show. (That's right: a movie based on a book opens with a TV show.) And not just any TV show, but one of those ironically named Reality competitions which asks the audience to vote for the winner.

It's an excruciatingly bad parody of a kind of entertainment that nobody takes seriously any longer. But awful execution aside, I totally get why it was in the screenplay. It satirises the curious fact that pregnancy, adoption, and babies in general now have their own media niches. A literal Reality star broadcasting the details of her pregnancy on live TV is just the most extreme example of the myriad of ways in which mothers have taken to modern media to share their own realities. We're all watching ourselves watching each other these days, remember? In any case, it's our version of what the Elizabethans knew as the "play within a play."

10. Now, have you noticed all the movies with big ensemble casts that we've been getting lately?

21 September 2012


Writing Diary, Entry #30

A few months ago, after starting my current full-time job, I realised that I had to cut most of my freelance work from my schedule. I had started doing those jobs partly out of desperation, because those were the best options I had at the time. But since I had become gainfully employed again, the sources of income I had been so grateful to get last year (and two years ago) had turned into drains on my time and energy. I knew I had to resign from all of them, even the one I really wanted to keep.

Scrap Metal's mother was very understanding when I spoke to her, but my Chinoy client and my magazine editor kept trying to find compromises. I really had to give up my proofreading job with the former, but I agreed to do one book report a month for the latter. And I'm kind of glad I did because the last couple of books I had to read were pretty good.

17 September 2012


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 10

If you were wondering what last Friday's concert was, here is your answer . . .

No, I didn't take the book to the concert, although I was tempted to. But my ticket stub will remain in my copy of Persuasion forever.

16 September 2012


Twelve Things about The Expendables 2

12. My review of the first movie may have been stuck in draft limbo for the past two years (Because it has only Eleven Things as of this counting), but there's no way I wasn't going to yell from the rafters about this one. So let's begin . . .

11. The sequel opens with some bad guys. Because the only way to justify the slapstick brutality that comes next is to establish that they are indeed bad guys, which means that they "deserve" what's coming to them.

And the quickest way to communicate this is to show them being rotten to women. Because unlike priest-detective Father Brown, Hollywood screenwriters seem to think that "sins are kept in a bag." Ha! I challenge Hollywood to produce a dirty villain who treats women respectfully, as his equals . . . but I already know Hollywood will never let this lazy bit of shorthand go. (At least not in my lifetime.)

10. Another way to make the violence against the baddies more palatable is to make the baddies themselves less human. A friend of mine insists that Saving Private Ryan is an immoral movie because it does this to the Germans, who all look and sound identical, sporting shaven heads and babbling on in a language neither the American "good guys" nor the target audience understands. When people are as interchangeable as cogs in a vast war machine, then they are easy, even fun to kill.

In other words, the description "expendable" properly belongs to
those characters who didn't make the poster.

9. But to be fair The Expendables 2 has less in common with Saving Private Ryan than it does with another classic movie . . .

12 September 2012


Wishlist Entry #4
(Or #6, depending on how you count them)

Before I go back to pretending this isn't a movie blog, I should do another book-themed post. And why not one which makes me seem sociable for once? =P

Regular visitors will know that I've been wanting the following title for a while . . .

10 September 2012


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 9

The deadline for this post sneaked up on me last night, when I realised it was Sunday and that I was in danger of publishing another backdated post. So I grabbed my copy of Persuasion right before I ran out the door on an impromptu shopping expedition. The plan was to buy a ticket for a certain concert I'm not going to tell you about yet and to do some window shopping for the perfect concert outfit. I saw a really great skirt with a palette similar to that of the band's EP jacket, but it's awfully expensive. And the ticket was pricey enough, you know?

So I got the ticket and left the skirt. Now the former is a bookmark and the latter is a dream. There are a few more days to decide whether the skirt is worth it, but the "Two or Three" Book Club post is due now.

06 September 2012


Twelve Things about The Hunger Games

12. Last March, when The Hunger Games came out in the Philippines one day before it premiered in the US, my American cousins coaxed me to watch it and publish a review as soon as possible. It would have been nice to have been one of the first bloggers in the whole world to put up a Hunger Games review, but my muse isn't about "nice." Instead, she's all about weird timing. That is why I had no idea what to write about this movie until I caught it again last month.

There was something so disconcerting about seeing this after the Olympics, you know? =S

11. For me, it was the third viewing, but for the friend watching with me, it was the first. I do appreciate the way the screenplay sets up the world of Panem and the tradition of its Circenses Hunger Games so that those who haven't read the book or heard the story can easily follow along . . .

10. . . . while those who have read the book can ponder the satire more deeply. The Hunger Games was definitely inspired by modern entertainment. It is easy to see our own Big Brother and X-Factor as the seedlings of what has grown, by the time the story opens, into the national spectacle that is the Hunger Games. Everything is there: contestants plucked out of obscurity, short-term celebrity based on entertainment value, the propaganda of clever styling, the emotional manipulation of the audience, the desperation of those who need to win, for the prize and not for the glory . . . The visual medium of the movies actually let me see that much more clearly than the novel did.

03 September 2012


"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 8

What's the point of having a timetable, you may be wondering, if I end up posting everything one day late and just backdating it?

I'll be darned if I know! =P

But if you will forgive me, we can start again now. I've decided to give Anne and Wentworth a rest this week. I hope you will enjoy discussing the other characters I've decided to feature.