newcomer, etcetera, etc.

I usually hate structured events. Like seminars, orientations, company-sponsored parties. Anything that involves name tags and games. And presentations (group dance, interpretative or otherwise [leadership seminars are big on this]; skit, a sharing session of sorts that must culminate in an artwork [“The Youth’s Plan for the Future” or some similar shit]).

I sound like a scrooge, but it’s the awkwardness that gets me. And the silence after an event host (bright-eyed, cheerful, hooked on caffeine) asks a question. In that silence you know somebody wants to answer but doesn’t want to be branded as an eager beaver. People hate eager beavers. And it’s embarrassing. And absolutely uncool. It’s just a fucking seminar, why will you be so excited? So everyone assumes a bored expression and the event becomes lethargic.

But the Newcomers’ Get-Together at work was okay. I got invited because apparently the definition of “newcomer” in this company is n. someone who has not yet attended a newcomers’ party. So I’m a “newcomer”, even though I’ve been here for a little over a year. Food from Friday’s. And chocolates. And tsismis! (A staff writer used to work as the band manager of Yano. HOLYPAKINGSHET. Writer said: “Para lang akong yaya.”)

And chocolates!

I still don’t know why the employees’ center has so many chocolates. Do they (HR personnel) create those spontaneously? Is that included in their qualifications? Computer literate, hardworking, has the ability to conjure chocolates from thin air. And why won’t they eat them themselves? If I worked there I’d—

Well. Thank goodness I didn’t work there.

There was a game (yeah, yeah) where you’d write your first impression on a piece of paper taped to the person’s back. Here’s what I got:

matalino, energetic (Edson wrote this. I used to be his trainee back during my internship days, so I don’t know if these really were his first impressions of me or if he’s just being nice)

kwela

nice

mabait and shy


Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

* * *

Anyway, just read this and found it hilarious/sad/infuriating:

[Capiz Rep.] Del Rosario said liquid fertilizer was fit, not for rice, but for ornamental plants.

Bolante replied that Capiz had become a promising exporter of ornamental plants.

PESTE. Sounded like the sort of thing you’d tell your mom if you wanted to piss her off.

* * *

And I was just about to post this blog entry when I got a call from a reader very intimately connected to the subject of an article I’ve written before. Reader said: “When I read the article, I thought, ‘She’s fantastic! She got everything right!’ A lot of people have written about this and I remember having to correct them all the time but this…this article was just perfect.”

She said she was calling in behalf of the family, to thank me.

I am grateful. :D Thanks, Universe.

mini-reviews

Because free cinema passes are love. :)

madagascar2pic

Madagascar 2 – There was a point in my movie-watching life when I got absolutely sick of this movie’s trailer. We like to move it, move it. Enough, already. It cracked me up the first time (“I love you, Gloria!”), but once is sufficient, as I very soon found out.

Now I’m so glad that that was the only version I was able to see, because everything else came as a (pleasant) surprise.

Favorite bits:

Mob Penguin to Chess-Playing Monkeys: Hey, higher mammals! We could use your frontal cortexes and opposable thumbs.

Mob Penguin to Chess-Playing Monkeys, who just formed a Union and is demanding Maternity Leave: (peeks beneath table) But you’re a man.

Julien (voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen) acting out what will happen once they’ve given a sacrifice to the Water Gods:

(Julien as Water God): Oh, that is a nice sacrifice.

(Julien as, uh, Waiter): Would you like to have another sacrifice?

(Water God): No, I’ve had enough for one day.

(Waiter): Oh, I insist. You take another one.

(Water God, angry now): I said, no more!

(Waiter): But look at you, you’re so thin!

I know, the script is insane. Watch it. :)

(Transcripts are from memory.)

passengers1

Passengers – I hate the movie poster: the one with Anne Hathaway looking ominous, with an ominous-looking plane behind her. Oh, and the plane had a skull-face on it. Very ominous. Ominous, indeed. It’s a fucking mess. I mean, the poster, not the movie. The movie’s okay. I think. It’s one of those movies where once you find out the twist everything else that came before just seems silly. I won’t even say it keeps you guessing. Unless of course you’re a person who likes guessing movie endings, then it will keep you guessing. Me, I just sat there, waiting for The Twist. Then, when it came, wondered if I liked the Mitch Albom turn of events. I’m still wondering.

See: if the movie’s (local) marketers aimed to attract people who’d watch the film based on the movie poster alone, then they’d just attracted the wrong audience.

zodiac_movie_image_jake_gyllenhaal_robert_downey_jr

Zodiac- There was a sale, so I bought a (VCD) copy. Didn’t know the movie was long; I was actually surprised to find that there were 3 VCDs when I opened the package.

This is a good film. Much has been said about it, so that’s all I’m going to say. (Why the hell didn’t I see this film when it first came out?)

The film opens with a murder in 1968, and ends in 1991. It took twenty-odd years to pin down (sort of) Zodiac, who killed people in the San Francisco Bay area because – I’m not very sure about the because. Because he felt like it? Because it was fun? Because he was insane? The fact that the film is based on true events, and the fact that so many lives (not only the victims’ or their families’) have been ruined by the case (still open in one or two areas, according to the film’s postscript) makes the film all the more awful, all the more important.

Watch it. I have a feeling I’m going to watch it again.

out loud

I can’t read well. I mispronounce words, I use the wrong intonation, I sound clumsy. Back in college I dreaded that part during workshops where you had to read the poem the class was going to fillet discuss and critique. I can’t do poetry/fiction readings. I’d rather sit and listen. Or stay in a corner and read the work to myself; this is usually the case.

A few months back I listened to the New Yorker Fiction Podcast featuring T.C. Boyle reading Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”. It is a great short story; it got the reader it deserved. I wish I could do that – do accents, voice-emote, read with such energy the characters come to life.

The podcast can be downloaded here (and it’s free!), along with other readings. Other featured readers were Tobias Wolff himself, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jhumpa Lahiri, Paul Theroux, Junot Diaz (who reads his own short story).

The latest: A.M. Homes’ reading Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. Another favorite story, yay.

(But seriously, if you haven’t read “Bullet in the Brain”, then you HAVE to read it. I found an online copy here. I recommend having the file open on your PC while listening to Boyle. :) )

making fun of obama

This article really made me laugh. :)

From AP, via Yahoo News:

By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer Frazier Moore, Ap Television Writer Mon Nov 10, 11:42 am ETNEW YORK – Where’s the funny in Barack Obama?

That question, which dogged TV humorists throughout the presidential race, has gained new urgency now that Obama is headed for the White House.

His victory last week signaled imminent hardship for comics who lampoon political leaders for a living. The laugh-a-minute 2008 campaign is history, and soon there’ll be no President Bush to kick around in comedy sketches or talk-show monologues.

Adding to the jesters’ plight: Obama will soon be sworn in as the next Punch-Line-In-Chief.

Here is a man who inspires admiration, excitement or, maybe, suspicion. What he doesn’t inspire (in any measurable quantity, so far) are cheap laughs.

“A dignified, thoughtful, charismatic, smart man who doesn’t run at the mouth,” summed up Craig Ferguson, host of CBS’ “Late Late Show,” in the aftermath of eight go-go Bush years for comics. “Is it a challenge to our creative juices to find something funny about Obama? God, yes!”

Right after the election, some TV wags were even waxing nostalgic on the air, however tongue-in-cheek.

On Comedy Central‘s “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart said he was already missing the Bush administration — and his own George W. Bush impression, which had served him so well at the anchor desk.

“As a comedian,” NBC’s Jay Leno echoed to his “Tonight Show” audience, “I’m going to miss President Bush. Barack Obama is not easy to do jokes about. He doesn’t give you a lot to go on. See, this is why God gave us (Vice President-elect) Joe Biden.

“When one door closes, another one opens up.”

True, as a six-term U.S. Senator and lately as Obama’s running mate, Biden has cemented his reputation for blurting out remarks before they’re vetted by his brain. (Item: Biden declared that “Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television” to address the nation when the stock market crashed in October 1929 — even though Herbert Hoover was president then and TV was barely invented.)

The host of HBO’s “Real Time,” comic Bill Maher describes himself as “a policy guy who tries to stick more to what politicians do than who they are.” But that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the problem Obama represents.

“It’s always better if the president is stupid, or fat, or cheating on his wife, or angry, or a phony. This guy is none of those things. And that,” said Maher with a laugh, “is really unfair.

Humor often relies on stereotypes and caricature, but comics haven’t yet sussed out how to caricature Obama, and so far he has defied any categorical stereotypes — even that of a black man.

Magician-comedian Penn Jillette recalled how “there have been jokes about Bush that had nothing to do with him being stupid or wrong — just about his being from Texas, since he has a slight Texas accent.

“But if you wanted to do black jokes about Obama, none of them are applicable: It’s as if he were from Texas, but without the Texas accent.”

dave barry, on the us elections

I loooove Dave Barry. :) This latest column of his, however, worries me a little bit because he actually sounds serious.

He “analyzes” the recently concluded elections, then says that he misses the 1960s, where the grown-ups “were capable of understanding a concept that we seem to have lost, which is that people who disagree with you politically are not necessarily evil or stupid.”

This is Dave Barry speaking. Dave Barry.

Read the article here, from the Miami Herald.

I’m posting an excerpt:

In analyzing the results of Tuesday’s historic election, the question we must ask ourselves, first and foremost, is: what the heck were the results of Tuesday’s historic election?

I personally don’t know. The Miami Herald made me send in this analysis before the election was actually over, so that it could be printed in a timely manner. This is part of the newspaper industry’s crafty plan to defeat this ”Internet” thing that has the youngsters so excited.

Anyway, my election analysis, based on weeks of reading political bogs, listening to talk radio and watching campaign ads on television, is that one of the following things is true:

Barack Obama is our next president, which is very bad because he is a naive untested wealth-spreading terrorist-befriending ultraliberal socialist communist who will suddenly reveal his secret Muslim identity by riding to his inauguration on a camel shouting ”Death to Israel!” (I mean Obama will be shouting this, not the camel) after which he will wreck the economy by sending Joe the Plumber to Guantánamo and taxing away all the income of anybody who makes over $137.50 per year and giving it to bloated government agencies that will deliberately set it on fire.

Or, John McCain is our next president, which is very bad because he is a 287-year-old out-of-touch multiple-house-owning fascist who will rape the environment and build nuclear power plants inside elementary schools and reinstate slavery and create tax loopholes that benefit only people who own three or more personal helicopters, after which he will declare war on the entire United Nations and then keel over dead and leave us with commander-in-chief Sarah ”Flash Card” Palin.

Or, Ralph Nader is our next president, which is very bad because it means there has been a successful Klingon invasion.

Or, the outcome of the election is being disputed because of irregularities such as unregistered horses voting in Ohio, or some Florida county tabulating votes in Roman numerals, or God knows what else, which is very bad because it means the next president will be selected via a giant Lawyer-Palooza court fight that will go on until it’s time to hold the Iowa caucuses for the NEXT presidential election.

So basically my analysis is that, whatever happened, we are, as a nation, doomed. We are also bitterly divided, because whoever wins, roughly half of us will despise the other half, and vice versa.