Monday, February 27, 2006
TV & MOVIE BINGEING
Although my laptop has been fixed, PLDT remains clueless as to why my landline was assigned to another customer; thus, I have been unable to access the Internet for almost a week now. The situation remains unresolved.
Instead of allowing this mess to get the best of me, I’ve opted to vent out my frustration by immersing myself in some TV shows and movies. This way, I’ll also get to enjoy even more the upcoming Oscar Awards telecast.
Here’s some of what I saw recently:
Walk the Line
An Unfinished Life
Lord of War
Memories of a Geisha
Goodnight, and Good Luck
Hustle & Flow
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Films I’m yet to see:
A History of Violence
Pride & Prejudice
A Constant Gardener
Mrs. Henderson Presents
The New World
March of the Penguins
Lost (first and second season box sets)
House (first season – currently watching)
TV shows whose DVD box sets I eagerly await:
photo credit: forum-video.com
Friday, February 24, 2006
Philip Seymour Hoffman as CAPOTE
A highly-esteemed literary figure, especially among baby boomers, Truman Capote was best known for his Breakfast in Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood (both works have been turned into films).
He was undoubtedly a prolific writer; a regular contributor to The New Yorker and other publications, as well as having been rumored to have ghost-written the entire book, To Kill a Mockingbird (his friend, author Harper Lee's novel). However, right after the publication of In Cold Blood, he went dry. His effort in writing this book, which eventually became an international best-seller, was the singular event of his life featured in the film, Capote.
The movie appears limited in scope. Its basic premise deals with the main character, Capote, developing friendship with the convicted murderers with the intention of writing an accurate explanation of their heinous crime — the murder of a family of four in rural Holcomb, Kansas. The murderers, on the other hand, welcomed his friendship; they were hoping to gain absolution through this book he was writing, as well as through the author’s purported intimate friendship with certain influential people, win their appeal for a lighter sentence. Hence the bizarre bond between Capote and one of the murderers, Perry Smith, became the highlight of this movie.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s superb portrayal of Truman Capote as a flamboyant literary figure of New York's cafe society with a high-pitched lisping voice tinged with a Southern drawl was absolutely worthy of a Best Actor Oscar nomination. The film’s screenwriter, Dan Futterman, was also nominated by the Academy.
What others may not know is that Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dan Futterman, and Bennett Miller, Capote’s director, have been friends since their teenage years. And while at NYU, they’ve made a drunken pact that whoever wins an Oscar later on in life, would bark their acceptance speech; that is, not bark only for a couple of seconds, but throughout his entire allotted time until pulled out from the microphone. Hoffman revealed this pact publicly while a guest of David Letterman recently.
For this year’s Academy Award, I am rooting for either Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote)or Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line) to grab the Best Actor award. However, after knowing about this drunken pact, I’m now exclusively rooting for Hoffman simply because I’d like to see if he’d actually make good on his agreement to bark his entire acceptance speech.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Omar has been sitting for quite some time now on the bench by the videoke machine at SM Manila’s third floor. There's a young man singing a number of original Pilipino music or OPM tunes as they’re commonly referred to. Omar wasn’t so much captivated by his renditions, but simply lost in thought. He is thinking how life can be as deceiving as some of these popular pop tunes. The beat is infectiously bouncy but the lyrics of the song itself, if one only cares to pay a bit more attention, usually speak of despressing heartbreaks.
His thoughts then turned to his upcoming high school reunion. He always enjoyed these festive opportunities -- to mingle with old friends and trade personal updates. One of which was Roger who used to talk endlessly about his handgun collection; the other was Willy, although a resident of Los Angeles, would make it a point to come home every year to attend this get-together. Unfortunately, Roger and Willy won't be attending this year.
Roger recently died from multiple gunshot wounds. It was because of a fracas over a minor traffic incident somewhere in Cavite. Roger was always quick to pull out his 45 to intimidate the other person into accepting the blame for whatever caused the incident. Standing at no more than five feet five inches, a handgun has always been a psychological quick fix for Roger to gain a grander stature. However, he wasn’t one to pull the trigger; it was all for show. Unfortunately, this time, the other driver had a handgun as well. He panicked when Roger pulled a gun to his face, so he grabbed his from underneath his seat and unthinkingly opened fire on Roger. There were eyewitnesses to vouch for what he claimed to be an act of self-defense. He was never charged for Roger’s death.
Willy, on the other hand, had a falling out with his wife of twenty years. She has recently filed for a divorce. The couple had been living way above their means and has been accumulating so much debt; the stress of which consequently affected their marriage. They had no other choice but to file for bankruptcy. Their assets had to be liquidated and distributed among their creditors. Gone are the gold cards to absorb the costs of Willy's airfare and luxury hotel accommodations. Neither can he afford to sustain the image of the affluent balikbayan as he used to flaunt all over Metro Manila. Therefore, no reunion party for Willy this year.
As Omar sat there on the bench by the videoke machine, he thought about his friendship with both Roger and Willy. The whole thing wasn’t actually built from admirable human traits; it was more a relationship founded on jealousy and competition. They feed off from each other's insecurities and inadequacies. And so as to gain a couple of notches ahead of the other two guys, Omar married someone not out of love but for her money. Much like Roger’s affinity for handguns, a rich woman was what Omar needed to obtain a grander stature in life.
However, Omar’s ulterior motives backfired on him. For one, his in-laws immediately detected his spurrious intentions from the onset. He was never fully accepted; merely relegated to hang on the fringe of the family circle. His wife eventually wised up and realized his falsehood, but remained too ashamed to admit it to her friends and family. She would, however, manifest her deep-seated resentment by sometimes publicly ridiculing Omar.
She has also seen to it that Omar never had any say or access to her money. Actually, she would even demand from him whatever little money he earns as an attorney, and hand him a measly daily allowance from which. She argues that since she allows him the use of one of her cars, there is no reason why he can’t come home for lunch, or better still, pack a lunch bag. For her, it has always been my house, my cars, or my every thing; rarely would she say ours. It was her preferred manner of speaking meant to belittle her husband.
Without the full support of his wife and her family’s influence, Omar’s law practice languished from the start. He was reduced to mostly taking on no-win criminal cases, as well as insoluble family land disputes. Most well-known law firms, afraid to invite his wife’s family’s wrath, shied away from hiring him. Although a gradute of a prestigious law school, among his peers, Omar has the dubious distinction of being at the bottom of the success ladder.
Fate may have deprived Omar with a loving support system, but his tenacity enabled him to make the kind of money he dreamt of although undesirable the means. Last year, a criminal case he was handling changed the course of his legal practice. It was a tough case, but his riveting courtroom arguments based on his exhaustive research of the case proved irrefragable. Omar could almost taste a stunning victory in the offing, but at the last minute sold out. He accepted a sizeable amount of money from the defendant’s family. In exchange, he deviously steered the remaining critical aspect of the trial against his client. And from that time on, Omar began to sell out his clients for a fee. Although a number of unethical trial attorneys benefit from his nefarious conduct, no one dares to be seen in his company.
Sadly, it is only in his annual high school reunion that for a few hours Omar could feel like a regular person. Reunions tend to highlight the past more so than the present so he feels quite safe and sanitized in such gatherings; besides, everyone is totally oblivious to what had become of him.
As the young man at the videoke starts to sing his final song, With A Smile, by Eraserheads, Omar slowly got up to head on over to the escalator that would take him up to the fourth floor. Inside the mall's south end men's room is a man waiting for him, an opposing attorney's assistant whose client had agreed to the price he demanded. He has a brown bag to discreetly hand over to Omar.
Tomorrow, Omar will turn fifty. He’s thinking of heading over to Glorietta that evening to buy himself a solid gold Rolex for his birthday. Surely, his high school buddies will be impressed when they see him wearing it at the upcoming reunion party. “Too bad, Roger and Willy won’t be there to see it,” he thought to himself.
Punzi's Corner Blog
Blog Lecture No. 53: Disbarment and Suspension of Attorneys
La Vida Lawyer
The Price of Justice
The foregoing story is purely a work of fiction. Any similarities between any characters herein and actual persons living or dead are purely coincidental.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Looking at this antiquated image of a local postage stamp reminds me of a bittersweet high school memory. My sophomore English teacher assigned each one of us a name and address of a student in Japan as a pen pal. It was supposed to develop our social and correspondence skills. I was assigned to a girl named Riyoki who lived in Tokyo with her parents. It was a very pleasant relationship. We exchanged letters at least once a month; talking mostly about our respective experiences as high school students.
Most friendships of such nature lasted only during that particular school year, but ours extended for another two years. So, on planning my trip to New York, I had requested the travel agent to arrange a couple days for me to stay in Tokyo so I could hang out with my pen pal and her friends in Ginza; a district in Tokyo which she raved about. Riyoki was just as excited to learn I was coming over to visit her city.
My sister helped me pick-out a nice native wooden sculpture to give to to her as a present. As soon as I arrived in Tokyo, I requested the assistance of the hotel concierge to call her for me. She wasn’t home so we left a message. She didn’t return my call so, on the next day I asked the concierge to call her again. She wasn’t home again. Finally on the day of my departure, I just handed the concierge my present and asked him to call and leave a message for her to pick it up. I also told him he could keep it in case she didn’t come to get it. I could tell from his face how sorry he felt for me, but I just gave him a nice warm smile as if to suggest that I’d get over it.
About six months thereafter, I received a letter from Riyoki in which my sister had forwarded to my New York address. I had already gotten over my disappointment by then, but somehow I just put the letter in my desk’s drawer with the intention to read it another time. Unfortunately, I had totally forgotten all about it. I guess it must have been the excitement of being in New York and making new friends and all. I didn’t see the unopened letter again until about two years later when I was moving into a new apartment; it was buried deep inside my desk drawer. I never opened it. I thought it was better to just let it go.
Labels: Growing up memoirs
Thursday, February 09, 2006
MILLION DOLLAR HOMEPAGE
The Million Dollar Homepage is a prime example of an excellent alternative to Google’s AdSense; in generating legitimate extra cash from the Internet, that is.
Alex Tew was grappling for a solution to finance his schooling when he came up with the idea to sell the pixels of his Website for $1 each. He launched it last September, and just last month, he had auctioned off the last 1,000 pixels on eBay Inc. His total take: a cool one million dollars! I wonder how many AdSense mouse clicks will it take to earn this kind of money.
Inititally, Tew hawked his pixels to friends and family, but attention snowballed as the project progressed. Various businesses started buying his pixels as ad spaces. However, no online project of such simplicity and success goes unnoticed and unscathed by the angry at heart. Since Tew started receiving wide media coverage, his site has been getting its share of malicious distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks from various hackers from Asia to Europe.
According to a Computerworld article, there has been so much traffic to this 21-year-old’s site. "At times, it surges 200Mbit/sec.," said Russell Weiss, vice president of technical services at InfoRelay Online Systems Inc., which hosts the young man’s site under its Sitelutions service.
Alex Tew intends to have the site up and running for five years. However, he prohibits those who have purchased from him to sell or auction off their pixels.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Who would ever think that creating an entire section of a website devoted exclusively to expounding elevator etiquette would ever be necessary in this time and age? Surprisingly, The B.F. Bluford Library does seem to think so.
However, based on reader reactions, providing reminders about basic common courtesy tend to evoke unpleasant experiences or instigate sarcasm as in the following:
Going One Floor?
If you are going up or down one floor, use the stairs! This rule should especially be observed during peak traffic times like morning and afternoon rush.
1. When you have a cart, stroller or large packages
2. When the elevator is empty
3. If you are disabled or injured
I once took an elevator up 40 floors to visit a friend in a large office building. Once I stepped off, I realized her office was on the 42nd floor, not the 40th. My mistake. I decided to walk up the extra two floors. I entered the stairway and walked up. However when I tried to open the door to exit the stairway, it was locked. That was frustrating. I walked down one floor. Locked. I walked down the the 40th again. Locked (yes, it locked behind me when I walked up originally). 39th floor - locked. I started to get very nervous that I would never escape - or that I would have to walk down all 40 stories. Finally, about 15 floors down, I found a door that was open. I will never take stairs in a large office building again unless I am personally familiar with the building.
Yeah, but how do you know when the elevator’s going to be empty?
Is it ever acceptable to pretend to have a slight limp?
Some places, especially some medical buildings, seem to be designed with elevator use in mind. I once spent 30 minutes trying to find the stairs in a small medical building (it was a 2-story building.) In the process of doing that I came across about four elevators. I could’ve used any one of those elevators, but by that point I was trying to find out if the bulding even had any stairs. In short, this rule only applies in cases where the stairs aren’t hidden or reasonably accessible.
as a member of the ‘me’ generation, let me educate you that i quite don’t give a sh** about anyone else in the elevator. if i have to go one floor you will wait for me. i don’t care if i have to go a 1/2 floor and you just broke your water, what is important here is my comfort, my feelings, and my self-esteem. using the stairs is for the lower class; i will never subject myself to that!
All right, so what's my take on this whole thing? In any given situation, exercising common sense along with basic decency should make our life's travels a lot more pleasurable.
Photo credit: B.F. Bluford Library
Labels: slice of life
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Featured Storyblog: IPUIPO
Ipuipo is a mythical story about a young boy’s journey as a mystical healer and warrior in the lush forests of Dakilang Bundok somewhere in the Philippine islands.
The story begins when the local medicine woman discovers an infant abandoned by the bamboo tree. Unable to trace his provenance, she raises him as her own and later teaches him all the rituals and secrets of mystical healing. Ultimately, the boy must find himself so as to realize his potentials and purpose, as well as seek out his true origins.
Created by avid fans of Japanese manga and anime who were excited that a number of their favorite animations are produced in the Philippines, but dismayed that to date not a single Philippine-based anime has ever been created. They have, therefore, decided to create a Philippine-based anime-inspired story and use a blogsite as their primary medium. Ipuipo is the result.
Recommended read for young adults and adults alike!
Check it out!
Labels: featured site
Friday, February 03, 2006
THE OTHER ROY LICHTENSTEIN
Something you may not know about Roy Lichtenstein: his fascination for America’s Old West, especially with American Indian art. It is evident in his earliest works, as well as in his Surrealist series created during the ‘70s. These were kept at the backburner by Lichtenstein and his dealer, Leo Castelli, because they preferred the public to remain focused on his signature Pop style.
At the artist’s show at Montclair Art Museum, Roy Lichtenstein: American Indian Encounters, a group of Indian-themed Lichtensteins are on exhibit along with Indian artifacts from the museum's own holdings, including a few of the books from the artist's own collection that inspired him.
The show was produced by Gail Stavitsky, the museum's chief curator, and Twig Johnson, its curator of Native American Art, in conjunction with the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.
Roy Lichtenstein: A Pop Artist's Fascination with the First Americans
An art review by Grace Glueck, The New York Times
Art credit: Estate of Roy Lichtenstein - Private Collection
Title: "End of the Trail," © 1952
Artist: Robert Lichtenstein
Labels: Featured artist
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
THE TROUBLED DIVA
She was discovered by an artist & repertoire executive of Arista Records who trailed her New York nightclub performances. He saw enormous potential in her and begged his company’s busy top honcho, Clive Davis, to see her. He relented; thus, a special showcase was arranged at Sweet Waters, a club on Seventh Avenue South in New York’s Greenwich Village. Suffice it to say, Clive Davis was immediately won over by her incredible talent; signing her to a lucrative record deal. This was in 1983.
Whitney Houston’s voice was as utterly beautiful as her persona. She was flawless; a rare African-American artist who immediately crossed over the R&B/dance genres to become the ‘80s newest pop sensation. Multiple awards were showered upon her by the music industry. She also became a role model and a most emulated fashion icon. She had the world in her hands. At the height of her career, she sold millions of records while her films grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. She became phenomenally rich in the process.
She married Bobby Brown four months before her debut film, The Bodyguard, was released. Soon thereafter, allegations of drug abuse and marital problems began to emerge. Her adoring fans quietly suspected a life taking a different path; a turn for the worse.
Prior to the release of her fifth record album, Just Whitney, she appeared at an interview with Diane Sawyer, which aired on ABC’s 20/20 newsmagazine TV show. It was the highest-rated interview in the history of American television. Drug use and marriage issues were discussed, but she was evasive and seemed agitated. However, her appearance and demeanor were far more revealing; she was evidently high on drugs during the interview. From that moment on, she slipped downhill with drug-related arrests and trips to the rehab. It eventually became public knowledge that Whitney has been harboring deep-seated problems for which drugs and alcohol were the anesthesia of choice to alleviate her pains.
Recently, the Houston Herald, citing National Enquirer as its source, reported Whitney is back to doing drugs. She was photographed inside a convenience store at 4 a.m. in Atlanta looking strung-out and disheveled; appearing more like a destitute bag lady than a diva that she once was. It went on to report that “Whitney’s voice is shot from years of cocaine abuse and she and her hubby, Roxbury homey Bobby Brown, are running out of money. The newspaper claims Houston, who underwent rehab at least twice since confessing on TV three years ago she had used cocaine, pills and booze, has blown through her fortune buying drugs and supporting a posse of hangers-on. And because she cannot record, no new cash is coming in.”
Regardless of her current predicament, I remain optimistic she will one day resolve her inner turmoil, surmount the setbacks, and come out of it all as an even greater spirit than ever before. And we will all be the better for it, for we shall once again immerse ourselves in the wondrous beauty of her voice. She is an ethereal diva who, unfortunately, has been flying too close to the ground.
Labels: Featured artist