So Grace and I were watching the latest Fast and the Furious (Furious 6 was the title that flashed on screen) last weekend, and in the row in front of us, a 7 year-old kid kept asking his parents what was going on. Grace and I tried to control our annoyance as much as we could, but when the kid kept talking during a particularly dialogue-heavy part of the film, we both went “Shhh!”
Yes, guys. If your kid won’t shut up during the movie, I will “Shhhh!” him.
Let’s get a few things straight. If this was The Croods or Frankenweenie or a movie that’s supposed to be filled with kids, I won’t mind the “Oohs” and “Ahhs” or the questions of awed children. I won’t mind it when I go to watch the upcoming Despicable Me 2.
But sure, bring your 7 year-old to a movie that’s filled with explosions, fist fights, gunshots, and scantily-clad women. It’s rated PG, you can do it if you want to. Heck, for all I care, you could go right ahead and watch Game of Thrones or Spartacus: Blood and Sand with your 5 year-old when you get home. Or eat some popcorn and enjoy A Clockwork Orange with your toddler. Put your infant to sleep with a Saw marathon, that’s a good idea! In short, I couldn’t care less what you do with your child.
But the minute you bring him/her into a movie for adults, I expect that you’ve briefed, bribed, cajoled, persuaded, educated, informed, or even scared him enough to act like an adult and respect other viewers. Because truth be told, he doesn’t belong there.
Yes, folks, if your kid won’t shut up during the movie, I will “Shhhh!” him.
Time really does have a tendency to pass you by. Just 5 years ago, I remember one Paolo Fabregas (then my office mate at what was once Bates 141) inking pages for the teaser for his comic. Today, his Filipino Heroes League Book Two: The Sword is available in all the major bookstores in the country (I just got my copy today, will have him sign it soon).
I’ve been meaning to write a full-blown comic since my friend, once-art director, and upcoming groomsman Noah re-introduced me to comics in 2008. Between then and 2010 I probably spent half my salary on comics (hey, I was single then). I’ve not been entirely lazy since 2008, mind you. I wrote a couple of comic strips about the advertising industry (some are still over at http://admanoverboard.blogspot.com/), got a short story published, joined a children’s storybook writing contest, and read, read, read.
But the comics bug still has its teeth in me, it seems. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working on a teaser for a full-blown comic series. Hopefully, it’ll be done by the weekend, and then I can pass it on to my friend, office mate and illustrator Toby to work on for at least a month. Target: Komikon. Fingers and toes crossed.
SPOILER ALERT – You’ve been warned!
In the finale of How I Met Your Mother’s penultimate season, the whole gang is on the way to Barney and Robin’s wedding. And, at the train station, after 8 years and as many seasons, after party marathons (party-thons, anyone?) and really quick dates, past Stella and Victoria and Trudy (AKA Pineapple Girl) and Zooey and a host of other girls, there she was.
The mother of Ted’s kids. Yellow umbrella and all.
And my first reaction was probably the same as yours: “That’s who we’ve been waiting 8 seasons to see?” I mean, I thought she was cute but I wasn’t wowed. I sure didn’t think she was any more special than any of the other girls Ted’s dated over the years.
But then I realized that I was never going to be satisfied with who Ted ended up with, even if they’d managed to get Natalie Portman or Scarlett Johansson. She was never going to be enough for me or for everyone else who’d followed the show for 8 freakin’ years.
But if (I say “if” because we’ve got a whole season to go ’til the end) and when Ted lays eyes on her, she’s gonna be more than enough for him.
Maybe that’s the point.
If, someday, I ask you for mercy,
I hope you do not hesitate
I may be lying on a dusty barn floor,
you half-dragging me with a horde of zombies
closer behind us than relatives to a lottery winner,
you pretending not to notice
the teeth marks on my leg
I could be gagged and bound on a cold metal slab,
red-hot sparks flying from electric wires
just inches away from my face as they
ask the question only you have
the answer to, on which the fate
of the world rests helplessly
It might be that I will
be caught in the serial killer’s grip,
you a few feet ahead by the door,
wondering if you should come back for me,
even if it lessens your own chances for survival
If, in one or another of these situations,
I beg you for help, for a hand,
for a second thought, for mercy,
I hope you do not hesitate to ignore me
and keep running, because I won’t
hesitate to do the same to you
A lot of people have given up on How I Met Your Mother. It’s not as funny as it used to be, they tend to just rehash the old jokes, Barney’s gotten corny – I’ve heard all those. But I’ve kept watching the show for one very good reason.
How I Met Your Mother is me. I’ve got white hair now. I feel sleepy after 3 bottles of beer (or 2 glasses of wine). If I stay up past 2am, I’m completely useless the next morning. Plus, I can go a full week without yearning for a drop of alcohol.
But, like How I Met Your Mother, I have my moments. I’ve still got some juice left in the tank. If you hang around and give me a chance, I might surprise you.
A few days ago, I was about to take a shower when I saw a mosquito flying around the bathroom. I’d been waking up covered in bites the last few days, and it was really starting to get to me.
So I grabbed the stool I keep around for when I use a tabo, and waited. And waited. And waited. And after 20 minutes of sitting naked in the bathroom, I finally killed the little bugger.
I can’t believe this is my first post since July.
The middle is a brawl in a bathroom stall
Where her man throws the first punch
But takes the first fall
We cut to questions and clarifications and then
it’s “I’m so sorry for your loss” and suddenly
she finds herself alone with the tears
She steps over glass, fragmented just like the night
that was, her mind jumping from 80 kph laughs
to the fist the fist the fist the fist the fist to John’s face
We transition through a montage of memories in which
John is carrying her into the apartment,
and then he’s smiling at her for the first time,
until the camera slows to a stop beside his still form
She finds herself outside, where she blinks
to take a multitude of stop-motion photographs
of rabid reporters and curious bystanders,
all wanting a word with her, with “Jane!”,
with “Mrs. Morales, Mrs. Morales!”
It starts as a romance, evolves into action,
and then ends as an unresolved
and entirely forgettable tragedy
Yesterday, my grandmother, 2 aunts, an uncle, and a cousin stopped by the house for lunch and to spend the afternoon with us. So around 11am, my dad asked me to order a barrel of chicken from KFC to add to the lumpia that we were gonna serve. I did so, and was told that the chicken would be delivered in 30-45 minutes. Simple, right? Not quite.
We were already hungry by around 12, and the chicken hadn’t arrived yet. I called the call center (887-8888) to follow-up, and I was put on hold while the agent called the branch that was gonna deliver the food (SM Bicutan). A few minutes later, I was told that the rider had been dispatched a while back, and that I should put down the phone and wait for the branch to call me about the delivery status. I did so, but no one called.
At around 1230, I called a third time, and I was given the same spiel by another agent. When I said that it was my second time to follow-up, she said “Sir, don’t worry, I will file a report about this matter.” Hungry and frustrated by this time I answered back with “Will your report bring the chicken here faster? How does that help me?” The agent apologized, and told me to once again hang up because the branch would be calling me anytime. Why they didn’t call my mobile when I had given both my landline and mobile numbers during the first call is beyond me. So I hung up.
Ten minutes and no follow-up call later, I dialed the call center for a fourth time (and my third follow-up). This was around quarter to 1 already. I asked that since the chicken was late, I shouldn’t have to pay for it, and I was requested to hold the line while the agent called the branch. After a few minutes, she once again told me to put down the phone so the branch could tell me what deal they could make me as an apology. At this point I blew my top and said “No! You call them again and tell me what they have to offer. I’m not gonna put down the phone anymore because they haven’t been calling me!” She put me on hold, and then came back a few minutes later saying that the branch had offered to waive the delivery charge of P120 (from the total cost of P1300++). While I was telling her that waiting for 2 hours for our food (and counting) was too much and that a P120 freebie could not make up for that, my mom answered my ringing mobile to talk to the branch. I then got off the phone to listen in.
My mom was first offered the same deal (waived delivery charge), then 50% off, and then finally they agreed that we wouldn’t have to pay anymore. While this was happening the chicken arrived; I got the food and sent the guy off with a few choice words. The branch manager reasoned out that the original rider had gotten into an accident, and that said accident caused the delay. My mom answered back that while our hearts went out to the rider, 2 hours was too long a delay since the branch was just 10 minutes away. Surely they had other riders? Besides, despite all of the chaos that was apparently going on behind the scenes, no one thought to notify us so we could have chosen to cancel our order and buy something else (which my dad did anyway, having left to buy Chooks-to-Go in between the 2nd and 3rd calls).
With such poor training and lack of customer service, it’s no wonder KFC can’t promise any guarantees for late delivery the way Shakey’s and Pizza Hut do. They’d probably be operating at a loss on a daily basis if they did! It just saddens me that such a big brand which heavily advertises its delivery service (I must’ve heard their jingle more than a dozen times yesterday) can’t make deliver as advertised. It’s too bad for them that one of my aunts is a blogger (she immediately posted on the KFC Philippines Facebook wall and tweeted about what was happening) and that being in a service industry myself I have a very low tolerance of poor customer service practices. I’ve always been a fan of the KFC ads, but now, when I hear the V.O. exclaim “So good!” I’ll start to take everything they say with a grain of salt.
Since I got my Samsung Galaxy Tab last year, I must’ve installed and uninstalled dozens of apps. Of those I’ve kept, there are those I use every day (Evernote, Dropbox, Aldiko Book Reader, Tweetdeck), those I open every once in a while (Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, TripAdvisor, Google Maps), and those I feel I need but hardly open (Skype, Yahoo! Messenger).
And then there’s Tiny Tower.
I’ve only been playing Tiny Tower for about a week, ever since my two iPod Touch-wielding sisters Ina and Tessa bugged me relentlessly to download it. “It will eat up your life, Kuya,” they said. And they were right.
Tiny Tower is an 8-bit (that’s Family Computer graphics for you tech term-impaired) simulation game, where you build and manage your very own condominium. You start with a handful of coins, a few Tower Bux, and a ground floor/lobby. To begin, you use up your coins to build a residential floor, wait ’til people come in to rent the space, and then start building shops where your bitizens (citizens made up of bits – cute, huh?) can work. Once you’ve hired people to work in your first shop, you then proceed to build or produce goods, and once that’s done, you stock your shop with them.
In Tiny Tower, you’ll earn money in several ways: rent, shop sales, and tips. See, apart from being the owner and manager of your condominium, you’re also the elevator operator. What make this a game with the potential to eat up your life are the variety of management and customization options available. Lemme try and explain this as briefly as I can.
There are 5 shop categories: Service, Recreational, Food, Retail, and Creative, under which there are various options. Each resident comes with both a dream job as well as skills in each category, on a scale from 1-10. As you build both more residential floors and even more shops, you’ll find it will help to put residents in jobs that suit their skill levels, or if possible, in their dream jobs. Each item in each store takes a different length of time to complete production, and that time will depend on the employees’ skill levels.
The game tends to get harder as your tower grows taller (no green jokes, please), and that’s where your Tower Bux and certain VIPs come in. You can use your Bux to speed up jobs, sell of stock immediately for more money, upgrade your elevator (this will help immensely), or buy more coins. It gets more expensive to build a new floor over time, but it compensates for your added income, so it’s all good. VIPs will come in handy as well: depending on which one you get, they can speed up construction, hasten production, move people into empty apartments, drive more customers into your shops, or buy out your entire inventory. Even the regular Joes who enter your tower and ask for an elevator ride will sometimes tip you Tower Bux for your trouble.
Finally, there’s BitBook, the Facebook-like networking sites where your bitizens rant or rave about their jobs, talk of seeing ghosts in the halls, or even make jokes about feeling like they’re inside a computer simulation.
It’s been said that apps for smartphones and tablets are for what they call “casual gamers,” and this is true for those that you can just pick up and drop at anytime. Not so Tiny Tower, which you will find yourself coming back to again. And again. And again. Every. Single. Day. Now, if you’ll excuse me…
I walked out of Manila Kingpin: The Asiong Salonga Story with a renewed belief in the future of Philippine cinema and just one complaint: that Jeorge “ER” Estregan (born in 1963), who played the title role, was too old to have played the notorious Tondo gangster, who died at 27.
“May gatas ka pa sa labi,” says a rival boss to a tied-up and brutally beat-up Salonga in the first scene of the film. It’s hard to get past Estregan’s age through most of the film, especially when he shares scenes with his young wife (Carla Abellana) and querida (Valerie Concepcion). Talking about the film with some of my office mates, one suggested that perhaps Baron Geisler, who played one of Salonga’s henchmen, could’ve done justice to the role. I agree, although Geisler’s performance as Erning was perfect in my book, too.
I’ve been thinking about who else could’ve played Salonga in the last week or so, and I can’t imagine anyone else doing justice to the role. Yes, there’s no one else who can play a convincing 27 year-old gangster. I realize now that what passes for entertainment in Philippine TV and cinema these days are mostly vehicles for pretty boys with washboard abs and soulless beauties with hot legs. Our screens are filled with stories rehashed from what was hot in other countries last year, sometimes even blatant rip-offs.
The few truly original stories have to be confined to Cinemalaya and other such festivals, where budding directors, writers and actors walk away a few trophies richer but with wallets even thinner than when they started. Despite its poor showing at the box office in its first 3 days (only P7M), I hope that Manila Kingpin makes more money as the days go by, especially since it practically swept the MMFF awards. It’s time that we as moviegoers clamor for films that not only put smiles on our faces or cause tears to fall from our eyes but also for those that have original, genuine and rich stories to tell.
Let’s have movies with stars who shine in them, rather than whose credits shine with superficial, synthetic stars.