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Showing posts from August, 2014

September

This is a month of celebrations: my mom and my sister are celebrating their birthdays this month... and a cousin is as well. The fiesta of Barrio San Miguel, Padre Garcia is celebrated in September (in fact, that's the only day I notice that there's a traffic jam on the barrio road.
September also happens to be the title of one of my favourite road trip songs. It's by Earth, Wind, and Fire. When I was learning how to drive, I used to play an EWF cassette tape over and over again. The songs, despite the upbeat disco beat, kept me relaxed (if relaxed can be used to describe my recitation of the litany of vehicles I drove passed when Daddy and I used to practice driving). Even now, 13 years on, September has a calming effect on me.
Not only has September become a mainstay of my road trip playlist, it has also firmly become embedded into my list of cool movie songs! It's part of the soundtrack of Intouchables and of Last Vegas, two movies that I had thoroughly enjoyed wat…

to Ilocos and back!

I just had to put time stamps along the way because I wanted to monitor how long it would take me to drive all the way to Bangui, Ilocos Norte and back again to Calamba, Laguna. 655 kilometres. Seven highways. Three days. No chocolate in the car. Challenge accepted. :)

Ate Bing was with me on this fun road trip. The rest of the museum hoppers, however, opted out. It would have been even more fun if the whole gang went to Ilocos with us!
August 22
1945H   Ate Bing and I set off from Los Baños. Our adventure to Ilocandia has begun!

2200H   Time to gas up in Quezon City. Hello again, Eastwood! Traffic in Ortigas was heavy so it's quite a slow drive in C5.
August 23
0050H    We made our first pit stop in Tarlac City, 129 km north of Eastwood City. Too bad that this wasn't the end of our journey. Hacienda Luisita has a lot of sights to offer tourists. Next time, next time... When I'm not a passerby.
1000H And we're off to Ilocos Sur! Our route took us through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac …

dry humor.

I finally got it: the humor that tickles my funny bones is mostly of the dry, dark, absurd type. Definitely not slapstick. That explains why I was at a loss (while everyone was laughing out loud) when I watched Sisterakas in 2012. It also helps to explain why some of my friends rarely recognize it when I'm joking. At some point, I was called out because I might hurt someone's feelings with a joke, failing to recognize that it was an attempt at irony with a pinch of sarcasm. The subject of the joke didn't understand my attempt at dry wit neither but said it's only because the joke was weak... only getting it when I explained it again.

Maybe my taste for dry wit was developed after years of watching David Letterman. One of my favorites, for instance, is his "Top 10 Reasons Why There Couldn't Be A Filipino-American US President", presented many years ago. I had tears in my eyes while laughing! On the other hand, other Filipinos (not used to sarcasm and iron…

Last Vegas (2013)

Back in grade school and in high school graduations, I wondered what it would be like to see my friends again after we'd all gone our separate ways and then saw each other again many years later. The thing is, we do still keep in touch once in a while thanks to the wonders of modern communication. Plus it's easier to keep tabs of each other through social media. Unless someone goes off the grid, we pretty much know what's up with all of us.

Then I thought, what about my parents? Their childhoods were spent before the era of mobile phones. Knowing how their friends back in the day are now doing must be quite a challenge... with my dad entering the social media landscape very recently, and my mom just watching the computer screen beside him.

They were on my mind when I saw Last Vegas, a film about four childhood friends who grew up and went on to live their lives in opposite coasts of the country. One day, one of them was getting married  in Las Vegas and he wanted his thre…

RIP, Robin Williams (1951–2014)

He was one of the world's most famous comedians. I've watched him, laughed at his antics, and reflected on his more serious scenes in Jumanji, Mrs Doubtfire, Dead Poets' Society, Hook, Night at the Museum, and Patch Adams. He basically lit up the screen by his presence! Basically, he's one of those people made made my childhood and my transition to adulthood a very colourful experience.
Robin Williams' sun has set for the last time, on his own terms. Leigh Blickley wrote a tribute piece which quoted Robin Williams' character, Jack, as he spoke to his class on graduation day. It is one of the most moving graduation speeches I've heard (from one of my favorite Robin Williams movies, Francis Ford Coppola's Jack): "Please, don't worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you're ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer sky when the stars are strung across the velvety night. And when …

Intouchables (2011)

What a movie! This has to be one of the most heartfelt story I've watched since 1992's Scent of a Woman. Story elements from Intouchables actually reminded me of the Al Pacino movie: An elderly disabled man befriends a younger man who gave him an adventure of a lifetime. Al Pacino's performance in Scent of a Woman almost convinced me that he's really blind; Francois Cluzet's performance in Intouchables almost convinced me that he's really a paraplegic!
The movie starts in medias res: the paraplegic and his former full-time nurse (Omar Sy) were driving the paraplegic's Maserati over the speed limit. They were caught by policemen, who instead of arresting them, escorted them to the hospital. It's evident that the two of them are great friends here and the rest of the story, told as a flashback, showed how their unlikely bond grew.
The paraplegic liked that this nurse was different. He didn't pity the disabled guy and he pushed his limits to live a li…

What's the opposite of push notification?

Over lunch, one sunny weekday, I was seated with my friends by a koi pond eating risotto that I had prepare earlier that day...

One of my friends was complaining that his phone annoyed him a lot because it kept pinging when messages and news alerts came in. He's looking for a one-step solution to silence his phone... he has started putting his phone in airplane mode so it'd stop bugging him with pings. Done!

My other friends were suggesting that he should try turning off the software programs running in standby mode; he wouldn't have any of that because it's a multi-step process. Another friend mentioned that it's a user-problem. All he had to do was to turn off 'push notifications' in his phone.

While this conversation was on-going, I wasn't contributing anything useful because I think all he has to do is turn off the banner alerts during standby (and I had wanted to hear the whole story first). But, as always, in typical poker-faced joker Rochie fash…

La fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain (2001)

"La Dispute" by Yann Tiersen is a piano piece I'm learning to play along with Cold Play's "The Scientist" and Meredith Wilson's "Till There Was You". "La Dispute" is supposedly easy to play, but it proves to be a stretching exercise for my patience and my perseverance, and the limits of the music learning part of my brain and of my fingers. 
I wanted to learn how to play it because it's such a beautiful piece. Playful, nostalgic (like remembering good memories), and quite happy. So far, I can play up to the 26th measure. Still working on the rest of the piece.


On movie night, we ended up watching La Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain partly so I could understand the context of the music. Although it's in French, there were English subtitles. I'm sure the French speakers wouldn't want to act as translators throughout the viewing.
The film is about Amelie, a woman raised by socially awkward parents and who decided th…

Saturday dinner with culinary classmates :)

It's been months since I've seen them last! I think our last dinner out was in September last year. Wow! Time has flown really fast... And in those months, we've gone on with our lives, touching base mostly through social media. I'm sure they've gone out a few more times without me but that's because I'm based in the province and they're all in the metro.
So on an evening that I was in Makati, I was able to have dinner with some of them! Gelo, Jen, Jella, and I went to Banana Leaf at Rockwell's Powerplant Mall for some Malaysian and Singaporean fare. Roti dipped in curry sauce and pomelo salad set our very Asian dinner mode, followed by beef rendang and other dishes that I couldn't pronounce. Dinner was filled with lots of laughter and catching up. I really missed my classmates... we had a good run in class!

After dinner, Jella helped me to pick out rosé wine, after she said she's connected with Sänti's Delicatessen (which, she said, ha…

Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

This movie spooked me. I guess the thought I had while watching Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was the same one I had when I attempted to watch The Pacific: It was all too real. 
(1) Part of the movie is set in San Francisco, which is just an hour's drive from my parents' place. So the scenes from above the Golden Gate Bridge and from downtown San Francisco, while probably shot using CGI or were shot live in a different city, were too familiar... it's almost akin to seeing your neighbourhood turned into garbage heap by a strong typhoon.
(2) Most of the humans have died because of an epidemic of simian flu. Those who were left were immune to the virus. This epidemic premise sounded awfully similar to that of the medical novel Outbreak by Robin Cook. 
(3) The motion-capture effects were so good that the apes were too real. But despite the ape appearance, I could almost see that the apes have evolved into human-like intelligent beings. And the way the apes fought... that'…

This used to be my playground

A week after Typhoon Rammasun (also known as Glenda in the Philippines) wrecked part of my house's roof, I received an SMS informing me that I have to visit Lola Batangas' house in Padre Garcia as soon as I could because it was damaged. So I went, the next Saturday, to have a look.
If I was stressed out right after the typhoon passed by my house, nothing could have prepared me when I saw what happened to my grandma's house...
Upon taking the final turn to my family's property, I started getting concerned because the view just had too much sky. Maybe the trees fell or the branches were torn off, I thought. The bananas were down, but that was expected because Rammasun's winds were really strong. The damage couldn't be so bad since I could see that the garage of our katiwala is still there, where his son's car was parked.

My initial relief turned into shock when I reached the garage of Lola's house. My jaw dropped when I first saw the house... or what rema…