Archive for March, 2009

He Sees Dead People…

Just saw Ghost Town and have to say that I dug it.  They did a lot of things right with this movie:

  1. Hire Ricky Gervais.  Brilliant.  His comic timing was exquisite.  And even though there were plenty of scenes when the character’s supposedly antisocial quirk is all but overshadowed by unusual quick wit, Gervais still delivered a believable Bertram Pincus who was at once deplorable and someone you’d want to root for.
  2. Tell a simple story.  Not a shit load of plot twists here.  There were plenty of predictable moments, but they actually worked.  They didn’t go about insulting the audience’s intelligence by dangling invisible carrots.
  3. Pace things right.  Although the movie was essentially a comedy, I wasn’t laughing the entire time.  It also had some serious moments and scenes that tugged at the heartstrings.  And they just worked in telling the story.  The hospital scenes were the most special to me.
  4. Hire Tea Leoni.  We don’t see her in too many movies these days and it’s always refreshing when she’s on screen.  Nothing can top her most memorable scenes in Spanglish, though.  Nothing.
  5. Hire Greg Kinnear.  I mean, c’mon.  It’s Greg Kinnear.  He’s like the go-to other guy.  He gives James Marsden a run for his money on that angle.

Bottom line: See this movie.

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It’s Been One Week Since…

…I last posted anything.  So, to celebrate, here’s the Barenaked Ladies…in the bathroom…

Time in a Bottle

I had yet another weird dream last night. I’m not sure about all that happened before the pivotal moment, but suddenly time disappeared.  None of the watches worked; the clock feature on cell phones and various electronic equipment failed to register digits; and there was even a point in the dream when I went on the Internet and did a Google search for world clock websites and nothing would come up.  There weren’t even any listings.  Time just ceased to exist.

In my dream, this resulted in complete turmoil.  The people around me were suddenly unable to function, suddenly rendered incapable of managing their daily tasks and other routines.  Trains and other forms of public transportation stopped running because they weren’t certain about the timeliness of their schedules.  Workplace attendance was sporadic.  It was a total chaos– and all because there was no time.  I tried to connect with my family and friends amid the commotion, and spent the entire, well, time trying to convince people that everything was going to be alright.  That we didn’t need time to rule our lives.

It’s ridiculous, of course, to think that we sould respond as such at the absence of chronometers.  After all, our ancestors were able to survive before the sundial.  But dreams are often a little out of touch from reality.

I wonder what my dream was trying to tell me?

Gagging In The Name of Love

Okay, so I gotta talk about gym etiquette once again. This time, I wish to focus on body odor. There are a couple of people– one’s a guy; the other a girl– who go to my gym that exude such vomit-inducing odor that I literally gag every time they come my way. It’s even worse when they’re in the vicinity of the machine I happen to be using at the time, and I would feel compelled to hold my breath while doing my set.  Holding one’s breath while exercising is never a good thing, so I end up just doing a short set and moving the hell away.

Now, I know what you may be thinking– “C’mon, Jon.  People sweat.  Lighten the fuck up.”  Yes, I know that sweating and body odor is a natural reaction to physical exertion.  I understand that, but we’re talking about pit smell here– this isn’t stink; it’s stank— one that could easily be avoided by applying some deodorant before the workout.  This thing is nasty with a capital N.

There’s no real way to address this, of course.  I would feel like such a tool going up to the gym attendants and asking them to talk to these pungent members.  God knows I would never address it directly.

Do I just grin and bear this?  Is there any way out?

Gaga for Olga

My site hits have been consistently high even though my posts have been sporadic at best as of late, so I looked at my blog stats to find out what’s causing all the traffic.  I’m not surprised that the biggest draw to my site is a post I made about the Quantum Solace movie and, most importantly, of the most recent “Bond Girl,” Olga Kurylenko (pictured below).

Rowr!

Rowr!

It seems people can’t get enough of this Ukranian beauty!

Ako ay Pilipino (I am Filipino)

Some random facts about my homeland obtained via spam email from Dad.  Just a few things for me to be proud of:

In the Philippines, Filipinos were introduced to the English language In 1762 by British invaders, not Americans..

What is the world’s 3rd largest English-speaking nation, next to the USA and UK? The Philippines.

The USA bought the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam from Spain in 1898.

The Filipino-American Independence War from 1898 to 1902 ensued, killing 4,234 Americans and how many Filipinos? 16,000 were killed in action And 200,000 died from famine and pestilence. (The Philippines lost and was Colonized until 1946.)

Los Angeles , California was co-founded in 1781 by a Filipino named Antonio Miranda Rodriguez, along with 43 Latinos from Mexico sent by the Spanish government.

What antibiotic did Filipino doctor Abelardo Aguilar co-discover? Hint: Brand is Ilosone, named after Iloilo. Erythromycin..

The one-chip video camera was first made by Marc Loinaz, a Filipino inventor from New Jersey.

The first ever international Grandmaster from Asia was Eugenio Torre who won at the Chess Olympiad in Nice, France in 1974.

This son of two Filipino physicians scored over 700 on the verbal Portion of the Standardized Achievement Test (SAT) before age 13 – Kiwi Danao Camara of Punahou School, Hawaii… Edward Sanchez, a Mensa member, bagged the Grand prize in the first Philippine Search for Product Excellence in Information Technology.

Who was the Filipino-American dancer who scored a perfect 1600 on the SAT? Joyce Monteverde of California.

Who invented the fluorescent lamp?  Thomas Edison discovered the electric light and the fluorescent lighting was thought up by Nikola Tesla. But the fluorescent lamp we use today was invented by Agapito Flores (a Cebu man named Benigno Flores of Bantayan Island, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer), a Filipino scientist.

Americans helped then-Philippine leader Ramon Magsaysay to develop it for worldwide commerce. (Yes! Many foreigners have noted that the Filipino population has Asia’s highest rates of inventors and international beauty queens.)

Two Filipina beauties, Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran, were chosen as Miss Universe in 1969 and 1973, respectively.

Pure- or part-Filipino celebrities in American showbiz include Von Flores, Tia Carrere, Paolo Montalban, Lea Salonga, Ernie Reyes Jr., Nia Peeples, Julio Iglesias Jr., Lou Diamond Phillips, Phoebe Cates and Rob
Schneider.

The first Filipino act to land a top hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in the 1960s was the group Rocky Fellers of * Manila. * Sugar Pie deSanto (father was from the Philippines), The Artist Formerly Known as
Prince (according to the October 1984 article “Prince in Exile” by Scott Isler in the magazine Musician), Jaya, Foxy Brown and Enrique Iglesias followed.

Pure Filipinos who made success in minor charts were Jocelyn Enriquez aka Oriental Madonna, Buffy, Pinay and (Ella May) Saison..

Latina-American pop star Christina Aguilera lost to Filipina vocalist Josephine Roberto aka Banig during the International Star Search years ago. In a mid-1999 MTV chat, she said that competing against someone of Banig’s age was “not fair.”

Besides gracing fashion magazine covers, this international supermodel from Manila had walked the runways since the 1970s for all the major designers, like Calvin Klein, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Donna Karan, Gianni Versace and Yves Saint Laurent – Anna Bayle.

Who is the personal physician of United States Pres. Bill Clinton? Eleanor “Connie” Concepcion Mariano, a Filipina doctor who was the youngest captain in the US Navy.

The first Filipino-American in US Congress was Virginia Rep. Robert Cortez-Scott, a Harvard alumnus.

Distinguished British traveler-writer A. Henry Savage Landor, thrilled Upon seeing a Bicol landmark in 1903, wrote: “Mayon is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen, the world-renowned Fujiyama (Mt. Fuji) of Japan sinking into perfect insignificance by comparison.” Mayon has the world’s most perfect cone.

Filipinos had their first taste of Mexican chili and corn during the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade (1564-1815). In return, Mexico’s people had their initial taste of tamarind, Manila mango and a Filipino banana called racatan or lakatan.

Founded in 1595 by Spaniards, the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, Philippines is older than Harvard and is the oldest university in Asia.  University of Santo Tomas in Manila, established in 1611, is Asia’s Second oldest.

Who’s the Filipina senator popular for her colorful jargon, delivered in a mile-a-minute speed and in a weird Harvard-meets-Ilonggo accent?  Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The first female president of the Philippines sworn into office in 1986 was Corazon Cojuangco Aquino. Her maiden name is Chinese.

In a March 31, 1997 article, The New York Times reported that the CIA manipulated Philippine elections: “(CIA operative Col. Edward Lansdale) essentially ran the successful presidential campaign of Defense Minister Ramon Magsaysay in the Philippines in 1953.”

Who was the first Asian and/or Filipino to snatch America’s Pulitzer Prize? Philippines Herald war journalist Carlos P. Romulo in 1941. (He was also the first Asian to become UN Secretary-General.)

The first two Filipino-Americans to garner the same award 56 years later were Seattle Times’ Alex Tizon and Byron Acohido, who is part-Korean.

Filipino national hero/writer Jose Rizal could read and write at age 2, and grew up to speak more than 20 languages, including Latin, Greek, German, French and Chinese. What were his last words? “Consummatum est!” (“It is done!”)

“What’s still most impressive to me about the Philippines is the friendliness of the people, their sense of humor…,” wrote Honolulu journalist John Griffin in a 1998 visit to Manila.

Friends Anonymous?

The other night, I was hanging out with a bunch of people I’d met several months ago through a social networking site (Yelp) and a friend of mine I’d known for nearly 20 years stopped by.  He commented: “You have way too many groups of friends who don’t know each other.”

I thought about what he said.  It was true, of course, but I don’t think it’s unusual.  In town, I have four distinct groups of people with whom I spend time separately from the other groups:

One group is comprised of friends whom I’ve known for nearly 20 years, and were very present during my socially formative years.  These are folks who’ve helped me through through some big struggles in life.  They are first to congratulate and first to offer constructive criticism. They are the truest friends one can ever have the privilege of having.  Some of them have moved to other parts of the country, but we still keep in close touch.

Another group is comprised of former co-workers with whom I still keep in close contact and socialize periodically.

A third group is comprised of current co-workers, some of whom I hang out with outside of work.

A fourth group includes a fun group of people from Yelp.

And then, there’s Facebook, where yet another friend exclaimed recently: “How can you have 348 friends?!”  And let’s not even talk about my blog friends.

We are a social animal, so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this scenario.  Where it can get dicey is if we end up not investing in the friendships that we’re fortunate enough to possess.   Many of my former close acquaintances fall into this category, and I’m saddened by it.  But not all friendships are meant to last, after all.

In the end, on that other night, I was able to convince my friend of 20 years to meet the Yelp gang, and he was thankful.  He enjoyed his time with them (as I’d predicted).

Count that as a step toward bridging the gap among my groups of friends.