One Way or The Other

Please follow the directions below by the order specified. Otherwise, you’re defeating the point of my post. 😛

1. Read this article.

2. Now, read what’s said below. I got this from Johna’s blog at multiply

Nanowrimo e-mail:

Okay. Jobs. Having a job is one of the greatest, trickiest things you can do as an adult. Employment brings perks like challenges and growth and (sometimes) money. But the longer you work at a job, the easier it is to confuse what you are doing with what you can do.

This is true whether you’re a dental hygienist, a stay-at-home parent, or Sirkka-Liisa Anttila, the Forestry Minister of Finland. Because careers tend to be all about specialization. Human beings, on the other hand, contain multitudes. Each of us has a wealth of talents spread broadly over domains both marketable and deliciously impractical. The tricky part is that we tend to develop the former at the expense of the latter. Passions become hobbies. Hobbies become something we swear we’ll get back to when we have more time. Or when the kids are grown. Or when the stock market recovers.

Which means we leave unexplored many of those paths that ultimately make us feel most alive—the moments of creating, building, playing, and doing that lead to extraordinary and unexpected things.

Like writing a book.

Or, more loosely,postponing the must-dos of the real world to spend 30 days exploring an attractive, improbable dream.

Giving ourselves that time is so important. Because the world can wait. It’s what the world does best, in fact. It was hanging out for 4.5 billion years before we arrived, and it’ll be waiting around for another few billion after we’re gone.

Our dreams, however, have much shorter shelf-lives.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from running NaNoWriMo, it’s this: Whatever you think you are, you are more than that. You possess a fearsome array of skills and abilities, and the most satisfying of these may be completely unknown to you now. Your curiosity is a dependable guide; follow it. Put yourself in unfamiliar places. Kindle passions. Savor the raw joy of making things, and then remake the best of those things until they take someone’s breath away. Wrestle bears.

Actually, skip the bear-wrestling.

But do keep trying big things, okay? Sometimes we can wait so long for a clear sign that it’s time to begin, that the opportunity sails right past us.

Life is so short. Adventures beckon. Let’s get packed and head out on a new one today.

I think it’s time.

Chris
NaNoWriMo”

3. Now what?

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we just are

I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of time travel. I could never wrap my head around the possibility (even if what we read/watch on the subject is FICTION) because of the discontent state humans are always in. Some of us wish we could take back a certain regret or INCREDIBLY stupid mistake through time travel. But if we did, we would have made a different mistake or done something else we’d regret anyway. We can keep on wishing we could take back the past or move on towards a better future.

I ended up reflecting on this matter because of a question my boyfriend asked me today. You see, sometimes he likes to ask me “what if” questions. Today, he asked me a very odd question: what if I had met so-and-so and him at the same time? Who would I have noticed? I did not like this question at all. “What if” questions are great ways to stretch your imagination–but not when you’re dealing with matters that are going on until present. My discomfort for time travel and alterations of history came out, and I responded by saying I met so-and-so and him at separate phases of my life and at the appropriate circumstances.

Which brings me to the best way to tie up my answer: what matters is what we have now–regardless of the “bruhaha” of the past, the present will always be there. I guess the hierarchal system of Western thought somehow confuses us when we reflect on a general overview of our lives. But when evaluating one’s life, it’s best to go Eastern about it–things simply are. Life is meant to be embraced, not lived a few miles forward or backward. I couldn’t answer his question because I am perfectly content with how things turned out. No superpowered time travelling machine will make me want to change the relationships I have today. 🙂

Curiously

When asked what I thought The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was trying to say, I couldn’t find an apt one-phrase/one-word answer. All I could reply with was: “where do I begin?” The movie’s length gave me enough time (3 hours) to digest how each scene played out Benjamin’s strange and interesting life. I was paying so much attention to the details; I had a difficult time grasping the bigger picture towards the end.

Some people would say the movie was too long—others said it was necessary for it to convey its message. I decided to leave all these opinions and form my own when entering the theatre, only taking the advice of my friend Eli: Watch it and see for yourself. The movie paints its story on canvas of three hours, giving at the most, five scenes for every stage of Benjamin’s growth into “adulthood.” His life is a curious case indeed, as he lives in reverse on the outside but is just like any other new born baby/toddler in the inside as he begins living. Only his mother knows of his true age, while the rest of the world perceives him to be an aging old man waiting for his death. He grows up watching the people he knows come and go, living only with a memory of them. However, only one person is the most consistent, his “childhood” friend Daisy. They keep in touch through letters as they lead quite separate lives, but are always drawn powerfully to each other when they meet. Like the play Love Letters, certain circumstances do not allow them to be together, but their love for one another is what lasts throughout Benjamin’s lifetime.

I particularly liked how it showed the fleeting nature of human life. I found myself recalling the book Maya by Jostein Gaarder when Benjamin would talk about human mortality. In the book, there is a character completely terrified of death, unable to face what determines our humanity. Benjamin, on the other hand, regards death as a part of life much earlier than most people would. Instead of dwelling on how to immortalize ourselves, he stresses that the very nature of our lives is what should keep us going—regardless of the unexpectedness of death.

I was also drawn to Daisy and Benjamin’s love story, which is contrasted the mortality of humans that the other characters had shown. “Some things do last,” he told Daisy—managing to show how love can last a lifetime without being cheesy. The two showed how natural it was to make something as wonderful and unpredictable as love last a lifetime. The film also stresses, that despite the odds, anything can be truly made possible.

But more than just a series of thought provoking themes, the movie proves itself to be culmnation of what modern cinema has become. Movies have become longer–some pulling off this length, the other boring their audience. The Curious Case pushes such a long length but pulls it off nonetheless. There is so much that can be said about humanity, but this film does so without trying to squeeze it all in. The only other film that had managed to send out equally detailed messages was The Dark Knight.

Besides the length, it uses technology through CGI to aptly show Brad Pitt’s reversed aging. His actions complement the age he represents, pulling off a parternship between human acting and technological enhancement.

The movie wraps up everything it has to say in the end, allowing viewers to organize the various themes brought out in the last few hours. And just like death, it takes you to the end, giving you a rest from watching an entire lifetime.

xoxo

It’s funny how easily we grow tired of things. Just a year ago, I was totally hooked on the show Gossip Girl. My interest in it probably stemmed from a lack of a show to watch and a (then) much needed break from academics. I got a break from it when the first season ended–and it did not end on a good note. They obviously held back with the possibilities of the story (which wasn’t much in the first place). You see, the show’s muse, Serena was supposed to get into trouble for allegedly “killing” one of her colleagues. However, once the truth was out, all she really did was leave her colleague after he had overdosed, called 911, and hid when the ambulance arrived. Lame! No excitement there.

It got even lamer as the second season progressed–inconsistence character pursuits, repeated storylines (on and off relationship again?), and soap opera type plotlines (you and your boyfriend share a brother? augh and ew!). I got bored, but was still overwhelmed a lot of people my age were still hooked on the show. Maybe I have grown way too observant. Either that, or I was just looking for something new.

That “something new” came in the TV comedy Ugly Betty. My mother was hooked on the local adaptation, so she asked me to download the American one. Her work filled her schedule once the downloads were done, so I ended up giving the show a try myself. Indeed, it was very refreshing and entertaining–something I wasn’t exposed to in the past. I had been limiting myself to stupid teen dramas, forgetting that the comedy genre existed. The Christmas break also led to me How I Met Your Mother… and yes, it was (wait for it) LEGENDARY! Unlike the past, where I finished shows for the sake of knowing what happened next, these shows gave me a reason to look forward for something unexpected in each episode.

I guess my shift of TV genres may also come with age. The characters from the two comedies are all working–with betty having dreams of owning her own magazine and the HIMYM cast struggling to kick off their careers. The former is a long term goal of mine and the former is something my friends and I already doing. When I attempt to continue Gossip Girl out of boredom, I just yawn and figure I can get the same story from village gossip. I’m really at that stage where I’m looking for something more, with a whole life ahead of me. Now it’s really hit me: I guess this is growing up!

With my age also comes a need for things to be simpler. My two favorite shows are comedies–meaning, despite having relevant life lessons at the end, these are carried by the characters’ sablay (off) moments (Barney Stinson and Lily anyone?). As more experiences and responsibilities come my way, I want a way for these things to become simpler–these comedies have a way of making life as so. Life may have its tragic, scary, and crazy moments–but in the end, all one can do is really just laugh about these to keep sane.

Campus Journalism Awards (CJA)

Said subject was held January 24, 2009. Thanks to Green and White (DLSU’s Yearbook Organization and host of subject title) and their panel of judges, I can safely say:

Marunong pala akong magsulat ng editorial! 😀

“Sana nga manalo ako para may pangdate ako mamaya.” (Me, 2009)

Ayan, nakacheeseburger si Benjo 😛

=)

Aaand just when I thought my entry would be the perfect wrap up to the week, I discover Mr. Erwin Oliva commented on my old livejournal. This led me to his blog and eventually this entry.

I am totally loving this weekend.

I hope tomorrow’s talk on opinion writing at UP Diliman will be just as exciting. =)

Love Letters

Last night, I dragged my good friend J and my boyfriend Benjo to watch Kitin’s thesis play Love Letters. I found myself taking the train to Ateneo once again, a spontaneous trip made out of love and support for my friend. I had no idea what the plot was. And lo and behold, we got the shock of our life.

Love Letters is a story of two childhood friends, Andy and Melissa, who begin their complicated relationship by passing notes in their second grade class, Merry Christmas cards, and summer camp postcards. The two of them continue this habit as they lead very separate lives as they grow up, with Andy focusing on his family obligations and Melissa spiraling down into a very promiscious, alcoholic party life. Andy still finds himself drawn to her and asks Melissa to go steady with him. Melissa’s preference for spontaneity and other men make her refuse, yet they still hold on to each through their letter correspondence. As they grow older, the two begin leading very separate lives, with Andy excelling in the navy and eventually, politics, while Melissa flunks out of a series of high end boarding schools and a series of art shows that critics slam. The two refuse to acknowledge a need for a physical correspondence as soon as their other obligations step in the way.

The story is both amusing and tragic. It was amusing at first, seeing my friend play a bratty slut with amazing flirting skills. The story was tragic, with the characters refusing to make their relationship simpler with a physical and constant acknowledgement. Of course, one would argue that such polar opposite personalities would never work. At one point, they had started a brief affair that the press eventually released as a “senate sex scandal.” Andy chooses his more conservative life after the scandal in order to gain reelection, leaving Melissa to break down and find solace in alcohol. Andy could have saved someone he had loved for so long, only to let her go at her worst moment. It is here that we see the importance of physical presence in a relationship–some things can only be learned about a person through conversation and experience. Andy, in the end, stayed a coward about his love for Melissa, hiding behind his letters–only acknowledging this after her death.

I’d have to give props to Kitin for playing Melissa well, as we found ourselves shaking our heads at her privileged brattiness. Her co-actor, Jonathan, did an equally impressive job as clean cut Andy, exuding the disturbing conservativism of Republican Americans despite his very Filipino looks. With this production as Kitin’s second acting stint and Jonathan’s first try at a play, the two carried their roles very well with a chemistry that worked on stage. In terms of presentation, however, one can easily space out and simply listen to their dialogue to get hold of their story. The story itself, which relies on letter correspondence, works better as a radio play than a stage production.

Overall, I’d rate her thesis a 3.0 (89-94). 🙂

The only downside? Seeing someone you’ve known for years do a fake sex scene is sooo awkward! Only Benjo managed to sit through Andy and Melissa’s sexy time! Haha!