almost famous

November 13, 2017

the other night I saw the 2015 dramatic film: “The End of the Tour” on SBS.  I wasn’t sure I was going to like it – it was essentially a conversation and given it’s difficult as medium skews heavily toward being visual- but I really enjoyed it.  It was an interview over several days by David Lipsky representing Rolling Stone magazine about the critically-acclaimed author David Foster Wallace (I must confess whose name I hadn’t heard before).

I found that actors cast, Jason Segel (for Wallace) and Jesse Eisenberg (for Lipsky) were well-thought choices.  They were both “smart” enough that neither performance seemed “wooden” (suffice it to say it wasn’t an enormous stretch to suspend disbelief).   This can be “tricky” given it was a mainly dialogue-driven plot.

Aside from the words, I think what drew me in was the shared “addiction” of watching too much television.  Moreover, I can relate to wanting a job where not too much thinking is required (as a respite of sorts) – it reminded me of a friend that once said that a “mindless” task was a welcome break for her from her usual job.  Furthermore, I liked that within it was featured an action movie that didn’t require a whole lot of mental horsepower to enjoy (to what I viewed as juxtaposition when the characters watched a black-and-white film on tv).

I found the scene meaningful when the proponents couldn’t find where they parked their rental car in the airport.  This just illustrates how there are different kinds of smarts and how book-smarts is not always preferable in accomplishing certain everyday tasks.  As the adage goes:  Common Sense is not that common.  This is a moment of levity that cuts the seriousness of an otherwise dry account.

I enjoyed the line:  “Nice but not real.” How some situations are artificial – one doesn’t have to look far for the often fabricated constructs of reality tv.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not hating on the entire genre but, like all “entertainment”, some shows are more “watchable” given the individual’s purpose.

I’m now curios about Wallace’s opus of a novel:  Infinite Jest and Lipsky’s best-selling memoir: Although Of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself. Hopefully, I’ll eventually have time to read them.

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sing

November 6, 2017

 

last week a choir performed this song.  I haven’t heard it in awhile being in OZ but it’s one of my favourite hymns. It made sense that they sung the English version so that most people could understand.

Strangely, the original is by St. Ignatius of Loyola and for some reason my personality clashes with the Jesuits.  The point is (regardless of spirituality), we should always aspire to be more selfless.  I don’t claim to be so inclined but the reminder to be generous is always welcome.

The English lyrics can be found below but I find the Tagalog version more beautiful and expressive.  There are many versions (most of which you can find on YouTube)  but I still prefer the one by the Bukas-Loob Ministry.

To paraphrase St. Augustine:  “Those who sing pray twice.”  A certain person inadvertently was mistaken  when he claimed to originate the saying (having received an Augustinian education I’m reasonably certain).  I’ve grown to be an admirer, who doesn’t like a good redemption story (I think that requires a seperate blog entry).

I may no longer have the ability to do it outwardly but in my mind, I still sing.

PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY (with English lyrics)

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous
Teach me to serve You as I should
To give and not to count the cost
To fight and not to heed the wounds
To toil and not to seek for rest
To labor and ask not for reward
Save that of knowing that I do Your most holy will

 

PANALANGIN SA PAGIGING (PRAYER FOR GENEROSITY in Tagalog)

Panginoon, turuan Mo akong maging bukas palad
Turuan Mo akong maglingkod sa Iyo
Na magbigay ng ayon sa nararapat
Na walang hinihintay mula sa Iyo

Na makibakang ‘di inaalintana
Mga hirap na dinaranas
Sa tuwina’y magsumikap na hindi humahanap
Ng kapalit na kaginhawahan
Na ‘di naghihintay kundi ang aking mabatid
Na ang loob Mo’y siyang sinusundan

Panginoon, turuan Mo akong maging bukas palad
Turuan Mo akong maglingkod sa Iyo
Na magbigay ng ayon sa nararapat
Na walang hinihintay mula sa Iyo

fully sic(k)

August 14, 2017

i enjoyed the film “The Big Sick” but wasn’t really surprised that the cinema was practically empty.  I’m no marketing guru but I think the title (although understandable) could have used some tweaking. Despite receiving a rating of 98% in Rotten Tomatoes and grossing a lot in the US, the film didn’t seem to do well in OZ.  Some might find “sick” in the title; or the plot revolving around a coma; or it being primarily set in a hospital to be off-putting to some movie patrons.  My dark humour aside, my wife & I have firsthand experience with illness so we never really felt confronted.

In a way, this kind of reminded me of the movie The Shawshank Redemption (based on the novella Rita Hayworth and  The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King in the book Different Seasons. Three of the four stories – corresponding to a particular season.  Of note is the tale of The Body or what most know as Stand By Me but that’s another story).  A lot of people have watched the film but it didn’t fare well in the cinema.  That’s because most movies rely on word of mouth but the title was too hard to recall for most viewers (sad to say that this may have been an instance where a focus group may have been helpful).

The movie may not have been advertised enough; or most Aussies may not be familiar with the work of Kumail Nanjani because the television show Silicon Valley isn’t really big here.   Regardless, go out and watch The Big Sick.

one fine day

January 7, 2017

my wife’s niece is getting married later today.

The Filipino tradition (Hispanic in origin ) arras (13 coins) presented by the bridegroom to the bride was rightly scraped by the couple and didn’t make much sense in the Australian context.  We shouldn’t be so beholden or precious with rituals and just welcome the nod to recognising heritage.  This type of symbolism should be changed to suit (or eliminated entirely).

My view on marriage is it shouldn’t be an outdated institution but a living-breathing social construct (that’s not for everyone and should be an individual’s choice and not dictated by societal convention) that’s adaptable to present realities.  In fairness, they did scrap “obey” from the vows.  Legal divorce in the Philippines (if I’m not mistaken, we’re the last holdout country) is a seperate issue.

There’s even a proposal for 10-year terms instead of forever.  This might not be the solution to the “high” rate of divorce but the conversation’s welcome.  Silver, Golden and Diamond anniversaries seem to be unrealistic  given wedding as teens is no longer the norm.

Do we now put to much emphasis on the day itself (encouraged by an entire industry) and not the upcoming unified life?

Full disclosure:  Have been married now for a little over 14 years

i knew you were trouble

December 8, 2013

we lost a great man in Nelson Mandela. Our generation did not live in Gandhi nor Martin Luther King, Jr.’s time – Tata Madiba was our example of peaceful resistance.  That we lost him is sad – what saddens me more is that there is not enough like him.

Rolihlahla is the name his father gave him and is isiXhosa and colloquially means “troublemaker.” Until 2008, he was even branded a terrorist. Maybe he caused headaches to the Apartheid establishment but because you have always done something does not make it right.   Forget tradition, he had right on his side.  I think Australia was right to lead the boycott – they had witnessed first-hand the adverse effects on the Indigenous people.

He was given the English name of Nelson by his teacher – for reasons were not certain of.  It reminds me of how in my “old” country you used to not be able to be baptized unless you had a “Christian” given name or how the Spanish had “forced” us to adapt last names that sounded like theirs.  Why are people so afraid of the “other”?

My favourite quote of his is:

“I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

I think we should all endeavour to be the best that we can be.

bicycle

July 30, 2013

my wife’s cousin’s husband helped (who am I kidding, he did it mostly himself) us put together our “new” exercise bike.  Fortunately, he was around because we would not have much success assembling it without him.  Ease to manufacture does not usually translate to ease of assembly. During the frustrating part of putting things together, the corporation’s bottom-line is far from the consumer’s mind.  It reminds me of the question posed to the person sweeping and their answer of building God’s house.  More often than not, we do not see how our simple roles contribute to the fruition of something greater that we cannot accomplish on our own – it’s not the actual task but how this fits in the “grander” scheme of things.

We, of course, thanked him for his help.  It made me think of how this “small” act might “snowball” to something larger and what effect it will have.  We often forget how mundane and inconsequential things can have a significant impact.  Although there often is no direct causation, I can only guess at what flow on effects there will be. I am a big believer that we all make our own luck but lately I catch myself thinking the alignment of planets may have some part to play. I wonder what “dominoes” have been set in motion.

big wednesday

February 24, 2012

for the first time i forgot about Ash Wednesday – the beginning of Lent.  i’m not a die-hard Catholic but i normally remember.