Thursday, December 30, 2010

listening to josh groban

i don't know why but for some reason, listening to josh groban has a calming effect on me especially when i'm buried in my work and desperately racing to meet a deadline.

this admission, coming from a person who prefers listening to Alternative songs, is something of a surprise to those who know me rather well. i don't really have a particular favorite (in fact, i have a hard remember the titles of his songs) but when i hear his voice, my jumbled thoughts just seem to tamely rearrange themselves into a tranquil plane. and no, i wasn't an instant fan.

it took me years to warm up to his style (and a lot of indirect prodding from an office mate who really liked him) -- it just sort of crept up on me.

i was working hard one day and had a difficult time concentrating when suddenly one of his songs ("Alla Luce del Sole") blared out on the radio. then i got curious and asked for a copy of my friend's playlist, and the rest -- as they say -- is history...

i still have to go out and buy josh groban's latest album (Illuminations), of course, but i'm pretty sure i'm going to like it and will likely include all of his songs in my iTouch playlist.

thinking aloud...

lately, i have developed this disconcerting habit of blurting out my thoughts to no one in particular — you know, the kind you make when you're running a mental conversation with yourself.

now this isn’t really much of a big deal when you’re in the confines of your own room. or at least when there’s no one else around to hear you argue with yourself. but when you’re in the middle of the street muttering unintelligible phrases, chances are you'll notice bystanders giving you strange looks and people giving you a wide berth as you pass by.

i wouldn't be surprised if one of these days some baffled soul will come right out and accuse me of having a split personality or something. or maybe squeeze me into a straight-jacket and put me in a padded cell somewhere.

i guess it comes from living so long on my own. sometimes silence can be a bit unnerving, so i have this compulsion to fill the gap with some chatter — any sound — to remind myself that somehow i’m still a functioning human being who’s still capable of producing certain sounds. or something to that effect.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

revisiting Ladyhawke

last night, i was finally able to watch Ladyhawke – probably the most memorable fantasy picture i've seen (with the single exception of LOTR, which is the gold standard for all fantasy flicks as far as i'm concerned).

i saw this film years ago, and i remember diligently searching for a copy of it (vcd, dvd, blue-ray) afterwards in local video stores, including trips to tiangge stalls that specialize in pirated goodies, with zero results. fortunately, my younger sister sent a batch of DVDs last week — and to my utter delight, Ladyhawke was actually in that pile.

featuring michelle pfeiffer, rutger hauer and a youthful matthew broderick, this 1985 film combines an irresistible mix of fantasy, romance, action (swords and stuff), with a dash of humor thrown in for good measure. what made this movie click for me was its note-perfect cast, beautiful storyline and gorgeous locations. however, i will have to note that i found the use of contemporary tracks rather jarring.

the film's premise: Isabeau (pfeiffer) and Navarre (hauer) are the star-crossed lovers cursed by the cruel and evil bishop of Aquila, who wants Isabeau for himself, to be…

always together, eternally apart
as long as the sun rises and sets
as long as there is day and night
and for as long as they both shall live…

by day Isabeau turns into a hawk, and by night Navarre becomes a wolf. to escape the bishop's vengeful clutches, the fugitive pair travels together, but never simultaneously in their human form — never able to communicate or even catch a glimpse of the other. along the way, they encounter Mouse (broderick), a thief who had escaped from the dungeons of Aquila…

michelle pfeiffer never looked so enchanting and hauntingly ethereal (it darn near breaks your heart), and rutger hauer — one of the most underrated actors around — is dashing and irresistible as a brooding romantic lead. for once, matthew broderick looks appropriately young and irreverent in his pivotal role as a comic relief and reluctant conduit to the doomed pair. his cheeky remarks to God, as he squirms and cons his way out of trouble, serve as a droll commentary throughout the film; it saves Ladyhawke from becoming too serious for its own good.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Peter Jackson and Temeraire

boy, was i glad to hear that Peter Jackson -- he of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR; based on J.R.R. Tolkien's books) films fame -- had acquired the film rights and was making plans to adapt Naomi Novik's Temeraire series to the big screen.

i have managed to read the first five books of this popular fantasy series (His Majesty's Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, Empire of Ivory, Victory of Eagles), and am already excited to see the whole thing come to life in the silver screen.

Ms. Novik's deft touch in incorporating thrilling action and fantasy elements (dragons!) against a sweeping historical backdrop (Napoleonic wars) resonates with me particularly, because i just happen to love both topics. in this sense, she reminds me of Susanna Clarke whose elegantly crafted Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell has enthralled and satisfied me on several levels, a feat that only a few books have managed to do.

but before this can come to pass, we can all look forward to watching that well-loved LOTR prequel, The Hobbit. The first of this two-part huge film production, both of which will be directed by Peter Jackson, is scheduled to appear in theaters late in 2012.

back to boracay

i finally had the chance to visit boracay again this month. there's something incongruous about spending part of your christmas break at the beach, but i welcomed the chance to spend a few days away from work and recharge my flagging batteries.

it rained when we got there (we spent the whole day indoors), but fortunately the skies cleared up the next day...

it will probably take some time before we can go back there again, so i have to content myself with memories jam-packed into these images

the view from my window

[note: another sample of my early efforts at blogging]

i'm back in the office, and every time i pass by the window i get this urge to drop everything and go someplace else where no one knows me and just spend the whole day writing about whatever comes to mind. it gets even worse when i go to the cafeteria or the restroom, where every familiar object reminds me of how much i'm missing. yeah, i know i need a break -- not just some weekend spree to punctuate my weekly routine, i mean a lengthy respite where

i can review what i've done so far, and hopefully, to start missing what i'm doing currently (uh-huh).

don't get me wrong. i still love my work, i'd still prefer it from any other day job i could pick up right now. it's just that i seem to doing the same things forever and my attention span has gone progressively shorter; worse, a few things that never appealed to me before are now beginning to look and sound attractive (aaarrghh!). i think i'm reaching a point where i can no longer recognize myself (which is scary because i've always felt that one of my stronger points was that i knew myself well enough to be comfortable with my off-the-wall quirks and all that stuff).

years ago, i made this pact with myself that, after a certain length of time -- when earning $$ would no longer be a paramount object -- i'd go off somewhere quiet where i could nurture some parts of me (chiefly the creative side, i think) that had been neglected along the way.

maybe i'm fast approaching that point, or maybe i've been too optimistic in thinking that i could just keep these things locked up in a suitcase while i'm off doing other things for awhile...

making a headstart

[note: below is the first entry i ever posted in online -- i wrote this back in 2005, when i was blundering my way around the blogosphere.]

hmm... finally, my own space!

i feel like i've just been given a set of keys to my own special tower. i don't know how long this is gonna last folks (hopefully, a long time) but i intend to make the most of it.

for some reason i like the idea of having my own blog without having to conform to somebody's idea of what a good composition should look like (heheh). it's like i have this separate piece of me that has a life of its own but still have enough space for me to visit regularly whenever i feel like submerging myself into something different and 'removed' from my daily grind.

okay ... enough of that.

at the moment i'm deeply immersed in my work that sometimes it feels like i'm losing parts of me along the way and there's this panicky feeling inside that's sounding a warning bell -- i gotta get out of this rut! i think i'm losing my sense of balance (which is important for me) and i really don't want things to reach a level where i'll be forced to do something drastic just to see changes. i don't know, i'm probably just feeling a bit out of my depth at the moment... hmm.

i'm in one of my "blue" funks, so i'll probably watch a few Seinfeld episodes later to 'perk' me up. either that or one of the anime series i bought two weeks ago. they're like my daily dose of alternative reality, just to provide myself a sort of balance from what i usually do in the office.

another drawer...

i'm opening another drawer... figuratively and literally.

my other blogspot page has been neglected long enough -- and basically hijacked by unscrupulous parties. i suppose i could bitch about it until the cows come home, but since that would avail me nothing at all, i have decided to create another blog.

hopefully this one will fare better than its predecessors.

note: i guess i can't bear to let go of my old posts, which have been an essential part of my transformation from a blundering newbie to a reasonably assured blogger, so i'll be posting them from time to time (i.e., when i get stumped, which happens every now and then with amazing regularity).