Sunday, November 27, 2011

A sample movie review

While having dinner last night ...

Daughter: [suddenly asked] Ma, have you seen the film "The Tourist" (a Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie movie)? 

Me: No, I haven't seen that movie yet.  Why?

Daughter: Ibang klase talaga itong si Johnny Depp.  Character actor talaga siya.   Nakakatawa yon eh kasi pinapaliit niya ang kanyang sarili sa movie na yon siguro para hindi niya masapawan si Angelina Jolie.  Doon nga sa isang scene, nakaupo lang siya at umiinom ng beer.  Wala siyang ibang ginagawa or sinasabi kaya.  Pero sapaw pa din niya sa screen si Angelina Jolie.  At si Angelina na yon ha!!!  Eh di lalo na siguro pag iba ang kasama niya sa movie. (Johnny Depp is really a character acter.  He's so funny in that movie because I noticed that he really tried to reduce his projection on-screen whenever he is in a scene with Angelina Jolie.  There was this scene wherein he was simply sitting in one corner, drinking a bottle of beer...doing nothing...just sitting there silently.  But goodness, he still has this strong projection on-screen that you won't even notice Angelina was there.  Imagine, that's already Angelina Jolie!) 

Me: [was just smiling and listening...trying to imagine the scene...]

Then she suddenly remarked:

Daughter:  Pero pag si Cate Blanchett yon, hindi siya kayang sapawan ni Johnny Depp.  Ibang level kasi si Cate Blanchett.  At pag pinagsama sila sa screen....sasabog yong screen!!! (But if it's Cate Blanchett, oh, I guess that won't happen at all.  But if you have Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett together in one scene...hah, the screen might explode!!) 

Me: [now trying to imagine Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett together in a movie] I couldn't imagine that scene... and besides, hindi sila bagay eh. (I don't know but they don't seem to have that chemistry at all.) 

Daughter:  Oo nga, ang hirap isipin.  Parang pinagsama mo yong Pirates of the Caribbean tsaka Lord of the Rings...(Yah, it's really hard to imagine Johnny Depp and Cate Blanchett being together in a movie.  :-) It's like combining the movie Pirates of the Caribbean and The Lord of the Rings!  So unimaginable, really. )

How about that for a typical conversation over dinner?

This makes me want to watch those movies I've missed in the cinema so I can catch up with these reviews.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Baby Furball, the cat with an attitude


Journal entry:

09 December 2005, 8:38 AM

I remember that day seeing this cute kitten sneaking at our gate, rushing behind one of the pots when Ducky, our pet dog, came running after him.  I hastily called Bam and Kim, “Dali, tignan niyo! May cute na kitten dito sa labas!”  And soon my two daughters were out looking for the kitten in our driveway.  Since I was in the middle of finishing a report at that time, I completely forgot about this.

A moment later, Bam and Kim came to my room carrying the sneaky and shy kitten, whom they have already nicknamed “Furball”.  Both girls kept saying “ang cute niya Mama no?”, which of course simply meant - "dito na siya Mama ha? aalagaan namin siya."  We already had three pets: 2 cats (Turkey, the black cat, Wabbit, the white cat) and 1 dog (Ducky - a doggie who came to adopt us - oh that's another story I want to write about).

And since that day … I couldn’t help but feel so much warmth and affection for the new “baby” in our family.     We discovered that Furball had his way of communicating with us using different tones of his “meow” which sometimes sounds “wow” in different notes.

Whenever I am washing the dishes, he is there sitting on the side of the sink to strike a conversation with me -- him, with his meows and wow and whatever sound he creates while looking up at me; and me, talking with him the way I do with small kids.  I enjoy these funny conversations with him.  I guess, Furball also enjoyed it as much as I did.

It wasn’t easy for Turkey and Wabbit to get used to having another kitten with us.  But as the days and weeks passed by, slowly, they became used to his makulet na presence, even tolerant of his distinctly different behaviors.

Wabbit and Furball became funny playmates.  I could see that they love the same toys, claim for the same sleeping space in the shelf, and love for the outdoors.  And it turned out that Furball was the bully to a bigger Wabbit, who was more than double his size.

Turkey became Furball's mentor and disciplinarian, teaching him where to pee and how to use the litter box, and maybe taught him many other things that we didn't care to know anymore.

And Ducky, our pet dog, became his best friend.  I believe they were really close that Ducky knew something happened to his best friend when he made that very sad cry (bigla siyang nag-alulong) yesterday.  True enough, when we got to the clinic we found out that Furball made his last breath at the exact moment Ducky cried out loud.

I really miss him so much.  These were the thoughts running at the back of my mind while folding the laundry atop our double-deck bed.  But while doing this I couldn’t help from bursting into tears for not hearing his “wow” for the past two days.  When I turned my head, I saw Wabbit staring at me from down below and hastily jumped up to the “second floor” of the bed and gave me that “bite” in my arm, the way Furball used to do.  Then he started rubbing his body on the pillow I was embracing as if sharing with my sadness and assuring me that he is still there to give me those funny habits we have associated with Furball.  I embraced Wabbit and told him, “I know you miss Furball, too!” And he stayed beside me for a few more minutes, maybe also remembering Furball.

Then I started remembering another scene.

A few months later after adopting the kitten, Furball's mom, a stray cat fed by Bam when she saw her nursing several kittens, came over and stood staring at our door as if knowing that her baby is with us.  Upon seeing her at the door, we brought Furball out to her mom.  When the mom-cat saw Furball, she slowly walked away towards our neighbor’s gate.  We noticed that she was treading slowly, hesitantly as if waiting for Furball to follow her.  We simply watched through our window to see what was going to happen.  Although Furball took a few steps towards the gate, we saw that instead of following his mom he started poking at the pot of plant that was a few feet away from the gate.  Then the mom-cat walked through our neighbor's gate out of our sight.

Taking that as our cue that Furball made his decision to stay with us, we hastily got him back and brought him inside our home.  We felt at that moment that the mom-cat also wanted to give Furball the choice, in the same way that we wanted to leave them by themselves to make that decision.

We had a restless sleep last night.  Kim felt that Furball was actually with us the whole night.  Even Turkey and Wabbit were a bit restless, too.  In the middle of the night I saw Wabbit go up to the top of the cabinets, the place where he usually stays when he wants to be all by himself.  And it was early morning when I felt Turkey creep to his sleeping area, on top of my malong,  between my legs, while  Wabbit slept beside me the whole night.

We woke up at 6 a.m. today because we wanted to bury Furball very early in the morning, before the sun is up.  I wanted to hug him for some more minutes before placing him inside the hole Butch dug up last night.  Putting Furball in his resting place was a very painful gesture on my part.

I started wondering if the three of us (me and my two daughters) shared the same feeling inside our heart.  And so I asked Kim, my youngest daughter, if she also feels that pinch inside her heart.  She said, “Ganon din ang nararamdaman ko, Ma.”

No amount of rationalization could remove the pain and guilt I feel in my heart after what happened.  I can’t help but cry once more as I remember Furball finding his way to the CR, despite the pain and being weak, to pee.  He even tried to find his way to the laundry area and use the litter box, as he usually did in the past.

It's sad and it's a mixture of many other things...ang hirap i-describe.  basta.

... and we bid him good bye and au revoir very early this morning.  I know it's gonna take some time before I stop crying about this.  and it's okay. sarap magmahal ng ganito.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Need some quiet time?

Coffee shops are favorite hangout places when I want to meet up with friends.  Maybe it's the ambiance, or the pipe-in music.  Or maybe it's the coffee.

The past few days I was feeling bored seeing the same side of my workplace, the same sights outside my window and so I thought of dropping by at the nearest coffee shop today to have a change in atmosphere...and yes, a change in ambiance, hoping my muse will like it and help me find the inspiration to write a post for my blog. 

I felt so lucky to see that there were only a handful of early shoppers sitting at this cozy place.  For the first 30 minutes I browsed through the newspaper and then started to look around.  Nice place, I told myself.  It also feels so peaceful without the usual chattering crowd populating coffee shops nowadays.  I also felt free to take this photos without disturbing anybody.

 Coffee shop at the 2F of Shangrila Plaza (Pasig City)

 Coffee shop at 2F Shangrila Plaza (Pasig City)

The next hour was spent reading the book I brought with me.  I found the articles truly engaging and I even chuckled several times only to find a guy who was two tables away staring at me with that amused look on his face. 

At that moment I decided to leave the coffee shop and proceed with my other errands for the day.  And was off to another mall.

After going around Megamall to purchase the needed household items, I wanted to continue reading the book and found this spot right in the middle of Building A.  I ordered for a cup of cappuccino and immediately dived into the bookmarked page.

Once again I enjoyed this relative silence and decided to take some more pictures.  That was the only time I realized I was in the same coffee shop though this time, I'm in a different location.

 Same coffee shop found at 2F Building A, Megamall

 Same coffee shop located at Megamall

So you say you want some peace and quiet?  
A nice coffee shop can be a cozy place to find one's desired solitude but only if you visit early in the morning.  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When your writing problem is not so much about writing

We are all book-lovers at home although it would be safe to say that each one has her own taste  when it comes to often-preferred books to read.  Each one has her own shelf for these preferred books, the ones we really protect from any form of  'calamity'...

I was surprised when Kim told me she borrowed my book on writing.  I must have mastered the art of thinking aloud that when I turned to face her with a running question: "which book is Kim referring to? Which among those books?" at the back of my mind, she hastily replied: "that small book, Ma. The book for writers' churvah…"  

"Ah the writer's-portable-therapist book", was all I said, as an image of the small book came to my mind.  I remembered buying that book from Booksale hoping this might help me overcome my difficulty in writing feature articles.  But I forgot to mention to her that after reading the Introduction, I got stuck in that part and actually forgot about it until she mentioned it that day.  That was a week ago.

Yoda & Mowgli at dusk (2011)
Early this evening I was telling Kim I found it really hard to concentrate in my writing with two of the male cats (Yoda and Uban) literally shouting out their voices as if they are performing a rock concert.  At first I found their meowing sound a bit funny because they did a lot of combination of tones, from a simple growl to what seemed to be some sort of vocalization - of high notes and very low ones.  However, it became irritating after several days of hearing them go through this kind of 'vocalization' the whole day.  And I was starting to suffer tension headaches whenever I hear Yoda and Uban perform these numbers. 

This time I asked Kim to help me clean up the wound I saw in Yoda's jaw as this might be the reason he is creating those loud sounds.  Maybe he is in pain, I told her.  I couldn't treat the wounds of our pets without getting stressed out, which according to my daughters, are also felt by our pets.  And so when I make this request, they know I am already getting pissed off and I couldn't treat Yoda's wound  with a cool head. 

Just before dinner, Kim handed me the book she borrowed last week and told me, no, she instructed me to read it because she thinks I need to read it to help me reconnect with writing once again.  She told me that reading just a few chapters already helped her get on with her own short stories.

And so while Kim was cleaning up Yoda's wound, I pulled up a chair and started reading the first chapter of this book.  The following paragraphs suddenly caught my attention:

"(…)There are many different causes of writing problems as there are writers.  Writing is hard work.  As a licensed psychotherapist, I work with all types of writers at every level (…) I have dealt with every kind of personal, professional, and psychological problem that writers can experience.

When writers feel discourages, depressed, or demoralized, it's often the result of outside circumstances such as not being able to get work, not being able to sell the work, not being able to make a living through writing, or not being able to get an agent.  Rather than focus on writing problems, my clients and I work on solutions.  Together, we develop personal action plans and set writing goals.  We search for successful strategies to be proactive rather than inactive.  We also work together to raise the writer's self-esteem and to transform negative, self-defeating beliefs into positive ones." (Excerpt from Introduction of The Writer's Portable Therapist book, p. xi)

After reading this I thought of opening a new file using WordPad.  Then found myself typing automatically.  After having typed three paragraphs it suddenly dawned on me that earlier this evening a friend texted me asking if I am free on November 16 - 17 for some writing job.  I hastily replied that yes, I am free and would like to take on this job.  Well, I've been in-between jobs for the past couple of weeks.

I don't know what happened here tonight but looks like I will be reading more chapters of this book in the next few days.  I am just about to finish the Introduction part but here I am -- already able to post this blog ... after almost a month of not being able to write anything.  I feel a lot better although Yoda still continues to vocalize at the top of his voice.  Perhaps we will have to check on Yoda's wound again tomorrow and continue treating it ... pay more attention to other concerns and perhaps go out to visit that art shop I saw the other day, check on new arrivals at my favorite book store, and find time to reconnect with my journal notebooks again.