Author Archives: Gabriel

You gotta love Manong Masahista

I played a lot of ball most of the afternoon. As a result I’m completely bushed and aching all over, but overall I feel great. I outlasted a lot of guys mostly because, I think, I managed to get a good massage a few days ago. At this point you might think I’m about to recommend some ultra posh Thai or exotic place. Would you believe it was courtesy of your everyday typical manong barbershop around the village corner? And all of a pittance: P250.00 at that, with a haircut included.

I was having a haircut at said neighborhood barbershop when he started giving me a vigorous neck rub, a sign anyone who regularly goes to such places knows marks the end of the session. It felt great so I asked if he does massages, he said yes mentioned p200 and off we went. Now I’ve tried all sorts of ultra posh massages at so many places and even expensive home service types already, but this one made me feel like I wanted to knock my head for all that wasted money. Manong twisted, gripped and kneaded my back, arms and legs like so much pliant dough. He used his rough fingers (made smoother by some cheap lotion. Mental note: bring my own next time) to find knotted up veins jammed with toxins and proceeded to attack it with the force of a vise grip over and over until it softened and passed through. To the uninitiated it would have felt like complete torture, but I knew what he was doing. The last time I went through anything like that must have been more than a decade ago, when I was still playing for a team that had a guy like manong masahista slathering myself and my teammates with buckets of what seemed like ben gay, but was 10 times worse – and stung to high heavens, and then used the same tortuous procedure that makes you swear and spit in pain as if you were being knifed.

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Tropa de Elite and other planned reviews

I just watched the highly controversial Tropa de Elite, which I was desperate to see after seeing just a few seconds of a report about it from BBC news and consequently Googling it up. The movie runs a narrative using the voice of Capitao Nascimiento (played by the amazing Wagner Moura), a fictional leader of the BOPE or Special Operations Battalion, and elite corp of highly trained soldiers that, if the accounts from the movie are true, operate above the law in what it perceives as an all – out war against drug trafficking in the poor sections of Rio, Brazil.

The movie is a stunning display of violence and real life in the drug dependent slums of Rio, where large sections called Favelas are controlled by drug lords with small armies armed to the teeth with high powered rifles they carry around with them like jewelry. The streets are dark and dirty, the poor wear tatters and live in sub human conditions, the local police are so crooked and desperately corrupt that they often end up in turf fights of their own, and the rich College kids are lazy, doped out brats whose insulated view of the world makes them just as guilty to the depravity around them. On one hand, they work in NGOs trying to help the poor and mouth slogans and sing songs against the police, but on the other they consume and even distribute drugs that helps fund the cartels. A pretty familiar world for the typical city dwelling low income Pinoy, if you ask me.

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How our brains work according to me

I worked on the car all day and thoroughly enjoyed it. If not for the fact that it didn’t turn out as well as I hoped (I fixed something but in the process, ‘broke’ something else :P), today was a pretty good day.

I think hobbies are important because it takes you away from what you’re doing long enough to at least give you a fresh perspective on what it is you normally do. In other words, I worked on my car because I didn’t wanna work on my projects or the sites – my solution to the fact that I am so up to my ears in work (and consequently, thinking about it), that if I spend any more time working on it I’m liable to go nuts.

The left and right turn switch doesn’t work for some odd reason, so my solution was to open and clean it up thoroughly using a rag and contact cleaner spray. I did so, and by golly who’d have known such a thing was so complex inside? It had bearings and tiny little springs that would fall over the place if you weren’t careful opening it up. At any rate, I got it to work in the end, but only after a hell of a time. I realized I was literally bent over in concentration for an hour or two, and when I finally got it together and working I felt like celebrating. Problem is, the switch for the windshield wipers suddenly doesn’t work now (it was working fine before I opened it up, and I never touched it when I did), so that’s egg in my face right there. I’ll get it to work though. I’m sure it’s just something loose somewhere.

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About Drupal, The most annoying thing about moving blogs, and another project idea

The most annoying thing about moving blogs is that I’d have to do all my links, all the stuff in my about page, the categories and all that other stuff all over again.

It’s taken me a long time to decide which free blogging place to use and although wordpress.com has its limitations, it’s certainly less limited than blogspot and LJ. Or at least, as far as I know since the last time I checked, which has been awhile. Suffice it to say I’m not completely sold on staying here, and I do wanna check out the others, although it’s time consuming and besides, it’s just for a personal blog right?

Nah. You know what? Why don’t I just go flat out and just say I’m lazy. Yeah that hit the nail on the head right there.

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Hairspray

sep102007_hairspray.jpgIf there’s any type of movie I’d say that best reflects my idea of Hollywood, it’s the big grand musical. Now I’m fairly aware that saying that sounds very gay, which I’m sure makes my homophobic girlfriend cringe. But hey, I’m not gonna lie. Big grand musicals are the epitome, to me, of what a ‘spectacular performance’ is. There’s great music, terrific melodies, and basically actors interpreting what they feel through feats of song and dance. Any story of great romance, deep despair, hate, fear, or anything for that matter, is made more meaningful and dramatic via moving performances filled with music and dancing.

Thus, I still remember happily the few magical musicals I chanced upon at a young age, such as Oklahoma, South Pacific, the King and I and other Rogers and Hammerstein classics. Then there’s Oliver Twist (which had me saying ‘Please Sir, may I have some more?‘ over and over again), Annie and My Fair Lady. Until today, when I type on a keyboard to test it, I usually write ‘The Rain In Spain stays mainly in the plain‘, rather than the standard ‘The quick red fox…‘.

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

sep082007_harrypotter_orderofthephoenix.jpgWhatever’s the latest Harry Potter movie, it’s almost always the best one. Some people will argue, but in this case, I’m quite positive that a lot would agree that it is.

Just to get it out of the way, I think the fifth movie was great. I have read the book about three times already, and even after the release of the Half-Blood Prince, it remains my favourite. The effects of the movie were amazing and Daniel Radcliffe has gone a long way with his acting. Maybe appearing on stage naked really did help? I don’t know. Plus, there’s Gary Oldman, and anything with him in it, I would take.

Imelda Staunton (Dolores Umbridge) and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) were perfect for their roles and I am so glad that they managed to squeeze in Fred and George’s departure from Hogwart’s.

However, there are a bunch of things that didn’t work for me and as a true nerd, I will enumerate them because there is no one around me who is as enthusiastic about all this, and it sucks talking to the wall about a boy wizard.

First, the scenes that they cut off:

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Ratatouille

ratatouilleWriting this, I realized that there are many ways you can approach Ratatouille, which is probably it’s main weakness. First and foremost, you can write about the lead character Remy, which is a rat, and approach how inappropriate this is for a movie about food.

Second, you can talk about the food, and the fact that this is probably the best food movie I’ve ever watched in a long long time, and how the scene where the lead bad person Anton Ego (Peter O’Toole) is brought back to his youth after he eats some of Remy’s Ratatouille (which apparently is a peasant dish. I wouldn’t know since I wouldn’t even know where to find some), is somewhat similar to how I feel whenever I have some Sinigang sa Miso – a simple sour fish broth which is probably equally humble yet I’d elect to have as my very last dish on Earth if I were to be a prisoner on death row.

Third is, as I’ve mentioned above, Disney – Pixar’s absolutely superb movie making magic, and the fact that they have in the last few years produced some of the most fantastic movies in the likes of Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Toy Story and A Bug’s Life – all understated, fully animated features that to me, represent hope for great movie making in the classic style. Here is a movie company that understands the use of full animation as a tool rather than an end in itself, a Hollywood movie company apparently staffed by artists who know that just making something colorful and loud and hiring big stars to voice them does not necessarily a great movie make – no matter how much money it ends up making anyway.

And those are just some of the things I think about when thinking about Ratatouille. All interesting for sure, but unfortunately, a sign that I do not really know what to make of it.

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