Thursday, August 30, 2007

This is why I Hate Philippine Journalism

I'm sure most of you Pinoy readers have heard about the recent capture of the infamous leftist personality known as Jose Ma. "Joma" Sison in the news. I really don't have much to say to that, except that the capture probably had something to do with the humongous bounty on the man's head. Matter of fact, that's probably the same reason why all them militants are busy with the riots: they wanted to be the one to bag Sison's ass.

My issue right now is with this front-page article the Star printed out today. You can find the story here. It's a pretty well-known fact that while journalism as an art borders more on getting information than writing a good article, I've noticed that while most Pinoy newspapers are getting better and better at digging up the juiciest pieces of news to feed the growing public demand for sensationalism, the entire enterprise's going down in terms of article quality. Some, like the article I just pointed out, even defeats the purpose of being a headliner anyway, by going beating around the bush like a dog who can't decide where to take a piss.

Take, for instance, Mr. Porcalla's continuous iteration that the entire capture of Joma Sison was a joint venture between the Philippine and Dutch governments. I mean, sure, you need to underscore the possibility, but repeating it six friggin' times in the same bloody context throughout the first part of the article was just really sad.

The same thing goes for the rest of the details in Porcalla's headliner. He had enough information to draft a somewhat respectable article in thirty minutes, but he had to go about it like a gumshoe, splitting up ideas that could have very well constituted a very meaty, hard-hitting paragraph, and repeating details like a parrot, making the article both tedious and confusing.

I really don't know. I used to have this really, really big respect for the Philippine Star, preferring it even to the masses' newspaper (The Inquirer), but just recently - think a few days ago - I read one of their regulars in the Lifestyles section type a really long and pointless tirade about how his wife just had to order spaghetti and meatballs whenever they went to Italliani's, whereas the entire point of his article was about the new dishes the resto was serving, which he outlined in a scant five paragraphs, after the tirade about his goddamned "darleng."

Whoever that was, I hope you're reading this. I would like to stick a knife into your gut, first for having a good porcini risotto, and secondly for turning my brain to mush in ten seconds flat.

That goes for the rest of the journalists who're making a big-assed joke of the entire Philippine trade. I hope you fuckers all go to hell and burn like the useless pigs you are.

EDIT @ 12:47: Here is a sample of good journalism: an interview with Bill Gibson, the guy who wrote Neuromancer, Virtual Light, Mona Lisa Overdrive and is technically credited as the guy who coined the word cyberspace. Read that and weep, paragons of the maligned article.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity

Otherwise known as G.I. Joe. After the blockbuster hit that was the Transformers movie (I know you didn't like it, Louie), Hasbro decides to cash in on yet another of its longest running line of action figures, and turns the G.I. Joe franchise into a live action movie.

Now, while 80's kids spent the months before Transformers' release waiting on tenterhooks for the result of Michael Bay's rendition of the old cartoon, the actual film, while it wasn't what you'd call perfect, was a passable action flick that did nothing to ruin the memories of folks my age worldwide.

The premise of the G.I. Joe movie, on the other hand, literally snatches the story of the old cartoon series and reworks it from the ground up. The group is now an international task force, based in Brussels, Belgium, thus the name. God only knows if Cobra Commander'd even be there.

(For the benefit of the uninitiated, GI Joes actually refer to government issued 'joes,' or soldiers, which can be used both as a moniker and as a term meant to ridicule American soldiers, an act especially rampant in American-occupied countries, back in the days of WWII and the Vietnam War.)

If that isn't raping the collective childhood of a multitude of 80's kids (to use Rayne Summers' words), then I don't know what is. The only saving grace the film has, from what I can see, is that Stephen Sommers is the guy directing it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Some News, The Blues, and Elementary, My Dear Watson

I just enabled linebreaks for my Blogger account. For the longest time, I preferred using the break html tags to generate the paragraph breaks in my entries, but since I started feeding the content of The Zeppelin's Mezzanine to Multiply, the result's been a little bit fugly, at best. So at the cost of seeing badly-spaced previous posts here at Blogger, I've ensured that in the future, both accounts will be formatted properly from now on.

Meanwhile, I've hit what is popularly known as a slump. There was an episode wherein one my siblings thought that I was a bipolar individual (she suspects that plenty of people she hangs out with may be suffering from the psychological ailment - it isn't much of a coincidence that most of the people she's with are artists). While I don't think I'm anywhere near the precipice of going overboard, there might be some truth to what she suspects.

Wikipedia (every technophile's friend) states that bipolar individuals tend to have experiences that ". . . ranges from debilitating depression to unbridled mania. Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder typically experience fluid states of mania, hypomania or what is referred to as a mixed state in conjunction with depressive episodes . . . " There's also a part there that goes at length to explore the possibilities of self-mutilation and suicide, but if indeed I were bipolar, I thank the gods that I were squeamish and that I share my other sister's unbridled aversion for blood (She faints at the sight of blood; I don't, as far as I know, but I'm not willing to make sure).

Since I don't think I'm in any form of anti-epiphanic upheaval (what's the opposite of epiphany?), I'd like to go on to state that I am, for all intents and purposes, suffering from the blues. Something that, as most people who know me can confirm, can be a very trying episode involving me withdrawing from all kinds of worldly interactions and generally vegetating into a hobo state (a hobo with a home, but a hobo nonetheless).

To try and clear myself from this blues-filled state, I've been reading the books that my family was kind enough to weigh down my luggage with on my way back to the hovel mountain that is my home. Also, I've been loading up on multitudes of manga - I've been reading those as well.

What's curious here is the fact that everything I've been reading starting from three weeks ago is interconnected by one striking fact: all of them were whodunits.

Case in point: during my first week back, wherein I suffered from a fever that had me hallucinating during my first night, I clawed through around six books from The Cat Who . . . series, which are a series of mystery novels whose protagonists are James Qwilleran, journalist, Kao K'o Kung, nicknamed Koko, a sentient Siamese cat, and Yum Yum, also a Siamese cat. These stories, while highly formulaic, are highly enjoyable novels that only enforced my wish that I had a cat to accompany me during the remainder of my stay here in the ends of the earth.

When I finished through the series, I began downloading what could possibly be one of the few mangas that could challenge Dragon Ball in terms of sheer length. I speak of Detective Conan, a series drawn by the same manga-ka who did Yaiba, which was a hands-down favorite of mine way, way back. The title of Detective Conan (in America, it was redone as Case Closed, in the habit of most audacious American business entities to mutate a series into something it could call its own) itself gives it away as a detective shonen series, with little to light fanservice, bad scanlating (really, some of the chapters were lost causes), and a very interesting plot with intelligent writing that still shone through despite the badly scanned pages, horrid pinyin English translations, and the fact that my eyes were bugging out due to way too much gamma radiation.

And finally, at my bedside or in the bathroom, you would find one of Umberto Eco's most infamous books, called The Name of the Rose. I first heard about this book from an ex-girlfriend, who technically all but told me that Eco, in all his erudite glory, had managed to create the printed word edition of the ultimate mindfuck - so much so that it could be deemed as both orgasmic and crazy all at once.

Thing is, I was always one for a good mindfuck, and first chance I got, I read a book by Eco and discovered that, while his style didn't match Robert Heinlein's own when it came to screwing with the natural senses of the human body, his manner of writing was a measuring stick of excellence, and that he made a whole lot of sense. It wasn't that all-out mindfuck that left you reeling with the sheer force of absolute grandeur and audacity, but it's there all right, lurking in the corners, waiting to chew on your brain as if it were made of meatloaf and noodles.

Suffice to say that I needed to get myself a copy of The Name of the Rose.

So I went and did, and so far, it hasn't let me down at all. The Name of the Rose is a rather startling mystery novel - startling because the setting is, I'm guessing, just a couple of decades or so after the death of St. Francis of Assisi. The protagonist is described as a man whose logic stemmed from the methodology that could be gained from reading too much of Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, and Roger Bacon. In short, while it isn't exactly a historical novel, it is a mystery story set way beyond the time of Conan Doyle, way beyond the techniques for checking for fingerprints were even first used - hell, the book even considers spectacles and lenses to be a rather enterprising piece of witchcraft. Orgasmic? Why, yes indeed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crossposting and Multiplying

I will now begin cross-posting all my Blogger blog posts into my Multiply account, since a whole bulk of my friends are in Multiply and are probably missing out on the various fun-filled adventures my life has to offer (such as lugging a closet around, talking to a pig, and twisting my leg while acting like an idiot).

All my music reviews which I have previously been posting in the blog area of my Multiply site will, from this day on, be found in the reviews section of the said webpage, where they truly do belong.

Now if only there was a way to funnel my Tabulas ficciones to Multiply. Oh, and if you don't know my Multiply account, you need but to ask. And ye might receive.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sometimes, This Place Just Sucks

This city needs a 24-hour delivery service for all furniture involved. I mean, the offices within the city expect us to work eight-hour shifts six days a week. How bad can a deliver service for furniture be? I mean, do I have to go all the way to Lumbia's SM just to get for myself a good and cheap closet with at least four months' of warranty and a delivery service to my house?

Funny thing about my place, too. I live in a really old village that's hardly populated. How's that for irony? The street my apartment is in, unfortunately, is a glorified dirt road that has no name. I hesitate to receive letters here for fear of the delivery person getting lost in transit.

I miss Manila.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Martin Cruz Contra El Mundo (1:24 P.M.)

The universe has a very funny way of making me do things. I read in a book that by looking at the things in nature, we can perceive even the messages of God; for the smaller stuff, the messages are hurled at you with the velocity of an F1 racer on a straight stretch of road.

This morning is a prime example. I've always had the hardest time sleeping (due either to insomnia or a mild case of asthma-induced sleep apnea), and last night, it took me a record of EIGHT HOURS to fall asleep. So yes, I technically fell asleep when the alarm went off at 8:33 A.M. (don't ask, I keep weird alarm hours). Thank the gods that my shift was on at two in the afternoon.

And then, at exactly 1:24 in the afternoon, just as I was on that edge teetering between dream (I was, I think, cooking pasta in front of a multitudinous throng in that dream), and waking, reality decides to butt in and kick me out of the pasta festivities by pulling the plug on the electric current that keeps the little apartment house I - and several other people - call home oiled and running. Simply said, we had a power outage.

Now, I live in a godforsaken rock called the Philippines that is described in most encyclopedias as a tropical country. What that really means is that when it rains here, it pours like God's own piss, and when it's hot, it's hotter than a barbecue in the depths of hell since the precipitate level here is higher than the body odor of all the people in the world combined (thankfully, it isn't as foul-smelling). So when you have a power outage in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is higher than a crack junkie, you can bet your bunions that it's going to be hot, hot, hot. And a minute in bed in this sweltering heat is like a minute on a frying pan except that you're sweating and not cooking, so you're better off moving around.

And that, ladies and germs, is how the Universe tells Martin Cruz to Get His Fat Ass Out of Bed.

And just so you know, I'm keeping count. The tally so far is:

Universe = 1X100

Martin Cruz = 0