felix felicis

felix felicis: September 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Playlist: A Mixtape on Film Scores

I agree. Mondays can really be burdensome with all the emails you’ll have to check or the new instructions you’ll receive. But hey, you can lighten the load. If you’re looking for a good work/study playlist, here’s something you can listen to:



FluidRadio from Soundcloud made this genius playlist. Here’s the short description from their page:
Maya Deren, Werner Herzog, Godard for Sarajevo, Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Bob, the Horror, Jane Campion & Hilmar, beautiful Grandrieux, Institute Benjamenta, Deleuze et les idées, Miss Misery, Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, Solaris, William Blake, the Pink Room... All these musicians, filmmakers, actors, writers that made us want to make and score films. 
Our own creativity aside, without this delicious jumble of people we simply wouldn't be who we are, or have the desire to keep on with the daily slog. 
Here is our little prayer of thanks to cinema. - Jayne & Frédéric, September 2013. 
Tracklist:
  1. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) by Andrew Dominik
  2. Gilles Deleuze on cinema
  3. Bernard Hermann - Taxi Driver (1976) by Martin Scorcese
  4. Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle - One From The Heart (1982) by Francis Ford Coppola
  5. Antoine Duhamel - Méditerranée (1963) by Jean-Daniel Pollet
  6. Jonny Greenwood - Bodysong (2003) by Simon Pummell
  7. Maya Deren on the creative process
  8. John Zorn - In the Mirror of Maya Deren (2002) by Martina Kudlacek
  9. Mihály Vig - Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) by Béla Tarr
  10. Carmine Coppola - Apocalypse Now (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola
  11. Mogwai - Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2004) by Douglas Gordon & Philippe Parreno
  12. Tindersticks - Trouble Every Day (2000) by Claire Denis
  13. Angelo Badalamenti - Twin Peaks (1990) by David Lynch
  14. Arvo Pärt - Je Vous Salue Sarajevo (1995) by Jean-Luc Godard
  15. Elysian Fields - Sombre (1998) by Philippe Grandrieux
  16. Hilmar Hom Hilmarsson - In the Cut (2003) by Jane Campion
  17. John Cale - Le Vent de la Nuit (1998) by Philippe Garrel
  18. Neil Young - Dead Man (1995) by Jim Jarmusch
  19. Ben Frost and Daniel Bjarnason - Solaris (1972-2012) by Andreï Tarkovski
  20. Lech Jankowski - Institute Benjamenta (1995) by The Brothers Quay
  21. Popol Vuh - Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1972) by Werner Herzog
  22. Werner Herzog on the jungle
  23. Sonic Youth - Pola X (1999) by Leos Carax
  24. Danny Elfman & Elliot Smith - Good Will Hunting (1997) by Gus Van Sant
Crédits: Still frame from Werckmeister Harmonies by Béla Tarr, 2000 
www.fredericdoberland.com | www.jayneamaraross.com | www.gizehrecords.com
Enjoy the rest of the day and well, the week ahead! J

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Monday, September 23, 2013

On writing and "plagiarism"

This week’s trending topic was about a graduate schoolstudent who plagiarized a copyrighted photo, submitted it as his own in a competition and won the top prize. He apologized for his "lapse of judgment" since. Of course, netizens ganged up on the guy and the news spread like wildfire in a short span of time. A lot of them expressed their anger and disappointment over the student’s irresponsible deed—similar to what they felt with Chris Lao and Ate Girl-Who-Made-A-Commotion at the LRT. Others even connected this form of cheating with the current pork barrel issue. According to them, it is clear manifestation of how entrenched corruption and unethical behavior had been in the Philippine society. Our leaders did it, might as well the rest follow because they weren’t even caught. Or if they are, they can easily get away with it. Some others said that such talk should stop now especially that the student already wrote a letter of apology to the owner. They said it’s enough for him to admit his mistake.

For one, I think it is clear that this student deliberately copied somebody else’s work—the fact that he submitted that to different contests and crafted a different story for each submission are grounds enough to pin the greater burden of the blame to him. The idea of taking another person’s work and passing it as your own, deliberate or not, is plagiarism.

But secondly, discussions on such should not end on virtually crucifying just about anyone. It should take a step forward and find a solution to this problem. On one hand, schools and universities have every responsibility to instill not just the lesson of properly acknowledging somebody else’s work but more so, the greater value of creating an output that is completely yours. On the other hand, the government also have to take part of the responsibility on preventing plagiarism from happening almost all the time. At one point in recent history, a senator and a Supreme Court associate justice were caught plagiarizing: Senator Tito Sotto when he leniently copied a speech by a foreign politician, lifted several paragraphs from a blog post, and even twisting its message to suit his personal legislative agenda, and Justice Del Castillo for his plagiarized ponente/ courtdecision on the of comfort women. Proper sanctions, if necessary, should be established for those who will commit plagiarism. As said, it is one thing to admire another person’s work and a whole new different story to rip it off and claim as yours.

Finally, you can hate all you want—post it as a status, tweet it or even broadcast it over Youtube, but always make sure there’s a valuable solution that you can contribute to resolving the problem. We already know that cheating and deliberate copy-paste work is not cool and is clearly wrong. Let us just make sure we won’t fall prey on the same trap that Mark Solis fell in. Get off the high horse and double check your work now. J

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The Art Project Series #1: Doodling on canvas shoes

Family and friends should always receive well-thought out gifts, especially on their birthdays. In my case, I either choose them personally based on their preferences (usually based on my observations or hunches) or something I made myself. 

Last August, which means this entry is posted quite late, I designed slip-ons for a friend celebrating her birthday. I felt like everybody would give her books and school stuff like ballpens and highlighters so I thought of something that'll be cute and unique. Plus, it'll also be a nice experiment for me. I haven't tried painting for a long time now and she's been egging to see my "artwork." So there. 

It's good thing that Google has all the answers I've searched for. Here's the finished birthday present. 



And here's how I did it. Step by step, friends.

Ok, first, the materials we'll be needing:

- your canvass shoes or bag or purse (remember, cloth should be canvass)
- white fabric paint or gesso
- fabric paints or acrylic paint
- brushes of your choice
- black laundry pen (fine-tipped)
- clear acrylic spray
- old newspapers

Time to get started!

1. Make sure your canvass is clean. I used white canvass shoes for this one.

2. Look for a sample design if you need one. I can't find the one I used. T_T

3. Paint the whole canvass with white fabric paint or gesso as base. I have yet to use a gesso in my next project. Let it dry for an hour just to be sure.

4. Time to design the whole thing! You can use freehand or if it's a bit difficult, draw outlines using your pencil. Make sure you'll erase them after you're done and the paint dried already. 

Tip: Place an electric fan beside you so you can alternately dry the ones you're done with. It'll lessen your working time by an hour at most.

5. You may or may not the laundry pen to create permanent outlines for your design. I used one so the doodle will be better appreciated. :)))

6. After everything's dry and all, spray the clear acrylic on your canvass. This will prevent the paints from washing off. 

Remember: Just because you used fabric paints and/or sprayed it with clear acrylic doesn't mean your shoes will be invincible. Haha! It can get dirty but don't soak them in water puddles. 

Enjoy enjoy! 

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cycling, tentacles and anchors

Friend sent me tons of black market free epubs to read because I asked for it. I promised myself that I’ll squeeze in fiction in between academic readings, no matter what. It’s like drugs except I haven’t taken one yet. Hehe. When I leaf through pages, it’s like I’m transported to a different world—sometimes it better, other times they’re too dark and terrifying. Or I get too attached with one of the characters and I suddenly become them for sometime in real life. Experts call it “experience-taking.” Sorry, on high. But hey, it’s a good kind of high, so why not?

Speaking of being high or the feeling of being different for some unexplainable reason, I noticed that the books I’ve finished recently have interconnected themes on slight drug use, depression, peer pressure, maintaining a decent public image and becoming true to yourself, I dunno why. I’d hazard a guess—random selection, yes? No. Not really. Titles and book blurbs were quite intriguing so I succumbed to reading the first few lines. A few more hours and I’m halfway through the ebook. And then, I’m done. Wow.

Ebooks were emailed second week of August. Before the month ended, I began Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook. By the first week of September, I finished Silver Linings and tried reading Jay Asher’s dark young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why. Last week, I began Ned Vizzini’s It’s A Kind of Funny Story. Right after lunch today, I finished Vizzini’s semi-autobiographical piece. Of the three, Vizzini’s was my favorite. Thoughts on each are written below.

Cycling
The main character in Matthew Quick’s novel is Pat Peoples and he just got out of the mental hospital. The reason why he got in there wasn’t really explained in detail until the story’s near end. All we know is that his memory of the recent past was quite addled, his family and close friends would not mention his wife Nikki or anything related to her. During his time in the hospital, he developed this theory that his life is one big movie which will have its “silver lining” and happy ending—him and Nikki ending apart-time and finally getting back together. While waiting for this grand reunion, Pat busies himself with self-improvement: regular jogging and fitness exercises, reading the books Nikki has in her English Literature syllabus and regular therapy sessions with Dr. Cliff Patel. His whole life will take a different turn as soon as his friends, Ronnie and Veronica, introduce him to Tiffany. Together, they attempt to cope with their issues—on themselves, their families and friends, and ultimately, the failed relationships they’re trying to recover from.

I felt that Pat is highly optimistic—he works hard to create a better version of himself so he’ll not be a burden to his family and friends, which is good. And then of course, he’s too positive that he and his wife will get back together after everything that happened, which is way overboard. He’s thinking way too much, except that his form of mind cycling was too optimistic and rosy. The reality he faces in the end hurt him so much, but I guess that’s really how it should be. At least he gets his happy ending, although quite different from what he’s expecting.

Personally, I liked the movie adaptation more than the book version. The book was light and dark at the same time and it is entertaining too. The movie, on the other hand, was something I enjoyed especially the way they created Tiffany’s and Pat’s father’s character. They gave more tension and emotion to the whole story. Plus, the silver lining in the end has more kilig than the book’s. But that’s just me talking.

3 out of 5.

Tentacles
Tentacles are like dementors in Harry Potter-speak, they suck happiness out of you. They can be things, events, places and even people in your life. Anyway, in Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, we get to see how tentacles did bad things for Hannah Baker and eventually pushed her to take her own life. Before she died, she mailed a box containing seven cassette tapes that narrate how thirteen people played a role in her tragic end. In the story, Clay Jensen receives the set of tapes and for the rest of the night, he listens to Hannah’s haunting story.

The eyes were quite creepy. (From angelasanxiouslife.blogspot.com)
The pacing of the story was a bit slow at first but by the time the third story is being told, it began to pique my interest. I feel half-half for the central characters, Clay and Hannah—there’s a part in me that feels bad for them being caught in a pressured teen environment and then of course, a part of me says that they’re slightly responsible for the bad choices they make. I guess the story wasn’t design to side with any of the characters given that each of them had their own share of mistakes and false judgments.

In the end, the whole story speaks volumes on how bullying and peer pressure negatively affect a person, especially the younger ones. On one hand, bullies feel cool if they get to berate other people because it makes them feel better. We get mad because they make other kids unhappy and unconfident with themselves. They grow up feeling inferior just because they’re way too fat or skinny or uncool for the kids in their block.

But think about the other side of it. Bullies might also be victims in this situation. They were either bullied when they were in a different place so they try to exact revenge on other kids they think they’re way better or they don’t feel enough love and care from those they expect it to come from. It is a vicious cycle of hurt and revenge. The sad thing is, a lot of kids cannot handle these tentacles so they resort to taking matters in their own hands—they scar themselves or worse, they take their own lives.

Clay had several opportunities to save Hannah from misery but it’s either Hannah pushed him away or he was too shy to help out. On both accounts, Clay felt bad. When he finally finished the tapes, I guess he found the courage to ease his guilt by befriending another school loner, Skye. It might not be much but I guess finding real friends will be good anchors than having none.

3.5 out of 5.

Anchors
The story was about Craig Gilner, an above average student who’s suffering from clinical depression. He smokes pot and lies on his bed all night thinking of every school requirement he’ll have to do to pass the time—he ends up not accomplishing anything at all. He calls this cycling. Everything that puts him down and makes him sad are called tentacles while those that makes him happy are called anchors. He’s waiting for that one, big, positive Shift in his life—that one event that will set things in place and make him better but it doesn’t come. Tired of everything, he plans to take his own life. Problem is, he can’t so he checked himself at the hospital and the next thing he knew, he’s headed to Six North. In a span of five days in the hospital’s adult psychiatric ward, Craig’s confronts the sources of his anxiety, regains his appetite for food, renews his passion for art and finds a better recourse in life.

As said, Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story was relatively better among the three. The conflicts and themes in the story were also serious as it deals with high school life, peer pressure, pot sessions, depression and suicide. But what makes it light and easily understandable was the way it was written. There are times when the author dulls the narration but overall, it was an enjoyable read. I guess it helped that the author was checked in a psychiatric ward for a short time as it lent truthfulness in the way it was written.

4 out of 5.

I think, more than sucking the happiness we have, the tentacles are there to challenge us. It pushes us to be better and more positive versions of ourselves. Pat and Tiffany had a lot of tentacles before they finally overcame them and found anchors to ground them. Hannah tried to get rid of her own tentacles but it soon ate her up. Clay wasn’t her anchor; it should have been the friendship and care he’ll be giving her but it was too late to save her. Craig found his by drawing brain maps and the strong relationship he had with this family and friends.


We also have ours; we just have to take the time to find them. Books and reading can be one that’s why it seems I can’t put it out for long. It keeps me grounded and sane. I had enough to fuel me for the hellweeks ahead. Time for some papers to be written for now. Haha! I hope you’ll also find time to read these too. Aja! \m/

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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Mga problemang sikmura

Palaging naitatanong sa sarili, nakakatulog pa kaya sila sa lahat ng mali nilang ginagawa? Nakukuha pa kaya nilang magkaroon ng payapang pahinga sa dami ng taong nasira at naatraso nila? Kaya pa kaya nilang humarap at makisama gayong alam nilang masama ang pakay nila? Baka hindi. Sana hindi. 

Pero sa takbo ng pangyayari, mukhang oo. Kasi sanay na. Nasisikmura nilang lahat ng iyon. Halang na rin ang kaluluwa. Isama mo na yung atay, apdo at balun-balunan. Kung mas matindi, baka pati appendix, damay na. 

Mapapabuntung-hininga ka nalang. Minura mo na sila ng bongga-- binitiwan ang lahat ng mabibigat na salitang pwedeng bitawan. Gago. Tarantado. P*ta. Bakit ganon? Saan kaya sila kumukuha ng kapal ng mukha? Hindi ko rin alam. 

Sa bawat galit na mararamdaman, kasabay ding nagpapatong-patong ang mga tanong na kailangan ng kasagutan. May gusto kang gawin, maitama ang mali, makaganti man lang kahit konti. Kaso ang problema'y madalas tatsulok, nasa baba ka, sila yung nasa tuktok. 

Bulok nga kaya ang sistema? Bulag ang hustisya, nabingi at napipi na rin kalaunan. Kaya ikaw na ordinaryong taumbayan, unti-unti ng mawawalan ng gana. Wala rin namang mababago, para san pa? 

Wala na nga ba? Baka meron pa. Sana meron pa. Oo meron pa. 

Wag ka nalang muna bumigay. Kung sa bawat ulan, may bahagharing sumisikat; sa bawat punong pinutol, may panibong punlang sisibol; sa bawat tigang na lupang hinukay ay may tubig na bubukal, ganoon din sa ganitong bagay. 

Sabi ni Ate Guy, "walang himala." Marahil may katotohanan. Para matutunan nating lahat ay paghihirapan. 

Pero mas ok panghawakan ang pangalang panrebolusyong ginamit ni Bonifacio nung siya'y nasa Katipunan.

May pag-asa. 


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Friday, September 6, 2013

Cloud 9

I went back to Mount Cloud Bookshop last night before finally going back to Manila. It’s too beautiful not to pass. And well, friends asked for some pasalubong, so I thought cute items from this cozy bookshop would be nice.








The bookshop’s small and cramped up, but its interior design and pretty wide book selection makes up for everything. They’ve also got nice background music— from local acts to foreign indie musicians—much of which I’m not really familiar with. I still love listening to them, because, why not?


















If you wanna see this nice store for yourself, Mount Cloud Bookshop is located at Casa Vallejo Building, DPS Compound Area, Baguio City. Or, if you’re a bit dumbo on directions and addresses, it is near SM Baguio. Before you go all the way up to SM, go straight to the street next to it. Walk walk walk. You’ll see a huge signage, that’s it! Store’s open from 10.00AM to 8.00PM. There’s also a pub nearby for coffee or booze. I dunno if it’s real, but the pub’s also got a sign saying “pot sessions.” You may want to uncover the truth for me. Hehehe. If you want to catch free and limitedly released films, the Baguio Cinematheque is also right around the corner. Enjoy your stay!  :)

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Gatecrashing

I was half-running and half-walking to get to my next destination. Twenty minutes passed and I felt like I was circling the city center. When I finally saw the marker, I sprinted towards the place. It helped that I was wearing comfy Chucks. I am back at the quaint Casa Vallejo: this time, to visit the Baguio Cinematheque.


I asked the first guy I saw at the entrance if there’s a screening. He smiled and eagerly said yes. Show starts at 3:30 in the afternoon. I glanced at my wrist watch—five more minutes before the show. I thanked him and as soon as I entered the place, I saw uniformed men and women inside. It was later that I realized it was a NAPOLCOM event in celebration of the National Crime Prevention Week. The lights went out immediately to give way to the screening of a documentary titled “Walking the Waking Journey.” So yeah, I was technically gate-crashing and I pretended I did not mind.

After the show, I was even given snacks. Wow. The director of the documentary entertained questions from the small audience. I felt I had to ask a question—well for one, because I really wanted to understand the show more, but second because I felt I owe it to the organizers to at least be a participative gate crasher. There.

They introduced another documentary which sounds good based on the intro given by the director and producer of the film. But I decided it’s time to get back to the dorm and catch some rest. The gate crashing thing has its limits.

***

You might be wondering what the documentary was all about and what I thought about it, so here it is.

Walking the Waking Journey is a documentary about a Tibetan monk’s journey across the bloody borders of Tibet, Nepal and India to accompany a group of displaced Tibetan kids to their homeland. Lama Tenzin, the monk, fetches young people from the mountainous province of Dolpo in Tibet, brings them to his alternative school in India, equips them with the necessary education, and after eight years, brings them back to their homeland to reconnect with their roots.

It sounds simple, but the real challenge lies on the fact that Lama Tenzin and these kids, the youngest is eight and the eldest is thirteen, have to endure the dangers of travelling on foot—the harsh weather, the rationed supply of food and water, the steep mountain trek and the fact that these kids are undocumented, meaning they do not have passports. It took them thirty days to get to their village from Nepal’s capital city, Kathmandu. A week of riding buses and 4X4s in the muddy roads of the country’s outskirts, while the rest of the journey was on foot in the steep mountains overlooking the Everest.

It was a grueling journey—a kid suffered from hypothermia, while the rest were finding it hard to breathe because the air is thinning as the altitude increases. But their prayers worked and they reached their village safe and sound. Part of the Tibetan tradition of welcoming their guests is by touching each other’s foreheads and then they were served a cup of butter tea. It was a heartwarming reunion. Some of the older kids were crying because they saw their families again after a long time. The younger ones took time to find their families—most of them were taken when they were still babies so they do not have an image of who to look for. After a short stay, the kids will have to go back to India and study again. All for the promised development in their poor region. Their parents accompany them as far as the Tibet-India border. They finally get their passports.

The documentary was filmed in 2001 and the director shared during the open forum that the kids are about to enter college this year. They are all told to go back and make a difference in their homeland. They may or may not come back. It really depends on these kids. Of course, they hope that the kids will come back and pay things forward. I hope too.

I asked the director how did Lama Tenzin’s organization managed to transport the kids from Tibet to India given that they are technically undocumented. He said that it was a total risk for Lama Tenzin—he opted to smuggle the kids and travel under the radar of the government. If they happen to get caught, the only thing he finds as a saving grace would be the written consent coming from the kids’ parents and the good will of their group. It was really difficult, especially for the children—they were not recognized as Tibetans, or Nepalis or Indians. Their own governments, because they are in porous borders, disown them. So when Lama Tenzin found the opportunity, he really made it a point to get the kids their passports—they’re now recognized as citizens of Nepal.

Reflecting on it, I felt that the situation in the Philippines is more of a silver lining than it is a lost cause. A lot of children especially those in far flung areas are deprived of formal education. But given the stories that we hear from a lot of people in various media, and the fact that their distance can be bridged when we craft a way, we find that there is hope. These children will be rescued from the vicious cycle of poverty and crime-doing because there are a lot of unnamed Lama Tenzins willing to help them in the process.

It will always be a challenging journey but I believe it can be done and conquered.



Walking the Waking Journey is directed by Ferdinand Balanag, a Filipino. It was turned into a documentary to share Lama Tenzin’s goal of educating displaced children and inspire more people to help his cause.

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