Monday, September 24, 2012

New Baby

As a child, I was overtly fond of animals. We never lacked for pets at home, and I was left a very happy camper. They were well-housed, well-taken care of, well-fed, and well-loved. As I grew older, I carried this trait with me.

I love all of my siblings' dogs very much, and I would pretty much do anything for them, but I admit that there is a very special place in my heart (and life) for Nana, my Lhasa Apso whom I shared ownership with my beautiful niece with. He was the first I thought was truly mine -- the dog I would grow old with.

Last year, after 7 years worth of love, laughter, and memories, Nana met his maker. You can imagine my devastation. He was old, to be sure, but his life could have been longer. It kills me that I wasn't able to give him that.

True to his ever sweet nature, a couple of days before his passing, Nana found his way to my bed. We cuddled, I talked, and we spent a very good night together. 2 days after, as I went off to celebrate my friend's birthday, I received a call that Nana went to Rainbow Bridge.

I was paralyzed with shock, it felt like I floated, but my heart found its way to my eyes and for the first time in a really long time, I cried myself to sleep. Those tears stayed with me for quite a while and to this day, a year later, I still have tears for my little one. Even now, as I write this blog post, I find my nose runny and my eyes sore. Nana is and was my best friend.

2 days ago, I gave myself another chance at taking responsibility for another's life. Yes, Nana's demise was traumatizing, but that's no reason not to give "motherhood" another shot. Enter Mochi (photographed above). As I awaited his arrival, I was a slave to mixed emotions -- excitement, of course, but more importantly, anxiety. I don't want Nana, in Rainbow Bridge he might be, to feel like I simply replaced him like I would an old shoe. That is not the case.

As my siblings have put it, I have to honor Nana by putting in more effort with Mochi. Doing so does not lessen my love for Nana in any way. This does not also mean that I love Mochi any less, of course not. It simply means I love Nana in a different way -- it is a younger, more passionate, more naive kind of love. The love wherein I thought he would stay with me forever, no matter what my failings were. With Mochi, I know now that love requires more than the affection. It means the poopies, the peepees, the hard bills, the whatnot. I hope I give Nana a smile knowing that in almost all that I do, he is still in my mind.

So Mochi, my little angel, I hope you know that even with all the anxiety, it is all on me. It does not make me love you any less, as I so obviously can't be ripped away from you. Tomorrow night, before you sleep, I will tell you a story about your big brother. I love the both of you so very much.

*All photographs from Shutterhound's tumblr.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

I can't even begin to tell you just how disappointed I am with this film. As a self-proclaimed Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, and Alison Brie fanatic, this film, along with the poster, has made me feel misled and lied to. Midway through the movie, the only reason I didn't leave was because I had nothing better to do. The plot and poster has made me feel cheated. Not something I plan on ever re-watching. The Five-Year Engagement is a Five-Year wait to nothing.

The director and writer/star of Forgetting Sarah Marshall reteam for the irreverent comedy The Five-Year Engagement. Beginning where most romantic comedies end, the new film from director Nicholas Stoller, producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) and Rodney Rothman (Get Him to the Greek) looks at what happens when an engaged couple, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt, keeps getting tripped up on the long walk down the aisle.

What To Expect When You're Expecting

Despite its line-up of promising actors, WTEWYE just falls short -- on humor, pain, sympathy, and love. While touching base with all of those emotions, it barely scratches the surface of each one. Disjointed plotlines, irrelevant characters, and meaningless stories all add up to one could've-been film that doesn't even cross the "ok" line.

Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don't stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy's husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who's expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn't so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a "dudes" support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco's surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date?


I probably enjoyed Bachelorette much more than I should, and much more than I could, because of my undeniable love for about 80% of the cast. Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, Isla Fischer, James Marsden, and Adam Scott totally made this better than it actually is. However, when the film relies solely on its actors, you know there's something wrong with the writing. Still, I must admit it was quite fun hearing Kiki Dunst get referred to as Hannibal Lecter and seeing James Marsden play the douche guy for once.

On the night before an old friend's wedding, three frisky bridesmaids go searching for a little fun but find much more than they bargained for. With lovely Becky (Rebel Wilson) set to marry her handsome sweetheart, Dale (Hayes MacArthur), the remaining members of her high school clique reunite for one last bachelorette bacchanal in the Big Apple. Regan (Kirsten Dunst) is an overachieving, ueber-Maid of Honor who's secretly smarting over the fact that she's not the first to marry, while Gena (Lizzy Caplan) is a whip-smart sarcastic who's actually a closet romantic, and Katie (Isla Fisher) is a ditzy beauty who loves the good life. But when Becky insists on keeping the bachelorette party tame, the women proceed with an after-hours celebration of their own.


Once is that special movie that hits you right in the jugular after a series of "meh", "blah", and "so-so" films. It pulls you in, encapsulates you, and just when you think you can't take any more, leaves you panting. The rawness, truth, and openness of the film, as well as the characters, adds to the charm of a quiet but powerful movie that evokes such strong feelings in its viewers. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova are perfectly cast as the two protagonists, leading us down one of the richest stories I've ever come to witness. And the soundtrack is killer. The music, as is the movie, is heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time.

"In an era when Hollywood has largely lost the ability to distinguish between romance and sex, Once is the rare film that recognizes that love is no less love for being held in check, it is merely a different kind of love." - Christopher Orr

A Dublin-based busker and vacuum-cleaner repairman enters into a fruitful relationship with a piano playing florist in a toe-tapping "video album" directed by John Carney and featuring a cast comprised entirely of professional musicians. He (Glen Hansard of the Frames) was a six-stringed street musician. She (Markéta Irglová) was a flower woman who couldn't afford to purchase a piano of her own. One day, after admiring the musician's songs and asking if he would take a look at her broken vacuum, the flower-pushing piano player discovers that she shares a remarkable sonic rapport with the mechanically savvy guitarist. As their musical sensibilities quickly converge to striking effect, the talented pair soon determines to record an album together.

Beauty & the Briefcase

You can take the girl out of Disney, but you can't take the Disney out of the girl. I must confess, from time to time, I look for the most shallow, empty, and banal of movies if it includes someone I used to watch often in my youth. Hence, Hilary Duff in B&tB. The film wasn't super bad, but the constant drift of the protagonist's thoughts could, at times, get tedious and wearing. Make no mistake, this is the squeaky clean pre-teen version of a romantic-comedy. 2 things I loved were Matt Dallas and Michael McMillan.

Determined fashion journalist Lane Daniels (Hilary Duff) weighs love against ambition while researching the Cosmopolitan cover story that could make or break her career. An aspiring writer who has always dreamt of penning a cover story for Cosmo, Lane makes a pitch to editor Kate White (Jaime Pressly) for an article entitled "Switching Careers to Find Love." Incredibly, Kate gives Lane the green light, instructing her to first seek out a corporate job, and commence dating as many of her co-workers as possible. In no time, Lane is punching the clock, and juggling boyfriends. But while Tom (Michael McMillan) and Seth (Matt Dallas) are both plenty of fun, charming music producer Liam (Chris Carmack) is the guy who really drives Lane wild. Trouble is, Liam doesn't work in Lane's office, so he's strictly off-limits. Now, with her biggest career goal finally within grasp, Lane must choose to follow her heart, or give in to ambition.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Keep In Mind

A few words to keep in mind from my beautiful, wonderful, and intelligent friend.

By Ton Rivera
Sept. 06, 2012

In the face of this new adversity I am facing, everything else seems trivial. I feel like I've suddenly aged ten years. So, self, please remember:

Don't dwell too long on the people you want in your life who may not feel the same way. There may be other people who need you in theirs and you need to focus on them. Don't be bitter or hold grudges. Eventually, you have to stop feeling guilty, second-guessing yourself on whether you inadvertently offended people that caused them to turn away. Apologize sincerely then let it simmer. You have no control over their reactions or feelings. They may be onto "more important" things at the moment. Attend to those who care, and are always there to help or listen to you. Thank your lucky stars, thank God, for these people. Most importantly, try to always be kind. Bite your tongue whenever you feel unpleasant words forming themselves in your mouth. Stop yourself from talking whenever you are angry. Stop talking back. it's always more difficult to not fight back, it builds character. Cry when you have to. Be kind to yourself as well. Everyone makes mistakes, and be humble enough to acknowledge yours. Try to learn from them. Try to get better. Work, engage and invest your efforts well. Remember your motivations, remember the reasons you wanted this: family, helping others, God. Pray a lot. Remember that your salvation isn't entirely up to you. Remember your weaknesses, but also remember your strengths. Remember the past: remember how you got through the most difficult of situations, with hardly enough money, or with an incomplete family. Remember your victories, because they are a testament to your will. Remember that in the face of the storm that is your life right now, your only advantage is you have the ability to maintain that certain calmness. Think things through, and you will find a way. You are not stupid, at the very least. Remember that things do get better. Remember that this is just one more phase to go through. You will survive. Your heart may be tired but it is not weak. It may be weary but it will carry you through. You will get through.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Filipino's Shame

Apart from his blatant plagiarism, Tito Sotto's callous defense toward the allegations have raised the ire of many Filipinos. Indeed, as a citizen of this country and a member of this society, I find myself angry, and above all ashamed, that a man such as he -- so full of hubris and blinded by his lofty position -- has been elected by my fellow man, and by democratic association, myself, in the office he currently holds. Apart from his stance on the RH Bill, which offends me as a woman, he currently maligns my belief as a writer.

In my young years, I don't think I've ever felt as betrayed as I do on this day. The RH Bill debate will soon go, whether it is passed or not, but the remarks and accusations left by Tito Sotto will remain a vibrant cord in our generations thinking and belief. He slanders social media, as if what we do in the cyberworld is so insignificant and irrelevant, because he fails to see that this is currently the most powerful tool of our century. A minute and a button is all it takes to spread the news these days. We stay connected with each other, albeit not in our physical form, but through the tips of our fingers. The word of the people is a powerful thing, Senator. Do not insult the intelligence of your voting nation.

I may not be an elected official, as you so unkindly put it to Leloy Claudio and Miguel Syjuico, but I do believe that my word counts.

I will not insult your previous profession, or what choices you have made in your personal life. I believe that there is a time and place for that. For now, I will insult your ignorance and lack of decorum. Senator, nakakahiya ka.

There has never been, and will never be, a time when I am ashamed to be a Filipino. However, right now, I am ashamed to share my race and my nationality with Tito Sotto.


The Down & Dirty Dash

Ladies, shall we?