April 29, 2012

The Avengers: Testosteroney To the Max!


It’s going to be very difficult to put in words but I shall try.

1. Awesome, spectacular, breathtaking --- even these words sound empty compared to the actual experience of watching the movie. My eyes and mouth were wide open throughout the film I felt like a child speechless with wonder.

You MUST experience it.



2. The writer-director, Joss Whedon, is a master orchestrator. He gave each hero a lot of big scenes (so you can imagine how many jaw-dropping scenes there are in the movie). And there are a lot of brilliant one-liners, too. I found myself laughing out loud or saying “Woooohooo!!!” in a lot of scenes.

3. The weapons! I never thought I’d be so thrilled at the sight of men brandishing a hammer, a shield, a bow and arrow, an armored suit. Why, I never thought I’d enjoy the sight of an ever-growling incredible hulk smashing stuff.


4. Kick-ass women. Even Scarlett Johansson was given some mean combat moments. It is so refreshing to see a movie where women are featured as one of the boys.

5. Testosterone-fest. Aside from the badass action scenes, the heroes themselves are a sight to behold. What an eye-candy parade! Madness on screen!

It is hands-down, the best superhero movie I’ve seen. And I’m watching it again.

Wooooohoooooooo!!!!!!!



April 23, 2012

Money Worship


We have been friends since college but we drifted ways when life took over. After our reunion last year, we reconnected via Facebook and last Friday we went out again.

A photo from our past, when we were untainted still by money and power.
The evening started out fine with a retelling of funny fragments of our youth. Then all of a sudden, the talk shifted to her new boyfriend (she is a widow with 5 children) and how they met. She has been in a relationship with the guy, a divorced 60-year old businessman for all of 4 weeks.

That night's dinner was a far cry from our college
fare of beer and peanuts.
It wouldn’t have been an issue except that the focus of her talk was her boyfriend’s Porsche, BMW, Mercedes Benz, and how she is now involved in his decision to buy either a Ferrari or Lamborghini (to which she said, “It should be Lamborghini, of course.”). Or how he plans to have all her kids secure passports so that they can all have a short vacation abroad. It went on and on for what seemed to me like a painful eternity.

I shifted uncomfortably in my seat then motioned to my husband it was time to go. I was so sad that our rare night out ended with me feeling so disillusioned about my friend’s intense money-talk.

Truth is, I am not against money and fancy things. In fact, I particularly admire people who have acquired possessions out of talent, hard work and ambition-- a feat especially difficult in the Third World. But I draw the line when I see that money and materialism consume a person so much and allow it to overshadow their other values in life.

My friend is a beautiful, hardworking, intelligent woman. One day, I want to be able to get to know the new boyfriend without feeling biased about his riches, because it is certainly not his fault if he is rich. I hope he is as intelligent, as kind, as loving as my friend. And richer, too, in life experiences to steer my friend to a life filled with meaning and purpose.

And when that’s settled, I shall allow myself to ride in his new Lamborghini.

April 12, 2012

The Hunger Games


I take back what I said about Jennifer Lawrence. I said in a previous post that I was disappointed when I saw the trailer of the movie because the girl playing Katniss (I didn’t know her then) looked frail and had a blank look in her eyes as opposed to the intense and kick-ass character in the book.

Well, I was mistaken. Jennifer Lawrence was as fierce as Katniss in the book is. 


Josh Hutcherson. I actually didn’t like him too much as Peeta. The Peeta on my mind was taller, of stockier built, and more rugged. 


Liam Hemsworth as Gale. Gwapo!! Just like his brother, Chris Hemworth, who played Thor. Great gene-pool, these Hemsworths must have.


The director deviated a bit from the book in favor of a more convenient storytelling style but it is forgivable. I actually like the inclusions of the scenes from gamemakers’ laboratory and the live reporting of the Hunger Games host which weren’t in the book.


I have finished the 3 books last week. I enjoyed Books 2 and 3 but Book 2, Catching Fire, is the best of the three. Fiery reads!

PS. NO, it is not in any way close to Twilight.


April 7, 2012

Interactive Stations of the Cross


The Stations of the Cross of my childhood entailed a litany of prayers facing framed pictures or sculptural pieces around the Church. Today, my kids experienced the Stations of the Cross through installation art and interactive exhibit in Bonifacio High Street.

Each station has a board explaining the event leading to the crucifixion and the corresponding act to be performed by those who wish to participate in the exhibit. We went early morning to avoid the crowd and the heat, and also to allow us enough time to absorb, reflect and share these Lenten messages with our girls.

STATION 1: JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE



The hall of mirrors makes you look at your own reflection and remind yourself of the sacrifice of Christ.

STATION 2:  JESUS IS BETRAYED BY JUDAS


The scales represent what usually consumes men now: money, relationships, career. It says it could’ve been today’s version of the 30 pieces of silver that Judas traded Christ for.

STATION 3: JESUS BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN


Interesting facts here.


People were asked to pick up a stone and remember somebody they have formed negative opinions on. Immediately, I remember the verse “He who is without sin cast the first stone.”

STATION 4: JESUS IS JUDGED BY PILATE


We were encouraged to not wash our hands off the widespread poverty here. A donation of a measly P5.00 (US$ 0.12) was asked for the care and education of an impoverished child.

STATION 5: JESUS IS SCOURGED


We know this but it is still hard to imagine what Christ had gone through. When you read accounts such as this, you wince at the pain it inflicted.


STATION 6: JESUS IS CROWNED WITH THORNS

We deposited here the “stones of judgement” that we got from Station 3. We were also made to pick up a piece of black cloth.

STATION 7: JESUS CARRIES HIS CROSS


There were three crosses that anyone can carry, just to have a feel of the weight that Jesus carried in his half-kilometer walk.

STATION 8: THE TWO SIMONS

My favorite part of this exhibit.


STATION 9: JESUS IS CRUCIFIED


The black cloth that we picked up in Station 6 supposedly represents our sins, our failures and brokenness and the power that they have in our lives.

These pieces of cloth get nailed on the cross.


STATION 10: JESUS ENTRUSTS MARY TO JOHN

This is the station where you give a prayer of healing, restoration, and gratitude for your family, especially your mother.


STATION 11: JESUS PROMISES PARADISE TO THE REPENTANT THIEF

Those who want to continue nurturing their spiritual life can consult further with the organizers.  

STATION 12: JESUS DIES

You get out of the dark tent and pin your prayer on this wall.


My daughter wrote “Thank you Jesus for giving me my parents.”

Advance Happy Easter!


April 4, 2012

Escaping Facebook and Our Culture of "Likes"


The FB cover photo has to be "nice".

I like Facebook and more so, Twitter. However, I have so far avoided checking the Newsfeed and the Twitter page for a good 3 months now. I only go there when I want to post something (which is very, very rare), when I get a notification that I got tagged or when there’s a private message that got in.

Otherwise, I use it as needed, like when I want to check on my family abroad.

Meanwhile, most of the Pinoy FB’ers are on it all their waking hours. It is the first thing they check when they wake up in the morning and the last thing they check before dozing off. I know a lot of people who refresh FB and Twitter every few minutes to get real-time updates.

And what are the updates about? The food they ate, where they just checked in, their likes, their rants, their recent photos, and all their thought balloons converted immediately into status messages.

Sometimes, the refresh button is clicked and the screens on their iPhones constantly dragged down to see the number of likes they get or to check if there are new comments made on their photo and status.

I know that a lot of thought also comes when people post a picture or when they write their status. It has to be clever enough to generate so many likes.



I would also get my fair share of comments and likes and I was told that the convention here is to “like” also every single comment they make on your wall to signify that you’ve read it and appreciated the comment.

Well, I don’t like these rules. I don’t like playing for the FB audience. I don’t have to be likeable. And while I am a generous “liker”, I don’t want it to be forced on me because of some online norms.

For a brief time, I was that person who was snooping on FB and Twitter for all the breaks and pauses of my everyday life. Now I’m free and enjoying all the extra time without having to like anything or anyone. 

My life is so quiet now. And I really, really like it.


April 2, 2012

My Straight-shooting Kid



Last week, I wrote a post about how my daughter Unna innocently called me “fat”. She is only 9 years old so maybe she’s not being impolite. She’s just being honest, to the detriment of her hapless victim—me.

Scene 1

I was sweeping the floor and moved the daybed (which wasn’t really heavy except that Unna was lying down on it while watching TV). Amazed, Unna said:

“Wow Mom, for somebody old, you sure are pretty strong.”
(I know I am old but nobody has every dared yet to call me old to my face. Until now.)

Scene 2

I was watching something on my laptop and had earphones on because the rest of the family was watching TV. Then I overheard a conversation between Unna and my husband. I couldn’t recall what it was about but I had to interrupt their conversation with my own opinion about the matter.

Unna turned to me with a look of wonder in her eyes. “Wow Mom, for somebody with an infected ear, you can hear pretty well.” (For the record, I do not have an infected ear!!!!)

And then there's this- - she always calls me Tubby Mommy with a naughty grin on her face while pinching my paunch.


I think it’s time we have a serious talk.