Saturday, August 31, 2013

Movie Review | Philadelphia




I was 7 years old when this movie came out. Back in 1993, AIDS was still unknown and people were clueless about what this dreaded this all about. They only had fear about the sickness. And people who contracted the disease became unwilling victims of social discrimination. 

Twenty years later, I was able able to see the movie and saw how much have changed. Now we know that AIDS does not instantly kill a person after its contraction. It takes time depending on the immune system. And that drugs have been developed to slow down the effect of AIDS. Sadly, we still don't have cure for AIDS and no matter how much therapy you get, one thing is still certain and that is death. But death is not the worst part of the sickness, it's actually the discrimination and suffering one has to endure throughout his remaining days.


We have a reason to fear this disease. But we also have ways to avoid it. The difficult part in this equation is that human nature is so weak from temptations that AIDS have grown rapidly. Maybe in the future things will be a lot more different. Cure will be found hopefully in the future.


This movie makes viewers re-think about AIDS. It reminds everyone that if we don't protect ourselves, then we could end up with AIDS.




Friday, August 30, 2013

Just in- Revenge Wears Prada / French Short Stories


Revenge Wears Prada

Got a copy of the sequel to "The Devil Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger) and I'm just so excited to finish this book today.

I have no idea what to expect from this book yet but as one review puts it: 
"Although the book is a little slow starting, it’s good reading. You may find yourself thinking you’re not sure how a large portion could be made into a movie. (Because we definitely want to see Streep at it again.) Just keep reading. The story gets better and better, and if you’re an intuitive reader, you’ll see one of Weisberger’s surprises coming. Another might blindside you in such a way that you might find yourself gasping (Sharp, M. Book review (fiction): Revenge Wears Prada)"



French Short Stories

This hardbound book edition features 15 short stories in 367 pages (much like the Reader's Digest Compilations). I think I won't have enough time to finish this one today but I am keeping my fingers crossed. 






Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Journal 5 : Le Telephone

le 27 aout 2013

Aujhourd'hui tout le monde est alles a KFC pour le dejeuner. J'etais seul dans le bureau. Ensuite, le telephone a sonne. J'ai decroche le telephone et parle avec la personne. En angalis, j'ai dit, "Allo..." mais la personne a repondu en francais. Donc, j'ai repondu, "Bonjour, comment tu t'appeles?" En fait, je n'ai pas compris le nom de la personne mais j'ai realise que c'est impoli d'utiliser "tu" avec  un etranger particulierement quand c'est ton client au telephone.

________________
Vocabulaire:

dejeuner
je n'ai pas compris
repondu
d'utiliser

Journal 4 : La Semaine Derniere

le 25 aout 2013

La semaine derniere, je ne suis pas alle n'importe ou. Je suis reste a la maison. J'ai beacoup dormi. J'ai fait la lessive. Et j'ai nettoye ma chambre.

Je ne pouvais pas etudier le francais parce que j'avais peu de temps.

En fait, j'ai un livre de grammaire fracaise. C'est un livre interessant, mais je n'arrivais pas a lire la semaine derniere. De toute facon, je vais etudier la grammaire cette semaine.

_______________
Vocabulaire:

j'ai fait la lesssive
semaine derniere
j'ai beacoup dormi

Journal 3 : Mon Travail

le 21 aout 2013

Je travaille dans une agence de voyage qui s'appelle "Elite Travel & Tourism." Je suis agent executif. Je travaille dans un bureau avec d'autres personnes.

I'l y a beaucoup des gens dans le bureau de pay differents. Un vient d'Allemagne, un vient de Hollande, un vient de Bulgarie, un vient de France, un vient du Pakistan, un vient de Turquie, un vient de Tunisie et un vient des Philippines.

La majorite de nos clients sont europeens- l'allemands et l'anglais. I'y a un quelques touristes americains aussi.

J'espere que j'apprendre le francais rapidement donc je travaille avec nos touristes francaises. J'ai hate de parler et d'envoyer des messages en francais.

_______________
Vocabulaire:

dans une agence
qui s'appelle
d'autres personnes
des gens
La majorite de
quelques touristes americains
rapidement
j'ai hate de...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Upcoming Entries : August 25 - 30

It's Omani week for my blog next week so expect to read some Omani related topics. A few things to write about in the coming weeks:
1) Oman and places I have visited and soon to visit
2) Fashion, style and shopping in Oman
3) Food and gastronomics in Oman
4) Party and nightlife in Oman
If you have any suggestion/recommendation to talk about, please feel free to comment.



Journal 2 : Comment Cuire Des Spaghettis

le 19 aout 2013

Ce soir, j'ai fait cuire des spaghettis. Il est facile. Il faut juste faire bouillir de l'eau et ajouter de l'huile et du sel pendant 5 minutes.

Dans une autre casserole, faire revenir des saucisses, du boeuf, des oignons, des poivrons et des champignons.

Apres 3 minutes, ajouter la sauce tomate, ketchup epice, de l'eau et un peu de poivre noir. Laisser mijoter pendant 5 minutes. Puis melangez des spaghettis et du sauce.

_______________
Vocabulaire:

Ce soir
J'ai fait cuire
De/Des, Du, L'
Faire + verbe e.g. bouillir, revenir
Ajouter
Huile, sel, saucisses, beouf, oignons, poivrons, champignons, poivre noir
Laisser mijotter
Melanger



Journal 1 : Pourquoi Je Veux Apprendre Le Francais Encore

le 18 aout 2013

Je veux apprendre le francais parce que je veux continuer mes etudes a l'universite.
J'ai etudie le francais pendant que deux ans mais je me suis arrete.

Maintenant je me rends compte que parler une autre langue est necessaire.
J'aime le francais parce que c'est romantique. J'aime les chancons et les films francais. La nourriture francaise est excellente aussi.

I'l y a beaucoup de raisons pour lesquelles je veux apprendre le francais.

_______________
Vocabulaire:

Apprendre
Continuer
Mes etudes
Pendant
Je me suis arrete
Je me rends compte que...
I'l y a
Beaucoup de raisons
Pour lesquelles


Debunking Beauty Myths from Idol Kim's Stand Up Comedy

I know this is kind of lame to discuss something that comes out of a comedy spectacle. But you know, there are some truths that we'll find useful in some comedian's insights. Though they may be quite exaggerated, there is still that universal truth ingrained within every exaggeration.

From a youtube video entitled, The New Queens of Stand Up Comedy, Kim Idol acting as Ms. Peggy Co shares some tips on how to be beautiful and at the same time discusses the benefits of being beautiful. I find these statements rather intriguing. But at this time and age, where people have associated beauty with some other things like career advantage and relationships, it is high time to scrutinize where people stand on the issue of beauty. Has our effort to promote equality become in vain since beautiful people are usually given advantage? Have people become more concerned about physical beauty and limited their choices of partners based on appearance? These are some questions that we need to look at.





  • Tiredness is next to lolaness.
  • If beauty fades, ergo, ugliness lasts forever
  • Kung ang kagandahan ay palamlam ng palam lam, ang kapangitan patapang ng patapang.
  • In time nababawasan ang kagandahan. At least na-experience na maging maganda.
  • Beauty is skin deep. Of course.
  • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder - is a big joke.
  • Beauty is relative. Kung maganda mga kamag-anak, maganda ka rin. Kung panget, tinginan na lang kayo. I sikreto nyo na lang
  • Beauty is a commodity. Address it and meet it head on.
  • If your problem is your face, then attack your face.
  • Beautiful people will always have the best opportunities
In fastfood: beautiful = counter - promoted - manager
In fastfood: ugly = kitchen - promoted - mascot 
In airline: beautiful = flight attendant
In airline: ugly = ground staff, taga-senyas sa eroplano 
In mall: beautiful = Trinoma cosmetics section
In mall: ugly = stock room ng sapatos 
In news: beautiful = news anchor
In news: ugly = field reporter 
Artista: beautiful = star - lead roles - noon time show
Artista: ugly = extra - noon time show pero pang balance programming lang 
Grades: beautiful = asikaso ng guro - favorite - pag absent hinahanap
Grades: ugly = wala pa mali, mali na agad - naka-upo sa tapat ng basurahan - primary suspect pag may umutot kahit absent 
Service: beautiful = guard greets
Service: ugly = tiis lang mahaba ang pila - kapkap - tanggal damit - pa-amoy aso 
Seats in MRT: beautiful = may mag papaupo
Seats in MRT: ugly = makakarinig ng "mag ingat sa mandurukot" - baka nagkataon lang - "bumaba na po ang mandurukot"
But admit it or not, beautiful people indeed receive society's favor. Researchers have found that good looking students get higher grades from their teachers than students with an ordinary appearance.Studies among teens and young adults, such as those of psychiatrist and self-help author, Eva Ritvo, show that skin conditions have a profound effect on social behavior and opportunity ("beauty." wikipedia).

How much money a person earns may also be influenced by physical beauty. One study found that people low in physical attractiveness earn 5 to 10 percent less than ordinary looking people, who in turn earn 3 to 8 percent less than those who are considered good looking. Discrimination against others based on their appearance is known as lookism. ("beauty." wikipedia).

References: 

Photo insert from Sandro Botticelli - La Nascite di Venere. Sandro Botticelli - La Nascite di Venere. 

The New Queens of Stand Up Comedy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gnf0_KBL5jk

"Beauty." Sharon Begley (14 July 2009). "The Link Between Beauty and Grades". Newsweek.Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-31.

"Beauty." Lorenz, K. (2005). "Do pretty people earn more?" CNN News, Time Warner.

"Beauty." Gough, L. (2011). C. Northcote Parkinson's Parkinson's law. Oxford, U.K: Infinite Ideas Ltd. p. 36. ISBN 1283147378



James Wan's "Insidious" and "The Conjuring"




A couple of weeks ago, I was able to watch two scary movies. I'm not a fan of scary movies to be honest. I just feel like this genre is just a waste of time. Plus, I have a vivid imagination which does not help when you go to bed at night and the lights are all off.

But still I watched the movie. 


The Conjuring


What I like about this movie is that the attack is not so much on gore and blood. The narrative was more cerebral and the director made sure that the audience would think that anything that happens in the movie can easily happen to you in your house, bedrooom or just anywhere. And this made the movie scarier. 


Silence was also emphasized in this film. And during those scenes where everything was so quiet like the one when the mother had to go down the cellar and lit a match stick or when the kid woke up and stared at something. It was a silent experience for the viewers and everybody was expecting that the ghost will appear. But the director knew how to play up with the audience. He knew the audience will expect that. So instead of a cut-frame shift to scary ghost, he used an out of the blue "clapping hands" or pan up "scary ghost atop a closet". Nobody expected that, and that made the story surprisingly effective.





Insidious

Between The Conjuring and Insidious, I would have to give it to Insidious. The attack on this film is nothing new compared to other scary movies I've seen. But again, the treatment of ghosts in this movie is highly unobtrusive. Meaning, it is not a forced attempt to scare the wits out of the audience. 


One of the scariest parts I love/hate in this movie were that of (1) the silhouette of the man in the curtains, (2) the devil's face beside the father's face at the kitchen, and (3) the sudden appearance of the demon when the astral body of the boy was about to return to his body. These surprising elements were very effective because they come at your most unexpected/unguarded viewing moments. Plus the fact again that it is highly likely to happen to you while you are asleep.




James Wan : the Director



I saw James' interviews in some youtube videos and I was actually surprised that he's got some Asian blood. Well he is truly Asian after all. But what impressed me most is that he's not only directed Insidious and The Conjuring but also some notable horror flicks.

He is a Malaysian-born Australian film producer, screenwriter and film director of Malaysian Chinese descent. He is widely known for directing the horror film Saw and creating Billy the puppet. Wan has also directed Dead Silence, Death Sentence, Insidious, and The Conjuring (Wikipedia).


My guess is that he has fused Eastern and Western horror elements into his films. You know the typical Asian ghosts are by themselves scary. I don't know about Western ghosts but most of the time, they are just lost spirits seeking revenge or something to that line. But Asian ghosts are really scary in that they can take your life away in a subtle and scary way. And this becomes an effective recipe in scaring people. I always associate scary movies with spicy food. It burns your tongue but you still want more. 




References:


James Wan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Wan


James Wan Photo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:James_Wan_by_Gage_Skidmore.jpg


Insidious Movie Trailer Official. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1YbOMDI59k&hd=1


The Conjuring - Official Main Trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k10ETZ41q5o&hd=1


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Blog Entries for August 2013

Some of the entries I am to write soon include:

1. Review : James Wan's "Insidious" and "The Conjuring", Comparison of Horror Treatment (done)

2. Commentary : Debunking Beauty Myths from Idol Kim's Stand Up Comedy (done)

3. Think Piece : Mastering Language, French In Focus (done, but had to replace entry with french journals instead)





Thursday, August 8, 2013

Jokes are Culture Sensitive

Jokes are culture sensitive.

I was telling my colleagues some homegrown Filipino jokes translated to English and the effect... well not so much funny as expected but still works. And then it hit me- you can't expect people to just get jokes, and you don't really get to explain a joke otherwise that defeats the whole point. I just felt like a sore loser when I had to explain this and that about a joke that I cracked.

But some jokes are universal especially those with racial and religious shades. They can easily relate to it. And the punch lines are also important when delivering the joke. These things have to be considered if you want to be an effective joker.

But my colleague was right. There are just some people who are naturally funny and good at telling jokes. When you're not born with it, it becomes a forced effort. 



Wanda Sykes on First Black President

I find Wanda Sykes really funny. It's the way she delivers her lines that really tickles me. I mean, I can't copy how she does what she does. And best part of it is she is so natural at it. The mere image of Wanda is enough to make you smile/laugh. 

In this HBO featured stand up comedy, Wanda touches on how proud she is having Barack Obama as the first ever black president. And much of the punch lines centered on the disparity between white and black Americans, homosexuality, reforms, and other social issues. She is just so hilarious I was hugging the floor trying to contain myself.

I especially liked the punch lines on being a black gay woman, saying it's easier to be black than to be gay. She never had to come and tell everybody that she's black like "mom, dad... I'm black. hope you still love me..." That was just so funny. Anyway, below is the video culled from YouTube.






MOVIE | Pacific Rim : Modern Propaganda




Video from YouTube. No copyright infringement intended.

After watching Pacific Rim tonight, I told a colleague that the ending would have been better if the female protagonist had died in the end. And that it would actually be better if both protagonists died. It would have been more tragic, and thus memorable. Much like the celebrated plot of Romeo and Juliet. I was telling her that it is in human nature to seek for the ultimate expression of love- death!


PHOTOGRAPHY | First Newspaper Publication, Picture of the Day


And I am really making this a big deal. Because it is, for me.

Yesterday while I was reading the newspaper on the way to the office, I saw my photo published in it. The newspaper's name is Muscat Daily. I have been sending photos to them for two weeks and I didn't expect to see my photo. I was surely half expecting but it's so surreal that they'll actually publish it. 



The Golden Tulip Nizwa, is a hotel found in Nizwa. Architecture and interior are predominantly Omani.

Monday, August 5, 2013

No Spending This Holidays

5-day holiday in Oman. So it's going to be one long holiday after all. I'm really concerned about the number of emails that will pile up throughout the holiday. And this is exactly the reason why I am not looking forward to spending holidays. Also, the long absence sort of cuts me from my momentum. It's hard to gain speed when you wake up from a slumber. But I guess I'll just have to keep myself busy and do something productive. I just have to decide what productive is.

I'm thinking of going to Dubai for the holidays but that would mean spending so much, when spending should be the last in my priorities right now. Or I could just buy myself a new gadget, like tablet. But again, that would involve spending. I'm beginning to feel stingy. Anyhow, prudence is a virtue.

So- no spending. Just do something productive. And that's final.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

French Classes 2.0

Today marks the beginning of my French adventure. I am giving myself a second chance of learning French all over again. And this time I really want to make it right. I was not the best student back in the heydays, but I swear- I am going to exert effort to learn the language.

Our chauffeur was telling me about how in this time and age, knowing another language is vital for success. I agree with him.

I remember those French class days in UP Diliman. Everyday was a drag for me. I lost all desire to excel in my class just because I had no reason whatsoever to learn the language. On top of that, I had my family at the back of my mind. That when I had to buy some French textbooks to keep up with the class's progress, I decided to save the money so as not to add to financial burden.

But things are so much better now. I am equipped with all the tools that I need- the books, Internet, French speaking colleagues, and time. Now I don't have to juggle with other subjects. I only have French to deal with. 

I have no reason to fail this time.
And I will not fail.
I will speak French.



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