Monthly Archives: June 2010

You’re Not an Actor and Life’s Not Hollywood

Seen any film crew and cameras around lately? Bet you haven’t. ‘Cause you’re not an actor and life is not a Hollywood flick.

Oftentimes, I feel like we’ve seen too many opening credits, heard too many dramatic dialogues and sat through too many action sequences that we have unconsciously imbibed this notion that our lives are screened in a packed theater. You have people who sound like they are overcoming their weaknesses everyday in an epic struggle to win against their evil shadows from the depths of their hearts and consciousness. There are girls who make a career out of sounding like a damsel in distress, waiting for Richard Gere to climb the ladder like a knight; and cynics who virtually walk around with banners draped around their necks saying, “Cynic who Hates the World but Who Knows the Truth; Prince Charming in Disguise.”

This unconscious belief that we’re all actors in the big screen wouldn’t be so annoying if people didn’t always whine for a happy ending. Problem is, everyone wants to be a wounded hero or a locked up princess in their own farcical way. Everyone is unconsciously assuming a stereotypical personality, spewing the same old cliche to look good and attain an instant identity.

The following observations from a stereotypical writer might help us actors wake up from our tinsel-tainted dreams:

– Being mean isn’t always cool and sassy. It’s usually rude and makes people want to punch your face.

– It’s not pleasant to hear the ear-splitting groans of a tortured grown man in love. Always check yourself for unconscious Facebook spamming.

– 95% of people have already realized your realizations and their lives didn’t change one bit.

– Love is definitely a massive issue, but it’s not everything. For instance, the impending violent explosion of Taal Volcano and the fare hike have nothing to do with your tearful and bloody attempts at chasing the woman of your dreams. So please, stop talking like Joe D’ Mango.

– People usually understand you despite your repeated whining that “They don’t understand me.” It’s not like we can’t read and decipher words strung to each other in the English or Filipino language.

– The world is not divided into good and evil. And if you think you’re playing for the good side, Jesus may have a different opinion. Give all your possessions to people in need, then we’ll talk.

– The world is not divided into good and evil. And if you think you’re playing for the evil side, you’re nowhere near as evil as the guy who tried to blow up Times Square and kill or injure as many innocent people as he can. I’ll bet all my money you’re just an attention-deprived bloke who frequently listens to death metal and smokes like a garbage incineration plant. You’re not as black as the sheep you think you are.

– Listening to rock doesn’t make you different. Be a fan of April Boy Regino then we’ll talk. Continue reading

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An Atheist Wants the World (or The Things I Write About When I Get Frustrated)

“This is a long serious lecture. Get out if you can’t handle the Force.”

Look, let’s say that there is indeed such a thing as heaven. Let’s say that this real heaven is exactly like the heaven every righteous, pious adult has been telling us all along — that once you’re dead and you enter its golden gates, everything will be all right because you’ll be in god’s presence. You will feel complete because the only thing that’s left to do there is to glorify god’s name for all eternity and to love him in all his goodness. You will stop desiring anything besides god…

Isn’t that the unfairest thing you’ve ever heard? Doesn’t that basically say that all your mundane hopes and desires when you were living will be thrown out the window into the abyss of nothingness?

Your wish to own a sparkling black Mercedes someday and park it next to your grouchy officemate’s Toyota — gone. Your dream of a huge beige house good enough to eat in the most gorgeous of all Americanized neighborhoods — spoiled. Your hope of being someone better, cooler, smarter, sexier, wealthier and more important than you are now — crushed. Your itch to have a foxy girlfriend or boyfriend — frustrated. Everything your heart longed for, everything your mind instructed you to achieve, everything your libido deliriously desired — disintegrated into a gazillion pieces of nothing called heaven.

My friends, I call that god darn unfair.

Because I am a base man. I am shallow, hedonistic, vengeful and, well, honest. I want the world. I want its dirty, decaying treasures and its deceiving, fleeting pleasures. If I were a trillionaire right now, I’d buy myself an imposing gothic palace in Germany, (kind of like Bruce Wayne’s mansion) stuff it with all the disco lights and barrels of alcohol my money can buy, and call all my friends to party there wild, senseless and naked for a year. Then I’d buy myself a black stallion, ride to Sasha Grey’s house, and invite her out for dinner with my friends and my girlfriend just for fun (for once, I’d love to hear about someone else’s career woes). I’d buy all my enemies and people whose faces I don’t like for no particular reason limousines, just to sue them for robbery and fraud the next day and watch them laughing while their bewildered faces peep through jail bars. I’d build my mom a golden mansion and call up our richest relatives to showcase how unimaginably infinite my mom’s moolah has become. I’d buy a star and name it Ely Buendia  X Death Star 149 just because I can. I’ll donate so much money to the Large Hadron Collider project, scientists there will secretly turn it into a time machine and give me a free ride to the day when Michael Jackson debuted the moonwalk on Motown 25. Everyone will line up my door to ask me for something and I’d choose who I’d help and shoo away. I will be so evil and so likeable at the same time that people will forget Darth Vader and instead unconsciously think of me when they’re thinking of him. Like, “So then Luke refuses to join the dark side, and Marvin Sanchez says ‘I am your father’ and — oh sorry, I mean Vader.”

I told you. I am god darn base. Continue reading

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Broken

It’s probably broken. Beyond fixing. Go ahead and go to the top of that mountain. Go boy fishin’. I’m hungry and I’ve lost it, so don’t mind the words. Just the logical consequence of sarcastic saturation in my life. Everything is spinning around or has probably stopped moving. No difference. The conflict — it’s gotten to my digestive system, inducing me to have frequent, regular, increasingly fatal gagging movements. Oh, run now! Run with all the men, the unshaven good-looking men who took a bath last Friday before a particularly sticky drinking session with all the girls in the audience ’cause they are godly rockers sent by Hades. Let this tired guy with no balls rest his flat head on a sweat-soaked pillow. It has been broken for a long time. Leaking with the most viscuous juice of guilt and shame only the pig of love can secrete. It’s broken. Broken. Broken.

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“Dream A Little Dream of Me” by Artie Abrams

This song Artie sang on Glee just plucks my heart strings like no other song I’ve heard recently. Something in the dumb innocence, hopelessness and romanticism of this pre-World War II song makes me want to fall in love like Romeo or Spike Spiegel or Yoon Soo-hyuk (Nevermind who they are, just know that they are some of the craziest romantics I’ve ever seen). I am convinced that love, in its pure hallucinogenic potency, is contained in this very simple song. Call me the god of cheese but, man, if I hear this song playing in the background, I might kiss the first girl I meet. Slap in the face or not.

“Dream A Little Dream of Me”

LYRICS Continue reading

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Friday Night

Plump red lips soaked in beer
The cheapest around — the most potent kind
Thin fingers slip down the neck, mark the glass
Smoke clears it up between us this Friday night

Come tell your friends more about me
Toss my name around like a helpless lighter
Well, it’s Friday night; our humanity
Disappears behind the thirst for ice

Maybe I think of you or not
I’m not as drunk as you nor as sober
It’s just the way things are
Hard to drown
With jokes and songs and silent bouts of frown

Do people fall in love this evening?
Can people reach out beyond?
When troubles are washed away by the slickest swig,
Can people break out of their cells to cry?

So many friends surround you
Like disciples to an untouchable demigod
No way to get near
Impossible to hold
You’ve chosen a path I cannot tread

So this Friday night, I mute the TV
To hear myself, the schizophrenic
What do I want?
What do I need?
If not a bottle of beer, then what’s to keep?

Come tell your friends more about me
Blurt out my name to the darkest ceiling above
Well, it’s Friday night; our love this morning
Went to bed early to dream of us helplessly falling

Come tell, come yell
About the past and nothing
Withered roses, loony exes
And sex and sex and sex!
They all saw it coming but listened anyway
For all they wanted was to hear
Their lives narrated
Reflected
Branded
Stereotyped
Ridiculed with beautiful sarcasm
And class
In a glass

Maybe I think of you or not
I’m not as loud as you nor as clear
It’s just the way things are
So I’ll drown
In thoughts of worlds beyond you and frown

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Read Past the First Line

What is the right way to your heart? Is it a cliche first sentence to catch your attention, so that you’ll listen to me because I have more things to say, way deeper than my opening line? Because I might seem to you that way — cliche, ordinary, so commonplace you tend to forget my face in a day. I know you see hundreds of faces in a day, some smiling, some frowning, all trying to swim into your mind like schools of silver fish heading out deeper and deeper into the sea. If my face is one of these countless numbers of fish only slightly different from one another — can you even notice me? Do my scales even shed out, from time to time, a more striking glimmer that pierces your crystal-like eyes? Do my fins, even occasionally, move so elegantly and gracefully that you have to drop that important thing you’re fussing about and look at me? Oh, how I wish it were so. How I pray it were so! For I’ve been improving myself for you, overcoming a reflection of myself each day to get so far away from my old self that you’ll never recognize me when we magically bump into each other in a school or in a mall. You’ll say, “You look familiar.” Those three enchanted words! They’re so much better than “I love you” or “I like you” or “You love me.” They’re better because they symbolize our eerie strangeness and closeness at the same time. They remind me of how I want desperately to get near you by running away from myself as fast as possible. How I wish you can squint — your eyes turning into divine rainbow arcs — before saying those three words to me: “You… look… familiar.” And my god, the whole school, the entire mall full of people or faces or schools of silver fish will come staring at us, both of us in the center of an impenetrable realm of strangeness and closeness, our heartbeats failing to beat in synch quite dreamily. Then I’ll walk two steps closer — farther away from you — and tell you my name. You’ll also tell me yours, though I know it already for I tuck it underneath my pillow every single night. We’ll fall into a useless conversation about bargains and bands and bouquets. I’ll feel so lucky I’d force you to line up with me for a lottery ticket. Squinting so irresistibly again, you’ll ask me why: why I act so weird, why I’m shaking at times, and why I look so sad even when I am smiling. I guess I’ll tell you the reason is that all of this, compared to you, is still so ordinary. It’s so ordinary and predictable, I know where the two of us will soon end up, missing each other. All of this is still as cliche as your first memory of me and my first question to you: “Oh dear, do tell, what is the right way to your heart?”

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