Thursday, July 11, 2013

Indefinite Hiatus

To the Seven Readers of This Blog:

I regret to inform you that I will be taking an indefinite hiatus from blogging, for I will be very busy with some future endeavors.  You are free to remove the link to this blog from your blogrolls, favorites lists, or bookmarks, if it is ever on them. 

Why am I going on a hiatus? The simplest reason is that this blog has served its purpose. That’s it. You can leave this blog now. But if you want to read a long, pretentious passage explaining why, continue reading. Before you do, take a look at this image, the cover of Trip Magazine’s third issue. 

And if you want to make me happy, get a copy of the magazine. It’s available at National Book Store, Fully Booked, and Powerbooks. Now, continue reading (after the jump).

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Update on My Life

I quit my job as an editor at a Korean-owned educational center last January. I stayed there for more than four years. It was a job I loved, really. But I felt that I needed to try something else.

I wasn’t keen on having a new job right away. My original plan was to stay jobless for at least two weeks but not more than a month. I needed to rest. Then, I’ll join a bigger company, I told myself. However, two weeks before my resignation, I was offered a post at this new media company where a friend works. They wanted me to be a magazine editor. I needed to start ASAP, my friend said.

Dilbert on start-up culture. From
I had reservations about joining the company because it’s a startup, and as such, its future is unclear.  However, what made me decide to join it is the thought that it could blossom into something wonderful, and it would be great if I could help them do it. To cut a long story short, I accepted the offer and started working just a few days after I resigned.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Obligatory New Year Post

Earlier last year (2012, I mean), a friend said that the Year of the Dragon would be an unlucky year for those born in the Year of the Ox, which include both of us. For I do not find astrology credible, I told him to ignore what he heard and instead make his own luck. Now, however, I’m beginning to wonder if the zodiacs indeed played tricks on me last year.

Image is from here.
It’s not as if I was really unlucky last 2012, but I have to say that it was a very difficult year for me. Sure, I was able to achieve some of my goals, like watch as many movies as possible and get ripped maintain my ideal weight, but these achievements were overshadowed by some other things. 

For example, I got an ear infection that wouldn’t go away. I still have it now, actually.  It has been months! (I visited an ENT specialist three times already.) I got it from using earphones too often when watching movies.  Overzealous cleaning is also to blame. I deserve it. (More after the jump.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Subtitled Happiness

I like watching movies, and, recently, I have found foreign language films particularly interesting. Some may find reading subtitles troublesome—they find it hard to focus on the film while reading text on screen—but, for me, it is a pleasure. I have so many foreign language films in my computer that I can have my own film festivals in my room whenever I want to.

from Sholay
 Aside from being familiar with different languages (I now know some French and Japanese words), watching non-English movies has exposed me to different cultures and allowed me to travel the world while staying in one place.

I want to share the joy of watching films not from Hollywood, so I decided to write this. You’ve probably heard of some really famous foreign language films, but this is not about them. Instead, here are non-English language films you probably haven’t heard of but are worth watching. (After the jump)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Please Look After Mother (a book review)

Working for a Korean company made me very familiar with and interested in anything Korean.  Ban Ki-moon, Lee Myung-bak, Kim Yu-Na, Park Ji-Sung…I know all of them. I can even name all members of Girls’ Generation. You see, as a living, I edit English essays written by Korean students. Being proud as they are, these students often mention prominent Korean individuals, products, and what have you as examples to beef up their essays. That’s how I discovered Please Look After Mother (also Please Look After Mom) by Korean writer Shin Kyung-sook.

I forgot what exactly the topic was, but I remember how one student was raving about Please Look After Mother in her essay. She said that the book, first published in 2009 (as 엄마를 부탁해), has been so popular in Korea that it has been translated into English for international readers. I got curious and wrote in one blog entry, last year, that I wanted to have a copy. Seven months later, on my 26th birthday, I received one as a gift. I could have bought it myself, but it's hard to find.

The book cover is Memoirs of a Geisha-ish. (Photo taken by my brother)
The book is about a mother who gets lost in the subway station after being separated from her husband while on their way to one of their children’s home in the city.  Family members struggle to find her and, while doing that, realize that they barely know her. In one chapter, “you” are the daughter of the missing mother. You are a successful writer, but you are not aware that your mother cannot read the books you have written. In another chapter, “you” are her husband, supposedly the one who should know her best, but you do not even know about the charity work that she has been doing for years.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Monsoon Night Thoughts

It was a Tuesday night. Power was out. It was too dark to read a book. My gadgets still had some juice, but I was saving them for the next day. That’s so I’d have something to do in case the situation wouldn’t improve. I slept unusually early that evening because there was nothing else to do. A few hours later, I woke up. Rain was heavy. It had been raining for days and nights, but the rain on this night was very alarming. Thunder and lightning made it worse.

I was sitting on my bed. I was carefully analyzing my room. Sleeping on the other bed was my brother. Sleeping on the floor were my father and mother because the neighbors were taking refuge in my parents’ room while their homes were flooded. “At least this chaos is making us closer,” I told myself. I couldn’t remember the last time we huddled in a room. 

I looked around. I was fixating at the door. I was wondering if I could easily unhinge it to make a raft out of it. Then, looked at the windows. I could easily break the jalousie if I needed to. We could exit there and paddle for our lives. I asked myself, “What should we bring?” If we brought our important documents, they might just get wet and illegible, making them useless. It would be better if we left them here and came back for them later. We’d better just bring ourselves. We could always buy clothes and other things later.

I thought, “What if we couldn’t survive this?”

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Favorite Movie Soundtracks

Music plays a big role in movies. Aside from film scores, songs (those with lyrics) also set the tone and mood of a film. They also express characters’ emotions or tell stories on their own. After watching so many films, I have come up with a list of my favorite movie soundtracks. I listed 14 songs. Now let me count them down.

(Note: The embedded clips are the actual scenes from the movies where the songs are played. They may contain spoilers. Thanks to those who posted the videos on Youtube! )

14) Day-O (The Banana Boat Song) by Harry Belafonte – Beetlejuice (1988)

Jason Derulo sampled this in one of his songs.
This Tim Burton film is full of randomness, and one of them is this scene when these diners lip-sync and dance to Harry Belafonte’s song against their will.  Winona Ryder should have joined them.
13) Yoo Hoo by Imperial Teen – Jawbreaker (1999)  
 Is it just me, or does Rose McGowan look like a younger Sylvia Sanchez?
Rose McGowan and the gang strut their stuff on the hallway while Imperial Teen’s Yoo Hoo plays. This is probably the best entrance ever! Never mind that the film is a dud. Watch it when you’re tired of pa-deep and pa-intellectual films. It won't hurt.
12) The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel – The Graduate (1967)
The song is played in other scenes, but this one is a non-spoiler for those who haven’t seen the movie.
I would love this song whether or not it was played in the movie. Listening to Paul Simon’s voice (I think it’s his) accompanied by the guitar (and other instruments later) is just relaxing, despite the song being actually inspired by the assassination of JFK.  
11) To Sir With Love by Lulu - To Sir, With Love (1967)

 Lulu, who looks like Jersey Shore’s Snooki here, sings the theme song to Sidney Poitier, one of my favorite actors.
I used to be a teacher, and I taught students about subject-verb agreement and the like. I don’t think I’ve changed their life that much. I wish I had been more like Sidney Poitier in this movie. Too bad I’m not black, and I didn’t teach a bunch of problematic English high school students. It must have felt great to have someone make a song for you.  
10) Norwegian Wood by the girl who played Reiko - Norwegian Wood (2010)  
 I loved this song the first time I heard this. This part is perhaps the only scene that I liked.
I didn’t know that it’s a Beatles song and that the movie is titled after it. I watched the movie without knowing what it is about. I just watched it because a friend was raving about it. It turned out to be just a movie about a bunch of suicidal people who haven’t discovered lubricant. Don’t hate me, Murakami fans. I’m sure the book is better than this film.  
9) Moon River by Audrey Hepburn - Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
 I can’t think of anyone who can top Audrey Hepburn.
Audrey Hepburn singing. ‘Nuff said.
8) I’ve Seen it All by Bjork and Peter Stormare – Dancer in the Dark (2000)
 I have this thing for eccentric female musicians.
Bjork breaks into a song and dance number while in the middle of a railroad. Now I've seen it all. The movie, directed by Lars von Trier, was awarded the Palm d’Or at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. And Bjork? Well, she just got the best actress award.
(See my top 7 favorite soundtracks after the jump.)