Friday, August 19, 2005

Catrina the Male Cat

When Catrina was still a kitten my dad had no idea he was actually male. Months later, I told him about the juvenile cat having balls, but it was too late and the name stuck. Anyhow, Catrina knew who the Alpha Male in our family was, so he would sit under the resthouse table very prettily begging for scraps. And no one could resist him. Usually, he would walk aloofly around the farm grounds as though he owned it.

One day we realized he'd disappeared, and someone in the neighboring farm had tried to adopt him, but he wouldn't settle. Eventually he found his way back to us, with a bit of green plastic string tied around his neck. The boys cut the offending string away, replaced his little chain necklace and tag, and fed and bathed him in the manner to which he was accustomed.

Catrina and my pretty farm dog Martina (archive entry My Pretty Mongrel) grew up together. They were so close that Catrina would actually sleep on top of Martina to keep warm. There were times we've caught Martina brushing up our pantlegs like she were a cat, and Catrina acting like he were a dog.

Catrina's actually never grown out of juvenile size. But he's grown sleek and presented me lots of times with photo opportunities. Once in a while I pick him up and give him a cuddle or put him on my lap stroking his fur, but after some time he likes to leap down and walk around in his lordly little way. I've seen male cats grow big and feral, but I'm glad my little Catrina remains dainty and adorable.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Insult Generator

This link is always good for a laugh:

Try Insult Generator.

Love's Labours Lost

A friend emailed me recently about her bruised heart:

Girl is strongly attracted to eccentric hottie who claimed there was definitely something between them, short of declaring to the world that they were an item. When asked, Eccentric Hottie once said to a colleague of Girl: "Yes, we went out on a date." Girl is ecstatic to be so acknowledged. To make a long story short, the commitment phobe in Eccentric Hottie couldn't resist coming out, and a few weeks later, he stops communicating with her. No explanations. It's a few days to her birthday, and she feels miserable, not knowing why things turned out that way. Classic.

My reply: I think from the beginning there was something seriously wrong with the way his head is wired. He's different from the usual run of people, you'll just have to accept that... just let him go. Of course you'll hurt and all, which is the real shitty part, but if you try to stop dwelling on why he is the way he is, you can cease blaming yourself if you think you were the one who did something wrong. If we all thought that the guys we loved and didn't love/appreciate us back tricked us, pharmaceutical companies would rule the world. I know... and right now the pharmaceutical companies are already rich.

I sent the email but forgot to add: And chocolate manufacturers are making a killing. Collateral damage, anyone?

Rockstar: INXS

Because of American Idol and CSI: Las Vegas, I had always been convinced that the middle of the week (Wednesday and Thursday here in Manila) had the best to offer in all of cable primetime programming. I was worried about what would take their time slots once their respective seasons ended, and then Rockstar: INXS came along.

I enjoy rock performances as much as the next person, so I eagerly looked forward to the reality vs. performance segments of the show. Jamming in the mansion was a treat. It's really not hard to predict who would get eliminated along the way. Haven't actually tried voting myself, but perhaps only maybe when the competition is really, really tight.

Jordis, MiG, Marty, JD and Ty, I felt, are all really majorly talented. Suzie, to me, would be a step better than Deanna and Jessica. Suzie reminds me of a young Annie Lennox but with a Sheryl Crow vibe, and I enjoyed her performance of "Never Tear Us Apart", which was my favorite. I mean, if it were posted online I'd download it in a second. She, JD and Ty had a string of mixed quality performances - so I must congratulate the producers of the show for making the competition particularly challenging in terms of song selection. Jordis, MiG and Marty, however, seemed like they could do no wrong. I downloaded Jordis' "Man Who Sold The World" from, it was that good.

Now to MiG and Marty, my personal favorites:

MiG consistently delivers a good performance, rocking hard with "We Will Rock You", and dazzling everyone with "Baby I Love Your Way", where he accompanied himself on the piano. His vocal range is flexible (on the tenor side) and he exercises as much control over it as he can. And he doesn't look half bad, buff in a lean way, and gauging by the reaction of the women in the audience, he inspired major hysteria when he last ripped off his shirt onstage. He's got this easy-going personality, and seems really in touch with his feminine side (read: Sensitive Man who set off my friends' gay-dars. I did explain that he's married to a ballerina who was a long-time girlfriend, so that settled that.). He also gets along well creatively with others, as could be seen in the songwriting clinic. INXS and he being Aussie might be a factor. But best of all, he was born PINOY!!! Now what other reason would I need to root for him? He looks like the frontrunner, since it seems unlikely that INXS would have a female vocalist... (just my opinion).

Marty, while not conventionally cute, is very attractive. His voice, which has really good texture, has something to do with it. This texture was shown to advantage in his performances "With Arms Wide Open" and "Mr. Brightside". He accompanied himself on acoustic guitar for the latter song. He doesn't have a theatre background like MiG, but he has had concert performances under his belt fronting other major bands with his own band. Those two performances were so intense I wished I was in the crowd screaming with approval. When I get that kind of feeling I want to rush out to a store and buy a cd straightaway. Now before you tell me he's a Kurt Cobain or Creed clone let me remind you that being part of a band gives leeway for originality in songwriting, and that what you ought to judge in the end is the final, total overall product. But in the end, my connection with Marty's performance was emotional, and that's strong. MiG's last performance made me emotional too, but mostly my admiration for his overall vocal ability is intellectual. Listening to Marty made me feel like a young college girl. Let me ask you, what price would you set on THAT?

Now onto JD bashing:

Moni emailed me about his dislike for JD. Let me state for a fact that I consider JD highly talented, but perhaps he can develop himself as a solo act if he can land a recording contract. He needs a lot of training to condition his voice so that he can sing a greater range of songs, or he can write songs to fit his voice, but where's the growth there? I can't stand JD either, I emailed back, he acts too needy of the job and says things that make him sound evil and desperate. Actually, "evil" is Rickey's word. And the bitter darkness of it shows on his face.

In the beginning, JD looked kinda cute but that wore thin pretty quickly. I mean, his attitude might provide interesting tension and drama to the show, but in the end, what INXS needs is a lead singer with consistent performance quality, with magnetism, and the ability to get along and work with the other members of the band. If for instance JD won, it would be a shame if he ends up eventually needing replacement because of "personal differences". I mean, he doesn't need to diss the rest in public when it's plainly clear that there are other talented people in the competition, it just makes him stand out and not necessarily in a good way. He is SOOO PLASTIC!!! Making those remarks and then having to live with them in the same mansion!!! Again, let me remind you, this man is talented. Talented, but conflicted. Might be good fodder for a solo album somewhere there. I did think the song he wrote solo after breaking away from Marty's group was even better than the song written by Ty's group, which won. It was more in INXS' groove (now if it sounds like some of their old hits, is that a crime if there is potential to release it as a single? But we also have to think of INXS' growth and credibility...).

I want to shake my head when I think of that scene near the pool where MiG admits to JD that he said in an interview that JD was the most difficult to live with. Then JD says that banal and cringeworthy line, "When we're being human, just remember that we are all human beings." Or something like that. (Now doesn't that sound bite raise your bile?)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Exploring Malangaan

Last Sunday we went to Bulacan to visit a friend, and after a picnic lunch, explored a local cave by a stream, near an abandoned marble quarry. See the complete photo essay. Or click directly on the photo to reach and view the photos out of order.

Three Dreams

Been having a spate of dreams lately.

First. I dreamed that a noisy group of friends visits me at home. We decide to go out to watch a movie, and pile into the elevator. Suddenly the elevator crashes one floor down. Everyone gets up, a bit bruised and shaken, with one girl getting hysterical. My first urge is to slap her, but instead I do the practical thing and push the emergency button.

Second. I dreamed that Amy and I went to market. On our way home we decide to ride shotgun on a big motorcycle, like the ones they have as public transport in Camiguin. Because there are two of us riding behind the driver, the motorcycle ride is relatively slow. However, when we try to traverse a hump, Amy and I get bumped off and fall to the ground. Laughing, we end up walking home with our marketing.

Third. I am walking home to our old house in UP. I pass through the AS First Pavilion corridor, where there seems to be a lot of people milling about. Apparently there is a cinematic screen test going on in one of the rooms. A man approaches me and asks me to try out for a Joan Collins-ish "Dynasty"-type character. To my surprise, I later win the role.

So much for the subconscious, eh?