A Slices of Life Special: Snippets

Before writing this entry, I made sure to equip myself with as much information as I could about the events that occurred on the 25th. Hopefully, now that I am at the very least a bit more knowledgeable about everything, the opinion I provide in this piece will be an informed opinion, and not one wrought of collectivist tendencies. 

Needless to say, what happened was a tragedy.

What could have been a successful mission ended up as a botched disaster, and men that should’ve come home triumphant, instead came home dead.  I am one with the families of the 44 men who were killed in Maguindanao, and the families of the civilians who were caught in the middle of the crossfire. I hope that every single government entity that promised you help today will fulfill their promises and keep their word to you. I know it isn’t every day that that happens, but if these people really have a heart, dear families, perhaps they will. I’ll keep you all in my prayers and memories.

A  PR Disaster

PR students of the future will look back at P-Noy’s mistake as a prime case study for what not to do in the face of tragedy. I’m sure I won’t be the first to say that he SHOULD HAVE CANCELLED THAT EVENT. The Mitsubishi people would have understood, Mr. President. I sure hope this wasn’t a case of avoidance, because if it was, then perhaps we should thank you for showing off another of your many weaknesses: avoiding conflict. Let’s take note of this, dear readers.

[I have yet to hear his full speech at Camp Bagong Diwa, so I cannot make an informed assessment.]

On the Leah Navarro tweet/s

For those unaware:http://entertainment.inquirer.net/161879/grace-lee-aquinos-presence-during-arrival-rites-would-have-been-valuable

REACTION:

With all due respect, Madam Navarro, don’t you think it rather unfair to think that the presence of common citizens should be likened to the presence of the President at those arrival rights? Did he not say during his campaign days (and even during his presidency), that “kayo ang boss ko.”. Don’t you think it would have been an appropriate form of service on his part to at least welcome the remains of these fallen soldiers? He is, after all, the head of state, is he not? Don’t you think that it’s a part of his responsibility as president?

Please know, M’am, that common citizens are one with those grieving. I’m sure you watch news, and I’m supposing you saw those clips of prayer rallies at Tomas Morato, or the vigil at Ateneo, or the news story about the sympathy walk? We are one with them. We want justice for them.

But P-Noy was elected by these citizens, and by those families to lead us, and that role requires responsibilities that citizens are not charged to fulfill. Perhaps you should take that into account. Pleasant evening.

Whip-Tastically Wonderful: A Review of “Whiplash”

Hollywood has created an unfortunate stereotype when it comes to music films. If we’re not introduced to the biography of a vocalist or that of a fictional rock band, we get cookie cutter musicals, or quality adaptations of Broadway hits. No matter how good they may be, they have a tendency to fall into a certain stereotype, one that usually involves an insane amount of soundtrack heavy cinema.

“Whiplash” breaks the mold of music films, choosing to take on two very unorthodox concepts: first, a fictional story; second, an underrated instrument: the drums. If Ringo Starr’s story is not enough to convince you of just how underrated drummers are, then perhaps this story will.

Miles Teller is Andrew Neyman, a seemingly weird yet incredibly talented drummer who attends a fictional music conservatory in New York. Shaffer is said to be the best in the world, and so is Mr. Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), a no holds barred jazz conductor who brings together bad tempers and black shirts in one very smooth (you know I’m talking about his head) package.

The astute film viewer might point out a number of the film’s themes, naming everything from family issues to abandonment as points to ponder. Yet it’s really Neyman’s quest for excellence that stands out as a primary concept. Peter Travers says it best, posing the question: “How much of what makes you human will you sacrifice for a desire to truly excel?”.

The movie’s central theme is one that can relate not just to music, but to anything and everything in life. Simmons’s character argues that the absence of excellence is due to the world’s sudden tendency to baby everyone, and that his methods, albeit harsh, were practiced out of a desire to produce a musician as excellent as legendary jazz drummer Charlie Parker (a figure mentioned frequently in the movie).

Everyone lauds JK Simmons in this movie, but what we don’t realize is that without Miles Teller, Simmons would not have been able to deliver such a strong performance. In other words, their chemistry is electric. The film does a pretty nice job of somehow highlighting both actors, bathing other the players in a much darker light so as not to draw attention away from the film’s leads.

So he didn’t cross dress or gain an exorbitant amount of pounds, but the least Miles Teller could have deserved was a nomination for the intensity he brought to the role. He didn’t hand-sync his way to the drums, he could actually play them. Perhaps it was his stoic portrayal that turned critics off. But then, could overdramatizing Neyman have made things much worse? Perhaps.

The anti-music film has come to life in Whiplash, a movie bathed in city light shades yet rife with themes that transcend the world of jazz music. Simmons and Teller work hand in hand to bring to life a story that is relatable on so many levels, yet manages to shine in it’s chosen environment: the cutthroat music world.

Whiplash is perfect for anyone: the music fan, the jazz fan, the drummer, or the aimless twentysomething looking for some much-needed motivation.

 

 

Talk, Talk, Talk

I’ve spent two much time (and blog space) reasoning out my constant hiatuses from the world of cyberspeak. All you need to know is that I miss this space, and I’m back.

1. Irrelevance On Display 

When did “Bimby gets bitten by a dog” become such a relevant news item that it deserved an article of its own? I honestly don’t know. But then, I have greater faith in true Philippine journalists (and the practice of journalism, alike), that I have come to believe those news articles posted by ******* (you know who I’m talking about), are not written by legitimate practitioners.

So you would believe my surprise when Rappler posted an article about the same issue (albeit written in a much, much better manner…ish?). Needless to say, I was disappointed. For an online site that boasts of outspoken regulars like the very fun and personable Doc Margie Holmes and very interesting works from a number of colorful individuals, Rappler’s decision to do a piece on the Bimby article was just… a bad decision. Plain and simple.

Verdict: Dear Rappler, please think twice about going with the flow of the online journalistic world. You possess qualities that are able to make you stand out from other online news outlets (and I’m not talking about your constant typographical errors). You can definitely do better.

2. Heb-No, no no no no no: France Under Siege 

I could not have been more caught off guard by the string of terrorist related tragedies that befell France weeks ago. First, the attack on Charlie Hebdo– next, a string of hostage situations that left several (including a policewoman, dead). Thankfully, the situation has been controlled and things are relatively better in the City of Lights (as of late, that is).

Verdict: My Thoughts on the debate regarding the Hebdo cartoons versus the unfortunate fate of their artists 

They said in the sixties, and I’ll say it again: make love, not war. Let’s give peace a chance. Death is never the option. Although the Hebdo cartoons were very, very offensive, the path that the perpetrators of the Hebdo attacks chose to take was simply, morally wrong. As much as it pains or annoys most of us, everyone is entitled to an opinion. We are not pushed to agree or disagree, but we are pushed to respect the existence of contrasting thoughts and beliefs.

Personally, I was very offended by those cartoons. Even if I’m not Muslim, I found them horribly offensive. But then, weren’t they made in satire? Or, could they have crossed the line beyond what is considered ‘acceptable satire’? Either way, they were offensive.

3. Higher.. higher… HIGHER: On the LRT/MRT fare hike 

Besides being welcomed by the presence of unruly holiday weight, commuters like myself received a most unpleasant post-holiday gift from the DOTC. The much-talked about fare hikes finally took effect last January 5, 2015, prompting a string of protests that involved hashtags, selfies, and a TRO that never really came into effect (thanks a lot, Supreme Court!).

Either way, everyone riding the LRT/MRT had more than one reason to tighten their belts this January 2015… and not everyone was pleased.

My Verdict: About a year ago, I recall writing a scathing open letter to the DOTC that detailed my grievances regarding the LRT 2 (broken turnstiles, lousy toilets, long lines..). In fairness, I’ve seen some improvements materialize even before the fare hike was implemented this January (i.e. building of bathrooms..). BUT THAT’S ABOUT IT #sorrynotsorry. Those turnstiles are still broken, the bathrooms aren’t even OPERATIONAL! My patience is wearing thin, and honestly I have no faith left to give the DOTC. But I’ll give them time.. a few months, perhaps? If improvements continue to come, then well and good. But if things stay the same.. you’ll hear it from me first.

4. Pope Francis in Manila!!!! 

The country is currently at a five day standstill as the most powerful lolo in the world has come to the Philippines. Pope Francis is only on his second day here, and he’s already managed to leave a lasting impact on the people that had the opportunity to see him.

My Favorite Highlights, so far:

* The Pope steps out of his plane. Just when I thought that papal hat was taped to his head somehow, it decided to fly off just when he got out of the plane to encounter quite the welcoming committee. Some would call it a relatively insignificant moment, but for me it was something special.

* The get-out game. Unfortunately Pope Francis isn’t as sprightly as President Obama, so his exit from the Sri Lanka Airlines flight that took him to Manila took longer than usual. But then, who couldn’t resist his glimpses from the window of the plane before his exit? Simply adorable.

*The [right] words, the right place, the right time. Pope Francis’s call to end corruption could not have come at a better moment. He was, after all, in a room full of individuals that aren’t the cleanest people in politics. He also happens to be the perfect person to tell it like it his, and he knocked it out of the park!

What’s to Come:

* The Youth Encounter at UST: Another Pope selfie, perhaps?

* Mass at Luneta: I wonder what the environment will be like?

Verdict: Let’s be honest. Despite being known as one of the more religious Asian countries, we haven’t exactly had a clean [moral] record. Here’s to hoping (and praying) that the Pope’s visit changes some perspectives. Although, realistically even that may be a pipe dream in itself.