Monday, February 28, 2005

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

The movie, based on the book with the same title by Peter Hedges, is somewhat just a shadow of the original story. Even if Peter Hedges did adapt the story himself into the screenplay, there are just many things that were captured in the book that could not make it into the confines of a 2 hour or less movie, hence making the plot a little simpler, and the end a bit cheesy.

For those of you who haven't read the book or seen the movie, What's Eating Gilbert Grape? is basically a story about a family in a small town called Endora, in the so-called American Heartland. A typical-but-not-so-typical depiction of life of the characters, life in the town itself, and the frustrations and aspirations of the townsfolk, especially the main character, Gilbert Grape. When the book delves into simple rural town imagery to describe and dessicate many issues about man's striving for something better, the disappointments, the tears, the joy, and the psychology, in many strong undercurrents, the movie only succeeds to envoy the basic story collecting it all together, with few of the questions posed in the book rising to the surface (except if you've read the book).
I wonder if the movie would be as good if I had watched it before reading the book, but, I guess, I wouldn't even be interested in watching the movie if I hadn't read the book first. It comes to mind that the movie was actually made for those who had actually read the book, as the movie does not make obvious references or introductions to a few secondary characters (which again, were described more vividly in the book). The small conflicts, the questions, the vivid characters enjoyed in the book are sadly diminished or even non-existent in the movie, but a reader would recognize the main story plots to keep the story recognizable. Granted, adaptation of a book to screenplay is one of the toughest jobs out there, and not even the author himself might of made something better than a professional screenwriter. But in all aspects, both the screenwriter and the director did a fair job in bringing the story to the silver screen, and the casting was great (although I thought Momma would be older than depicted in the movie), and they dared modifying certain details of the story, and even taking the ending further than the book, to keep it interesting.
But the sheer strength of the original story (and all its symbolisms) still take What's Eating Gilbert Grape? into a great movie. Applause for the screenwriter, and the cinematographer.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Before Sunset

Finally, Friday night, enjoying the temporary health (as on Saturday morning I got tempratures again), after working until late at the office (good thing I had company :)) . After reaching home, I stayed up to watch the sequel (conclusion?) of Before Sunrise, which is Before Sunset, set 9 years after Jesse and Celine's first encounter.

Taking the same concept of natural conversation, the time frame is even shorter, from the end of Jesse's book tour visit to a local bookstore in Paris, to about the time he has to go to the airport and go back to his home. From the conversations, we see how the years have changed both somehow, how adolescent ideas have either become mature principles or simply pushed aside, how they remembered their first encounter and what it meant... with long shots taken with them just walking around Paris. It's really like two real friends, in real life, meet, and the cameras just happen to be there. Their situation borders on the believable with almost a dream fantasy, making us still yearn for such a connection, such a relationship, even when they have changed so much (or so little, in fact).
The end leaves so much to be imagined (or not), as the last scene leaves a happy if ambiguous uptone. And so, we are left yet again with the desire to have such a connection within our lives. So cruelly similar, that we could identify with it, but also so far away at the same time.

Sick Of It All!

I haven't been posting lately because 1). I've been not of good health lately, with a bout of flu overcoming me, high tempratures and everything. Unfortunately I couldn't stay home and rest because 2). there was soooooooooo much work to do towards the weekend, I had to come in to finish it all. So I had to endure drastic changes of body temprature while mulling away at my computer reviewing Excel sheets and PowerPoint presentations. It's not enjoyable, believe me, and the only consolation was the contstant stream of chocolates I had to uphold to keep my brain in proper working order.
So there were presentations and surveys I had to finish by Friday (I kept putting them off since there was a lot of other work to do) for discussion at a conference early March, and there was a detailed business proposal that I had to make by February end, requiring input and research from a lot of other people (thus taking a lot of time as well).
And there's the final revelling in the latest situation; I just can't get my mind off it. I don't know what to do until it's over, maybe for the better anyway. But it's still weeks away,... so I just sit here looking stupid, confused if I should enjoy it while I can or just take steps to get used to the loss. Indeed, however bad or good, it is a loss, and I was never good at handling losses.
I'm taking the weekend to properly regroup my strength and sanity, taking it easy before 2 hectic weeks ahead. I think the worst part of the flu is over, no more tempratures, but now comes the runny nose part. Ugh.
As I said to a friend yesterday, the worst part of being sick is the loneliness. It's not missing someone anymore, or longing for someone to just, be there,... it's just pure damn loneliness.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Before Sunrise

An amazingly touching movie, that only explores 2 characters on an overnight tour to nowhere in particular around Vienna. The best and the ambiguous corners of Vienna are captured in such a picturesque way, sometimes poetic in its mundane clarity, that is only surpassed with the philosophical probing and adolescent flirting of the two main characters, Jesse and Celine. Something that starts brilliantly non-dramatic, just smoothly into a moment in where these two people exist, and start to get to know each other. While their conversation expands, and they get to know each other more, the sentences are profoundly trivial yet with deep meaning we are given the luxury of assuming various facts about the characters, and are rewarded with mild suprises when it turns out to be right or wrong.
The conversations are believable, from the bursts of individuality to the mild tolerance to one another just to make the night more enjoyable, the situation can happen anywhere, but the flow of the one-night romance is maybe a bit too good for all of us, we all end up wanting to be in that situation. Even the characters themselves realize that their night together, however insignificant (compared to usual Western context of 'great nights', as in 'getting laid all night long' , 'as wasted as a garbage pit' or 'rolling in the money at the poker table'), has deep meaning, and will be remembered for long after. A romance we can identify with but not really grasp (except if you're lucky enough, I guess. No such luck for me yet).
Even if the movie is basically about their conversations, the best scene for me is when at the record store, the go into a listening room to listen to one of the records Celine picked out, and they just stood there and listened. With Jesse looking at Celine when she's looking away, and Celine returning the look smiling and then Jesse looks away smiling, on and on, turn in turn, the scene speaks volumes in our head about what they are trying to say to each other without really saying anything on screen.
I think this is the sort of chemistry that we all yearn to find, but hardly ever do.

Monday, February 21, 2005

There Really Is No Difference*

Today is my cup of billowing hot chocolate, made from a sachet of Ovaltine, with a tad of sugar to add to the thickness of it all. Dismantling and recovering frames of mind at a moment's notice, replenishing the magic of the heart with something a bit vaguely more familiar.
Last night I dreamt of another's happiness, and how true it felt. Perhaps it's because i watched half a movie that literally talked about nothing at all, just a conversation between 2 people about anything at all, and the romance of the moment. I haven't finished it yet, but when I do, and watch the sequel of it later, I will post a combined review.
Sometimes I think I purposely write here to impress, because I think some people actually do visit and read this blog, and one of the most basic human drives is to impress other people, to heighten one's self worth. So rotten sentences and absurd phrases are the norm, and surrealist imagery is standard procedure.
Write about nothing with the most words you can use, and voila! You have my blog. Still the words come from the heart as my heart wants to please.
Long moments of empty space between my eyes and the computer screen reflect on what either might have been, should have been, or I wanted to become reality. Reality itself has no relevance in itself, only how the senses perceive it. The music entering the room from the computer speakers has more effect to the atmosphere of room, and mind, than the robotic and impersonal air-conditioning. It dictates the thoughts and moods of the air and the mind inside. No chance of escape.
From outside, the light does not have much effect either, as it is constantly at odds with the robotic air conditioning.
I stare outside my door, waiting for nothing.

*title is an excerpt from the INXS song New Sensation.

Sunday, February 20, 2005


I have just received a piece of news, which supposedly is part bad, part good, but it makes me sad. I will not divulge this information as it involves a few people and has profound consquences, but I will, as I always do, tell you how I feel.

So, more or less, I'll have to part with something I held very dear, even though it has caused me pain as well as pleasure. The sweet little devil will finally be gone, and will not affect me again. The devil is what the devil does, no doubt, and somehow it makes me sad that the devil will have no recollection whatsoever of the evil it wracked upon me (and also the pleasure).

It was a short but meaningful period in my life, and I learned to ask some hard questions about myself, and reevaluate old questions and decisions. The fleeting experiences suddenly have far-reaching repercussions, and defined more of me than was visible before. And now, that moment is over. I do not know when exactly it will end, but I intend to enjoy, savour and curse every moment until it does.

Somehow this is a premature farewell, but so be it; I'll have to handle it now, better than later.
So, Farewell, and thanks for all the fish.*

quoted from Douglas Adam's book titled the same.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Vicious Cycle

I have to get off the damn rollercoaster. It's taking me too fast, in turns too sharp for me to handle, not to mention manouvers that I cannot anticipate. Time to take a breather in the park next to the rollercoaster tracks, and enjoy the view and fresh air for a while.
Instead of vomiting each time I descend from the apex, maybe I should just get off, and look for a ride I can handle; or maybe just simply take a time out. I have to get out of the vicious cycle present on the rollercoaster tracks.
I must admit, the thrill was fun, but, I guess it's about time to forget about thrill-seeking and just get on with everything else. On the other hand, maybe I wasn't ready to get on the rollercoaster anyway, and took it way out of proportion.
It's funny how the view changes when you get off. It's never quite the same, but never too different either. I guess it also depends on how you take it in.
So, be my companion in my garden of dissatisfaction, and remind me of the fruit of blessings.

Monday, February 14, 2005


It's hot outside.
The sun is so bright, it turns everything to a shade of yellow, and you can feel the heat by just looking at it. People avoid the sun to run to their air-conditioned caves, all cool and sufficient. A mass denial of reality takes place when the people in their office buildings turn the aircon up to maximum and wear double layers of clothing, even jackets and scarves, and still say that the city is a hot place to be. It really depends on where you are at any given moment. Right now, my eyes feel the heat seeping out of the window, yet the room is cold and contradictive. Even my subconcious mind and body feel the paradox, and does not know what to feel; resulting in cold flashes, and the feeling that I'm going to be sick in a few days.
So inside the room, the heat is an illusion of the eyes, and the body can't believe it; it can't make up its mind.
I close the door to attempt to block any outside interference, and contemplate the color of the room. Things are never what they seem to be, and you never know until the last minute. I do not trust whatever reality unfolds before my eyes, or in my mind, and so despairing about it is pointless. Nothing is important any more, except the constant internal battle between illusions. Illusions are a lie, it's just the matter of knowing which lie is closer to the truth: does the room feel warm, or the room feel cold?
I do not worry about my work as it is not my life anymore. I do my best, but it no longer defines who I am or what I hold most important or dear to me. The job is my illusion to others to elude them from the truth. The smile, the talk, the confidence, all a ruse to mislead, to get the lie to continue. Same as the sun today, as long as we believe it to be hot, it will be hot.
The fiction that is myself then becomes reality to others, and other people's fiction become my reality. Lies are real, the truth cannot be trusted anymore. Truth is the illusion, and the lies are the only thing you can rely on, depend on, as you know that they're always there. So, would it be better to lie to yourself all the time or still look for the truth? The truth itslef is comprised of well-made lies. Then, lies and truth have no difference, no importance, and no relevance to anything.
Nothing means anything, so why worry?

Don't Mind This Post, It's Nonsense

Desperation brings the science of disaster.
Ravi Shankar plays music not of this plane of existence, and when listening to it, it can lift you up to a higher state of conciousness. Jimi Hendrix's guitar riffs have also the same effect. No need for so-called mind-expanding drugs, this will do just the same. Without the side effects, without the hangover. You just have to let your mind stop thinking and let the alpha waves flow with the stream of notes. Of course, a good stereo system helps. Reversely, the music helps you stop thinking, and enter a state of almost trance.
Being great is not so bad when you have nothing to live for.
Even when opportunity knocks, even when a road is being opened to you, even when the very devils of your soul are opening new doors to better consience and well-being, why is everything in stasis? Why does the positive force negate itself before even hitting me with its power? Something important is gone, and the rest of the universe becomes surreal.
Pain is more a part of reality than love. Love is the ultimate illusion; love is nessecity, love is need, love is lust, and a hundred other names other than what it claims to be itself. Pain is definite, pain is real and omnipresent. It never pretends to be anything else as it is too real to deny.
Be kind to your loved ones, you never know when they're going to leave you. Never be nice to people if you want to be happy, the only people who will be happy are them, and never you.
Good hearts are hard to find. When you do find one, it's usualy depressed at the same time. What does that say about the world?
Ravi Shankar is even better when you listen to it while eating chocolate. There are natural endorphins that calm the mind in chocolate (or perhaps that's an illusion too) so it goes well with the transcedence of the music. Maybe smoking a joint or two while listening wouldn't hurt.
You will always lose more than you gain, except body weight. What you give will most often amount to nothing, and what people give you will amount to pain. Love is there, also, but it is also an instrument of pain.

Pain is love. So that's why it hurts so much.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Standard Morning

Got out of the shower, hurrying into my room. The room feels a bit freezing as I just poured low temprature water on myself, and then I enter an air-conditioned room. So I turn the aircon off, chattering teeth while I do it.
I rub myself dry with the towel that I haven't washed for more than a week, then start spraying deodorant. It's more of a thing for myself, rather than smelling nice for others, as I don't like going around smelly and all. I put the deodorant can in my workbag for good measure. Next is the hair gel. Yeah, I use hair gel, but not for shaping it into some sort of style or anything; just to keep it moderately neat so I don't look like I haven't had a bath for a week. I have very short hair, so when it isn't wet anymore, it looks like shit, and I look untidy. The gel keeps the illusion that the hair is wet.
Now to the wardrobe. What to wear, what to wear? Anything I wear other than a suit and tie, will make me look like a college student (or even a high-school student on holiday)... so sometimes I just maximise the effort. Will it be polo shirt day, or simply a shirt with a t-shirt inside? Or maybe just the shirt? Anything goes with my jeans. I don't like wearing trousers with other material.
Ok, last check of my bag before I go. Money and wallet, check. Laptop and adaptor, check. Anything out of the ordinary ordnance is usually in my bag from last night, so I wouldn't forget in the morning rush.
Get out of the room, lock. Get out of the house, lock. Get out of the outer gate, lock. I walk to the usual bus stop, well, what is perceived as a bus stop by many, and usually there's a bus waiting for passangers there, and disturbing the traffic flow once in a while, as the parking space still takes up half a lane. Then, begins the slow drive to the office, through hails of traffic, the cloud of horn noises, and pissed off people.
If I'm hungry, I buy some chicken porridge before heading up to 19th floor, before punching in at usually half an hour before office time. No, not being one of those too-diligent people, it's just that in the morning, I always have the urge to get out of the house real fast, and it also gives me time to do some needless browsing (or blogging).
Then... I start opening emails, and the files I left behind from the day before. Then,.. work begins.

Am I alive?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Hitching On The Internet

Today, both Sacha and Vira required my help in sorting out various problems and installing software on their PDAs, so now I'm currently at Sacha's office, hitching on the internet connection at her office to do some blogwalking and post a few stuff up myself. I'm meeting with Vira afterwards to do some window shopping, also with some PDA troubleshooting stuff.

Well, anyway... here's a snapshot of Sacha's office (purposedly indistinctive).

Shades Of The Office

As I have the chance, I'm uploading the pictures of my office room as promised.

My desk... thanks to the lighting (or lack of it), you can't see it's clutteredness.

Another angle, from behind the computer. I must state for the record that I absolutely hate that computer, with its Pentium II processor, 64 MB RAM and 6 GB harddisk.

Taken from the door looking at the window, which at the moment of picture taking was already nightime, and only gave the reflection of the door (and my shillouette).

A shot taken before from my window at sunset.

I Give Up! I'm Dependant!

I have to admit defeat.
If only I could persuade my Mac to use my Nokia 6585 as a modem, all would be bliss, and eventually I'd sell my Mac and my Windows laptop and opt for a Powerbook (in like, say, 50 years from now). Well... after numerous searches for modem scripts, and downloading the latest OS version (I'm using Jaguar 10.2.8),... it still doesn't work. All the scripts ever invented are all for GSM phones. So it's either I give up all hopes for ever owning a Powerbook, or I start learning Applescript. Man, I don't even have Javascript, one of the important programming languages of my job, pinned down.
So... I'll have to live with dependency on 2 computers, as long as current technology prevails.

Who knows what will happen in the next 50 years...

Thursday, February 10, 2005

I Don't Know What To Title This Post

I am staring at the keyboard.
I stop.
What is written on the screen comes directly from what I think, as I do not know what else to think, let alone write.

Today i supposedly the traditionally-called "Harpitnas", or roughly translated to National In-Between Day. A day is usually assigned this strange abbreviation when a workday comes in between a national holiday and the weekend. This week, there were two national holidays in a row, on Wednesday and Thursday, and work on Friday, then the weekend. I kind of predicted that the streets would be emptier than usual, as many might opt to coming late to the office, or not come at all, and nobody would blame them. Instead, near the office, there was a traffic jam on this rainy morning, no less. What caused it?
About 100 meters from my office, there's a flyover that runs over the main road of my office, and about 50 motorcycle riders were parking under that bridge to get out of the rain. Since the sheer number of motorcycles involved, they took up half the 2-lane street, hence causing a traffic jam. I looked at the faces, and nobody thought that what they were doing was at the least odd, let alone feel a bit guilty for causing the mess.

Indeed, the rain was coming in bucketfuls today. Last night, right after karaoke with friends, it was raining so hard that we could hardly see the road, so it was a bit difficult to give directions. And even though when I went off my friends' car and got into the house the whole ritual only took about 10 minutes, I was drenched all the way.

Since I spent most of the day at home, downloading updates and software for my Mac, I dozed off a lot in between fiddling with my iTunes playlist and watching DVDs. At least I got the software properly installed, and now I can start working with my Mac again, and all that done before I headed out to go to dinner and karaoke with friends.

I only managed to fall asleep at 2 am, as I couldn't sleep. Something was missing.

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

Be That As It May...

Apparently, the sun is up with all its glory today, as it has been since yesterday. Itunes is generously persuading me to sing through my ever-building collection of digital music. It's on shuffle mode, so there's no telling what will play next, and sometimes it plays songs that I have never even heard (such is the size of my digital music collection). My computer is being unusually receptive and empathic by putting on an endless streams of upbeat and energetic songs from whatever genre there may be in the list. The beat goes in line with the spirit of the new day.

I'm using today to search for some modem scripts for my Mac, so it can use my Nokia 6585 as a modem.... I need to do this so I can download the Mac OS updates.


The other day, the harddisk just crashed, and couldn't be read anymore... and all of my data since 2001 was lost. I haven't really dealt with that right now, but I just went ahead and got a new harddisk and started everything anew. The problem is, I only have the installer for Jaguar 10.2, not the updates up to 10.2.8, so there's a lot of software that I cannot install (hence cannot start working) on the Mac. So far, it truly is only an entertainment centre...

I think that's all I have to say for now. More at lunch later, I'll probably go to Lokananta once some of my downloads are complete.

Monday, February 7, 2005

Gray Streets

The skies outside my window are cloudy, as they often have been lately. It's the rainy season, and so when the wind picks up, the rainclouds come rolling in and execute their sole duty, dropping water from the sky. The colors of the city turn to various shades of gray, places where there are usually spurts of color and life, spoiled by the rays of the bright sun. The tones of the buildings, the sidewalks, and the people merge into variations of gray, blue and the like.

Although the city is located in a tropical area, it is cold inside the building, because of the high-level air-conditioning. The temprature is accentuated by the devoidness of color from outside, and I have to turn on my purposely yellow-colored lamps in my room to give a bit of passion to the walls and furniture. It does a better job than the default fluorescent lighting, which gives everything the whim of inanimaty.

No sounds are coming out of the computer speakers other than new email notifications, nor to I intend to rectify that. Somehow the sombre mood needs to stay in place, and it is ideally accompanied by the sound of silence (plus of course, the standard office background noise).

Through my window, I see the endless stream of traffic, seemingly part of another reality, as when I'm in that stream of traffic, I hear the horns, I feel the heat, and I sense the frustration of the drivers who feel they are never getting where they want to be. I cannot see the drivers now, I feel cold, and I only hear the movement of air from the air-conditioning blower. A new reality sets in, detached from the pressures of ground level.

But what is reality if the facts change time to time? With or without sunlight today, well maybe a little, does the world really seem that strikingly different? Are the colors really faded out, or do my eyes refuse to see their actual colors?

I'm getting up, and I'm making myself a warm cup of hot chocolate, as I have not had breakfast. A little warmth would do.

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Rollercoaster Ride

The past few days defy description; other than being really loaded at work, I had no way of telling what was going on or what I thought or felt, as I only had vague ideas myself.

There were meetings, some of official status, some of casual status; there were appointments, some for work, some for pleasure, some for something I really don't know what it signifies.

What I think this morning may differ from what I think later on in the day; it wholly depends on the situation. Even the situations are distorted, as I see them only through my eyes.

I must be hypnotized.

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Blame It On My Youth

If, I expected love, when first we kissed, blame it on my youth

If only just for you, I did exist, blame it on my youth

I believed in everything

Like a child of three

You meant more than anything

You meant all the world to me

If, you were on my mind, all night and day, blame it on my youth

If, I forgot to eat, and sleep and pray, blame it on my youth

If I cried a little bit, when first I learned the truth

Don't blame it on my heart, blame it on my youth

as sung by Jamie Cullum