Sunday, May 22, 2005

Baptism of Fire

When you are in a new university you must remember that you are entering another universe altogether. This is a piece of advice I have learned the hard way because I rush into things with blind enthusiasm and naivete. Falling flat on one's face or slamming straight into a wall of humiliation are distinct posibilities.

In another universe there are new planetary arrangments, new constellations and laws of nature that may or may not coincide with one's already known ideational realm. One cannot assume the same rules, norms and habits apply. To an extent, one cannot take for granted that certain things are already understood in School C when plenty of experience on these things have already been learned and imbibed in Schools A and B.

So of course it is absolutely shocking, shocking! when in School C, where I am a newbie, I am expected to explain to my students why I gave them failing marks. It is not enough that I have assiduously explained to them my course requirements and the percentages on the very first day of class. It is not enough that I have given them back the results of their written and oral work. It is not enough that, similar to a mother hen, I have constantly reminded them of their obligations. It is not enough that where English is the standard medium of teaching and communication, I encourage use of Filipino to those who are not linguistically gifted.

Like an errant school-child I am summoned, Summoned! by my boss to come to the department as swiftly as can be humanly done to explain myself and my decisions. A Horror of horrors has happened, 11 students failed in a class of 27. Gasp. And so, exhausted and semi-conscious from a 10-hour/6-day work week in the past 5 weeks, I drag myself to a caucus of students and boss. In the power-point presentation of my head "Diploma Mill" and "No Academic Freedom" and "No Academic Integrity" flash alternately in big, bold colors.

The Boss is calm and collected. The students are solemn and in deep thought (something most of them have never exhibited in class). The Boss speaks to me in measured tones. These are graduating students. Some of them have already been accepted in graduate schools. Higher administration is breathing down my neck. Parents are a pack of wolves biting at my heels. Save me. I want to give everyone a fair chance and protect your academic integrity and standards. We can say we've done everything humanly possible to accomodate all parties involved. I feel ashamed for having to ask you this. I apologize. Do you agree to giving them another crack at the finals? I promise nothing like this will happen again. This I do solemnly swear. Amen.

What can I, a lowly peon, do when my superior so humbles himself for me? I say yes. Another exam it is. If the borderline cases prove themselves come Monday, then 4or 5 should be on the road to salvation. And I? Well let's just say, the more I age, the more I compromise.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

More Random Bitchiness

I disliked this film.

It wants to be an intelligent and important film. It is not.

Its a movie. And so, its a make-believe story. It is well-directed and edited yes. The supporting cast is impeccable. You can tell an actor is great when he makes a memorable performance out of a not too well elaborated character. Jeremy Irons rocks.

The film studio spent lots of money for the elaborate sets and it shows, yes. They could have chosen brighter coloring though, but they wanted a "dark" film. The blue hues don't make Orlando Bloom a better thespian. Heck, even Edward Norton "acting" in that silver mask did a better performance than our Legolas. I want my blonde elf back. This role was better suited to someone like Viggo Mortensen for example. And yes, Kingdom of Heaven is too "LOTR-ish." The battle scenes were taken straight out of Two Towers. Blech.

Another thing I don't like about sensitive "stories" like this is it simplifies complex events in history with trademark Hollywood story-telling. The power Hollywood films is that many people in the world who get to see this film will think its an accurate rendering of something that happend almost a thousand years ago.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Random Bitchiness

Oh how the mighty have fallen. My malevolence for this particular woman was so great that one evening while the boyfriend and I were on the way home on that flyover on the EDSA-Quezon Avenue intersection, I turned off the lights on her Bench billboard. Yes. I was safely in the car driving, but the sheer venom of my "I absolutely abhor that woman" strangely coincided with the lights on said billboard (showcasing her artificially enlarged breasts) going out! I shit you not.

Why do I abhor her? Aside from the fact that she has cheapened her parents' legacy (especially her father's), she is the quintessential media whore. She sells her life to anyone who cares to purchase. Such a waste for someone who is purportedly smart.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Machinist is one of those few films which remind you that moving pictures on the screen are still works of art. Visually striking and thought provoking, each and every frame in Ben Anderson's masterpiece is beautifully shot it looks as though you were looking at a series of forehead-creasing paintings.

The narrative is taught as a string you find you need to relax those muscles you've been clenching for the last few scenes. This is a horror movie. Probably the most-talked about aspect of this film is lead actor Christian Bale's "horrific" transformation. He lost 63 pounds to play the role of a man who hasn't slept in a year method-acting-insane-a-la-Daniel Day Lewis convincingly. He doesn't need to act, just looking at his Holocaust-survivor body is excruciating enough.

In the end, the film's resolution, and ultimately the whole story, is simple enough. Although it may look as though Bale's Trevor Reznik is on a down-ward spiral to hell, this is about a man's journey to salvation.

Monday, May 02, 2005

My dog Rune gave birth to 5 cute lil pups about a month ago. Here they are! We haven't named them yet. We're waiting to see til they exhibit a little bit of their personalities. I personally like the one at the back. He likes following me around.

This is the only dark-colored one among the bunch. Cute lil rascal.

This one's the biggest and fattest. Probably because she gets to her mum's teats the fastest. I'm inclined to call her "Dagul." Hehe.

We can't possibly keep all 5 pups, so we'll be needing nice people to bathe, feed and care for them. Anyone interested to take one? Please leave a message. Thanks!