Thursday, April 19, 2012

on being bored

You ought not to be bored and you cannot be.
You have music, which you appreciate, books, study;
your whole life lies before you,
and now or never is the time to prepare for it
and save yourself future regrets
A year hence it will be too late.

- from Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy

The Beatles saved the world from boredom, says George Harrison. Indeed. Well, one could spend time planning for the future (a most productive way); one will never run out of things to be ready for. At times though, one could spend a day procrastinating or just sleeping.

The point is one should find something to do. Boredom could just kill you.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

why does she have a dragon tattoo?

I know I have watched a good film when I can't stop thinking about it long after I've watched it. In this case, I have watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo yesterday afternoon. Several times I've opened this laptop to write something about it, and several times I did not start. It felt like my thoughts here, as written, would not capture how much I appreciated the film.

I started watching DVDs of Oscars-nominated films, among others, since vacation started. I haven't watched all of them yet, but I doubt I'd enjoy another more than I did with The Girl. I will try to give structure to this post of why I love the film because now I feel like writing details all at once.

I watched the film without any idea of what kind of a film it is, save for the short synopsis at the back cover of the DVD. It was a blessing; I expected nothing of the film, so the film gave me more, much more, than I expected.

The film left my mind working from the beginning until the end. It's the kind of story where you can't figure out what will happen next, although what happens next is not per se shocking. Still, the story maintained the mystery until the end. Definitely, this film is not for relaxing; it's for stimulating.

Actually, it feels like watching a book. (I have not read the book.) It has intricacies that one finds in a book, as well as metaphorical details. Watching the film seems like flipping pages of a book, and the characters are coming into life. I particularly noticed the language of Henrik Vanger. It's very poetic.

What I found really interesting about the film is its dysfunctional world, like the dysfunctional Kick-Ass world. I was drawn to its dysfunctional characters. It has (1) a dedicated male journalist convicted of libel who lives an adulterous life; (2) a girl with facial piercings and multiple tattoos who is a ward of the state for being incompetent but is a genius and a computer hacker; a guardian who rapes his ward; and a whole family whose every member is damaged one way or another.

With characters who really have characters, I guess a good story naturally follows. It starts with a retired CEO Henrik Vanger hiring the libel-convicted journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to investigate the murder of his niece Harriet, which took place 40 years ago. Talk about obsession. The murder took place in an island which the family owns and where only family members live. To Henrik's mind, Harriet was slain by the hands of a Vanger.

Mikael started investigating each member of the wealthy Vanger family, under the guise of writing a memoir for the retired Henrik Vanger. The whole town, a small one, though knows that he is investigating the disappearance of Harriet. In my view, the town is creepy in itself. Everybody knows everybody, and a stranger is so easy to spot. So the investigation went on. Eventually, he sought the help of Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a very good researcher/investigator, having a talent in hacking and a probing mind.

The central characters of the story, Mikael and Lisbeth, were an unlikely "dynamic duo". Together, they tried to solve the mystery of Harriet. Interestingly, they are led by Leviticus bible verses, written by Harriet in a notebook, which are hardly inspirational; in fact, the verses describe ways of violently "punishing" wrongdoers, female wrongdoers. Imagine an ancient cruel punishment in modern-day life. It must have felt right to the punisher, feeling backed up by ancient wisdom. The deeper the investigation goes, the more twisted the family becomes. There are different layers of mud.

Another story line in The Girl is a look in Lisbeth's life. She has been a ward of the state since 12, and a problem ward at that. She's living alone, independently, and never really connected with anyone, except maybe for her old guardian (prior to the rapist) who unfortunately suffered brain damage. She's a brilliant investigator, noticing minute details, even in photos; she'll probably notice a change in fabric even in leather furniture repair. She's unsociable, independent, and violent, if provoked. Her dragon tattoo probably breathes the fire, and the fury, she feels inside. She feels no remorse in torturing a person if he deserves it. She's definitely damaged. And all that she is at this point is perhaps a cry for help.

Through the course of the investigation, Lisbeth found a friend in Mikael. How she expressed her appreciation to this new concept of "connection" to a person is very unorthodox. Their friendship is unorthodox.

As the story unfolds, more and more, I feel empathy toward Lisbeth, but never for Mikael. Mikael's battle is for restoring his reputation as a journalist, although there seemed to be no attempt to fix his personal life. On the contrary, there seemed to be a glimpse of hope to Lisbeth's reclusive life when she finally made one friend.

The next question is whether the story has a happy ending.

Friday, April 13, 2012

summer sun

No one will contest, it's very HOT this summer! But I dare not complain, I've been looking forward to this season. This is a time to rest and to have fun. The scorching heat of the sun is just a minor setback, although it would be great if it'll be a little less hot. What the heck. At least we're more likely to lose weight due to more sweating rather than due to diet pills (which could be harmful, you know,

I received texts from friends now and then complaining of the heat, and usually, it is associated with hell. haha. I couldn't disagree. But I guess, it's a sign we should go to the beach, or even to a swimming pool, or to somewhere "cool".

Or we should just go the mall. Or to movie houses. Or to restaurants. Or to Starbucks.

The summer sun is telling me to, "hey, start enjoying the summer!"

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

moving on

Sometimes the movies got it right or they just get into you.

People my age, at some points in their lives, inevitably feel left alone, or left out. The idea just gets into your head that all the people around you have moved on, everyone, except you. People keep on marrying each other or just fathering children. Invitations to weddings and christenings and first birthdays become regular, and you are always the invited. Everyone's smiling faces are on Facebook. And you are just stuck waiting for "true" love.

People my age, at some points in their lives, inevitably feel a failure. Everyone has a stable career, got promoted once or twice or three times, sent here and there, and just keeps getting up the career ladder. Everyone just keeps on buying brand new cars, staying in condos, and looking ahead. In the future, these people would be worrying about spa covers, sagging skin, and where to go next, while you are just starting a new life. Everyone's resumes are on LinkedIn. And you are just stuck chasing your "dream".

But you should feel these bad vibes only at some point in your lives, not go on living life feeling bitter, and lost, and desperate. You are not stuck in a pointless life; you are pursuing something more. Someday, probably, you will also see yourselves moving on, finally moving forward.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I know I am not a fool, although I feel exactly like one. In some ways, I knew something not good will happen to me this day. It's just so dramatic, and pathetic, that today is April fools' day.

I lost two phones today, an iPhone 4s and an old Nokia phone which I've been using for years. These two phones both have values, one economic and one sentimental. And I never thought I'd lose them both at the same time.

I don't know if this happens to all people who've been victims of theft, but I am now thinking of all the things that if I had done, I wouldn't have lost my phones. For example, I shouldn't have gone to mass today, since it's been several weeks already since my last time. I mean why did I have the urge to go to church today? Second, I should have taken a taxi because I was feeling lazy to commute (I am positive it's the guy beside me in the jeepney), but jeepneys were much accessible and practical at that time and area. Third, I should have left my phones at home, as I always do when I go to church with family. There are just so many things that could have happened that could lead me out of that "wrong place, wrong time" situation, unless I was meant to be there.

Some said it's better that I did not notice that my bag was being slashed. For sure, I will fight back. Why should I not? I've taken good care of that 4s. I never laid it anywhere without a hanky or something soft to avoid scratches. Besides, stealing is just plain wrong. So they said that if I had fought for that phone, the slash would be in my body, not in my bag. Still, I could have bought an slr camera from that, or pay my house rent, or just keep my phone. That phone had been very useful in law school and in my other interests (music, books).

I am thinking of two things right now. First, maybe he badly needs the money to survive. Second, maybe I'd see him someday on news report, DEAD. I wish it's the latter.