Vigil

Before the year ended, another godson, my constant chess opponent, presented me with an alternative to television. He loaned me the CD-ROM version of the HBO series Game of Thrones, all four seasons for my viewing pleasure.

“I have a lot of work,” I said plainly. “I’ll probably watch it later if I still possess the energy to open my eyes.”

“I have a lot of questions, Ninong,” he confided. “I am sure you could answer them when you’re finished with all the episodes.”

“You understand English, don’t you? What’s the matter?”

“Yes, but I have trouble following the dialogues.”

“I see.”  Nuances could be tricky.

I could tell that he was very interested. His enthusiasm showed on his boyish face.

“I will check it out during my break.”

Frankly, I was as ignorant as my neighbors about the series. Even though I was online most of the time I was not too keen to preview even the short clips on YouTube. I was more of a music video enthusiast.

I went back to the house to take a quick peek.

After screening the first episode of season one, I was glad I was spared watching the spoilers online. I felt a sense of heightened suspense, not knowing what would come next as the story unfolded. It was riveting.

Instantly, I decided to stop my field work. I had ten hours on my hands: everything went on hold. 🙂

I was not surprised why the series earned a large following. It possessed all the drama and mystique of a great legend.

I have not read the books yet. I am aware that most adaptations somewhat veered away from the original, with the author’s blessings, of course. Still, the core of the story was intact.

Like my godson, I have questions, certain matters that needed straightening out. For starters, in the first episode, how did one of the rangers escape the White Walker? My guess: cowardice could be the answer.

I am hooked so I am waiting for the fifth season installments. 🙂

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Conceive

A new day has begun. 🙂

Since I have always been a James Bond avid film viewer, I like this video to set the tone for today.

This is one of my favorites. 😀

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Crossover

Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds. But back in the mid 80s, we were given a taste of what would become of our relationship with machines.

Got me thinking then if it could be possible.

What do you think? 😀

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Parted

There are events in our lives that so often leave us stuck. When the uneasy pause keeps us from moving on with our lives.

Saying goodbye is one of the most difficult thing to do. I had done it a lot of times but each time the feelings linger on, haunting me as if all those people I separated with are always still here with me.

It had never been a simple act to accomplish. And, I wish I will never be saying goodbye to anyone at all. Again.

I am not a person easy to shed a tear. This segment in the film Armageddon makes me every time.

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Censored

I ‘accidentally’ stopped by a neighbor’s house one time when I chanced upon the re-showing of the movie Titanic. There was an SRO crowd so I joined in to savor once more that romantic feeling.

One of the viewers was an old lady who was a long-lost relative from Manila and an important guest of the house. She sat in the middle, surrounded by children and teens who were more fascinated with her seeming resemblance to the actress portraying old Rose in the movie.

All eyes were utterly glued to the small screen, keeping noise to a minimum.

Surely, the old lady had probably watched the film before that before the middle of the film went underway, she waved to the head of the house and asked him to approach her. Their hushed conversation was short and quick.

“We have a brief intermission,” he announced, pausing the viewing that surprised the crowd.

“Children, please go to the kitchen and check the kettle,” she ordered politely. “Put the water in the bucket and mix it with cold water.”

You know the younger generation these days, some would follow immediately while others would relegate chores to younger ones. The command from a guest provoked a mild chaos of small voices.

I decided to intervene and persuaded the non-adults to troop out of the living room. With a nod to the old lady, we had a non-verbal understanding on what had to be done.

They were an unruly lot but I delayed their chore as long as possible.

When we came back, the showing continued. It had ‘skipped’ to the safer part.

One of the teenagers remarked, “Where’s the scene where they are …”

Quicker to quell another issue, I eyed the teen and shook my head. The message was clear: No more questions.

He interpreted what I did not say but meant. He never said a word after that.

After the viewing, with all the non-household spectators gone, the old lady approached me before I left. She was grateful.

“Thank you for what you have done,” she held my hand firmly.

“It’s nothing,” I replied, a bit embarrassed. “You are a guest. We respect your presence.”

She smiled brightly. “You are wise.”

Of course, I did not mention to her that the children had already seen the movie several times. It would be a cruel thing to spoil her experience that night.

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Shock Treatment

I was politely asked to babysit a godchild last week because of a long story I’d relate in another post. 🙂

So, to pass the time while the small child played to the max before sleeping, I amused myself by turning the DVD player on. Since I had watched almost all the available titles on the rack, I was surprised to discover that the original Japanese version of The Ring was on hand.

Watching a movie without subtitles is not my usual fare. You have to second guess where the story led to. Similar films in the genre provide more visual content that the foreign dialogues are somewhat irrelevant to understand what’s going on.

(To those of you who have not seen the American version, it about some kind of a curse you get after watching a particular VHS taped movie. The following telephone call you receive will mark your last seven days before your horrible death. Chilling, huh?)

Comparing the two versions is like comparing an apple with an orange. Which is which? Unfortunately, I cannot expertly distinguish the cinematic difference between them. But what I do know is that they both engaged me with suspenseful entertainment,

(On my scare scale of 10, both films are 5. A movie with the rate of ten in my personal standard will give me sleepless nights.)

It is interesting to note how the belief in one phenomenon can cross continents without losing much of the theme’s appeal to different audiences. I guess we love to be scared once in a while.

Or, do you?

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Failure

When you get bored, especially when you’re offline, you naturally look for alternatives to get entertained. For me, my best option is to watch a movie.

I remember one time when I watched a Keannu Reeves’ film titled Constantine. Most of you might have seen it. For those who didn’t, it’s about a chain smoker guy who styled himself as some sort of an exorcist. He was a former suicide survivor, who needed salvation by saving as many souls as possible from the clutches of evil.

Oh well, this is not a movie review. I was really interested in that segment where Keannu’s character held a cat in his hands while looking directly to its eyes. His bare feet were submerged in a basin filled with water. His real objective was to make the cat’s eyes became his eyes in hell, where he tried to locate the soul of a woman who was said to have committed suicide.

Cool idea! That’s why because of boredom, I tried to copy that same scene with my cat. I suppose I wanted to see Hell myself if it was really Hell and not some burning valley of garbage dump in the city.

Because of my cat’s uncooperative behavior, my experiment was delayed until it was midnight, Swell. The perfect time to try a sinister operation.

I may not look like Keannu Reeves but more like Keannu Ribs. I followed the ritual to the letter.

Concentration was the key, I reminded myself. Even though my cat resisted the role, it seemed satisfied to look me in the eyes and try to please my foolishness with its cooperation.

Then it began. The winds outside howled as if a powerful being exhaled. I felt my hair raised though I resisted stopping the ritual. I was ready for anything that might happen.

I thought I saw my cat’s irises narrowed like in the film. Any minute then and I could see what horrors I did not expect.

While the sound of the wind grew louder, suddenly everything went dark.

I got really nervous because my cat was alarmed. It tried to wriggle out from my firm grips. I could feel its claws scraping my skin.

“Is this Hell?” I shouted at the top of my lungs.

Someone passing by outside yelled, “Yes! Damn blackout again!”

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Bombed

I always like the season of mangoes especially when it falls before the arrival of the rains. Summer will not be complete without the succulent fruit served in every meal of the day.

But other creatures eagerly await the ripening of the fruits. Different types of birds eat while they rest on trees. The most notorious of all are the crows. These black birds will eat any fruit in the vicinity if they so wish.

With the abundance of fruits, perhaps anyone has its own share of Nature’s bounty. For me, this is acceptable if only one eats and gets it over with in peace. This is not the case with bats.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate them because of what they are.  I totally dislike their clumsy behavior at night.

You see, my neighbor has this big mango tree beside my house. (Mine are planted further away.) At night, when the bats come to feed, they are not a problem. However, when they do decide to fly out from the tree with a fruit clutched with their claws, often they release the fruit without abandon, especially when they are disturbed by external noises.

There was one time I was watching a movie titled The Grudge, a suspense horror flick. (As usual I wanted it dark when I watch horror movies because it added more elements of excitement through the viewing.) During that segment when the caregiver was about to discover what was up in the attic, I was riveted on my seat, waiting for what was about to happen.

Then, kabog! kabog! The succeeding sounds of mangoes falling on the tin roof diverted my concentration away from the movie. The nuisances spoiled the fluidity of my viewing pleasure.

I went outside with a slingshot knowing it was a long shot to target the two-foot-span winged creatures. I felt the thought of revenge was futile anyway.

Oh, by the way, the bats are called kabog in the Ilonggo dialect.  It is no coincidence that the landing sound of their bombs spells the same.  They leave their signature behind.  😀

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Like A Child

I was in front of the computer one day, doing revisions to one of my manuscripts when a godchild of mine knocked on my window. He used to do that when he wanted a favor.

I needed the rest, too. So, I went outside to inquire what he wanted.

He asked me to explain to him what the movie Spirit: The Stallion of the Cimarron was about. Being 10, he started to get acquainted with more meaningful animated films. Frankly, he has the knack of choosing quality films.

I like Tom and Jerry cartoons during my childhood for the simple reason that actions speak louder than words.. But that was it. I gravitated to local films because I could not understand then the English language.

I was impressed to see how animation had gone a long way since watching the Disney movies of old. The graphics had improved by leaps and bounds.

The child in me was awakened that day.

What better way to give a movie all the hallmarks of popularity than use great actors as voice overs, a superb soundtrack and a great story. DreamWorks know its business.

Matt Damon’s voice for the main character, Spirit, is exact and effective. He led the viewers follow Spirit’s journey with anticipation.

Bryan Adams, who has sung other film soundtracks before, use his mellow and husky voice to croon us with songs that evoke of sentimentality, joy and triumph. And with perfectly-timed background music, the film never gives its viewers a dull moment.

Overall, this animated film is highly-recommended. With parents and children watching together, the lessons of love, loyalty, perseverance, hope, friendship and never-say-die attitude will be taught in a very adventurous way.

I felt I enjoyed the film more as an adult. Or as an adult thinking like a child.

Happy viewing!

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