Saturday, September 13, 2014

Spiritual Healing: The Road To Inner Peace

I believe that the body is a temple.  I believe that the first step to self-destruction is when you allow physical matter to corrupt your body.  Then the mind and heart follow.  In no particular order.  Just, the physical part is clear to me.  

For the past few weeks I had succumbed to the lowest of temptations, peer pressure.  You may think it's nothing fancy, but it all comes full circle when you give it an opening.  The alcohol until seven in the morning, and all the other crazy stuff that come with it.  All due to peer pressure.  There is that popular adage "Kung ayaw, may dahilan.  Kung gusto, may paraan".  "If you don't want to, you could always reason out.  If you want to, you can always find a way."  And I admitted to myself half of the time that I was weak.  In that, I gave in.  When I could have walked away.  Or, waved a stick.  Or threatened with my pepper spray.  But I simply thought that there was no risk.  That I was going to be fine.  

Mind you, I thought that last week alone probably cost me four years of my life in the grand scheme of things.  Or if my father found out what I had been up to, consider my life over.  It was time, I thought, to shape up.  My mind and heart were turning black.  I thought that I was finally sick in the head when, even to the anonymity of cyberspace, if it ever existed, I could not "shout it out".  It was then that I caught myself red-handed.  Of lying.  To myself.  The truth was, I was not going to be okay with this,  That I was, for a few days, riding on a high, and then finally came crashing down the cold, hard, concrete floor.  

I realized it was pretty simple.  I just needed to be honest.  To myself.  I mean, who cared about the rest of the world?  I just needed to learn to fulfill my own promises.  It took me a very long time to learn to say no to worldly luxuries that probably cost my father a fortune.  And now I am trying to say no to other things that could ruin the soul.  One at a time.  

I think that's pretty much the only formula to spiritual healing.  Do not lie to the self.  So when I said I'd jog, I grabbed my keys, locked the door, and ran.  It was 1 am but my god, it was good.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Goodie Bag 02: Fun For The Whole Family

I remember when I was reading Nana* and one of the group's pass-time favorite was Mahjong.  I thought, well now, that's really cool.  And it is.  I love mahjong.  Not to a crazy extent (like some people I know... ahem.) but I always wished that one day I could have a mahjong set.  My grandfather who taught us the game passed on this beautiful set of real ivory pieces.  I have three other sisters, and one of us in our drunken college days must have lost the entire set to some random person, because we can't find it anywhere now.  And I know it's probably breaking my mother's heart that it's lost, but I decided I'd definitely own one- one like my grandfather had, something that could be passed on and hopefully my grandchildren will take good care of.

Not that I'm encouraging gambling or anything.  It's just that these games have a special place in my childhood memories.  My father also introduced us to the game of poker, so I learned it when I was very young.  We don't play it often, and I don't gamble.  My boyfriend loves poker.  So I'm thinking, a good addition to the perfect entertainment when I become host to our own little household is... Poker chips! 

I learned to play mahjong at around eight years old.  I learned to play poker when I was twelve, I think.  But I'll buy a Monopoly set for my kids so I can play with them even when they're six.  My boyfriend loves the more "adult" version, Monopoly Deal, which is faster and more compact.  But kids love the tokens and the play money.  Let them have that.

And the ultimate entertainment platform that will probably cost me more than I can chew: The Air Hockey Table.  Because not only will it be expensive, but it will need its own space.  But if I can give my kids this much, wouldn't they be so cool among their friends though?  Haha.  Granted, they can probably enjoy that in their teens so I have a lot of time to save up and prepare for that.  I mean, it's not like that's the only goal I'd have to accommodate.  

There are the more educational purchases like the music instruments and stuff.  So put these in the back burner.  But that mahjong set though...

*Nana- a manga by Yazawa Ai

Weekend Report 16: More Reasons

I'm thinking if my approach on the subject was entirely objective.  Maybe, but I can't say there was no bias.  My day off was supposedly spent like normal.  I had one of the not-too-shitty weeks, but, almost in the notch of shitty.  Just barely grazing that shitty level.  My body was pretty worn out and I needed that house cleaning action to stretch the muscles and clear my head.  Except that my boyfriend told me to send a package immediately and long of the short goes, I made my way to Makati in a cab at 3 pm, where I ended up stuck in a traffic jam five minutes to my destination when huge clumps of water dropped from the sky.  By the time I got to his sister (who was to take the package) it was raining bucketloads.  And as a friend of mine once said, Manila traffic: just add water.  

I decided to go home immediately, as I could not do anything in Makati in this awful, awful, awful weather.  But it was the end of the month and I had no money.  I opted for the train.  As if it was really an option.  Then of course the expected happened.  The train had some problem and a gazillion people were lined up in the station and it was suffocating and sweat-smelling and hot.  I decided to wait the rush hour out.  Then again, I didn't even have money to buy me time.  So I just walked around the mall complex, window-shopping with no cash and much to my dismay.  I thought to just burn out my credit to zero to do my groceries there.  At least I'd crossed one chore off the list of productive things to do rather than plain window-shopping/ torture.  With the bag of groceries in one hand, I tried to get a cab.  All around the mall still a thousand people were in lines for the cabs that surprisingly disappeared because it was a Friday.  And oh, because it was still raining.  When I thought to go back to the train, the lines were even longer than ever and the air all misty and heavy around them.  I looked around for a cab again, and believe it, I was crying.  I just wanted to go home!  I was tired, and wanted to spend my day off like a normal person.  Why was this taken away from me and why was I suffering like a citizen who had no roof over her head and a bed to lay on at a time when it was raining and my body was weary???!!!

I did manage to get a cab, finally.  I will mention that the cabbie asked for an additional PHP 50, to which I no longer argued, but checked my money and had to pay him all my friggin' coins.  We did spend an hour on EDSA road and I was hoping all my coins would fit the bill.  It did.  But I gave him all of it.  Every single cent.

That was my day, gone.  I wanted to cry.  I hated this place.  I hated Manila.  And I wondered why my friends could never leave this place.  I hated that I had to live from paycheck to paycheck.  I hated that I had to wait up to the minute to get my money before I could do anything.  I hated that money dictated how I had to go home.  

I just had to wait it out, I guess.  Let me have that service charge, goddammit.  

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

After-Work Priorities of a 27-Year Old Geek S02E05

And of course I ended up watching all the interviews and press conferences related to Rurouni Kenshin and their premiere in the Philippines.  Until 6 AM.  I have to go to work in five hours.  My geekiness will be the death of me.

Takei Emi was so shy - She was absolutely adorable it was as if you wanted to put her in your pocket. @_@

Takeru Satoh is just too cool about the whole thing- badass like the main actor he is.

Then there's Munetaka Aoki.  Who wore slippers to not only the premier, but to the press conference as well.

Many of the interviewers noted that Munetaka Aoki was very much like the character he played- Sanosuke Sagara.  When asked if he was indeed similar to his character, he answered with "I hope so, but not so stupid".

Honestly, the slippers got me.  Hands down that is the most awesome thing to wear to a red carpet premiere.

After-Work Priorities of a 27-Year Old Geek S02E04

Let's begin with "before-work priorities".  First thing I did when I woke up today was get online and purchase a ticket to the movie.  Thank the gods I have credit-card purchasing abilities now! I encountered a long line when the first movie was released so I wanted to skip that this time.

Okay so I still felt bad at not having gone to the red carpet release with the cast when they came all the way from Japan to the movie premiere in the country.  My chef life did not permit me to be so lavish with my otaku-ness.  I mean, I wasn't crazy for the actors or anything, but I was, and forever will be, a fangirl of this franchise so attending the red carpet thing counted as support for all things RK.  I don't know how I could have felt.  Things like this have an element of surprise, like the first movie aired and at the first three minutes I was crying.  Just for seeing the story come to life like that.  I was overcome with complete happiness.  I didn't cry this time.  Fangirling aside- and from a totally objective point of view- I'll recount the after-work events as they happened.

I was already working beyond the sane count of working hours for the day, and I was worried that I would miss the movie.  Of course that wasn't really going to happen, boss.  I mean, I already bought a ticket and I've already worked two hours extra for charity.  I did make it on time, but was greeted with a throng of geeks in line for the movie.  It was a Wednesday, and it was the last show at 10:30 in the evening, and this lot was still here for a friggin' niche movie.

I did want a selfie with the tarpaulin.  But all the kiddos were there with their monopods.  Or with their friends taking pictures of them.  The first time, I asked a security guard to take my picture.  This time there were no loitering security guards in sight, and the kiddos just wouldn't leave the damn tarp!  The problems of going to an 'event' alone.  Without the monopod.  The advantage of going alone was that I did find a good seat.  That single seat that all the others couldn't take because they had friends and dates with them.  Ha.  

Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno  
-A Review-

Let's make this short.  I'm kind of sleepy.  But I thought I should share my thoughts on this movie.  

(By the way, while I was at work, my sister called me to ask if I'd already seen it.  She was clearly giddy on the other side of the phone.  She had just seen it herself and felt she couldn't post on facebook for fear of giving away spoilers that could ruin any of her friends' lives.  So she needed someone to fangirl with.  But I had not seen it that time, and it was dinner service to boot.)

I actually ran all the way home to contain the adrenaline that rushed from watching the movie.  EYE CANDY.  I could always overlook the sweaty looks everyone had - why is this movie always set in the summer or something?  Right when the roads are all dusty and they're sweating and their kimonos are sticking to their necks like it's the most uncomfortable thing and you want to scrub them down and give them a good bath?

Back to EYE CANDY.  The fight choreography was superb, and I think it was even better than the first movie in that aspect.  They toned down on the slow-mos and just let loose on the martial arts as if they happened in real time- with godlike speed.  Like I said, real.  That if you actually saw Aikido videos (knowing that Aikido was a martial art originally created to be practiced by samurai who have accidentally lost their swords during battle but could still take on ten people at one time) you'd mentally say "sugoi" in almost every scene.  I wouldn't say that word out loud, like, I'm no weeaboo.  But when the signature battojutsu came at the most awesome moments, I couldn't help but whisper "kakkoii".  (I couldn't find a screen cap of it,  but for non-manga readers, it's every time Kenshin did this: )

Actors, Acting, Casting, and everything in between.  I still think Takeru Satoh as Kenshin was cast perfectly for the role.  And how he must have improved physically with all the training he had for doing this role TWICE?  I was reminded of other great shounen heroes like Luffy of One Piece, and Goku of Dragonball.  There are certain types of heroes that are written off to be just so awesome from the start, that their coolness is oozing from page to page and no backstory is necessary to root for them.  They're not underdogs for the most part.  They're just really badass.  But when the authors give them an equally compelling back story, their character values just blow off the roof.  Kenshin is like that.  And I think the way he was written for the movie with Takeru Satoh in mind was exactly how I pictured Kenshin would be off the pages.  

We have Sanosuke, played by Munetaka Aoki, who is ever the source for comic relief.  At first I didn't think he looked the part, but after the first movie I was convinced there could also be no other actor for this role.  And seeing him wear slippers with his suit to the movie premiere (through youtube of course, since *sigh* I never got to see them personally), I thought this guy was totally wacko and perfect for the part.  The bromance in the movie was present, although I wouldn't have minded if there were more.  

And, this being the Kyoto Arc, let's talk about Shishio.  

Played by Fujiwara Tatsuya.  Yep.  This guy. More popularly known as the one who played Yagami Light of Death Note.  

No doubt he's an experienced actor, and considering his past roles, I think he didn't have a hard time portraying the misguided Shishio.  Well, the second part of the movie is yet to be released so, more of him until then.

Speaking of misguided, how about Aoshi and his out-of-context obsession with Kenshin?  I don't remember if it was this mismatched in the manga (no, I don't think so), but the way Aoshi's scenes were edited in the middle of all other parts of the movie made his parts to be somewhat of a joke- when I believe Nobuhiro Watsuki intended Aoshi's fight to be one of the major parts to the Kyoto arc.  Aoshi was not mentioned in the first film, which I think is a flaw that they had a hard time covering up for in the second movie.  Aoshi was just too important to miss on the first part of the story, and having him appear out of nowhere with this misguided blood lust for Kenshin as some sort of childish revenge when everybody else was seriously fighting for a greater cause (of national importance) became a bit hilarious.  Even if his retribution will be given at the second installment, I don't think the movie production can save what was lost- and that was, Aoshi and his oniwabanshu.

The "Half" dialogue.  Was a dialogue that barely was, but created a deep impact in both anime and manga.  This scene was really funny as a whole when the author wrote it, because it showed that an honest character such as Kenshin could be so direct about his feelings regarding this matter.  

And I think the movie did this scene justice, despite changing the setting a bit.  Of course, because apparently they held out on- wait, SPOILER- Hiko Seijuro's appearance until the very last minute of the movie.  When the camera moved to a mysterious person's feet, and slowly panned to show a man with a very large frame, I wanted to scream inside the movie house, IT'S HIKO, EVERYONE!  REJOICE!  THE MOVIE DID NOT LEAVE HIM OUT AFTER ALL!  How could I have almost believed that the movie would take the risk of leaving him out?  He was one of the coolest characters in the story, even with his minute role.  

And now that I've seen him, I can sleep well tonight, and wait patiently for the next installment.  This movie did not disappoint.  Haters gonna hate, but so far I haven't seen any.  We're all just fanboys and fangirls in this part of the world.  I mean, that's why the producers chose to have the premiere and red carpet thing here in the Philippines, after all.  

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