Monday, December 15, 2003

Tanjobi Omedeto

Having existed exactly 24 years in this little rock called Earth, I'm compelled to write something about that I guess. However, I've accumulated so many observations, thoughts, and what-have-yous over the past week, so I'm not dedicating this obligatory post exclusively to my birthday.

Oops, staff meeting...I'll be back.

Ok, I'm back. It's funny that our staff meeting is like a high school or college lecture...losta noisy students in the background, and the prof is about to have a stroke from the inattentive youngins.. of course, I'm always the quiet one, not necessarily paying attention myself though. Just doodling and scribbling away, making some pathetic attempt at art.

Hoo boy, Iam 24 years old. I feel like a little older, a little wiser, and a little fatter. Wiser because I've learned some of the ropes of being married for a year as well. We celebrated our anniversary/birthdays at the Holiday Inn (formerly the Galleria Suites) at Ortigas. The selection consisted of KFC and Pizza Hut, yummy. Pics can be found here. Anyways, I actually don't have any profound or thought-provoking insights about my birthday. Maybe I should be grateful to the Unseen Force Above for bring alive for another year, so thanks, God :-)

Other that....hmmmmm.... I'm honestly at a loss as to what can be said....

Ok, on to other things. Limp Bizkit's latest album, Results May Vary is definitely growing on me. Now this band is the exception to my preference for generally (pseudo) cerebral rock. I like my rock heavy yet intelligent. Sometimes the Bizkit can be pretty heavy on the testosterone and bling-bling, but somehow, it's something that's OK by me....but I would have crucified Kid Rock for. But they can definitely balance out the tough shit with their more soulful and heartfelt stuff, especially with this album. I can say that they haven't lost their touch. Their new guy Mike Smith is great with the guitars. He's nicely filled in the vacuum left by ol' Wes. His style is awesome because he can provide the essential crunch to the Limp's sound, but it's all original....and Mike's pretty sweet with his acoustic work too. Basically, he's not trying to be a clone of Wes Borland, which is a good thing. Don't get me wrong though, Wes is a great musician in his own right, and his riffs has most definitely define the Bizkit sound during his time. I'll miss him, his guitar work helped establish the band as a landmark in rap-metal...before all the other cookie cutter acts came along (Hi Papa Roach!). I mean, Wes' stuff contributed to Limp's greatest songs (oops, I nearly typed the word "hits" instead, which is cheesy and cliche ). By the way, is it just me, or has John Otto become more of a kickass drummer?? Geez, is that double bass I hear? Sweet...although I dunno for sure since I don't play the drums.

This band can churn out stadium/arena songs that you can slam to, but also stuff you can wave your lighter to, all in one album. My only gripe is that they put a lot more acoustic/sensitive songs than the moshpit ones, not to mention less of DJ lethal's turntables . But that's just me nitpicking. Which reminds me, they were supposed to come here, but cancelled a couple of days before the scheduled date. Leche, sayang talaga. Eh kung si Mandy Moore nga hindi natakot pumunta dito...di makabasag pinggan istura non. Sila Fred Mukhang bandido!!! Haaaay...

Movie Review: Black Rain. I've just read Roger Ebert's review of this movie. I'm crushed because he only gave it 2 out of 4, which makes it pretty much in the middle....or mediocre. I greatly respect Ebert's views on cinema, being an established movie critic. He's witty, insightful, and often funny. In this case, however, I beg to disagree; I immensly enjoyed the film. I have a thing for international oriental thrillers. It's all about East-meets-West, baby. There's just something about how a Gaijin sees Japan, either finding it as totally alien, or those types that have adapted to the culture so much so that they're practically a native (the thought of a stereotypical blonde, blue-eyed caucasian muttering prefect Japanese has always allured me).

Director Ridley Scott (Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) did a very good job with this one....although I have to agree with Ebert on the movie's excessively dark tone. I've never been to Japan, but I know there's more to it than seedy, poorly lit alleys illuminated with neon signs. I would have liked more daytime scenes to show the splendor of the country's beautiful landscapes. The theme of the movie is very tasteful to me: the inner workings of the feared Yakuza. Ain't that cool? Just like the Italian Mafia, they also have their own set of rules, even if they live outside of the law. What also struck me is a particular scene where an Oyabun (Yakuza boss) expresses his distaste for westerners by recounting his post-World War II boyhood experiences:

***OK, I've been searching Google for the final script for this movie, but all I've found on the web so far is the draft, not the final version. The piece of dialogue I was gonna quote is missing. The Oyabun recounts how his family came out of hiding after the atomic bombs fell (*note: this is not a quote verbatim - - this is as best as I could remember it. If anyone has a copy of the dialogue, let me know):

"We hid underground for three days...when we came up, it started to was black rain. " (hence the title)

This is a chilling statement; it gives the movie a historical anchor. You can see the shades of the past with words like these.

It was also good that there were no subtitles for the initial scenes where the Japanese characters were speaking to each other. It makes you see the action from Nick's (Michael Douglas) point of view: a Gaijin uninitiated to his foreign co-workers' and nemesis' behavior. This subtle touch helps the viewer empathize with the Americans' predicament, struggling to get a crime solved while getting around the language barrier...and this also adds to Black Rain's exotic feel. In the end, we finally see why these strange slant-eyed men are killing each other during the final sequence, where the Japanese dialogue is translated. Very cool indeed.