29 September 2009

This Week on the Boob Tube: Competitive Reality TV

29 September 2009

MOOD | ecstatic
CRAVING FOR | a few more hours before sleeping
RANDOM | i wonder how long this blogging gimmick will last :)

My hands are tied. Really tied. There's work, my studies, this blog, and, most tiring of ALL, the amount of time I have to spend watching all these awesome new shows. It's such a burden. Can you imagine the time spent on finding the torrents, waiting for them to seed, waiting for them to download, and finally, the tiresome task of actually watching them in my laptop? Can you just imagine the radiation? Gosh.

But who am I to deny The Powers That Be, right? It's my job to endure the laughter, the excitement, and the occasional irrational hate towards annoying and stupid characters/contestants. I may end up in the mental hospital needing treatment for excessive attachment to a contestant in a reality show, but I have to do this. I have to.

Anyway, let's grade shows! Fun, fun, fun!

WARNING | If you're not watching the latest episodes of these shows, you will be spoiler-ed. Okay. Let's grade shows!

Season 15, Episode 1
"They Thought Godzilla Was Walking Down the Street"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | The surprise elimination at the very start of the race. The I Survived A Japanese Game Show Roadblock. Contrary to the opinions of other people in the forums, I actually loved the Japan half of the 2-hour premiere more than the Vietnam half. The first half was exciting and new; the second half, typical TAR fare.

THEY WHO ANNOY | Lance the lawyer. Too shouty. Meathead.

THEY WHO WILL CROSS THE FINISH LINE FIRST | I'm hereby placing my bet on Sam and D(e)an, the gay brothers. Meghan and Cheyne may give them a run for their money, however.

Season 13, Episode 3
"Make Me Tall"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | Lulu's elimination. After complaining and criticizing people the entire episode, she finally got her comeuppance.

THEY WHO ANNOY | Lulu and Ashley, the biatches who whined and talked shit about everyone else. Good thing one of them got booted out. I was hoping it was Ashley, because she's so unforgettable, but in any case, I don't really like how Lulu looks in her photos and in panel, so she's also good to go.

SHE WHOSE PICTURE TYRA WILL HOLD LAST IN HER HANDS | No preferences yet, but I'm leaning towards Erin. I just wished Tyra didn't bleach her eyebrows. The thing just looks awful.

Season 6, Episode 11
"6 Chefs Compete"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | The Taste It, Make It challenge. I love these palate challenges. The talented chefs here fall into two categories: those who are good in service, and those who have amazing palates. There have been several seasons where the Final Two chefs had a service vs. palate thing going on. 

THEY WHO ANNOY | Tennille leading the pack? That is not a good sign. I mean, kudos for rising from the kitchen undead, but I do not want to see her shouty self in the Final Two. No way.

HE/SHE WHO WILL BECOME HEAD CHEF OF ARAXI  | Kevin. He's not a favorite (not like Michael from Season 1, or Christina from Season 4), but he's the sanest of the bunch. I don't like Dave because time seems to slow down terribly when he talks, and he reminds me too much of last year's winner (I don't even remember his name, anymore. I think it starts with a D.)

Season 6, Episode 6
"Lights, Camera, Sew"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | I love Ra'mon, but man, that reptilian outfit deserved to be trashed. The elimination was totally unexpected, however, because I have had the impression that Project Runway keeps its favorites safe. And Ra'mon was definitely a frontrunner earlier on.

THEY WHO ANNOY | While I may love Nicolas's "cinematic" Ice Queen ensemble, I don't necessarily have to like him. He annoys me more than Shirin annoys the hell out of him. And Gordana in the bottom two? Again? I really, really like her workmanship-- everything she does seems very well-made. I know that the judges are looking for more oomph, and this may be just a wake-up call rather than a real threat, but whatever. She doesn't deserve to be in the bottom three. For now.

HE/SHE WHO WILL WOW THE CROWD IN BRYANT PARK  | In terms of craftmanship, I'm all for Gordana's wearable dresses ("wearable" being a bad thing now, apparently), but in terms of ambition (and therefore the ability to win the show), I'm gunning for Christopher

Season 6, Episode 6
"Penn and Teller"


FAVORITE MOMENT(S) | Loved the idea behind the Quickfire challenge: cook a tandem of two dishes showcasing the contrast between the "Angel" and the "Devil" themes. I hated that Robin won, but the idea rocks. I also cheered at Jennifer's inclusion in the Top Four despite having problems with the Deconstruction Elimination Challenge. She really kicks ass in this male-dominated season.

THEY WHO ANNOY | Robin's Quickfire win and the consequent immunity from elimination. The comeback of the annoyingly talkative Toby Young (bring Gail back, please!). And Tom Colicchio, but he's been annoying me since perhaps Season 3.

HE/SHE WHO WILL COOK AT THE FOOD & WINE SHOW IN ASPEN  | I acknowledge that most of the male cheftestants this season are great, but I have my eyes set on only one person in the competition, and this cheftestant is a she: Jennifer. May come across as cutthroat, but who cares? At least my food tastes and looks good.

I'm having second thoughts posting the second part of this assessment (involving non-reality TV shows) because this took so goddam long, but let's see. I might have a stroke of inspiration somewhere. Besides, can I really resist talking about Dan's exodus from social Siberia, or Mischa Barton's atrocious acting, or the gloriousness that is Glee?

Stay tuned.

28 September 2009

When Smiles Fade

28 September 2009

MOOD | melancholic
CRAVING FOR | serenity for someone i barely know
RANDOM | death is imminent

I keep coming back to the messages that pile up by the minute in your Facebook site. I am transfixed by the outpouring of grief and memories posted by your friends and colleagues. I do not know you that well, except that you are a friend of my friend, but I am rendered motionless by this shocking event.

It's not fair. No one deserves to die at 30.

Mortality has never come this close to me before, and the reality is jarring. One look at your profile page is all it takes to see how life can sometimes play a different tune from the song we've composed in our heads. Your personal motto may have been foretelling-- "no pain, no gain"-- but no one can really be prepared for this, and I sincerely hope that there was no pain.

I take a look at the number of friends you have, and I realize that it will forever remain at 4,394. I take a look at our 8 mutual friends, and I know that there won't be another one. I take a look at your primary photo and it strikes me that your smile-- that beam that radiates with so much happiness-- will remain frozen in your pictures, lingering with the memories of a life that has been cut too early, cut too short.

That smile may fade from your body, but from your spirit it never will. That smile will certainly not fade from the hearts of your family, or from the hearts of your friends, or from ours who are reminded of our humanity by your passing. Rest in peace, that's all we can ask.

When smiles fade, that's all we can offer.

26 September 2009

Rain's Best Served in Small Doses

26 September 2009

MOOD | strangely pleased supremely bothered
CRAVING FOR | chicken inasal sustenance of any kind
RANDOM this rain is CRAZY!

If what I'm seeing is not an illusion, then the rain may have been more intense than I initially thought. Outside, the flood's knee-deep in height, and people are wading through the waters with much effort. It's actually bothersome that they're wading through the waters at all. Inside, news of insane traffic, roof-climbing citizens, and the bar exam postponement are flying fast and thick across the airwaves. Craziness. The last time a typhoon brought on the crazy was almost exactly three years ago when Milenyo struck. That was a show of wind. This is a show of water. If anyone's having second doubts about buying that kayak...

And just like before, the Internet is abuzz with pictures of the calamity. With Twitter (and TwitPic) leading the charge, the photos have become more spontaneous and more urgent in nature. Appeals for help are stamp-marked with corresponding photos, almost like proofs of involvement in the presence of an awful catastrophe. Three years ago, I was not able to document the event, but I cannot let this pass this time around without a few shots of my own.

Venetian waterways, what? We have our own right here, for 60,000 pesos less.

This isn't the Amazon, but I wouldn't put it past Poblacion to have a few anacondas of its own.

Needless to say, my roommate and I are stranded right here inside the house. It filled me with a strange kind of excitement earlier (check my crossed out MOOD), and I was all set to write an entry about how the rain doesn't fill me with loneliness anymore (road to self-actualization, woot!), but as soon as I turned on the television and read the Facebook statuses of friends, what started out as excitement slowly turned to dread, and that self-actualizing post didn't feel as appropriate any longer. (The flood outside our boarding house still fascinates me, however.)

Rain may be fun these days, but it's best served in small doses. In any case, being physically stranded is not tantamount to being mentally stranded. There's always that Dune novel I've been wanting to pick up, and the yoga mat is quite inviting. Goodbye partying, yes; goodbye, Starbucks coffee, yes; but goodbye, activity? No freaking way.

23 September 2009

How to Get Unstuck in One Easy Step

23 September 2009

MOOD | itching to study
CRAVING FOR | a more productive study day tomorrow
RANDOM | i was sipping on chamomile tea at 1:30 in the afternoon

The best way to start a blog is to write something hopeful. I'm not a superstitious person, but perhaps there's something to this belief. It can only do good, after all-- a hopeful entry is an invitation for inspiration, a refreshing beginning for what possibly may be good times ahead. While there may be appropriate times to write an emo-centric post, the first few entries are definitely not those times.

But I have to make an exception this time around. I just need to get something off my chest.

I move on easily. This is a characteristic I am grateful for. I have always been a forward-looking person, and it shows. I did not cry during my high school graduation, for instance, because college was just around the corner. What use were tears over parting times when you could get excited about moving to Manila, studying in Ateneo, and meeting new and awesome people, instead? In the same 'unfeeling' manner, no tears were shed during my college graduation. With a job as a management associate in the number one insurance company in the Philippines-- why weep? And just to drive the point home further: I did not lament my fate when management training ended and I got rotated into the actuarial department (the profession of my dreams!) and I did not bawl when I left my previous company to pursue another (closer to home! higher pay! less stressful life!).

How I act in my academic and corporate affairs, I do the same in other aspects of my life. Being heartbroken is a fact, but so is moving on. Losing someone you love is a fact, but so is recuperating from the pain. Living your days feeling lonely and alone is a fact, but so is coming out stronger in the end.

Half-empty, half-full.

Circumstances may dictate where you are now, but you always have a choice to see things in a different perspective. Think you're stuck in a bad place? Being stuck is actually an active choice, one that involves holding on to a past that no longer fits with the present. The title may be overly presumptuous-- we cannot possibly get unstuck in one easy step-- but at the same time, that one step is all it takes to start moving forward. I think it was Lao Tzu or Confucius who wrote that a "journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step," and wouldn't you know it? A practical proverb that makes sense. Why pin your hopes on uncertainty? Why bear the pain longer than necessary? Why wait?

And gosh, wouldn't you know it? I think I wrote a hopeful post, after all.

22 September 2009

There's Nothing Special About September 22

22 September 2009

MOOD | pensive
CRAVING FOR | peace of mind and a good night's rest
RANDOM | i wrote this entry in 1 hour and 30 minutes

There's nothing special about the way the numbers go together, either. 090909 is a more auspicious date, and will probably bring in more luck for the rest of the year. With all those curves, the Chinese are going to be happy. I can even do better with 092109-- I'll affix historical relevance by citing the Martial Law, and then delve into a meaningful discourse about the lack of personal freedom then and how blogs ultimately become the antithesis of that silence now. But no. Of all the wonderful dates I could have possibly chosen, I settled for 092209, a date that looks like an incomplete cellphone number. Or possibly, a failed attempt at a numerical palindrome.

Yep. There's nothing special about the date alright.

But like people always say, things happen for a reason. And I think I got this all figured out. At some point in the future, when I stumble upon this seemingly insignificant date, no other memory will fight for my mind's attention save for one:

On September 22, 2009, at around two past the hour of midnight, The Sunbaked King was reborn.

And that's all it takes to make this day special.
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