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Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

I know we’re all swamped with our stuff right now. Hell, even I am. However, there is some merit in this reading challenge I am presenting. It is my belief (and I could be wrong in this) that it is presumptuous for a student of the arts, be it theater, writing or literature, to graduate without reading what is considered seminal in their field. Before you gang up on me being a pretentious geek, I admit that I myself fall under that category – mainly the reason I am engaging in this challenge. I feel that creatively and critically I am in a dump and that there is a need to rejuvinate reading of primary texts be you a writer, an actor, a director, a literary critic or just a plain drunkard.

 

What am I proposing?

 

Every week we read one major play. Every Sunday we post something about it. (Oh noes, more paperz?!) Chill. It’s not a DECL-type paper with all the fancy footnotes and formatting. Really just say something about the text. Contribute something. You can ramble as much as you want. In my case, starting next Sunday, I will be posting about what I (hopefully we) read in my blog (https://harderfasterwetter.wordpress.com). There are generally no rules. Yes, you can skip a week if you’re really too busy. No professor, no pressure. Just you and the text and afterwards the blank page of a Facebook note or your blog to write a couple of paragraphs about what you read. One full-length play a week is a reasonable demand. Having it once a month defeats the purpose of trying to read a multitude of seminal texts and having it once a day – face it. Even I have a life.

 

So that’s it. We’re gonna be reading plays. (Why plays?! Well, generally I’m forwarding it because I feel that there is enough attention towards Fiction, Poetry and Creative Non-Fiction and plus, what the fuck, I started it.) This is how it goes – Every week starting now I’ll be assigning a play. Generally, I plan that every major movement or time period should have a representative text. Basically, we’ll go through the timeline of dramatic history. Let’s just one for each period though. So yes, no reading of both Oedipus Rex and Antigone for Greek Theater in this challenge. Just one per period so we could wrap this up in around a couple of months. If you don’t agree with what I chose as the representative text (Oh noez but I wanna read Medea!) that’s fine. You may. Again, no hard and fast rules.

 

I’ll be posting my readings and comments here. After I comment I will sort of assign what to read the next week. I have invited people both from Facebook and my literary blog (deelaytful.wordpress.com) where I dump my fiction, poetry and plays and some people have expressed some interest in this challenge.

 

So, if anyone is interested in picking this up, our play for this week would be SOPHOCLES’ ANTIGONE (SOPHOCLES! Not Jean Anouilh’s Neoclassical Version). It was a tough call, though. Oedipus Rex arguably has the more literary merit and is the more famous of that generation. True, but I still believe that there is merit in Antigone. Plus, a lot of people are familiar with Oedipus Rex, it would be nice to do something else. (Also, she’s such a twisted ugly girl.)

 

Ciao! 🙂

 

Riley

Generally a nice guy but can bite upon command

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I felt honored to be part of the Focus Group Discussion within the Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts (DSCTA) yesterday. Giving my opinions, stances and advocacies with the faculty and fellow students made me feel important. It was a little surrising that Dr. Cortez chose me to be the rep of theater arts, given that there could potentially be more qualified senior students, but I believe that I did justice to my course and to the love of theater and the arts.

With that said, I must say it’s a little disturbing if the faculty and department think of you as an alcoholic (when it’s only partially true.:P) I guess it stemmed from (1) me performing a personal narrative on the six basic alcohol groups, (2) me choosing “We Filipinos are Mild Drinkers” for my short story adaptation and (3) how I look in class. “Riley, it seems to me when you’re in class that you look like you didn’t get enough sleep, you look hangover, you look like you just got out of bed.” This hit me particularly because, first of all, yes, I drink. Often. Very often. But I don’t get drunk frequently. Okay, I was drunk last night but before that the last time I was drunk was January. However, I concede that my appearance telling people about me is crucial. Especially last semester, I always managed to get 6 to 8 hours of sleep! I always take a bath when I wake up. Perhaps it’s time to reevaluate oneself. I mean if people think that based on my appearance and general manuevers that I’m a drunk and a slut, they can’t be wrong because they’re basing it on what I project. Maybe it’s time I actually dress up more? Look like it took me more than 30 seconds to put on my ensemble? We’ll see. (Although to be fair, there might be some truth. I mean, I was drunk last night, and I’ve been drinking every night this past week.)

Moving on, I had a GREAT EGO BOOST last night. A GREAT EGO BOOST! At the start of the semester, I prioritized my classes and I decided that Playwriting and Directing should be my focus. And they were. Especially with Dr. Juan’s playwriting. I know I worked my ass off in that course. And I was expecting a grade of practically 1.5 at best. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the great Dr. Juan gave me a FLAT 1.0!!!! I cried. I feel so thankful and blessed to be part of his class and to showcase my final product (BRO) that my professor would think is a quality work. *bow* I humbly call myself a writer.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank (1) my actors, both for the final production and first reading, for breathing life to my text. (2) my classmates, for the group critiques and collective growth and (3) my mentor, Dr. Juan, for the constant guidance and direction. This has been an awesome semester.

I’ve said this before. I’ve had my share of flat 1.0’s in the past. But the feeling of getting a flat 1.0 in a “difficult” subject, knowing that you’ve worked your ass off every night trying to perfect it, is just so gratifying that I want to fly in cloud nine. 🙂

In other news, summer classes start today! I’m excited for Prof. Garcellano’s CL 110 (Literature and Political Change) and Prof. Coscolluela’s CW 110 (Fiction Writing). 🙂

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Strengths and Weaknesses

Remember the RPG’s we used to play when we were young? (Or, up to now, that’s cool too) When we create characters, there are these attributes and a bar where you set a quantity. For instance:

Revan017 (WARLOCK)

Intelligence – Above Average

Speed – Average

Agility – Average

Dexterity – Average

Stamina – Above Average

Strength – ???????!!!!!!

If only life were an RPG and we get to decide where to redistribute our skill points. Boy, I could really use some strength right now.

I always pride myself on my strength. In fact, and I quote, “I’m stronger than anyone, including myself, gives me credit for.” And, for the most part, it’s true. Come on, I’ve survived by myself in a city far from home, I’ve aced terror professors and I’ve trudged along in my theater career despite overwhelming external negativity. All fine and well. I know I’m not the epitomy, but I know what I am and I know what I’ve been through – all of which have molded me into the person I am today.

But just like Superman has kryptonite, everyone has a weak spot. Something that when hit, it’s difficult to recoil back into the daily lives. And I think I’ve hit mine. For every strength, there is a weakness, buried inside. And for every weakness, there is a potential strength growing. 

I just hate the fact that I feel that I’m back to square one. Every morning, I feel like I’m waking up from a one-night stand yet incapable of leaving. For the past days, I’ve been sitting on my balcony, taking shots of brandy, listening to RENT’s soundtrack and contemplating. I resolved to be stronger yet I backed out. Apparently, all I need are three syllables (I’ve missed you) and a long hug and suddenly I’m defeated. Broken down again. And if it’s what I want, then why am I not happy? If it’s what I’ve been lacking all these time, why do I feel so empty inside? 

Three days ago, while sitting in my balcony, I saw a piece of chalk on the floor. I picked it up and randomly wrote a word on the terrace. It was so random. The word was STRENGTH.

This morning, I went out. The word was erased.

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Home.

I read recently on Cracked that it is “unfair” that there is just a snap transition from boyhood to the world of grown-ups. As children, we think adulthood is so far-away and that, through some miracle, we’d have all the adult knowledge needed for the world. But, for some reason, you just find yourself out in the mall, buying hangers for your clothes, getting your stuffed toys dry-cleaned and you realize, I’m still the same old idiot I was back then. But, I’m….an adult?

I remember back when I wanted to buy “something fun”, I’d go out, I’d buy a book, a movie, a game, a shirt. And, don’t get me wrong – I still do that. But recently, buying “something fun” suddenly translated to me buying a shoerack just because I think it’d be much prettier to see my shoes in a rack rather than spread out on the floor. I also bought a bunch of hangers because I keep buying clothes (and not throwing old ones out) and I’m out of hangers. Right now, I feel the urge to go out and buy a shower curtain. Just because I think it’d be prettier for my bathroom to have a shower curtain.

I am having this obsessive need to have my room become my room. I know I just rent a room for my college needs, but I feel this is MY room. This is HOME. This is my personal place, my sanctuary. I want it to look perfect. I want it to smell perfect. I’m staring at the walls right now, and I just want it repainted. Just. Because.

After a stressful class or a shitty rehearsal or perhaps a personal down, there is no place I’d rather go to than home. I could stay here, sleep in the nude, watch any guilty-pleasure show I want, go to any website I want, blare out any song I feel. Because here I am free to express myself any way I want. This is so much more than a room I rent. This is so much more than a place to sleep in. I cannot stress how important it is to me – this is HOME. 

I look around my room and I’m proud of how it became how it is now. There are so many memories I’ve created in this place. This is the corner where I giggled uncontrollably when he asked me out. This is the chair where I sat, bursting in tears when a friend betrayed me. This is the bed that I…well…you know.

This seems so random, so out of the blue, but the past few days, I’ve been obsessing about the concept of home. Maybe it’s because I feel threatened that I”m opening up myself? Or that I’m afraid that I’m leaving here? I don’t know. I don’t know.

And, before I end, just a small immature, passive-aggressive statement for old times’ sake:

“You’re so unfair. I’m supposed to be mad at you but all you do is hug me tight and tell me everything’s okay and I end up crying on your shoulders, forgiving you that easily.”

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I used to believe epiphanies were stupid – just a cliche movie trope to make a character realize something without undergoing a long arduous task. I was proved wrong.

I’ve been up since 6:30am yesterday. For the record, yesterday was quite a bad day. Not the worst day in my life, mind, but still a bad day. I’m not going into specifics of what happened, just take my word – it was a bad day.

I preoccupied myself with mundane tasks of rewatching Rent, listening to sentimental songs, cleaning, just to avoid the greater task which is thinking about how to clear the mess I’ve created. And for almost 24 hours, that’s what I did, attempting to synthesize thoughts while doing workaday actions.

But I’ve had it. All I wanted to do was shout and freak out – let all the built-up frustration inside well-up in one powerful shout. But it’s 5am and I can’t really do that. I decided to take a stroll in UP by 6. And this is where the story begins.

It was never meant to be a ‘life-changing’ walk. It was supposed to be a stupid, ‘I-need-to-kill-time-before-the-mall-opens-at-10-am’ walk. I got off the jeepney and started walking around the oval. Suddenly I felt this urge to go to ASCAL. I stayed there a while. I sat at one of the mountain benches and slowly I found myself meditating. I felt relaxed. I felt the air around me, I felt the rush of the elements.

I am Aquarius, hence, I am Air. And that is how I meditated. Everything is but air – continuous around the world. I slowly let all the positivity in with a breathe and all the negativity with an exhale. Security in, doubts out. Confidence in, fears out. Personal growth in, immaturity out. Slowly I imagined myself turning into my element Air. I became air, on that bench on the ASCAL mountains. I could commune with the every breathe, every breeze, every gust that came. It was me. And all my problems could be blown away by it.

I started getting sleepy meditating so I got up. I felt a lot better, but not totally so. So I continued my walk around the oval. I came across the hang-out for one of my old organizations and I decided i miss staying there.  On impulse, I went to the hang-out (no one was there) and sat there for a while thinking. Then a cat, whom I nicknamed ZEEKY, came.

At first we were just there, me petting the cat and the cat rubbing up against me. Then suddenly I had this urge to talk to the cat, to share my problems with the cat. And I did. I opened my mouth and formed cohesive words, phrases and sentences and told them to the cat. I told the cat everything. And the cat understood – when I came to the emotional part, he suddenly sprang up on the chairs and cuddled on my lap. It is therapeutic to tell all your problems to a cat. However, there will come a point when you say:

“Cat, what am I supposed to do next?”

And it just stares at you and meows. Then I did a really weird thing.

“Cat I don’t think you understand me. Let me translate. Meow, meow, meow, meow, depression, meow, meow, meow, meow, confusion, meow, meow, meow, love.” And I did that by the way – I translated the whole story into meows and key words. 

Then a fat man with food came and Zeeky left me. Traitor.

I left the org hang-out much more refreshed. I had relaxed myself with meditation and I had purged myself by ranting to Zeeky. I felt everything become clearer now. I could see the trees, the roads, the tennis court in a whole new light. I felt so small, like a leaf in a tree, yet so connected to every single leaf, every single root, every single tree there. 

I continued the trek and I came upon this old man by the Carillion. He was doing a sword-dance routine by himself. I suppose it was some sort of ritual. I sat there, transfixed.

It wasn’t a brilliant sword-fight, or even a movement piece. In fact the way he brandished the sword seemed very tai-chi – very fluid, very slow. Millimeter by millmeter, he moves the sword. And when he maks a single mistake, he repeats the routine from the top. I sat there for almost half an hour just watching him. I imagined I was the old man using the sword, a weapon of mass destruction yet wielding it with finesse and grace that tiptoes the line of the ethereal and the cosmic. 

After a while, I left. I decide to walk home. I came across this vendor selling taho and it made me realize how much I miss taho. I can’t even remember the last time I had taho! I bought a cup and ate it while slowly walking home. There was something there, something earthy, something very Filipino that I enjoyed. 

On the way home I realized some things: (1) Before I did the walk, my initial plan was to become a cold bitch. After the walk, I began to see other perspectives and realized that mine may not be the perfect one. (2) We have to take care of ourselves every once in a while. It’s easy to lose track of what matters to us when we immerse ourselves. (3) Sometimes, we need to take time off from our lives to reexamine it. My walk was not a deep walk. Come on, sitting on a park bench to become air, talking to a cat, watching an old man play with swords and eating taho. That’s very everyday. 

But there’s something about this walk.

Made me realize, life is so meaningless, so fruitless, so devoid of purpose. Yet, life is so fucking beautiful.

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As is so far

There’s really no excuse for not updating one’s blog regularly so I’m not even going to give mine.

Some random blurbs about everything that has happened so far:

> I feel like such a bad boy in Naga City everytime I walk around town and I’m the only one holding a lit cigarette in my hand – what up yo??

> Summer season is fast approaching and yet I look best in winter apparel. Shucks! Bought a sweater vest and a vest yesterday and am wondering when I could get to wear them appropriately. I also want to buy a trench.

>’Ang Unang Aswang’ opened and closed almost a month ago. Yay!

> One of our cats is still here! I mean, I wasn’t home for literally a year and she’s still here! Yay for patience.

> I hate whiskey. I really really hate whiskey. Not as much as tequila, but definitely more than rum and brandy.

> Never use straight English in phone calls in Naga City, especially when talking to Water Utility or Water Delivery Companies. They would only get you ‘Ano po sir’ responses.

> I miss the Sarah’s crowd so much.

> My concept for my thesis was sort of ‘approved’ by the department chair and by the professor I was ogling to be my thesis adviser. She even agreed to be my thesis adviser! More details on this later.

> Some hard-headed people simply deserve to be blocked on facebook. And Y!M. And downelink. And, if I only knew how, on my cellphone calls and messages.

> To the person who stole my wallet, I have a finger for you on both my hands. Guess which one it is? Rot in hell.

> I found a Vicks Inahler in a drawer at home that has been there for at least a year. It smells like rotten mayonnaise.

> After many, many months, I was able to FINALLY grab a copy of G.I. Combat 1. Yay, my comic collection so far is complete.

> Going through our dvds at home, I saw STAGE BEAUTY, a movie I’ve been searching for for months just because I wasn’t able to watch the beginning of the movie when our class watched it. Yay!

> I still feel that my semester is hellish due to two performance classes, one directing class and a playwrighting class which would still have a production at the end of the sem. So that’s four productions in March. To top it all off, I have French 11, which may seem easy, but then again I took my French 10 three and a half years and I don’t rememeber any of it. To top it all off, PI 100 and there’s really nothing to say about PI 100.

> Our water smells rusty and I have no effing idea how to remedy that aside from another bitchy call to NAWASA.

> I miss the clingy-popular group! (Yes, we’re not just clingy, we’re also really popular) – Shirl, Anj and Jonas! See you all January.

> TV Shows are on a Christmas break. (From Sunday to Saturday shows:)

     – Merlin is a fun anachronistic show.

     – Desperate Housewives has been firing at every direction! The mob episode really hit me as what people would do in a mob situation.

     – Family Guy is Family Guy.

     – HIMYM is generally bad but has good episodes every here and there. At least, they’re trying to recapture the brilliance of Season 2.

     – Two and a Half Men is also generally bad, but they have funny jokes every other episodes.

     – Mike and Molly is a show about two fat people in love. 

     – Chuck is still Chuck. Deus Ex Machina Chuck.

     – Raising Hope is fun. There’s a stroke of brilliance there.

     – No Ordinary Family is mediocre. There’s a good concept but the execution could be vastly improved.

     – Life Unexpected is your typical high school drama cliche. But better.

     – Glee transformed from a fun, albeit brainless, comedy to a homocentric, wangsty drama.

     – The Middle is a very solid show. Nothing groundbreaking, but strong in its own right.

     – Better With You is very promising. I like the juxtapositions more. But I think its main strength comes from being sandwiched between The Middle and Modern Family.

      – Modern Family has had its blah episodes this season, yet when it has good episodes, they’re really really really brilliant.

      – Cougar Town is a fun romp to close the Wednesday comedies.

      – ANTM 15 was awesome.

      – Hellcats is stupid.

      – Psych has sadly past its prime.

     – Community has been a hit surprise! Very out-of-the-box thinking.

     – Big Bang Theory is having a great season coming from last year.

     – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was lackluster. Very very very lackluster.

     – Smallville is still on the way up,bouncing back from a horrid season 8, seasons 9 and currently 10 are so awesome it’s depressing that they’re ending.

     – Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Mortals makes me want to read Marvel again. It’s that good.

     – Young Jutice is also fun. Too early to make a judgment call though.

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I’m still in a sort of high from today that I couldn’t put my thoughts together cohesively. I’ll randomly blurb out the happenings of the day.

(1) NO PE. Well, technically we had class and the other groups were already halfway through their HIGHLY COMPETITIVE choreography. Our group, on the other hand, decided to play it chill for the day. So cheat day – no practice. We deserve it anyway, we had a stressful Dancing in September.

(2) Two Plays for English. Yikes! Have got to read Acts I of Tempest and The Winter’s Tale. Eeek! While I initially suggested OTHELLO as our final play, because Othello is twisted and Desdemona is a slut, as most Shakespearean women are, but unlike most of them, I actually like Didi, (I named my two-year old laptop Desdemona) I eventually voted for Tempest because you know. Faeries. Spirits. Gayness. Fun.

(3) 121 Blocking. While we have a working script, I’m always in the process of revising this. If you’re reading this, you’re practically mandated to watch our production, because, you know, friends watch each other perform. SEVEN DEADLY SINS. October 8. 7PM. Venue TBA.

(4) 130 Meeting. Sadly, I wasn’t able to make the meeting. Had to meet up with a friend to collect a loan. Anyway, I’m starting to feel the stress of having productions on consecutives dates. Ack! Anyway, will make bawi-bawi this week. Euk.

(5) Performance Piece: I’m excited about the piece I’m going to perform for OI. I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s very very close to my heart. I cried over this piece when I first read/heard it, and up to know when I remember the weird feeling in my chest when I first read it, there is still a sense of sadness lying around. Since our motif is seven deadly sins, I might as well reveal my piece is going to be in the INVIDIA section.

(6) Oliver/Annie: I sort of, kind of (but honestly not really) miss my old 100-days. It’s fun to go back and see what they put on and honestly for their first prod, it was pretty great. I’ve seen a lot worse production done by more experience people. A big applause goes to Ronah and Mark (YAY! BATCH LOVE! ❤ Sunod na si ZYRA on Thursday) for their big UP debut. More is to come pa yan.

(7) Hellcats is a horrible show. And I’m speaking as (a) a dancer, (b) a homosexual man, (c) a CW watcher, (d) a cheerleading fan and really all aspects of me despise this show. It’s just bad. Good premise sana, but horrible execution.

(8) Excited for the BIG BANG THEORY SEASON 4 PREMIER! Had a full Season 1 – 3 marathon just to prepare for it 🙂

(9) By the way, my room is clean now.

(10) I appreciated it A LOT when A LOT of people went up to me today and said that I did a great job during the Dancing in September Tap Dance. Most of them were people I didn’t even knew watched. I’m not necessarily fishing for compliments to just boost my ego. The thing is, I’m not a tap dancer. Hell, I’m not a trained dancer. I have no training whatsoever in modern jazz or ballet. So little things like people appreciating how I dance is a nice confidence booster.

And, finally, a small passive-aggressive immature statement:

I miss you so much. Your name in my YM and Facebook chat list is a big temptation to just BUZZ and say hello. Sometimes, when I see you I just want to hug you and tell you everything’s fine now. But it’s not. No. Just no. Not right now. Not like this. Not so soon after. Don’t take me for another one of those idiots you play around with – we both know I’m so much better than all of them. ALL OF THEM PLUS YOU. Combined.

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