Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cinema Drama

Last November 1st -All-Saints-Day here in the Philippines which means holiday!-I watched Skyfall alone. For some reason I was very excited to watch this James Bond film, who knows maybe it was because I fell in love, just like many other people and maybe even you, by its incredibly hair-raising trailer. Pre-excitement period with Skyfall, I simply saw the trailer in the cinemas, then the next thing you know I am re-watching it over and over again in YouTube.   
As I've correctly suspected and guessed correctly, the film was critically-acclaimed, correction, most movie-critics even say it's the best James Bond film ever made. Plus, among the 23 films in the highly-succesful franchise this film got the biggest opening weekend. Newsweek even paid tribute to Bond's 50th birthday recently. But as we all can see, gone are the days of Sean Connery-his hot spirit does live on though-with all of his 60's charm

May I just mention how fantastic the OST of Skyfall is, Adele definitely did a great job, her voice was beyond great, it was like the trailer simply hair-raising. Up to now, I can't stop listening to that song continuously, it's now a nightly affair.

Anyway, as you might have suspected from the title of this post, the majesty of Skyfall is not the thing I am going to be discussing in this blog-post, instead its the drama that I have been weirdly witnessing for the last 2 films I've seen this month, Skyfall and Argo.

Last November 1st, I was sitting comfortably in my seat eagerly waiting for the film to start. The seat next to me is empty, as usual, when I go to the cinema alone, I always secretly wish that the stranger that's going to be sitting next to me wont be noisy or someone who will cause trouble or something, but there are those days when I wish that empty seat next to me will be occupied by a either a hot guy or a very interesting person that will go from a stranger to a friend. 

Eventually the seat next to me is sat on by this Iranian guy, and I am not being stereotypical I heard him speaking to his companions in Persian (Farsi) -language of the Iranian people.

40 minutes into the film-I am estimating here- a phone rings loudly (despite pre-start film reminder to put gadgets in silent-mode) and its coming from the back, the woman sitting at the back answers her phone, and it seems she's really enjoying talking to this person on the other line because she laughs loudly inside the cinema. Giving absolutely no regard for the people inside the cinema, in short being rude. It was so distracting. 

All of a sudden my seat-mate just wont take it anymore and shouts at her, "hey you! shut up, go out, don't talk in here, we're watching" and she did shut up. I was so shocked I can't remember what the girl said. Next thing I know people were looking towards the area of my seat.
Trust me, everybody inside, just like me, were so happy, and I hear and can feel the mutual applause among us. It was like you can actually hear and feel the grin in the faces of the people there.
Everybody then went back to enjoying the film, after the 2 minute commotion. After the film, just to be sure, I waited for everyone to vacate the cinema before I went out that place, I was paranoid maybe the companion of the girl thought the guy was me and I get beat-up. Don't worry I didn't.

While I watched everyone going out, I saw the security guard, the Iranian guy and the girl talking, maybe the guard was scolding 
                                                                   both of them.

Which lead me to thinking. What is really the proper etiquette inside a cinema? If someone chooses to make noise or violate a code of conduct everyone mutually agrees to, Does everyone have a right to tell that person to quiet up? or should we just let it slide? Or maybe wait for that brave one who just wont take crap?

What did you do last November 9? If you're one of those people like me who remembered that November 9 was the anniversary of the Kristallnacht and the Fall of the Berlin Wall-then you probably and most likely love history.

Last November 9 was a very weird day, I think I can even honestly tell that it's one of the weirdest day to date. 

Its 20 minutes into the movie. Me and my friend are sitting comfortably in our seat, really enjoying the film, when suddenly the movie just stops. Its complete darkness inside the cinema, the only thing one can hear is the sound of people casually joking around. Then after more than a minute or so, the movie starts again.

After only 15 minutes, the movie stops again, this time everybody complains for real. Three security guards come in, and tells us, (in Filipino (Tagalog) and English) "don't panic", "everyone please just go out thru the exit", "There has been a light electrical problem that is causing smoke outside", etc.

Nobody panicked, actually everybody-at least me and my friend-were excited to see what was causing this disruption of a such a great movie. Outside the cinema the staff, continually tell us that we'll just have to come back to refund our money because of a mini-fire.

I and my friend were very disappointed that we didn't get to finish the film and at the same time glad that we didn't get hurt or anything like that. From the moment I was just a few steps away from the cinema  I was already contemplating If I should be taking pictures right now, but I didn't. I only took pictures when we were far from the (building) mall already. So what you see is what I got a chance to take.

You see, what made this day weird wasn't this cinema drama-which for me is the second time in the same month-its the fact that me and my friend originally planned to meet up for something different to do- which we cancelled due to traffic and unavailability of transportation that was jam-packed  with people-which we kept on changing but somehow, we managed to not finish anything we planned, even those we revised.

You might think that our mood at the end of that night was really bad, actually, au contraire, what I actually realized was, that on the process of accomplishing each plan-that we revised continuously as a result of the prior plan not becoming reality-the fun and energy never waned. I was and still am surprised by the optimism and energy-its level-me and my friend exhibited.


Please fell free( I actually encourage you and beg you) to leave your comments, suggestions, and inquiries.Or if you simply want to share your own experience and/ or a story similar.

Love you all!!!

-Paul Ken-

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Today Maximized

It has been my annual Christmas tradition- dating back from the year 2007- to have the yearly planner that Starbucks gives after you've completed the stickers in the promo card. I am glad to learn after seeing for myself, this year that the 2013 planner starts on January. Unlike in the previous years wherein you have this pressure to get the planner before December hits, or else you're gonna see days left blank in your Planner. Unlike other people, I actually use my planner. I write my plans for the day, and it also serves as a diary/journal at the end of the day. I don't go to bed without reflecting on what had happened during a particular day without writing on my planner. So, its more than a planner for me, its my life in detail. That's why I always joke around with my friends that in-case I die, I wish to have myself cremated with my planners- 5 in total, so far. This will not be the blog-post wherein I defend Starbucks nor its coffee, that's for another day, another blog-post. I also have a sub-tradition within this tradition, and that is, I don't acquire all the stickers by myself. What I do is I ask for them in counters, when Barista's offer them to a particular person who's not just interested in even trying to collect the sticker, that's when I swoop in and ask politely-with a smile- for the sticker from the customer, and in most occasions, particularly with foreigners and senior citizens, they give it to you. Ever since I started this tradition back in 2008, I have never paid for more than half of the stickers I collected for the planner. I started collecting stickers only last Monday, and all the stickers here were paid by me, I haven't gotten the opportunity to sit at a place strategic enough for me to hear the voice of both the Barista and the customer, maybe on the first week of December, when I am not that busy anymore.

Tomorrow, I'll be taking my EJU -Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students- that luckily my college exclusively hosts in the country twice a year, as the test is only held bi-annually. This is the 3rd time I'll be taking the exam. Ohh by the way, for those who don't know what this exam is, its sort of like the SAT/ACT of the US, the French Baccalauréat, the Gaokao of Mainland China, the GCSE of the UK, the German Abitur, but of course the Japanese version specifically for International students. I really need to do my best on this exam, because this is my last chance to make my grade higher, next examination will be on June 2013, by then applications for the MEXT -Japanese Government Scholarship- would have been over and I would have filed my applications months earlier. Each test result certificate is valid for 2 years, at the end of all this, I can choose among those three which one I'll be submitting to the University I like in Japan. In my last exam, I got a below average score in my Mathematics, but my Japan and the World (Social Sciences) was above average. So tonight I really have to work on my math, a subject I absolutely have never been good at. I don't know to this day if math hates me or I hate math. I am though very glad that I survived it two times, in High School and during my minors in College. I am pretty sure without my math-genius friends who patiently tutored and helped me, I wouldn't have made it through the entire term and passed that freaking subject. 

Before I sleep I'll be taking 2 of these capsules to help me sleep. Don't worry, these capsules are not medication, thus making dependence impossible, they're simply made from herbs and other natural ingredients. Its labeled as a food supplement and its an Over-The-Counter item. I advise everyone to Google it and visit the website of Sleepasil. Don't be deceived by its name, its not sleeping pills.

According to its website:

 "Sleepasil contains a special blend of all-natural ingredients - Melatonin, Valerian Root, Chamomile, and Hops - that help you relax and fall asleep."

Its natural ingredients is actually very beneficial to a persons immune system.

Please feel free to leave your comments or suggestions! and even your own experiences, share it to the community! 

Love you all!!!

-Paul Ken-

Friday, November 2, 2012

(Big Bang)빅뱅, Hallyu, and Mass Hysteria in Manila

Last October 22, I had a rather unique experience of witnessing mass hysteria once again after a long period of time, I witnessed the arrival of Korean Pop (K-POP) boy band Big Bang in Manila for their one-night concert, as part of their Alive Galaxy Tour 2012. 

I must confess though that I am not a big fan of K-POP-I mean I only like 3 or 4 songs from it, but I am however not interested in loosing an opportunity to see stars, not just for bragging rights to my friends who missed seeing it, but on a general its fun seeing famous people, regardless if you like them, or even care about them, but once in a while you do get that perfect moment when its actually someone you like.

You might be wondering how a person such as me who by self-proclamation don't like Big Bang that much, and even K-POP generally on that matter, except for a few songs, that much -compared to my friends- end up in a frenzy of die-hard K-POP fans in the arrival area of an airport described by a travel bloggers site 

“Sleeping at Airports” as one of the worst in the planet. The answer lies in the series of events that transpired in one of my 
most favorite places anywhere, the library. 

October 22 was a Monday, which means, I only have two classes that day from 9:40 to 12:50, after my class I went to the library-nothing out of the ordinary yet because I always do this after my class to check if my friends are there or to look for books, and most of the time to read- I saw three of my friends sitting in my favorite place, the couch. 

The three of them have been buzzing about the rumored arrival of one of their favorite K-POP group, Big Bang, as usual these days, people get most of their rumors and follow them via Twitter. 

But this one was not a rumor, this was the rumor, at least for them, after reading the tweet directly from one of the group members of Big Bang, all of us joked that we should head to the airport immediately since the four of us didn't have any class anymore for that day, and was only planning to eat lunch somewhere.

Soon the joke was becoming reality, one of my friend said "since one of our friend is on her way back to our college and is in a cab right now, why don't we use her cab?","the five of us should forcefully jam ourselves in that cab and be in the arrival area of the airport ASAP".

34 minutes later, after the noise we created in that cab, and my friends being nauseous as a result of their over excitement, we'd arrived in the airport. And what we saw and would later learn was that the hundreds of fans that were there already had been there since the morning. We quickly joined them of course, but only temporarily. We soon chose our own spots, so that in the event that Big Bang choose another way, at least one of us saw the convoy. 

After 3 hours of waiting, what we had been waiting for has arrived. I initially thought that it was another false alarm, after all, for the past 3 hours all I got was that, well that and the loud noise the fans were creating.

I must say, being pushed back by the cute Korean suit wearing bodyguard, from the group, was the highlight of that week. The bodyguard wasn't suppose to go out from his van on their way out of the airport, but when you have fans, who are on the road banging (myself included) on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class cars the stars were in, its necessary.

I haven't had lunch yet-its funny I didn't even feel hungry- but after the group was not in the vicinity of the airport anymore, the crowd was slowly dissipating, and when the five of us found ourselves already we rode a cab back to our college, my friends to go home, me to eat a very much delayed lunch.

My take on the day was, I was reminiscing while eating my tempura in the nearby Japanese restaurant from our school, it was fabulous to have witnessed an event closest to the mass hysteria. It was like The Beatles was arriving, but an unfriendly one-for understandable reasons-nevertheless adored by their loyal band of followers.

It's very funny to learn that the current lead-star of K-POP, PSY -famous for his Gangnam Style-which at the moment of me writing this is the 2nd-most viewed video in Youtube history- who is protesting at the music-industry-complex and the lifestyle of the people inhabiting the area of Gangnam in Seoul of South Korea, and Big Bang- one of the most famous Korean boy band in the world- is managed by one label, among many labels that they are under in, YG Entertainment. 

The problem of lack of innovation still plagues the music industry of South Korea- and this has been talked about the media more pronounced nowadays, especially after Gangnam Style, and definitely has been talked about by Korean's who seek something more unique and creative, and less-abusive talent agencies- and puts hallyu -Korean Wave- in danger of loosing its fire. But not everything is lost, and definitely we all should be optimistic after all the American music industry did start this way, being robotic and homogenous and all, and bam!, Post-World-War-II-World (Cold War) begins, and what do we get? I think I need not to enumerate them.


Their ticket for the concert, I took a picture of it while we were in the cab back to our college. The three of them had paid for the most expensive ticket available. In my opinion, with the level of admiration they have for this group-I mean they are just such big fans, it was worth-it and not at all wasteful.

On the day of the concert, October 24, three of my friends were going to watch, after school, me and my friends traveled to the venue of where the concert was going to be held (Mall of Asia Arena) to wish the three of our friends well and basically to see the spectacle. The three of my friends had been in the venue since 6am, to put this in perspective, the concert was at 8pm. And according to them, when they arrived, there were so much people already. The people in line with them, they told me were from everywhere from the planet, like the woman they were seating beside was from London. I found the spirit of camaraderie among them and the friendly atmosphere in the waiting area, where all of the fans were sitting, some with their camps,yes, because some slept there, very cool. Ohh and by the way, that's me, playing with the road sign / pole.


Please, and feel free, leave your comments/suggestions,

Love you all !!!

-Paul Ken-  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

15 Days

These random pictures are meant to capture some of the things I did for the the past 15 days (from October 1) with of course some captions.

I am sure there are a lot of people-like me-out there who just can't stop being in-love with Friends. Contagion speaks for itself, how often do you encounter a critically-acclaimed film while at same time being a blockbuster?


Having a little morning Nosh ("snack" in Yiddish).

Finally, after spending time on the wait-list for me to borrow the last two installments of this trilogy (Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed) from my friend, I finished it 2 weeks before October 1, but I kinda re-read the last chapter of Freed last October 1, the sudden twist of perspectives pushed me to re-read it. Everybody sort of did, or at least people around me.

 E. L. James, we want more!

I know that this may seem late but since the September issue of Time Zak has been back, I  realize now how much comfort his articles give me.

I am glad to read something from Fareed Zakaria again, I along with his other fans are glad that his "plagiarism fiasco" is over. I am happy Time was logical enough to realize what a valuable lost he would have been.

The  company that my college library subscribes to seems to always manage to be delayed in its delivery of these precious materials, this I found out after I complained why the new issues haven't arrived yet, and the people in charge in the library complained to me as well, I understand them. Why don't they just subscribe directly to the Magazines instead of relying on local importers?

Snapshots of the contents of the book I recently borrowed:

When I stumbled upon this unique book in the library of my college, I was quick to look at it's contents-normal for avid royal-watchers like me-I didn't want to loose an opportunity to learn more about the possessions of the Queen. I was drowned by the beauty of the jewelry inside, and even more amazed when I came to learn how those pieces ended up in Her Majesty's collection.


Ever feel like you're living in a cliche teen Hollywood movie when you suddenly realize sometimes how predictable the situation you end up in, without any direct intention for that to happen? Well that's sort of what I felt when I accepted an invite from my friends to go away from the city and have one of our friend-who has a new car-be the designated driver, thus, us enjoying a free ride.

 According to statisticians, a person has a higher chance to get struck by a lightning in her/his lifetime than to experience winning the lottery. I figured, a lot of people get struck by lightning every time, at the same time a lot of people win in the lottery as well? So, why not try my chances? It's funny how, I kept thinking and praying-while waiting for the Jackpot numbers that night-''please let me win so that I could move to New York City right now", obviously I didn't win, cause If I did, this post would have been about that, but I did learn that from time-to-time there is absolutely nothing wrong to take chances.

Snapshots of whats inside the books I recently borrowed:

My Paris-obsession grew larger after scanning 500 pictures of Paris, and along the way learning a lot more about Paris too. This will definitely be included to my list of what-to-think-of when sadness or stress attacks me. Truly inspirational!

These books are meant to aid me when imagining and thinking of events in history, and, of course obviously, to learn from them as well.

Love you all !!!

-Paul Ken-