the rest is still unwritten

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TV Show and Tell - The Vampire Diaries

I recently purchased a box set of the CW's series The Vampire Diaries. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it...

I mean, when I think vampire, two types come to mind. The first reference is drawn from Anne Rice's creatures -sexy, powerful, sensual, passionate but at the same time conflicted, scared, impulsive, confused - and most importantly interesting. The second, sad to say is Stephenie Meyers' weepy supernatural refuse (being whiny and being vulnerable are two completely different things).

Since The Vampire Diaries is a series spawned in the age of Twilight, I half expected a woe-is-me sort of heroine and a love-that-cannot-be scenario (with hopes that somehow the writers were smart enough to draw some inspiration from Rice). But being a sucker (no pun intended) for vampire-related stories, I decided to give the series a chance.

The show had promise.

The main story arc and its subplots are interesting. The scene is set in Mystic Falls, Virginia; a sleepy little town with a rich history. In 1864, a small group of vampires called this town home. Some lived their lives peacefully, and others - well, not so much. The slew of "animal attacks" came to the secret High Council's attention. The vampires were rounded up, trapped in the church, and burned to their (final) deaths - or so everyone thought.

Fast forward to present day Mystic Falls. Enter Elena Gilbert. She and her brother Jeremy are now living with their Aunt Jenna after losing their parents in a car accident. Elena's character much to my surprise and good fortune, was very different from the whiny, wimpy Bella Swan persona that I expected. Yes Elena was vulnerable, but she was also strong, caring, good-hearted and brave. Unlike Bella Swan who is complicated for the sake of being complicated, Elena is multi-dimensional. (Tangent: At this point you probably have a good idea of where I stand on the Twilight Sag-a).

Speaking of Twilight, let me describe Stefan. Stefan is tall and lean, a bit lanky. Pale pasty skin. Cheekbones. Kind of updated 50's James Dean hairstyle. His wardrobe is some combination of straight leg pants, v neck shirt, lightweight hooded long-sleeved shirt and military-inspired jacket. Uh, Edward Cullen is that you? But styling and undying love and devotion to their mortal girlfriends aside, Stefan is a definite upgrade from Edward. Definitely more interesting and multi-dimensional and much much less annoying.

Although there are other characters that you really enjoy (Jenna, Jeremy, Bonnie, Matt and Caroline  - love the 'new' Caroline - to name a few), their likability is not enough to compensate for the villains. These villains are not characters you love to hate, you just hate them. Period. These are the kinds of people/vampires who hold ideas or do certain things that I cannot tolerate in real life (and apparently my TV screen).

Yes I'm talking about you John Gilbert. Hates him. Hates hates hates him. Speaking of hate, let's talk about Damon. Stefan's brother and the final piece in the Stefan-Elena-Katherine love mess. Damon could be described as a hero-villain. You'd like to believe that deep down he really is one of the good guys, but he keeps doing things that just make you go W.T.EFFF. You develop a twisted love-hate (emphasis on hate) relationship with his character. He does sometimes surprise you with thoughtfulness and self-sacrifice, but all the other heinous things he says and does make these good, sometimes great, gestures seem so insignificant. Like, instead of saying "Thank You," you're more likely to mutter "Yeah, whatevs".

The show's writers also have an affinity for disposing of characters you actually like. A word of caution: if you start to find a new vampire interesting - don't. Chances are they'll get a stake through their heart if not in this episode then the next. Lexie, Pearl, Harper and Anna all had the potential of being really good characters - all dead for good.

That's another issue I have with the series. The physical abilities and supernatural nature of the vampires are so inconsistent and weak. One minute their lifting trucks and bending metal and the next minute they need help lifting a dead body. And apparently they only have super-sensitive hearing sometimes. Seriously, can you sneak up on a five hundred year old vampire? Seriously? Seriously. This doesn't sit well with me. It takes away from their supernatural nature (which drew me in in the first place) and makes them so regular. Not regular in the wow-you've-got-problems-just-like-humans sort of way but in the so-you-drink-blood-and-are-sometimes-invulnerable-big-deal-who-cares way.

Yes the main plot is interesting with lots of surprises, twists and turns; but most turns lead you to a resolution that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth (Vampire Caroline::Love::Dead Anna:Hate). And one other thing: In the first season, the big question on everyone's mind was why did Elena look exactly like Katherine? What did it all mean? Well, they're doppelgangers. Yes that question has been answered, and explained and it's only the second season. The big mystery propelling the drama has been answered in the second season. This does not bode well for the show's longevity... The writers better have some nifty tricks and surprises up their sleeves. Also, humans and vampires keep dying/disappearing and no one else in town seems to care or at least be slightly worried/cautious. Is this normal? Stepfoooord...  

All in all, the show isn't bad at all, but in no way is it great. It's got some really good things going on, but it's also pretty hard to overlook the not-so-good. It's just very alright. Two and three-fourths stars.

So... will I stay tuned to see how the supernatural drama unfurls?


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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

LifeTrack - Something (else) To Talk About

So I've finally found a vid of me singing Bonnie Raitt's Something To Talk About on YouTube. Thank you so much to our friend and official unofficial Buffers' videographer Sam Colalillo.

This performance was the debut of the solo. Also, it was the first time I've ever performed a solo with the Buffers. So excuse the nerves and sometimes pitchy performance, I was on such an adrenaline high (and Keystone buzz), but I had an absolute blast!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

YouTube - Lifetrack lightbulb and More

Okay, so I am the master of MIA. But I'm here now.

So, I spent an inordinate amount of time on YouTube today. I created a YouTube account years ago, but never uploaded anything. A few weeks ago, one of my good friends posted a video on YouTube in support of the It Gets Better Project. It's a movement wherein adults from all walks of life create a video telling queer victims of teen bullying that it gets better. (Seriously, check it out) The numbers of queer teens who opt out (by this I mean commit suicide) is staggeringly high. One might see the project as a been-there-done-that/in-my-day kinda deal, but I'd like to think that it gives queer youth hope.

Anyway, a few weeks ago my friend made one, and I was inspired to tell my story. Over the last few weeks, when my mind was free, I would try and come up with exactly what I wanted to say. But it kept changing and I feared that writing out a script would take from the sincerity of it all and so I decided to just do it.

After running errands all day. I finally found a quiet little nook, sat down and was about to start recording. And then the webcam wouldn't cooperate, so after an hour and a half of finagling my webcam settings (unsuccessfully) I eventually downloaded a program that would record video. By the time I was all set up, my inspiration and enthusiasm was spent and my quiet little nook was no more. So the video is once again postponed...

After all the webcam shenanigans I decided to browse some of the "recommended for you" videos... I clicked on a short one from a 17-year-old kid who was telling people to stop the hate. And the comments this kid took were just appalling. It scares me how many close minded people there are in this world. It's terrifying; the kinds of things a person can say to another human being. Geez.

Years ago I filled up a Facebook Survey and one of the fields was goals in life. My answer was (and still is): To change the world one person at a time. Seeing all those comments... gah, I can't even put words together right now. I feel driven, inspired, anxious, excited and impatient all at once. I will fulfill my goal - I feel it in my bones.

On a lighter still YouTube-relevant note:

A few of my friends have talked me into the idea of posting videos of me singing... I've been toying with the idea and I think I may give it a try. You never know who'll be watching right? Haha (Charisse Pempengco send me your fortune) Finally I decided that yes, I will do it. And since I have a LifeTrack genre on this blog, wherein I talk about songs that I love and what they mean to me, then hey, why don't I sing a little something and post it as well? I'm actually kinda excited. They're all going to be songs I absolutely love listening to (and belting in the shower) anyway, so it'll be fun for me to do, and hopefully fun for you to watch/reminisce/listen to as well.

So 'tis all for now. Keep an eye and ear open.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Little Things.3

So today I was running errands around the city. While at the mall, I stepped out to take a quick sniggy break, and this pulled in:

YES. It's a lego-pimped ride. From a distance, you immediately notice the vibrant primaries against the typical black, sliver, grays of Manila traffic. It was such a refreshing sight. As it pulled away, i noticed that it was used by the Artwork Clothing Company (which caters to the young/kooky/hip/urban/quirky statement fashionista).

The giant word ARTWORK plastered on the side of the car made me smile, along with the car itself of course. Yes, the car was meant to publicize the Artwork brand, but the car itself is in itself artwork. It's a moving usable piece of art brought to the people to enjoy. It definitely made me smile.

Speaking of artwork... I still need to finish that piece... Til next time!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Family Ties

So... It's my brother's birthday today. And granted, I'm kinda tipsy, but you know how they say that drunk babble is sober truth... Well, here's some drunk babbling realizations:

You can't choose who you're family is, the same way your family can't choose the kind of people that joins it (biologically). No matter what shortcomings you may hold against people in your family, they're your family!They will always be there for you, and have your best interests at heart, even when you think they're fighting against you. Talk it out, hug it out and think it through. Use your words, the right words.

To my family, and countless friends I count as family:

With all my heart;
 Thank you, I'm sorry and most of all: I love you.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Let the Writing Begin

So, here I am sitting at a café, cigarette smoldering on a coffee grind ashtray, iced white chocolate mocha melting in the Manila heat, and Miley Cyrus blaring in my ears. As I bob my head, and type on Darla (my laptop), I suddenly realize: Wow I am such a cliché hahaha

I am reminded of the time in Sex and the City when Carrie goes to a nearby Starbucks to write her column, she begins to think that maybe she has held this stereotype of café typers unfairly. Maybe, she asks, maybe they all have just moved in with their significant others and have found that there is not enough space in their apartments for two people to go about their business in peace.

Well, that's not me. No significant other here, or at my house for that matter, but I do buy the not going about one's business in peace part. There are perks to sitting in a café half incognito. Yes, just half incognito.

I think even in a busy city, where everyone is so into their own thing, there is often curiosity about other people's "own things". I mean, how many times have we passed someone in a café and wondered what he or she was typing. A project proposal? A love letter? An apology? Suicide note? Pretentious blog entry? Eep.

Actually, I'm here trying to respond to letters and messages that people have written me in the three months that I've left Hamilton College, but I find myself just bobbing my head too much and singing along to Beyoncé 's Egooooo, people are starting to stare...

I know, I'm a bad friend for not responding, but here's why:

It's painful.

Every time I read a message or post from a friend from Americaland it's sooo bittersweet. The excitement and elation of any form of contact quickly fades as I am reminded of the distance between my friends (more like family) and I. So there. I've said (typed) it out loud. I'm not over the fact that I'm not in the US any more, but it's easier to bear now. And somehow, I can inch forward slowly. And yes, those letters will be answered. PROMISE.

Other things on my plate/mind:

1. Bailey's puppies are doing very well. You probs don't care haha

2. I think I'm about ready to venture out into the world again. I've pretty much been in hiding at home since I've been back in Manila.

3. Still working on the big painting. Will hopefully finish in the next few weeks.

4. I got an email a few days ago about someone trying to recruit me as a founding writer for their new website... See I'm not entirely sure whether they're serious... I checked out their website and it seems legit... But I'm sending the person an email anyway (first to determine whether it is a person and not a bot/ automated email to all the blogs on blogspot...) I'm actually quite thankful for this email because it got me thinking about a lot of things: what I want to write, why I want to write, who I am and what I want to do with my life.

Well, that's about it for now... I must admit, between the music in my ears, the people watching and the constant need to run to the bathroom (damn nico-ffeine) I find myself equally distracted at the café as I am at home... Plus I need to grab some groceries....But I do enjoy it. It's a different, constantly changing scene.

And yes, the writing has begun. Stay tuned!!!