n i c e h e a r t

Look at me and look at you

It was Friday afternoon and I was at the hallway of the sixth floor waiting for the elevator. A lady who was twice my size (and I’m not trying to be mean here) came out of the door of one of the rooms. She was also on her way home. We waited there together and she started telling me how she had this bad phone call.

Her: I always get the bad ones at the end of the day. It just makes my day.

Me: But would you rather get the bad calls at the start of the day? Wouldn’t that ruin your day more?

Her: No, because then I’ll get nice ones after that. And I’d forget about the bad one.

Me: Oh, okay, I see.

The elevator opened and then we went down to the lower level.

We came to this part where we have to either go up the stairs or the escalator to get to the street level. She went to take the escalator. I walked past her and headed for the stairs.

Me: I’m taking the stairs. I always do.

Her: Well, you’re a good girl. And you’re going even faster than I am.

For me, it’s not about even getting there faster. I sit all day at work and at the end of the day I just need to get some movement, get going, you know.

Me: I just like taking the stairs.

Her: Well, good for you. Look at me and look at you.

Those were her words, alright. She said that. And did I mention that she was twice my size? Strike that. I think she was more than twice my size.

July 28, 2008 Posted by | Detour | | 11 Comments

Four good reads

Reading on the bus on the way to and from work is working really well for me. I never would have thought. I have finished four books in two months. That’s a record for me. I thought I’d write about them before I forget what I have read.

Angels & Demons

I only got interested in reading this book when Wil mentioned it in one of his posts. That’s the power of suggestion working on me. :) I wonder if I have that same influence over others. Do readers of this blog also pick up a certain book or movie because I wrote about it?

Angels & Demons was actually written by Dan Brown before the controversial novel The Da Vinci Code which I’ve also read and couldn’t put down once I started reading it. And that being said, I think Angels & Demons is a lot more interesting and thrilling than Da Vinci.

In Angels & Demons, Robert Langdon was called to a Swiss research facility to analyze a symbol that was burned on the chest of a physicist that was murdered. This physicist was secretly doing experiments in an attempt to reconcile science and religion. But what he created was a substance called antimatter, which if it got in the wrong hands, could be a deadly weapon of destruction. And of course it was stolen. And so Langdon, together with the physicist’s beautiful daughter, went on a race against time trying to retrieve it, and at the same time, try to save a few important hostages in the Vatican.

I think it’s interesting that as I was reading the book, I kept seeing Tom Hanks in my mind as Robert Langdon. That’s probably because I’ve seen the movie The Da Vinci Code. And this was before I’ve learned that they’re filming Angels & Demons. And yes, Tom Hanks is once again starring as Langdon. I just hope that he’s sporting a short hair this time.

The Kite Runner

So I was able to find a cheaper copy of The Kite Runner at $11.99 at Coles bookstore downtown. It’s a pocket book size paper back. I’m only going to touch lightly on this one, as I’ve already written about the story when I watched the movie. Actually I just want to say that I’m glad that I’ve read the book. There were a lot of parts that were missing in the movie. And I’m also glad that I’ve seen the movie first. Because it was such a good movie and I didn’t come out of it with dissatisfaction.

I just want to share one of my favourite parts of the book that didn’t make it to the film. This made me teary-eyed, and I was sitting in a bus full of people when I got to this part. And I don’t usually cry when reading a book, only when watching a movie.

This is a conversation between Amir and his childhood friend’s son, Sohrab.

“Do you think Father is disappointed in me?”
“I know he’s not,” I said. “You saved my life in Kabul. I know he is very proud of you for that.”
He wiped his face with the sleeve of his shirt. It burst a bubble of spittle that had formed on his lips. He buried his face in his hands and wept a long time before he spoke again. “I miss Father, and Mother too,” he croaked. “And I miss Sasa and Rahim Khan sahib. But sometimes I’m glad they’re not … they’re not here anymore.”
“Why?” I touched his arm. He drew back.
“Because —” he said, gasping and hitching between sobs, “because I don’t want them to see me … I’m so dirty. He sucked in his breath and let it out in a long, wheezy cry. “I’m so dirty and full of sin.”
“You’re not dirty, Sohrab,” I said.
“Those men —”
“You’re not dirty at all.”
“— they did things … the bad men and the other two … they did things … did things to me.”
“You’re not dirty and you’re not full of sin.” I touched his arm again and he drew away. I reached again, gently, and pulled him to me. “I won’t hurt you,” I whispered. “I promise.” He resisted a little. Slackened. He let me draw him to me and rested his head on my chest. His little body convulsed in my arms with each sob.

Where the Heart Is

My niece gave this book to me as a birthday present three years ago. I didn’t take an interest in it right away. But when Barbara, the author’s cousin, suggested that I read it, I told her that it would be next on my list. Again, that’s the power of suggestion. And I must say that I enjoyed reading it. And she was right. It was an easy read.

It’s about a 17-year old pregnant girl who was abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart store. She only had $7.77 in her pocket. She lived in Wal-Mart secretly until she gave birth, right there at the store. She became a news sensation. And the people of the town adopted her. She found a home in a town where people loved her. Because after all, home is where the heart is.

There is also a movie based on this novel. It stars Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd. I haven’t seen it yet.

My Sister’s Keeper

I found this book on sale at $7.99 at the new McNally Robinson bookstore at Polo Park. It’s slightly damaged, but it looks alright to me.

This is about Anna, a 13-year old girl who’s suing her parents for medical emancipation so that she could have the right to make medical decisions for herself. Because you see, Anna was conceived in order to find a genetic match for her older sister Kate, who has leukemia. At first, the doctors were only to take Anna’s cord blood from the umbilical cord that usually gets thrown after birth anyway. It wasn’t going to hurt. Kate went into remission. But later on, she relapsed again. And then Anna had to donate lymphocytes (white blood cells) and then bone marrow. And now that Anna’s 13 and Kate, 16 and her health deteriorating, their parents want Anna to donate her kidney.

This is such a powerful and heartbreaking story. I thought that it would make a good movie, and a controversial one, too, I suppose. After a quick search on the internet, I found out that they are filming a movie based on this novel. Starring Cameron Diaz and Alec Baldwin. Dakota Fanning and her sister Elle were offered the parts of the sisters, but Dakota declined when she learned that she will have to be bald in the movie. That was interesting to know. There are actors or actresses who would grab a good role taking vanity aside, but hey, Dakota’s still very young and I can understand why she wouldn’t want to go bald.

This is also the only book I’ve read so far where the story is told from different points of view. The story is narrated by six, or I should say, seven different characters. I like it. I think it’s very interesting.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Books, movies, music, TV | , , , | 14 Comments

He’s trying to get away

It was already 7:00 p.m. I was tired and hungry and getting impatient. I’ve been telling the kids to get away from the computers and NDS game so that we could all eat supper. As usual, my middle guy was the last one to come to the kitchen.

Me: Ryan, tigilan mo na ‘yan at kakain na tayo.

Ryan: But, mommy, I don’t understand what you’re saying.

Me: What do you mean you don’t understand? Tigilan. Tigil. Stop. Stop that now. It’s time to eat.

Later on at the dinner table when we were done eating …

Me: Sino’ng maghuhugas ng pinggan?

Ryland (the youngest one): Hmmn. Let me check.

He went to see our chores list on the fridge door.

Ryland: It’s Kuya Ryan.

Ryan: Urgh! I already know that.

Me: Ilagay mo na yang pinggan mo sa lababo.

Ryan: I know. Just wait.

Me: Then how come you understand that sentence? But when I told you earlier “tigilan mo na ‘yan” you said you didn’t understand me?

Ryland: He’s just trying to get away.

Me: Exactly my point.

Ryan now has this big grin on his face.

July 17, 2008 Posted by | Kids say the darndest things, Raising the 3Rs | , | 6 Comments

Dan, a Waitress and The Bucket List

Here are just some of the dramedies I have enjoyed watching recently:

Dan in Real Life

I don’t know if it’s because I love Steve Carrell so much in The Office that I find myself laughing out loud in some of the scenes in Dan in Real Life. I think he is hilarious without even trying to be so.

In this movie, he plays a newspaper columnist giving advice to parents, but in real life, he is a single dad to three daughters, two of which are teenagers, and he doesn’t really know what’s the right thing to say to them. They go back home to his family for a vacation. He meets this lovely woman at a bookstore and they immediately like each other, but she admits that she has a boyfriend. When Dan goes back to his parents’ house, his brother introduces him to his girlfriend, the woman from the bookstore. And she’s staying with them for a few days. What could be more awkward than that?

Great words of wisdom from Dan Burns :)

Instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised.

There’s rightness in our wrongness.

(After his daughter Jane tells him: If you don’t let me drive, I’ll never learn.) But if I let you, you might not live.

Life… is full of disappointments

Other memorable quotes:

Marty Barasco: Love is not a feeling, Mr. Burns. It’s an ability.

Marie: (about Mitch) It seems all his best lines were yours… this is unbearable.

Waitress

I think this is a smart, funny movie even though the theme is kind of sad.

Jenna is trapped in this unhappy marriage. She feels suffocated by her controlling and emotionally abusive jerk of a husband, Earl. But she is poor and can’t seem to muster the energy to leave him until she saves up enough money to enter this pie-making contest. And she can make damn good pies.

Then she finds out that she’s pregnant with Earl’s baby. At first, she didn’t like the idea of being pregnant. Then she meets her male OB-Gyn who’s attracted to her and makes her feel good about herself. And they start to have an affair.

I think it’s funny how Jenna comes up with these clever recipes and names for the pies that she makes, which is often influenced by whatever mood she’s having that day:

I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie… You make a quiche of egg and cheese with a smoked ham center.

I Hate My Husband Pie… You take bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel.

Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair Pie… You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.

I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong And I Don’t Want Earl To Kill Me Pie… Vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana.

Pregnant Miserable Self Pitying Loser Pie… Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambé of course.

It’s just too sad that Adrienne Shelly, the writer and director of the film, died (was murdered) before the film was even released.

My favourite quotes:

Dr. Pomatter: I want to talk to you, somewhere outside of here. Maybe we can have a coffee or something?
Jenna: I can’t have coffee, it’s on the bad food list you gave to me. What kind of doctor are you?

Jenna: Dear Baby, I hope someday somebody wants to hold you for 20 minutes straight and that’s all they do. They don’t pull away. They don’t look at your face. They don’t try to kiss you. All they do is wrap you up in their arms and hold on tight, without an ounce of selfishness in it.

I love this movie, or any movie that empowers women, for that matter. :)

The Bucket List

With Jack Nicholson playing a billionaire and Morgan Freeman playing a mechanic, and the plot of two terminally ill men trying to cross off the items in their list before they kick the bucket, hence The Bucket List, you’d think that it’d just be a funny movie, but it was actually also a heartwarming one.

I think it’s a good idea to have a bucket list, so to speak. I’ve seen people do it. Once in a while I’d say to myself that if I have this kind of money, I’d love to go to Rome or Paris or Greece, you know, travel around the world. That would be in my bucket list, among other things. But coming back to reality, that would only be possible if I do have that kind of money. Maybe if I won the lotto or some kind of free trip to these places. Or if I have a wealthy friend like Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie.

My favourite quotes:

Carter: Even now, I can’t claim to understand the measure of a life, but I can tell you this: I know that when he died, his eyes were closed and his heart was open, and I’m pretty sure he was happy with his final resting place because he was buried on the mountain, and that was against the law.

Carter: My pastor always says our lives are streams flowing into the same river towards whatever heaven lies in the mist beyond the falls. Find the joy in your life, Edward. My dear friend, close your eyes and let the waters take you home.

Edward: Here’s something to remember when you’re older Thomas – never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never trust a fart. (Only Jack Nicholson could pull off a line like that. :) )

July 15, 2008 Posted by | Books, movies, music, TV, Quotable Quotes | , , | 6 Comments

Sunrise, Sunset

Tevye is a man who wants to hold on to tradition. He says in the opening of Fiddler on the Roof, “Traditions, traditions. Without our traditions our lives would be as shaky as, as… as a fiddler on the roof! “

He goes on to explain:

“A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But here, in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy. You may ask ‘Why do we stay up there if it’s so dangerous?’ Well, we stay because Anatevka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in one word: tradition!”

In Anatevka where he lives, marriages are arranged by parents with the help of a matchmaker. But when it involves his daughter’s life, he just had to break tradition. For how could he force his daughter to marry a rich widower when he can see in her eyes how much she loves her childhood sweetheart.

I’ve known since I was little that the song Sunrise, Sunset has been associated with weddings. I’ve even watched Philippine actor Boyet de Leon walk Lotlot down the aisle to meet her groom Monching, while this music plays in the background. It’s nice to finally hear the original version of the song in this movie. Here’s Tzeitel, Tevye’s oldest daughter, marrying Motel, the tailor.

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Books, movies, music, TV | , | 3 Comments

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