Sunday, June 29, 2014

Transformers: Age of Extinction (I can't even)

In keeping with my tradition to write endless reviews after really awesome Transformers movies (wait, I've only written one), I have decided to spoil anyone who reads this who haven't seen the movie yet (because I'm that kind of person).

This movie's cast includes



  • Max Payne
  • Really annoying teenage daughter
  • Ed Sheeran
  • and Caesar Flickerman 
Also starring the voices of
  • Eeyore
  • Scooby-Doo
  • Fred Flintstone
  • Ra's Al Ghul
  • and one of the Stabbington brothers (Tangled)
What I remember of the almost three-hour movie

Basically the humans are hunting the robots. And if in the first warning you didn't get it, I'm saying it again: SPOILER ALERT. But the humans aren't the only ones. Apparently, Lockdown, this really cool bot whose alternate is a Lamborghini (a really sleek and sexy and contoured and downright awesome car), was sent to earth to clean up the mess the Autobots and Decepticons caused. You know, like the mess in Chicago four years prior to this movie's supposed timeline. Lockdown's face turns into a very accurate firing weapon and he just shoots bots whether they are good or bad. This means most Autobots were in hiding and some of them dying. Well, most of them. As the movie progresses, we find that there are only five Autobots left, and it's really sad and heartbreaking to watch Lockdown thrust a sword into one of the bots' Spark. Why would he do that? So sad.

Then we see Cade Yeager (Wahlberg) and his friend Lucas Flannery (Miller). Yeager is obviously a descendant of one of the creators of the famous Gypsy Danger, Striker Eureka, Crimson Typhoon, etc. This seems to be a thread that movies want to stitch together, you know, Godzilla, Pacific Rim, How to Train Your Dragon. All jaegers and kaijus. Anyway, Lucas dies. I'm sorry. He's one of the characters who was given the greatest corniest lines and is also the traitor of the group, so he dies by hellfire. And turns into a metal skeleton statue in the form of a running man.

So on Optimus Prime, his voice seems to have changed slightly. His face has become very expressive. He also coughs and has a runny nose the first time we see him, which I never thought robots would do. I mean, really? Cough? Do they even, like, breathe? In the words of Shane (the boyfriend) when he was trying to calm Bumblebee down, "Just take a deep breath or whatever it is that you do." Optimus is still awesome, especially when we see him back to his old shiny blue and red self with flames. He is definitely a mover. And he has a soft heart for humans, which makes us wonder if he's really actually one of us or if he's just having an identity crisis.

Then we see the rest of the group.

Oh, oh, wait, at the very beginning of the movie, we see the reason dinosaurs died. The aliens killed them while planting seeds. And they found one of the metal dinosaur skeletons and decided to become creators using the thing called a Transformium. Anyway.

The rest of the group! I love Crosshair's flappy cape. How can something metallic be so swishy? It's awesome! And Drift's random haikus and his famous line in the movie, something about using violence as a last resort, then he kills some strange creature in an extremely violent way.

Also, Hound's ballet moves. "I'm covering you. If I'm not covering you, I must be dead." He's a bit trigger happy, and it makes him so adorable with his flowy beard. And when he gets stuck on the Hong Kong residential area because he's fat. "That's mean."

The best lines were given to Caesar Flickerman (I'm sorry I keep calling him that), some of which were "Get out of the way, out of the way. [After a while] Oh, just hit them" (when they were driving in a busy street with lots of people), "I may have caused the apocalypse, but you brought your family, and that's really bad parenting," and "We don't need you anymore" (which in my opinion hurts much and in Hound's words "That's mean").

Shane also gets awesome parts in the movie. He drives awesome. He screams like a girl. He also says "I'm not here to save your daughter. I'm here to help you save my girlfriend."

Speaking of which, I am so annoyed at the daughter. Tessa is annoying. She couldn't even run away from the fighting robots on the street. "I'm trying," she says while hitting the car's back window, trying to break it. Seriously? Pfft. Did she have to be so . . . I mean did there really need to be a girl? I think Caesar's assistant, the awesome Asian girl, would have been enough. But then, they needed a father-daughter tandem, so whatever.

Generally, I can't organize my thoughts on the movie because it was almost three hours long and the awesomeness of metal crushing metal and the sound of cars in gear are still in my head. This adrenaline-pumping movie is the type of movie that can make you clap at the very end and that is something worth watching. Yeah, sure, the story's a bit, well, okay. It's not the type that can make you think about the world differently but it is the type that can make you look at cars a whole lot differently. The aftereffects of the movie are still not wearing off and I believe that I may end up imagining random vehicles transforming. 

Also, Megatron who is now Galvatron comes back but doesn't earn enough screen time. He talks in, like, three instances: his first fight with Optimus, when he had his army of bots, and when he exited into Victoria Peak.

The destruction, of course, should not be ignored. Since they've grown tired of destroying New York or Chicago or somewhere else, they decided to bring the destruction to China. Finally, another city. Then again, they shot some parts of it in a really large set in Detroit and made us believe it was in Asia, so I don't think that counts.

What I love about this movie is that they've acknowledged the previous movie (Transformers: Dark of the Moon). This seems to be the thing with movies. They're building their stories based on the previous ones and making viewers want to watch the previous ones too. It's a really cool development in the movie industry.

Anyway, I still have so many things to say about the movie but can't keep my head straight with all the shooting and dodging and running and riding and being just cool while watching the movie. It's really worthy of any tech geek's money, or anyone who enjoys watching movies like Pacific Rim, Real Steel, and the Fast and the Furious series. Obviously, it has robots and cars. What more can we ask for?

So there. A mediocre printout of what I'm actually feeling about the movie. Don't be fooled, Optimus doesn't die. I mean, I don't intend on making you think this is the only way I'm feeling about the movie because my words just aren't enough. You should see my smile. I feel like a kid watching all the toys and candy being placed in my Christmas sock. It's an awesome movie!

Go watch it or Optimus Prime will hit you in the forehead with a very heavy gun.

Autobots, roll out.

"Legendary warriors, stand with us. If you stand against us, you stand against me. I give you freedom!"
"You just want to die for him. Now that's leadership."




Thursday, April 3, 2014

Divergent: A Rant, Not Really a Review


This is not a movie review, rather not the type I usually do. This is the sound of my brain screaming, then calming down, then screaming, then just zoning out.

I will be blunt. Divergent the movie was disappointing.

Before I judge, I first have to set the background of my watching the movie.

I guess it's hard to make a dystopian young adult novel come to life on the big screen. I guess it's hard to make a dystopian young adult novel come to life on the big screen when it's a best seller and has a large fan base. I guess it's especially hard to make a dystopian young adult novel come to life on the big screen when the Hunger Games has already established its throne on that genre.

I may be biased to the Hunger Games and I understand that Divergent is not the same as the Hunger Games, but I cannot help myself from seeing the similarities . . . similarities I need not discuss because I'm sure other fans have exhausted that topic.

My guess for the disappointment here is that when I watched the HG, it was already a couple of months after I finished reading the series. I had time to prepare myself for the movie. I had time to lower my expectations. I had time to accept that whatever they change, they're doing it for the good of humanity or some similar reason. And I was still disappointed at the movie, and you can read the very long post that's practically a commentary of the whole movie here. But the thing is, HG made a lot of good decisions when it comes to changes from book to screen.

And therein lies my great dismay at Divergent.

SO MANY CHANGES!

I'm flexible. I understand that there are some things that need to be changed for the book to become a movie. I understand that there are plots that need to die, characters that need not to be mentioned, events that can be ignored. But they didn't have to make so much drastic changes. Sure, it didn't ruin the story. It was still in line with what happened in the book. But for those who've read the book and are sticklers for detail, it's just not the same.

Those who haven't read the book will never know why Christina would be so angry at (I was about to type Katniss but I stopped myself) Tris during Insurgent.


  • The Choosing Ceremony bowls were supposed to be man-sized.
  • Tris didn't volunteer to be first jumper. Gah! She was just going to look, but then she couldn't back out so she jumped. She is not Katniss Everdeen (I volunteer!).
  • The bathrooms were in a separate room. (Why am I even concerned about this?)
  • The Dauntless training didn't seem like Dauntless training at all! It was like they were just playing around. For me, it didn't establish the urgency and desperation of the initiates to actually pass the initiation. Maybe it worked for the rest of the world, but it was just . . . too little. 
  • I mean, the first time Tris got beaten up in the movie, there weren't even enough bruises!
  • Eric did not cut Tris from training before they went playing capture the flag.
  • They were supposed to use paint balls! Why shoot someone with a simulation of a real gunshot hit? Why can't they just use paint balls?
  • *I appreciate how they were trying to establish Eric's jealousy over Four's superiority in skills and strength.
  • Christina was supposed to take the flag, not Tris. There was supposed to be professional jealousy there because, like every other YA novel with a girl as a star, Tris is insecure.
  • Uriah didn't invite Tris to the Hancock building to zip line across Chicago right after capture the flag. It happened after that, and because of the zip line escapade, Tris's friends (Christina, Will, and Al) started to become jealous.
  • *I love the zip line and would love to try that out someday.
  • They didn't need brakes to stop the zip line. Or I don't remember that part in the book.
  • Uriah and Tris got caught by Four after the zip line. That was the first time Tris held Four's hand.
  • Why is the chasm dry? WHY!
  • Goodness! Christina was just hanging there for, like, seconds. She could do better. 
  • The trickle of water from the bridge over the chasm is a poor excuse for water described in the book. (Yes, I wanted it to be more challenging for her even though she just got beat up by Molly.)
  • Molly seemed really okay . . . which is not who Molly really is. She is mean and vicious and, oh, just not like that Molly.
  • No Edward? Really? No butter knife stabbing an eye?
  • Erudite headquarters could have been cooler. Not box-type. I'm guessing there will be renovations soon.
  • No receptionist? Just Caleb? 
  • Caleb, no glasses? I thought you were trying to be Erudite-looking?
  • No visiting day? What's with the hiding behind sacks of whatever to talk to Mrs. Prior? Because there was not visiting day, there is no establishment of Cara's dislike for Tris (aside from Tris shooting Cara's brother, Will).
  • Four acknowledged that Tris was Divergent. He said it to her. There were no assumptions or "You know why." 
  • The tapping of the "aquarium" . . . not so cool as just pressing your palm onto the glass, like what the book described. Details. Details.
  • Eric, not much screen time? Tsktsk. You don't look so mean to me.
  • Four's fear landscape was, fine, okay. But it was Four's fear landscape. Four's fears. Tris was helping him overcome it, not doing the overcoming by herself for him. The Marcus scene, though, was cool.
  • Why is Tris sleeping in Four's room? Doesn't that arouse suspicion from Tris's friends and defeat the purpose of their hiding their relationship in hopes that the said friends won't think Tris is getting high scores because she's with their instructor like the book described? (I'm being sarcastic here. This is a sarcastic rhetorical question. Please don't attempt to answer and tell me I don't understand what's going on.)
  • Four did not watch Tris's final exam. Jeanine wasn't there. 
  • The serum injections happened right after the exam, not when they were going back.
  • The real movie started around this part . . . like thirty minutes left in the hour and a half movie.
  • Tris's mother saved her from the aquarium. Not in an execution.
  • Tris's mother died while she distracted the Dauntless zombies. Tris never got to hug her.
  • Tris killed Will after her mother died.
  • Peter didn't seem all that hurt by the gunshot to the arm. Dude, you're bleeding.
  • Tris's father died while he led the Dauntless zombies to a dead-end corridor. He was much better with guns than the movie version. Caleb didn't see his dad die. Nobody got to hug him.
  • Four was operating the simulation controls. There were no Erudites or Dauntless in the Pire's control room.
  • JEANINE WAS NOT THERE!
  • JEANINE DID NOT GET HER HAND STABBED BY A KNIFE!
  • She's much too smart for that.
  • Four was alone. 
  • How in the world can only two Dauntless take on X number of Erudite and Dauntless traitors when Tris and Four already beat themselves up? 
  • Because they put Jeanine there, we can now ask, Why would they leave her there and not take her hostage or just kill her? (Because then there'd be no Insurgent movie.)
  • Why didn't they take the hard drive like the author said they would?
  • The Dauntless zombies didn't look as confused as they should be when they woke up as murderers. Tris and Four weren't to see them wake up like that. It was supposed to be chaos all over again.
  • Voice overs.
Watching the movie felt like watching Bella of Twilight (the movie, not Bella in the book) run around with Katniss-like strength in a Hunger Games arena. Although there are scenes wherein Four becomes Bella and Tris becomes Edward, which is weird and awkward. I mean, they focus the touching scenes just to establish that Four liked Tris. I am sad.

There are a number of things that make me sad about the movie. So I guess when I say that Four/Tobias Eaton/Theo James makes me happy, that should cover up everything. Yeah, I can be girly and have crushes I'll never get to meet too. And I love Tris/Beatrice Prior/Shailene Woodley when she talks. I love her voice. It sounds like Lindsay Lohan (and I mean it in a good way).

I also love that in this movie, Caleb and Tris are siblings. The Fault in Our Stars comes out in June and they become lovers. Then when Insurgent comes out, Tris finds out that Caleb betrayed her. All this happens after Tris and Peter fell in love in The Spectacular Now, which must be why Tris hates Peter so much. All this crossing over of actors is making me feel funny and happy.

Anyway, there. Frustration is out. I don't know how they'll make the next two movies, but I hope it works. 

If you haven't read the books but have already watched the movie, well, I'd like to know if it was okay for you. Much like Hunger Games? Not at all like it? Loved the movie? Yes, well, we all have our opinions.

We are all factionless, after all.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Post 1

They're fighting again. I can hear them. I can hear them as if they were right here with me. Well, in a way, they are. They are here, but I can't see them.

It hurts sometimes. They make the noises that make me realize that it hurts. I often just ignore them, but sometimes I just can't help it.

It's good when I'm alone. I mean, it's bearable. At least I don't get embarrassed when they start shouting, screaming for attention. But they don't always keep it in.

They grumble and mumble when I'm with my friends. They make those annoying fighting noises when I'm with strangers. They fight whether people might hear them or not.

I could stop them. I have the power to stop them. But sometimes it feels like whatever I do, it's just not enough. I can't satiate them. They will always keep wanting more from me.

They're fighting now. I can hear them. But I have nothing to give them to make them stop. It's one of those times when I can only curl up and sleep while they keep fighting.

They're screaming now. I can hear them. I can hear them because they're inside me, and the only way to stop them fighting is the one thing I can't give them now.

I can hear them. So can you.

***

Interpretation for those who may think this was supposed to be a serious post:

I'm hungry and my stomach is rumbling and I don't have food and it's the middle of the night. Anybody else have this kind of problem? :)


Monday, February 24, 2014

One Author's Book Tour, Another Girl's Inspiration

To praise his work would be redundant, and although he definitely deserves to be written about (again) and his work complimented and taken in the highest regard, I will not be filling this post with what most people write about (I think) after they meet one very inspiring author.



As some people know, Mitch Albom just visited the Philippines. On February 23, 2014 (that's today, as I write this down), he graced Ayala Center Cebu with his presence. We all know Mr. Mitch. We know his books and have read them, so like I said, I won't dwell on that.

What I will talk about is the conversation that ran through my head during the, what, two- to three-hour wait. The question I had to answer was this: "What should I say to this author that would actually make an impact?"



My musings went like this:

Hi, Mr. Mitch.
Hello, sir. Thank you so much for being a writer.
Thank you so much for choosing to be a writer and being an awesome one.
Hello, sir. Thank you for choosing to be a writer instead of some other profession like a lawyer or businessman.
Hello, sir. Thank you for being a writer.
I hope you continue writing books.
Thank you for using your gift to . . .
Thank you for using God's gift to you for the people.
I hope you continue to use God's gift to you.
Thank you for sharing God's gift to you to the people.
I hope you continue to share God's gift to you to the people.
I hope you keep writing books that will at least make people believe that there is a God.
You truly are a blessing and a miracle.
You are a blessing and someone's miracle.
You truly are a blessing and indeed a miracle to many people.
You are a miracle. You are not an accident.
You are someone's miracle.
You are indeed a miracle for someone in this world.
Thank you for sharing your talent in this world.
Are you a Christian?
Do you believe in Christ?
Will I see you in heaven?
When the time comes, will I see you in heaven? I just want to know that you are using your gifts for eternal value.
Can you encourage me?
Can you encourage a frustrated writer to finish writing a book?
Can I ask you to encourage me to actually finish writing a book?
Do you have any advice for frustrated writers like me?
Do you have tips on being a writer?
Do you sleep? (As I was mulling over this question, I realize how stalker-ish it sounds.)
How many hours do you still get to sleep?
How many hours do you give to writing your novels?
When you write, do you also lose yourself in it that you forget what time it is?
Do you write all the time?
Do you have advice for writers with a day job?
Thank you for making a difference in this world.
Thank you for making a dent in this world.
Thank you so much, sir. God bless you.

I finally decided on what I would say.

Hello, sir. Thank you for being such a good writer. I hope you continue to share God's gift to you to the people. Can you encourage me to actually finish writing a book? Thank you so much, sir. God bless you.

So there. I've decided. As you can see, I edit myself a lot. I edit what I say in my head. That's probably why I don't talk as often as I used to and when I do talk impromptu, someone always ends up misunderstanding what I say. Unedited thoughts are dangerous. Editing words already said can be even more excruciating.

Anyway, I rolled those words around in my head for a couple of hours. Then I thought, Hmm, maybe asking for advice isn't appropriate here. I mean, let this day be about him. About his achievements. About the influence of his work and his charities. So I revised it, removing the "encourage me" part.

In the end, what happened was this:

Me: Thank you for being a writer, sir. You're truly a blessing.
Mitch Albom: God bless you, honey, for saying that.

A few seconds in the presence of someone who has used his voice to change lives. And indeed, in that one line, I got the advice that I wanted.

I imagined that he would say "Quit" (because Hemingway said writers don't read other writers' work because they'd get jealous) or "Just keep writing" (because that's the easiest and really most common thing to do). I also thought that he might say something really inspiring that I'd sit in front of my laptop the whole night just writing until I publish something. But I got the advice I guess I needed.

"God bless you, honey, for saying that."

You know what I think? Although he may just have said that because that's the right thing to say, what I got was that saying things that can bless other people is the way to go. And he's right if that's what he meant. I understood that there is more awesome when you say things that will bless people than when you ask them to bless you. There is more depth in writing about helping people and indeed writing to help people rather than writing for personal gain. And even more, "for saying that" felt like "just keep writing" but heavier. It was heavier because what he said was what would be said if I actually finish writing. It was a "result" that he gave me, not the process. And I thank God for that.

Dear Sir Mitch Albom,
You are an awesome author. And you are blessed with a lovely wife who supports you so much. I hope that you will be blessed more so that you can bless more. All things are His and you are His creation. Yes, there is a God.
Have an amazing time writing more, sir!

To the rest of the world, there should be more books that don't just talk about superficial things. We should be reading more things that make us think. And I admit I've only really read Tuesdays with Morrie (and that was a rather traumatic experience because of circumstances not entirely related to the book), but I believe that a person as influential as Mitch Albom can produce such quality work that even those of us who haven't really dived into his books would want to dig right in. Yes, I'm promoting his books . . . also because I just love promoting reading.





Reading is awesome. Have fun!



Friday, February 14, 2014

A Love Story


Heart's Origin


Once upon a time, a man died for the woman he loves. Yes, sounds tragic, doesn’t it? Sounds like a Nicholas Sparks novel. But in this day and age, that’s what it means to love, isn’t it? To be willing to give up everything, including your life, for the one you love.

Well, this man died. But first, he loved.

He loved extraordinarily. It was almost insane. Normal people would likely choose who they love. Normal people would have standards that are more likely impossible to meet. Normal people do not easily give up everything for someone who doesn’t even seem to notice them. Normal people. But he wasn’t normal, no. He wasn’t normal at all.

You see, he loved a woman, like men ought to do. You could say the lyrics “I knew I loved you before I met you” applied to him. He loved her way before they met, way before she even knew he existed. He loved her in the most profound way. What way is this?

Well, have you ever tried loving someone who ignores you? Someone who intentionally does things to annoy you? This was a woman who may very well end up an old maid if she didn’t get her act together or a battered wife if she wound up in a very destructive relationship. Vices—you name it, she’s done it. She would be a bad girl in the truest sense of the epithet.

But she wasn’t all bad, of course not. She had good moments too. She could laugh. She could have fun. She sometimes helped people. She had her good girl moments. But that’s just it. Moments.

Now when you say love, we often directly assume that he’d fallen for her. Well, let’s get this out straight: Who in the world would fall for a girl who has expressed a unique desire to rebel against your every wish? Okay, maybe there are some people out there, but really, in all honesty, that’s got to be a choice, right? So there, he didn’t fall for her. He chose to love her.

He chose to love her, and love her he did. He wanted what’s best for her. He took care of her, protected her. He was her knight in shining armor, even though she never noticed. Pretty much every clich├ęd description of a lover.

In most love stories, there would come a turning point for the girl wherein she’d realize that the man existed and that she actually loves him too. In this love story, well, in worldly terms, she’d found this out too late.

He died. I think I’ve established that well enough already. But why did he die?

Here comes the supernatural part of this love story. When someone as vile and despicable and dirty, or even someone who just thinks a little bad deed won’t hurt, decides to live vicariously from the rules, logic tells us that the person will eventually, ideally even, be punished. Consequences, we call them. And sure enough, this woman, this beloved, was en route to such a punishment as death. Death. Really.

At this point we’d still wonder why the man loved her. “Come on! She’s not good for you!” or “He’s just being stupid” we’d say. But the man persisted.

How the man knew this woman’s acts would be punishable by death is an eternal mystery. The point is, he knew and he did something about it. That’s what lovers do. They do something about things.

So on the day of the woman’s judgment, the man stepped onto the platform and argued her case. Was he a lawyer? Was he a politician? Was he related to the judge in any way? He admitted to the judge that the woman was guilty. Well, there goes love. Thanks a lot for defending the woman (insert sarcasm here). He told the judge everything she had done.

Obviously, as I said, she was sentenced to death. But the man, ever the savior of his beloved, struck a deal with the judge. A deal so impossible, so simple, so completely out-of-this-world incredulous that no one in this day and age would ever just accept without being overwhelmed by the profoundness of such act.

He took her place. That’s why he died.

The end. 

Or is it?

You see, some people offer love to their boyfriend or girlfriend only until the point where they get what they want (we’re hoping this means marriage although people generally think of other things). Some people offer love to the spouses only until death parts them—some, can’t even wait till then. Some people offer the moon, the stars, the sky. They offer things and riches and fame. They “offer” their lives to the one they love. And yes, some even die just to prove it. And that’s what we think real love is. When someone is willing to do everything for us. What, like slaves, you mean?

Words of love offered in a moment of breathless exuberance, in that moment of passion, may or may not mean anything. This is me being cynical. Words of love offered in one’s right mind, with logic and reason backing up every claim, may or may not mean anything either. This is me being realistic. But words of love offered in defense of a woman condemned to die, nay, an act of true love displayed in the face of death?

Okay, so death proves love? No. Consider why he died.

Now is it the end? What happened then? Love stories don’t just end there, do they?

The woman lived. She continued living. Did she stop being bad? Did she acknowledge the sacrifice the man gave? What do you think?

Well, it doesn’t matter, does it? He’s dead, so what’s the point?

Au contraire, mon ami. Supernatural, we called it. The man did not just die. The man lived again. And that quite changes everything, doesn’t it?

Does the woman love him back now that he’s alive? Or does she continue to be bad?

You see, living again brings hope, doesn’t it? Living again gives us the impression that they could love each other finally. That the man’s efforts would be worth it (heck, he died!). So what does the woman do?

This is a love story. It’s not written in the most entertaining way. It’s not in proper chronological order. It’s not even telling us anything about how it ends. Why?

We are the woman. You, me, man, or woman. You, random person reading this blog, be ye a man or woman, you are this woman. Sure, you don’t have vices. Sure, you’ve been a good person. Sure, you think no one’s ever professed that they’d die for you and actually gone and done it. But you are that woman.

You are that woman because at one very early point in this earth’s existence, someone loved you. Someone knew you. Someone saw everything you would ever be and everything you would ever do. Someone took the time to get to know you, to see who you would turn out to be. Someone loved you enough that when he found out you would die in the end because of what you’ve done, he decided to save you. Yes, save. He decided to die instead just so you would live. Does it sound absurd? Yes. Did it really happen? Yes.

And the point now is, what do we do about it? What do you do about it? What do you do if someone loves you enough to die for you? Loves you enough to come back and pursue a relationship with you. Because that’s all he’s ever wanted, really. You.

This love story hasn’t ended yet. This love story lives on in each person’s life. What will you do about it? Will you love him back?
 




John 3:16, it's all there.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Proposals

I'm getting married! Hah! I can't wait for you all to read this rather extensive discussion on how it all happened. It’s weird and abrupt and totally something I would just make up. No. I’m just kidding. I’m not getting married (not yet, at least). But you have to admit, I caught your attention, right? J

Picture from here

There has been an onslaught of creative video proposals lately, and it’s been filling cyberspace to the rim. We see people singing and dancing, lip syncing and dancing, lip syncing and trying to dance, doing short films, renting out theaters and cafes and ice skating rinks and offices, all for that special event—that one moment when the future groom asks his future bride, “Will you marry me?” (Or for the truly romantic, “It would be an enormous privilege for me to spend the rest of my life loving you. Would you grant me the honor of being your husband? Will you marry me?)

So I’m just going to lay this out here and now. I have nothing against all these proposals. Inside, I really enjoy watching these men do whatever it takes to get their girl to say yes. I salute their creativity and courage to do so. These proposals will certainly be something to talk about with their children and grandchildren. They begin the beginning of the rest of their lives with such a bang that there’s the assumption that nothing could go wrong. So this I write for the purpose of just writing it. (And I particularly dedicate this to the people who are brave enough to make a scene in public, in front of lots of strangers, like, in a train station or a movie house.)

What if she says no?

This really is just the question. The optimistic side of me thinks that the man has already thought about this, made a plan B (like run fast and never look back), and is still willing to risk it because, indeed, asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you is a great risk. So maybe the man has the confidence in the relationship, in their love for each other, and the approval of God and everyone to marry the woman he has fallen deeply in love with. Maybe he knows in advance that she’s just waiting for him to ask and the answer has been at the tip of her tongue for a while now. Maybe he knows that even if he just asks during a cup of coffee, with no singing or dancing or fireworks, she’d say yes. He just wants to make it special because he believes that the girl is special. I commend that man. There should be more men who think their love is special and do whatever it takes to keep it special.
I just lost my train of thought here.

As I was typing the slightly long paragraph above, I realize that there really is no reason for her to say no. If the man has had the confidence enough to be willing to make a fool of himself (which rarely happens, by the way) just to ask her to be his wife, then the woman must already know that it was inevitable. That in whatever way the man would ask, the man would ask. And she would say yes. (Because obviously they love each other.)

Then again, what if (1) she doesn’t love him enough to marry him (which would lead us all to hate the person, but hate is such a strong word so we’d rather say we dislike her), (2) she doesn’t want the proposal to be as public as a theme park displaying their newest rides, (3) he doesn’t understand why number (2) exists when women are “supposed to be” romantic in every way, or (4) he has seen too many proposal videos and how popular the videos of these proposals have become and, in an effort to become famous for at least five minutes, decides to join the bandwagon (which is really selfish if that’s his only reason . . . or if that’s one of his reasons, really)?

She doesn’t love him enough to marry him

Why in the world are they still in a relationship then? Why does she go out with him? Why did he even have the inkling of wanting to marry her if she doesn’t love him enough to marry him (unless he’s just dense and couldn’t see the signs in which case she could have saved him a lot of trouble by being brutally blunt)?

I think this is an issue in today’s generation (that statement just made me feel really old). So many relationships revolve around what media defines as “love.” Being in a relationship, the girlfriend–boyfriend kind, just seems to them as part of growing up. Being in a relationship is just how it’s supposed to be (which is true, actually). You meet a person, you get to know each other, you date, and you fall in love. Where this goes wrong is when the falling in love part doesn’t lead them to thinking that they’d actually get married. I mean, seriously, I’ve heard people say things like “It’s not like we’re getting married!” when they’ve been with each other for quite a while already. I’d like to throw them a rock with a note that says, “Duh!” Duh because where in the world did they think their relationship was leading to? Just being in that kind of relationship forever, the girlfriend–boyfriend kind? Duh because anyone who thinks this should be avoided because wasting emotional investments should be a serious offense in the common sense of life. Duh because, seriously, it’s the stupidest thing to say. You might as well tell each other that you’re just using each other as a pastime and really have no intention of staying if life comes to that point—you know, that point.

What I’m saying is that when you commit to a relationship, it’s saying that you hope to walk down the aisle toward the altar someday (wedding, not a funeral). There’s the hope that the relationship would never really end or, rather, the girlfriend–boyfriend relationship would end and a wife–husband relationship would take over. (I just realized that I keep using the “girls first” rule. Sorry.) At the very beginning of the relationship, during the courtship perhaps, the man and the woman have already seriously thought about the possibility of marriage. Because, really, what’s the point of going into a relationship if you know it won’t last?

So this, by virtue of ignorance or sheer stubbornness, becomes cause to panic for any man who wants to propose to a woman he hasn’t had the chance to talk seriously with about the rest of their lives. She doesn’t love him enough to marry him, so she’s probably just using him. (Sorry, girls, I know there could be other legitimate reasons for loving but not marrying your man, but bear with me on this one.)

She doesn’t want the proposal to be as public as a theme park

This, I think, can be because of two reasons: (a) she is not the outgoing type and prefers to not make a spectacle of herself or (b) she’s going to say no (which I have already discussed above but will discuss more below).

Some girls would like the whole shebang—fireworks, loud music, elaborate choreography, hair-raising stunts, death-defying feats, lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). And that would be awesome. She would enjoy watching the proposal video over and over and would be one of the many people sharing it on Facebook for all the world to see. She’s probably prepared how to dramatically say yes, prepared her heart for how it would feel like to watch her husband-to-be kneel before her, take her hand, look into her eyes, and ask her to be his forever. Or she probably would have no idea what was coming but decided to be in the moment when the moment finally comes. That’s the best part, when the moment finally comes.

But then there are girls who would panic at such events (I know of no such person as this is all hypothetical and comes from the probably slushy and mushy and gooey stuff that is my brain). Just the thought of facing so many strangers frightens them, and they’d actually freeze when the marriage question comes up. It’s like being in a classroom and the teacher suddenly calls out your name and asks you some complicated question that you know would probably require some complicated answer of which you know nothing of. It’s like being caught off guard, in a good way, but self-defense takes control—a deer in the headlights, a goat stiff as a (I’m still thinking of something clever to describe the goat’s freezing defense mechanism). Being in a pressured environment makes jelly of their usually rational brains. They panic.

And then there are girls who are too self-conscious. She doesn’t want the whole world to know how she said yes with a throaty, hoarse voice, tears dripping and some other liquid sliding down her nose. Nobody wants to let the world see them crying, whether it be of joy or sadness (unless you cry really beautifully, like Charlize Theron). And there may be a time when she looks at that video and think, Eww, the whole world saw this? What was I thinking? Then again, be in the moment.

And for the sake of just writing this down, there are the KJs. The ones who think, With the money he used to pay for all this, we could have given a down payment for a house. Well, there go the fireworks. Burn, money, burn. I’m sorry, I don’t want to be mean, but the logical part of my brain might wish for a day when it could control all my bodily functions and decision making, and the proposal day might be the day. Every effort the man gives, the woman can shoot it down (which doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t love him, just that she’s very “practical” at that moment).

If any of the above is a description of the woman who is about to be asked for marriage, there is a slight increase in the risk of going all out in the proposal video (better cancel the fire dancers, darling). The man can still go ahead with it if he wishes. I’m just saying this because I keep it to myself most of the time and some other people might be thinking the same thing.

Now, again, maybe she’s just going to say no. She can be slightly cold about this.

Scene 1 Ext. shopping mall parking lot
All the dancers have come out, the party poppers are popped, the neon lights are flashing, the music has climaxed, and then the man kneels before her and opens a tiny velvet box, revealing a tiny ring.
Man: Will you marry me?
Woman: No. (Walks away)
Sounds like Grumpy Cat.

Or she could be really, really cold.

Scene 2 Ext. shopping mall parking lot
The man leads the woman to their car, then music starts playing through the parking lot speakers and people slowly start to sing, including the man.
Woman: (walks away)

This would be a really, really bad video to share.

But of course, there are those decent women who really value people’s dignity. She’s a keeper if she can be kept.

Scene 3 Ext. shopping mall parking lot.
All the dancers have come out, the party poppers are popped, the neon lights are flashing, the music has climaxed, and then the man kneels before her and opens a tiny velvet box, revealing a tiny ring.
Man: Will you marry me?
Woman: (whispering) Can we talk in the car? You know, away from all these strangers.

Personally, I have a feeling I might do this if the conditions are just right. I really wouldn’t want to humiliate anyone (but then this just means I’m one of those “she doesn’t love him enough to marry him” girls! Que horror!).

He doesn’t understand why number (2) exists when women are “supposed to be” romantic

Why exactly does number (2) exist? I hadn’t really thought this through. Maybe he doesn’t understand that women are different. Maybe he never asked about things like this. Maybe he assumed the woman he was proposing to loves attention since she loved it when he gave her attention. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I guess this boils down to really knowing each other. I cannot express elaborately enough the importance of getting to know each other. It’s a daily process, continuous learning. You find out that the person exists. You find out the person’s name. You find out the person’s schedule. You get to know the way the person walks. You memorize the back of the person’s head. You realize that the person’s eyes are colored brown, not “dreamy” as they say. You get to know the person’s inability to use commas when talking. You get to know the person’s extensive vocabulary list. You get to know the person. Even when people get married, they’re still finding things out about each other. And this, the getting to know if the person is a number (2) or not, to sum up this third point (because I realize this post is becoming rather long and boring), can and should be done before the actual proposal. It’s a minor thing, really, albeit dragging a rather scary consequence if you get it wrong.

He has seen too many proposal videos

So maybe he is just creative. Maybe he expresses himself this way. Maybe he expresses himself best in videos and dancing. There’s nothing wrong with that. He loves it. She loves it. It works.
What’s wrong is when he does it for the likes and the shares. When there is no need for extravagant setups, hiring actors, and tying the moon on a string but he still convinces her to just go along because the video will surely go viral, that’s when warning bells should start making her deaf. I do hope nobody has done this because of the abovementioned reason.

What I’m really concerned of for now is how this trend is affecting every other couple in the world. Since everybody seems to be doing it, should the next man to propose also capture it on camera? I’m thinking of the man who can’t afford any of those magical proposals we see so often. I’m thinking of the woman who cries every time she sees a proposal video as she wishes her man would do such things to her when he does propose. I’m thinking of the man who starts to think it’s a requirement, an essential part of life (birth, school, work, proposal video, marriage, death). I’m thinking of the woman who already said yes but still dreams of having her own video to share. I’m thinking of the man who wishes these proposal videos never existed so that he wouldn’t be compared with other people and when people would ask them how he proposed, they could just say he asked her to marry him and she said yes.

I don’t know. I obviously am just making a big deal out of this. But every once in a while, we do appreciate the existence of proposal videos. It gives us the feeling that humanity does know how to love, humanity does know how to upgrade culture, and that there’s still hope for humanity after all. We appreciate the creativity of showing love. We appreciate the effort. We appreciate the people who worked to make it happen just to hear the woman say yes.

I guess it’s just nice to think back on when these videos didn’t exist, when people had to tell people how it happened because of the lack of technology. When people didn’t propose just for show.
How did our parents get engaged? Does the lack of confetti diminish the fact that they had loved each other enough to marry each other? No. So I’m just curious. How did it happen before the proposal video trend? How did men propose?







PS Also, since you can reply anonymously, you can also share failed attempts at proposals if you’re feeling up to it. You know, just to rant or to laugh about it. Nobody’s going to know it’s you anyway. J

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Pseudonyms

I've been thinking lately of a time when I actually become an author. An author who has published novels and chapter books and even children’s books. An author whose books can bring tears to readers’ eyes or make them laugh while in public transportation or give them something to think about days after they turn the final page of my book. An author remembered.

But then I think, Do I actually want my name to be there? I guess it’s more preference than requirement. An author’s byline is the author’s choice, right? And this brings me to the deliberating mindset I have right now.

Pseudonyms

In a way, I like the idea of hiding behind a name. Knowing Lemony Snicket hid behind that name has kept him mysterious and loved (and I’ve only recently found out that his real name’s Daniel Handler and that he is, in fact, still . . . wait for it . . . alive!). Using another name can give me access to stories around me without having the people think that “Oh, she might use my words in her book” or “She just wants to hear my story so she can mangle it and mutilate it until it becomes a subplot in her book.” There is freedom in pseudonyms. There is also that protection from unwanted pain. I mean, I don’t know, maybe there would be some sort of emotional barrier between the book author and my real life. It’s like, if people talk about the book, they become honest, so even if they say bad things about it (“The plot’s so predictable,” “Why does the girl always die,” “No imagination”), I can feel no obligation to defend it. (Though I would probably defend it since I cannot block my ego from being crushed.) I like the idea of spreading the book by my pseudonym to the world without feeling like I’m doing shameless plugging, conceitedly broadcasting my baby to thousands of strangers. I like pseudonyms.

Then again, I guess the sad part is that I won’t go to author meet-ups and won’t get book signings. I won’t have my picture on the About the Author section of the book (I’d probably put a picture of a fluffy bunny instead, for no reason). I won’t get to brag that I am, finally, a published author. I’d be a mystery (which isn’t really a bad thing), and people will never know the genius that I am (and in this sentence lies the reason I probably do need to use a pseudonym, proud, conceited little “genius” prick).

Real Names

Using my real name, on the other hand, would be awesome simply because I don’t need to hide. I can be the writer that my book proves me to be. I can talk to random people and aspiring writers and make them reach for their dreams. I can inspire (I hope). I can say to the whole world that I did something with my life. And maybe there is also freedom in using my real name. Freedom to just be me. Freedom to write. Freedom to ask for permission to use other people’s stories. I don’t know. Freedom.

However, what I fear most about making myself known is disappointing people or having people act differently around me. They may not like my book, but they consider themselves good friends and say that they loved it. Or they can consider themselves good friends by being brutally honest with me, that my book sucks, that I lack originality, or that I talk too much to myself. And this may even lead to me not wanting to write anymore because obviously I suck at being a writer. It may mean that, since they know I write, they would make me write what they want to happen in my story. I have a very strong resolve (insert sarcasm here). Manipulation is not the best attack (really, please don’t). And I’m afraid that I’d lose myself in the name that is printed on the book and the person who walks and talks is just the robot assigned to put the words on print. Basically, having my real name on a book would just mean I want to be famous (which all of us secretly wishes for—attention-seeking nine-year-olds). Everyone who has read my book or heard about it would know me. And I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing because when I’d be walking down the street, people might recognize me and that’s kind of scary (which defeats the purpose of the word famous).

So that’s my problem. Well, it’s not a problem yet since the book in question has not even been born. It’s sort of preemptive planning. I want to understand what author’s think when they decide to use their real name or a pseudonym. Any authors out there who can help this poor confused soul? Your analyses can be very helpful and are pretty much welcome (just as long as you explain very gently, my ego is a wee bit sensitive and I might just delete your comment). Seriously though, I’d like to hear your thoughts, people.
If you become an author, would you use your real name or a pseudonym?






PS Yes, I love parenthetical comments because my stream of consciousness sounds exactly like that (parenthetical).