Shelves and Boxes

A place for everything, everything in its place. –Benjamin Franklin

Movie Week

Uncharacteristically watched two movies on the big screen in a span of five days. Thanks to free tickets!

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In “Snow White and the Huntsman,” I was distracted by Kristen Stewart’s face throughout the film. I don’t know whether I was just influenced by memes about her or she was really not displaying proper emotions. Raffey Cassidy as the young Snow White was way better.

While in line for the ticket, I overheard a woman telling a girl (I suppose they’re mother and daughter) that “Snow White” is “may pagka-horror.” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but I guess it was good to set the child’s expectation.

The movie is really dark compared with the fairy tale. I liked the treatment, though. Save for some deus ex machina. What, the nail was there all along? And when Snow White sprinted out of the castle after years of imprisonment, I thought, “Wow, how did she get so fit?”

Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen was amazing. I barely noticed Chris Hemsworth. Theron owned this film. I loved her in “Young Adult,” too.

I’m not the fairest of them all?? credit

* * *

We didn’t have background information on “Rock of Ages” but we would watch anything that involves rock’n’roll.

The movie turned out to be a musical with a strong 80s feel. Aspiring singers Drew (Diego Boneta) and Sherrie (Julianne Hough) fell in love with each other when they met in Los Angeles in 1987, at a time when the mayor’s wife, Patricia (Catherine Zeta-Jones), is leading the crusade to destroy rock’n’roll. (What? That wasn’t funny?) Apparently, Patricia just wants to get back at rock star Stacee Jaxx (Tom Cruise).

Watch it if you’d love to see Catherine Zeta-Jones in a fierce song and dance. Inside a church. With a half-naked picture of Tom Cruise at the altar.

There are some racy scenes and oh, there’s man-to-man kissing.

I find it weird that “Don’t Stop Believin'” is the finale performance. It’s pop, isn’t it?

“I’m a stripper.”
“I’m in a boy band.”
“OK, you win.”

The rest of the songs are cool. We even sang along at some point; you wouldn’t be able to help it. The movie’s funny, most of the time cheesy. Just watch it for fun.

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Gender Equality

Note: I visited my old blog and was surprised to find this passionately written post on gender equality.  I admire the person who wrote this almost six years ago. Where did you go? This seemed ages ago.

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Oct. 28, 2006

At one point in our public administration class, I snapped out of my drowsiness when our professor said, “They always ask for the gender aspect of our programs,” then she rolled her eyes upward in exasperation.

Apparently, she was discussing the United Nations Development Program where gender equality has become a necessary measure for the quality of life or human development index of a country.

I took the class as elective because I want to know more about the bureaucracy. It would be helpful for my journalistic career. But I was taken aback that a supposedly progressive university would have a professor with a mindset like that. It’s no wonder bureaucratic service is so frustrating.

I couldn’t let it slip. I asked, “Ma’am, do you think there’s no gender problem in the Philippines?” She didn’t answer equivocally but it’s obvious that she thinks so.

I could forgive her boring way of teaching but not the indifferent way with which she dismissed a critical issue of oppression.

Just because we see so many female broadcasters, it doesn’t mean that women are equally involved in newsroom decision-making.

Just because there are female CEOs, it doesn’t mean that work conditions for women are suitable.

Just because we’ve had two female presidents it doesn’t mean that the state of women in general is better off. The current president leaves much to be desired when it comes to the welfare of women, or leaves much to be desired, period.

As the foremost caretaker of a country, the government has the primary role of ensuring better lives for its constituents. And yes, it includes gender equality.

Last June, the gender balance act of 2006 or House Bill 5496 was filed by Akbayan representatives, Ana Theresa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Loretta Ann Rosales, and Mario Aguja.

The bill proposes that 30 percent of all positions in the bureaucracy, military, police, government-owned and controlled corporations and other agencies be allotted to women starting next year.

The proponents regard having a gender quota in government as a significant step “to fast track meaningful and relevant political participation for women” while also recognizing the importance of developing the “quality” of women who sit in government.

If this pursues, they really have to emphasize on the quality. Because as a professor or a president proved, being a woman does not automatically make you sensitive to other women’s plight.

How to import Android phone contacts to Google/Gmail

Getting an Android phone last year introduced me to a lot of Google offerings. I follow my favorite websites through Reader. I archive everything in Google Docs. I back-up my photos in Picasa.

I also like saving my contacts in Gmail, so if ever I lose my phone or need to reformat it or other circumstances that would require setting up the contacts again (like buying a new unit, say Galaxy SIII haha), syncing would be a breeze.

At first, I did the saving manually. Then I grew tired and thought, Hey, this is Android, there must be an easy way to import my phone contacts to Gmail.

Searching wasn’t easy, most of the fora concluded that you just have to do it manually. But I did find some helpful tips, and so I came up with this:

1. Search “Contacts Export” in Google Play. The result will show “Contacts / SMS / LOG CSV Export.” Download and install, it’s free.

2. Open the app and tap on “Export contacts.” The contacts will be converted into a .CSV file. You can rename the file, choose where to save it and tinker with other settings.

Contacts Export

I chose the “Outlook” format because it’s one of the formats stated as compatible with Gmail contacts.

3. You can immediately send the file to your e-mail and save the attachment to your desktop.

4. On a desktop, go to your Gmail Contacts and click “More.”

5. On the list, click “Import…” A pop-up box will open. Choose your .CSV file and click “Import.”

And that’s it! You now have your phone contacts saved in Gmail. Just sync your smartphone (or a new one *wink*) with your Google contacts to access them in your phone.

Love and my grandparents

Being with a man who loves you more than you love him makes for a happy marriage, my grandmother, Nanay Osie, often told me.

Nanay would then tell me about a rich suitor who had become a doctor and whom she had turned down in favor of poor Tatay Endong. She chose him because she felt his love and never once regretted it in the 52 years they’ve been married.

On Thursday, Tatay suffered from a mild stroke. When I visited the hospital on Monday, Tatay was recovering and Nanay was quite cheerful, even joking when Tatay drank coconut water with a straw. Aba, asensado na si Endong.

But she didn’t stay long. My uncle told me she would just drop by from time to time, especially in the morning.

That night, I found her sitting on a rocking chair with the television on, a roll of tissue at her side. She was crying.

“We have been together for 52 years. He’s my hand and foot. I should be the one in the hospital. He can’t stand it, he’s afraid,” she said through tears.

Tatay had refused to go to the hospital even as his left side had gone numb. He even reprimanded Nanay for being too hysterical. Two neighbors tried to carry him and he cried in frustration so my brother asked them to put him down.

My brother calmed him down and explained that going to the hospital didn’t mean that his condition was serious, that he needed to be checked by a doctor lest it gets worse. Finally, he agreed.

Apparently, it was Tatay’s second stroke. The CT scan showed that there had been a previous rupture and the blood clot had dried up the doctors couldn’t tell when it happened. Tatay endured the first stroke without anyone knowing.

Nanay and Tatay had sold newspapers and empty bottles to junk shops. Nanay had cleaned comfort rooms for a living while Tatay drove  a tricycle. That’s how hard their life was. But they stuck it out together and raised five children who now take turns looking after them.

This is a trying time but I have no doubt that their love for each other will remain steadfast as it has always been. I understand Nanay’s advice on marriage. I felt it from Tatay’s patience with her. I saw it in how Tatay did her bidding. I heard it from their giggles at night.

I hope Tatay fully recovers from the stroke. They have surpassed a lot of things and I just hope Tatay and Nanay will share more  happy and loving years together. They deserve it.

My grandparents, together with their five children, on their golden wedding two years ago.

Papa

No matter how complicated our relationship had been, it broke my heart to see you in such a broken state.

Eyelids black and swollen from internal bleeding. Caked blood around the tube in your mouth. Another tube taped to your nose. A halo of maroon around your bandaged head that lay on a white pillow.

Your chest heaved up and down in a machine-controlled rhythm. Your legs in a weird angle. You were still wearing the striped blue polo shirt you were wearing when a car hit you.

I was about to say something to you when two nurses came in. They wore pins in cheerful yellow declaring “I am Lee” and “I am Chae.” Lee took your blood pressure. Chae cleaned the tube to your nose. I didn’t like how she handled it. I could see the tip of your nose
being pulled to the side as she held the other end of the tube.

When they left, tears freely flowed. I asked you if you could hear me. I hope you did. I hope you heard the things I wasn’t able to tell you before.

*****

People ask how I feel and I say I’m fine. But sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about how your life was taken in such a cruel way, wondering about the things that could have happened instead. It is during these times, with only me and my thoughts, that my tears fall. It pains me to imagine the pain you went through.

The indignity of lying on the roadside with an injured leg and a fractured head. The possibility that your broken body was mishandled as the hospital couldn’t dispatch an ambulance. How the driver dropped you at the emergency room and then left. Thinking about how private hospitals do not attend to dying people unless they pay upfront. How long did you lie there like that?

When doctors attended to you, they said you were GCS 3 (Glasgow Coma Scale). Severe brain injury. Brain dead.

Your brain stem was broken. And blood has seeped to the deepest parts of your brain. They couldn’t do anything anymore.

*****

I thought the tears would no longer come. But as they dismantle the tarpaulins, the flowers, the chairs and all the trappings of a funeral, it hit me hard. The winds howled as they loaded you to the hearse, so did my heart.

It was a slow walk to the church and to the cemetery. And I realized how it gives the mourners time to contemplate on the person’s life and death, their relationship with the deceased and their own relationship with life and death.

As we walked on, Papa’s favorite songs were playing.

“If I could get another chance
Another walk
Another dance with him
I’d play a song that would never ever end
How I’d love love love 
To dance with my father again…”

I cried for the moments that we shared as father and daughter, but most of all I cried for the times that we didn’t.