29 September 2009

Life / Track

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"I bet I can make a movie about your life using Madonna's music as soundtrack!" I declared to Mr. B. tonight. "Here is how it would go..."

Everybody (1983): A teenage Mr. B. fascinated by the video of this singer called Madonna. Cool outfit. Cool dance steps. Life has just begun. University life is fun.

Borderline (1983): Stargazer disco. One with a high ceiling at opens up to the sky. He is literally dancing with the stars!

Open Your Heart (1986): Mr. B. enjoying earning his own living. First relationship. Weekend with friends. Checking out all the best dance clubs in the city. His only problem is which direction to comb his hair that day.

True Blue (1986): He thinks he can be a great DJ. Fearlessly presented himself to the owner of the best dance club in Manila but is told he needs to invest in a professional player in order to practice at home. There goes his dream.

Who’s That Girl? (1987): A hopeful Mr. B. leaves Manila and lands in Taipei in search of a better life. A new kid in town. He gives himself 3-5 years, then he shall move on.

Into The Groove (Dub Version) (1987): NASA – one of the hippest places to dance in Taipei. Mr. B. lands in his first job as an account executive in an advertising agency. He buys himself a Walkman and invites a girl to a dance club.

Like A Prayer (1989): Second relationship. Pure and innocent. Wide-eyed and hopeful. Everything seems to be going well until they had to part.

Rain (1993): London. Gatwick Airport. Mr. B. cries on his way back to Taipei knowing that he can never mend a broken relationship as another person is involved now.

Ray of Light (1998): La Vida Loca. Third relationship. Whirlwind. Love and passion unlike anything he ever experienced before.

Nothing Really Matters (1998): A devastating break-up. The darkest point of the movie. Xanax and sleeping aids. Hate and revenge prevails. Then a small light of hope – me, Becker, appears in his life.

Music / American Life (2003): A more matured and calm Mr. B. DJing in a club – something he always dreamed of doing. He meets D. It isn’t love at first sight. It just grows.

Hung Up (2008): Mr. B. and D. still together. Relationship stronger than ever. D. meets Mr. B.'s parents. All is well.

Celebration (2009): What else is there to say? Mr. B. may be too old to dance but he still loves Madonna's music. He holds D. hand and looks back on the life he had. This is just the beginning, he says to himself. I smile.

27 September 2009

That's My Boy!

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Scott James is plain looking. At 21, he is autistic and never left the house for 7 years except for schooling because he had difficulty in connecting socially. Last week, he stood in front of two thousand and sang You Raise Me Up with all his heart. Auditioning for one of the world's biggest talent show X Factor is daunting enough for normal people. It must have taken a lot of courage for people like Scott to do it. With the help and support of Mother Sharon and Teacher Linzie, he wowed the audience, received 4 yes's from the judges and got through for the next round.

It is true that when God closes one door, He opens a window. Perhaps from there, Scott can see a bright future for himself.

Video credit : ITV X Factor

23 September 2009

Stranger Among Us




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Tonight, Mr. B. and I watched Stranger Among Bears, a television documentary about Charlie Vandergaw, a 70-year-old man in Alaska who constructed a cabin in the middle of the woods and called it Bear Haven and fed grizzly and black bears for many years. In the show, Vandergaw would touch, feed, pet and even film the bears similar to what deceased eco-warrior Timothy Treadwell used to do before he was eventually killed and devoured by grizzlies in 2003.
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Vandergaw was once a hunter and killed many bears in his lifetime. But at some point, he stopped the practice and started coexisting with them in a more friendly way in the last 20 years. The Alaskan government recently charged Vandergaw with 20 counts of illegally feeding game - a charge that could put him in jail for a year and fine him $10,000.
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A lot of people think that what this gentleman is doing is actually harmful and upsets the natural eco-system because he has habituated the bears to depend on him for food, and made them used to being around people. They believe that bears should stay in the wild.
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We haven't seen the last episode of the series, but it seems like Vandergaw's life with bears in the Alaskan wilderness is coming to an end due to increasing pressure from state authorities, including a raid by state troopers, plus the fact that he is getting too old. He might be saying goodbye to his beloved bears for the last time.
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"The government will never put me to jail for having you and the rest bears here at home." Mr. B. said proudly after the show.
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"And that I will never attack you!" I replied. "I will only put you in my blog as a revenge if you are not nice to me."



Video and photo credit : Animal Planet

19 September 2009

The Bully And The Diva


Bullies are humans who act with aggressive behavior in order to intentionally hurt another person, physically or mentally. The bully gains power through verbal or written abuse, exclusion of the victim from activities or from social situations. Another form of this is called social aggression or indirect bullying which is characterized by threatening the victim into social isolation. Divas, on the other hand, are humans who are often regarded as egotistical, unreasonable and irritable, with a high opinion of themselves not shared by others.

Mr. B. told me a story about a bully and a diva he knows. For a very long time now, this particularly bully made sure the victim is mocked one way or the other in every way possible at any given opportunity. I believe humans call this "messing up one's mind". A lot of people knows about this but are totally helpless. Those who wanted to stand up for the victim were also left exhausted by various failed efforts. You see, bullies can guise their actions as acts for "common good". Meanwhile, the diva goes around ordering people in rather obnoxious ways as if people are born to serve its every whim. And of course, the diva would be the most vocal about every little inconveniences and often comes with a long list of woes and miseries, mostly imagined. Bullies and divas both think they are intellectually superior than others. That is their common delusion. They most often refuse to see things any other way but theirs. That is where the problem lies.

Humans are strange and the world can be unfair. One can only hope that the victims of these two creatures can very quickly come to realization, count their losses and just move on. I am very sure that one day, not very far from today, Mr. B. will also be free from seeing the bully and the diva. For the world would be a better place without them.

13 September 2009

Nightmare On Pucheng Street


"I had a terrible nightmare!" Mr. B. said when he woke up this morning.

"I dreamt about the people in the funny farm. It was horrible. There were a lot of arguments. The diva was nagging away to my face complaining endlessly about something I don't understand so I yelled at her to shut her up. Then Fantasy and Reality were arguing about this new project that I found really silly to begin with. I tried inviting them to my place to discuss. But they just kept talking and talking in a language I can't understand. Egghead was nowhere to be found and I was worried. I feared the Rabbit might appear and cast an eternal spell on everyone. It was so tense. Then I saw my Mom demanding explanation on something I can't recall. My nieces were there and that was the only nice part but they had to leave. I was so confused and I woke up."

"I don't understand one word you just said, Mr. B." I gave him that queer look. "You're probably under too much pressure."

"But I am not!" he said. "I don't even think about them on weekends!"

Poor Mr. B. The energy suckers can't leave him alone. Even in his sleep. I told him we should make some comfort food for lunch and snuggle in front of the TV. He agreed that would be the best way to spend this rainy Sunday. He is making Risotto with Mushroom.


Note: Pucheng Street is the street where we live. Funny farm is the place where he works.

Friends And Lovers


Mr. B. and D. attended a friend's birthday dinner tonight. It was a sit-down dinner of about 16 people in a posh restaurant. The evening was filled with champagne, wine and great food. The party moved on to a local bar where cake and more drinks were served. It was an evening of great fun.

It was also an evening of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. Some were old couples, being together for 20 years, while others only knew each other for a few months. A few were singles, a few just broke up with their loved ones. Mr. B. and D. were classified as being with each other "long enough" - in a good way.

Seeing all these various stages of relationships, Mr. B. told me he wondered what life would have been in the last few years without D. He probably would only be talking to people he knew well all evening and leave early. Perhaps he would try to talk to someone new for the possibility of making a new friend. Having D. by his side made him more relaxed with a sense of belonging.

They bid goodbye to the group a little past midnight and came home to have tea and chatted some more - about other people, about relationships, about life. They talked about their friends who are single and lonely, who are coupled and unsure, who are single and happy and those who have been together for a long time.

Humans are strange. They seem to be emotionally dependent on their friends and their lovers, something totally unknown to the animal kingdom. Sometimes it works for them. Sometimes it doesn't. But it is a process they enjoy going through - being friends and being lovers. It is this cycle of life they all seem to live for.

12 September 2009

The Physics Of Flamingos


Have you ever seen flamingos? No, not the Spanish dance, that's flamenco. Flamingos are gregarious wading birds that can be found in many parts of the world and comes in many colors but usually pink. They always gather together in groups.

Flamingos usually stand on one leg, especially when they sleep. They tuck one leg and their heads under their bodies and sleep. Just like that. They stay still and never fall from that position, so you all you see is a huge mass of pink feathers supported by a long thin stick that is the leg.

Mr. B. woke up today and could barely walk. He already felt the pain coming in the last two days but had to go to work. Today, he had to drag himself to the shower and decided not to go to work. I knew he had the problem checked by the doctor a while back but there seems to be no cure for his condition with a name that sounds like a political ideology, except for therapy - hot therapy in the evening, cold therapy when it hurts and lots of stretching.

"You know what the problem is?" I nagged him like a mother would. "Your feet cannot support your body! It is as simple as that!" I actually thought that the idea was funny. Then the vision of flamingos standing on single legs came to mind. "What I don't understand is - how come flamingos can do it and you can't?"

"Well, I am not a bird and I am going back to lie down and sleep." he answered as he limps his way back to bed.

God bless Mr. B.

06 September 2009

Dancing In The Dark

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There is a phase in the life of humans called teen-age. This interesting phase, which lasts for several years, is most associated with angst - the feeling or fear of something strange or unknown coming up. So interesting is this phase of human life that many books, movies, songs were written, filmed and sang about it.

Dancing In The Dark, a song by Bruce Springsteen, was so popular in the mid-1980's that it became the anthem of many young humans, Mr. B. included. It speaks of frustrations, disappointments, dissatisfaction and helplessness. It also speaks of wanting to change, to reach out, to love. The deeply emotional lyrics and the rough and pained howling of Springsteen contrasts with the upbeat tempo and his awkward dancing in the video. But it gave a very clear image of the young human's angst, keeping to themselves and well, dancing in the dark.

"I used to dance like that when I was young. I thought that dancing was the coolest then." Mr. B. interrupted my train of thoughts.

"Does the feeling of angst go away when humans grow up?" I ask him.

"I think so. You start to realize how stupid you are and how trivial the things you worry about are."

"Is that why they say humans get wiser as they get older?" I question him.

"Yes, You learn something every single day of your life. Then many things become less and less important. Until nothing matters to you anymore." Mr. B. replied in all seriousness.

"I don't get it."

"You don't have to now. But you will eventually." Mr. B. said as he patted my head.

Many times I've seen Mr. B. listening to music with his headphone and would imitate the Bruce Springsteen's dance around the room. I also remembered one time he told me that he is "sick sitting around trying to write his book".

Perhaps the angst didn't go away.

02 September 2009

Food, Glorious Food!


While having his dinner tonight, Mr. B. told me that something has been bothering for days now.

"I can't get it out of my mind! The image is so vivid like it's haunting me!" he said.

I thought someone in the farm is worrying him again but he said no.

"Ravioli." he said. "I want to make ravioli. I have to make ravioli!" he declared.

"Who or what could have possessed you to think of that for days?" I asked.

"I don't know. I just have to - make fillings, wrap in pasta dough, boiling, making sauce... I need to get it out of my system!" he answered.

"That is very, very strange. Maybe you have been starving yourself too much lately, that is why all you think is food!" I explained.

"Meat or cheese filling?" he asked me ignoring my comment.

"Meat."

"Squares or rounds?"

"Rounds."

"Tomato or cream sauce?"

"Cream."

"Cheese on top?"

"Shaved parmesan."

"Black pepper?"

"Only if it's freshly grounded. But wait! Have you done this before?"

"No. But I have rehearsed it in my mind like a million times the past 7 days!"

I've heard that hunger can bring out the creativity in a person. But with Mr. B. living on green salad and fruits everyday in view of his wanting to lose weight, he must be starved and starting to imagine things. The vision of food must be like an apparition to him, like a parched person seeing an oasis in the desert. Poor Mr. B.

"Don't make too many," I told him. "I only want 8 of them."

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