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Welcome to Volume 6 of The Marocharim Experiment. This blog is authored and maintained by Marocharim, the self-professed antichrist of new media.



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Marocharim is a 21-year-old college senior from the University of the Philippines Baguio, majoring in Social Anthropology and has a minor in Political Science. He lives with his parents, his brother and his sister in Baguio City - having been born and raised there all his life. He is the author of three book-versions of The Marocharim Experiment.

Most of his time is spent at school, where he can be found in the UP Baguio Library reading or scribbling notes, and sometimes hanging out with his friends or by himself in the kiosks, or the main lobby. During his spare time, he continues writing. When not in school he hangs out with his friends, or takes long walks around Baguio City to, as he puts it, "get lost."

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The Marocharim Experiment Volume I: The Trial of Another Mind, Subject to Disclosure is Available Now

The Marocharim Experiment Volume II: The Nevermind Chronicles is Available Now

The Marocharim Experiment Volume III: The Sentence Construction of Reality is Available Now

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November 28, 2007
A Fat Man and His Undershirt

< hmmm... >

   There's something about a fat man and his undershirt.  In every man, there's an irresistable impulse - a stimulus, if you will - where on a hot day, he'll raise the hem just under his man-nipples and expose his belly for everyone to see.  I'm not against the fat man per se: I have enough flab in my abdomen for me to be "fat."  But I'm not fat enough for my undershirt to rest comfortably above my stomach.

   Sure, all men dream of having abs like those of Carlos Agassi, but if life deals you with the kind of lipids and adipose tissue that would make Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Calista Flockhart healthy, you might as well be proud of it.  There's too much effort in lifting weights, and too much risk in taking steroids.  Besides, there's a certain manliness and machismo in being fat and showing one's beer belly: with all the hair, sweat, and bellybutton lint that's in it.

   Is there anything wrong with that?  Really, why be horrified with beer bellies?  I think the enjoyment of life comes with having a big stomach: not necessarily a full one.  Women shed their brassieres in order to be freed from the constraints of feminine subjugation, and as far as I'm concerned, it's the same thing with men.  Why be ashamed of having a fat stomach when it is the proof of enjoyment, when there is more to life than having to partake of salad and do exercises in the gym?  Why should we men participate in the pentathlon of jerkdom where the measure of manhood is that of strength, endurance, and pounds of free-weights and barbells?

   But that's overcomplicating it: maybe it just feels comfortable.  In hot places, it makes more sense to walk around the neighborhood exposing your man-pregnancy than to hide it under an uncomfortable shirt.


Posted at Wednesday, November 28, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 26, 2007
Choke Your Chick(en)

< hmmm... >

   I've choked the proverbial chicken before: preened the bird's feathers, stroked the cock, made the rooster crow.  But as far as every avian metaphor for masturbation goes, I didn't do it in the darkness of a cinema.

   OK, so I can't watch "One More Chance:" I'm not saying that I'd like to jack off to the sight of Bea Alonzo or Maja Salvador (cancelling out John Lloyd Cruz and Derek Ramsey because I don't have a shred of gay in me), but I can't watch anything anymore without being misinterpreted by peons.

   The last chick flick I watched in a cineplex was "The Lake House," and boy, did I get a lot of heckling from the friends who saw me there.  I won't make excuses out of it, even a lyrical one like: "I'm very sure... this never happened to me before."  As much as I'd like to watch "One More Chance," I can't: for one, the plot hits hard on me.  For two, I stereotype myself.

   There's a lot between a man and his chick flick: a lot in the way of a woman in his arms.  Yup, I don't have one: today being the third year that I've been officially single means that I don't have to be forced into watching a movie because my significant other wants to.  Adding to my eccentricity (OK, weirdness) is that the last movie I watched with my ex was "The Exorcist."

   I am free as a... bird.

   Why do I concern myself so much about stereotypical peons, you ask?  Basically, I'm a stereotypical peon myself, but I can't admit to it.  I am a big fan of Sharon Cuneta, but you won't see me queuing up for a concert ticket, nor would I claw my way to the front of the sea of Sharonians to wipe Sharon's sweat away from her brow.  My clamoring for a movie that reuintes Shawee-Gabo (Gabby Concepcion) is something I would rather confine in cyberspace.  But even my blog is no longer a refuge for my private thoughts: I'm already too well-known for that end.

   Oh for goodness sake.


Posted at Monday, November 26, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 25, 2007
Blogging, Subjectivity and Struggle

< a reply to teo marasigan's entry >

   I would like to begin this essay in saying that "progressive" means many things to me: I do not believe in binary oppositions when it comes to politics.  As a passing "political scientist," one cannot contain ideologies and political practice to dichotomies, like "left/right" and "progressive/reactionary."  To be political is to struggle, and the complexity of struggle must be acknowledged to be beyond these dichotomies.  For all intents and purposes, politics is an amoeba.  As such, I do not consider myself "progressive" in the context of the complex, amorphous, complicated political system I acknowledge.  I take things in the spirit of synthesis: as my friends and instructors see it, I do not qualify in the dichotomous view of political ideology and political practice.

*      *      *

   Which brings me to a question asked by Teo Marasigan: why would a "progressive" like myself invoke the ideas of Marshall McLuhan?  I would not rebuke or renounce my inclination to McLuhan because he's understood by many as a "conservative media imperialist."  My reading of the dialectic is not like the boxing match where the stronger ideology is the last man standing.  In the end, the thesis and the antithesis will have to synthesize: the changes that they encounter in a changing arena of struggle will change them.  As such, the struggle is different now compared to what it was.  The context is different.

   So what does blogging have to do with struggle and context?  A lot, but it begins with this statement: blogging is a struggle, and blogging is a context.  It is a struggle for identification in the context of information.  I don't want to dwell on the technicalities and the theory of "identity politics" (which I know so little of), but put simply, increasing differentiation has led to the individual - the subject - being the element of social struggle.  The whole is stronger than the sum of its parts, but without a part to complete the sum, the whole isn't what it is.

   I do acknowledge how blogging could be used as a means of struggle, if not because it already is.  Like I said before, there is no such thing as neutral information: anything from teenage ranting to political commentary is already situated politically.  "To not take sides" is already to take sides.  I don't like to write this statement down for all the probable allegations of hypocrisy that can be derived from it by people I know, but the motto of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines is right: "To write is already to choose."

*      *      *

   As a means of struggle, there is no fence to sit on when it comes to blogging: writing and reading is to take a side.  When I choose to write about something, I take so many sides already: I take a side on what to write on, I take a side on what language I write in, and I take a side in my treatment of my topic.  The reason why I call myself an "antichrist of media" is because I basically corrupt the minds of people by taking a side, not concerned at all if this side is "right" or "wrong," or to where you can locate this side in a political dichotomy.  As an antichrist, I am subject to interpretation.

   This sounds too "postmodernist" for the taste of a radical progressive, but writing and reading is subjective.  To me, the objective reality of reading and writing is that it is done by subjects.  All subjects have points-of-view, biases, experiences and so on that influence the act of reading and writing.

   Elementary examples will suffice: this is not a technical treatise.

*      *      *

   Let's begin with reading.  There is the objective reality of a book, and there's the subjective reality of a book.  There can be no biases or whatnot in saying that the objective reality of this book is that it's made of paper.  But there's a certain subjectivity in putting my biases into my perception of the book: I imagine the number of trees it took to make this paper out of 100% virgin pulp.  Yet as I read the contents of the book, subjectivity reveals itself: as I read, I also interpret.  My biases come into play: for example, I am biased towards reading classical English literature when it comes to leisurely reading.  Given a choice between Neil Gaiman, Bob Ong, and Miguel de Cervantes, I will choose Cervantes.  But it does not stop there: the fact that I'm reading Don Quixote will come the interpretation that I do not value local authors, or that I am very colonial-minded.

   So let's get on over with writing.  There's the objective reality of this keyboard, and there's the subjective reality of this keyboard.  The objective reality of this keyboard is that it is an object made out of plastic used to feed informantion into a computer.  Yet as I put my biases into this keyboard, I acknowledge it to be part of a hegemonic structure of neocolonialism through technology.  As I write, I also interpret.  My biases come into play: for example, I am biased towards English, and I prefer writing about inane things than serious things.  But it does not stop there: the fact that I'm blogging will come the interpretation that I'm either an Angst-filled twentysomething, or that I add to the hegemony of technology perpetuating unfair and inequitable class lines.

   I hope my examples are clear: what I'm trying to say is that there is objective reality out there.  But these objective realities are interpreted by subjects: as such, reality is both objective and subjective.  But on the whole - and I'm sticking my neck out for the proverbial guillotine here - human experience is subjective.

*      *      *

   But let me get back on the more important point of blogging being a means of struggle.  There is nothing wrong with "blogging politically," if by that we write about the issues of the day.  But what is an "issue" and what is a "non-issue?"  To add to my idiosyncrasies, allow me to invoke a bit of Charles Taylor: issues written about are issues important to the subject.  The blog is subject-referring, from the reading aspect to the writing aspect.  We are all in different struggles that to combine them under the general term of "The Struggle" is futile.  Blogging as a means for propaganda is only part of the many struggles that there are in the Internet: the many struggles of people trying to identify themselves and to be identified by others.

   This is why I disagreed with Teo's discouragement of blogging among progressives: struggling does not - and should not - make distinctions.  Primary and secondary means of changing human society are just as they are: changing human society.  Disagreement is fundamental in struggle because it is struggle.  The expansion of the proverbial envelope of means and ends means that in a way, we should also expand our horizons in talking about what is there to change about the world, and how we should go about changing it.

   Everything is risky: surveillance being one of them.  I'm sure the government has already put me in a dossier of sorts because I'm quite vocal about my political opinions.  In fact, I look forward to the day when some police officer slaps on handcuffs on me for being a piddly critic of the President.  Being a blogger means being open to surveillance, that someone out there reads you.  There is no big difference between something written on paper and written on cyberspace, if you asked me.  "Critical blogging" is something that is hard to come by: I do not claim to be a critical blogger.

   Perhaps I'll go on in the future.  To be honest, it's been a while since I wrote an entry this long.


Posted at Sunday, November 25, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 23, 2007
You Can't See Me!

< entertainment >

   It poses a philosophical question: if a tree falls down a forest and no one hears it, did it fall?  Where is the limit of Cartesian doubt?  If you hit a billard ball with the cue ball, is it only incidental that the ball moves in a certain way?  Can you interact with someone you can't see?

   I think that McCoy Fundales of "Pinoy Big Brother: Celebrity Edition 2" is just another victim of Panopticism, of cabin-fever.  Such behavior is manifested in the extreme situation of the 1971 Zimbardo Experiment, and also in the 2001 movie Das Experiment.  Is it McCoy's overbearing pride that led to his voluntary exit?  I don't know, but the general neurosis - fine, psychosis - of the public is that we're all starting to believe that "Kuya" is real.

   In the interest of public service, I'd be happy to share my antipsychotic medication with anyone - and I mean anyone - who believes that Big Brother is real.  They call me "mad" for hallucinating: I mean, isn't Kuya a mere hallucination?  Isn't he an imperceptible, irrational voice that permeates our consciousness and makes us do all sorts of things we wouldn't otherwise do in lucidity?  They say that schizophrenia affects 1 out of every 100 people: welcome to the freaking club, guys.

   "Collective madness" is very much the specter of Michel Foucault.  We're all driven mad by this simulacrum called the television set: a fetishism with Annie's panties in Zaido, that we're all more moronic than Grade Five kids, and now Big Brother is real.  He's a freaking voice, goddammit, a hallucination brought about by our collective impulse to get freaking noticed.

   Yup, we are all truly insane: we have all reached the deep end of the pool head-first in believing that this interaction between a voice and the Housemates is real.  And so they mock us for having a problem with our en-soi and our pro-soi, whatever that means.  Well, I take consolation in the fact that there is no hope for a cure in idiocy, especially for a nation that makes a national issue out of a reality show.

   Aristophanes sums it up best: "Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever."


Posted at Friday, November 23, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

Piss, Stat!

< hmmm... >

   It has been said that Socrates taught from a hammock, and both Plato and Aristotle taught by walking their students through olive groves.  These interesting factoids are stuff I got from learning political theory in a classroom.  I'm not saying that high school students who study their lessons under the shade of a mango tree because they don't have a classroom have it better than us, though.

   If there's a tree in the forest, piss on it, I say.

*      *      *

   The Times Higher Education Supplement - Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS) World University Rankings have just been released, and it's a good thing I'm not wearing my University of the Philippines jacket.  As a UP student, I should feel shame in UP being ranked as 398th in the world, but pride in UP being ranked as still the number one university in the country.  And then there's that paranoiac feeling that one day, Ateneo de Manila University will one day be the number one ranked university in the Philippines.

   Nothing against Ateneo, but I think that there is a mutual feeling of paranoia between them and us.  Considering that because of immature minorities who uphold the color of their jackets and will defend their mascots to death, both the Oblation and the Blue Eagle are engaged in an imaginary piss contest right now.  Add to that La Salle's Green Archer and (pardon the metaphor) and you have got a scatological ménage à trois.

   Which brings to mind some rhetorical questions: if the Oblation has a fig leaf cast in stone, will he?  Do birds even urinate?  Is the Green Archer the cousin of the Green Lantern?

   Much as I'd like to blame the UP student for its cutthroat competitive attitude bordering on arrogance, it's simply not the case.  For example, Saint Louis University prides itself on being the number one ranked university in Northern Luzon, but will hear nothing of UP Baguio being part of the UP system and as such, rankings are mutually exclusive.  Add to that the University of Baguio and the University of the Cordilleras, and you basically have a four-way deathmatch where everything is settled on the basketball court (for us UP Baguio students, we pride ourselves on our cheering/heckling).  At the last Baguio-Benguet Educational Athletic League (BBEAL), bruised egos where everywhere, since the Cordillera Career Development College won the tournament.

   Heck, even in the arena of diploma courses, there is cutthroat competition between Systems Technology Institute (STI) and AMA Computer University.  It's all a matter of who makes a better commercial: my sister studies at STI, and there's this video CD where (save for free music videos from Sitti Navarro and Join the Club) courses are advertised.  AMA is no slacker when it comes to advertising, especially when you have Jolina Magdangal singing your theme song that you're "AMA: The School of Today."

*      *      *

   If there's anything two takes of Statistics taught me, it's that statistics don't prove anything to a person who is not interested in statistical data.  So piss on that.


Posted at Friday, November 23, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 22, 2007
"Articulation" Summed Up

< hmmm... >

   Basically, what I'm going to do here is to sum up my entire 366-page thesis (although it looks like a full ream of bond paper) into one entry.

   "The Articulation of Self in Virtual Environments: The Case of Friendster.com Home Profiles" will be referred to here as "Articulation:" somehow, abbreviating it into acronym form - like "TAoSiVE: TCoF.CHP" - is so not cool-sounding.

   Basically, the central problem of my thesis is articulation in a different context.  In both contexts of "real space" and "cyberspace," we articulate ourselves through language (Charles Taylor for the masses).  The difference in articulation is while "real space" articulations are presentations, "cyberspace" articulations are representations.  In "real space," like in a classroom or in a mall, self-presentation functions through the use of all possible elements: language, material facts, clothes, hairstyles, and so on and so forth.  But in "cyberspace," there is nothing to use but language.

   In my Conclusions (Chapter XI), I called it "emptiness," although it has nothing to do with that general emo-Angst feeling: "emptiness," to me, is the relationship that is the sign when there is no relationship between the signifier and the signified.

   Sounds complicated?  Not really.

   Consider your average Friendster profile: while by convention we assume that Friendster account "X" belongs to Friendster user "Y," we need to go beyond that convention, and turn différance over its head in saying that this convention - this one-to-one correspondence - must exist because a virtual representation must always have an actual presentation (i.e. my initial hypothesis).  Based on my research, there is no correspondence between representations and identities: in fact, identity is not even the question.  What we call "identity" in virtual environments is, in fact, appropriation: it is the instance of using elements found in the structure in order to form this concept of selfhood, in order to concretize an abstract thing like the self.

   This, of course was accomplished by Claude Lévi-Strauss in a single concept called bricolage, and Jacques Derrida in a single concept called grammatology.  Well, I suppose I can't be blamed for forsaking them.  The semiotic, for me, is of necessity in my inquiry: that each particular element of a profile must have meaning.  Now because every signification is bound to subjective interpretation no matter what it is, there is meaning and at the same time there is no meaning.  There is a self, at the same time, there is no self.  Yup, after forsaking Derrida, I had to concede to différance, although I'm not very explicit about it in my thesis.

   But then what?  More importantly, so what?  Ah, if functional correspondence does not at all exist, "Articulation" is very strong in saying that the assymetry between actualities and virtualities (here goes Deleuze) means that self is not a unity: it is a fragmentation.  There are multiplicities of selves.  Friendster is one of those ways where we articulate potentials, not actualities.

   Which basically means that Friendster profiles are bodies without organs.  OK, here you can start reading Deleuze.


Posted at Thursday, November 22, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 21, 2007
Death by (Friendster) Degrees: The Final Cut

< oh yeah >

   After a full year of making my Bachelor's Thesis, the words of Dexter in "Dexter's Laboratory" sums it all up:

   AT LAST!!!  MY GREATEST WORK COMPLETED!

   "Greatest," like one of the most common terms in my 366-page final work (which now happens to be at the printers'), is arbitrary.  I know that some people who are "big fans" of this here blog may argue that The Marocharim Experiment is in fact "my greatest work," but here, I don't have to do much "work" per se.  Now unless some accident happens in the printing shop and my drafts burn in a fiery maelstrom that rivals the brimstone of Hell itself, I'm anything but doomed.

   Defense, here I come... oh wait, we don't have a defense.  I have to deliver my thesis soon, but either it's in a public lecture or on College Week (on February).  By that time, people would probably have butchered my thesis for all it's worth.

   Anyway, since my monetary reserves have been depleted by the cost of printing, I'll discuss my thesis tomorrow.


Posted at Wednesday, November 21, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 19, 2007
Ka

< hmmm.. >

   Basically, it's almost the end of my thesis-writing journey.  Four hundred and seventeen Friendster profiles and close to 400 pages later, I'm tempted to play to the tune of Mr. Rogers: what have I learned so far?

   An e-mail from an eminent scholar from Canada who reviewed my work said it best: while my work is impressive (I feel a bit embarrassed), certain issues have to be raised.  More exactly, if I contend with the word "Friend" because of the immanent issue of trust and care in the Friendster social network, it is important to note that people don't take "friendship" literally.  The term "friend" is used in their inadequacies, he says.

   Which begs me to ask: why?  I have already prescribed the term "ka-Friendster," if only to address that what is shared is not trust and care as in friendship, but practice.  It is my way of addressing a limitation that is, in my view, linguistic.

   It's not the comment that worries me, but I'm worried about the implication of the prefix "ka."  It's not because it's my ex's moniker, but have our relationships with others descended, degraded, and degenerated into being "ka," a hyphen, and whatever practice we share?

   The Ilocano term "kabagis" lends itself well: it translates to "being of one intestine," where the friendship is so strong that both parties might as well have one shared stomach.  But the rest of the way, our relationships with people are not as strong: "ka-Multiply," "ka-text," "kaklase," "kalaro," "katrabaho."  This is how we relate to each other in this day and age: a relationship based on the one practice we share at any one context.

   I wouldn't automatically pinpoint this to something as sweeping as a "crisis of the Other," as tantalizing as that prospect would be.  I'm not a philosopher: I'm only a person interested in philosophy.  As a social scientist in passing, this is only a matter to me of a phenomenon that's just waiting for an explanation from supposed "experts" like myself.  But as a person, I should be concerned.

   Yet alas, in this world, you wouldn't find anyone concerned about anything anymore, if only because of pecuniary canons of coffee shop afternoons and finding no other meaning in Friendster anyway outside of the mindless half-hour spent on it by most people I know.  Let's face it: almost everything in this world is devoid of anything deeper than the "ka" that it is, that shallow association defined by a shared, common practice.

   Or maybe we're more inclined towards material culture: the extreme example being that special coffee you get from the dung of civets, the more common example being Friendster.

   Are we doomed?  No: there's too much hope in the world that doom is not in our near future.  Yet we doom and damn ourselves to the mindlessness of the crowd that we effectively become mindless, that everyone else is only associated with me by virtue of a prefix I append to practices like work, school, and malls.  And why?

   That's a good question.  Anyway, this is Entry #1300.


Posted at Monday, November 19, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

A-Whoo... To Your Bad Name

< showbiz >

   It's not that 300 is a bad movie (it's so pompous that it's good), but it lends itself to a lot of memes and stuff that get stuck in your head.  Part of the complete breakfast is to munch on whatever is still edible in the kitchen or in the refrigerator, knowing that "tonight, we dine in Hell."  Or that in the army of life, you're not a soldier.  Or that you know of a lot of people that you would use as mortar for any given wall.  Or the warcry of Leonidas' army of 300 Spartan men: "A-whoo, a-whoo!"

   300 was the last movie I watched in a cinema, and it's good that I watched it because it fits me.  I'm a fan of mindless, one-dimensional gore in cinema: it's not like I spend idle days watching the films of Andrew Niccol and Ingmar Bergman.  Now if I trooped right now to SM to watch One More Chance, I would literally die of shame.  It's one thing to possess some knowledge of Filipino showbiz, but it's another thing to do one thing and then people you know will catch you there and think of another thing... like I'm a fan of John Lloyd Cruz or something.

*      *      *

   Speaking of John Lloyd, I am very appreciative of his thespic talents.  He's a very good actor (OK, so he's not a very good singer).  I think of him as a modern-day Christopher de Leon: the reason why I'm very much anticipating the return of Maging Sino Ka Man is star power.  The kind of fame and talent that you wouldn't see in something like... uh, Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan.  Unfortunately, John Lloyd has to be addressed all too often as "Lloydie."

   In Twisted 3: Planet of the Twisted, Jessica Zafra writes that having a bad name poses a danger to your being taken seriously in the silver screen.  She uses Keempee de Leon as an example... and it sure as hell's a pretty good example.  "Keempee" not only sounds scatological, it's also reminds me of that old Kaypee shoe brand (which was then the competitor of World Balance... more on that in the next experiment).

   I think that if we ever have to take John Lloyd as a serious actor outside of being a matinee idol, he has to drop the "Lloydie" moniker.  Kris Aquino could rightly be blamed for that bad name, as if John Lloyd is bound for sugary cuteness for the rest of his life until he becomes the next Armando Goyena (that old guy in Yamashita: The Tiger's Treasure... way before Rustom Padilla admitted to being gay).

   Which brings to mind Dingdong Dantes.  The name "Dingdong" reminds me (and a lot of people) of a brand of assorted mixed-nuts snackage.  Worse, it's also a bad allusion to Electrolux salesmen back in the day, where they knock on your door, ring on your bell, and tap on your window too.  I hate to bring it up for fear of libel, but the name "Dingdong" lends itself to penises all too well.  Maybe that's the reason why Atty. Ricardo "Dong" Puno lost his 1998 Senate bid.  But that's just me: last time I checked, I did vote for Dong Puno.

   While Onemig Bondoc will never have a career in this world following the end of FLAMES because he has a rather bad name among others, you have to look at Zanjoe Marudo as another classic example in bad names.  What's up with the name "Zanjoe?"  It's a bit pornstar-ish, never mind that my personal impression of Zanjoe is that he would only look good on a particular angle.  Why can't we give him a new one?

   Horrible actors (in my own subjective, completely irrelevant view) like Victor Basa, Dennis Trillo, and Carlos Agassi have good names.  When it comes to womenfolk, though, give a girl a foreign-sounding name and she'll be your next sexy star: Maui Taylor, Angelica Jones, Diana Zubiri.  I take exception, however, to Keanna Reeves.


Posted at Monday, November 19, 2007 by marocharim
Revolt!  

November 17, 2007
¿Pedirías Una Más Ocasión?

< romantic experiment >

   Qué si tenías la relación perfecta... y entonces, de pronto, ella rompe tu corazón, y todo cae abajo en pedazos.  Ella te amó en tu peor, ella te tenía en tu mejor... y ahora, tus búsquedas desolated del uno mismo para la otra oportunidad para el rescate.

   ¿Pedirías una más ocasión?

*      *      *

   Everything that involves a modicum of passion sounds better in Spanish: consider Ricardo Montalban hawking the "Nativity Cross" on home TV shopping networks.  Vicente Fox criticizing American policy on immigration and border control.  That voice-over in brandy advertisements.  Antonio Banderas.  Yes, for all an online English-to-Spanish translator is worth (because Spanish is either infinitive or imperative, and I didn't take Spanish), the paragraph above is the spiel for "One More Chance," starring John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo.  Oh yeah, I have my own "One More Chance" story.  But heck, I don't look like John Lloyd.

   Let me begin (well, that's a long introduction) by saying this: romance, not love, is all about chances.  To me, there's no such thing as a "chance at love."  In the first place, love is unconditional.  Love is the nirvana of relationships: it is the perfect state where chance is not a factor.  When it comes to love, you can't gamble on anything anymore because it is impossible to gamble.  In conditions named rightly and aptly as "love," someone always looks out for you every time you roll the dice.  You always win.  "Chance" itself is a linguistic limitation: pardon my being a Platonist at this point, but for something as perfect as love, our words do not suffice.

   Romance, on the other hand, is different: it is, for all intents and purposes, "pseudo-love."  In Dr. Evil's terms, it is the margarine of love, the Diet Coke of love.  It is a distortion of the genuineness of love.  Thomas á Kempis calls love other than a love for God an imperfect one.  I'm not a religious man, but he's right: because we are imperfect, everything we do - especially our relationships with other people - will always be imperfect.

   As such, romance is all about chances.  Romance, in the first place, is grounded on chance.  It's called "falling" for a reason, that reason being that it is a chance - to be exact, a risk - taken.  Romance is so distorted that you take a chance in trusting a person whom you are capable of trusting, you take a chance on something that is perfectly capable of being perfect.  Romance metamorphoses to love: romance is not love.

   The truth to the matter is that the number of chances you take when it comes to romance are chances of and for so many different things, not just a second shot at establishing a romantic relationship.  Topping that list is pain.  Even the most avowed of masochists will reconsider the kind of pain that there is in having a second (or any other ordinal) chance.  Be it a betrayal, a falling-out, immaturity, or whatever causes the decay of a romantic relationship, the relationship will never become as whole as it is before the chance.

   But I'm a hopeless (OK, hapless) romantic: because nobody's perfect, everyone's entitled to the imperfections that there are in taking second, third, fourth, fifth, whatever chances.  It all depends on how many chances you are willing to take, of taking the chances that come with the chances.  That is the spirit of chance.


Posted at Saturday, November 17, 2007 by marocharim
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