Friday, September 30, 2011

tinker tailor too-late


When I received word that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy will be opening the Ghent Film Festival on October 11 -- Ghent, which is only 45 minutes away by car from Bruges, which is where I will be on October 11 -- I hurriedly headed over to the festival website and found that I could purchase tickets online.

There were €7 tickets available, but they were for the October 13 screening, and I will be nowhere near Ghent on that day.

There were €10 tickets available for October 12, but the screening would take place at 10:30 PM, by which time I needed to be on a train (ticket already booked) to go somewhere else.

The only hope left was the October 11 8:15 PM screening.

There were a few tickets still available...but only for the film plus reception, which cost a total of €100.


Not my lucky day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Been busy over at the other blog. It's not that I actually have lots of time to write a travel blog, but as I'm researching all sorts of stuff for our trip, I might as well write it all down in one place.

My lolo has been a little sick recently, but his labs have been improving, so it looks like he's on the road to recovery, and I'm really, really happy about it. :)

The past few weeks have been a little rough, but I think things are looking up. I may actually get to go to sleep tonight without a frown on my face. Yay!

Finally, I've been LSS-ing on this song lately:

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
And can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

I actually think I can. :-)

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Forty days ago, my uncle hanged himself. To this day, whenever I allow myself to really think of what happened, I still can't help asking him why -- why he had to give up, why he had to do this to himself. I still break down in tears wondering what he must have been thinking of when he put the rope around his head. Was it a well-deliberated decision to leave the world on his own terms? Or did he really think that no one loved him or cared for him? This is the question that really pains and nags me the most.

It wasn't too long ago that I said I would chat with him if I had more time. Now I never will. When I received my mother's message informing me that my uncle had killed himself, I couldn't help thinking that, for the first time in my life, I had truly, thoroughly and irrevocably failed someone.

My uncle was sick. He had aphasia, a condition he acquired when he hit his head on the pavement almost 10 years ago and sustained irreversible damage to the left side of his brain. He could understand what people were saying, and there was nothing wrong with his thoughts, but when he tried to say them out loud, he would end up saying the wrong things. He called my mom "Bacaray" instead of Nadette, and he once read Mentos as "Robar." He was at his most fluent when he was cussing. Swear words -- those he could speak without effort. It was when he tried hardest to speak correctly that he failed spectacularly.

Still, he tried. And as the years wore on, we grew to understand his hand gestures and his words-that-weren't-words. I remember whenever he came to our house to get his weekly groceries, he would always try to tell me I looked pretty. He was one of a very few people who did that -- complimented my appearance regularly -- and I really appreciated it. I like to think that he was fond of me and my sister. When we threw a surprise birthday party for my mother, he was the one who did all the work -- setting up the tent, trimming the grass, preparing kinilaw. When I expressed deep gratitude, he said, "Sus, ikaw gyud" and waved it off. It was no problem, he said.

I failed him.

He had no family of his own. He never married, and the only child he had didn't know he was the father. He had friends but theirs was a friendship that mostly congregated around the beer bottle. He was a more than competent electrician, but he had no work, for who would want to hire a man who couldn't speak?

I can only imagine what it must have been like to have so much going on inside his head and have no way of communicating it. I only can imagine what it's like to have so much life ahead and have no one in particular to share it with, nothing to do day in and day out. Is it any wonder that he gave it up?

It makes me so angry that the Church used to condemn suicides and refuse to say Mass for them. (They don't now.) It makes me so angry that some people still attach a stigma to people who kill themselves, and say they've committed the ultimate rejection of God. None of us knows what it's like to feel utterly helpless, hopeless, trapped in a shitty life. Some people get into a deep funk and manage to get out; that doesn't mean that those people who don't make it out are bad people. My uncle certainly wasn't a bad person. He had his faults: it certainly was his alcoholism that caused him to totally lose control of his body when a tricycle lightly bumped into him by accident, hitting his head, damaging his brain and his entire life that fateful night 10 years ago. But he wasn't a bad person, and whatever his sins were, the life he has lived since his accident has punished him enough.

Right now, I can only pray that his soul has found rest, that he is where he can be truly free. Sometimes I am afraid that he is still wandering in the shadows, but I hope that lights will eventually guide him Home, where people love him and actually take the time to let him know.

I'm sorry Uncle.

Maybe someday I'll find myself in Arles, and think of you, and maybe then I can find peace too.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Have I mentioned that I'm really looking forward to Tomas Alfredson's movie adaptation of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? Hmmm. I think I may, maybe, 1, 2...3 million times.

Here's the crazy awesome first trailer again:

TTSS doesn't have a Philippine release date yet, and I know it will probably bore the socks out of most people anyway, if and when it is shown here, but I'm not sure I care, just as long as I get to see it. Never in my life had I ever wanted to be in the UK more than last September 16, when TTSS was released there. And the cast! How can you not look forward to a film that stars Gary Oldman (an absolute rock star among actors), Colin Firth (HRH himself), the prolific Mark Strong (whom I've seen in so many films, I almost feel a deep loyalty to him now), the apparently delicious Tom Hardy (I haven't watched any of his films, so I can't attest to this yet), John Hurt (Mr. Ollivander!), Ciaran Hinds (Aberforth!), and a guy named Benedict Cumberbatch. Seriously, I used to look forward to watching Michael Fassbender's movies just because I liked his name, but I've found a new favorite in Benedict Cumberbatch (who will, incidentally, voice Smaug in the coming Hobbit movie).

But, mostly, my true favorite, and the person I truly feel loyal to, is Smiley. Le Carre's Smiley, Guinness' Smiley, Oldman's Smiley. Doesn't matter. For George I would steal the entire Circus library.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I did it!

I finally wrote something new.

But not here.

I started a special blog for the special trip my sister and I are about to take. It's called Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains because, well, we're small-town girls and we will be riding several midnight trains. A lot of things have happened since I last wrote here -- a lot of good things, and some really sad things as well -- and I hope to write about them eventually. For now, I figured, if I'm going to spend a lot of time researching for our trip, and if I'm going to spend a disproportionately high percentage of my income on it, I might as well make a blog out of it. And I just like writing. And traveling. And doing both at the same time? My idea of a good life.