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How Do You Deal With Death?

The answer to the question in the title is probably the same as the opposite: how do you deal with living?
You don’t deal with it.
You just do. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 03/27/2016 in Blog, English, Personal, Uncategorized

 

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Guess the Oscar! (Like You Know and Watch All the Nominated Films!) – 2016

It’s that time of the year again.

The film equivalent of Super Bowl, Championship League, or other annual events in different field, but carries similar traits. The one where its fans follow and obsess very closely. The one that attracts worldwide attention. The one where, for non fans alike, they pretend to know.

Even for fans outside the US or other major film markets in the world, where most nominated films are properly screened on respective cinemas, we are not immune to the hype.

Every year, we follow news around Oscar closely. If the films are not screened in cinemas, we flock to nearby pirated DVD seller. Or do illegal download.
Thanks, or no thanks, to the availability of Oscar screeners easily copied, within minutes those screeners are ready within minutes worldwide.

But this year, controversy aside, the small-screen force-viewing could be minimized. Unless you really choose to do so.

Three out of 8 Best Picture nominees were released before November last year. One strong contender was even a blockbuster hit last summer. Four nominees have already hit big screen since a few weeks ago, and will likely continue doing so. At least for the next few days after the big party.

This year, I managed to watch 7 out of 8 Best Picture nominees on big screen, before the Oscar week, without having to travel to year-end film festivals to do that. It’s a personal record, I admit.

And it’s true that the window between big screen and small screen is getting smaller. Probably soon there will be no window at all for every film, as it is already happening now in some.

So, if you could watch Oscar nominees on big screen, consider yourself having a treat. It soon may be a thing of nostalgic memory that no longer exists.

That also makes your journey of following Oscar hype as a something special.

On to the predictions now:

– Best Picture: Spotlight
(but if you want to make a good return out of your bet, go for The Revenant. I’m just sticking to the film that hits, moves, and touches me the most, right in the heart.)
– Best Director: George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Lead Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
– Lead Actress: Brie Larson – Room
– Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone – Creed
– Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl

– Adapted Screenplay: The Big Short – screenplay by Charles Randolph and Adam McKay
– Original Screenplay: Spotlight – screenplay by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer

Ave Maria

Ave Maria

– Cinematography: John Seale – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Costum Design: Jeanny Beavan – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Production Design: Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Editing: Margaret Sixel – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Original Score: Ennio Morricone – The Hateful Eight
– Original Song: “Til It Happens to You” (from The Hunting Ground, music & lyrics by Lady Gaga, Diane Warren)

– Sound Editing: Mark A. Mangini and David White – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Sound Mixing: Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff, and Ben Osmo – Mad Max: Fury Road

– Make Up & Hair Styling: Lesley Vanderwalt, Elka Wardega, and Damian Martin – Mad Max: Fury Road
– Visual Effects: Chris Corbould, Roger Guyett, Paul Kavanagh, and Neal Scanlan – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Body Team 12

Body Team 12

– Animated Feature: Inside Out
– Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul (Hungary)
– Documentary Feature: Amy

And here comes the annual shameless plug:
You can watch 2 of the Oscar nominated short films in the upcoming XXI Short Film Festival!
And why not?
It’s free, and it’s on big screen. Only in Epicentrum XXI on March 16-20, 2016.
You know the drill: just follow Twitter @21shortfilm for more information.
I’ll be there, and I’ll be more than happy to guide you through the rest of the festival.
Alright, before the plugging goes deeper, I mean, further:

– Animated Short: World of Tomorrow
– Documentary Short: Body Team 12
– Live Action Short: Ave Maria

Alright, less than a day away to the Oscar!

Mad Max: The Fury Road

Mad Max: The Fury Road

 
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Posted by on 02/28/2016 in Uncategorized

 

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On a Cold Rainy Night

“Are you ready?”

“Ready?”

“This is how it goes …”

“Wait. Ready for what?”

“This. This is what will happen. We meet. Meet cute, maybe. But we meet. We exchange names. We invent nicknames for each other. We text each other every day. We look forward to each of our “morning” and “nitey nite” greetings. We make time to type those messages. We ask each other what we have for breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper, and all meals in between. We ask each other what we do, where we go, what we read, what we watch, what we listen to. Then we finally meet. We see eye to eye. Over lunch. Followed by coffee. Over dinner. Followed by movie. The first lunch. The first coffee. The first movie together. Then comes the night when we part. We have to part. We live in our own house. We say good night. In the next few hours, we say good morning. We make plans. We plan our getaway. Our holiday. We cannot get enough of each other. We are crazy about each other. We think of each other every time. We think of ways to seek help from each other. We think of ways to make each other feel needed and wanted. We try and try … Until we’re tired. We start getting bored of each other. We start questioning our decision to meet and like each other. We make excuses not to meet. We prioritise our work and other activities above each other. We start skipping the greetings. No more “morning” or “nitey nite”. We start asking each other, why you have not asked me things I do. Food I eat. Music I listen to. We take each other for granted. We take each other as a routine. Then strangers come to our lives. Strangers that tickle our excitement. Strangers who ask us the questions we used to ask to each other. Strangers we cannot get enough of. Strangers we wish to spend our time with, instead of being with each other. Strangers, that make us … strangers for each other.”

“Are you done?”

“I’m not. Because I want to ask you, if you’re ever ready …”

“I’m taken.”

“… ready to invite this stranger to try?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

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Posted by on 01/31/2016 in English, Personal

 

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You Say Goodbye To What You Love The Most

We do say goodbye to things we love the most, don’t we?

No matter how long we have been attached to things we love the most, eventually they’ll be taken away from us in one way or another … Right?

I am struggling to convince myself over the above statements today. I am struggling to believe that you only part with the physicality of things.
You never say goodbye to memories they bring.

Last night, my iPod Classic died. For good.
Attempts of resurrection showed no signs of success. At all.
Even if we could replace the hard disk inside the iPod with a new one, it’ll be a new, blank, clean, empty hard disk. The old dying one, that caused the hardware to stop functioning, cannot be brought back to life.

After 8 years, my companion is no longer able to accompany me anymore.

Yes.
This iPod of mine is a life companion.

Inside the 120gb disk space are not only songs, videos and photos accumulated over years. But more than that, those songs, videos and photos mark special milestones in my life.

3292_ipodclassic_black_image5_20080909

Songs are compiled into playlists for running, so I can endure the exercise.
Songs I listen to whenever I have a crush on someone, when relationships end, and when romance starts to blossoms, are compiled into playlists.
There are playlists for wedding of friends, relatives, rainy days, holidays, and sometimes moments I need to celebrate quietly.

I always brought my iPod wherever I go. Be it to office, to gym, traveling overseas, other cities in the country, there was always my iPod present. In short, it never left out of sight everyday in the past 8 years.

When you have something with you for considerable amount of time, your subconsciousness forms a sort of attachment. So I read somewhere.
I never understand that, until now.

B001F7AHXM-1

People have different ways to claim ownership or attach themselves over other people and things. Some form undying attention to their pets, others dot on their children. Some become too protective, some can be carefree.
I spent most of life on my own. The past 8 years saw a fair share of some romantic relationships, but for the largest bulk of time, I’m on my own. Thus, to fill the emptiness of dead air, I listen to music. I pay attention to them. My mind wanders as I press the button, click the wheel, put songs on shuffle, and let whatever songs played to fill the mood of the moment.
From what is a usual “press play” activity, it further develops as the extension of your feeling.

It may sound too much. That’s fine. After all, each one of us is wired differently.
When I lament the passing of this iPod to my friends, some immediately offer their consolation in understanding. Some went through the same. Some offer their confusion, to my absolute and definite understanding, as they don’t form similar attachment the way I do. And that’s fine by me.

After all, music speaks differently to each and everyone of us.

Soon enough, I’ll get a new portable music player. Or I may just get a new hard disk to be installed in the old iPod. I have not decided which route I’ll take.
Regardless, they mean the same thing. I may get majority of old songs and albums back, thanks to iTunes store and other outlets. I may be able to create similar playlists to the old ones.
But I never get the old memory back. I will never be able to recreate the exact mood while making the playlists.

apple_ipod_classic_6th_generation_black_mc297qba_raw

Consider this is goodbye. Consider this is a farewell letter to the past 8 years of my life as marked on songs of life.
I often smile in tears upon realizing how we mark moments in our life by songs. Songs we listen to while we think of someone with love. How we are angry at the same person weeks or months or years later. Songs we listen to when we graduate. Songs we listen to as we travel in foreign lands.

I used to be able just to switch on the old iPod, scroll through playlists to figure out the songs that mark those special moments. Now, I won’t be able to do that anymore. I may remember all of a sudden whenever I hear the same songs in mall, as I stroll along foreign lands I am yet to visit, or in any given occasions later.

I will remember, because memory never escapes and fails us.

We say goodbye to things.
But we will remember the historic memory they lovingly create.

Here’s to new memories ahead.

 
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Posted by on 01/05/2016 in English, Personal

 

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Top 10 TV Shows of 2015

Welcome to, not just golden age, but the platinum age of scripted American TV programs. Gone are the days of accusation that watching too much TV is not good for our well being. The concern instead is that there are too many good TV shows that one is impossible to watch the all. Thus, you may find some other critically-acclaimed shows are not listed here, because 1) this is a personal list, and 2) I have no time yet to watch those shows yet.
Mind you, there are other shows that do not make the cut in the top 10 list below, yet I still watch them because you cannot just watch 10 TV shows in a year. There are simply too many good TV programs out there. But thank you, TV! You show us that good story and good storytelling are found in TV these days.

Alright, the list, in alphabetical order, starts with:

1. THE AFFAIR

The Affair

The Affair

I started watching the entire first season earlier this year, and boy, was I hooked from the start. The series takes a hardly original approach of telling an illicit extra marital affair from both he-said and she-said perspectives, but what unravels in further episodes take us by surprise. Noah Solloway may be the most complex, despicable and well-written family man character in television right now, yet we can not just say otherwise to Alison Lockhart with her doe eyed soulful persona. It is possible to have a series that leaves you devastated week after week.

2. THE AMERICANS

The Americans

The Americans

Not many series get better each season, but The Americans does get better, if not more thrilling. Each season brings the tension closer and more gripping, and season 3 of The Americans may be its best yet. Paige finally learns the true profession of her parents. This brings many opportunities of future developments, as the storyline progresses to the peak of Cold War in mid 1980s. The terror is getting more subdued, and feels real. It’s a crime that the series is still overlooked by the Emmys so far.

3. BLACK-ISH

Black-ish

Black-ish

I put it simply: it is possible for a TV show to laugh at itself (and its presumably core audience), be genuinely funny, and be heartwarming in almost every week. What an achievement, indeed.

4. CATASTROPHE

Catastrophe

Catastrophe

The set-up wins: an American guy impregnates a British girl during their one night stand. What follows is nothing but hilarity that ranges from chaos to madness. I cannot get enough of the short season, as it packs more rom-com moments than any other series attempting the same.

5. EMPIRE

Empire

Empire

Anywhere you turn, you can never escape the Lyons, especially the cracking wits of Cookie Lyon, played with feisty persona by the great Taraji P. Henson. The show grows its audience week after week until it becomes a cultural phenomenon. It has been described as Dynasty for R&B and hip-hop millenials, which worries me the most for being excessive in style in future seasons. But as long as Cookie’s in the house, the matriarch shall balance the entire kingdom. Bring the kidnaps, murders, and music then.

6. DAREDEVIL

Daredevil

Daredevil

Perhaps the series has the most serious treatment among other superhero series right now. In fact, I am torn between choosing this over other noteworthy entries, i.e. Agent Carter and The Flash. Yet, for what it is worth, Daredevil gives us, pun intended, justice. The series equals straight-forward action scenes with multi layered characters and muted, often heavy dramatic moments that bring the entire serious feel almost like a work of art. For real. The last four episodes of the season will put you on the edge of your couch.

7. MAD MEN

Mad Men

Mad Men

We say goodbye to Don Draper and co., with the last scene that easily goes down as one of the finest in TV history. But if you watch carefully, it is the women of Mad Men that soar in this last season. Joan Harris, Peggy Olsen, Betty Francis, and even Sally Draper, each one of them are given prominence in their roles that we can only daydream how great it will be if there’s a spin-off among them. As the show stops before the feminism era, we imagine that their imaginary prominence will play pivotal role should there be a continuation. Alas, the show ends on a high note, and as a fan, I cannot be more satisfied than that.

8. UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I dare you not singing, or at least humming, its theme song after binge-ing the series even for just after 3 episodes. The theme song is indeed addictive, and so is Titus Andromeda’s Pinot Noir. Don’t Google or Youtube that. Oh, you just did? Well then. Good luck!

9. UNREAL

Unreal

Unreal

The most surprising new drama of last year airs in Lifetime channel, associated with its female-centric tearjerker shows. UnReal is still female-centric, but tearjerker it ain’t. It offers a fictionalized behind-the-scene look of a reality program a la The Bachelor, where dramatic moments are unfold as staged by the deceptive, manipulative, ruthless characters played with excellence by both Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer. You can feel the female bromance between the two against their love-hate bantering and wits. You root for them each week as they keep showing their flaws, and still hold their heads high among the seas of men as their objects of frustration. Perhaps it is the most daring program of last season, and no one notices yet.

10. VEEP

Veep

Veep

I have no idea how they do it. How can a show get more hilarious every season? Just when I thought the season 3 is the funniest yet, the presidential campaign in season 4 pushes the funny envelope further, with a welcome addition from Hugh Laurie and his surprisingly acute comic timing. Julia Louis-Dreyfus could not be funnier than in this season. As we anxiously await the result of the presidential election in the series, here’s a cheers for Armando Ianucci as the creator of the series. Thank you for the wonderful 4 seasons you have helmed. Even without your presence as the show-runner in subsequent seasons, we always have the entire wacky, incapable team of Susan Meyer to humor us. The Emmy for Best Comedy Series is justified.

 
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Posted by on 12/22/2015 in Blog, English

 

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Muted

“Hey. How is it going? Did you just arrive?”
“Hey. Nah. I arrived at 5 pm, around that. Just went back to get my bag. Did you just come in?”
“Yeah. Traffic was bad.”
“True. But that’s kinda normal, I guess. From work?”
“Yes. What a week. How’s your work?”
“Well, like that. Endless things to do.”
“Work never ends. You always came here?”
“Most of the time. I mean, I’ve tried other places. But most of the time, I come here. What about you?”
“Just here. Other places are definitely out of reach for me.”
“Rule of thumb: gotta find place to exercise either closer to your work or your home.”
“Agree. Your work place is quite nearby, I assume?”
“Okay. I ride, so it’s quite bearable.”
“That explains your jacket on weekdays.”
“Yeah. And all the bags.”
“Do you have to carry those everyday?”
“I don’t have any other options.”
“And you still manage to come here everyday?”
“I try to make it everyday. And I guess you come every other day?”
“Close enough. Two days or three days in a row, then a day break, then another two to three. Gotta listen to what your body says.”
“After a while, you know your body rhythm.”
“Yeah. Are you with your trainer today?”
“Today? Nah. Not today. I’ll just run on my own.”
“Me, too. I mean, I just run.”
“I … Well, I notice that.”
“Right. Yeah. Okay. This is my spot.”
“Alright.”
“Alright. See you.”
“Yes.”
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
All the conversations that could’ve happened. All the imagination that only exists in mind. Instead, the words are replaced by distant gazes. Mere gazes. The sights seen at great length that they mute words and voices. The eyes that see only with miraculous hope that the object will feel being seen and return the glances. Alas, it remains a wishful thinking.
How is it that one word with two letters can carry infinite possibilities?
How is it that one word with two letters be the hardest word to say?
How does one start saying … “Hi”?

IMG_0460

 
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Posted by on 09/20/2015 in Uncategorized

 

Something’s Missing

I miss falling in love.

I miss smiling as I am gazing.
I miss making playlist of songs, since every song is about our fantastical fantasy relationship.
I miss daydreaming, imagining and eventually thinking ahead of every possible scenario.

I miss falling in love.

I miss the joy out of living.
I miss the happiness it brings.
I miss the thrill it seeks.
I miss the anticipation out of unthinkable possibilities.

I miss falling in love.

I miss the beat of my heart that drums when you pass.
I miss the sigh of relief when you miss my glance.
I miss the whisper of my own wish when you stand in distance.
I miss the pray quietly uttered when you may or may not be there.
I miss the wetness of my eyes from too much smiling when you step in to my mind.

I miss falling in love.

I miss seeing your flaws as flawless.
I miss seeing your imperfection as perfection.
I miss seeing your scars as beauties.
I miss feeling your quietness loud.
I miss feeling your silence deafening.
I miss feeling your mere presence larger than life.

I miss falling in love.

Because I miss living life.

love-bubble_blog140116

 
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Posted by on 09/06/2015 in Blog, English, Personal

 

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