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But You Said

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You do not need me

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Where do you go

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Hole

He was so used to loving and losing
and other things that caused injury
so on his chest he bore a gaping hole
right where a beating heart should be

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Like Yesterday

Hey
What happened to us?

I just want to be
Happy with you
Again

Like yesterday
When you said
That your life
Depended on me
Like mine
Took shelter in
Your arms

Talk to me?

2014 in review – Thanks to all your support!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Like Magic

Like Magic

Book Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

While Perfect Ruin is very much like Lois Lowry’s The Giver in many ways, it has a lot of unique elements to it that makes it special. With colorful poetry in each word, DeStefano paints a world accessible only through a dream. You will wonder how it will be to be living a simple life afloat in the sky. You will find yourself jealous of what innocence those characters who haven’t been to the “edge” exude, while deeply feeling the quiet bitterness of “jumpers”, through Lex, whose ability to see life from a positive direction was disabled just by being curious and called by something hypnotically wondrous. You will hope that betrothals exist in our world and wish to experience that young, untraceable fondness for someone that can eventually turn into true love.

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Instagram @janoboscher

I recommend this book to those who would like to dream, daydream, experience love, loss, and utter curiosity about things that are beyond wonder, and most of all, to those who dare to “jump” into adventures, even when everyone disapproves.

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is promising and has a very intriguing foundation. I feel intimidated by the plot, scared for the boys and what awaits them,  and the more I learned about what happens in the Maze and the Glade, the more thrilled I have become to get out and see what is outside.

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Instagram: @janoboscher

Having finished reading the book, I can say that I truly liked the plot, but on the other hand, I fell that the story-telling could use a little fine-tuning. The beginning is dark and foreboding, and has sent trickles down my spine which I loved. Compared with other stories I’ve read in the Dystopian genre, the book has a something special to offer although it could do better with simplicity and less details that do not support the story very strongly.

The protagonist (Thomas) has a mysterious persona, which has kept me awake up until the middle, but the twist in his real personality is not as grand and it has had me expecting. His confusion does not seem to match his actions. There is no very distinct characterization. Save from their individual slangs and speech mannerisms, it often feels like every character is the same – who they are, how they act at certain situations, what makes them motivated or mad. The likeness in their characters makes them shallow and predictable. The boys who turn out to be antagonists do not seem to have deep and relatable causes to justify the course of the actions they took, even looking from the younger minds’ perspective. 

Furthermore, what I do not like so much is that the humor is often off and out of timing. There are times when a serious situation is being portrayed but then one of the characters would throw in sarcasm and it ruins the mood, makes supposedly substantial events look trivial. I find the reveal of the big plot contrived and a little too drastic compared to how delicately the pace has run from its onset. I enjoyed the shroud of darkness and uncertainty covering the story at the beginning up to the the 3rd quarter of the story but my amusement was somehow disrupted by the unraveling of the truth behind the boys’ predicament that can be more subtle.

Overall, in spite of the few imperfections I found, The Maze Runner is a decent young adult novel, in my opinion. It is remarkable to me how pictures of the claustrophobic Glade, the Grievers and their unique mechanical monstrosity, the eerie Box where kids are transported into the Glade, the devilish Maze and its snaking ropes of ivy, and other elements of the setting were painted vividly in my imagination. The author is successful in his imagery. He gave the world he created some realness to it. It gives me chills remembering how the walls move nightly, their screeching sound against the floor echoing in my ears. I cringed at how excruciating Changing is, and felt nauseous about how deep a jump the Cliff might have been.

The story might not be perfect for my taste but it aptly got me interested. I am certainly buying the next book to find out what happens next.

If you have read the book, feel free to share your thoughts.

Demons and Daggers II

He took a small folder from his backpack and, from it, he took out sheets of gray paper cut lengthwise. He handed one sheet with a smile to a fellow jeepney passenger, an old lady with a faintly worried face in deep contemplation. The lady took the sheet of paper he handed and squinted on the bold print.

“How to Build a Happy Family?” she muttered.

“Yes,“ he immediately said back, thrilled with the slight interest the lady took in his leaflet, keeping his smile sweet.

“It’s a campaign by our church to help open up each family member’s eyes to the key to having a happy family,” he continued. The lady was focused on him. “Which is the church’s teachings,” he couldn’t help but giggle. His heart was full of excitement.

The lady let out an “uh, huh.”

“Oh, our church has a website too! It’s written at the back.”

“I don’t do computers, but thank you so much, boy.”

And the lady hailed the jeepney to stop and she disembarked. He was quite pleased with himself about making a conversation with someone about his church service. He peeked into his folder and roughly counted the thick heap of leaflets left to give away. He enjoyed volunteering for their church’s cause, and this month’s campaign was about building families and binding them with the infinite love of God through the church’s teachings. Tomorrow, he would gladly give the leaflets away to those needful people and create awareness about building a happy family. He loved changing people’s lives.

He got off the jeepney, hurried past the stop lights with only three seconds to go.

He walked through a street paving their neighborhood. He was immediately greeted by the foul smell emanating from the nearby estero. People were in their usual routines; mothers were intimately huddled, arms crossed to their chest, some are talking in hushed voices, some are laughing their guts out. Men were at their usual low tables, topless and loudly making love with bottles of cheap liquor. Many had the product they sold laid on tables and carts, mostly hastily prepared snacks, or used clothing sold typically at twenty to fifty pesos each. The noise made by raucous children on the street annoyed him as he passed through a scatter of them playing volleyball. At the background, you could hear the sound of someone pouring their heart out on karaoke.

He went in their house, the rusty hinges sang their screechy weeping as he passed through the half-beaten door. On the nearby table he found a plate of what seemed like delicious food if not for its foul smell. It must have been sitting for at least two days. The house was dark, empty, and the smell of molds and spoiled stuff. He heaved out the leaflet folder from his bag and placed it on the table.

He went in front of a small table where an image of the dark Sto. Niño stood. After lighting a candle, he touched holy child’s face and made the sign of the cross. He said a silent prayer for about a minute, lifted his head, and blew the candle off.

Where is mother? He suddenly remembered to ask.

He walked slowly into the room, though a thin white curtain and turned the light on. He found a figure, sitting at one corner of the room. He slowly approached the figure and whispered, “mother”.

He bent down to pull her up but she would not move. He resolved to bracing his arms around her thin frame.

His mother turned to him, her face, covered with inexplicably dark green and purple patches. Her nose was broken; dried blood the color of earth ran down to her upper lip.

He delicately observed how grave it was this time.

He was suddenly startled by a series of knocks that hit the door. He could tell he was drunk again. His chest throbbed incredibly fast but he remained calm.

“Open the door, you fucking useless whore!”

A thin smirk appeared on his face. He listened intently to the angry rhythm of the knocks like it was music to his ears. He looked into his mother’s blank eyes and said in a hushed voice,

“Kaunting tiis nalang.”

He stood up and walked out of the room and to the kitchen. He took out something from a cupboard. He held it carefully to his back and slowly made for the door, his face, firm and focused. The knocks had gone louder, more violent. For a moment, he thought the door was going to fly in. He tried not to stir.

“What the fuck is taking you so long? Open the goddamned door!”

He opened the door, light peeked, washing over his face.

“Hello, Father.”

He stood by door, his hands tightly holding a knife.

In the morning, he would pray for his father’s soul in front of Sto. Niño’s knowing face.

Demons and Daggers I

You have to take that to Aling Miriam.

She flashed Jamie an irritated look. How many times had she brought up that subject? Pulling her arm off  from Jamie’s hands, unrolling her sleeves down, she walked ahead and heaved out a deep sigh. She stopped for a second and looked up as if in search for relief. Dark clouds. They’d been there since yesterday.

Jamie caught up. I’m sorry. But I’m your only friend. If I didn’t know what’s best for you, I don’t know who does.

Thanks for constantly reminding me that.

And she continued walking. Away and fast.

The air was musty. It’s extremely humid and claustrophobic. There was scarcely a source of light. No windows but a small hole on the wall, not even two inches wide. That’s her only gateway view to what’s outside. Not that she’s eager to see’s what’s out there. Or that she wanted to be seen.

She’s accustomed to sweating. That’s one of the things she mastered ever since she could remember. She did not understand comfort. Or perhaps one would not understand what they did not come to know.

She’s looking back at the girl standing in front of her. Her eyes were piercing she wanted to look away. But her figure was one nobody could stray away from. It was not the first instance she came across her. Her eyes bore the exact sadness she saw the first couple of times she saw her. She was naked. Her body’s a work of a thousand unspoken words. She could tell she was beautiful at one point in her life. Misery has worn her down. She’s marred in every way. Body and soul. Mirrors never lied.

Why wouldn’t you love me back?

Because I can’t. Stop this, please. You won’t understand.

Why not? I need to know, please tell me.

I just don’t love you. I can’t.

And she walked away. He was left on his knees, waiting for the clouds to start pouring.

She pulled her dress up and turned from the mirror. She mingled with the dimness of the room, avoiding the thin ray of light passing through the tiny hole on her wall as she walked to one corner and sat down. Tear drops fell to the floor.

Now why would you let a perfectly caring and handsome guy out there in the rain? Not only was that soap opera-dramatic but gravely insane. Have you gone completely crazy? Jamie’s words echoed in the hallway.

You know I can’t involve myself in another relationship. You perfectly know what happened in the past.

You’re scared of what you don’t know. I’d say, go out there, take risks, forget about your past, be happy.

I know what I’m doing.

You don’t believe that.

The sky. Clear, magical. The stars danced with the sound of silence; the trees, grasses, at the slow swoosh of the wind. The moon was at the center, shading everything underneath with its light.

She was thirsty. I have to go find water.

She found herself by a stream, fighting her gasps as she drank dry from the palms of her hands. How she found the stream, she considered instinct. An impulse. Something inside her voiced she’d been there sometime before. Not a very long time ago. Her chest relaxed, her body was relieved of the tremble. The nauseating feeling was gone and she felt she could breathe again.

Clouds passed along the moon, elegantly letting through streaks of glorious light. And she remembered why she was there.

Something was approaching. She could tell it by the low-toned noise from afar. It’s nearing her direction. She trusted her impulse. And her impulse said run.

Now she could hear the growl. And she’s more afraid than tired. She stopped minding her toes wounded and strained. She realized she was barefoot and for probably hours. She tried to keep herself from looking back, but she needed to know how faster she should run.

Then something grabbed her by the neck.

She was pulled back, unable to use her limbs to resist the force. The hands were rough and strong. She could feel her neck being crashed and she was too weak to do something about it. She felt her back cracked when she landed on the ground. Now she’s being held tight by the hands and it made it harder for her to move, let alone fight. Then a voice spoke to her face, the breath was putrid. She opened her eyes and she was terrified as hell.

You’re with me, once again. Thanks for coming back.

She screamed at the top of her lungs. Sweating, she reached for something at her side. She dropped an uncapped bottle and spilled the water from her lamp desk. She’s down on her knees at the foot of her bed. The clock ticked 3:00 AM.

She stood up, undressed herself and faced the mirror. And she could never be more terrified to see herself. She’d never be able to see her body again.

Wash them with soap and clean water. Apply this twice a day. It’s mashed wild leaves and lamb fat. Don’t skip.

She cringed at the pain as the old woman was putting on a greenish concoction over her neck wounds. Her skin turned numb after a while. Her whole body was.

Alright, turn your back to me please.

It was the old woman’s turn to cringe.

Her back was no better story. Bruises, cuts, wounds swelling on every surface.

Tsk, tsk

She cried tears. She couldn’t hold it longer.

I do not know what to do. It keeps doing these horrible things to me in my dreams. I think it wants me to kill myself to save him the trouble. I fear that no one would ever take me because of these.

Aling Miriam let her cry for a moment.

You have every right to be terrified. It’s an angry demon. A very wild beast. Killing it will not be easy.

When the old woman was done treating her wounds, she poured them cups of tea.

Drink this, to make your nerves relax. It’s not easy, what you’re going through.

She took a sip.

Aling Miriam had to ask, How long has it been going around for you?

It started appearing in my dreams. I was so scared. Alone. I thought at first they were just dreams. but wounds started to appear on my body. I need to get away from it, whatever it is.

Did you not ask for any help? Where are your parents? Do they know?

My mother died when I was born.

And your dad?

I do not want to talk about him.

I’m sorry.

Then there was silence. The two women sipped their cups of tea quietly.

Tonight, you must face your fear. Demons are dangerous. They’re forceful, greedy creatures that will kill to get what they want. Lustful ones go for women your kind. Scared. Weak. They feed on innocence and pleasure themselves with helplessness. They have their own needs after all. Tonight you must face it.

She could never feel more sorry for what had become of her but she did not want another tear to fall. Before she let herself out of the door, the old lady said,

Some demons need to be faced. All it takes is courage to accept yourself for who you have become, regardless. We all are scarred in many, different ways but we must move forth. Forge that dagger. Sharpen it. Kill the demon and set yourself free.

The old woman’s words echoed in her head. Tonight, she must bravely face her fear once and for all. To put an end to it. She willed herself to sleep with not much ease and it took her long before she found herself lying by the stream once again. It was the same stream she’d been many times in the past. The moon was at the exact position as she remembered. At the background, an eerie silence.

Then a voice spoke beside her.

It’s been a while since you’ve been here purposefully.

She didn’t speak back. She’s afraid, but was trying to conceal it. He was lying next to her, naked.

I waited for so long. Why were you hiding from me?

She remained silent and focused of what she planned to go there for. He stood up in front of her. His silhouette, masking the light from the moon.

Then he advanced on top of her. He kissed her ears gently.

I have you now my baby girl. Everything’s alright. Ssshh.

Then his hand landed heavily on her face. It was all so sudden. Dizziness danced inside her head, she couldn’t make out anything. She felt his hands wildly run through every part of her body.

He was squeezing her breasts so hard she felt they were being crushed. His smell was suffocating. The grease all over his body was sticky and seemed to be binding them together so she couldn’t move.

She let out a faint cry when she felt him inside her.

You’re mine now. Completely mine. You will never go back. Not to the men you fantasize you’d have. You’re one silly whore. I’ll get inside of you to till you become mine.

It was long process of pain and lustful longing. Blood and dust. Sweat and everything mixed with the humid air of the night; the moon was the only witness to the terrible fate she succumbed to. Her whole body was painful. She’s bleeding and sweating at the same time. He kept slamming her bruised and wounded body in every direction.

He made her bend over. Her face rubbed against the soil and sharp, small rocks. She’s being held by her two arms stretched towards her back, her bones were breaking. She couldn’t take it anymore. The pain was outrageous.

He’s reaching his peak and so he continued with his thrusts. Faster and faster, he let out a loud cry.

She’s tired, almost lifeless. For one second, she thought she died.

I can’t. Not yet.

He turned her around, laid her on her back on the dirt. He looked right towards her eyes. The fright all came back to her. She recalled her purpose for letting him used her completely.

Your mom and I love you. Very much.

His mouth to her face, she could not stand the sour stench of his breath.

I will not let you feed on me again. 

Lying down, she reached above her head in desperation. She caught something and took it with both her hands. In an instant, she managed to sit on top of the demon and pointed a dagger towards his neck.

I will kill you. You have inflicted me with so much pain and I couldn’t let you take control of my life, she heard herself say.

He flashed her a grin. You can’t do that. You’re too weak.

Her phone rang. She picked it up. It was her mom.

Your dad died today. Her voice couldn’t hide the sadness.

She’s quiet for almost a minute, her mom had to check if she’s still on the other end. She didn’t feel compelled to speak.

Aren’t you going to ask what happened to him? He’s still your father.

What happened to him?

He was killed in the prison by one of the guards. It was because of a little argument, it cost your father his life.

Serves him well. I often dreamed of his death.

Whatever he did to you, it doesn’t matter, not anymore. He was your father, and he’s dead. What he did to you was all your fault. Show some respect.

She had to hold her tears back.

I did not get my share of respect from him and I don’t care if you loved him, but he was sick and he deserved death and suffering more than anyone in this world.

With that, she hung up.

On the other line, her mother was devastated. She lost a daughter more than she lost a spouse.

She had to fight though his piercing look.

You cannot kill me. I am a part of you now and forever will be. You are scarred and broken and weak and nothing can ever fix you. Not even that dagger. Submit yourself to me, like you always did.

The dagger vertically thrust to the demon’s neck. She pulled it out and thrust it back. In and out, she repeated the process until the neck that connected the head from the body was almost entirely mashed. The demon laid lifelessly marinating in his own filthy blood.

Then she let go. And let herself free. She now must. All was over.

In her room, She woke up with eyes widely open. She realized she’s soaked in her own sweat. She blindly turned her lamp on and reached for a bottle of water on her side desk. She drank all that’s in it and continued running after her breath.

The nightmare was over, at last.

She stood up, undressed herself and looked at the mirror. She never thought she’d see the girl again. And this time, she bore a bit of peace in her eyes and a stance that of a woman. She brushed her hair back. She felt warmth. And finally, a bit of comfort.

Tonight was when she would never have to face her demon again. She looked down, held her belly, and whispered goodnight. A few months from then, she would give birth an angel who would completely free her from her past.

Pipelines to the Past

Today, I decided to get out of my bedroom and bring my reading to the living room. It was often empty now since mom decided to live away where she held her small business, save for Uncle Dave, our dog, that constantly lurked around the dark and dead space we called the living room in our modest lair. I sat down the old armchair made of wood that was withered and tarnished all these long years – it belonged to a living room set of 3 (one long sofa, 2 side armchairs) a really simply put-together piece of furniture, (not very strikingly beautiful by any standard) my mother invested from the money my father sent from overseas shortly before she gave birth to me. The seat felt small and it was not until I opened my book that it lingered on me that I was sitting on the armchair we had for more than 26 years, a sudden gush of different emotions flooded me. I did not understand many of them – were they sad or happy emotions – but they made me stop and evaluate what I was feeling for a quick instant. I’ve read somewhere that it is both a blessing and curse to feel everything so deeply and it always interested me how something as inanimate as an armchair can conjure so many distant memories.

I felt a rapid surge of energy, like electricity; things have happened on this armchair and the whole living room set played in front of me. It was a blur but a very vivid one; like I had a time travel to many points of my life, not seeing every flashback in very clear details, but feeling these pointy spikes in the insides of my chest. I touch the surface of the armchair and I saw the 6-year old me, sitting on the floor, arms laying lazily on top of a big color book when I was in the process of discovering my love for colors and art. Instantly after,  I had a glimpse of the 11-year old me sitting down on it on a stormy evening, sleeping in front of an abandoned TV after waiting all night for my mother who was coming back from the public market selling eggs to make ends meet.

Visit www.facebook.com/JanoBoscherPhotography for more
Time Travel http://www.facebook.com/JanoBoscherPhotography

Many other pictures entered my head, making me terribly nostalgic of when my high school friends and I used to watch video tapes we borrowed from a nearby video shop after school. I saw at one quick instant my grandfather in 2005, laying at the sofa, sickly and dying, and suddenly, I woke up from a sleep, one night, upon the sound of my mother’s restrained weeping as she laid on the sofa a few days after my grandfather’s burial. I was young then and knew nothing about comforting a suffering person so I went back to sleep and cried for my mother’s grief in my sleep. A sound from somewhere outside the house snapped me out of the daydream. I opened my eyes and felt my hands tightly clasping on the right arm rest. This time I closed my eyes in the hopes of seeing more memories. I saw my cousin, his wife and 2 children sharing the sofa as their solitary resting place when they got kicked out of the house they used to rent when my he got laid off his contractual job and had to live with us – they were happy in spite of their poverty and their future’s uncertainty. So many layers of short figments frenzied in my head. It overwhelmed me to some extent and I had to will myself to stop. It was powerful.

It amazes me that some magical connection seems to bind us and objects we grow up with that stirs some deep memories we thought we lost. It can oftentimes be triggered by the simple sight or touch of these objects, and sometimes, they are these the last things we expect us to have a heavy emotional attachment with – a wash basin, or a broomstick, a rusting kettle, or in my case, an armchair and a sofa set. I like to think of these objects as a pipeline to our past, or perhaps a conductor of energy that, if touched, it instantly transfers to us such queer sensation of being catapulted to the yesteryear of our lives. In my case, it always happens instantly and when it does, I savor each moment of that “time travel” and I feel thankful to somewhat experience these memories all over again. I think memories, good or bad, are fragile, precious gifts we should keep attached to these objects, like a part of us is literally embedded in them and we can always go back to find them.

What objects do you feel that magical connection with? What objects have you time-traveled through? What memories do they stir up? Please feel free to share.

Jano

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Thank You

Thank You

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Where Both Poles Meet

Where Both Poles Meet

Flawed

Walk on, you
deeply flawed
your soul is
in shreds
you skinned your
every bit
with your
self indulgence
in night time
and in
dread
your curiosity
never killed you
yet left you
deeply
marred
you tried
and failed
it broke you
from the inside
it had you
scarred
your hair falls
loosely
one strand
after another
your skin
sticks
to our bones tightly
like maggots
to a cadaver
your feet are
sinking
slowly
every step
as heavy
as the other
your eyes are
bulging fully
consciousness
waning
no one bothers
you clearly
are a dying
menace
your death
awaits in
lonesome stillness
your stench disrupts
like a hungry sword
but in your
blood runs
a tinge of gold
as another second
is a terrible waste
around eyes
yearning
to cause you pain
and words
working
to defile
your grave
take my hand
Let’s walk away.

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The Good Wife

The Good Wife

New Facebook Page: Jano Boscher Photography

Dear Friends,

I am happy to announce that you can now view and follow my work on a new Facebook page named “Jano Boscher Photography” and I would like to warmly invite everyone to visit. For the past months, your support has been great inspiration for me to continue on with my passion for art and photography, and it would mean the world to me if you would continue your support by liking and sharing my new page.

Facebook Page: Jano Boscher Photography

To go to my new page, please click here.

Thanks for supporting an aspiring artist like me. Let’s keep supporting all artists around the world.

Yours,

Jano

PS: Please note that I will be taking down the page “Jano Boscher” very soon.

Mothers and Christmases

A bowl of my mother’s sweet spaghetti brings me back to my early childhood Christmases when life was much simpler and her sweet spaghetti was all I would look forward to on a Christmas Day. Today, life is much more complex, I look forward to bigger things, often (and guiltily) wanting more than what I deserve. Today, I am thankful for Christmas (and my mother’s sweet spaghetti) for reminding me that I can be a kid again and life can get simple at least once in a year.

There’s nothing very uncommon about the ingredients she uses – pork, a few bits of hotdog, banana ketchup, cheap cheddar and pasta (two packs you can buy for the price of one – every store has some kind of a promo), but mothers have this thing about their hands that everything they put together turns out to be something really special.

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Asinan (Salt Factory)

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This is how salt is produced in Anda, Pangasinan, Philippines. When the sun fully dries the sea water contained in these man-made ponds into salt, it will be scraped off, held into sacks and stored in these small huts until small trucks pick them up for delivery to towns and cities. Salt-making provides living not only to many of Anda’s folks but to rest of Pangasinan’s.

We passed by this quaint asinan (salt factory) on our way to Anda’s Tondol White Beach, one of the North’s unpopular but absolutely gorgeous beaches.

Pangasinan is a province situated at the Northern, mountainous region of the Philippines and its name translates to “The Land of Salt”.

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Light

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To my fellow Filipinos,
When darkness glows
just all too much
for your tired and tearing
eyes to bear

There’s light.

You have always made it through.

Film Review: The Purge (2013)

Note: This review contains spoilers.

The Purge is a 2013 film by James DeMonaco that introduces us to an annual spree called “The Purge” during which all criminal activities become legal for 12 hours. Ever since its institution, the United States of America hits all-time low unemployment and crime rate, all attributed to this practice. From 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM every year, all citizens are allowed to discharge all repressed negative emotions in any way they want. In the movie, we arrive at the Sandins’ suburban household, as they prepare for The Purge.

The conflict started when Charlie Sandin, the youngest of the two Sandin children, lets a stranger into their highly-secured home during the first few hours of The Purge. The stranger is running from a group of masked participants who is willing to kill anyone, including the Sandins, to get a hold of the stranger.

As thought-provoking and ambitious the plot may be, there are some things that felt awfully wrong about The Purge:

  • For a seemingly strict, overly-protective, difficult father, Mr. Sandin handled his emotions very well at his son’s grotesque stupidity, letting a stranger into their supposedly Purge-free home. If I could gravely screw up without being grounded, I’d sure love to be adopted by the Sandins.
  • Mr. Sandin, just like any other head of the family, is so willed to protect his family, no matter what. Just like any other father, he does the right thing, out of his unquestionable love for his family, by readily choosing to hunt down the stranger that intruded their home and give him away to the masked Purgers, before the Purgers does the hunting themselves, killing his family along the way. He’s determined to fight to the death, until he changes his mind after five minutes and chooses to save the stranger, with the Mrs. Sandin and Charlie’s help that did not have a hard time convincing him to do the moral thing.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Sandin finally catch the stranger, manage to knock him unconscious, and are now tying up the stranger up in order not to get free. Regaining his consciousness, the stranger wiggles to get free, which makes the tying difficult. To knock him dead again, Mr. Sandin instructs his wife to press on the strangers side wounds with a letter opener (which she has to fetch at the faraway side table), thinking that this works better than knocking him on the head with something, say the vase they used about three minutes ago to knock him dead.
Photo credits: Universal Pictures
Photo credits: Universal Pictures
  • When they realize that their lives might be in danger now that the masked Purgers have broken into their house, the only safe place for Charlie to hide is the basement. But why doesn’t Charlie or Mr. Sandin lock the basement door when Charlie went there to hide? And is he trying to get caught by playing with that flashlight?
  • Even when you let a bleeding stranger in, angered a group of murderers, or leave your hiding place accessible, The Purge shows that in times of grave danger, someone will always be nearby in time to save your neck:
    • Just before the bloody stranger kills Zoey, Mrs. Sandin hits him with a vase. Zoey is saved.
    • Just before a masked lady kills Charlie at the basement, Mr. Sandin arrives and shoots the attacker. Charlie is saved.
    • Just before Mrs. Sandin is slashed by a masked woman, a masked man pinning her to the ground, two of their neighbors arrive just in time to save her. Mrs. Sandin is saved.
    • Just before the leader of the masked Purgers shoots two of the Sandins as they gather around the dying Mr. Sandin, Zoey happens to be just around to shoot the leader dead. The rest of the Sandins are saved.
    • Just before the Sandins are killed by the crazy neighbors, the bloody stranger grabs one of them shoots another, interrupting the killing. Once again, the Sandins are saved.
  • As overly cocky and fearsome as they come across, the masked group of Purgers seems to have lacked proper purging training. They seem to have exerted more effort putting together their rhetoric and picking the best outfit than actually working on how to efficiently kill. They only have a helpless family of four to kill (which includes two women, and a nearly-adolescent boy), yet more than half of them ended up killed before dawn.
  • Mrs. Sandin finds Mr. Sandin bleeding at the staircase. What better idea to save him than to shout on top of her lungs for her kids to come over, calling out attention from the leader of the masked Purgers who happens to be hunting them? Charlie, by the way, happens to be around and immediately join the scene for the Purger’s convenient killing.
  • When Mrs. Sandin says there’s no more killing, she means it. And although they outnumber the Sandins, and for a motivated group of The Purge participants, the neighbors meekly obliged and waited for The Purge to finish at 7:00 AM and everything ended OK.
  • Why is this bloody stranger being pursued by that masked group of Purgers? What did he do that was so wrong to anger them? Are the masked Purgers a group of vigilantes? What do they fight for? Why does Charlie feel so strongly about letting a stranger in? What is the family’s moral take on this whole idea of The Purge? There was so little disclosed about the Sandin’s “imperfection” that has compelled the neighbors to purge them – why are they so angry at them?
  • And most importantly, (and I probably should have asked this first) why does the youngest member of the family know the password to the house’s high-end security system?

There are just too many questions that are unanswered and so many possibilities that are not explored. The story, although promising, is served half-cooked, and there is no strong basis to excite the viewers. The characters are flat; they lack real motivation that we can identify with. It almost felt like a foreign idea was shoved down my throat and I was expected to digest it without water or taste. There’s just emptiness, and if there was any deeper meaning to the story, it is just lazily told, hence, anyone would find it hard to make sense of. The viewers’ imagination cannot always supply it all. At the end of the 85 minutes’ worth of the gunshots, blood showers, mad laughing and screaming, I was tired, confused, and disappointed.

If this concept was given enough time to be developed and mastered, if the story-telling was carefully planned, the film would have been a masterpiece. Until another filmmaker revives the concept a few years down the line, this film will just be another messy slasher film.

 

Film Review: Evil Dead 2013

Salutations, my bros & sisters in goriness & the macabre. If you thirst for some good ol’ teeth-clenching, muscle-tensing bloody goodness of the art of human disembodiment in films, try reliving ‪Sam Raimi‬’s vintage ‪Evil Dead through the 2013 remake by ‪‎Fede Alvarez‬. If you haven’t seen the 1981 original, before you’d feel like having heart attack before the movie ends – worry not, my friend – just like many other thriller that promisingly establish the horror at the beginning, the ending might strike as a little bit funny and almost clownish (to my taste at least), which must have not been as bad in the ’80s & considering how badly predictable these movies have been over the course of 3 decades. But it sure is not short of blood (you’d see that I meant that literally if you managed to stay conscious to see the final sequence). Enjoy!

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When did it all start? Let me recount the times.

Maybe it’s when you said “hi”
And I felt extremely shy
Perhaps it’s when you first smiled
And I swear, I could’ve died
Was it when I first heard you laugh?
Or burp like a cow (I loudly gasped)
Or that one night that I’ll live up
You slept gently on my lap
Could it be our first date?
I never knew then, could it be fate?
Perhaps it’s when together we first ate
And talked how a farm and a house could be built by faith
Maybe it’s when you let me
Squeeze your hands real tightly
I thought dreaming was for the silly
Until you came, saying, “Kiss me”
It’s when your voice started
Becoming music to my ears
It might be when you whispered:
“No more sadness, no more tears”
Perhaps it’s when I realized
Life’s shone brighter before my eyes
It was more than I fantasized
From then on, nothing’s disguised
Maybe it was the first fight
When at a corner I shuddered in fright
Nearly losing you was very much like
My body being robbed of life
You told me once beside you as I lied
That no loss was ever absolutely bad
That tears dry and fears die
Together joy was all we’d have
Ever since I started finding
Myself smiling, never brooding
To love deeply was what you taught me
Your love has kindly set me free
Now, when did it all start?
I do not even know
Save for one thing, I’m certain
With you, I’ll never be alone

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno has just taken me to an incredible journey. If you’re a Dan Brown fan, you can, as usual, expect twists in almost every chapter.  And it’s present on this new masterpiece – when you’d think you’ve guessed the riddles right, no, you didn’t – there’s always going to be something to figure out until the very end. The startling revelations compel you to read a few chapters back to make sure your mind was not deceiving you.

If you’re planning a trip to Florence and Venice, try reading the book and see if it saves you the trouble. It sure can make you feel like you’ve been to these great places Robert and Sienna have been to in search for clues that lead to an impending catastrophe. The references to great places and artists of the world are strikingly vibrant.

But the picturesque, cleverly-structured, fast-paced adventure is just icing on the cake. Dan Brown once again shakes its readers’ moral compass, tackling yet another issue involving everyone on this planet. The possibilities in real life are frightening. The story makes its readers realize that the choices we make will define each other’s future.

This novel has made me regret that I didn’t pay so much attention on my high school English when we tackled Dante’s The Divine Comedy, in terms of its lyrical beauty. However, I’m glad it captured the great poem’s true meaning – that there is hope for mankind if everyone summoned the courage to go down and through the pits of hell in order to climb up to paradise. In this world, we all must make a choice and inaction constitutes consequences catastrophic to humanity.

Since I wouldn’t want to spoil your own journey reading the book (those who haven’t), I’m not giving out any more details save for this quote from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno that best summarizes the Dan Brown’s Inferno: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
Chapter 79 is one of the chapters I really liked.
Chapter 79 is one of the chapters I really liked.
"The truth can be glimpsed only through the eyes of death."
“The truth can be glimpsed only through the eyes of death.”

This book was actually a birthday gift from my girl friend. Best gift so far.
This book was actually a birthday gift from my girl friend. Best gift so far.