Friday, August 29, 2008

4am and I'm still thinking of food

I wasn't feeling too well today so I took the day off and just vegged out while drinking tea and watching the first season of The Real Ghostbusters. I also decided to go back to an old hobby of mine, cooking.

I've recently rediscovered the joys of the kitchen. I know I don't look it, but I used to spend my free time concocting soups, salads and pasta dishes. I do believe I started a craze once just by adding tuna chunks to my pasta (this was in the 90's, when such a thing was unheard of, at least in my school) I also spearheaded the "bacon in mashed potatoes" movement. Now, nothing is new anymore, but I'm having fun doing simple things that I couldn't do before.

Like fry eggs.

I know how cooks are supposed to not like eating what they cook but oh, how I've falled in love with my fried eggs. Or Rocco diSpirito's, to be precise (got it watching him on YouTube).

So far, my eggs have always turned up good - crispy edges and runny middles. And today I just learned how to turn them over so that a white film covers the yolk, while leaving the inside still soft. I'm not sure whether what I cook is healthy or heart stopping. On one hand, you have the fried egg - fat and cholesterol city! But does it make it better if it's fried in olive oil and a ton of garlic? I am of the belief that you can never have too much garlic, so I use a clove for every egg ir two. I'm salivating just thinking about it. I like eating my fried egg with bagoong. Don't laugh, it works!

Another thing I learned to finally do - just today, in fact - is pop corn. I found a bag of unpopped kernels, and since I had just used the wok (ie. kawali) for the eggs, decided to try my luck with the corn. The final product wasn't as crunchy as I would like, but I'm just happy that it popped at all. I'll need to practice this more. Now to try variations like caramelized and parmesan-topped. Yum!

I wonder what I'll try next?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Scent-sational Assignment

Here's my article that appeared in the August 22 issue of the Philippine Star. It's on Issey Miyake's new scent, Reflections in a Drop, which I so, so, so love.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion August 2008: A Music Video, An Interview and A Citation

Have been spending my days writing, writing, writing. Alas, no fiction as of yet, unless you count my episodes in Rakista (Thursdays, 7pm on TV5).

Here's whatv else I've been up to:

I had y first music video cameo in The Itchyworms' "Penge Naman Ako N'yan." We were actually just visiting the shoot when they needed a third executive -- and that turned out to be me. Thanks to Quark and the 'Worms, and to Erwin and Luis as well.

Charles interviewed me for his series on the Philipine Graphic/ Fiction Awards. The interview is up here. Considering Charles interviews people like Ellen Datlow and Steve and Melanie Tem on a regular basis, I should be thrilled. And I am!

Also, "Seek Ye Whore," my story in the June 2008 issue of Rogue Magazine (the anniversary issue) was cited by none other than Gilda Cordero Fernando in the August 17, 2008 issue of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine as something that she likes reading on a rainy day. I think I shall faint now.

We're also finalizing the stories in the Halloween Issue of The Digest of Philippine Genre STories. There are so many good stories I don't know which one to put in! I'm really excited to get it out, as it will be my first edited antholgy and I'm extremely proud of the range of horror works submitted.

Meanwhile, I have also been wallowing in cake. Not a bad thing at all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Writing Comedy and the Use of an Outline

I learned three things about myself recently, while writing for Rakista, wich airs every Thursday, 7 pm on Channel 5:

1. I can write comedy;
2. I can write in Tagalog; and
3. I finally understand why people need outlines.

Fiction-wise, I never thought of myself as someone who could write scenarios that people would laugh at (because they were well-written, not because they were ludicrous, though sometimes, that works too). Some of my work has been deemed comedic by Doc Jun, an old boss who said that my jokes were mostly of the black sort, and then seesawing between extremely dry and extremely stupid. and Erwin did say that Yvonne and Vanni thought that "Seek Ye Whore" was pretty funny. And Yvonne and Vanni laughing is a very, very good sign.

Here's a secret: I have always dreamed of writing comedy, in all its forms and genres. Before I found out that the genre that I was most suited to was horror, my dreams were of writing funny. I wanted to write a Ghostbusters. I wanted to write a Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. I wanted to write a Big Lebowski. American Pie. If Looks Could Kill. Army of Darkness. Lost Boys. Mean Girls. Enchanted. Ella Enchanted. Pare Ko. Palibhasa Lalake. You get the point. It didn't have to be great. I didn't want to write The Great Filipino Comedy; I just wanted to write something that would make people piss their pants from laughing.

But when I found myself drafted into Ralkista, essentially a lighthearted teen TV series two months ago, I had cause to worry. After jumping around with excitement, I immediately warned Quark et al that a. I'm not sure I can do comedy, and b. my Tagalog sucks eggs. "You'll be fine," they said. Such is the blind belief between friends.

My first script was pretty hard to do. I had trouble with the outline. I had never really used one before, apart from in English and film class. It had been a while since I was forced to map out my thoughts on paper. I didn't know what to put in, wasn't sure how to structure material. When it was put forth for brainstorming, its reception was less than warm. Too little content. Not enough slapstick. Jokes too 'high' (a comment I've been getting for as long as I can remember - now I regret watching so much Frasier). My colleagues were nice enough to provide me with the needed content before sending me off to write the script.

I enlisted the help of Luis, who enlisted the help of Kidlat, mainly as a Taglish consultant. I took it as a good sign that Kidlat was laughing at the bits I wrote. With Luis' help, the script turned out pretty well. Some comedy, some teen drama, some heart. And Kidlat didn't comment on my Tagalog, which I took to be another good sign. This means my grasp of the language has improved. It's shameful, really, not being proficient in your own language. Stinky fish and all that. So the script was taped and guess what? It turned out quite nice. My second one, I did all on my own. Am hoping ot comes out good.

As for using an outline, I've found that it can be a big help, especially during crunch time, as all your thoughts are laid out already so all you have to do is follow them. I realized that, at least when it came to certain projects, not having an outline wasn't going with the whims of one's creative spontinaety, it's just sheer laziness. So while I'm going to stick to my technique of keeping my short fiction as spontaneous as possible, I'm probably going to keep using an outline for bigger projects.

Tune in to Rakista, Thursdays 7pm on TV5. It's a fun ride.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My First Facebook Post

It's 3 am. Just spent the last few minutes composing my first Note (Facebook's blog-like function) on Facebook. Now I'm hungry. This is why:

So this is what it feels like to use Facebook's note function. I'm writing here out of sheer boredom. It's 2 am and I can't sleep. My mind keeps wandering back to visions of the fried eggs I'm going to cook for myself tomorrow.

I just recently found out that I do pretty good fried eggs (I've cooked a variety of stuff from instant noodles to steak, but I've only fried eggs twice in my life), all slightly crispy round the edges, their golden yellow yolks whole but yielding to the slightest nudge of a fork. My stomach is rumbling just thinking about it. Am going to try a Rocco diSpirito recipe tomorrow, which involves frying eggs in large quantities of olive oil and garlic. I plan to add butter though because it's a poor dish that cannot be improved by a pat of butter (though I tend to use more than that). I plan to eat my sunny-side ups with fried, crispy danggit (you know, those tiny fish), brown rice that I'll overkill in butter and garlic if I'm in the mood, and freshly brewed Benguet coffee sweetened with condensed milk.

Since I usually wake up past noon, this is more a lunch than a breakfast, but I don't care. It's still my first meal of the day.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion Aug 2008: Julius Tarog, Jansport and Zombies

Here's where my writing has come out this frist week of August 2008:

Lounge act, my interview with designer Julius Tarog. Julius was really fun to be with. His dresses made me seriously consider the benefits of liposuction. An exerpt:

When asked to do a resort/lounge collection, the first thing that came to designer Julius Tarog’s mind was: anything but maxi dresses.

“They’re predictable and don’t highlight a woman’s form,” says Tarog, who has dressed some of the country’s most well-known personalities.

As a result, his collection is a mix of wide-leg pants, mid-length dresses and long evening gowns that are fit for an afternoon on a yacht, a jaunt to the Mediterranean or perhaps a Cannes premiere.

Personal graffiti, my coverage of a JanSport event. They said I would get a free bag. Still haven't gotten it yet... An excerpt:

In a world where everything seems cut with the same cookie cutter, making an individual statement takes a lot of effort, not to mention a lot of guts.

It is this thirst for individuality that made JanSport launch the Graphic Remix series, a line of bags with one-of-a-kind designs rendered by some of the country’s top graphic artists such as Electrolychee and Team Manila.

Lest you think that I've forsaken horror for the glitsy world of fashion, there's Waking the Dead, which came out in the Sunday Inquirer. My first zombie story! Yay! An exerpt:

DARIO stared out of his bedroom window, studying the mass that congregated at his doorstep below. The dead of Barrio Masigasig had arrived at his house today, dug themselves out of their graves, many of them ancient and rotting, caked with dirt, their faces caved in, chests sunken, limbs falling or long gone. Others, freshly buried, looked almost alive, their skin unbroken, the pallor on their faces masked by funeral make-up. They were dressed in moldy barongs and musty party dresses, clothes that dragged on the ground or snagged in places, the damage gone unheeded because the dead did not think of these things.

And then there's my new and improved GMA column, now in the GMA news website instead of the GMA Pinoy TV one. Will try to post something weekly, so do read!

Lectured on horror fiction in UP last week for the Writing Club. Had fun, but realized that I have to tweak my lectures a little. It's only a handful of people (ie. me) who are interested in history, which means I've got to put in more stuff on writing. Now I need more ginuea pigs to test my lectures on!