October 18, 2011

"The Things I Want" by Ralph Corleone

I decided to post the poem I had to write for poetry class last semester. Yes, it's original so I'm a little proud of it.

I had a really hard time writing it (since I'm a blogger and not a poet). But hey, the professor approved of these lines any thank goodness she did because that raised my morale about writing poetry (for a while).

Anyway, here's "The Things I Want"

-----

The things I want,
A beer with cola
A whiskey with ice
The day to leave with its sunshine
The night to drink with as company
The radio on a loop
“Strangers in the Night”
The dining table’s glass
The chair’s support

The things I lost
The window’s condensation
The sweat off my skull
Dripping
Down to my suit jacket
The lights glaring at me
The air conditioner slacking off

I see deep within the half-empty glass
The face I don’t want to remember
The face I’ve buried
With shadows and everyday people
Her smile flashes before my weary eyes,
Drawing me in like flame
A flame to my moth
But before the tip of the fire
Comes even close, her face is gone
The girl I like, the girl I once desired
The things I want
Wouldn’t even come close to her

Why do I want her?
Perhaps it’s her smile
Shallow, but sincere
Beyond common tabloid smiles
Or Stepford grins
Lust doesn’t seem present
Just whiskey and the heat

I have everything I want
Except her,
The girl whose beauty is beyond looks alone
With a smile as lovely as a flower
In full bloom,
She was my virgin, my empress
But she was distant
As far as the starless sky,
She was non-existent
From my sight and from my touch
As if she were on the peak
Of the world’s tallest mountain
But her smile still haunts me
As if it were a ghost hidden in the night
Slowly making itself visible

To her, I was a mere shadow
Hidden within the crowds of everyday
She brought sunlight to everyone
But I was on the other side of the world

Until I could exist
To her, somehow, someway
Her smile will haunt me
A reminder of the things I want
And how they can never replace her

-----

Well, that was average, right? I'll do an explanation of it on a later post. Until then, thanks for reading my first original poem.

October 17, 2011

Karina

Back in my first year of college, I didn’t think I’d make as many friends as I have right now. I mean, back then, when I walk in the hallways of the AB building, I felt a little out of place because I didn’t know anyone in campus but after a semester, I finally had a decent amount of friends around. Little did I know, there were others that had it worse.

In order to make sense of how I even began to talk to Karina after a semester of not doing so (she was once the most quiet one in class), we have to go back a month.

In this delusion that I could pick up girls in college, I bought a book to help me. The title? The Playbook by Barney Stinson. Yes, I bought a book “written” by the womanizer from the show How I Met Your Mother. Consider me desperate. Although there was this one trick in that book that nearly worked called “The Fall in Love” and I did that play on this girl last summer 2011. Oh wait, we’re getting a little sidetracked.

Anyway, back to Karina. Using The Playbook, I was pursuing this girl (“Sprite” as she’s known from my “How I Never Met Your Mother” series from my Tumblr blog) and one time, during practice for the Philippine Literature class project, I found out “Sprite” was near the guy’s bathroom. I needed a wingman to help me talk to her but I knew that most of my guy classmates were either incompetent, ignorant, or just busy at the time so I “recruited” Karina. I said “Karina, you’re not doing anything, right? Join me! We’ll talk to this chick that I like.” And that’s how it all started. I could remember what she said about it (the gist of it at least).

Ralph: I have a crush on this girl but she doesn’t know I exist.
Karina: Oh, it’s like an anime! An anime of unrequited love with cherry blossoms around the hallway!

Call it weird but it was the start of a weird friendship that mostly involved jokes about her being lesbian because of her hair.

Karina: It’s not lesbian hair! It’s Tegan (from Tegan and Sara) hair!
Ralph: Let’s use syllogism, shall we? You have Tegan hair; Tegan is a lesbian; Ergo, by the power of syllogism, you have lesbian hair!

It was actually quite hilarious but then she’d punch me. And when she punches me, I’d insult one of her favorite bands - Paramore.

Ralph: Hey, I bought a greatest hits CD of Paramore and all I got was a blank CD.
Karina: This is for Hayley!

Then she proceeded to punch me. Her punches were actually harder than mine, which means she’s freakishly strong or I just hit like a little girl.

Every time someone would ask “Are you two together?” Karina and I would basically tell them no. I’d say “No, no, no. She’s not even pretty” then Karina would threaten to hit me, causing me to hesitatingly say “She’s not my type. Yeah, that’s right!” It’s funnier in person. And it doesn’t sound mean at all.

What I really got from her was some recommendations on which bands to listen to. Thanks to her influence, I started to love musicians like the duo of Tegan and Sara. That’s what I owe her the most. Thanks to her recommendations, I got tired of listening to hard rock and actually appreciated indy music. Not really a big fan of all of them but I garnered respect for the genre (if that’s an actual genre. I’m not sure).

I know I can say more things about her but I can’t just type that in words. It’ll be a whole series for that to be completed. So let’s just end with this.

Karina’s one of the sanest people I’ve met in class (yes, somehow saner than the rest) and really a breath of fresh air to talk to. She’s a great person to hang out with and one of the people that surprised me the most once I got to know her. Who’d have thought that the quietest girl in class (at the time) had so much depth and talent in writing? I believe that she’ll be a successful author in the future but she believes that her poetry books would go for 165 Pesos (I told her that her books could go up to 170. Haha! I kid, I kid).

So, by the off-chance that Karina’s reading this, I’d like to say: Karina, you’re a great friend. You’ll be successful so don’t worry about what the people who say negative things about you because you’re talented and they’re not. You’re good at writing – something people consider easy but when it’s their turn to write, they couldn’t come up with anything worth reading. Talented and with a good personality? Ha, you’re everything a person could ask for in a friend.

BETRAYAL.

Karla

For the next few posts for this blog, I, the guy who never shuts up, will use that never-shutting-up skill (or curse, whichever) to say good things about the friends that I’ve always enjoyed talking to. And then there’s these people. HAHA! Kidding! Yeah, these are my friends that I’ll blog about.

I could remember in the first day of History 102, otherwise known as Asian Civilization, there was this little (no, really, she was little) student who entered and sat near the door. For the first 2 weeks, this little girl was silent and talking to no one. I thought “Poor girl, 2Lit doesn’t like her. Maybe I’ll go and talk to her” but before I got to even getting up from my chair to try and talk to this literally little girl who I thought was just in her 2nd year. More on that later (Wait, this isn’t my Tumblr so I don’t have to say that).

So when I finally spoke to her, it was all casual. Nothing out of the extraordinary or anything silly. And I could remember a friend telling me “Ralph, don’t flirt”. I wasn’t! Ha! Jeez, it’s like everyone thinks that I flirt with every girl I talk to. Anyway, I digress.

Occasionally, I’d try to make her known to my classmates in 2Lit through the question “Haaave you met Karla?” And then she’d hit my arm and say “Don’t do that!” Hey, I always tried to make my friends connected with my other friends. It’s fun that way.

When she first told me she was 22, I thought “Whoa, you have got to be kidding me. With that size? You’re, like, 4-foot-2!” She wasn’t really that short but I exaggerate (because I can and I still do). She even showed me her driver’s license to prove it (but she covered her picture though. I wonder why). And I remember giving her a tackle hug (or a “glomp” as it’s called nowadays) and it was like hugging a stuffed animal with cute hair. It’s not insulting because I tell her that and she doesn’t seem annoyed by it.

After the finals of the first semester, I said goodbye to her and wished her good luck (through a text message because she left before me). Perhaps I might never see her again since she’s graduating on March of 2012 but hey, she’s awesome and that’s what matters. It’s always fun to make a few friends along the way.

So Karla, if ever you're reading this, Godspeed to you!

October 13, 2011

Philippine TV

Usually, the TV shows from the US are the ones we wait for, the ones we fawn over, and the ones we remember fondly. At least most of us with access to the internet (like the ones currently reading this right now. Hi, you!) would be aware of those shows. Heck, if the local syndicated channels here in the Philippines don’t show them, those episodes would be available through download – torrent or otherwise. That’s how dedicated the viewers are for a show that airs weekly.

Compare that to what we have in the Philippines. We have nightly dramas or teleseryes and the occasional Korean drama dubbed in Filipino. See a common trait there?

When was the last time you heard someone say “Hey, let’s download that episode of Mara Clara” or “That new episode of 100 Days To Heaven is up on a torrent website”? Of course not as much as you’d hear “Hey, let’s download the new episode of How I Met Your Mother” and if someone does say they should download Filipino shows, the people surrounding that person would laugh.

Now why don’t we Filipinos like our local TV shows? There’s no “colonial mentality” or any term that we throw around as if it’s wrong to say anything negative about Philippine media. Hasn’t anyone considered that the shows just, without a better work, suck? Or at least, from years of experience of the constant inferiority of the shows, the viewers have developed some sort of pessimism regarding these TV shows and anything advertised “exciting” is basically a lie.

One reason could be that these shows (Yes, the soap operas) are broadcast from Monday to Friday with no replay whatsoever. These are always the most advertised shows for some reason (Is the demographic “lovelorn people between ages 18-45”?). The daily showing of these TV shows diminishes why people should be excited about them. That’s why people expect the episodes from the American shows more because of its weekly format. If one US show leaves a cliffhanger, people have to wait until next week for the conclusion, but in the Philippines, people just have to wait 24 hours. Now that doesn’t sound like a bad thing for diehard fans but leave a cliffhanger every episode and people are going to get tired of it. And since these programs are shown everyday, they lose the effect of genuine suspense because the viewers don’t have to wait for anything. If they miss one show, they’d just wait 24 hours and there would it be again. And since each show lasts 3 to 6 months at least, the viewers wouldn’t care at all if they miss an episode and eventually, they’d stop caring altogether.

Another thing to consider is the writing. Not all of them are bad but somehow they are nothing out of the ordinary. And when they do try to go out of the ordinary, it’s usually based on an idea of a something popular in the west (Imortal = Twilight, which is too obvious an example). Simplicity is fine but if you have seven shows having the same simplicity in their scripts, the point of being simple is lost. Simple is good but only if every other show is filled with distinguishing traits like how one show is about a group of loud people in a bar while another show is about a guy going back to community college. But no, in the Philippines, you see a love story between two lower-middle class people again and again for months and then it simply ends with the lovers going together (Usually. Sometimes writers add a twist to that but still unforgettable). Then you forget the title of the program because another show is taking its place with the same basic premise. It’s a never ending cycle of redundancy.

Again, the constant soap operas get tiring for most people. It’s like a buffet: if it serves one kind of dish all the time, would you go for another round? The shows should have variety. Drama and comedy should have a constant run in the timeslots. Too much drama and the people would just stop expecting anything different, no matter what kind of plot twists and celebrity guests these shows would have. And the comedy shows are either viewable past 11pm (where people are usually asleep) or at 9am (where people are usually at work/school/both if you’re a teacher). If a comedy show airs but no one is around to watch it, does it cause laughter?

Usually, a show with something different gets watched the most (enough to be trending on Twitter for a day or two) – such as Agua Bendita (in its first run before it started to suck when they got rid of the kid. Poor kid), May Bukas Pa (the one with Jesus Christ), 100 Days to Heaven (old rich bitch has 100 days to do good things while in a kid’s body or else she goes to Hell), and Budoy (Guy with mental problem. I actually like that show because I sympathize with the character). Why? Because they’re different! It’s not the angst-filled guy whining and pining for a cute girl! We’ve seen that! We’ve been desensitized from that for many years now! It’s something new, something fresh! Something to actually get excited about! (And now I’m textually shouting! Come on!)

Now so far, there is no cure for this pessimism. Most of us Filipinos would look down on these shows or at least not watch them as religiously as we would with shows like Community or Vampire Diaries because we’ve been desensitized from what the networks offer despite how hard working the production crew are on the show. A bad show here and a bad show there. Unless the writers could convince us otherwise, that’s how we see it and that’s how it’ll remain.

Writing and Blogging

As a literature major, I can definitely say that I love writing. Not exactly reading because that would involve thinking which I don’t do often.

I could remember my friend from deviantART telling me this “It’s easy to write, but it’s hard to write well.” She had a point. It really irks me whenever some idiot says “Oh, writing a novel and a poem are easy”. Bullshit! Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

I’ve had friends, online and whatnot, try to deliberately lie to others by saying they’re poets when in actuality, all they write are sentences with enjambments and they pass it off as “free verse poetry”. Well, no, that’s not how it works. It’s much harder than it sounds, goddamn it!

…Wooo, stressing myself out there. Easy, Ralph. You’re sweating on the keyboard.

A writer is creative in more ways than one. A writer would be someone who writes news articles, poems, scripts, lyrics, and all that. It requires thinking, originality, and a little more creativity.

A blogger, as defined by the WordWeb 6 dictionary software, is “a person who keeps and updates a blog”. Alright, so what? That would mean anyone with a Tumblr blog who would keep “reblogging” funny pictures of kittens and Korean boy bands is a blogger.

That’s why I get tired of Tumblr at times but occasionally I do reblog but mostly for Deadpool – the most awesome talkative mercenary of Marvel comics, which is a really shallow superlative if you think about it. Sorry, I digress. I tried to see what was the hype about in Tumblr but every time I open it, all I see are reblogged pictures that don’t make sense. I tried to post things that would try to spark some hilarity but apparently, my super-long posts get buried by the animated pictures and stuff. So I go along out of boredom (You can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?).

It’s one thing to write whatever’s in your mind. It’s another to write it in a way that would not only differentiate it from others’ work but also show what you really want to say in creative detail. For example, I have a blog that I call the “Backstab Blog” (I’m the only one who calls it that. It’s that special) where I would vent out my frustrations then there’s my Tumblr blog that I use, aside from “reblogging” stuff, to post my college stories in the ongoing blog series known as “How I Never Met Your Mother”. The title alone will give you which show I ripped off. Exactly. I ripped off Friends.

It’s not really that bad to be a writer. Sigmund Freud says, if I could get the gist of it, that a writer is like a child at play where he/she would exert emotion and seriousness to what he/she was doing. That’s actually true. When a person writes, he doesn’t simply spew out characters and storylines like they were used bubblegum. He goes deep into the characterization of these fictional people as if they were real and as if he were God developing humans for the first time. The storylines are like the most crucial parts of a person’s life, as if they were the characters’ destiny.

If simply anyone sees a novel – not read. Just simply see it – that person will tell you it’s just another story. However, a writer would tell you that the novel would be another world molded by another creator for everyone to explore its inhabitants from the outside, like tourists to a creative mind. And what writers do is create worlds and characters for readers to see and to explore.

So basically, writing is a creative process not to let us escape from our bitter reality, but rather create our own reality. Why? For some sick, twisted reason, it’s fun. It may not be the fun that everyone expected but still, we make our own fun. And look at that! “We make our own fun”, emphasis on the “make”. We made our characters, we made their setting, and we made all the convoluted storylines that we want to happen as if we’re playing with these characters like they were action figures. That’s what’s fun about writing – the execution of creativity. The fact that we are actually creative after all, that we can actually show a bit of creativity where creativity isn’t as lauded as it once was and looked down upon.

Whoa, got a little verbose there. Maybe next time, I'll post in fewer words (not at all likely).