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When music inspires, the soul rejoices and the heart is happy.

Yesterday was one of those days that kept me a little morose. Being alone has its rewards, the interminable silence that keeps your mind wander  but there are times when you feel that you need to do something aside from talking to yourself and your three dogs.  My son called up yesterday and told me that he was really happy to stay in Boracay for a week.  “I know” I said, it is a much-needed break. They will be coming home tomorrow and I am excited to see him again.

Out of boredom (yes, I was really bored) I played Christmas carols on YouTube. Seeing the digitally remastered  Christmas album of Johnny Mathis made me smile. It made me remember my Dad when he was alive. He used to have this LP and it was a family favorite  and we would all look forward to listening to the album in our portable player every time Christmas season comes. It brought back lovely memories  of the past, nostalgic and magical.  I visited Hallmark channel too and checked all the uploaded full movies that you can just click and play. I found A Song From The Heart  which was worth the almost two hours  I was glued to the monitor. It starred Amy Grant, Keith Carradine and D. W. Moffett. Amy Grant is cast as Maryann Lowery, a blind music teacher. New Age pianist Gregory Pavan (D.W. Moffett) became romantically involved with the talented  Maryann and coaxed her to have an eye operation because he knew she had what it takes to be world-renowned concert cellist. Oliver Comstock  (Keith Carradine), is cast as a close neighbor who has always worshipped Maryann  from afar. I had a great time watching and listening to the music. And as if that wasn’t enough, I watched another movie (for the nth time,  I guess).  I read the book  The Promise when I was in college and watched the movie adaptation with my youngest brother during the mid-eighties. That  was back when Danielle Steel was such a very popular romantic novelist and some of her books were made into movies. I was curious if the movie which I loved thirty years back would still hold the same  fascination for me. It did. I  think the latter was the movie where I memorized the name of the characters, aside from another favorite movie Dying Young.  I accidentally found  the book version many years after watching the movie several times too. The movie adaptation was I think better than the book and I loved the music of Kenny G.

The power of music – it makes you smile, it makes you sing too but sometimes it makes you cry. “Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence” so says Robert Fripp. Do you agree? I do.

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Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear
For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand mask
masks that I’m afraid to take off
and none of them are me.
Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me
but don’t be fooled,
for God’s sake, don’t be  fooled.
I give you the impression that I’m secure
That all is sunny and unruffled with me
within as well as without,
that confidence is my name
and coolness my game,
that the water’s calm
and I’m in command,
and that I need no one.
But don’t believe me. Please!

This is just a part of the poem I copied in my journal when I was just starting college life. It’s entitled  The Mask I Wear, the author is unknown. Seeing the news today and the many tweets on the death of Robin Williams made me recall this poem. How much pain do we hide behind the mask? How alone do we feel after all the laughter and smiles? How often do we see ourselves in others? The gaiety becomes a feeling of anguish after a while.

Robin Williams is one of my favorite  actors.  Although I am not much into watching the big screen and television  reruns, he is one of those who could hold  my attention from beginning to end. I loved him in Mork and Mindy, I loved him in Mrs. Doubtfire, I cried  watching Good Will Hunting.  I am sad that he passed on at such an early age.  His legacy lives on.

You made me cry, you made me laugh. Robin Williams, may your soul rest in peace.

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This morning, I was changing channels searching for some news broadcasts when I chanced upon this movie, Message in a  Bottle on Blink cinema. The first time I saw this film was through a beta tape that one of my former office mates lent me one weekend. You can just imagine how long ago it was.  I think it was even the first book that I read of Nicholas Sparks.  Three years ago, out of boredom from recuperating after my chemotherapy, I watched it again via a DVD which my daughter bought along with other love stories  and wrote something about it here.

Nicholas Sparks is one of those writers who really makes me cry. I bought this book late 90′s I guess, read and reread it more than I care to admit. The first time it was shown, I was looking for all the beautiful quotes in the book.  Kevin Costner is Garret Blake, a  boat builder and a widower. Robin Wright Penn plays the role of Theresa Osborne, she was intrigued by the writer of the letter she found in a bottle while she was on  vacation and spent her time looking for him.  Paul Newman shines as Dodge Blake, Garret’s father.  I guess it is his character that I love the most in the movie.  It’s a love story alright and a tear-jerker at that but just like in the previous times that I’ve watched the movie, the ending was a bit of a disappointment.  Beautiful stories do not end in tragedy, right? I remember a quote from the book and it best sums up the whole story, “If some lives form a perfect circle, other take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been part of my journey. But it has also shown me what is precious. So has love for which I can only be grateful”.

At some point in your life, you could identify with this, a love lost, but it gives you lessons that you would carry through all your life. Some of us are of the belief that love is forever but it is not to be because  like people, love is not perfect. And as if watching a tear-jerker  movie is not enough, I reacquainted myself reading Love Story. A short read in two hours. Back in high school, my classmates and I used to sing this line while remembering Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw as Jennifer and Oliver in the movie adaptation. Come to think of it, I even wrote it in my journal:

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”   How wrong Erich Segal was, because definitely, love is not about never seeing the need to say that you’re sorry. Love is about humility too, always willing enough to say you’re sorry because you’ve hurt someone and  one should learn how to forgive and ask forgiveness.  It’s funny how the years have changed one’s perspective towards something you thought was so beautiful and inspiring in your youth.

 

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Finally been able to watch The Hunger Games on DVD, a much-awaited event because I was not able to catch it on wide-screen. If you have read the book, the first of a series of Suzanne Collin’s trilogy, you would appreciate the movie version a lot more but if you are the type who take note of  nuances, feelings and emotions as best described in the book  you would feel a bit disappointed because as always, the book is better than the movie. Right?

Katniss Everdeen played by Jennifer Lawrence delivers a heartwarming performance and she shows a demonstration of strength and vulnerability that gives credit to the character she is portraying. She’s that good that even if she is the only performer you see on-screen, she carries her role as the brave and  nature -lover Katniss who is adept at handling  a bow and arrow.  She is the loving sister who volunteers to enter the game to protect her younger sister  Primrose.

What is more striking though in the movie is how the moneyed people (the Capitol) manipulates and controls how the people of the different districts live by  depriving them of food  and resources  and annually sponsoring these tributes for their own entertainment. The elitist government commands the participants to kill each other until only one is left as the victor. When one is faced with danger and the only way to survive  is to defend yourself against oppression from the elitist government, your  bravery and  the  power is  within you and no government can end your life without you fighting , bringing  the game to a different end.   When you are made to believe that you can do nothing for your own survival, that’s where your power within comes to the fore. I wonder if  Catching Fire, the second book in the series would also be made into a film. I am looking forward to it since I would like to see on film how Peeta, Katniss’ partner in the first series and Gale, Katniss’ best friend would vie for her love and how Katniss’ bravery inspired the other districts to rebel.

I tried experimenting on another Thai dish by using  the basil and garlic chili stir fry paste which I bought last month on a half-kilo pork  tenderloin. Wow, another surprise for Mom since she asked the name of the recipe and I said  it’s a Thai dish. I wish I’ve taken pictures of it.

I’ll be celebrating my third year of blogging at WordPress tomorrow. Time flies again, so soon! I can’t believe that I reached this far because this blog only started as my journey as a cancer patient/survivor.  Horaay to blogging. Thank you WordPress and thank you too dear readers for reading my blogs.

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There was a time back in the eighties when I was enamoured with spy thrillers, espionage and historical books. One such author that greatly influenced me to read such violent and fast paced actions was Robert Ludlum. I first encountered the author when a cousin lent me his book The Chancellor Manuscript and it became an ongoing love affair with most of his books that I could get my hands on since then. It was the first time that I learned about the KGB and the CIA.  I found the book  The Bourne Identity later together with his other books  like The Scarlatti Inheritance, Trevayne, The Osterman Weekend, The Matlock Paper, The Rhinemann Exchange, The Gemini Contenders, Matarese Circle, The Aquitaine  Progression, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Holcroft Covenant to name a few, on my many trips to National Bookstore and Booksale. I collected about twenty of his published books. I watched the first adaptation of the television movie The Bourne Identity on two Betamax tapes which I rented from our office.  It starred Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. That was followed by a movie adaptation of The Holcroft Covenant which hubby and I watched twice upon my insistence. That’s how good the movie was back then.

Perhaps you will agree with me that the book version is always the best of the two since when a book is adapted into a movie, most of the salient and important scenes in the books are missing. I also got the chance to see The Bourne Identity version of Matt Demon, a far cry from that of Richard Chamberlain’s. Robert Ludlum was an exceptional writer. You would never get bored with any of his books because  Ludlum’s novels are carefully and thoroughly researched, abounding with physical, technical, and biological facts and details as is showed on the extensive and thorough research work on amnesia in the famous Bourne Identity. After his death back in March 12, 2001, it was alleged that he left behind several unpublished manuscripts which later were published one at a time by ghost writers.

I haven’t read the book The Bourne Legacy yet which was authored by Eric Van Lustbader and still under the Ludlum series  but it is now being made into film.

The movie  is directed  by Tony Gilroy with Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton in the acting lead. And no less than Metro Manila was one of the places chosen for the location shoot. It would  surely put Metro Manila  and Palawan on the world map although this is not the first time that a foreign film was shot here in the Philippines. This is something I am looking forward to when it would be released before the end of the year.  MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino keep everyone updated  through constant interviews on the Am radio. MMDA said they have formed a traffic task force for Bourne Legacy since shooting will start tomorrow. They said that 40% of the entire film will be shot here. Never mind about the horrendous traffic it would create when they closes down EDSA at the start of the shooting, since that spells a lot of money  and a temporary job for those they will be hiring extra for the movie.

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Julia Child.  Meryl Streep.  Blogging.  Beef Bourguignon.  Haute  Cuisine. 365 Days, 524 Recipes Challenge.   Passion.  Ambition.  Butter.

Who would not be fascinated by all these?  It is a scrumptious feast alright.  For the past three days,  I’ve had back pains and the kids told me to just take things easy and rest.  And taking a rest means – no gardening,  no photo shots,  no cooking, no romping with our two dogs – but surely I could take a peek at the computer and view  my blogs  and write a word or two.  Nissa brought home a  DVD copy of the movie Julie & Julia. Who wouldn’t have heard of Julia Child, a culinary legend?   So at an ungodly hour of 7:30 am,  I was in the middle of watching the movie and hubby was wondering why I was laughing out loud.  I am a fan of Meryl Streep and she is at her brilliant, beguiling best here.  Stanley  Tucci  portrays the character of Paul, the loving, supportive diplomat husband of Julia.  I remember him as Nigel in the movie, The Devil Wears Prada. This is the first time I heard of Amy Adams though and Chris Messina.   They played the role of Julie and Eric.

You’ll probably be disappointed because I am not about to write a review on the movie , rather, I want to share  my thoughts while watching it.  Somehow, I could relate to that ambitious streak of the two lead characters, that of being published.  Haven’t we, at some time in our lives dreamed of  being  writers too, publishing something  dear to our heart?   They say that you are not a writer until someone publishes you.   I believe it takes guts and talent to become a published author.   One could still dream, right?

Julie Powell is the author of the book,  Julie & Julia, 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny  Apartment from which the movie was based.  A frustrated office worker at the Lower Manhattan Dev. Corp. In New York, she began her Julie/Julia Project in August 2002.  It’s a blog on her attempt to cook all the recipes in Julia Child’s book,  Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Her blog quickly gained following .  She has written so many  blog posts since 2005 in her website on Blogger.   Her blog, What Could  Happen (http://juliepowell.blogspot.com), is a humorous account to find meaning in her life.

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder, is there anyone there reading me?” Same sentiments  I’ve got.  But then, once they make comments on your blog, your wondering  stops and it makes you really happy that you are reaching out.  Blogging gives you something you have to do one day at a time.  It’s not as if, you just have to sit in front of your computer and just type whatever comes into  mind.  Even if you are not a popular blogger, you still have responsibility not to offend the sensibilities of your readers.  There are times when, you just stare at the blank screen  not just wondering what to write about but how to go about it.  I remember a scene in the movie wherein Julie has to cook lobster.   She  is so afraid  that they would jump out of the pan, she covers her head but not the pan.  It’s really funny, then she writes, “lobster killer, lobster killer, lobster killer”.

Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child. Anyone who is a food enthusiast would probably dream of owning these two volumes on French cooking.   I saw a copy at Bestsellers at a staggering cost of more than P4,000.00.   I could buy more books at that amount.  For want of better things to do, Julia  thought of making hats, enrolling in a cooking school and writing about her foray into the world of culinary arts.  The owner of the school cannot even stand her and even told her that she could not really cook.  But when one is determined to learn, nothing is really impossible.   Some scenes in the move are truly laughable.  In one scene, Julia was  chopping a mountain of onions and she  asked Paul, her husband, “Are you hungry?” and he answered “No”. He was probably turned off by the smell of all those onions.  And she said that shopping  for food is as much fun as buying a dress.   Paul, being so supportive of her, encouraged her to write and finally she was able to publish a French cookbook for Americans together with her friends, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle.   At first they were rejected by their first publisher, Houghton Mifflin because they found the book intimidating.   Butter is the one main secret in her cooking .  Paul  was  portrayed as a  sweet guy, telling her,  “Julia, you are the butter to my bread and a breath to my life”.

The  movie,  Julie & Julia is  actually based on these two stories of Julia  Child and Julie  Powell.    The plot may not be that arresting but it’s a  feel-good  movie just the same, full of delights and  adventures  and an affirmation that,  you can succeed if your heart and mind are in it.

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They were dressed to the nines.  And they surely looked glam.  This is one of those times when I give TV viewing more of an exception than the rule – the latter being no TV watching at all hours of the day.  But who could resist programs like this?  I just saw Christopher Plummer being interviewed during the pre show.  He has grown old definitely, compared to the times I’ve watched him repeatedly  in  The Sound of Music. And J. Lo, what a pretty, pretty gown.  She is not just attractive but she is really beautiful to a T.  I remember her in Maid in Manhattan, Shall  We Dance and  The Wedding Planner, movies I’ve watched on DVD, playing couch potato to the hilt a few years ago. And Demi Moore’s gown is simply stunning for want of a  better word.

Meryl Streep still looks gorgeous despite her age.  A record-breaker, 16 times Oscar nominations.  Tina Fey and Steve Carell look good together. Kate Winslet looks slimmer now than when she did the movie Titanic. Taylor Lautner is  muy  guwapo. I haven’t had the chance to watch him on the Twilight series.

And the main event is truly “sosyal”. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin played  hosts, they had me laughing at their pretty scripts.  And here are the results of the 82nd Oscars.  I cannot predict which movie would eventually win because I haven’t even watched any of them.

-Best Supporting Actor – Christoph Waltz

-Best Animated Feature Film – Pete Docter in the movie UP

-Best Original Song – The Weary Kind , theme song from the movie Crazy Heart. It was composed by Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett

-Best Original Screenplay – Mark Boal from the movie  The Hurt Locker

-Best Animated Short Film – Logorama by Nicholas  Schmerkin. It’s his first academy win.

-Best Documentary  Short – Music by Prudence

-Best Live Action Short – The New Tenant

-Best Make-up – Star Trek

-Adapted Screenplay – Geoffrey Fletcher from the movie Precious, this was based from the novel Push by Sapphire

-Best Supporting Actress – Mo’ Nique from the movie Precious

-Outstanding Art Direction – Avatar

-Best Costume  Design  -Sandy Powell from the movie the Young Victoria.  This was her 8th nomination

-Best Sound Editing – Paul N.J. Ottoson  from the movie The Hurt Locker

-Best Sound Mixing – Paul N.J. Ottoson and Ray Beckett

-Cinematography – it was won by Mauro Fiore from  the movie Avatar

James Taylor, looking bald but still so good on the guitar sang In My Life by the Beatles as a tribute to those artists who recently died.  He was one of my favorite singers when I was in high school, back in the seventies.

-Original Score – I love the musical score of UP and I am glad Michael Giacchino won.

-Outstanding  Visual Effects – Avatar

-Best Documentary Feature – The Cove

-Best Film Editing – The Hurt Locker. Husband and wife team Bob Murawski and Chris Innis took home the trophy for this.

-Foreign Language Film – Argentina’s El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret In Their Eyes)

And the highlight of course are the awarding for Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress .  Jeff Bridges who was nominated for the fifth time, took home the plum as Actor in a Leading Role in the movie Crazy Heart. He said, ‘thank you mom and dad, for turning me on to this groovy profession”, both his parents are actors too.  Sandra Bullock, who wouldn’t love her ? This is her first time to be nominated in the Oscars and she won as  Actress in a Leading Role.  Best Director went to Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, her first award and second nomination.  Funny though that she was in the same list of nominees with her former husband James Cameron (Avatar).  And the best film which won six out of nine nominations went to The Hurt Locker, a movie on the Iraq war.

I enjoyed watching the awarding ceremony and it is such a joy to see some of your favorite actors  on-screen.

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Alone


I’ve been sick! The past two days and three nights were agony for me.  Got severe sore throat and headaches,  then last night I had fever. I really didn’t expect this. Maybe I was lolled into thinking that I am okay now after almost two weeks of rest from my chemotherapy drugs.  This is what I am afraid of sometimes, complications could not be avoided. My poor , weak body is protesting too much, I guess, what with all the frenzy during Christmas and New Year.  Thank God, I am well enough to write again.

I did a movie marathon, watching DVDs this morning.  Started with Forever Young, which stars Mel Gibson as Capt. Daniel McCormick, Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood.  A bit mushy at times but it is definitely wholesome. It actually deals with the delicate subject of time-travel.  Gibson’s acting is a bit of a disappointment though. And did I really spend 102 minutes watching this film? Call it a desperate attempt to combat boredom.

Message in a Bottle came next.  Nicholas Sparks is one of those writers who really makes me cry. I bought this book late 90’s I guess, read and reread it more than I care to admit. The first time it was shown, I was looking for all the beautiful quotes in the book.  Kevin Costner is Garret Blake, a  boat builder and a widower. Robin Wright Penn plays the role of Theresa Osborne, she was intrigued by the writer of the letter she found in a bottle while she was having a vacation and spent her time looking for him.  Paul Newman shines as Dodge Blake, Garret’s father.  I guess it is his character that I love the most in the movie.  It’s a love story alright and a tear jerker at that but just like in the previous times that Ive watched the movie, the ending was a bit of a disappointment.  Beautiful stories does not end in tragedy, right? I remember a quote from the book and it best sums up the whole story, “If some lives form a perfect circle, other take shape in ways we cannot predict or always understand. Loss has been part of my journey. But it has also shown me what is precious. So has love for which Ican only be grateful”.

While You Were Sleeping. Starring Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman as Lucy and Jack.  A quite hilarious and heartwarming romantic comedy and I just loved it.

Whew! Maybe I won’t watch any DVD in a while, I have a big dose of it all in one morning.

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