Monday, March 09, 2009

60 Million Good Things About the Eraserheads Concert

1.Jon was not late and/or did not forget about the concert! He and Malen were already having dinner while Ches and I were just navigating thru One E-Com. Hooray! Hahaha.

2.My free parking slot in One E-Com. What a relief not to have to go thru all those lines getting into the makeshift parking lots and more lines out of them after the concert.

3.The manic fiesta atmosphere in MoA on concert night. I was shocked to see the large crowd lined up around the globe area to watch the Filmfest showbiz parade in December, but that was nothing compared to the sheer density of concert-goers last Saturday. Nothing, I tell you. (GMA News reports that approximately 100,000 people did fill up the venue.) The shops and restos were blaring Eheads songs nonstop and everywhere you looked you saw people wearing Eheads, Beatles and Francis M shirts. It was like the Eheads fanatics' very own grand Christmas eve party. (And I'm sure SM made a killing in the restos, parking, the concert venue. Bonus! Bonus!)

4.The Eheads shirts everywhere. Jon coveted the one that had Proxy in front and Super at the back (same ones we saw at the August concert), others had The Final Set concert ads. I saw printed in one Buddy Raymund Marcus & Ely, and in another Julie Shirley Toyang and Aling Nena. (I think these two are from Artwork coz there's a similar Beatles design that I got for Ches some years back.) Someone in the crowd was even wearing the same maroon Eheads Manila shirt with the E on the sleeves that Raymund also wore onstage. (I know this is from Team Manila. I should've gone there last week and got us some. Dang. What good is it to be a MoA resident if you're not ready with an Eheads shirt on concert night. All talk and no use - that's so me.)

5.Ches sold the ticket I got for Rhoel for P1000. It was worth P1300. A professional scalper type approached us and offered P500 for it. Duh. (Rhoel got two VIP passes so I told him to just bring a date. I will call Rhoel Mr. VIP from now on. I mean, I may be a VP, but he's The VIP. Rhoel, we're not worthy ...)

6.The old video clips of MTV interviews with the Eheads shown just before the concert started. My favorite was Marcus asking the interviewer “Ano nga ulit yung tanong?” about the same question at least three times. And the question wasn't even beauty-contest mind-boggling like what is the meaning of life, but something corny and easy like to whom do you attribute your success, something like that. (You're the man, Marcus. You will always be the man.)

7.The countdown, in alphabet form this time, from Z to E.

8.The first song, Magasin, and all the pomp and synchronized pyrotechnics and screams that accompanied it. I haven't really thought about it in depth, but I once told Ches Magasin is probably my favorite Eheads song. Not for any profound reason other than my yearning to be the girl that will make Ely mapatingin and matulala and think I'm about to be supermodel of the whole wide universe. (Everyone's entitled to her own illusion, you know...)

9.The four cameras focused on each band member and showing what each one is up to on four big screens mounted on top of the stage. Astig.

10.As Ches noted, the band tweaked the intros to the songs so that it was hard to recognize them at first. At one point Ely challenged the crowd, “O, name that tune”.

11.Marcus' reggae version and uber cool rendition of Huwag Mo Nang Itanong. You could hear everyone giggling as he sang, “Huwag mo nang itanong ... di ko sasabihin sa yo”. (People were calling him Ka Freddie, too, on account of his long hair and black hat. Hahaha.) It was like hearing for the first time the song whose lyrics we have long memorized. If my digicam serves me right, this was one of the night's most applauded numbers. I could say this is my favorite part of the night, but then I have so many other favorite parts. Whoever thought of Marcus doing this in the concert – whoever you are, thank you for this brilliant idea.

12.Marcus' shamelessly pink guitar with the giant Hello Kity face. (Dig this, Ate.) So ok, that's it then, that seals the deal for me. I am now definitely leaving my family and house project and career and all that boring stuff behind, and will henceforth be spending the rest of my life stalking Marcus wherever his unruly long hair takes him. (Ches and Jervin [and Bubbles, old PMS friends, also from UP, who we just happened to run into that night] spent the rest of the concert waiting for Marcus to bring out his Kerokerokerropi and Sashikibuta guitar next. Crazy guys.)

13.Raymund's bring-the-house-down takes on Slo Mo, Alkohol and Insomya. (So maybe it was him singing those latter two songs that I heard at sound check?) I've been secretly begrudging Raymund for his rift with Ely that led to The Split (I mean, I'm sure Ely was also at fault, but I couldn't possibly blame Ely bcoz, hello, he wrote all these songs), but I've been slowly softening up after reading all the nice things he had to say about Ely's songwriting abilities (how the words flowed out of him like fountains, or something like that).

At the concert he was hyper banging drums, standing up to motion what he wanted the crowd to do, running around the stage when it was his turn on the vocals. With Ely, you almost want to tell him to take it slow and easy lest he burn his heart out again, but with Raymund it's rock and roll all the way. (I love you now, Raymund!)

14.Buddy giving in to public demand and singing about two lines in Fine Time. Buddy just being Buddy, standing there and playing his part without much fanfare, consistently looking like the one sane guy in the whole group. He strikes me as one of those good, sensible people who perpetually choose to be the better person in every fight. (Go, Buddy!)

15.That any one of the four can take the mic and blow us away. They sing, rap, make magic with their guitars and drums. It's not just Ely who has all the talent. All four of them are accomplished musicians in their own right. Which just goes to show how truly gifted the band is.

16.The updated lyrics to Huwag Mo Nang Itanong, Pare Ko, Ligaya (among others I may have missed from my vantage point). They were even more irreverent than the original ones.

17.Three of my favorite songs played in a row – Back2Me, Trip to Jerusalem and Spoliarium. I like the Eheads' Big Guns – Ang Huling El Bimbo, Pare Ko, Ligaya, etc. - as much as the next guy, but it's really the lesser known ones I prefer (even if Back2Me is too silly, and I could never seem to memorize the lyrics to Trip to Jerusalem, and I still don't understand the message of Spoliarium nor figure out what the title has got to do with the whole song). [Some people have pointed out that the band gave Spoliarium a Strawberry Fields take that night, and looking back I realize they're so right, it did sound eerily like Strawberry Fields.]

18.The quiet, almost solemn version of Alapaap, and Ely's deathly serious expression the whole time he was singing it. The way the band played it that night, it sounded like the last song someone will sing before jumping off a cliff, like a dirge you play in a tragic funeral. When they sang it to open the August concert, it was loud and wild and perfect in every way. This time, it had an altogether different and profound effect. It was hair-raising.

19.That - if I recall correctly - the only songs they repeated from the August concert were Alapaap, Kailan and Huwag Mo Nang Itanong. (Minus the three they sang in overtime [see no. 26 below], which were all in the first – and only – set in August.) Just proves how deep the Eheads musical treasure trove is.

20.The tribute to Francis M. Before launching into Superproxy, Ely exhorted the crowd, "Sumigaw tayo para kay Francis!", and 100,000 voices chanted, "Francis! Francis!" (with some raising their clenched fists). Raymund stood up with a banner that said: RockEd salutes The Man from Manila. The band also played the chorus to Kaleidoscope. (What a loss Francis M is. I can name 60 million other showbiz personalities who should have gone instead of him.)

21.Ely looking healthy and happy. He looked visibly plumper than in the August concert, and more at ease with the crowd too. In August, he uttered maybe a grand total of three or four phrases, but this time he gamely responded to the chants. At one point (I think during the lounge version of Kailan) he even said (to an apparently male fan who professed his love), “I love you, too, pare”. And to the walang-kamatayang shouts of “Group hug!”, he replied, “Kayo muna. Ang babait nyo”. At various points he'd order the crowd, “Sing!”. (No need to tell us, Ely. We've been singing along the whole time.) He also ordered, “Talon na!”, and the ground shook. (Uh, can we please not forget that this whole area was reclaimed from Manila Bay and limit all the jumping?) He threw his black jacket, guitar pick and shoes to the crowd, he rapped what was supposed to be Francis M's special participation in Superproxy – can Ely ever do any wrong?

22.The Manila Bay breeze literally giving us a breath of fresh air. There was none of this in The Fort in August. And while I'm at it, let me also mention the perfect weather in both concerts. I don't think there was any Plan B at all in case it rained. We'd all probably just have to stand there and wait for pneumonia to strike us dead as we sang along and screamed in the rain.

23.Everyone singing along to every song, just like in the August concert. It's a testament to the Eheads' magic that thousands of otherwise perfectly sensible people like us who lead otherwise predictably boring lives have willingly turned into zombies who automatically mouth the words to all their songs. I mean, I can understand why some of their songs like Minsan or With A Smile or Pare Ko ended up as big hits – everyone can relate to the universal theme of lost friendship, abiding love, romantic frustrations, and all that drama. But how to explain the vast popularity of Julie Tearjerky? (What kind of a decent girl swallows anything that's round, anyway?) How to explain Superproxy which encourages ... uh ... the availment of fleeting pleasures for a fee? How to explain a ditty about one's beloved kama and malupit na unan for gosh sakes? No other way to explain it but magic.

24.The last number in the official set list. Ang Huling El Bimbo. Complete with like a 5-minute synchronized fireworks show at the general admission area, confetti shower on stage, Ely burning down a piano filled with stickers. (Ches and Jervin and apparently everyone else think it's the piano in the Sticker Happy cover. My two cents is it could've been any piano with stickers. I can't bear to think Ely would burn the Sticker Happy piano. That's just too sad. [And of course it turns out it was the Sticker Happy piano. Sob.]) So many amazing things happening all at the same time that a poor girl with only one pair of eyes doesn't know where to look anymore. What a bombastic way to end the concert. Whew. Wow.

25.The almost-group hug after the last number and after Ely said, “We are The Eraserheads. Thank you. Good night”, and the rest of the band joined him in front and they put their arms on each other's shoulders. (Awww. You guys break my heart and make me cry all the time ...)

26.And just when we thought it was really, finally over and were already heading for the exit, Raymund went back onstage and called on the rest of his troop to re-group and sing “three for the road” (as Ely put it). The crowd went wild. It was like one of those movies where the credits have finished rolling and then you find out there's just one more scene at the very, very end.

A lot of people had already gone out, and I know someone in the office who didn't go back inside anymore bcoz apparently it became sheer pandemonium at the entrance when they heard somebody on the mic again (Rhoel said the same thing too but at least he was able to go back). So the lucky lot of us who were still inside were able to rush forward until some guys toppled over whatever was blocking us from the VIP section and then we were at the VIP section and the Eheads were playing Ligaya and Sembreak and Toyang! Waaaah! Jon, Malen, Ches and I couldn't believe our luck and were screaming at each other's faces!

27.We saw this stall selling drinks on our way out. It bore the name – what else – Tindahan ni Aling Nena.

Oh, there were the bummers too like the MTV VJs doing this long spiel and promoting all the upcoming MTV gigs and prolonging our wait for the concert to get going. Hello, we paid to be enchanted by the Eheads, not to be dazzled by Anne Curtis' legs. (The same girl who announced, in front of 100,000 fans, that her favorite Eheads song was "Tindahan ni Aling NENE". Groan. She probably would've been pelted with tomatoes if she wasn't hot-looking. Hahaha.) And why keep showing clips of Rihanna and Chris Brown together? Didn't he only very recently almost kill the girl? Duh. And there was Tim Yap bungling the lyrics to Toyang. (Boo. Shame on you.) And some of the kids who liveblogged the concert for, who couldn't even differentiate Raymund from Jazz Nicholas nor know the proper title to Poorman's Grave much less be expected to appreciate the impact of the event to the whole lot of us bcoz all they ever seemed to write about was the celebrities they spotted in the crowd. (Whodahell cares about all these shallow showbiz people?!) I don't expect everyone writing about the Eheads to know, for example, that Superproxy is spelled as one word, among other strictly fanatic stuff, but at the very least do your homework. Especially if you're getting paid for it. (Oh Inquirer, you could've done so much better with these annoying livebloggers...)

But it's easy to ignore and forget these minor mishaps in light of the 60 million good things that happened that night.

I read from Raymund's website that even at the rehearsals Ely already talked about doing an extension “if the crowd behaved”. What can I say? The banner held up by one group in the crowd says it all: Thank you, Eheads. Thank you for the bonus extension and for doing this concert in the first place and giving us the time of our lives. Thank you for the August concert and for your 60 million beautiful, wonderful songs. And also allow me to add: We love you, Eheads.

If I never see another concert again for the rest of my life, I'd die happy.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Prelude to the Group Hug

This is where the Eraserheads will perform The Final Set tomorrow. (I personally prefer the title “Group Hug – The Reunion Concert Part II”. The Final Set sounds so ... final.) And this is where the E-heads are currently rehearsing (it's called sound check, I think) as I blog this. I've been preening as hard as my contacts will let me, and it was easy to spot the three in their guitars and sneakers, but it took a while to locate the long hair of Marcus (my current craze). They got here mid-morning, and already I've heard them play strains of Overdrive, Maskara, and Ligaya. Ely also sang Poorman's Grave, Huwag Mo Nang Itanong, Insomya, Alkohol and Ang Huling El Bimbo, as well as Superproxy and Kaleidoscope. I'm guessing there'll be a little tribute to Francis M. (Poor Ely. First his mom passed away before the August concert, now it's his friend.)

I took these pictures right by my office window. When I learned about the concert early this year and that the venue was in my beloved Mall of Asia, I thought it was going to be in the vacant lot behind SMX, which was where I saw an MTV concert in December. But I guess they needed a bigger venue to accommodate fanatics like myself. (The poster reads: “More than 10 million fans. Only 100,000 will witness.” Something like that.) So the concert is going to be in that vast area behind Imax.

Which is almost literally right under my nose.

It gets better in the second floor, where my parking slot is. The area opens up to a terrace and from there the stage is even closer and you'll be only several feet away from the crowd inside. It seems even better than being inside the venue coz it's elevated and hence offers an overview of the band and backstage and what I assume must be a sea of people on concert night. The problem is, I'm sure the building administrator will never allow anybody to watch the concert from the terrace (unless maybe if you happened to own the building). She's a Dolores Umbridge type who gets off on imposing her silly rules to the letter never mind if they don't serve any noble purpose that anyone can see. I don't bother wasting my positive aura on the likes of her.

Some of the younger ones in the office have asked for my permission to watch the concert from my window. They tell me they had no plans to watch originally, but I guess since it turns out they could see it for free right in the office, it's a good enough gimmick for a Saturday night. Of course I say yes to all of them graciously, but inwardly I'm thinking, You kids do not know anything about the E-heads. You do not understand. (Hahaha. Needless to say, I am one of those annoying types who never pass up a chance to be wicked and condescending and show off just how much more I know.)

I'll probably take a look from my office window before the concert starts, just to get some aerial shots of the whole extravaganza. But I don't think I'd enjoy the concert from my room. What fun is it to be singing and screaming at the top of my lungs by my lonesome in the 10th floor (well, it'll be me and Ches actually). Besides, I don't think I'm allowed to be doing anything at the top of my lungs in the office, where I make a career out of pretending to be this ever dignified, honorable person, in keeping with my role as the head of corporate governance around here. (Groan. The things we have to do to earn a living.)

I've bought tickets since last month, upon Rhoel's advice. Rhoel is this lucky, lucky guy who was at the SVIP section at the August concert, courtesy of his friends in high places in the marketing circle. He bragged about getting in line with the likes of Lea Salonga to get free food from the buffet. (They had buffet in SVIP? We paying lot were not even allowed to bring in our own food and had to be content with the stale burgers and sodas from the McDo stalls. And even those ran out after that now-historic, interminable break. Grrr.) He bragged that when he gets into the SVIP section again this time, he'll make sure to stand right beside the stretcher prepared for Ely – he'll be that close. (Shucks, close enough to smell Marcus' sweat! I'm not worthy ...) He promised to try and score SVIP passes for me and Jon too, but told us to buy tickets ahead just to be sure, I guess lest we end up with nothing and resort to aimlessly floating around Manila Bay in sheer despair during the concert hahaha.

So anyway, one more night to go before the big one. It's exag, I know, but I'm praying nothing will happen to keep me and Ches (and Rhoel, Jon and Malen with whom we've made plans to watch together) from bearing witness to the group hug. (Please, Lord. Thank you, Lord.)

Monday, March 02, 2009

You know you have too much time on your hands when...

1.You're able to watch practically all the best picture nominees for the Oscars and Golden Globes. I loved Slumdog (particularly the toilet scene and the feisty child actors who I read were really plucked from the slums). It's the kind of film that becomes the benchmark by which all other movies should be judged. Jen thinks Westerners have made such a big deal out of it bcoz it's not everyday that they see such squalor and deprivation, unlike us Pinoys who only have to roll down our car windows to smell it everywhere. I agree.

Jen gushed over Benjamin Button too but I found it dragging and tedious. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that I don't like Brad Pitt anymore, not since he became the other half of Brangelina. To think I was in love with him from Thelma and Louise to A River Runs Through It to Legends of the Fall to Meet Joe Black. I don't know – I just can't summon any respect for men who dump their lawfully-wedded wives to shack up with long-legged, pouty-lipped goddesses.

I loved Sean Penn in Milk and Leo and Kate in Revolutionary Road. I love Sean bcoz he's like this conflicted and flawed and principled human being and not one of those bright, happy people who make the rest of us feel bad seeing their utterly perfect lives. He was amazingly credible as Harvey Milk that you won't for one second think he's not gay. I loved Kate in Sense and Sensibility and Titanic and Iris and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Little Children. It's admirable how she purportedly turned down so many big-bucks leading-lady roles bcoz she wanted to make only movies she truly believed in. I love Sean Penn and Kate Winslet, period. In fact, this might be the happiest year for me yet, Oscars-wise, seeing two of my favorite Hollywood people win at the same time.

I have yet to see The Reader, but I read the book last year and shed a few tears over it. I brought the DVD too, along with Doubt which I will see after I finish the secod half of Vicki Cristina Barcelona which I started on last weekend. Seven Pounds is not in the best-picture category but I watched it too on account of Rommel's glowing recommendation.

Surprisingly, my favorite film out of this recent crop is Rachel Getting Married. It has all the elements of a good indie film. In fact, I don't recognize any other big names except for Jonathan Demme and Anne Hathaway and Debra Winger. I'm a sucker for this kind of small, quiet films that does not tackle anything big but nonetheless keeps you riveted and straining to catch all the brilliant words all the characters get to say all at the same time, and fighting back that lump in your throat that becomes more difficult to swallow with each devastating scene. It's the kind of perfect movie that leaves you feeling still so sad everytime you think of it even years after seeing it. Before this movie, when I saw Anne Hathaway I thought Princess Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada and Brokeback Mountain. Now I think Kym, the tragic druggie heroine whose story broke my heart.

(I'm such a show-off with all these movies I've watched and it's barely March, I know. I'm just really trying to make it up to my own self bcoz the one good movie I can remember seeing last year was Juno. Well, what can I say? I was breastfeeding last year, and had barely enough time to brush my hair much less sit down to watch a full-length movie. Duh.)

2.You have the energy to fight with your kids on a daily basis. It's pretty simple how this works. When you're spending long hours in the office you tend to acquire this guilt complex that makes you suddenly the world's most-easily-persuaded mommy and you let your kids stay up late and eat all their favorite junk food. Not to mention you also regularly spoil them with obscenely-priced toys and gadgets that they'll be too long asleep to see before you finally manage to get home. And you know very well how unhealthy this is, but you have to keep doing it to help you sleep better at night. (Sob. Been there, done that.) If however you get home at 7:30ish everyday and spend weekends with them uninterrupted by any work-related calls, then why should there be any reason to let tyrannical behavior and capricious demands go unpunished. It's free for all, man. By the first hour everything they say and do you pass off as cute and refreshing, but by the end of the second hour your parenthood patience meter is running low, and if beyond the third hour they're still not winding down from their endless blabbering and running around much less showing any signs of going to sleep – this means war. These fights often end up with me screaming 'Let's go to sleep already! You boys are annoying!” To which Yoshi replies, with a little angelic smile: “Annoying your face.” (Please, God, let me win just one argument with this boy. Just one.)

3.You get to read the newspaper practically from cover to cover. Which is how I got to tell everyone about the heinous gang rape in Antique of a high school girl, news that surprisingly didn't get the media attention it merited. And how I learned of Vicki Belo's wicked comments about Boy Abunda (for once, she does something that gives me joy.) And how I keep up-to-date on everything from Obama's moves to what goes on in the E-heads concert rehearsals to the latest on the on-going SGV break-away saga and Ayala rigodon. I am such an annoying know-it-all news junkie these days, I swear.

4.You notice the most mundane goings-on in the whole Mall of Asia complex. And I don't just mean the spectacular Manila Bay sunset nor the – gasp – Aegis concert billboard in Espalanade (which by its lonesome instantly dispels any previous delusions anyone might have had that MoA is supposed to be already the most sosy of SM malls).

The busloads of students and matronly retiree types off to MoA on their field trip no longer surprise me, nor the little Korean ladies with their annoying thinness and smoothness and who often manage to beat me to the funkiest clothes on sale in Mango or Dorothy Perkins or something (grrr), nor even the brave souls who get on the mic in the videoke on display in National Bookstore and Hypermarket to belt out some awful Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston song.

I have also gotten used to the amazing sight of this old guy (probably 60ish) in his yellow shirt and white sneakers who relentlessly run round and round the vacant lot beside One E-Com every morning without fail, low tide or high tide or whatever. (We call him Supermanong.)

But what fazed me the other day was seeing a group of Boy Scouts in formation in the parking lot directly below my window. They were marching in what dangerously looked like the direction of Hooters. (Tsk tsk.) The following day I happened to pass by the executive offices (the smaller buildings across MoA labeled A to E) and saw at the vacant property behind them this huge throng of Boy Scouts complete with tents and makeshift toilets and the obiquitous tarpaulins of politicians who sponsored the event (so pathetic, these politicians). Mall of Asia as Boy Scout camping site? We truly have got it all.

5.You're logged on to the Internet for an unhealthy number of hours a day. And in the process you find out that MU is so 200 years ago and the cool thing now with the young ones is something called MOMOL (make-out make-out lang) and that they not only like to say OMG but also TMI (too much info) and KTP (kilig to the pekpek). Hahaha.

I also get to snoop on other people's blog by scanning thru's blogger of the week and Blogger's blogs of note. And I get to research on the etymology of an obscure Japanese term that I come across and discover it refers to people who go to a party and head straight to the buffet table without even stopping to notice the flowers. (I wonder, will knowing this kind of info ever be marketable someday? Groan.)

My recent favorites are the Country Homes website (for our house project), the E-heads database (which has everything you wanna know about the E-heads, more than Wikipedia can ever hope to offer – from Ely's letters to a list of all the gigs they've ever had and I mean all), and this site that sells contracts and gives free summaries that already discuss what you can expect to find in the actual contract . The beauty of this site is, if you're a (pretentious, scheming) lawyer it'll be easy peasy to draft the full-length contract on the basis alone of the summaries, and while you're at it muddle up the thing with so much legalese that even a fellow lawyer will not be able to understand it even after five readings, and not to mention stack up all the onerous obligations on the other contracting party, to boot. (Such a lawyer thing to do.) It's ideal for slacker lawyers like myself.

6.You manage to stay in touch with family and friends if not thru email or phone then thru this blog (hi, Kaye!). It brings me joy and pride that I got to see a lot of Phoebe recently since she's helping us out with our little house project (I'm so user-friendly hahaha), that Regie and I managed to have lunch with Babette before she flew off to the States (right after we closed the house deal with the contractors she referred), that Dex and Beavis came over to visit me and Pau in our office and we exchange emails and texts on Twilight and hot air balloon festival in Clark and stuff, that the dinner with the QT boys pushed thru and it was long and raucous as expected (and we planned to go to the E-heads concert together), that Liz and Rommel texted as soon as their babies (born a week apart) came out, that even continent-hopping-and-soon-to-be-London-librarian-and-socialist Didoy has stayed in touch, and that when I text or email my other old friends from MWC they still know who I am (hahaha).

Thom deserves a special mention apart from the rest bcoz it is he who emails and calls me on a daily basis and drops by the house too at night or on weekends to bring me my Readers' Digest that still gets delivered in MWC or give me some forms to sign to sell my stocks and stuff. Altho for the most part he just gets in touch to badger me with work-related questions that he now has to deal with since he got stuck with some of my work in MWC hahaha. (I need to start charging him consultancy fees soon...)

7.You read the exceptional books before they are turned into so-so movies. I have this Catch 22 issue with book/movie tie-ins. If a movie is turned into a movie I'd want to see it coz then I figure the story must be that good, but I'm also worried that the movie might turn out disappointing bcoz I know deep down it can never be as good as the book (Twilight is a prime and recent example). So then I end up not reading the book nor watching the film version at all. (Which is why I missed The Kite Runner, Marley and Me, etc.)

What I really want in my life is to find books that I rave about and after a few months or years find it turned into big-budget Hollywood productions (like The Reader, Bee Season, If Only It Were True, etc). So then I can be smug and pretend to know all about the movie before the DVD is even out in Quiapo. Hahaha. Hence, as a way to address my dilemma, I subscribed to the mailing list of Fully Booked and Powerbooks. (MoA is one of the few malls I know that has both stores under its roof.) Every week or so I treat myself to the latest from Alice Sebold, or the Joan Didion bestseller that I missed out on, or Griffin and Sabine which I heard of from Babette. Among the more notable books I've recently read are Ricky Lee's Para Kay B and Anita Shreve's The Last Time They Met, both good stories but with strange endings that somehow disturbed and turned me off.

On particularly uneventful days I am tempted to join Fully Booked's Book Geek of the Month contest just for something to do. But I don't know. It's bad enough to be a geek for one day, but to be The Geek of The Month?

It sounds altogether too desperate and is probably joined in only by people who need to get a life.

I'd like to think I'm not (yet) in that category.