Woke

August 25, 2019 at 3:18 PM | Posted in Musings, TV | Leave a comment

I grew up at a time when society’s perception of women in general was still traditional and backwards. Even in the media and on TV back then, I was used to seeing women being portrayed mainly as housewives who do all the household chores while the men work or play sports. That, or women were portrayed as only sex objects to be played around by men.

Growing up in a traditional household and with strict Catholic upbringing, I was taught that women should do all the housework and that they should know how to cook, sew and mend clothes, and take care of children. I grew up in a big house living with extended family members, with aunts, uncles and male cousins around the house. They used to hold parties every now and then and I would observe that women would stay on one side sipping punch while the men drink hard liquor and smoke cigarettes on the other side.

Back then, my extended family and I would also often watch TV together. So early on, I was exposed to so much sexism on TV and movies – from James Bond films to beauty contests. My family thought it was amusing to see James Bond sleep with so many women and just discard them easily. To them it’s okay because “he’s a man.” They also thought there’s nothing wrong with men ogling women in bikinis in a beauty contest.

But now that I’m an adult, I realized just how much women were at a disadvantage back then, and how they were wrongly perceived and treated by society. That’s why I stopped watching beauty contests and James Bond movies because of how they treat women.

It’s rare to see strong female characters on TV and movies back then. But we’ve come a long way now and women in the media and in the entertainment industry are now well represented compared to 30-50 years ago (maybe not completely yet but we’ll get there).

That’s why I’m very thankful for shows like The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena: Warrior Princess for having strong female characters that changed television. These strong female characters taught me that women are just as smart and capable as men.

Being Different

July 29, 2019 at 3:39 PM | Posted in Music, Musings | Leave a comment

Do you ever get that feeling when you hear a song for the first time and it feels like it’s speaking to you?

Well that has happened to me before but more recently when I first heard the song, “So Am I” by Ava Max. The song first caught my attention because of its catchy beat but when I heard the lyrics, it felt like it was talking about me.

The song talks about being different from everyone else and embracing that difference. For years, I’ve always felt that way about myself. Having social anxiety all my life, people generally regard my silence and aloofness as weird. I don’t talk much and I don’t smile much, especially around strangers. Like what in the song says, I get weird looks because of it and can hear whispers from people talking about me behind my back. Most of the time, I can feel people’s eyes on me regarding my “weirdness” with interest.

It’s just refreshing to see that there’s a song out there that makes people like me feel like I’m not the only one. That there are others who are like me. The song is genuine, uplifting and generates positivity. And it doesn’t hurt that it’s a danceable tune too.

So Am I

(Artist: Ava Max)

Do you ever feel like a misfit?
Everything inside you is dark and twisted
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I-I-I-I-I)

Can you hear the whispers all across the room?
You feel her eyes all over you like cheap perfume
You’re beautiful, but misunderstood
So why you tryna be just like the neighborhood?

I can see it, I know what you’re feelin’
So let me tell you ’bout my little secret
I’m a little crazy underneath this
Underneath this

Do you ever feel like a misfit?
Everything inside you is dark and twisted
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I)
Do you ever feel like an outcast?
You don’t have to fit into the format
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I-I-I-I-I)

Oh so, dressed so fancy like Sid and Nancy (Yeah)
Walkin’ Killer Queen, gotta keep ’em guessin’
So baby come pass me a lighter
We’re gonna leave ’em on fire
We’re the sinners and the blessings

I can see it, I know what you’re feelin’
So let me tell you ’bout my little secret
I’m a little crazy underneath this
Underneath this, ooh

Do you ever feel like a misfit?
Everything inside you is dark and twisted
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I)
Do you ever feel like an outcast?
You don’t have to fit into the format
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I-I-I-I-I)

You’re king and you’re queen
You’re strong and you’re weak
You’re bound but so free
(Ah-ah-ah)
So come and join me
And call me Harley
And we’ll make a scene

Do you ever feel like a misfit?
Everything inside you is dark and twisted
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I)
Do you ever feel like an outcast?
You don’t have to fit into the format
Oh, but it’s okay to be different
‘Cause baby, so am I (So am I, so am I, so am I-I-I-I-I)

Source: LyricFind

 

Good Omens is Immaculately Divine

June 12, 2019 at 4:49 PM | Posted in Books, TV | Leave a comment

What if an angel and a demon band together to stop Armageddon?

This is the premise of Good Omens, a new TV miniseries on Amazon Prime. Good Omens is based on the 1990 book written by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett.

I’ve read the book years ago and since then I’ve been waiting for it to be adapted on screen. There have been plans on making it into a movie years ago but it didn’t push through. Thankfully, this time it finally got made as a miniseries. The six-episode TV adaptation was written by Neil himself so most of what’s in the book remained intact, apart from a few tweaks here and there. The humor in the book was not lost in the adaptation either.

Good Omens is about an unlikely friendship between an angel named Aziraphale and a demon called Crowley. They’ve known each other since the beginning of creation (i.e., since Adam and Eve were created). Aziraphale first started as the angel guarding the Eastern Gate of the Garden of Eden while Crowley was the serpent who tempted Eve. Eventually they were sent to Earth by their masters to do their respective jobs – Aziraphale doing God’s work and Crowley tempting humans into committing sins. They’ve been on Earth for so long that they’ve come to love the world.

But their love for the world was about to come to an end with the arrival of the AntiChrist, who was expected to start a war that would lead to Armageddon. Not wanting for the world to end, Crowley and Aziraphale formed an alliance to stop Armageddon from happening.

On the back of that premise were a milieu of characters, celestial beings and hilarious scenarios that added flavor to the story.

Good Omens_Aziraphale and Crowley

Generally, TV and film adaptations tend to lose some of the magic of a book’s story but the Good Omens adaptation was so right in the mark that I’m fully satisfied with the outcome. The performances weren’t bad either. David Tennant was brilliant as the fun-loving, rebellious demon Crowley while Michael Sheen was ever the finicky angel Aziraphale. They played off on one another so well that it’s hard not to love the budding friendship between their characters.

Jon Hamm nailed it as the Archangel Gabriel. His character’s addition to the show despite not being in the book was a good choice. He perfectly fit the description in the book as a “pompous jackass.”

I also love the fact that the series’ choice of background music consisted mostly of Queen’s greatest hits, which was obviously a nod to a specific humor in the book.

Since the book was first published in 1990, it’s interesting to note that in several scenes in the TV adaptation, the show seamlessly mixed old technology with modern conveniences that didn’t exist during that period. Smartphones could be seen in some scenes alongside with vintage tech like rotary phones and answering machines. In the series, heaven was depicted as a modern skyscraper with glass walls and pristine interiors, while hell was a dank basement of the same building.

There were other contemporary touches in the show that made it quite timely and inclusive: God and Archangel Michael were played by women and Adam and Eve were played by black actors.

There were several scenes in the series that really stood out for me, such as Crowley and Aziraphale dancing, Crowley riding through the M25 ring of fire, Aziraphale and Crowley’s friendship depicted through spanning centuries, and of course The Beginning. The twist in the end was also a surprising delight.

There are speculations around the internet that there might be a second season of the series but for me, the fact that it got made in the first place is good enough. And well-made it is.

Trying Something New

May 26, 2019 at 9:30 PM | Posted in Lifestyle, Photography | Leave a comment
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Lately, I’m at a crossroads of my life where I want to try something different that would eventually be beneficial for me, especially in terms of my career. I’ve long been interested in art and graphic design despite the fact that I don’t have any talent for it. I can’t draw or paint even if I try but I can very much appreciate art when I see it. And I’m practically clueless when it comes to graphic design. But I’ve always been fascinated with it. So much so that I’ve enrolled myself in a short course on graphic design.

My decision to enroll in a graphic design class was born not only out of my fascination with it but also out of my frustration in editing photos and images. At work, I had difficulty in fixing images as I didn’t have any design skills. So I was hoping that my very limited skills could improve if I join a class.

I signed up for a three-day course about two weeks ago and opted for a hands-on classroom experience as online video tutorials didn’t really work for me. Video tutorials left me with more questions than answers. I didn’t learn much. I wanted a comprehensive learning environment where I could interact face to face with the instructor and fellow students.

There were only six of us in the class and all of my classmates were professionals in various fields. They wanted to improve their design skills just like me. The course covered the basics but the instructor also taught us some advanced lessons. The class had a very casual and fun environment and I got to bond with my classmates. It was a very satisfying experience as the instructor was kind and patient enough with each student. We all received certification after the course.

Now that I have completed the short course, I’m hoping that I could apply what I learned. But I’m still practicing my skills and honing them. I’m not an expert yet.

 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Series Finale Review: A Situation More Nuanced Than the Last Six Words

April 10, 2019 at 12:09 AM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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SPOILER ALERT: This review contains spoilers of the series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Read at your own risk!

“This is the song I wrote.”

The last six words uttered by Rebecca Bunch before our TV screens faded to black. That’s how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ended its fourth and final season.

It’s been one hell of a crazy rollercoaster ride for viewers like me who watched the series through the years. From the moment we saw the show’s main character Rebecca Bunch sang and danced her way to West Covina, California up to the time when she finally found love in an unexpected place, it had been a joy to watch her grow and become a better person. Her journey to personal development had been the best part of the series for me, and the final season delivered that perfectly.

The show’s series finale culminated in Rebecca finally finding love – not in the form of romantic love – but in something else. Throughout the entire series, fans had been rooting for Rebecca to be with either Josh, Greg or Nathaniel. When I started watching the show, I didn’t ship Rebecca with anyone at all. I was more interested in her crazy antics – how she would find ways to manipulate situations to her liking and how she would get out of the mess she created. But when Nathaniel came into the picture in season 2, I started shipping her with him.

But this final season, I came to realize that she didn’t need a romantic partner at all. I was more concerned about her mental well-being. She was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and it’s more important for her to take care of herself first and be better than have a boyfriend. So I was glad that in the finale that she didn’t choose any of the three men. Instead, she found love in songwriting. I wasn’t surprised by this at all.

In the second season, it was revealed that most of the musical numbers in the show were just all in Rebecca’s head. That’s the way she lived and how she arrived at decisions sometimes. She just made up all the songs in her head. So all that hidden talent finally burst out and with Paula’s help, Rebecca was able to take the first step and write the songs that’s been in her head for some time. That’s her ultimate love. I had an inkling about this after I saw the episode where she joined a community theater. I predicted that she would become a songwriter in the end and I was right.

What resonated the most for me from the final episode was the scene where Rebecca was studying to become a songwriter and she said, “When writing songs, it’s important to tell your own story.” I couldn’t agree more. As a frustrated writer, I’m constantly faced with this predicament. I’m a copywriter by profession and I write stories for other people. But I have my own stories to tell and they’re something that need to be written eventually. But I digress…

While the finale was fitting for Rebecca, I couldn’t say the same for the other characters. When it came to time jumps, the show struggled to make the story tight. I had a problem with the show’s first time jump in the previous season mainly because there was not enough build up on the storylines, especially with Valencia’s story. She was straight in earlier seasons and now she’s suddenly gay? How did that happen?! I wished there was a backstory on that.

This season’s time jump saw Darryl and her girlfriend (I don’t remember her name) having a baby. Nathaniel quit his job and went volunteering to a foreign country. Josh had a new girlfriend as well and Valencia and Beth got married. I’m fine with these overall but when it came to Heather and Hector as well as White Josh’s story, it was pretty lame. I would’ve wanted for them to have something more substantial than Heather and Hector getting a new hot tub and White Josh’s house being burned to the ground. And what was that all about George’s ponytail? I don’t get it. For me, that was unnecessary.

Overall, the finale was good as it tied up Rebecca’s story perfectly. The last six words were also fitting as the fade-to-black ending was immediately followed by the concert special where the cast performed select songs from the show. The ending meant that the songs in the concert special were the songs that were in Rebecca’s head. The first song played in the concert special (“West Covina”) was the first one she wrote. So it had that seamless transition.

I only wished the concert special was longer. But oh well, I could just settle with listening to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend soundtrack…

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