Of All Sizes

I wish I were thin.

My initial reaction: “Don’t we all?”

This was the kind of first sentences that somehow told readers they’re in for some ordinary story. And technically, Jemima Jones’ story is something ordinary: fat Jemima who’s in love with cute Ben who, in turn, saw her only as a workmate and friend. Then came along Internet-sent guy, Brad, who gave Jemima the courage to confront her largeness. And away went the pounds, together with the insecurities and the solitude.

Fairly real and somehow predictable, especially considering that the settings were California and London–where most of the envious bodies frequented. Except, of course, for unexpected twists that Jane Green had artfully laced in. And that’s what I particularly liked about the story. Finding boyfriends through the Net was not always tackled even in today’s new novels where there’s an abundance of Internet-related stories. Furthermore, I found the idea of flying miles to someone you’d never met a bit unorthodox and very must-see. It was an addition that sprung most of the uncertainties totally evident in the novel. Then things began going rollercoaster-like, turning and churning until you realized the story was moving to a place you didn’t expect it to go.

I especially admired Jane Green’s dynamism, which was evident in the shifts from one voice to another. Green wrote true to the amount of characters in her story. On one side, there was Jemima telling her story. And then suddenly, there was Jane Green telling Jemima’s story as well as Ben’s and Brad’s. There was also the feeling of being talked to that one could get from the novel. It was as if (as a reader, this was how I felt) you could be Jemima and an outsider all at the same time.

And while moving along and around the story, one could get as much of the harshness of the entire reality Jemima’s story so satirically represents. But the brashness was braided in with simple humor and a teen-like romantic feeling. In Filipino, the term was “kilig”. This was where Jemima and Ben’s pairing fell in. Theirs was a relationship that practically started from nothing but a one-sided fantasy. Eventually, after some soul-baring moments with each other and meeting again in another continent, they realized how friendship–and distance–could spark something else.

The added characters were also very appropriate in the overall path of the story. It was hard to miss the irony of Jemima being surrounded with ideally-bodied women whilst she was flabby and with thigh-rich females when she became slim. For me, it seemed as if Jane Green wanted that irony to prove how nobody gets satisfied and how being with a wonderful body doesn’t necessarily spells happiness. Again, reality.

On the whole, I loved Jemima’s story because it was straightforward and ultimately confident. Against all sizes.

Forever. Or Not?

Fine, so I got intrigued by ABS-CBN’s new show that I actually ate dinner in front of the TV last night to catch all of it. And why was I so keen to see it? Well, mostly to give Imortal quite a chance to prove that it was not what I thought it would be: an almost Filipino adaptation of the hit franchise, the Twilight saga. Because everybody kept saying it was nothing but pure imitation.

The Verdict

There definitely could be room for some originality. I did understand the whole story might actually be based on a myth accepted and believed in by the entire world–beliefs that transcended cultures and nationalities. So pale skins and red eyes were acceptable. As well as the unbelievable strength, speed, and beauty. Even the whole vampires versus werewolves scenario was forgivable.

But come on, creativity, vampires who wanted animal blood just so they won’t kill innocent humans? A vampire who kept telling the girl he loved that they shouldn’t be together? And the girl who was willing to be one of the cold ones for her beloved? A half-vampire who could only be one of his kind? That’s all so one-time.

The whole time the story unfolded, all I could say was “I knew what’s gonna happen next” because hey, “I’ve seen that before.” I even laughed along with my sister, who also knew Twilight inside-out, because she kept saying the same lines I did.

Then I understood where the critiques were coming from. Filipino writers knew more than that, I was certain. Even more, the directors who were handling the show knew definitely more than that.

Saving Graces

Luckily, though, there were redeeming points threaded along with the whole seeming mishaps.

For one, the graphics were amazing. There were cool camera shots that made the vampires’ fast movements effective as well as captured sceneries that were breath-taking.

An example was the shot were Angel Locsin’s character saw her husband’s car from her house’s veranda. There seemed a ravine-containing distance between the house and the winding road that the car traveled along and the shot from Locsin’s point of view was marvelous. Ominous and yet quite calm. And then it was followed by the scene where Locsin saw a vampire on top of the moving car. The whole set was very effective.

Another, there was something soothing with the inclusion of Philippine history’s highlights like the martyrdom of the GOMBURZA priests. At least, there was something totally Filipino in the set-up that people could definitely relate to.

Also, the supposed-sequel of the then fantaserye Lobo theme was a plus. At least the whole show wasn’t just about vampires. At least there was some part of the story that you couldn’t guess what’s gonna happen next.

Ultimately, of course, the casting was the finest redeeming point of the entire project. John Lloyd Cruz’s depth and Angel Locsin’s rawness were complementary. They were supposed to add the spice to what could be just an ordinary pasta. Well, we’ll see.

Hopefully, none of the conflicts which I can consider as strictly Twilight would surface in Imortal. For I can only imagine an uproar it would cause among our young Filipino viewers. Especially those who consider the foreign film as unnaturally shallow and uneventful.

And even more hopefully, the story gets to turn into something identifiable as its own.

The [Professional] Break-up

Let the fact be known that I am posting this here because I want an article devoid of purely personal and too emotional takes. I would rather write about this from a different point of view–objective at some angles and in touch with the mind–if only to salvage what good memory can still be saved.

THE BREAK-UP

No, our story was not love at first sight. Instead, it was somewhere between “I knew we were in love before we met” and “from friends to lovers”. It started in a bliss, just like any newfound love. There were days when a steady togetherness seemed within the visible horizon.

But then, as in many relationships, things started to go downhill. I wanted out. It was like what I heard about other pairs: one giving way too much and the other not willing to return the act.

And so I unattached myself. I went away and left. I did so even before things could get worse and consume us both. Before we got swept into a mad tide of frustration and anger.

STAGES

Maybe every break-up really go through stages. I had always believed that. I had always spoken of that. For I believed that breaking up always led to letting go. And that, as everyone else knows, is a whole other issue. A destination one had to take detours and one-ways for. A place that’s very difficult to reach.

And maybe I’d already traveled to this break-up’s destination, long before I realized it. For here I am, knowing for sure which part of the road this is.

Stage One: Denial

I reasoned out even to myself. I tried to give you credit for all that was on the positive side. I even shielded you away from prying eyes. You were nowhere near hurting, I thought.

Maybe that’s because I’d never had such a relationship. Or because I’d always wanted something like this and felt blessed to be in one. Whatever it was that I had in mind was enough to make me stay. And hope for those that I saw to simply pass.

Stage Two: Anger

Then I found myself going angry. Can you not find a sense of caring within you? Can you not let me grow the way I wanted to? Worse, can you not give me what I deserved?

Everyday found me not wanting to see you. And each day had me feeling a renewed animosity toward what you do. Everything about you irked me, from the pasty smiles to the cajoling praises and on to the blatant rudeness.

This was where my inner self started to whisper unto my ears: leave.

Stage Three: Bargaining

When I turned to where the whisper came from, I did not immediately heed it. Even when my own father gave a louder version of it, I bargained for a few more days. I was never one for abrupt departures. I had done that before and I knew it would hurt me as much as it would do to what I left.

So I asked for some more time. Just enough to tie as many loose ends as I could. Just enough to prevent as many conflicts as possible.

Stage Four: Depression

And then the final blow landed. By then I was sure that when I leave, there’s no coming back. Not even a second glance. It was a certainty that formed lumps in my throat for what I was leaving were more than what meets the eye. There were webs of emotions out there and all gave me pangs of mixed guilt and longing.

What hurt more was, there was not the graceful exit I planned. I knew I was partly to blame; I was brave enough to leave but sadly, the bravery did not extend to saying goodbye.

THE LAST STAGE

There’s a last hurdle to this long race. The fifth stage. One that’s still vague as of now. This fifth leg is called acceptance. And after this, I hope to reach my destination that is letting go. I hope to see the end of all this running, the landing of all my paper airplanes, and the trophy to all my endeavors.

While in between my current state and that last stage, I ask myself two important questions: why? and do I have any regrets?

The answers: I can’t continue sacrificing anymore. I’ve always been the brave one, who never gives up and who holds on as long as I can. But sacrificing everything else in my life, most importantly my family, is not an act of bravery for me.

But no regrets, I swear. I don’t like regretting things I’ve done if only because it keeps me strapped to the past when what I most like is to move forward. Hence, I am whole-heartedly thankful for what happened.

That sometime in my life, I’ve learned to fight for what I want. I’ve learned to discern between what I can give and what I deserve to receive.

Most importantly, I have learned that better things come along when one decides to let go of that blistering rope.

Be Digeus Clean

System crashes, file disappearances, and a mighty workload for a closer than close deadline. Well, that doesn’t really make one’s day, does it?

If you want that scenario to skip your 12 midnights, then do what medics say: Prevention is always better than cure. And you’ll get that right with the Digeus System Optimizer.

Digeus System Optimizer ver 8.2

Digeus System Optimizer protects your computer for unexpected and unwanted problems. It also helps solve and eliminate problems that have already infected your system and makes way for a more efficient computer state.

The Digeus version 8.2 suite includes a variety of tools that make the product’s promise come true.

The suite comes with a Registry Cleaner and Defragmenter that cleans and repairs Windows registry data. This, at most, helps speed up boot time and prevents data crashes.

Registry Defragmenter

Got a loaded desktop and file folders? Or maybe you can’t anymore differentiate from file.doc and file1.doc? Then the Digeus suite’s Junk Files Cleaner and Duplicate Files Finder are just what you need. These tools help locate unused and doubled files within your system and, of course, gives you the option to delete them. And lo, more disk space is created for your more important data.

Junk Files Cleaner

There’s also the Smart Uninstaller that takes care of applications (i.e. programs) that you no longer need and the Service Manager for you to get to know more your PC drivers.

Or you can use first the Disk Space Analyzer for you to know if you indeed need to clean up your system.

And suppose you already have a cleaner PC. What about a safer PC? A more private PC? Well, Digeus can still help you with that.

The Digeus Privacy Protection feature attends to your privacy when going online by cleaning browsing history, cookies, cache, and the likes.

The whole suite works for Microsoft Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP, Windows 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 among others.

On a personal note, I think the Digeus software is a rather helpful tool that attends to a common problem most people overlook. Some days find computer users angry when they have to wait minute after minute for their PCs to start up. Other days find these people at a loss looking for files through folders within folders within folders.

Smart, new, and extremely necessary, Digeus shall remain a well-meaning discovery until the time comes nobody saves their files anymore. Which, come to think of it is unlikely. Hence, Digeus can equal computer necessity.