Guerilla Geek books and DVDs: Salmon, Faust, Star Gate and Cheerleading

Spent Saturday scrounging around for books at SM Booksale and National Bookstore, then going to my suking DVD shop for my weekly dose of DVDs. Spent Sunday morning napping, had a lecture at 1pm on how to make effective résumés to HRM students at Teacher’s Camp here in Baguio City. Sweet, short and nifty, that. Had lunch of mussels and some wine after at SM.

What I have managed to dig up at the booksale:

Salmon spawning

1. How to Travel with a Salmon by Umberto Eco –  I have Umberto Eco’s “The Island of the Day Before” which I never seem to get finished. I always get stuck at Chapter 1. I guess I should have bought “The Name of the Rose” instead – but “The Island” was on sale at National, The Name of the Rose was unavailable, and since I’d been hearing a lot of positive reviews about Umberto Eco decided to read one and see what all the fuss about. Verdict? Should have bought “Name of the Rose” instead. However, “How to Travel with a Salmon” is actually not too bad. In fact, I am so far, liking it. I bought it primarily because I love salmon, both as metaphor, inspiration and food (not necessarily in that order) and because since this is a collection of essays, I figured maybe Umberto Eco is more interesting as an essayist. As it turns out, he is interesting. In fact, he is that, and more. I still haven’t finished the whole book, but I am so far loving it. His sardonic, snarky sense of humor and his detailed amusing accounts of traveling with salmon, trying to get a driver’s license, surviving customs and immigration and traveling by train calls to mind my own experiences of trying to get my own driver’s license, going through customs and immigration, traveling by train and by plane. I wanted to tell him, come to the Philippines, where getting a driver’s license is as easy as buying a stick of Marlboro cigarette at the neighborhood sari-sari store.

2. Goethe’s Faust translated by Walter Kaufmann – Okay, so I don’t know why I bought this one. I already had a hundred year old, dusty,musty, hardcover edition of this book (bought at 10 pesos or something) bought in the Ramos administration way back in college. But I saw this paperback edition, with the left hand side in the original German, and the right hand side in English – and I realized I had to buy for those days when I have run out of stuff to read and must thus read that stuff that I have to read but haven’t found the time to. Plus I saw the translation and thought it was a better translation than the one I already have. Plus, it was translated by Walter Kaufman, who translated the anthology of Friedrich Nietzche works that I have and I liked that translation. Nuff said. It looks pretty nifty.

I must say, actually, I should put a moratorium on my book-buying habit. I’ve got so much books to read, I’ve got books coming out of my ears! IN fact, I think my books are spawning all on their own, so much so that when I try to clean up my room or get rid of books that don’t need to be kept, some nook or cranny reveals some long-forgotten book I didn’t know I had bought long time ago.

Anyway, feeling a little guilt at having bought a couple books, I go to the DVD shop to assuage my guilt, only to realize that I find myself feeling more guilty as I leave the shop with a couple of DVDs: Ryan Murphy’s (he of “Glee” fame) now-defunct, two-season TV show, “Popular” and Ming Na’s new TV show, “Stargate Universe”. The lady at the DVD bookshop had offered me the DVD of “True Blood” and some other TV shows, which I vehemently refused, and I told her, “I have so much to read and watch. You’ve recommended so many DVDs to me I don’t even have time for a social life anymore! IN fact, all I ever do is watch DVDs! I have no friends! Ya hear me? I have no friends!” The lady laughs and says, “You have a friend. I am your friend.”

Funnily enough, that doesn’t make me feel better.

But no matter! I am happy to report that I may have to chuck the Battlestar Galactica DVD. It ain’t working, and the first few scenes I’ve seen of the premier is pretty much ho-hum. The only thing that makes this interesting is Ming Na but she isn’t the star, so when she isn’t in any frame, it’s boring. Even the presence of Robert Carlyle isn’t doing it for me.

Now, “Popular” though is another thing altogether. I’ve had apprehensions about buying it. But I remember it when it was first being shown on TV, at Studio 23, and from what I had seen (I hadn’t followed it as religiously as “Buffy”) it was entertaining and funny. It had shown at the time when I was busy with school and work, so. Plus DVDs weren’t invented yet, or the fine art of DVD marathons, so. But! I have since started watching it and I must say, this is one cleverly written, witty, hilarious, snarky, sardonic, ironic little TV show. It’s a bit like Buffy, except without the vampires or demons or staking and slaying and action. All the action happens in the dialogue, which is tight and nasty and funny, even when it talks about serious stuff like bulimia, anorexia or the scary stage in a person’s life that is puberty.

My favorite has always been Glamazon cheerleader Mary Cherry (Leslie Grossman) and Nicole Julian (Tammy Lynn Michaels, Melissa Etheridge’s girl), who light up dull scenes with their easy, nasty banter. Whether trying to turn pre-pubescent wanna-bes into p0pular types by requiring them to read Sun-Tzu’s “The Art of War” and Nicolo Macchiavelli’s “The Prince” (call them shallow, but never call them stupid. They read, these cheerleaders!), or calling each other hos and sluts, or going off to vomit before a big pep rally, or making life miserable for all those who are not popular, these two are always fun to watch. I think of them as Buffy’s Cordelia, Anya, Glory, Harmony all put together, plus every other bitchy character ever created on TV. But more fun.

And who can forget that androgynous chemistry teacher, Bobbie (Diane Delano) who rocks as the unforgiving, unapologetic, single, overweight, tough teacher from hell? Also, blink and you’ll miss Michelle Krusiec (“Saving Face”) playing Exquisite. I blinked and I missed her the first time. Then again, she was the token Asian, so she’ll just register as such in your consciousness. But I think the most interesting here has to be Carly Pope’s “Sam MacPherson”. What can I say, brainy types are hot. 🙂

There are a lot of memorable quotes here, so I suggest just clicking here for the full list. 🙂

In the meantime, I have got to go. Must finish el reading and el watching.

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