Buffy Studies 101: All the things I know about break-ups I learned from Buffy

So, in the previous post I said that I thought there was a romantic prospect on the horizon. Well, that was a bust! It came and went in the space of a week and thus I must needs go to the “Gospel of Buffy” to find some measure of comfort and truth in Buffy. I think maybe Buffy can help me get over this heartbreak.

1. Did your groom just leave you at the altar? No problem. Go back to being a demon!

2. Is your girlfriend the emotionally unavailable Chosen One? No problem. Go pay vampires to suck your blood then rejoin the Initiative.

3. Did your girlfriend dump you because you are using way too much magic? No problem. Use more magic.

4. Did your friends bring you back from the dead not knowing you were in Heaven because you are The Chosen One? Sleep with the vampire you hate the most and have earth shattering sex.

5. Did your girlfriend stab you through the chest and send you through a demon portal because your evil alter ego was about to bring the apocalypse? Come back, leave town and establish your own private investigation agency.

6. Did your girlfriend die from a gunshot wound because The Chosen Ones nemesesis (grin) accidentally shot her whilst trying to kill The Slayer? Go bad, suck the magic out of everything, skin your enemies alive and destroy the world.

7. Did you just propose to your girlfriend thinking it’s the end of the world but suddenly change your mind because you’re not ready? Wish for a musical demon to make everyone burst out into song. Then after, right before you get married, abandon your bride at the altar, disappear and appear again demanding that the ex-bride you just abandoned at the altar take you back again. And watch as she tries to eviscerate you.

Hmmm….I don’t have a lot of choices from the above, do I? What I want to do now though is become a vengeance demon. But since that can’t happen, I think I shall go for just randomly bursting out into song and joining an organization that will make me travel to other places. Wish me luck!

All I Ever Really Learned About Love & Relationships, I learned from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and other shows besides)

So there’s a potentially interesting dating prospect on the horizon and since being the hardcore geek that I am, I am always lost and stumped as to how to go about this, I have turned to television shows to help me deal with people who may potentially be the next partner.

I have realized that in Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s six season run, it has quite capably tackled the very thorny, tricky issue of navigating the murky waters of relationships, something that now proves handy in light of the circumstances. Sure, nobody past 3 years old watches television to improve his/her mind, much less turn to TV to help you with relationships, but I find that all you’ll probably ever learn about relationships you’ll learn from TV. Or more specifically, Buffy.

1. If the object of your affection looks pale, only comes out at night, and has mysteriously long, sharp canines, think twice about dating him/her.

2. If the object of your affection doesn’t look pale, isn’t a night owl, and doesn’t have fangs, but cannot explain the impeccable posture, the alertness in his eye, or the many shades of fatigues in his closet,  then he’s probably working for a secret government organization out to shut you down.

3. If the object of your affection isn’t any of the above, but likes to float pencils, make spells that make friends into demon magnets, go blind, or marry the next git that comes along, then think twice. She may be gearing up to be addicted to the dark arts…and get you killed in the process.

4. Is the object of your affection your mortal enemy? Is she your complete opposite? Does she stake your kind? Do you bite her kind? Brace yourself. You’ll probably fall in love with her. And get yourself dusted in the process.

5. If the object of your affection used to be a demon, you’ll probably fall in love with her. Everybody loves obnoxious thousand year old demons!

6. If the object of your affection is a geek and a dork, is a drifter, bounces from one job to the next, is prone to making stupid, pointless jokes in the face of danger, is given to commitment issues, living in his parents’ basement and spanking, then you better not date him. When he proposes marriage, turn him down, like, right now.

7. If the object of your affection’s girlfriend just died, is a recovering addict, is prone to making friends disappear accidentally, and making herself look like the guy who killed her dead girlfriend…duck. Then come on to her shamelessly, til she gives in and sucks the power out of you to open a portal to another dimension.

8. If the object of your affection is a self-sufficient, self-reliant person prone to keeping things to herself, has a lot of responsibilities (say, like saving the world from an apocalypse), is prone to not having time for you because she has duties like taking care of a younger sister who’s also a mystical key that can open the portal to an apocalypse, a dying mother, a friend who just left his bride at the altar, another friend who’s a magic junkie, in short, not really there there for you then maybe it’s time to re-think your relationship prospects. Confront the object your affection, but if nothing happens, then it’s time to go to rejoin the secret government organization instrumental in your meeting and go down to Guatemala.

9. If the object of your affection is a spoiled, rich, trust-fund, boarding school hottie who is into you right from the get-go but doesn’t get your addiction to magic, and pursues you like hell on steroids, don’t panic. This will probably be the best thing that ever happened to you. Try it. The most unexpected is usually the most surprising, and the most fulfilling…unless until Season 8 comes into the picture.

10. It is possible to be friends with all your ex-es, no matter how terrible the relationship may have been. Some of them turn out to be your best friends, too, and save the world because of you.

11. All you need is love. Love is the one thing that triumphs over you staking your evil boyfriend in the gut right after he summons an apocalypse, condemning him into a demonic dimension, and it is the one thing that triumphs when he comes back and should be hating you but instead loves you even more, loves you so much in fact that he leaves so you don’t have to make the choice of choosing him over the world again. Love is the one thing that makes you die for your loved ones. Love is the one the thing that makes you quit your addictions and obsessions. Love is the one thing that helps you triumph over fear, grief, pain, death. Just when you think you can’t take it anymore, just when you think you have nothing more to give, just when you think you can’t take anymore of what life can give you, you find the strength in love. In the end, what matters most is that love is still, ever more, stronger than death. 🙂

Have a great week!

This just in from NY Times: Education ain’t just an Asian problem

ON A WINTER DAY five years ago, Doug Lemov realized he had a problem. After a successful career as a teacher, a principal and a charter-school founder, he was working as a consultant, hired by troubled schools eager — desperate, in some cases — for Lemov to tell them what to do to get better. There was no shortage of prescriptions at the time for how to cure the poor performance that plagued so many American schools. Proponents of No Child Left Behind saw standardized testing as a solution. President Bush also championed a billion-dollar program to encourage schools to adopt reading curriculums with an emphasis on phonics. Others argued for smaller classes or more parental involvement or more state financing.

For more click here.

11 Things I learned from watching “Battlestar Galactica”

Just finished watching Season 5 of “Battlestar Galactica“, arguably one of the best sci-fi television shows ever produced ever. My eyes are bloodshot, I am tired, but it’s all worth it, considering it’s a great show.

Since I have finished watching it, I have come to realize some important things about the human race and everything else, and I would like to write it down for posterity.

1. When robots evolve, all they’ll ever want to do is reproduce…with each other and with humans.

2. When robots evolve, the first thing/s they want to look like are a) Xena, b) a hot-looking Victoria’s Secret model, c) hot Asian chick. Oh, and the guys look okay, too.

3. Time travel is always an acceptable solution for any kind of impending extinction of humankind (please see the new “Star Trek” movie to illustrate this point as well).

4. When robots evolve, and are able to look human, they will only choose 10 faces and multiply that by millions, and have each one called by a generic name like “Six” or “Eight”  to confuse viewers.

5. It is possible to have cancer and live through 50,000 crises and only die at the very end of the show.

6. Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes) is awesome. Scary, but awesome.

7. You can be a woman and still be a) the complex president, b) a complex admiral, c) a complex lead fighter pilot, d) a complex villain  with intelligent lines.

8. Even if you are the most vile, dorky, deranged (but smart!)  villain in the fleet, for as long as you are  Gaius Baltar (James Callis), you will almost always get laid by a Number 6 (Tricia Helfer), anywhere in the universe (or multi-verses or alternate dimensions or time).

9. Even old people (William Adama and President Laura Roslin, Col. Sol Tigh and Ellen)  in the future have sex lives.

10. You can die and come back again for as long as you are Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff).

11. All this has happened before and will happen again.

12. Robots are humans too.

13. Battlestar Galactica rocks. 🙂

Now, for a trip down memory lane, the BSG cast on the David Letterman show.

12 things I’ve learned from watching lesbian films

So I came across this blog post “17 Things I’ve learned about life from watching movies and TV“(good post, check it out). The blog post inspired me so much I’d like to do my own, except it’s the top things I’ve learned from watching lesbian movies.

1. Character. The leads will always be extreme opposites. One of them will usually be a) some repressed, conservative girl who gets attracted to the b) rebel without a cause who likes to drink, smoke and generally be her exact opposite.

Examples:

  • Lost and Delirious. Tory (Jessica Pare) is the nice girl-next-door who falls for orphan rebel smoker Paulie (Piper Perabo).
  • The Secrets (Ha Sodot) – The repressed Israeli student falls in love with the girl who just came from Paris.
  • The World Unseen – Lisa Ray’s repressed Indian wife  falls in love with the feisty (aren’t they always?) cafe-owning, liberal Amina (Sheetal Sheth).
  • I Can’t Think Straight – Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth reverse roles.
  • But I’m a Cheerleader – Natasha Lyonne plays the All-American cheerleader who falls in love with the goth-ish rebel without a cause trust-fund hottie, Clea Duvall.
  • When Night is Falling – Repressed Christian professor falls in love with the free-wheelin’ circus hottie.
  • DEBS – Hot, repressed, uptight top, perfect scoring DEBS spy falls in love with equally hot, uninhibited, liberal, very gay Jordana Brewster character.
  • Show Me Love (Sweden) – Promiscuous, rebellious teenage girl who’s slept with most of the teenaged male population of the town falls for geeky, mousy, teenage girl.-

2. The more “butch” lead will almost always be smoking.

3. The “femme” lead will almost always love Walt Whitman, opera and walks under the moonlight or in wide, open spaces.

4. The repressed latent homosexual will almost always be attracted to the outsider/rebel/sexually ambiguous and/or lesbian in the school because said repressed homosexual is sick and tired of boyfriend/fiance/husband or has slept with the whole male populace of the town or city.

5. The would-be lesbian lovers will have a series of meetings that may either begin with a) hostility or b) bonding but will almost always end with c) them hitting it off and then having trips to some exhilirating place where they realize they are meant for each other: the soccer stadium (Imagine Me and You), the gaming room (Imagine Me and You), the bar/pub, the circus, hang gliding, Oxford, some god-forsaken wide open space in the middle of nowhere where the two leads will then proceed to

6. Have a montage of talking, listening to music, reading, looking at each other with those longing looks that can either look like either or both are a) really into each other or b) constipated.

7. This montage will eventually lead to a mounting sexual tension which will then lead to a lot of vigorous making-out or a really contrived but inexplicably hot love scene featuring really dark lighting, red sheets, stock footage of the moon and stars, and some music by a band known only to the producer and director.This scene will end with both characters professing undying love to each other until

8. The  love struck lesbian  leads are discovered by any of the following: a) family, b) friends and/or c) complete strangers buck naked in bed which lead to the climax of the movie.

9. The  love struck lesbian  leads will almost always forget to lock the door whilst making love even though both are not out to their family, friends and/or complete strangers.

10. The inevitable tension mounts when family, friends and sometimes even complete strangers express disapproval over the lesbian relationship. Said family, friends and complete strangers will try to break said  love struck lesbian  leads.

11. Either leads will try to be straight.

12. One of them will almost always go crazy, end up in a mental asylum, or be married, or dead. And sometimes, they come back as ghosts and haunt the living daylights out of the ex-lover (Memento Mori).

How to Enjoy Shakespeare without crying

I know what you are all thinking. Reading Shakespeare, not good. Movie version, better. 🙂

Bear with me. Reading Shakespeare can be fun, if you only try. Follow my tips and you’ll be able to enjoy Shakespeare. 🙂

Antony and Cleopatra

1. Get a good version of the book. I have just finished Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. I have his other books waiting to be read. Of course, Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be watched, but it’s nice to read them as well. Get the book with annotations, since some of the words he uses in his plays are no longer in use, or have changed meanings already.

2.  Give Shakespeare your full attention. Reading Antony and Cleopatra or some other works by Shakespeare, requires your full, undivided attention. If you can’t, then read something else.

3. You don’t need a degree in Shakespeare to understand him. He wrote his plays for the masses. So whatever play he writes is bound to be something you can relate to, as Shakespeare is a very scarily keen, astute  observer of human behavior.

4. Check out how people in Shakespeare’s time used words. You’ve got to hand it to the ancients. They knew how to use words. And you can too!

To threaten someone:

Cleopatra: The gold I give thee will I melt and pour down thy ill-uttering throat.

Cleopatra: Like balls before me, I’ll unhair thy head.

Cleopatra: Thou shalt be whipped with wire and stewed in brine, smarting in ling’ring pickle.

Cleopatra: The gods confound thee!

Enobarbus: Think, and die.

When trying to insult someone, Shakespeare’s characters (from Antony and Cleopatra) can be very useful:

1. She shows a body rather than a life, a statue than a breather.

2.  (Your face is) round even to faultiness.

3. Her forehead (is) as low as she would wish it.

If you are the boss and your subordinate wants to give you a message:

1. You (as spoken by Antony): Grates me! The sum!

2. (From Cleopatra): Ram though thy fruitful tidings in mine ears, that long time have been barren.

If somebody asks you out, and you want to turn them down, you can say, as Charmian did in “Antony and Cleopatra”: I had rather heat my liver with drinking.

If you are in a relationship, you can impress your partner with this:

(Revised from Antony and Cleopatra)

1. Eternity was in our lips and eyes, Bliss in our brows’ bent…

2. My full heart remains in use with you.

3. (Instead of  simply saying goodbye like a normal person) The world and my great office will sometimes divide me from your boss.

4. (Instead of saying “Please be careful with my heart” like any lovesick idiot) You take from me a great part of myself; use me well in ‘t.

5. (When describing your love) “The April ‘s in her eyes: it is love’s spring.” or “The rose of youth is on (his/her) lips.”

6. Shall I abide in this dull world, which in thy absence is no better than a sty?

6. My heart was to thy rudder tied by th’ strings.

When ordering mead in a pub:

Enorbabus: Cup us til the world go round!

When coming on to a hot guy/girl in a pub: Word me!

Warning: Blogger will not be responsible for results that will arise from the use of the above. 🙂

5. Read a stanza at least twice to get the gist of the stanza. Because Shakespeare, like Goethe, needs to be savoured. And understood. For maximum enjoyment.

6. It helps if you do some research on the characters. Most o Shakespeare’s characters were based on historical ones. Knowing the background helps you understand the story and the context better.

And…!if all else fails, just read the books again. And don’t forget to watch the movies.

Happy reading!

How to teach English (without losing your mind)

So nowadays, the teaching of English as a second language (ESL) has become a lucrative industry, not just for native speakers of the language, but also for those for whom English is a second language, such as Filipinos.

Thus, a lot of Filipinos have entered into the ESL industry, without nary a thought about what they are getting themselves into.

So as a service to these Pinoys, I have compiled a how-to which I hope can help you.

1. Prepare. Just because you know how to speak English doesn’t automatically mean that you are qualified to teach it.  Teaching English means having the foll9wing: teaching methods, teaching techniques, English language proficiency, correct pronunciation and so on.

2. Have a dictionary handy by your side. And I don’t just mean a cheap, small, pocket dictionary that only has about 20 words in it. I recommend the Oxford dictionary or the Merriam Webster dictionary, both of which are very realiable references.

3. Have a thesaurus. Please refer to number 2 for explanation.

4. Know the history and the culture. Know how English developed, and know the kind of English being spoken now (global English, Western English, Filipino English, etc.) and be able to distinguish between each one.

5. Go to trainings and seminars. This will help you immensely with your teaching.

6. Read. If the last book you read was a Harlequinn or Mills and Boons book, brush up on your reading.

I will have more later.

Discovering Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”

So as I mentioned before, I’ve got so much books at home I’ve got books coming out of my ears.

Thus I have been reading like mad, reading my way through all the unread books and continuning with this, I have discovered how interesting Aldous Huxley‘s “Brave New World” is. Since I like books like George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm, Ayn Rand‘s Anthem, and the mother of all novels utopian or dystopian, Sir Thomas More‘s Utopia, Aldous Huxley’s novel is right up my alley.

Now, I’ve read my share of utopian/dystopian visions of the world gone awry. In fact, these literary novels have been adapted for the screen or have enjoyed post-modern incarnations in popular blockbusters as “The Matrix”, “Gattaca”, and any number of Steven Spielberg-inspired films, but this novel, written in the 1930s, makes it all the more refreshing. In fact, as I was reading it, I was surprised at how eeriely it captures the kind of (post)modern, (post)industrial, global, consumerist/capitalist life that we have.  The scary thing about this 1930s’ novel is that humans are engineered, brainwashed and deliberately conditioned to form castes, lifestyles, attitudes, behaviors, perceptions and so on in order for them to function as useful members of society. People share each other (physically, sexually)  in a communal, off-hand, casual way, the idea of property, ownership, spirituality and relationships are abolished, and the idea of freedom and individuality extinguished. What makes this book so interesting is that it effectively describes what we are going through now, except that we have been conditioned even without having been brainwashed or engineered to have these kinds of lifestyles, attitudes, behaviors, perceptions and prejudices.

Pretty riveting stuff. I recommend it.