Regulars may have noted that we have not been posting articles daily. This is because the last week of May always tries to kill us, so we took time off from writing columns and blogging. Also our ancient Mac and slow internet connection were sucking all the joy out of going online. The allergy (to prickly heat powder) is gone, the Mac is new, and the connection is fast, so we are back.
This is how we spent our “vacation”.
1. Defrosted the fridge. Why we do not do this regularly is a mystery, since all it entails is pushing a button. Maybe because we think of it as housework and we hate housework. We only remember to defrost the refrigerator when the icebox is sealed shut. When the ice has melted after a day or so, we expect to find The Thing in the freezer.
2. Thought of writing fake family history to claim relationship to the late billionaire Edmond Safra. There’s so much unsubstantiated information online, just posting a claim gives it traction. The only thing stopping us is the sheer weirdness of Edmond Safra’s story.
3. Read The Love Object by Edna O’Brien.
4. Shopped for feline overlords. We have found a regular source of Fancy Feast, which of course we will not reveal.
Sidebar: We’ve mentioned the cat epidemic in February which killed three of our outdoor ampon. We did not mention that Meriadoc disappeared on the day the outdoor cats started falling ill, because we could not accept the possibility that he had gotten infected.
Yesterday the guard reported that Meriadoc has been turning up very late at night, wearing a collar. He has found other humans. Traitor! Deserter! Then we realized that he did the smartest thing in order to avoid the epidemic. Humans get sentimental about cats; cats are not sentimental. They survive.
5. Watched 6 seasons of The Good Wife, which we had avoided seeing because everyone told us to. The full review in our column on Friday. We enjoyed the show, but cannot rein in our indignation: What is the point of casting Matthew Goode, possessor of the most adorable overbite on the screen, and then not giving him anything to do?
According to reports he won’t be back for the 7th season as he is joining the cast of Downton Abbey. So we’ll start watching Downton again, but not the two seasons we missed since Cousin Matthew died in the Xmas special. Here’s Matthew Goode in Stoker, which we missed for some reason or other but have to look up because it’s inspired by Hitchcock’s Shadow of A Doubt, which we love. Stoker was directed by Park Chan Wook (Old Boy) and written by Wentworth Miller (Prison Break).
6. Started listening to Basic Russian audiofiles. It’s supposed to be easier to learn Russian than Hungarian. It occurred to us while pronouncing common Russian names (Boris is “Ba-REES”) that world leaders have gotten Putin wrong. If you want anything from him, you challenge him to single combat.
This is one of exactly two cats we’ve seen on the whole trip. One was inside a carrier at the Market Hall in Budapest. This one was in a store window in Venice, around Castello. The sleeping cat looks like Saffy. (Saffy: That was me. I bilocated.)
Next to the cat, a sign telling people not to tap the glass. Some linguistic confusion here. “E io mi irrito!!!!”— The cat gets irritated by the tapping, the storekeeper gets irritated, or is the cat in the window because she annoyed the storekeeper?
1. Watch German crime thrillers for free.
Every Wednesday 6pm at the 4th Floor, Room 3 of Goethe-Institut Philippinen, Adamson Center, Leviste St., Salcedo Village, Makati.
April 8: Dreileben – Etwas Besseres als den Tod (Beats being dead). Directed by Christian Petzold (who made Nina).
A sexual offender escapes from a hospital. His escape and the police’s hectic search serve as a background to the love story between Johannes, a boy from a rich home undertaking his civilian service, and Ana, a pretty girl from Bosnia.
April 15: Dreileben – Komm mir nicht nach (Don’t Follow Me Around). Directed by Dominik Graf
A sexual offender is loitering somewhere in the Thuringian forest. Police psychologist Johanna is sent to Dreileben to assist in the case.
April 22: Dreileben – Eine Minute Dunkel (One minute of darkness). Directed by Christoph Hochhäusler
Frank Molesch, convicted of murder, uses an opportunity to escape. He takes refuge in the forest. The awareness that he has become fair game changes him. The police combine all their technology and manpower to capture the fugitive.
For more information, visit their website.
2. Get a free trip to France (if you speak French).
Filipinos aged 18 to 25 are invited to participate in LabCitoyen, an annual program launched by Institut Français that selects French-speaking youth from all over the world to participate in a series of conferences, debates, and workshops on citizenship over the course of a ten-day, all expenses paid visit to France.
Each year, Institut Français opens this contest to Francophone youths to raise discussion and awareness on various issues concerning human rights and citizenship.
This year, interested participants are to create a 5-minute video documentary in the French language on the theme “Human rights in the face of environmental challenges,” in view of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 21) to be hosted by France in December 2015.
COP 21 is vital as 195 governments will endeavor to sign an ambitious, universal and legally binding agreement to limit global warming to 2°C,
before the effects of climate change become irreversible.
One Filipino shall be chosen by the cultural section of the Embassy of France to the Philippines to participate in the 10-day program in France from July 15 to 25, 2015.
The deadline for submission of videos is on April 20, 2015. For the complete mechanics, visit their website.
3. Tennis lessons
Since our eldest niece was two we have been bugging her mother to let her take tennis lessons. After all Martina Hingis was only two when she picked up the racquet. True, her mom was playing in tournaments during pregnancy, but the point is that we can make like the Djokovic family at tennis matches and jeer at the enemy. Or the Federers and invite fashion editors to sit courtside wearing large sunglasses.
We volunteered to take the kid to her lessons, and then our sister pointed out that her classes are at 10am. Yuccch, sunshine. So we won’t be trundling out our horrible tennis relative impression (Mary Pierce’s dad, Jennifer Capriati’s dad, Steffi Graf’s dad, etc), but who knows.
The niece is expected to balk at physical activity since she’d rather dress as various Disney princesses, so we have recommended a regimen of Maria Sharapova videos (free earplugs for the whole family).
Last Thursday we were writing a review of Blackhat for our column at InterAksyon when we went off course as we often do, and by following the detour, ended up with a column about the enforcement of the rules of grammar at our old and much-missed newspaper, TODAY. The second paragraph started like this:
This grammatical challenge reminded me that when I was writing for TODAY, I witnessed a smackdown between two eminent editors of advanced age. They differed on whether Yakuza was capitalized or not, like Mafia or mafia. To buttress their positions they consulted the many dictionaries and manuals of style in the office library.
The column went online on Friday. Today our editor Chuchay informed us that on Friday night, one of those two grammar enforcers, Manny Benitez, died. We had not been in touch for many years.
Our condolences to Mr Benitez’s family.
We still haven’t figured out whether we’re clairvoyant or do long-range psychokinetic strikes. Time for a trip to the Dagobah system.