Tuesday is Soylent Green Day!

I’ve heard the term Soylent Green used numerous times in the past but I never understood what it meant. That was, until I heard it mentioned again on the Slice of Sci-fi Podcast, one of my favourite podcasts. According to them, it is an old science fiction film starring Charlton Heston. The fact that Charlton Heston was in it quickly got me interested.

As luck would have it, the Soylent Green DVD was available free for loan at the City Library. We reserved it and borrowed it.

When we got it, we inspected the DVD cover and it was a painted cover that was probably in style at the time (the 1970s). On the cover is a short blurb about the movie written in a futuristic font (well, the type of futuristic font that was popular back in the 70’s and 80’s): “It’s the year 2022… People are still the same. They’ll do anything to get what they need. And they need SOYLENT GREEN.”

I admit that when we didn’t expect much from the movie. I was expecting it to be totally dated. Well, it was a little dated. The computer game was like an Atari 2600 game and the apartment interior design was very 70’s loungy (not to mention the music). Surprisingly though, it was very easy to see past through the supposed futuristic stuff.

After all, the story was centered more on the bleakness of a future time where there is over population and over pollution. There isn’t enough food to go around. There isn’t enough space in the world to accommodate all the people. People live in the streets and have to be given a ration of processed food in the form of square chips produced by a company called Soylent.

The company’s old offerings were Soylent Red and Soylent Yellow, based from soy and plankton. However, the people soon grew tired of it. So, when the new product called Soylent Green was introduced, people couldn’t get enough of it. The products were distributed only on certain days. And Tuesday is Soylent Green Day.

I thought it would be a boring movie. Thankfully, it wasn’t. I actually love the story. The moral of the story still rings true. It will make you think of where we, the human race, are headed if we continue to grow in numbers at an unchecked rate. It is also a better watch if you haven’t read or heard any spoilers though so try to avoid using Google or Wikipedia to look up the term Soylent Green.

Also, if you have the DVD, watch the trailer for it last. You’ll see that the stupid trailer actually reveals the entire story. It kept asking, “what is the secret of Soylent Green?” but it ended up answering the same question in the trailer itself. It was like having a trailer for Signs and the narrator kept asking, “how would we stop the alien invaders?” and then at the end of the trailer we see the alien writhing when doused with water.

Anyway, go look for it and watch it. Highly recommended. And even if you didn’t like it, you’d at least be in on it whenever it is referenced in jokes and conversation.

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Published in: on May 9, 2006 at 12:03 pm  Comments (2)  

Night of Laughter

The 20th Melbourne International Comedy Festival ended just yesterday. The Comedy Festival held annually for a month during autumn here in Melbourne is one of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, according to its website. This year, they started a bit late because they waited for the recent Melbourne Commonwealth Games to finish first.

Every year since I moved to Australia all those years ago, I tuned in on the TV around autumn time to watch The Comedy Gala show which was basically a sampler of the best comedians who had shows during the Comedy Festival month. Before moving to Melbourne though, I thought that the comedians at the Gala were in Melbourne just for that one show.

I only first heard about the actual Comedy Festival when I was applying for a job in Melbourne back in 2004. I missed it though because I only moved from Canberra to Melbourne around July. The following year, I missed it again. That time, I was just too lazy to go see any of the shows. You know how it is. “The Festival is held here. And since we live here, we can always go in the future.” To tell you the truth, I really didn’t even bother to look up any information regarding the event. I didn’t know what shows were there or how long the festival was on.

This year, we almost gave it a miss again. However, when we went to the Lion King musical last Wednesday night, we noticed the well lit Melbourne Town Hall with a lot of people gathered around it. It was only after seeing that did I want to be a part of the festival.

The unfortunate part of it was that by the time I wanted to actually buy tickets to see some shows, there were only a few days ago till the Comedy Festival ends. That meant that gigs were getting fully booked quicker.

It was also very difficult to choose between the shows. Some of those shows I wanted to go to were on very late (10pm onward). And some are going to be shown at the same time as another show I wanted to go to.

Originally, I just wanted to go to the popular acts like Arj Barker’s. I know he’s funny because I’ve seen him multiple times in various Comedy Gala shows. And on this year’s Gala, I found Stephen K Amos and Charlie Pickering very hilarious so I wanted to see their shows, too.

I was also thinking of going to the popular Aussie comedians like Dave Hughes, Judith Lucy and Wil Anderson. The problem however was that their shows were some of the more expensive in the festival. I reasoned to myself that I could still hear Dave Hughes on Nova FM every morning and watch Wil Anderson and Dave on The Glass House show on TV. That leaves Judith but I figured she’d always be around so I could always catch her later.

In the end though, I just wanted to see Arj Barker’s show and one or two cheap shows by lesser known comedians. I heard John Safran interview comedian Michael Chamberlin on his Sunday Night Safran radio show on Triple J so I got a good idea as to the type of comedy Michael will be performing.

Come Friday night, we were set to watch Arj and Michael but when I got to the ticket office, they told me Arj was sold out! At the end of the day, we just got to see Michael’s show. Well, at least we got to save some money.

After buying the ticket, we still had some time to spare before the 8pm showing at the Regent Room in the Melbourne Town Hall. We went upstairs into the mezzanine to look for the room. We found that the mezzanine was filled with advertisement cards of the Comedy Festival shows as well as four Macs on display.

Since we didn’t have a real camera along (apart from the camera built-in on my mobile phone), I was pleased to see that the Macs came equipped with web-cams. At least we could have a better souvenir photo of our night at the festival. It’s also good that I figured out how to send the web-cam photos we took with the Mac.

Anyway, I digressed. We soon found our way to the Regent Room where there was a queue to get in. The corridor where we waited stank of cigarette smoke so I was itching to get in the room. Thankfully, the room was smoke-free.

It was actually a small room, only good enough to fit about 40 or so people at a time. Well, at least even if we sat way out back, the performer would still be quite near.

Michael’s show was titled Michael Chamberlin and the Ten Commandments. I knew beforehand that it would make jabs at the Catholics and Catholicism somewhat because of his interview with Safran. I admit that most of it was very funny except for the parts where he was being extra irreverent. I thought I’d be able to take it but I was just too uncomfortable with such jokes, I found out.

All in all, it was still great. We only ended up watching that one show. My only regret was that I didn’t get into the whole Comedy Festival spirit earlier. Next year, I’ll look at their show line-up as soon as it is available at their website and plan which shows to watch and when. I definitely won’t miss it next year.

Published in: on May 8, 2006 at 9:44 pm  Comments (2)  

Money is in the details

Our car insurance was up for renewal last month and the insurer has sent us a renewal notice a few weeks prior. It listed all the details of our car as well how much we owe to renew the said insurance for another year. The bill lists different options to pay and I immediately scheduled an payment through our bank account to automatically pay it a few days before it is due.

A couple of days before the insurance was due, I got an email receipt from the bank confirming that the payment has been forwarded to the insurer. A week passed and I thought that we would have received a receipt from the insurer but our postbox remained empty. Fearing that the receipt was waylaid (wouldn’t be the first time), I asked hubby to call the insurance company to confirm if they have gotten the payment and if they’ve sent the receipt yet.

I previously noticed that the bill the insurance company sent us have our address correct (hey, we got the bill, didn’t we?). Yet, on the upper right hand side of bill it states that the postcode of the insured address is 3183 – the postcode of our old apartment. I didn’t think it was important enough to have it corrected as the mailing address includes our correct postcode anyway. But as hubby was put in a holding queue, I asked him to have it corrected.

Good thing too, as we got a $152 refund because of it! As it turned out, the insurance amount we paid was based on that old postcode. When we had it corrected, the insurance we were supposed to pay was reduced accordingly, perhaps because this postcode is less risky.

Note to self: Never underestimate the power of one seemingly irrelevant detail in your future bills. You never know how much that mistake may cause you.

Published in: on May 8, 2006 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Die, greys, dye!

When we went to the zoo recently, Gj and I spent a lot of time waiting for the animals to show up. Since we each had a camera, we spent the time taking photos of each other (candids and posed). In one of the photos he took of me, I noticed that there are now quite a number of grey hairs at the back of my hair. That was a shocker. I know I have some grey hairs but I never thought it’s that many!

Not wanting to get a permanent colour to cover up the greys, I read up on other options. After hours of research and reading, I chose L’oreal Casting (Walnut). It’s semi-permanent, which means that it would gradually fade and my hair would be back to its original colour in about 6-8 weeks (or if forum members are to be believed, it’ll be more like 5-8 days). The box also said that it should cover first greys. What’s more, it’s supposed to be less damaging to the hair.

I did a skin patch test Thursday night to see if I’d get an adverse reaction to it. I didn’t and tonight I finally dyed my hair for the first time ever! As you can see from the before and after photos, my original colour is actually medium to dark brown. The procedure took about 40 minutes from start to finish. It was a pretty easy process but was really messy! Anyway, my hair has now gone darker to almost black. The greys are still there but is less noticeable as it now has a light brownish tint.

Not sure yet if I’d go with this product again after it fades or if I’m going to get a permanent. I had to admit though, now that my hair is no longer virgin, I think I’ll have some fun with it and try other brands/colours before going permanent. After all, there would be plenty of time later for permanent when I get more greys.

Published in: on May 6, 2006 at 10:49 pm  Comments (3)  

Mouse in the house

It happened at around 6.30 last night. We just got home and I was about to start cooking dinner. I reached out for some potatoes from a wire basket sitting on the counter when I noticed something move. It darted from the basket to the back of the microwave in the corner then through to the stove top and on to the counter on the other side of the room. By the time it was pouncing across the stove top, I finally realised what I was seeing – it was a mouse. My brain went from what-the-hell-is-that, oh-a-mouse, how-could-we-have-a-mouse, mouse-in-the-house-not-possible, it-IS-a-mouse, what-do-i-do-now and finally to oh-good-it’s-trapped-in-the-corner.

The critter was peering at me from behind the book stand which was holding the cookbook open at the recipe of the casserole I was about to prepare. After a few seconds of indecision, I called out to hubby, who was bringing in the wheelie bins from outside. Of course, he didn’t hear me and it took several minutes before I got him to come in and explain the situation to him. Meanwhile, the rodent must have realised that there’s no way out for him from behind the book stand and it scurried across to the other end of the counter, back behind the microwave.

Hubby was telling me to kill it while I keep the mouse in sight, it stared back with small beady eyes. I was arguing that I can’t possibly kill the thing, there’s nothing to kill it with. Besides, killing it seem to be just too… confrontational. With that, hubby went out to the garage to get something to kill it with, leaving me to keep watch over our intruder behind the microwave. By this time, I was hoping that it stays there as I don’t have a clue what to do if it tries to escape.

Finally, hubby came back with a broom with a long handle, handed it to me and repeated the verdict – kill it. What?!? I can’t kill it with that! As if on cue, the mouse ran across the counter towards the sink, where I was standing. I shooed it off, hoping for it to get back behind the microwave. I guess it couldn’t wait out the stand-off any longer so it jumped down to the floor where Gj tried to whack it with the broom. Missed. The mouse ran and jumped while hubby tried to get it with the broom several times. Hubby finally got the four-legged intruder inches from the refrigerator, where it could have hidden under it and could have had a chance at getting away later.

We dumped the body in a plastic bag and deposited it in the rubbish bin. Back inside the house, I started preparing dinner again after the all the excitement. Questions kept nagging at our minds though – where did the mouse come from, is it alone and more importantly, how did it get into the house. It wasn’t until we were in bed that I remembered the hole in the wall behind the dishwasher. The hole was already there when we bought the house and hubby forgot to fix it before installing the dishwasher. Now it looks like critters from outside may be coming into the house for warmth and food as the autumn nights get colder.

We have had a prior critter incident a few weeks before, with a big spider that expired in the middle of the kitchen floor with a group of tiny, young spiders circling it. It looked like it was moving in and relocating its nest. Good thing we sprayed Mortein (long lasting insecticide) a few weeks prior and it seemed that it was still doing its job.

Anyway, it looks like we have to pull out the dishwasher, fix the wall, re-install the dishwasher and see if we get any other unwanted visitors.

Published in: on May 5, 2006 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lion King the Musical

We finally saw The Lion King musical last night at the Regent Theatre in Melbourne. We were pretty excited. It was the second musical we went out to see overall (the first one being Miss Saigon in Manila) and the first one in Melbourne.

When we went to get the tickets a few days back, I even asked the ticketmaster if we had to wear formal attire to the theatre. She said we could go in casual just as long as it wasn’t anything indecent. We also decided to buy a pair of binoculars since our allotted seats were way in the back.

We got there half-an-hour before the start of the show. We were reluctant to buy the $20 Lion King programme (and souvenir book) but we figured, it’s possibly our only remembrance of the event. So, I bought one anyway just before we were ushered on to our seats.

We had no idea how far our seats were going to be from the stage before going in. I was pleased to discover that our seats, even though it was in the farthest most row from the stage, wasn’t all that far. I feel that the middle seats we had when we watched Miss Saigon in Manila was farther from the stage than the seats we had last night. That made me feel that the Regent Theatre was a bit small. I’m not complaining though.

It was all good until we actually found our assigned seats. My seat was adjacent this fat old guy, to put it bluntly. I don’t have anything against stout people (heck, I’m one), but my problem was that his arm has nowhere else to go but invade my side of the seat. So, for the duration of the show, I had to lean to the left just so I don’t bump into his arm.

My problem with my seatmate didn’t end there. Twenty minutes into the show, he started to snore! And it was a loud, too. You know, like he was gargling saliva. The funny thing though, whenever a big musical number finishes, he suddenly stops snoring and starts clapping with the rest of us. He even mumbles words of praise as if he was actually watching.

I can’t completely blame him for falling asleep though. I have to admit that there were parts in the show where I got bored as well. There were bits where I felt it just dragged.

For example, in one scene where Simba and Nala met and they were singing “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” in the savanna, just before the end of the song, ballet dancers went on stage and danced to the music while Nala and Simba waited on the sidelines for a couple of minutes!

However, even though there were these boring bits, the production was still awesome. I love the execution of the puppetry, particularly those of Timone’s and Zazu’s. Often times I forgot that there was this visible person behind the puppet doing all the singing and talking. It was also amazing to see how they executed the wildebeest stampede. Overall, I was impressed how they simulated all the animals on stage.

Most of the time, I was able to suspend my disbelief with the anthropomorphic animal characters. The only times where this illusion was broken was when the lions used swords to fight. I thought they were supposed to be animals, huh? And the lionesses had cloaks that made them look like women in burqas with lioness heads on top of their heads which distracted me.

The other bit that annoyed me about the show was the weak singing vocal performance of the boy who played the pre-teen Simba. I noticed him sing out of tune in at least a couple of occasions.

Overall, I still recommend this show despite the things I complained about and the ticket price. It was definitely a different experience from watching movies. We’re thinking of watching The Boy From Oz starring Hugh Jackman (aka Wolverine from the X-Men movies) next time.

Published in: on May 4, 2006 at 12:04 pm  Comments (2)  

Older

Is 30 years old considered old? I remember back in 1995 when the World Youth Day was held in Manila, the event was supposed to be for the Catholic youth which included the kids up to those who are 30 years old. I remember reading that in disbelief because I thought that any 25 year-old would’ve been labeled an adult, much more a 30 year-old.

Now that I’m actually 30, I do consider myself to be relatively young. I’d actually still feel young if not for some health concerns I didn’t have to worry about back when I was still 20. I now have a higher blood pressure, I’ve had some cysts removed, and I had a kidney stone episode. These things reminded me that I’m not getting any younger.

Other things that remind me of my growing older come from external sources, too. Friends and family get married and have children. Their children who were mere babies a few years ago are now starting primary school. My younger cousins who were still in elementary school when I left are in college now. I have friends who have passed away, too, due to health-related issues.

I remember my uncle who refuses to have his hand placed on our forehead when I was growing up. This placing of hand on the forehead or kissing it is a show of respect to one’s elders in the Philippines called mano. He said that it makes him feel old. I used to think to myself upon his refusal for a mano, “well, you are old.” But now I’m at probably the same age he was when he started to refuse our show of respect, I realise that maybe he actually didn’t feel that old himself.

Another Philippine form of respect to one’s elders is to use the word po or ho in sentences. In English, I guess the words “sir” or “madam” could be used as an approximate translation of po, but po is only used when talking to someone who is like a generation older than yourself.

I use po whenever I’m talking to my parents, my grandparents, my teachers, and people who I feel could be my uncle or aunt. Nowadays though, it’s starting to become harder to determine which people to say po to. Some Pinoys I meet look like they could be my aunts’ age when I was growing up so I’m more inclined to say po to them. But when I think about it, these people could actually be just about ten years older than me and I just didn’t realise it.

When I went to my friend’s pre-wedding party a few weeks back, I remember using po to the older women that reminded me of my Mom’s sisters. But should I have done it, really?

I used to think that older people prefer they be addressed with po when you talk to them as a sign of respect. But maybe not all of them wish it. After all, when people start using po when they talk to you, it could only mean that these people think you are actually old. Specially those older people in denial.

Speaking of which, Raquel and I went to buy some groceries at Coles last weekend. While at the checkout counter, the Asian girl busily scanned our groceries. She paused after a while and asked me in English, “er, are you Filipino?”

“Yes,” I replied in an unsure tone.

“Can you speak Tagalog?” she probed again.

This time I replied in Tagalog in the affirmative “oo”. It would’ve been silly to continue speaking to her in English when we can both speak in Tagalog anyway. Not to mention more difficult, anyway.

She mentioned that she’s only been in Australia for a year and that she came with her parents. From the looks of her, she seemed to be around 16 or 17 years old. I asked her if she was adjusting easily to Australian life (and accent). She said that it isn’t really a problem. Ah, youth. It must be easier to adapt to the slang and accent if one is younger.

Anyway, my conversation with her got me a little disconcerted. Unnerved even. She used po when she was talking to me! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t stop her from using po though thinking that maybe I do look old. Maybe I look like the same age as her parents. And maybe that’s true, too, specially if her parents are around 36 years old.

In my mind I always think I’m still young but the reality of it is that I am getting old. Or at least older. I keep thinking that my college days happened like it was only a couple of years ago when in reality, over a decade has passed since then. If I was the cashier girl and I was talking to my older self, I’d probably use po, too.

It was a shocking revelation that has pre-occupied my mind for the rest of the weekend. If I’m upset now, I just wonder how upset I’ll be when I have my midlife crisis in another decade or so. I’ll just have to wait and see, I guess.

Published in: on May 2, 2006 at 12:01 pm  Comments (4)  

Australia Needs Skills Recruitment Expos

The Australian Needs Skills Recruitment Expo would be held in Manila from May 17-18 this year. There are already schedules for Shanghai, Hongkong, USA, Brazil, Peru and major cities here in Australia while there are plans to also bring it to places like Dubai, Dublin, Manchester and London (exact schedules still to be determined, check the immigration website at a later date to see the schedules for these places).

According to the Australian immigration website, if you are under 45 years of age, have good English language skills, interested in living and working in Australia and have qualifications for an occupation as listed on the Migration Occupations in Demand List or Skilled Occupation List, then Australia wants you!

Interested parties should register their interest via this link.

UPDATE (02 May 06): Just learned that the expo is by invitation only, based on the answers you give on the online registration form (why you want to come to Australia, where in Australia you want to settle, how old you are and more importantly, what skills/qualifications you bring to the table).

I know that a lot of people may be discouraged by this but it would also mean that people who get invited are the ones who have a good chance of completing the process and that organisers would be able to focus on genuine applications. For more information, please visit this link from the Australian embassy in the Philippines.

Published in: on May 1, 2006 at 11:46 am  Comments (8)