Dollhouse

Since my husband introduced me to the wonderful worlds created by Joss Whedon through his novel creations Buffy, the Vampire Slayer; Angel, the demon with a soul; and the crew of Firefly, a free-wheeling ship that visits many worlds and galaxies in one mission or another – I’ve been an avid fan of the Whedonverse.

When Dollhouse first came into my knowledge, I’ve been eagerly anticipating watching the show. It hit pirated DVD stores in Manila several months ago when there were still just a few episodes. Hubby and I waited til there were at least more than 12 episodes… after all, knowing my addictive personality, I can’t abide getting a one-episode taste of a show I love and not feel like I’ve been deprived of something terrific.

So two weekends ago, we finally watched our first few episodes.

We’ve heard many conflicting reviews about the show. For the most part, reviews were mostly so-so. It was okay to most, fantastic for some, but there was a general populace who didn’t like it.

I loved it, and I love it!

It’s a gem of Science Fiction. To imagine a world where it’s entirely possible to wipe out a person’s true personality and replace it with a temporary one that enables that person to be anything we want him to be.… true genius!

That in itself is a strong enough motive for me to keep watching the show (I’m a closet geek at heart).

But then if you factor in the cast of the show, with Eliza Dushku playing the often disturbing role of Echo; Olivia Williams as the stiff upper-lipped Englishwoman who runs the Dollhouse; and Fran Kranz, an homage, I suspect, to the endearingly annoying character of Andrew in the last 2 seasons of Buffy – then there’s more than enough to keep my eyed wide open even in the wee hours of the morning. Which is a big thing for a sleepyhead like me.

And then of course there’s the evocative, charming and engaging screen writing and directing of Whedon’s regular crew of production staff. It was one of the things I loved most about Buffy and Angel. And now, one of the things I love most about Dollhouse.

Not to mention the fact that even if it’s Science Fiction, it’s placed at a moment in time much like our own. A world of science; a world of progress; of materialism and consumerism; of greed, corruption and secrecy. It’s a world of terrorists, assassins, serial killers and secret agents. If you think about it, the only difference between real life today and this show, is this new technology. Who knows how many years or decades from now when this won’t be a work of fiction anymore?

So if you’re in for some unusual but gripping science fiction drama, sit back and relax with an episode or two of Dollhouse. Grab a doll of yours along the way.

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On Serenity and Reacquainting with Old Friends

Serenity

When all the world aspires to be great, to be remembered, to be significant and not drown in mediocrity, here I am in my early thirties with my entire life before me, wanting nothing more than to quietly and peacefully fade away into the serenity that seems to be eluding me for most of my life.

To say that my life so far has been very eventful is an understatement. Ever since I was a young child, my very first memory has been one of adversity. A shallow adversity on hindsight, but adversity no less.

I used to envy friends who seemed to have the perfect life. And by perfect, I only meant that they had the freedom to live their life the way they wanted to, of course with it the consequences of mistakes they’ve made (hopefully not irreparable mistakes).

As a married adult with a full-time career in a job that gives me more problems lately than assurances, I’ve been desperate to find my own quiet little corner of serenity and temporary reprieve.

To be realistic and honest about it, there’s no physical place where I can easily find it now.

My desk in the office is hardly one that lends privacy, for right beside my desk is the all-in-one multifunctional photocopier (courtesy of Canon).

I could go down to the smoking promenade area (a fancy way of saying the entrance of our building), but that’s hardly peaceful nor quiet, not when every now and then there are mobs of people rallying and angrily demanding to remove oil price hikes.

Going home could be a reprieve, but not all the time. When one is married, total and complete privacy and time for rest and recuperation (especially for a wife) is a rarity, if at all.

While I’d love to go out with my best girl friends for a cocktail or two to enjoy a quiet, slow and steady night – sometimes I avoid these because I simply don’t want to talk nor remember the things that I would normally prattle on about to those I trust.

A reprieve, an escape — is the hardest thing to find for a lifestyle like mine.

But lately, I’ve rediscovered and gotten reacquainted with an old friend.

It seems this has been my unexpected reprieve. While I’ve tons of other things to possibly occupy myself with to “escape” that are far more flattering to my overblown intellectual ego, I nonetheless do proudly declare that these old friends of mine have been the only thing that have gotten me through many nights when temporary escape from real life and the real world was all I needed.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve indulged in the guilty pleasure of chick lit.

I discovered Judith McNaught when I was still in High School. I spent many nights laughing and crying, staying up til the wee hours of the morning with just a flashlight hidden under my blankets to finish reading these books.

Among all romance book writers, I’ve always had a partiality to my old friend Judith. Unlike other romance books (especially those featuring a couple in the throes of passion, with the lady dressed with almost no clothes on), Judith’s characters have always had depth, enough to make me really feel what her characters feel. So when they cry, I feel teary-eyed myself. When they’re happy, I feel happy too.

But more than this, I think I escape to my old friends because voraciously reading them gives me the temporary illusion of the promise of happily ever afters. I surmise many other avid female readers of romance books feel the same.  It was the escape into a temporary make-believe world when after all the scars and pains, every heroine would find her own paradise and piece of heaven.

I’m no longer naive enough to believe in happily ever afters. Not in the way romance book and fairy tales paint them.

But just being able to escape for a few hours and revel in the story of a fictional character who finds her own serenity… is my serenity.

A Normal Day at the Office

woman-tearing-hair-outIt normally starts out like a little breeze on a bright sunny morning. Full of promise and possibilities. Another day given by the universe to be fruitful and productive, ending with a life lived fully for another day. Accomplished. Meaningful. Complete.

And then the day happens.

Meetings with raised voices. To-do lists that seem like a rambling of impossible deadlines and tasks. Conflicts that end with no resolution in mind. Personalities and egos to stroke. Confrontations to deal with. Problems that appear to have no immediate solution. Betrayal. Alliances on the brink of extinction.

Yes, this sounds pretty much like a normal day at the office.

Some days, it ends with cheerful smiles with the knowledge that the day truly was as fruitful and productive as you wanted it to be. On some days like today, it ends with misery swallowed by a glass of wine or some other alcoholic beverage that numbs the senses. On other days, it comes with a share of doubts and self-recriminations.

But going to bed at night doesn’t dim nor dampen the optimistic hope that things will be better and brighter the following day.

And so we try, with all our might, to close our eyes at the end of the day with a tiny smile on our faces and peace in our hearts. And a feint whispered prayer that maybe.. just maybe… tomorrow will be the stuff that good dreams are made of.