One-Year Old

While thinking of something new to post today, I just realized….

Loves Stories just turned one!

I know this blog doesn’t really bring in hundreds and thousands of readers every day… unlike the bigger, more popular bloggers out there.

But I do know there are a handful of those who do find some value in reading the words spilling out of my mind. So to you, my dear readers, thank you for taking the time to digest my thoughts, ride out the year with me and give me the reassurance that in this huge world, strangers do connect with each other.

In honor of my Top Five, I’m also listing down what I think would be the Top Five Loves Stories-stories.

I didn’t choose this following any particular criteria — perhaps except on the basis of those which meant more to me than the rest.

If you’re a first-time visitor to my blog, go ahead and take a peek!

1. Christmas in the Philippines 2009

2009 was a year that devastated the Philippines in many ways.

From successive super storms that victimized thousands; to a senseless massacre that put the country in the list of the most dangerous countries for journalists to go to — this post is an introspective look at what Christmas meant to those who could only stand by and watch in utmost horror as everything unfolded as they did.

2. Lessons from the Anti-Heroes

When I wrote this post, I had just gone through a traumatic episode. Looking back now, it wasn’t really that big a deal, but it felt like such a big deal at the time.

In a nutshell, it was an ex-colleague who rudely, crassly insulted and almost physically assaulted me and called me names at work.

It wasn’t much, but this incident nonetheless triggered in me, a prolonged feeling of frustration and anger at how so many people in the world get away with injustice.

Laws and Religion’s Commandments aside, there’s nothing in life that protects people from unjust and uncalled-for pain and agony. Good people will just take the injustice, defend themselves and try to just move on… even if their characters have just been unjustly assassinated… their hearts, minds and sometimes bodies bruised, battered and torn. There’s nothing they can do to seek the justice and closure they wish they had.

Thank God for fictional characters who can do what we can only dream about doing.

3. Day 46

Since my father passed away, I’ve been writing about the stages of recovery from grief from a parent’s death.

On Day 46, my post was called “Watching my father die, Religion and Pop Culture”. In this post, I had written thoughts about life and death, mortality and religion. At some point in time, the inevitable question pops up: what happens when we die.

I have no answers, and this post has no answers. But it does write that the gift of faith in a larger Being gets us through doubts about our purpose here on Earth.

4. The Lessons we can Learn from Glee!

I wrote this post as an indirect homage to friendship, and to the people who’ve always stood by my side (metaphorically and literally) through the years. Singable songs and watchable dance choreographies aside, this is the one of the truest lessons I’ll ever learn from Glee!

I’ve always thought that friends are who take us back to our true selves and remind us of who we really are beneath the masks we put on for the outside world. Life is tough, but it certainly makes the ride a little bit less lonely to have friends in the same ride as you do.

5. The Aquino Legacy

The day this was written was a month before the National Elections. At the time, it seemed Noynoy Aquino would win the Elections. Well, as it stands today, the golden boy of Philippine Media and the new President of the Philippines is undergoing even worse scrutiny than he did when campaign period was on.

It’s too early to tell what kind of legacy he will leave behind. Time has gone by, and his first 100 days are over… still, much remains to be done. I pray for him that he will leave a legacy as powerful as his parents’ legacy.

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The Things that Make Us Laugh

It’s been awhile.

With all the events and drama surrounding my life in the last few months, I’m thankful for the few things that continue to make me look forward to returning to the land of the living, and enjoying a daily existence filled with joy and laughter.

While things will never go back to how “normal” used to be, there are a few things that continue to take me to a temporary world of laughter and joy — enough to make me realize that in life, there is always hope.

This post is an homage to the things that make me laugh out loud and take my mind off all my worries… and an homage to the creators of these wonderful shows who bring entertainment and lightness into many homes.

1. Pscyh

Created by Steve Franks, appearing on the USA Network. It’s a criminal investigative show with a different twist – for at the core of the show are 2 friends who are the “Head Psychics” of the Santa Barbara Police Department. Light, funny, witty and laugh out loud. Close to (but not exactly) slapstick — the screenplay is brilliant.

Watch as these 2 childhood friends “work” with the stiff, upper-lip type Head Detective (Lassiter) and the hot detective chick (O’Hara) to solve crimes that take place in Santa Barbara – and see how detective work takes a different spin from the eyes of an ultra-observant guy posed as a “psychic”.

This “psychic”‘s dad is also  kinda funny, by the way.

When you watch an episode, wait til the end credits for the “Psych Out Moments” that are the perfect punctuation to an hour of silly but worth-it entertainment.

2. Big Bang Theory

Four geeks, a hot chick and awesomely geeky dialog — and four seasons later, you still can’t get enough. I would say that this show truly made geeks cool – for the first time ever. Suddenly, dressing up as the doppler effect and attending Renaissance Fairs in full medieval gear isn’t a loser’s style anymore — but a cool geek’s mark.

Knowing who Spock is; memorizing all the thousands of comic book titles and editions; and having a weekly routine of dinner fare is actually kinda fun.

And the beauty and the geek isn’t a far cry from reality anymore – cause truly, the nice geeks get the hot chick. Well, sometimes.

3. How I Met Your Mother

A love story in reverse; a playboy chauvinist who created the “Bro Code”; a truly lovable couple named Marshall and Lily; a Canadian teen pop star turned news anchorwoman; and a pitifully romantic idealist searching for his one and only “true love” — these are just some of the things that make this show what it is. Charming, endearing and almost addictive.

Lighthearted comedy that also strikes a chord in the heart of a romantic and hopeful – that really, no matter how bad things may get, there’s something great at the end of the road.

4. Glee!

Well, duh… after all my raves about this show, it cannot not have its own number on this list.

Hate her all you want, but I will always loooove Rachel. Aside from an amazing voice, she’s the one who makes this show different from all the other shows about teenagers that have the usual slew of mean cheerleaders, dumb arrogant jocks and loser geeks. Without Rachel (and okay, to be fair, all the other stereotypes that the show has broken – like the head cheerleader getting knocked up; the football team captain being dumped gallons of slushies…you get the drift), this show could have had all the possible markings of just another TV show about angsty teenagers who are obsessed with sex. Oh, and they sing and dance.

High School Musical, this ain’t.

Aside from the ear-friendly music that the show has generated… the fun, evocative and truly youthful dialogue… this is one show I always count on to take me away from real life blues to give me a couple of minutes of fun and pure enjoyment.

5. 30 Rock

Liz Lemon, Jack Donaghy and Tracy Jordan make me laugh til my sides ache. Maybe because in some weird way, the show’s premise is a little close to what I do on a day to day basis.

Meeting deadlines everyday for scripts, print ads, television storyboards… battling it out with producers (or in our case, clients)… dealing with difficult diva talents and celebrities… and all the ins and outs and dynamics of people who work together and in close proximity every single day.

They say that laughter is always the best medicine, and I would tend to agree. And I would thank the geniuses behind shows such as these above for giving normal, everyday people like us reasons to remember that life is just life… with ups and downs… and through every down, there’s an up just waiting to happen.

So never lose hope, whoever you are.

If you’re feeling down in the dumps, sad, depressed, helpless, in pain or simply tired — pop in 30 minutes or an hour of fun and laughter to temporarily take away those blues. And these shows up here – they’re my reco. If you have your own list, then by all means, pop that in and laugh away!

Top Five. The Fictional TV Characters I Wish were Real

I’m starting a new thing in this blog which I’m calling “Top Five”. Just for kicks.

My first “Top Five” pays homage to the brilliant minds who created characters on Television today whom if these people had been real, they would certainly and surely make the world… well, not necessarily a better place, but surely a more interesting one. Good or bad, these characters make Bart Simpson seem like just another regular Joe.

1. Jack Bauer. You can’t not know Jack Bauer. He’s the lead character in the TV series 24. An ex-CTU (Counter Terrorist Unit) agent, eventually became a CTU Director, then a free agent, then a wanted fugitive, and eventually a private citizen who simply wanted to live his life in peace. But we know better. As long as Jack Bauer roams the streets of the planet Earth, Jack Bauer can never rest in peace.

The world needs people like him. The guy you can count on to always do the right thing regardless of the cost to himself. He has literally died (twice!) for his country; been tagged as a hardcore enemy of the state; sacrificed his wife, daughter and friends for the sake of the country. He has saved the world from countless terrorist attacks, saved the lives of millions. If a Jack Bauer really existed in this lifetime, maybe terrorists would think thrice about striking.

2. Michael Westen. The lead character of Burn Notice, a show about the life of an ex-agent who gets burned, leaving him with no prior work history, no money; in essence, no identity. He suddenly wakes up after a humongous explosion while on a mission in Nigeria, in Miami, Florida, attended to by an ex-girlfriend, and an old friend who tells on his activities to the US government. The entire series is all about Michael investigating why he was burned and by whom; and trying to find ways to restore his identity and recover his assets. But in the meantime, he accepts odd jobs helping people who can’t help themselves, and who can’t ask help from official channels. Victims of scams and cons; targets of gangsters and mobs; people who were basically taken advantage of, ripped off and abused.

His methods, like Jack Bauer, are often questionable. But he does what needs to be done, and his heart is in the right place. You’ll never catch this guy crossing over to the wrong side of the fence. He will always champion the side of the good, albeit the side of good can sometimes be riddled with shades of grey. And he’s street smart too. ‘Course he is, he was one of the US’ best field agents before he was burned. A modern day but low-key MacGyver who’s loyal to the core.

3. Dr. Sheldon Cooper turns 20 minutes of each Big Bang Theory episode into 20 minutes of utter hilarity and uproarious belly-aching laughter. The young know-it-all genius Physicist who has absolutely no concept of emotional intelligence makes Geekdom seem like the coolest thing to be. He puts pompom-donning cheerleaders and prom queens to shame. Admittedly, he is a bit arrogant…. (okay, ‘a bit’ is an outright lie), has no concept of what it means to be a good friend, is probably asexual, and is emotionally constipated.

But he’s absolutely funny and adorable! He can probably change our perception of sub-atomic particles, black holes  and whatever other things that rock the world of Physics (leaving about 99.99% of the world’ population in complete obscurity about such discoveries), but he surely wouldn’t be the best housemate to anyone. But he can sure make us all laugh. And with a character as oblivious and clueless as that, he’d make for a highly entertaining companion, as long as you’re not in dire need of a morale boost.

4. Mademoiselle Blair Waldorf from the Upper East Side. ‘Queen B’, as she was fondly called up until Season 2 of Gossip Girl. Absolutely spoiled, insane and sometimes bordering on having a blackened soul… but gorgeous, trendy, funny and sweet, in her own bitter-sour way. Most people I know who love Gossip Girl, love Blair Waldorf more than her other Upper East Side female buds. She’s often a hardcore bitch with a capital ‘B’. But when she loves someone, she loves them to death.

Do not ever make the mistake of crossing the Queen of the hive, she can guarantee you’ll be out of friend, acquaintances, a home, a hometown… she can even send an entire city running after you…. if it doesn’t get to Gossip Girl first. If Blair were real, I’d give my entire month’s salary to make sure I’m on her good side. The best part… while I may not have the heart nor the guts for sweet satisfying revenge on those who wrong me, Queen B certainly does…

5. Walter Bishop is the genius of Fringe. A bit weird, yes. That’s what genius does to many.

And maybe if Walter Bishop were real, the fabric between our world and the parallel world would tear and other versions of ourselves would be crossing over, wreaking havoc on the world as we know it. And maybe buildings with thousands of people in them would start crossing over and pushing aside our buildings on this side. And maybe we’d have children test subjects who would be exhibiting extraordinary abilities when they reach adulthood so they can defeat evil. Would that be such a bad thing?

But okay, scientific genius aside, we love Walter Bishop cause he’s lovable, adorable and a generally good father to Peter. He may have technically stolen his son from the other side… but he’s certainly making up for it in his older age.

Who’s on your top five?