The World According to Ploy

March 23, 2009

Becoming Jane, or: To Have Loved

Filed under: Movie Reviews — by Ploy @ 11:28 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve just finished watching Becoming Jane on TV. I usually don’t like watching biographies as most are just not really fun (they’re life…I like sci-fi, out-of-this-world crap.) I sat through an hour and a half of this because I’m a sucker for period costumes. (YES, CRAVATS ARE HOT.) Anyways, the one thing about biographies is that they may or may not end happily. As I said, they are about life, and there are many possible outcomes when you live in the real world.

Since you can actually look this up Wikipedia, I’m going to tell you straight out: no, it’s not a happy ending. Jane Austen (Anne Hathaway) and the love of her life, Thomas Lefroy (James McAvoy), part ways after learning they can’t elope, as they are both in poverty. Lefroy sends the allowance he gets from his uncle to his parents and siblings; Jane’s family is poor and her mother is pressuring her to marry the nephew of a local gentry that is besotted with her. They’d already agreed to run away together, but on the way, Jane discovers a letter in Lefroy’s pocket from his mother; she thanks him for sending her money. Jane knows that if they run off, his uncle will disown him, but his entire family is depending on Lefroy to support them.

So true love has an obstacle. And in this case, the obstacle can’t be overcome. It got me thinking that while it’s a popular notion that “true love can trump anything,” in real life, no, it can’t. It really can’t. Sometimes you don’t end up with the one you love and loves you. Love isn’t just two people, no matter how much you want it to be. Love is you, the one you love, and everything all around you. Love is reality, not a fantasy.

Like Jane Austen said, “Yes, but if our love destroys your family, it will destroy itself….In a long, slow degradation of guilt and regret and blame.” She walks away from him, and he let’s her go. While it’s sad, I also think it’s one of the most romantic scenes I’ve ever seen. While it’s sad and painful, it’s real, it’s true…and it shows how much they love each other. They don’t think of their own happiness, but rather, the other person’s happiness. And I agree with that sentence…a love that has the power to destroy something will one day, eventually, find the power to destroy itself.

Sometimes people who love each other don’t have to be together. Perhaps the greatest joy is not to be with the one you love, but rather, to love, or to have loved, and always carry those memories with you forever. With a smile, of course.

Always a smile.

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March 18, 2009

Dragonball Evolution, or simply: PAIN.

Filed under: Movie Reviews — by Ploy @ 9:08 pm

**Edit: I feel I must clarify why I actually watched this. No, I’m not a Dragonball fan. As with all horrible movies, I would always go to Rotten Tomatoes and read what the critics have to say about it, then laugh out loud and rejoice in the fact that I didn’t expend neither money nor energy to go watch it myself. However, as the US release date has been moved yet again, I won’t get my review fix until three weeks. Ergo, I had to go watch it. And yes, I do realize I am a Very Strange Person.

I knew this movie wasn’t going to work the moment I saw the poster. I’d actually winced and mumbled, “Oh, honey. NO.”

‘No matter if the plot turns out to be good. The entire movie itself can’t be good if the cast is that wrong,’ I thought. ‘Why the heck is Goku a Caucasian dude wearing, for the sake of Mary, a t-shirt? A T-SHIRT!?!?!?’

To be fair, it was never actually specified what race Goku, or any other character, belonged to. Aside from ‘aliens’ Piccolo and Vegeta, Goku, Bulma, etc. were human of unspecified race. Fine with me. But if you actually read the manga, you’ll tend to notice that Goku was probably of Chinese origins. Krillin is even based on a Chinese monk.

By the way, Krillin’s not even in the movie. He’s essentially the equivalent of, hmm, Watson in Sherlocke Holmes? He’s rather important to the series.

The casting is to say, atrocious. And why is Emmy Rossum playing Bulma? The girl can’t really act, that’s for sure, but after big-time fares – such as The Phantom of the Opera (which bored me to tears. I must admit the level of boredom in that was actually worse than DBE), The Day After Tomorrow (which was horrible), and Poseidon (which was also critically horrible but I actually like it because I have a weakness for silly summer blockbusters) – she’d have something better to do. She doesn’t even resemble Bulma!

The funny part was they actually stuck a piece of blue extension in her brown ponytail, as if to say, “Hi, audience. We know most of you actually watching this are die-hard Dragonball fans, because no self-respecting normal person would actually pay to watch this; we’d have to pay them. Anyways, we’re sorry we can’t dye Ms. Rossum’s hair blue. Her agent made a clause in the contract that forbade it. Plus, we don’t think she’d look nice with an entire head of blue hair. But, oh, Bulma’s hair is blue, right? Ok, so we’ll just stick this bright blue extensions right here? Happy, audience? We sure hope you are!”

Ok, so that’s my rant about the characters. I won’t even go into Chow Yun-fat playing Master Roshi, because that is as bad as it sounds. It’s not worse, actually, but it’s not better either. So let’s just leave that at that. Let’s move on to something else like the plot. Oh, just thinking of it makes me shudder.

The five minutes was just Goku fighting with his grandfather – conspicuously an Asian man – who was spewing out pseudo-philosophy on faith and believing in oneself. The scene after that, however, was when I actually choked on my Frappucino.

Goku goes to high school. Unitech High School, to be exact. And, in a very stereotypical scene, the moment Goku parks his bike, some jock runs it over with a sports car. Jock and croney get out of the car, disregard our hero completely, and go join their waiting clique, which include the girl that Goku likes. As the group walks away, laughing at our poor hero, she actually turns back and gives him a sympathetic look.

Me: Why does this remind me of any other tween movie I’ve ever seen? PAIN IN MY SKULL.

Ooooooooooooooooooh, but it gets worse. During a science class, Goku stares at the girl, then actually fantasizes about her eating a strawberry. What the heck? Huh??

After class, the girl’s locker gets jammed. The bell rings and everyone runs to their classes, but she’s stuck there banging at the locker, desperate because she has her essay in there. Goku sees this and then uses his power to open the locker for her.

And yes, you got it right, after he did that, he earned her eternal gratitude, and she shows this by inviting him to a party at her house.

She is actually Chichi, who later becomes Goku’s wife. The pain in my skull intensified to the point where I stopped eating popcorn.

A while later Bulma Rossum comes in. Then Chow Yun Roshi. Then some Korean dude playing Yumcha. Piccolo was wearing a black metal suit, not even the turban and the white cape.

The plot made no sense. They didn’t construct the world right. Fine, it’s an alternate universe but at least make the audience believe in that universe. You know, I’m actually developing a headache right now. Jesu christi, I must stop now before I actually cry.

DO NOT GO WATCH THIS. IF YOU LIKE DRAGONBALL, DO NOT WATCH IT. IF YOU’RE INDIFFERENT, DON’T WATCH IT. IF YOU HATE IT, THEN YOU HAVE A BETTER REASON THAN ANY OTHER PERSON NOT TO WATCH IT. IF YOU VALUE YOUR SANITY, PLEASE DON’T WATCH IT.

EVEN IF YOU WANT TO COMMIT SUICIDE, I CAN THINK OF WAYS LESS PAINFUL. AND MUCH QUICKER. THIS THING DRAGGED ON FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF.

(In Thailand this came out last week….perhaps we should’ve postponed it…like, forever.)

March 13, 2009

RIPPED OFF.

Filed under: Skincare & Makeup — by Ploy @ 10:27 pm

I don’t feel ripped off by “Origins Plantidote Face Serum.” Honestly, I don’t.

I don’t feel ripped off, dammit…but I KNOW I’VE BEEN RIPPED OFF.

The average Origins product here in Thailand sells at around 140% the price of the ones in America. On average, they use $1/50 baht instead of 35. Which is understandable, I guess, taxes and all, plus they have to make profit, yadi yar yar.

So at the beginning of this month, my face was a real mess. In my line of work, well, how I look isn’t as important as how I communicate, but still, you wouldn’t want a tutor with face that seems to have been ravaged by a pack of angry ants. Ergo, I waltz into Origins on March 1st, figuring, “What the heck. They can’t rip me off that badly. It can’t be more expensive than going to a dermatologist. Plus I won’t even have to go search for a dermatologist. Yeah, you go Ploy!”

So I walked off 2520 bahts poorer (this was even with discount.) Look, normally I don’t pay that much for skincare. NOBODY SHOULD PAY THAT MUCH FOR SKINCARE. THIS IS EXPENSIVE. 2800…heck, that’s like some person’s salary probably. I could eat like a week’s worth of food. Or a month’s worth of tall lattes. BUT the BA was pretty good at persuasion, and it even has the words “Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins” on it. And the condition of my skin was the worse that I’ve ever seen, so I took a deep breath and took the plunge.

I came home and went online..and found out that for the same price, I could get double the amount. The 1.7 oz. bottles retails for $66. The bottle I got was only 1 oz. I already felt horribly ripped off at the counter because I thought they used 50baht to convert it. Heck…they actually downsized it. I do not know which is worse.

And now, 12 days later…I do not see any visible changes in my skin. Well, no visible changes that can be attributed to a 2000-baht-ish bottle of face serum. I wish I could return it. I want my money back. I could’ve bought Ettusais stuff with it. And Ettusais WORKS, people. Even Kose’s Junkisui works (at least the acne spots thingamabob; I haven’t tried the whole line.)

Or maybe this serum just didn’t work for me. Maybe it would for you. But still, if you ever want to try Origin’s Plantidote Face Serum, I suggest you have someone haul it for you from America. Same price for double the quantity, go figure.

PS. I will still continue to use it. I mean, it’s a sunk cost already, so why not? But I just won’t buy it again. Back to Japanese brands for me. Who better understands skin and makeup than, well, the Japanese?

March 12, 2009

Chenonceau is LOVE.

Filed under: Sheer Insanity — by Ploy @ 11:17 pm

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you Chateau de Chenonceau:

 Chenonceau, front

Chenonceau

Chenonceau, side!

 THIS CASTLE IS BEAUTIFUL. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A CASTLE STRETCHED OUT ON A LAKE? WELL AT LEAST I HAVEN’T. THAT SYMMETRICAL GARDEN LOOKS JUST SO….GREEN!. PERFECT FOR A STROLL, IN A FLOOFY DRESS AND A PARASOL, A LA SOMETHING FROM THE REGENCY ERA, MAYHAP. I DO NOT KNOW. I JUST WANT TO BE THERE.

Chenonceau inside2

Chenonceau hall

Chenonceau kitchen

THE TILES IN THAT HALLWAY ARE GORGEOUS! HOLY CHRIST, BUT I REALLY NEED MORE CAPITAL LETTERS TO EXPRESS HOW IN LOVE I AM WITH THIS PLACE. THIS IS LOVE. I AM IN LOVE! LOVEEEEEEEEE! 

*Deep breath. Back to normalcy.* I love this place. I love it, I truly do. It has now replaced Highlands on the “If-I-were-to-die-tomorrow-I’ll-do-anything-I-can-to-get-to-this-place” location. It has replaced SCOTLAND, people, and that for me, people, is A Very Serious Matter.

March 11, 2009

Velonica

Filed under: Music — by Ploy @ 1:27 am

Full of discouragement and lost in fads, I pretend to be happy as I sing.
“Run further!”
I drive myself, thoughtlessly, softly, to where the wind is blowing.
I glance back down at the road, and reget that I had time to spare, when I had enemies surrounding me on all sides.
What comes after a war is just another game
“There’s a mountain, a valley, a cliff”
The dust keeps piling up
In the middle of my endless journey, on the outskirts of that town I stopped by for a short visit,
My tired legs collapse.
I lie down and fall into my shallow sleep again.
I see that same profile over and over, I hear those same words over and over…
“Is it only me who thinks that it’s sad to just live?” she says.

The cigarette smoke floating in the air,
Fades into emptiness, to the day when you were still powerless and young.

Now, you’ve seen the sadness you didn’t need to see,
Held back tears that you didn’t need to hold back.
We’re not strong enough to keep living on just completely truthful things, but that’s ok.
Is it ok?

When I opened my eyes, it was spring and the cherry blossom-coloured wind blowing.
On the way to the faraway destination on the other side, I wonder if you were somewhere in this field of grape blossoms.
I’ll search for a white bird in this sky at this time, certainly.
And you’ll listen carefully to the ground and search for the black ants’ footsteps at the same time, right?

I tear off the clown’s disguise and stand on a a hill that the sun has forgotten.

Basking in the light of the moon, taking a deep breath,
In a world where there’s no shouting or the sound of the plates breaking.
Even without sharing warmth, life can continue,
But can’t you see? Just living is not enough for us.

The budding ground, the thick trunk, the disappearing rainbow, the passing days,
The night sky’s brightest star, the mystery of the four seasons, they teach us how to continue searching for the truth.

No matter how far we travel, at the start of life
We were all a lonely child who cried out to live and be loved.
The reason that we continue leaving “here” for somewhere else
Is because we want to realize that there is no answer anywhere else but in our hearts.

 

— Aqua Timez

March 10, 2009

“Are you *bleeping* NUTS?”

Filed under: Hot Guys,Movie Reviews — by Ploy @ 12:01 am

If I were to list down the differences between me and Cate Blanchett, it would probably stretch from here to Mars, wind around said planet two times, head off to Venus, make a u-turn around Mercury, and then come back to Earth.

Even then, I would only be halfway done with the list.

A while ago, I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on DVD (loads of thanks to Ching!) I don’t know what happened in the first half – Brad was unrecognizable, ergo I did not pay attention – but in the second half, Benjamin was Brad…Benjamin was even younger than Brad. I was hooked.

Anyways, it was around that second half that I found another difference between Ms. Blanchett and I.

The conversation between Benjamin/Brad and Daisy/Cate Blanchett went like this

Daisy/Cate: “Make love to me”
Benjamin/Brad: “Absolutely”

And heck, even if this were not scripted (and Brad Pitt was not with Angelina Jolie, with whom I also have a longass list of differences with) the conversation would still go like this.

However, if this was between him and me…

Ploy: “Make love to me”
Benjamin/Brad: “Are you *bleeping* NUTS?”

And he would whack me on the head with a baseball bat. In all possibilities it would be a mortal wound.

Therefore…Blanchett vs. Songkaeo – Difference #2324873201293432 – Cate will survive requesting, and enjoy, Brad making love to her. I would die, and Brad would plead self-defense.

March 1, 2009

Letters vs. Numbers

Filed under: Sheer Insanity — by Ploy @ 11:15 pm

I’m a letters person. Numbers can go wrong. Letters can never go wrong. Though letters can never go right, either. You can play with words, always. Twist them around, mold them, shape them. Say a phrase with enough conviction and a really bright smile, and people will always believe you.

On the other hand, you can never may people believe that two plus two equals five. No.

Hence I love words and letters and languages and essays. Everything is so relative. There is so many possibilities. It’s a challenge.

I was thinking a while back that I like crosswords much more than sudoku. It doesn’t matter that I can never finish a crossword puzzle, – I’ve only ever finished one, and that was with the help of Ginger, way back when during senior year – I still like crosswords more. You see, sudoku has a pattern, and once you figure it out, you just know. Sure, the harder ones do take a lot more hours, but still, there is a method.. Sudoku doesn’t require guesswork, it requires logic. A thing of which I do not possess in abundance.

Then exam week came and I found myself employed. I stopped thinking about why I liked crosswords more than sudoku because I found myself having 938,283 things to do every day, more than half of which involved thinking about constrained optimization.

But now exam week is over, and I am in a state of semi-employment again (i.e. I have nothing substantial to do for at least 6 days of the week). So I’m finally getting to finish Terry Pratchett’s Making Money. I’m falling in love with the tyrant of the fictional city in the book, Lord Vetinari of Anhk-Morpork. He is manipulative, calculating, extremely smart, and madly tyrranical. That is to say, he is HOT.* I’ve also just discovered, via Wiki, that Lord Vetinari likes crosswords better than sudoku, for the following reason.

“He enjoys crosswords far more, as one needs to comprehend how another person’s mind works when actively trying to mislead.”

And that, people, is what I failed to put into words before. It’s the reason I enjoy crosswords, despite the fact that I am horrible at them. Perhaps one day, when I become more deceitful, scheming, and misleading, I will be able to do them better. That, or when I have better command of the English language. Either one.

I can’t wait to steal Starbuck’s copy of the Bangkok Post tomorrow.

 

 

*I tend to gravitate to scheming, manipulative heroes who are, nonetheless, extremely charming (ok, Vetinari is not but he’s so devious it’s nigh irresistible). You see: Jack Sparrow (sweet baby!), Tony Stark (I mean, the man is going to become alcoholic very, very soon), Rick O’Connell (he was almost hanged at the beginning of The Mummy, so he must have A Past), etc. etc.

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