Sunday, June 29, 2008


The walking, the talking, the non-stop parading,
The voices are slurring, provoking, persuading,
The faces are happy, but feign in contrary,
The movements are snappy, but quite ordinary.

Their hairs are of Beckham, the long lost forgotten,
Their smiles created radiance, but not as refulgent,
Their ways of engagement, are planned into segments,
Their thoughts are agendas, defenders, offenders.

The song that they sing is the song that is playing,
The lives that they spin are the ones need defining,
The love and the links are the light of the evening,
The lost and the lonely: the losers declining.

Their world is upheaving, no moments for leaving,
Their times are but nothing that’s wasted for something,
Their turns could be simpler, made worst from the better,
Their plots are a thriller, comedic B-grader.

The girls are the gamers on board to be tamers,
The guys are the movers who float with disclaimers,
The mixes and misses, spontaneous and scary,
The flawed and the flawless, the lines getting blurry.

Their junkies attuned for the slabs in their fortune,
Their bloods are immune to the jabs of opportune,
Their mornings are darkness, ponderous and taintless,
Their night-times a business, to harvest the stainless.

The livings are bleak, but are sleek with temptations,
The seekings are swift, but are weak in compassions,
The rights are the wrongs, but who knows which is which now,
The what’s with the why, whom and when, where or how?

Their noises aren’t noises but sounds of expression,
Their poises are poses of Neue-Generation,
Their paths lead to places, of what we can’t fathom,
Their points are like faces of camouflaged phantoms.

The one and the same, no blank tiles to the story,
Their life is a true copy of a fake copy,
The sin and the sinners, one bona fide winner,
Their ins and their outs getting very much thinner.

The day is today, not tomorrow that might come,
The way this road leads is the place that we came from,
The stalking, the balking, the pop-song rewinding,
The walking, the talking, the non-stop parading.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Identity Crisis

Brand your name and burn that image onto everybody’s mind. So I've been told.

A copywriter friend once explained to me that "the forces of globalisation, as we ought to know, eradicate all forms of boundaries. The world is spun into total confusions, and being in the state of chaos, nothing is slowing down. Anything goes in a world that's moving on the fast-forward, a world mutating into one global culture. Nowhere is this more apparent than in one consumerism society, where everyone eats, drinks and breathes logos. Welcome to the fantastic world of branding, advertising, packaging; where the product is subservient to the brand. All you need is a red swoosh and you can Just Do It".

Undeniably, we are living in the omnipresent world of information and media. Brands, signs, icons, slogans, labels and trademarks co-exist with one another. They pride, seeking attention, promising a life we wish to own. They live around us, making their presence felt, speaking a common language anyone in the world can understand. They boast in fashion.

Brands equate lifestyles. They are symbols of wealth, status and a-la-mode. Men’s intimate relationships with brands have made lives a little different, as we now begin to judge and compare lives among ourselves, to understand characters portrayed through informed choices made by individuals. The Attraction, The Seduction, The Manipulation – brands are not entirely the roots of all evils. Not as much as money if you asked me.

Brands have become so powerful that many have forsaken the meaning of needs and wants. Brands are controlling us every minute. It is a power; a strong obscure force – something that can be safely controlled, but not totally stopped. We mustn’t underestimate the multipotent of the non-livings.

Brands create choice. Choice is the catalyst of change. And change is always in the trends – see it today, gone tomorrow. The new became old and the old turned fresh, shifting from style to stale and then style again, all in good record time. Any brand’s lifecycle is definitely anyone’s Guess.

Brand means identity – but more like an identity crisis of consumerism in the modern age. Though brands define characters, they actually defy a conclusive definition. Everything lies between the lines.

So the future hastened. And what we speak would be the language of brands, what is known as ‘The Brand Terminology’: - You’ll buy a Swatch instead of a watch. You drink a Starbucks instead of a coffee. You eat McDonald’s instead of burgers. You owned Ikea instead of furniture. You drive a Ferrari instead of a car. You used a MacBook instead of a laptop. You Body Shopped. You Coked. You Googled. You YouTubed. Your family consists of Marks & Spencer, Barnes & Nobles and Calvin Klein. Your five-years-old kid’s imaginary friend is Disney. Your daughter is in love with Tommy Hilfiger. You spend your day at the Amazon. Your boss is a Playboy. Your colleague smells like a Hugo Boss. Your best friend is Virgin. Your life looks like an MTV. You are, literally, FCUKed up.

Indeed, Toys ‘R’ Us.

So here I am, in this one consumerism society, where I eat, drink and breathe logos. Nothing is more tantalizing than this. And being the brand of myself, where I really am should be nowhere. This is dejavu, almost like a da-capo from my previous symphony of life written in cipher notations.

I am trying to find a way to create a world of hope for the already benumbed and cocked-up state that I am in. What I am now is a bad service. Who I am now is the lack of brand equity. And from where I am sitting, I am trying my best to start a process. I want to initiate awareness and begin an experience. A holistic experience nonetheless.

I am in totality. I am my own franchise. My own product. My own personality.
I don’t need a brand good enough for anything. Not today.

I need a tagline for an anti-brand movement.
How ironic (or iconic) can one Wurlpiz be?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Third Act Tragedy

(May Contain Traces of Nuts and Spoilers)

You want to know what really happened in The Happening? Well, here’s what happened: M. Night Shyamalan is a deadly bullet through and through. He’s a murderer of his own movies. He’s an auteur who holds on to his idea so tenderly and then he goes either (a) out of control or (b) strolling in the dark without a torchlight (or even a map for that matter).

Mr. Night is way over the top in building up the fear factors, up to a point where ending them in the most vague of ways will not justify anything to anyone. When the plot thickens, it gets corpulent, and when it’s thin, it disappears. He throws us into a curve ball and then brings us back to square one, without a hint of remorse. What remains is a sense of mystery that goes beyond our ability to decipher. He wants us to be a movie detective but we just can't be bothered.

The Happening is a movie I liken to eating a hot cross bun. The top crust is a window-dressing frosted with discomforting scenes. The middle is the fillings of a road-movie that leads to somewhere but not where you want it to be. And the anticlimax culmination is a pause indicator. It’s an interrobang that spells disaster for the man whose career is already at the substratum of doom. The whole meal is stolid. The aftertaste is unpleasant. And I am still flabbergasted by the ending, my breath smells of regret.

When I heard about Mr. Night’s new movie, I was overjoyed, thinking that this would be the comeback everyone’s been waiting for. The premise for his latest flick is promising, but it fails to deliver. What resulted is a half-baked, half-frozen dessert that’s mid-way between The Twilight Zone and The Amazing Stories. At least the predecessors succeeded without much effort.

The Happening is a Hitchcockian eco-thriller. It’s a summer-flick hot enough to burn your brain, as it punctuated itself with logical scientific theories that sounded illogical when used as the framework for a large-scale phenomenon. As we were told in the movie, the plants are turning their back against us, releasing neurotoxins into the air, causing people to hallucinate and commit suicide. This antagonist; an invisible chimera that exists only through the depiction of wind, would be human’s worst enemy whose main reason for attack could be appeasement. When seen through a moviegoers’ viewpoint, this is considered as one of the few original ideas that sit among the lamest, but it could work if Mr. Night had not settled for the easy way out – using plot as a metaphor. And in turn, the metaphor became a question mark and the question mark became the angry faces of viewers. Although it was pretty easy to grasp the hidden message by the time Mr. Night’s name appeared on the end credits, the subtexts that he wanted to highlight could be misunderstood on so many levels. The loopholes are so apparent you deny the fact that you are watching a fiction and just refused to suspend your disbeliefs. You want answers where answers are due.

For the good record, what could be seen as exceptional were the scenes of the suicides. There was the chilling opening set-up where construction workers jumped off a building with their safety-helmets still intact. There’s a policeman who shot himself, whose gun later on became the convenient weapon of choice for the other stock-still victims lining down the streets. Some suspended their necks on the trees. Some rammed their vehicles with ease. Others get creative with whatever that was beyond their reach. And these goriness were done to death (pun very much intended).

Like all his movies before this, Mr. Night never run out of fashion – he is obsessed with getting his characters into a confined space, trying to bring out the sense of impending danger, which you’ll realized by now, has turned hackneyed and predictable.

But what Mr. Night is good at, he presented them with bright, intermittent touches. The use of comic relief interjected betweens scenes of funk and dismay acts as momentary breathing spaces. This has always been his forte – he knows how to balance the opposites and create impact during which you may be caught off guard. Another brilliant touch was the pathos concealed in life’s pathetic dilemma: inducing the central theme of survival at a time of crisis and resolving inner issues within a broader peril. Effectively moving, even if they were detachable.

Apparently, this movie can be classified as being more psychological than physical, and if there is one, I would called it a romantic thriller disguised as a docudrama on topics of catastrophe and nature disharmony.

The setback comes directly from his writing, where words became too tight and too forceful, and we wonder where is the man who once gives soul to the boy who can see dead people. He has forgotten (maybe deliberately forgotten) how to loosen up. This movie pales in comparison to his first four films, though not in the most extreme case. His fifth feature, The Lady In The Water, was an ego trip of sorts written for his kids, so he is forgiven for that. And then comes this – a movie whose narrative superstructure is less disjointed than it was trying. It crashed and burned too fast it makes me furious. Mr. Night’s writing dampens the spirit of a good story that ran a little over 90 minutes and this was clear when some major studios rejected his first draft that was originally titled The Green Effect. But on the brighter note, his scare tactics are still eminent, as he managed to pull his gimmicks and send shivers down my spine, and I personally like that feeling if there’s anything to go by.

All in all, it is still a film worthy of praises even though there are moments limited to be in favour. There are scenes that gripped you in and then plunk you around without warning. There are scenarios where fear could be felt close to heart, but not long before it got stale, with dialogues so contrived, they need a rewrite indefinitely. The actors make up to the failures, with Mark Wahlberg doing a fantastic job securing a heroic figure in one Elliot Moore, whose mode of power was science, which ultimately doesn’t help. Then there’s the pretty Zooey Deschanel as Moore’s two-timing wife, whose life is not without her own set of problems. The rest of the equivocal casts were specifically chosen by Mr. Night himself and I wonder why he wasted his time doing so, because practically, they all have to die anyway.

I believe that Mr. Night has been keeping a stockpile of terrific ideas somewhere in his residency. What he doesn’t have are solid denouements to enrapture the terrified souls of his target audience. Perhaps he should just stick to his twisted ending instead of giving us a work of so much potential but with no credible solution. At least his twist-ending trademark would provide a certain closure. Open-ended movie might be his revised modus operandi, but many are not ready for that, even me, his number one fan. Even the music by James Newton Howard would not cover the flaws, as the bolero turned sour rapidly from the very beginning, banging through the windows of opportunity and then return only to be limping. What left were sounds descending into obscurity. They are somewhat disheartening rather than frightening.

At the very end of the game, it was Tak Fujimoto’s cinematography that stood as the predominant winner in this pandemic tale of terror make-believed only by the talented Mr. Night. It is a challenging movie very different from his other works (his first R-rated no less), but is this enough to redeem himself and to wake up from his previous pratfall? And for the first time, no cameo? Was that among the signs he’s gone to become the sixth sense maniac, trapped in an unbreakable village with the lady in the water?

As much as I wanted to love it, I felt that the end-product didn’t really shine or took my breath away. The lackluster finale was bothering my mind, leaving me little room to be impressed. This is obviously a case of the third-act gone wrong, but in all honesty, the subjectivity of a resolution is by definition 'at variance' - we all have our own ways of concluding things. Perhaps here I am asking too much. And perhaps, to have no answer is probably the best answer afterall, for indeed we are living in a world where facts and fictions collide; where interpretation and imagination filled in the blanks.

I do not demand for the $8.00 I willingly paid to get wasted. I demand that Mr. Night return to top form and gives people the movie they want to see. But I bet another $8.00 that we won’t see it happening anytime soon.

Verdict: ***/*****

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Among Those Held Back

At the hour of sleep, I am fully attentive and going against the flow. I am in a situation in which, in the midst of life, I am denying the facts that were said in passing. The truth is that there are greater things pressing, and among those held back, there are the voices of oblivion. How can I be the praiser of the past when I keep seeking generals in the specific future? Yet I look above the wide open sky, and there are nothing more beyond for the review, but untainted clouds and spaces. Spaces, if calculated in newspaper columns, are the dissections of life in its simplest form. Other things being equal, I am, ipso facto, a reminder of life. And one day, when everything has been said and done, this will be pleasing to remember. Something for the keepsake.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Without Regrets

Dear Desi Gylda Nyles,

I am writing this letter without much afterthoughts and I am already losing half a kilogram just by stressing myself out on picking the perfect vocabulary. The intention of expressing my concern towards your well-being can be considered an act worth praising, but the results will not bring any impact to anyone involved – directly or the other. On such occasion, where letter-writing seems like a task never to be repeated, I am trembling on my upper limbs, but I am not sweating, which is quite a surprise if you ask me. Right this moment, my brain are working on phrasings, proper punctuations and the use of brackets, and I am also weighting the pros and cons of introducing sidenotes for a better read. In the end, I sensed that sidenotes would be indicative of me trying to be clever or creative, and it might all add up to being cheesy. I have decided to forego such plans. And what’s here, felt penned and written with souls, a simple, ordinary letter - humble and honest from the deepest furrow of my heart.

Let me start by saying that I love you - dearly. To me, you are the most enticing fairy-tale princess that could ever exist in this world, living gloriously amongst glossy commercials and perfect advertisements, with your beauty and wonders almost blinding the sight. Your occasional flaws that often hid in prone position under the sheet of wide canvas and complementing pantones could not be said without regrets, and they are (quite frankly I must confess) too hideous to look at any degree of composure. But as they said: beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder – so holding on to such axiology, thou shall not doubt the taste.

The problem had always been this: The various effects you are emitting on people (in close proximity with you) are causing an amount of debate that has no ending in sight, resulted in moments of inconstant responses and remarks of varying grades, 1 being excellent and 10 being extremely crappy. That’s the ultimate reason why those with an inclination to bring you out into the light should rethink about the ideas and messages they are transmitting – intentionally or otherwise. On a personal note, my feeling towards you can only grow with time. Our relationship can last as long as it wants to if only I can place my trust on you. We need each other – this I am not denying, though I always have the tendency to twitch my eyes whenever I make such shameless declaration. Neuroforte and Xanax are not helping with the habit.

Recently, you have become a global issue. You have been connected to ecology and the environment and many other matters which are considered so trivial they need bullet points for a listing; but since you already knew that I hate bulleting, lets not make this into an amorous dissertation. Rumours have it that you are beginning to destroy the world with your junkies, and I am sure that these are not the case. Perhaps a percentage of them are true for the telling, but there are little evidences to hold water for an argument. I detest the ideas of defacing what I like. I protect it. And I protect you – whom I like and forever will for many, many generations to come. I also don’t like to feel corny when I write the last two sentences. But the lack of better words will perhaps do well for someone who tries to be as straightforward as he can. And I hope I am.

In this complex, multi-layered, consumer-led society, the responsibility I held for you towards nature is sometimes disregarded – almost to a point where the term “disregarded” could possibly mean “eh, frak off, what’s the point of such and such and this and that?” But I am always trying (forever trying) to bring the best out of you without causing much harm to anyone or anything. Lest I forget, need I remind ourselves about why we are here. We are here because life needs a little excitement, a little colour, a little warmth, a little taste of things to come. We are here to deliver.

There are parties (who knows where they began from?) who are deeply concerned; who have taken upon themselves to view your details in all aspects. They strongly feel that you are related in many countable ways to the cause of pollution. Strange, but since when does one draw the line for abstractions? There are no veridical definition for something that transcend the limits of times and interests. There are no right or wrong answers.

If what they say is true, you have already been stamped as a visual taint – an ideation that is conceived to be seen and fast forgotten. Your other lovers (I shall not disclose confidential particulars) have also started to see the importance of caring for the environment. They have decided – you are nothing. The practical relationship between you and nature is not for us to make a squabble of, cause who are we to argue in the first place? We speak, but we don’t conclude. It can never come to a single solution – there can only be manifold suggestions. Silence means more when you have an idea in mind that you don’t intend to voice out. Beauty lies within.

At the end of the day, I have to think and rethink about what you might turn out to be in the distant future. (Did I ever mention to you that I have a mild hatred for surprises?) My process is a thinking process, and it will stay that way for a while now. Reanalysing will be the game of the day and it will carry through out for God knows how long. Conceptualising the perfect ‘you’ could be a laborious undertaking, no less, but I trust my ability to make it good. Creativity reigns, but just how well can I translate them? You are not here without a purpose – and it all boils down to the power of reasoning. Universe helps my heart.

Questions after questions kept popping. Are you a threat? A potential criminal? Are you self-centered? Self-involved? What are your causes? What are your effects? Are you here to produce contravening vibes, so negative that people will ignore your presence? Are you here not out of necessity, but only as a style to be admired at for hours and disremembered the next? Answers are just full-stops. They stop and they end there. Period. What’s next is another question. And more answers. A barrage of non-stop full-stops.

Where do we go from here? That question hangs.

Needs, wants and desires do not constitute wholly to my reasons for liking you. Creativity comes with much thinking – ‘thinking’ that sometimes go beyond the space and time continuum. It makes your existence worthless if you become a factor that adds to the damage of this feeble earth. Just so you know, it also dampens my spirit as potential motivators. I am just trying to be clear here, and from now on, I shall keep myself transparent, translucent and transcendent on things that are worth discussing. The concept works both ways.

I have half the power to ponder on the lovely things, and another half the might to scribe them in pages of paragraphs, but I am also at lost for words to express my sentiments at this ungodly hour.

I shall end here as abruptly as I entered.
I hope you don’t mind.

Yours faithfully,
Madally Wurlpiz

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Rage Is Brutal

Separating fire from the desire, not to admire, caught in the wire. As people went screaming, no record of feelings, their thoughts disorienting, their loves are blinding. Their nerves are wrecking, their heads are spinning, as the money keeps thinning, betraying all savings. The kids without knowledge are living on the cold edge, fledging their pledge, collapsed in their age. The olds are wasted, their world’s digested, the body’s infected but undetected. As the stress becomes stresser, and the worst becomes dire, the thin becomes thinner and the fat got lazier. The cheap are not cheaper but the weeps just got easier, for the chronic sufferers, for the pathetic goners. Backpage, frontpage, ravage and rampage, the rage is brutal, incorrigible. Beliefs in suspension, relief in the tensions, not actions but reactions, we grieve with compassions. The tough times proclaim, to reclaim and disclaim, they aim to tame the lame and unnamed. Seeking and asking, emotions are reeling, begging and kneeling, the eyes concealing. Two becomes one, as one going none, and then come tomorrow we can dump new sorrows. No time to rectify, simplify or verify, falsify and mystify the strength to beautify. The mind speaks in tongues, gibberish and junks, funking the dunking and drunk till they sunk in. We are way-way back, counting ways to slacks, in blacker than blacks, of shields and shacks. The human’s drama, are soaked in dilemma, a stoic coma, poetic trauma. All dioramas, a docudrama, a melodrama of foolish karmas. Coolness is useless, ruthless in coldness, clouded in boldness, crowded with rudeness. The sick ones are soulless, getting weak with their foulness, but the truths pretty clear, crystallizing with fear. It is closer than nearer, and rougher than ever, until life stands still, with no wills but ills and pills that gave chills to their villainous fills. And they breed to heed their greed to feed their needs to seed their evil deeds.