The Lost Art of Letter Writing

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(c) Tumblr

As part of my freshman English course, I had to write to a pen pal — this is in the early 2000s, so even then letter writing was a slowly dying form. I absolutely love writing, but when you’re twelve and a freshman in high school, writing to a random person is all sorts of awkward.

So in my letter, I explained in great lengths that I had to write to a pen pal as part of a class requirement, and not that I’m a stalker or anything of the sort. The letter was then sent to my mom’s friend’s daughter halfway around the world, who, as it turned out, was only a few months younger than I.

I don’t know how seriously my classmates took that assignment, but I was relieved, nonetheless, when I got a reply (although I suspected that her mother forced her to write back). Leia and I continued writing each other for a year, I think, way past the requirement for class.

But like I mentioned, this was in the early 2000s, which means that the art of letter-writing was already dying, so eventually, we went on to email each other instead of write pen-on-paper — and pretty soon, by the time I got to college, we’ve been communicating through social media, like everyone else on the planet.

However, my friends in college are amazing, and are pretty sold on the handwritten notes and letters front. It’s not unusual for me to receive “Have a good day” notes from my friends, random doodles, and even origami left on my desk.

Nothing beats getting actual mail though. Especially mail in the form of letters — no other material things, just letters about the goings-on in someone’s life, and musings asking how you are, too.

I have been wondering how humans forgot the art of letter writing, but as it turns out, not only is a text or email faster in getting messages across the seas, it’s also economical. Apparently, today, it costs a lot to send a postcard to another country, at least, from here in the Philippines.

Okay, not that expensive, but for 120PhP for a postcard, it’s not actually reasonable, considering you get the length of a tweet on one of those things.

 

 

postal

Photo: phlpost.gov

Costs aside, I do want to bring back the art of letter writing. Maybe one postcard a month somewhere around the globe?

An Appeal To My Filipino Readers

Hi Everyone,

It’s been a while since I posted about suicide prevention, but last night, a video has been going around showing a person who fell from the third floor of a building.

When asked, the person who posted the video said that she will not take it down because she had every right to post it, and that it’s making rounds in the media anyway. She even LAUGHED at the person who tried to kill himself.

I appeal to you — if you’re here, you know that suicide is a big deal, not a laughing matter. If you’re here, you know that this is against all that we stand for as warriors who are trying to fight against suicide — so please, please, please if you come across the video, please don’t watch it, don’t react, don’t comment.

JUST REPORT IT ON FACEBOOK AND ASK THEM TO TAKE IT DOWN.

Please.

Hopeline, Philippines’ Suicide Prevention Hotline, may be reached at (02) 804-4637; 0917-5584673; and 2919 for Globe and TM subscribers

La La Land

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La La Land | © Summit Entertainment

This musical about a passionate jazz musician and an aspiring actress chronicled in the events of the year they meet and fall in love in Los Angeles, at a time when they are chasing the dreams they have been struggling to reach. The film won seven staggering awards at the Golden Globes, and was marked as one of the most notable films in 2016.

STARRING: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, JK Simmons, John Legend
DIRECTED BY: Damien Chazelle
WRITTEN BY: Damien Chazelle
MUSIC BY: Justin Hurwitz
RELEASED BY: Summit Entertainment

PLOT: 4/5 face value, 2.5/5 if my inner nerd kicks in

Aspiring actress and jazz musician meet and fall in love in a nostalgic version of LA, complete with stories of struggle, and charming musical numbers.

Face value, it was a great movie. It made me cry, mostly because I have my own version of knowing how it feels to not be able to end up with my soulmate. (Part of the reason I was crying during the movie was the fact that I just knew so-so would have loved to watch it too). It’s sad, it’s nostalgic, it’s endearing. It made you hope, it made you wish, it made you believe in a better world with considerably less traffic and less talk of kale.

Mostly, it appeals to the people who wear their hearts on their sleeves and who look at the world through-rose colored glasses.

BUT

It is also a white-washed version of Hollywood with amazing lack of diversity. Considering how jazz originated from Blacks, it is sad to note that the only black person in the cast was a washed-up musician who sold out.

Also, LA is one of the most expensive cities to live, there is no way an aspiring actress who is a barista by day could afford that amazing apartment at the beginning of the film AND a Prius. Seriously.

CAST: 3.5/5

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling look good together. They are beautifully awkward and endearing, and despite not being actual singers, they made it work in a musical (just, you know, don’t expect five-octave ranges or anything of that sort). However, lost points due to previously mentioned lack of diversity. LA is one hell of a melting pot and it didn’t show. Also, it needed more JK Simmons.

SOUNDTRACK: 3

I grew up listening to jazz on Sunday mornings and on road trips (hi, dad!) so I pretty much got an ear for it, although I’m not one to research on the names of musicians and song titles (believe me I can’t name the albums and song titles and musicians in my favorite bands!). While I love the jazzy parts of it, my biggest disappointment is the fact that Sebastian’s (Gosling) song is…well, not actually jazz as he defined and fought for in the movie.

Still great for easy listening, though.

*CINEMATOGRAPHY: 4.5/5
*COSTUMES: 4/5

CHECK OUT THE TRAILER:

*I don’t usually add them in the reviews, but cinematography is brilliant and costumes are lovely in their brightness and essence: they had been remarkable for this film, so kudos to that, too.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1

I binged-watched “A Series of Unfortunate Events” this weekend, because obviously.

Hold up. First and Foremost, ASOUE is on my top three list of favorite book series of all-time, coming in second only to Harry Potter. Unfortunately, I know fewer ASOUE fans than Harry Potter fans, because well, most people really assume the series to be for kids — although it is actually a very fun read even for adults. Its dark story line, I think also discourages parents to buy them for their children, I mean, they generally don’t think titles like “The Bad Beginning,” “The Miserable Mill” or “The Vile Village” are apt titles for kids.

However, I love the literary references, the many alliterations, and the lyrical prose of the cynical series, which is why I got really excited that Netflix is bringing it to the small screen. I was very disappointed that producers never followed up on the movie in 2004, so it’s like I’m going back to my childhood.

About this take on ASOUE:

  1. They are expanding each book to two episodes instead of compressing three books in one movie. This means the first season, which covers “The Bad Beginning” to “The Miserable Mill” covers eight episodes. This move alone is a great improvement to the treatment of the story. Author Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler) noted that they are already at work for Season 2, so if this two-episodes-per-book treatment continues, fans will have three glorious seasons of the series. Which is perfect. More than that and they will have to move past the canon series.
  2. Neil Patrick Harris is always awesome. Playing the vile, villainous Count Olaf playing different people and NPH is in his element. However, as a fan of the actor, I saw some hints of Barney Stinson and Hedwig (Robinson), which is not necessarily a bad thing, but that’s just me.
  3. Expect a lot of deadpan jokes. The series is known for making lighter very real issues of abuse and neglect, so expect a few rather dark, deadpan jokes that could make you burst out laughing during some rather inappropriate times.Or sometimes, they just have random throwaways that reference pop culture or literature, which are also funny.
  4. They have beautiful aesthetics. Think “Sweeney Todd” meets “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Gloomingly dull one moment, glaringly bright the next. I dunno you guys, I really found this really endearing, and definitely apt for the series — it’s like they give you hope only to take it away, because obviously, there is no ray of sunshine for the orphans.
  5. There is a new side story and new characters! They make sensible additions though, so it should not be much of a problem. Besides, we know this is in good faith to the books, as Daniel Handler himself is executive producer of the series, and they definitely have his blessings to these additions.

That said, I will not spoil anything, but unlike Lemony Snicket, I will not dissuade anyone from watching. In fact, I would recommend it, especially if you like watching television shows about incredibly unfortunate orphans.

Series Score: 4/5 Stars