Monthly Archives: January 2008

to boldly split when i want to split

Call me corny, but my bedtime reading these days is “How to Write Better English” (Penguin Writers’ Guides, by Robert Allen), a style and grammar handbook I got at Fully Booked a few months ago. I write and speak English mostly by earhow-to-write-better-english.jpg, you see, and my formal English education had been spotty at best, hence my desire to improve. I learned English mainly through reading fiction and watching films, not through hitting the grammar books. I have never diagrammed a sentence in my life, for example. My English is generally okay, but sometimes I get stumped by something that doesn’t really sound right, only I can’t explain exactly what’s wrong and I can’t figure out how to repair it.

Anyway, the book has been very helpful; it’s a handy resource for most of my nagging little grammatical concerns and I see that it really is going to help improve my English. Also, it has liberated me from insecurities/uncertainties over certain so-called “rules” that turn out to be no more than traditional precepts of old-fashioned grammarians.

For example, the split infinitive. You often hear grammarians bewail split infinitives, or people who take pride in their English because they never split their infinitives. I for one did not even know what split infinitives were, and in all probability have been blissfully, ignorantly splitting them my entire life, but I’ve heard enough objections against it to make me wonder. However, the book says that infinitives have been split since Middle English, but somehow through the years it fell into disfavor until it became a grammatical pariah sometime, oh I don’t know, in the last century or so. The book points out that “there is no grammatical reason for always keeping two parts of an infinitive together (emphasis mine).” Insisting on it sometimes lead to awkward or stylistically poor sentences, such as (examples in the book): “She used secretly to admire him,” or “The Education Secretary has set out proposals that attempt radically to change the way in which pupils apply for university places.” Even my Google search results now agree that it’s not always wrong to split infinitives, so how come this so-called rule still persists?

So if you feel that it will make your meaning clearer, go ahead and split those infinitives. You have legitimate reason, and anybody who would insist otherwise is just some overbearing pedantic snob who probably suffered very deeply at the hands of a terror high school English teacher.

You know how Word grammar check would sometimes “green-mark” your “which” clauses and insist that you put a comma right before? You can ignore it, it’s not always correct.

The rule on never beginning a sentence with “And” or “But?” Generally legitimate rule, but in informal situations or if you deliberately want to emphasize something just go ahead and do it.

Or consider the rule on never ending sentences with a preposition. Always insisting on this can be preposterous. Again, it’s all about context (is it a formal document?), or the tone that you want to achieve. For example, would you say (or write):

“You’re the one I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
or
“You’re the one with whom I want to spend the rest of my life.”

Kadiri yung second no? Baka magdalawang-isip pa yung kausap mo about spending the rest of his/her life with such a stuffy bore.

However, if you write “ur d 1 i wnt 2 spnd d rst f my lyf w/” you’d get totally no sympathy from me.

where the years go

Mika posted a Multiply entry mourning the passing of Brad Renfro, who, like so many child/teen stars before him, apparently went the wayward route paved with drugs, alcohol and what-have-you, finally succumbing to it all at a young age of 25. The post was followed by more than a dozen friends’ shocked comments, peppered with teary reminiscing about Renfro and a host of other teen idols of their time – Jonathan Brandis (bless his soul, though I’m still trying to remember who he is), Elijah Wood, Devon Sawa.

Notice – I said teen idols of their time. You see, for me those actors were basically child stars. As I wrote in my comment to the post, I really felt our age gap at that moment, because the equivalent of Brad Renfro or Devon Sawa to my teenage years was – here it is – Johnny Depp.

Yes, this is really a post about Johnny 🙂

johnny.jpg

Johnny of the 21 Jumpstreet roots (“Your friends will be there when your back is to the waaaalll… You gotta be ready to, be ready to – Jump! 21 Jumpstreet! Hehe, corny), whose face was plastered in my third and fourth year high school notebook and whose poster graced the wall of my college boarding house. It was actually my sister who first liked him and I was just sort of gaya-gaya, but I stuck it out with him even after my sister eventually outgrew Hollywood guys. My behavior was exactly the kind of adulation which he hated, by the way, and for the rest of his career after Jumpstreet it seemed as if he was doing his best not to be mistaken for a matinee idol ever again.

Yes, definitely, Johnny had his rebel-boy days, when he was trying his best to be the opposite of the clean-cut image his 21 Jumpstreet character imposed on him, but fortunately things did not go so bad and he managed to survive long enough for him and Tim Burton to find each other, do a host of wonderfully eccentric roles, meet the love of his life and have a couple of kids and suddenly become all mature, and the rest is history.

Now in his forties (though he hardly looks it), Johnny is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, known for never compromising on his art while still being a great entertainer at the same time. He’s still working on improving his craft, even including singing in the repertoire as Sweeney Todd and picking up an Oscar nomination in the process.

Teen idols are great and fun to have in your teenage years, but the thing about them is that they grow older, and when they do, you may not like them all that much. Or worse, they die young. Johnny Depp was my teen idol, but as I told Mika, I’m glad that he and I get to grow older and quirkier together 🙂

Photo taken from 21 Jumpstreet DVD ad here

dahil andami nang gumagawa… solidarity ito

U.P. Survey

1. Student number?
first three ascending, he he

2. College?
CMC

3. Course?
Communication Research

4. Nag-shift ka ba o na-kickout?
Nag-shift, from BS Chemistry to Comm Res. Sad story. Yan ang napapala ko for letting a movie (“And the Band Played On”) guide my inspiration for a career choice.

5. Saan ka kumuha ng UPCAT?
sa BA building

6. Favorite GE subject?
Hmm, it should have been Hum 2, but Jun O. was just such fun in Nat Sci 2

7. Favorite PE?
Orienteering. Kaya lang I missed two of the climbs because I had to take stupid departmental exams on Chem 17!

8. Saan ka nag-aabang ng hot girls/guys sa UP?
Not exactly applicable, but I used to have this fantasy that I’d meet the love of my life in a library/bookstore

9. Favorite prof(s)
Avecilla (Mass Media Law, Ethics), Umali (Comm. Res. major subjects), R. Sicat (Maikling Kwento ng Pilipinas) Se (French 10 & 11). They made learning really challenging, inspiring and rewarding.

10. Pinaka-ayaw na GE subject.
History 1 I think. Not because of the subject but because of the ancient, slightly vague professor.

11. Kumuha ka ba ng Wed or Sat classes?
yes, tipong 7-8:30 AM class pa nga e. terrible. no choice.

12. Nakapag-field trip ka ba?
yep, visiting the mystics at Mt. Banahaw

13. Naging CS ka na ba or US sa UP?
To everyone’s surprise, yes

14. Ano ang Org/Frat/Soro mo?
UP Lakan at UP CORE, pero inactive forever

15. Saan ka tumatambay palagi?
CMC libe, Main Libe humanities section, sa steel rails sa MassComm, sa fish ball stands

16. Dorm, Boarding house, o Bahay?
Boarding house mostly

17. Kung walang UPCAT test at malaya kang nakapili ng kurso mo sa UP, ano yun (Given ang mentality mo nung HS ka)?
Alas, given my misguided frame of mind, I would still have gone to my doom and picked BS Chem. Journ dapat ako noon based on UPCAT results, ipinaglaban ko pa sa registrar na ilipat ako sa chem. Babalik din pala ng mass comm., hay

18. Sino ang pinaka-una mong nakilala sa UP?
BS Chem blockmates. Mga nerd! Ang gagaling sa Math nakakainis! 🙂

19. First play na napanood mo sa UP?
I don’t remember. The most memorable was certainly “Pagsalunga,” featuring three plays by former professor Rogelio Sicat

20. Name the 5 most conyo orgs in UP
malay ko ba sa mga conyo na yan…

21. Name 5 of the coolest orgs/frats/soro in UP.
malay ko din for that matter… medyo anti-social ako e, he he

22. May frat/soro bang nag-recruit sa yo?
somebody sort of mentioned it, but only because Sir Avecilla put her up to it, poor girl

23. Saan ka madalas mag-lunch?
Beach House, Mang Jimmy’s. Karneng-karne no?

24. Masaya ba sa UP?
Oo naman

25. Nakasama ka na ba sa rally?
couple of times. Against that plan to build some sort of mall/commercial complex in the commonwealth property

26. Ilang beses ka bumoto sa Student Council?
um, once?

27. Name at least 5 leftist groups in UP
um, ewan ko din sa kanila

28. Pinangarap mo rin bang mag-laude nung freshman ka?
at the back of my mind lang, but I knew that I was too lazy to do it

29. Kanino ka pinaka-patay sa UP?
slight crushes lang, walang umabot sa “patay” stage

30. Kung di ka UP, anong school ka?
UP or bust! I did apply to take the UST entrance exam, but I didn’t bother to show up na kasi lumabas na yung UPCAT

Maligayang Sentenaryo!

U.P. Centennial Kick-Off

Suddenly I’m on a U.P. Centennial high.

It started with the planner, really. The U.P. Centennial Planner that I simply had to have, never mind if I already have two 2008 planners. They’ll just have to be converted into notebooks, or journals, or whatever, because the U.P. Centennial Planner is going to be THE planner of my year.

From there, of course, it was just a short skip to being all excited over the centenary celebrations. Tonight, Don and I went to check out the tail-end of the day-long official kick-off of the centennial. Just walked around the acad oval checking out the festivities. Free concert at the ampitheater, food stalls along the oval, people going gaga taking photos of and having their photos taken with the oblation and the centennial flame (guilty, he he). Enjoying the campus atmosphere that one can’t help but miss. Waxing nostalgic over the countless times of going over those grounds, walking along those hallways.

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The concert, appropriately enough, ended with a choral rendition of “U.P Naming Mahal.” Students and alumi alike raised their fists in solidarity, while a banner stating “Serve the People” waved near the stage. Oohs and aahs over the fireworks. Afterwards, we joined the departing crowd, walking along University Avenue. It was almost like a march.

I was glad I went.

(more photos at multiply)